“Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ ” (Mark 1:11).

Fathers play a significant role in the life of their children, young or old. The latest U.S. census statistics (2013) indicate there are more than 70 million fathers across the nation. The number of dads who are married and have children under the age of 18 is 24.7 million. About two million dads are single, and about 17 percent of custodial single parents are men.

Truckloads of research show the benefits to children of an involved father, especially in the area of education. Kids with a father who connects with them learn more, perform better, and show healthier behaviour in school. Even dads who don’t live at home can touch their children in a positive and lasting way. One study showed that pre-schoolers with actively involved fathers have stronger verbal skills. Another revealed that girls with a strong relationship with their father do better in mathematics. Boys with an actively involved father get better grades.

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, His Father spoke words of affirmation to Him. In essence, God told His Son, “I’m proud of You.” The affirming words strengthened Jesus to walk the difficult pathway that led to our redemption. Though Christ took on the form of humanity, His heavenly Father clearly acknowledged Jesus as His eternal Son. It surely inspired the faith of those who witnessed the scene.

You may have an earthly father who is not involved in your life. Maybe your dad shows no interest in you, or maybe you never even knew your biological father. The confirming words spoken to Jesus by His heavenly Father are meant for you as well. The loving arms of your Father in heaven reach down and embrace you as His beloved child. You are safe in your Father’s arms.

Heavenly Father, today I will rest in Your everlasting arms, knowing You will never leave me nor forsake me.

For Further Study: Matthew 3:13–17; 1 John 3:1; Deut. 33:27

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