Posts Tagged father

Carried by Love

Psalm 68 : 5 – 6          Passion Translation

To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he gives a family. To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. This is our Holy God in his Holy Place! But for the rebels there is heartache and despair.

We saw yesterday that God is the perfect parent. Notice that the first three sentences have to do with family relationships. I think that is significant. Families provide individuals with much, so God stands ready to repair and restore family relationships and to be the person each of us needs whether a parent, brother, sister or spouse.

One version says that He is the defender of widows. Women didn’t have any standing of their own. They were either under the protection of their father or their husband. When a husband died, the powerless widow could easily become destitute and a target for those who prey on the weak. In fact, many had to turn to prostitution as the only means for generating income. It was rough, but God saw their plight those many years ago and He sees the challenges today. He is the champion of the widow, her defender, so if a person takes on the widow, he is taking on God. God stands in the shoes of the widow to protect her and her children.

Also, there are no lonely in Christ. He has ways to provide a family, beginning with Himself. He knows that humans need social contact and He does not want any of us to feel lonely.

The most interesting part, though, is His response to prisoners. What kind of prisoners do you think God has in mind here. I don’t think this is the conventional use of the word. The King James refers to the prisoners as those bound in chains. Looking in the Strong’s Concordance causes one to come away with the notion that these are people who are bound or who are being held against their will. God’s grace and compassion absolutely extends to people who are incarcerated as a result of their actions, but this verse seems to convey an image of those being held against their will or restrained. In that regard one might think in broader terms as in any person who is bound by anything or anyone. It might refer to someone who is imprisoned in an unhealthy relationship, maybe by marriage or maybe familial. Others are held captive by their past. Really, there are many ways we are shackled but the key is that God is here to set you free. But that is not all. He wants to shower you with prosperity until you sing for joy. That is so over the top and when God talks about prosperity He means everything in life is flowing with goodness and abundance. Sure, it means money, but it includes everything else too. God has an interesting reaction to setting the captives free. It is not enough for Him just to purchase their freedom. He wants to make up for everything that has been stolen from them as well. That is a good Father.

I am reminded of the words from Isaiah 40: 11, “In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom.” That is the picture of our loving Father. He wants to gather you up in His arms and carry you next to His chest where no harm can befall you. No matter how you have been hurt in the past, God is here, now, to restore and heal you.

Perfect Parent

Psalm 68: 5 – 6

To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he gives a family. To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. This is our Holy God in his Holy Place! But for the rebels there is heartache and despair.

This is one of the Words the Father has given us for encouragement. It is an important one, though sometimes over looked.  I have grayed out part of the verses to focus in on the first sentence.  We will discuss the remainder tomorrow.

There are no orphans in the Kingdom of God. God is a Father, the Father, in fact. If you had less than satisfactory relationships with your earthly parents, do not despair. Be healed in your heart by the one who loves you beyond measure. He (for lack of a more suitable pronoun) is your mother and your father. This is not the only place this promise appears. Psalm 27: 10 reads, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.” If your earthly parents failed you, fear not because God is here to pick you up.

Every loving characteristic of a good parent comes from God because God is the source of all love. Both women and men inherit their parental skills from God. We have made God in our image attributing to “Him” only masculine qualities but this is not as it should be. God is not gendered. Why would “He” be? He has no reason to procreate. He simply creates with the words of His mouth. I think this mischaracterization of God is one of the reasons people imagine Yahweh as vengeful, harsh and angry. We have put human robes on Him painting Him with the brush we gained from earthly fathers. We have all been deceived. Earthly fathers were never meant to be relegated to the role of disciplinarians. Fathers, your job is to love your children. In this you model your heavenly parent.

