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John G. Paton: The Fruit of a Father’s Prayers

Aug. 24, 2015By: Evan Burns

John G. Paton was the 19th century Scottish missionary to the New Hebrides.  He suffered much personal loss, ridicule from churches at home, and great discouragement.  The Lord used Paton to mobilize many churches and missionaries to give themselves obediently to the missionary task.  Through his great adversity, he attributed the abiding presence of Jesus as his source of life and strength.  More than any other man, his father’s humble-hearted spirituality indelibly marked Paton’s thirst for God.  Often times, courageous missionary leaders are trained by the warm piety of fathers who walk with God and reflect the light of the Divine Presence.  May our children rise up and say, “He walked with God, why may not I?”

Paton affectionately reflects on his father’s influence:

81rVoh_l3FLThree times daily, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and "shut the door;" and we children understood by a sort of spiritual instinct that prayers were being poured out there for us, much like the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place. We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice, pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip in and out past that door on tiptoe, not to disturb the holy communion. The outside world may not have known, but we knew, where that happy light came from dawning on my father's face. It was a reflection from the Divine Presence of God.

 Never, in temple or cathedral, on mountain or in glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord God is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof. Though everything else in my Christian experience were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, or blotted from my understanding, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and shut itself up again in that Sanctuary Closet. I can still hear the echoes of those cries to God, pushing back all doubt with the victorious appeal, "He walked with God, why may not I?"

  Somewhere in or about his seventeenth year, my father had passed through a crisis in Christian experience, and from that day he openly and very decidedly followed the Lord Jesus. At this time, he began that blessed custom of Family Prayer, morning and evening, which my father practiced without one single omission till he lay on his death-bed, at seventy-seven years of age. Even to the last day of his life, a portion of Scripture was read, and his voice was heard softly joining in the Psalm and his lips breathed the morning and evening prayer. None of us can remember that any day passed without family devotions. No hurry for market, no rush for business, no arrival of guests, no trouble or sorrow, no joy or excitement, ever prevented at least our kneeling around the family altar, while the High Priest led our prayers to God for himself and his children.

Oh, I can remember those happy Sabbath evenings; no blinds drawn and shutters up, to keep out the sun from us, as some scandalously affirm; but a holy, happy, entirely human day, for a Christian father, mother, and children to spend. There were eleven of us brought up in a house like that; and never one of the eleven, has been heard, or ever will be heard, saying that the Sabbath was dull or wearisome to us. But God help the homes where these things are due by force and not by love! The very discipline through which our father passed us was a kind of religion in itself. If anything really serious required to be punished he retired first to his closet for prayer, and we boys learned to understand that he was laying the whole matter before God; and that was the severest part of the punishment for me to bear! I could have defied any amount of mere penalty, but this spoke to my conscience like a message from God. We loved him all the more, when we saw how much it cost him to punish us. And in truth, he had never very much of that kind of work to do upon any one of all the eleven. We were ruled far more by love than fear. 

“Our Cottage Home: The Fruit of a Father's Prayers”, by John G. Paton

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The Worst Thing a Parent Could Say

May. 20, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Is this the worst thing a parent could say:

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”(Isaiah 39:5-8 ESV)

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