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…Dad You Have Taught Me…

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

I’m very undeserving of the father I’ve been given. He has taught me a bunch of good lessons and loved me unconditionally. He is a great man and I want to honour him for his influence in my life. I wanted to share some of what I’ve learnt from my Dad to commend him for the father he is and to inspire future moms and dads to lean whole heartedly on Jesus. Quick reminder: God is the ultimate perfect father and I completely acknowledge that my Dad is nowhere near that. We have definitely had some difficult moments and stages in our relationship; it’s never been perfect but that isn’t what a loving father/daughter relationship is about.

1. My Dad has taught me… To love God

And not just half-heartedly either. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:28-30) – No one can get this completely perfectly but watching my Dad strive at it in all he does, from his ministry to how he leads our family to the little things that he thinks no one sees is inspiring. Even when I didn’t want to love God and give Him my all, seeing my Dad’s love affected me in a big way.

2. My Dad has taught me… How to get the best price (for anything!)

From haggling in markets in Cyprus to bargaining in local South African supermarket, Pick ‘n Pay, my Dad is ‘FIERCE’ when reducing prices. It must be a Greek thing because my Pappou does it too – and when they’re together it gets very loud and embarrassing so my Mom and I usually stand back and pretend we don’t know them. On a trip to India and Dubai a few years ago, Dad and I perfected the ultimate price dropping technique. As a father/daughter duo we were unstoppable. The strict father depriving his inconsolable and slightly spoilt daughter of that beautiful scarf because it’s too expensive…foolproof.

3. My Dad has taught me… Not to be ashamed of the gospel

When it comes to preaching the gospel and witnessing to people, my Dad is the boldest person I know. When I was younger it was just plain embarrassing! But as I’m growing up I’m learning to appreciate my Dad’s zeal and passion for people to hear what God’s done for them. Many a person has come along to church and many a seed has been sown in people’s hearts as a result of receiving one of my Dad’s ‘Personal Tracts’ or being interrupted by an enthusiastic English man eager to give a word of encouragement. My Dad has taught me the ‘importance of being earnest’ for the gospel. I’m still not quite sure I could get up and preach to a train full of random people or step out in faith quite as much, but I admire my father greatly and aspire to be as bold one day.

4. My Dad has taught me… About God’s faithfulness

Not in loads of words and conversations about it, but more by example. From before I was born when my parents stepped out in faith to join a church plant in Mumbai, India, to us as a family having to rely on God financially at times, Dad is always quick to say ‘thanks’ and give it straight back to God in various ways. As I’ve been starting to support myself over the past couple of years, Dad has challenged me about giving, saving and praying in faith for God’s provision. One of the reasons I heed his advice and challenge is that I have seen my father do exactly that very faithfully over the years and in return I have seen the faithfulness of God displayed time and time again, often with more than what my Dad has prayed for.

5. My Dad has passed on to me… A love of music

My Dad used to be in a punk band. Granted they weren’t very successful, but nonetheless at various stages of my life I thought that was cool. In fact when I was very little I was convinced I was the daughter of a famous punk rocker (I have since discovered that in the ’80s people used to spit at the band as a sign of appreciation for the music… that’s not so cool). This led to a sense of respect for my Dad’s taste and opinion of music from a very young age. He has taught me to have a most diverse range of music on my various playlists at all times and always to give new artists a chance, even if they turn out to be rubbish.

6. My Dad has given me… A sense of humour

I don’t quite know how to explain the sense of humour that belongs to Lex Loizides but I fear I have inherited a similar one… at times he is very witty and I don’t always understand him and at other times he is extremely humiliating (I’m mostly referring to my experiences as a 13 year old at the mall with my friends, blushing and cringing in disbelief as Dad sang an unnecessarily loud opera-style song across the shop about how much he loves me. Still gives me shivers…). The point is, my Dad has taught me how to laugh at myself. Even in the most embarrassing of situations and even in some not so funny situations which won’t be mentioned, I have learned to brush it off and have a laugh.

7. My Dad has taught me… To have high standards when it comes to boys

Finally, my Dad has taught me to establish high standards. Again this is very much by example; even though he has occasionally sat me down and talked to me about boys specifically, the biggest way that Dad has helped my sisters and I to develop high standards in boys has been in the way he treats my mother and the way he leads our family. True, it took me a while to stick firmly to these but nevertheless, I now do not settle for anything less than I deserve. Dad has really set the bar high and when I go back home I can see that my little brother has already started to pick up on the way he’s supposed to treat girls. Dad has always impressed on me that I need to be looking first and foremost for someone who loves Jesus more than he loves me. I have seen over the years how Dad goes out of his way for my Mom to make her feel beautiful, to do special little romantic gestures for her. What I really love about the way he treats Mom is how he protects her even when it has been one of us kids arguing with her, Dad has stood up for Mom and respected her in every way. This used to be one of the things I genuinely disliked  and it used to really frustrate me but now I wouldn’t want it any other way. Yes Dad, you have set the bar high.

The Loizides Family

Daddy, I want to honour you for teaching me these things and for loving God more than you love me. Thank you for your unconditional love, even when I’ve hurt you more than anyone else knows. I pray that my future husband and sons take notes from you as you carry on learning and teaching. Thank you for giving glory to God in yet another aspect of your life. You inspire me and I love you.

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Zealous by nature

It’s extremely easy to get on with daily life as if God doesn’t exist apart from on a Sunday. The hustle and bustle of a busy agenda and an increasingly long to-do list helps to create the perfect ‘mental environment’ in which to forget about God. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to be reminded of God’s glory and general awesomeness when visiting a beautiful country, and it’s easy to remember that ever faithful lifeline He throws out to us when we’re in need,but how often do we look to God and praise Him in the mundane? In the boring, same old stuff we do everyday? What is often the case is that we seek out God in the extremes: extreme happiness or gratitude for something, or extreme frustration or desperation. So what happens in between? What happens between you and God when you’re sitting at the same desk and doing the same job you’ve done for the past five years? Or what lifts your gaze to the Father while you’re doing the washing up after dinner? I don’t know about you, but I struggle to get inspiration from a sink of lukewarm water with bits of cabbage floating around! The question is then: How do we set our sights on God in the ordinary as well as in the extraordinary? In Philippians 3:20 it says that our citizenship is in heaven. We should be focusing on things above, not this temporary lifetime. Sometimes we get so caught up in daily life we forget where we’re headed as Christians and therefore forget that God deserves our attention 24/7, not just when things are amazing or when they’re really awful…ALL the time. I think part of the problem is a lack of something called ‘zeal’. Zeal by definition is ‘a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favour of a person or cause)’.  There are countless verses in the Bible that talk about God’s zeal for His people – we should strive to have that same passion in our hearts for Him! Jesus is zealous, passionate to see God glorified, people healed and sins forgiven, why would we not go all out to be likeminded?! We need to be hungering after and asking God for a zealous nature like His, one where we delight in Him no matter what place we’re in.

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