Over the years I have been stunned at the number of people who admit to having not only unfulfilling relationships with their fathers, but even traumatic, or even abusive ones. Because of the broken relationships with our earthly fathers, we often approach God with trepidation if we dare approach Him at all. It is common to hear Christians confess to having little to no relationship with God even though they love Jesus. Why is this so? I believe it is because we expect Him to treat us as earthly fathers do. Here is the good news, though. There is healing for us all. Yahweh is the perfect father. I even want you to know He is your real father. He begat you in His imagination and in the spiritual realm before your parents were born. At the beginning of time, God looked into the heavens and saw your beautiful face. He thought then, as He does now, that you are the most beautiful baby ever. He loves you with a love that is, actually, beyond your comprehension. As much as you have ever loved anyone, He loves you way more than that. He doesn’t only love you to the moon and back, He loves you as much as the entire universe and more which is why the universe is still expanding. It hasn’t the capacity, yet, to contain all He has and wants for you.

If one, or even both of your earth parents forsook or mistreated you, take ahold of this revelation and promise from Yahweh today. You are the beloved of the most loving parent ever. Trust me in this, if you will give God your heart, He will cherish and nurture it as the most precious thing ever. He will be the father or mother you wished you had when you were a child. Believe me in this! He can move into your life in a real way. It may be hard for us to understand how a spirit being can become so real to us that we are nourished in His loving embrace, but it is true. You just have to trust me. If you seek Him, you will find Him. The scripture says He will make up for years that the locust has stolen (Joel 2: 25). Let Him/Her, for God is both father and mother. God is love, the very source of all love. Do not let your thoughts be pigeonholed any longer. God isn’t one or the other. He is all in all. He is absolutely everything you need. Embrace and accept the fullness of His great affection.

Jesus is Real

John 20: 27

Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Yesterday I promised we would tackle the question of how we intertwine with Jesus. It can be frustrating when a pastor gives a directive without directions, I know. So, let’s see if I can help you find your path. I don’t pretend to have arrived. All I can do is show you the path I have traveled and try to share those things which have worked for me.

Here is a beginning place and though rudimentary, still necessary. We must come to the place where we realize and are convinced that Jesus is real. Thomas, called Doubting Thomas, didn’t appreciate Jesus was still alive. He saw him die, how could he be alive? Well, that is what the resurrection is all about. We, like Thomas, have to come to the same conclusion; that Jesus is alive. He is a real person with real substance. He isn’t an angel or some ethereal legend. He is a living person whom you can relate to and talk with. Okay, sure; he isn’t flesh and blood like the people you see everyday even though he can materialize when he chooses. None the less, he is real; he is alive. He is a living personality and until we really and truly embrace that idea, there is no way we can intertwine with him and him become an integral part of our everyday life. Jesus can become your best friend and your closest ally but first we must believe that he is real right now today and that he is present to interact with and in our lives.

The single thing that was most important to my walk was learning to commune with God the Father. Jesus is the way to him but eventually we have to reconcile our feelings, understanding and beliefs about God. Is he a religious image, a deity or is he a Father? I discovered that although I had a good relationship with Jesus, I had almost none with the Father.

In 2005, I learned that the fullness of truth is that God is every bit as much my Dad as my biological father. That revelation became very real to me. It was through communing with Him and getting to know Him that I came to understand that. The revelation was possible because some years before I chased God down. I knew others could hear Him but I could only occasionally hear Him speak to me. I was frustrated and angry so I flew out to LA to a conference I knew He would be at. I like to say, “I sought Him until He found me.” The Bible says if we will seek Him, we will find Him. It’s true. When I set my heart and mind to seeking Him, He revealed Himself to me in some awesome ways. So, first, let us seek Him out with all our hearts. Second, we must learn how to commune with Him. I will tell you how I was able to learn that tomorrow.

The Prodigals’ Father

Luke 15: 20

And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.

You all know the story of the prodigal son and how he went off to another town and lived there until he squandered his inheritance. Realizing the slaves of his father’s house fared better than he was in that foreign town, he decided to return home. He didn’t have a cell phone (I guess he squandered that too) so he did not call his father to say that he was returning home. His plan was to show up and beg his father for a position as a hired hand since, he believed, he no longer deserved the title and position of a son.

