Heart of a Father: True Stories of Inspiration and Encouragement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764225437
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Would you like to know God? Deeply? Intimately? Passionately? Would you like to know his thoughts, understand his feelings, see through his eyes? Although you can't know God physically, you can know what he is like; know the depths of his love; know what pleases him.

By looking at examples of everyday fathers who've demonstrated an aspect of God's virtues in uncommon ways, you can experience the father-heart of God.

The Heart of a Father will demonstrate God's nature by giving you well-defined examples of earthly fathers who have, in one way or another, exemplified God's character. These tangible stories, much like the teachings of Jesus, will show what God is like. These inspiring, eye-opening, heartfelt stories will guide you into a deeper relationship with God, the Father. Short enough to be read in one sitting, each story reveals a different aspect of God's nature.

For many people the image of God as Father isn't a pleasant one because the image of their earthly father wasn't pleasant. Some view fathers as distant, uninvolved, and uncaring persons. Others remember an evil man who molested them, physically and/or emotionally. Still others picture a strict disciplinarian who relentlessly pushed them, never offering words of encouragement or love.

Even at their best, fathers break promises, lose their tempers, and often fail. There are times, however, when a man rises above the commonplace and does something so extraordinary that it merits emulation. These are the moments and the times we will share with you in The Heart of a Father.

Many books have been written on the subject of God as Father.Few have dared to demonstrate God's nature by comparing the positive attributes of earthly fathers to the nature of God. Yet that is exactly what Jesus taught us to do in the Lord's Prayer when he addressed God as "Our Father."

In all areas and in all ways God is an exalted Father. And in the pages of this book not only will God be exalted but you will come away with a deeper knowledge and intimacy of God, your Father.

Yes! You can know God!


* * *

The Unconditional Love of a Father


The Reunion by Max Lucado (from In the Grip of Grace)

A few weeks ago I traveled to the Midwest to pick up my two oldest daughters. They'd spent a week at camp. This wasn't their first time at camp, but it was their first time so far from home. The camp was great and the activities outstanding, but their hearts were heavy. They missed their mom and dad. And Mom and Dad weren't doing so well either.

Not wanting to risk any delayed flights, I flew up a day early. Parents weren't allowed to see their kids until 5:00 p.m., so I enjoyed the area, visited a few sights, and kept an eye on the time. My purpose wasn't to sightsee. My purpose was my kids.

I arrived at the camp at 3:00 p.m. A rope was stretched across the dirt road, and a sign dangling from the rope reminded me, "Parents may not enter until 5:00 p.m."

I wasn't alone at the rope. Other parents were already present. There was a lot of glancing at wristwatches. No in-depth conversations, just the expected "How are you?" "Where are you from?" and "How many kids?" Nothing much beyond that. Our minds were down that dirt road. At about 4:30, I noticed a few dads positioning themselves near the rope. Not to be outdone, I did the same. Though most of the slots were taken, there was room for one more parent. I squeezed past one mother who was unaware that the horses had been called to the track. I felt sorry for her, but not enough to give her my spot.

With five minutes to go, conversation ended. No more playing games; this was serious stuff. The cars were on the track. The runners were in the blocks. The countdown was on. All we needed was someone to lower the rope.

Two camp counselors appeared to perform the honors. They knew better than to take one end of the rope and cross the road to allow the parents to enter. Such a move would have been fatal; they wouldn't have survived the stampede. Rather than endanger their lives, each took one end of the rope and, on a prearranged signal, lowered it to the ground. (They had done this before.)

We were off!

I was ready for this moment. I had waited long enough. I began with a brisk walk, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a dad starting to trot. So that's what it's going to take, eh? Good thing I was wearing jogging shoes. I broke into a run. Enough preliminaries. The hour had struck and the rope was down, and I was willing to do what it took to see my kids.

God feels the same.

God is ready to see his own. He, too, is separated from his children. He, too, will do whatever is necessary to take them home. Yet, his desire leaves ours in the dust. Forget plane trips and rental cars: we're talking incarnation and sacrifice. Forget a night in a hotel; how about a lifetime on earth! I went from the state of Texas to the state of Missouri. He went from the state of being worshiped in heaven to being a baby in Bethlehem.

Why? He knows his children are without their father. And he knows we are powerless to return without his help.

"Andrea! Jenna! I'm here!" I shouted as I ran down the camp road. (I won the race.) I spotted Andrea first. She was under a canopy preparing to practice gymnastics. I called her name again. "Daddy!" she yelled and jumped into my arms.

There was no guarantee she'd respond. Though I had flown a thousand miles, rented a car, and waited an hour, she could have seen me and—heaven forbid!—ignored me. Some kids are too grown up to run to their parent in front of their friends.

But then there are those who have had enough camp food and mosquito repellent to make them jump for joy at the sight of their father. Such was the case with Andrea.

All of a sudden, Andrea had gone from feeling homesick to feeling happy. Why? Only one difference. Her father had come to take her home.