Obviously, this is a picture of each of us. Jesus told this story in order to illustrate to us how Father God loves us. We don’t deserve to be called the children of our Father either. Some of us have squandered our time, our money and our skills on the wrong pursuits. For many of us we spent those resources which God gave us on our flesh or, in other words, on worldly desires. Then we come to the end of ourselves and realize that we have wasted so much precious time. So, we turn our faces back towards home, knowing we deserve nothing but hoping that we can at least have the leftover crumbs of His grace.

The thing that astounds me about this verse is that the father saw the prodigal approaching in the distance. Let’s read this again, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.” How did the father see him while he was still a long way off? The answer is that he, the father, was looking for him. Imagine the father. Every morning he arises early and looks out to the horizon anticipating the return of his beloved son. He stands there and watches for his kid. He was not reclining in his tent bemoaning the fact that the boy went off and wasted what the father gave. He didn’t judge the boy. He just searched for him every day until one day, there upon the horizon, was a dust cloud. He kept watching and praying that it might be his lost one. When the boy came into view the father ran to him.

Glory to God! This is the image of our heavenly Father who searches and watches for us. When we return to Him, He runs to embrace us. He feels compassion towards us, not hate and anger. Let this sink down into your spirit. Feel the compassion of this father towards his lost child. Now become the child as you receive your Father’s embrace. Bask in the warmth of His joy at your presence. This, Jesus said, is the way the heavenly Father feels towards you. Of course He has never forsaken those who seek Him. He longs to have us return to Him so that He can express His compassion and love towards us. He is watching for you daily, searching the horizon for your visage to appear over the hill. There is nothing which gladdens His heart more than for you to want to spend time with Him. You are the beloved. You are the apple of His eye.

Family

2 Corinthians 6: 18

And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.”

This is a deep and important message but it is difficult for many of us to really fathom. The relationship that God wants to have with you is central to all His thoughts. Every other promise He has made us is here in this simple statement. And He made this statement many times throughout history and is still saying today that He wants to be a father to you and He wants you to be, to choose to be, His child. This relationship is so important to Him that it formed the basis of His covenant with David. Of all the things He could give to David or promise David, God chose this relationship of father and child to be the most important thing He could give. David was well loved by God. The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). In other words David was precious and dear to God and David’s behaviors pleased and blessed God’s heart. God could have given David anything in all of creation. He could have promised him anything. What God did do was to promise David everything. Within the covenant He made with David was every need met, the desires of his heart fulfilled and David was made a king to boot. Everything you need or will ever need or want is in this relationship and it is God’s covenant promise to you. Be his kid and let him be your father.

Adoption

Ephesians 1: 5

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Just because some are adopted into the family does not make them any less a part of the family than those born into it. We, of course, know this. Yet, have we applied it to our relationship with our heavenly father? Have we really come to know that we are children of the King because he chose us? Adoption is a powerful law which gives the same rights to the adopted children as those who were born into the family. Also, there is a covenant relationship involved in this adoption of gentiles into the family of God because although Jesus was the first born, he was also adopted.

When we read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 we find that the genealogy that is listed is through Joseph, the husband of Mary. “And to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called ChristMatthew 1: 16. Later in the scriptures Jesus is referred to as the son of Joseph. Man adopted the son of God into a human family and God reciprocated by adopting the children of men into his family. We are absolutely entitled to all of the benefits that belong to an heir because our heritage was guaranteed to us by the promises of generations. We did not earn these benefits but just receive them because we have been adopted into the family of God, but as children of the father, let us try to do all things which are pleasing to him.

Dad!

Romans 8: 15

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ” Abba! Father!”

Some people do not appreciate that we have been adopted in the Holy one’s family. We are no longer strangers or trespassers. Also, He went to enormous lengths to adopt us. This relationship as Father and child should become very real to you. It can become so real, in fact, that you begin to see Him as your father foremost, even more so than your biological father. God was a father to you before you were a child of your biological father. God is keenly aware of this child/parent relationship and longs to have you treat Him as your father. Yes, He is God almighty but He is your Dad too. He hears every word you speak to Him and is ready when you cry out Abba, father.