Max Lucado, Copyright © 1996, Word Publishing. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

* * *
Truant Tears by C. Vernon Hostetler

I drove my fifteen-year-old son, Bob, to his Reading, Ohio, high school, and dropped him off at 7:30 a.m., as I had done every day for months. I knew the bell would ring at 7:37, signaling the beginning of another school day; I did not know that he would not be there when it did.

There was no one else to take him to school, no one else to fix him breakfast, or help with his homework, or earn a living to keep him in Converse shoes and bell bottoms. Bob's two older brothers had each left home for college, and his mother—my wife of twenty-seven years—had died of cancer the previous September, at age forty-nine. Within a few months of her funeral, I had lost my job, and Bob and I moved to a new neighborhood, where he enrolled in a new school and I commenced a new job as a traveling representative for a nonprofit organization.

So that morning, like every morning, I watched my son trudge alone through the crowd of teenagers that milled about in front of the school, and waited until he disappeared through the entrance before driving off. He was miserable; I knew that he had few friends at school, he was failing every class, and he had been caught skipping school more than once—but I didn't know how to help him.

As I often did, I stopped at a local Perkins Restaurant for coffee and pancakes and checked my appointments for the day. As I did this, I realized I had left important paper work at home. I drained the last swallow of coffee, left a tip, and paid my bill. Then I got into my 1974 Plymouth Duster and headed home.

When I arrived, I was surprised to find the front door unlocked. I was sure I had locked it when Bob and I left that morning. When I stepped into the living room, however, I received another surprise: Bob was sitting there. He was skipping school. He had gotten out of my car that morning and walked the two miles home as soon as I was out of sight. He had been willfully disobedient. Anger immediately rose in me, and I began to ponder what punishment I would dispense.

But Bob had not seen me enter. His eyes were closed. He wore a set of stereo headphones. He sat in an upholstered chair that had belonged to his mother. I saw by the record sleeve on the floor at his feet that he was listening to one of his mother's records, a selection of classical piano pieces (she herself had been an accomplished pianist). And a steady stream of tears coursed down his cheeks.

In an instant my anger evaporated. The son who sat before me was a truant, but he was also a boy who had lost his mother—as I had lost a wife. I knew that, of course, but his tears reminded me.

He still had not seen me. He didn't even know I was in the room. I sat down on the couch opposite him. And when he finally opened his eyes, tears were streaming down my cheeks too.

I don't recall what else I did that day in response to my son's truancy. But I will always remember the moment when God touched my heart and united my grief and my son's in a union of compassion and comfort.

Vernon Hostetler. Copyright © 2001. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.

 


Excerpted from:
The Heart of a Father Compiled by Wayne Holmes
Copyright © 2002, Wayne Holmes

 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Discover the Heart of the Heavenly Father

    "The Heart of a Father is a unique collection of heartwarming stories that inspire and encourage readers to draw closer to the heart of God. Written by many favorite authors and other gifted writers, these stories demonstrate the nature of God through earthly fathers who emulate the character of our Heavenly Father and enable us to know the depths of His love. Certain to bring a smile and an occasional tear, Holmes¿ book is a celebration of fatherhood to be enjoyed by sons and daughters of all ages."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2003

    Hearing Our Father's Heart

    I just read THE HEART OF A FATHER, compiled by Wayne Holmes. What a great read for Dads and those of us who have special memories of our Dads. My favorite story was THE REUNION. Feeling Max Lucado's heart pound as he ran toward his daughter, knowing his heart was yelling, "That's my daughter!" was worth the read for me. As parents we have all been there. Then add the over pouring pride of Bob Benson's heart at the band competition in, SEE YOU AT THE HOUSE, what a story. Again you hear a father's heart, it's shouting, "That's my son. That's my son!" only this time you have to read for yourself what this father is thinking. If you ever wondered how our Father looks at us, Bob Benson's insight gives us a great view, straight from the stands, straight to our hearts. You will want to read these stories over and over. I highly recommend, THE HEART OF A FATHER and can't wait to read, THE HEART OF A MOTHER.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    A Heart-warming Book

    In The Heart of a Father, Wayne Holmes has compiled an excellent collection of stories¿some inspiring, some humorous, some touching¿that gently show readers how our earthly fathers reflect the Heavenly Father. Writers like Max Lucado, Bob Hostetler, Josh McDowell and Joni Eareckson Tada write honestly and movingly about the ways God revealed Himself in their daddy's actions. As a daughter and a mom, I was challenged to emulate God in my daily interactions with my son. And as a Christian, I was reminded that God loves me even more than my earthly father does.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    Fathers in Real Light

    The Heart of a Father, compiled by Wayne Holmes, offers warm encouragement to all parents who try their best to succeed but sometimes have setbacks. This book relates true stories of earthly fathers to the Heavenly Father, God, in a sensitive manner that women can appreciate, also. I highly recommend THE HEART OF A FATHER to couples expecting their first child. The short, easy-to-read stories provide excellent parenting examples. Those who already have children will enjoy these inspirational stories, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2002

    Heartwarming, Inspiring, and Encouraging

    Best book I've read in years! In fact, I'm rereading it. There are so many great stories with deep insights that I wanted to enjoy them all again. I heartily encourage the purchase of this book. Not only does it make great reading, it also makes a great gift for that special man/father in your life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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