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Posts Tagged ‘father’

July 17, 2013

As little kids, we were so glad when we were allowed to come out of the bedrooms to which we had been sent because of misbehavior.

Nobody likes “time out” time away from the good graces of the family.

When Mom or Dad called us to them, explained why it’s important to follow family rules and then gave us a loving hug, life was “all better now.”

Over time, we not only learned how to be better-behaved, but we also learned how much our parents loved us.

To a far greater extent, this is the same dynamic as what happens in our relationships with God.

We stop thinking of what our Father wants and start focusing on what we want and, inevitably, we digress into sin.

Because of love, God sends the Holy Spirit’s voice to convict us of our sin.

If we’re wise, we respond quickly and repent.

If we’re pridefully stubborn, we respond more slowly and suffer more needlessly.

For most Christians, though, repentance does eventually flow when the spiritual math makes it clear that we’re losing more than we’re gaining in so many ways.

That’s when we run to our Abba Father.

That’s when He embraces us and assures us of His love.

That’s when He reminds us that He’s already paid the price for our sin and was just waiting on our choice to receive it through repentance as we have done so many times before.

That’s when restoration’s joy fills our hearts just like the joy of the child hugged by Daddy and reminded he or she is loved by Daddy and then is sent out to play with the other kids.

Here’s a passage from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible that reminds us of the amazing love and grace that flows from the God we serve.

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,whose sins are put out of sight.

“Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” (Romans 4:7-8 NLT)

Remember the joy of your restoration from sins past, my friend. Cherish those memories of being in the loving, nurturing, gracious arms of God.

For it is the recollection of how much God loves us that compels us to please Him more and serve ourselves less.

And that will be a very good thing with a lot less drama.

As always, I love you
Martin

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In this season of giving, what has your Father in heaven received from you?

Did smile-producing gifts come to Him from your heart this week just as smile-producing gifts came to you from your loved ones and friends?

These are questions that I must answer as well since you and I share the status of being among the “created” rather than being the Creator.

Yes, it’s true that our financial gifts to the work of ministry should be generous, including at least a tithe of our earnings.

And, yes, it’s true that our investment of time into volunteer service for the church and community should reflect the choice to genuinely sacrifice several hours of time weekly or monthly that our selfish side would rather devote to ourselves.

But doing for God is not all that He wants.

He’s hungry for our being His as well.

In fact, the Bible paints a beautiful word picture revealing that God’s deepest desire is for the trust of our hearts and hopes toward Him.

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

Grandparents adore their little grandchildren not because of how fast the kids can run or how much they can carry or because of how much of their allowance they spend on Grandpa or Grandma.

Instead, grandparents adore the little boogers because of how they enjoy sitting in Grandma’s lap or because of how they cling to Grandpa’s hand as they walk through the park or because of how they giggle when winning a board game the grandparents taught them to play.

Because of those heart-strong relationships, the kids have no fear of darkness or storms or barking dogs as long as Grandpa or Grandma is there.

You see, Grandpa and Grandma have always helped, always loved, always protected, always provided, always encouraged.

That’s why the little kids learn to put their hope in Grandpa’s and Grandma’s unfailing love.

And that’s why little kids who grow in that environment have a head start in forming the same type of trusting relationship with their Father in heaven.

I encourage you to recall the times when you’ve been blessed by the unfailing love of people in your life. Perhaps that will prepare/prompt you to put more hope in the unfailing love of One who has never failed.

And you just might be more willing to take the hand of a little kid who needs to experience a human example of unfailing love.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Not every Christian adult has biological young adult children. But every Christian adult knows young adults who need prayer.

With all the moral and vocational and social challenges faced today by the young adults we love, there’s no doubt that an abundance of prayer is needed in their behalf, whether they’re carrying our DNA or not.

It’s no secret that Satan works extremely hard to lure and coerce young adults to walk away from the faith of their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and other relatives and loving adults at church.

And, sadly, he’s typically successful.

There are some young adults, though, who have remained close to the heart of God.

They are serving the Lord and serving His people.

They are sharing their faith with the faithless.

I’m convinced that the prayers — and faith examples — of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, other relatives and loving adults at church have contributed significantly to this measure of young adult faithfulness.

It was the case with me when I was in my college years. The influence of those older who were faithful acted like a magnet guiding me toward the narrow path rather than as steel guard rails into which I banged before being forced back into faith.

I need to provide the kind of nurturing intercession for young adults today that was provided for me.

Why? Because Satan is seeking to steal, kill and destroy everything wholesome in their lives.

I need to have the intercessory heart for young adults that Job had for his children.

In Job 1:4-5, there’s a potent insight as to the deep, godly character of Job. I was really moved by this text today. I pray that it will move you, too.

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.”

Are you praying each morning for the young adults in your life? Are you remembering that Satan hates them and is committed to destroying their souls?

Listen, we need to pray that the young adults in our lives — whether they’re our biological children or not — are restored to a forgiven relationship with God.

If we aren’t willing to do so, what are we saying to God? What are we saying about those young adults?

Older Christians prayed for us, I’m sure, and we’re stronger as a result.

Let’s do the same for those who are behind us on the timeline of life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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In Romans 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul writes that God is the Father of all faithful believers, whether they are among the “circumcised” (Jews) or among the “uncircumcised” (Gentiles).

Paul was emphasizing that one’s biological or cultural DNA don’t determine acceptance by God but instead one’s choice to live as a redeemed, faith-showing child of God.

“He is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. He is also the Father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”

This is clear to me from the above text — God is our Father if we walk in the footsteps of faith demonstrated by Abraham.

That being the case, how do we walk in Abraham’s footsteps?

That’s a huge topic of study, but I want to give a very simple perspective this morning.

When Abraham was told to trade a comfortable setting for a life of periodic moving and showing faith to others, he did so.

When Abraham messed up by lying about his marriage because he was driven by fear and was later convicted to seek spiritual restoration with God, he did so.

When Abraham heard the voice “Put others first” when deciding if Lot could choose the best land for himself, Abraham did so.

When Abraham’s relatives were taken hostage by pagan raiding parties and God called him to launch a dangerous rescue effort, Abraham did so.

When Abraham was called to solve a family crisis by showing a “Hit the road” tough love toward a rebellious son who despised Abraham’s true firstborn Isaac, Abraham did so.

And when Abraham was called to show a willingness to sacrifice that which he loved the most — his son Isaac — Abraham did so.

Want to walk in Abraham’s footsteps? Want to make sure that God sees you as His child?

Obey God’s call to go in His name when your comfort zone is crying out, “I like it here.”

Repent when fear has led you astray and return to the place/situation God wants you.

Always put others first.

Defend those you love, even at the risk of financial, social or physical harm to yourself.

Don’t enable destructive behavior of others by ignoring the random need for “tough love.”

Never doubt that God’s call to sacrifice something dear to you will lead to a greater confirmation of faith.

Listen, walking in Abraham’s footsteps is sometimes not easy.

But it will be eternal.

And that’s the greatest blessing of all.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The next time somebody says or implies that God is not loving, please remember to share Jeremiah 3:19-20 with them.

My heart was deeply touched this morning when I read of how God was feeling when He inspired the prophet to write these words:

“I myself said, ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, house of Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD.'”

I don’t know about you, but the statement “I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me” just melted my heart.

Perhaps it’s because I have a profound appreciation for being a Daddy. Or perhaps it’s because I can just see the pain in God’s face as He was speaking these words to Jeremiah’s spirit.

We’ve all known people who poured their heart and soul into their kids, only to see those entitlement-thinking kids exploit that love in order to pursue selfish gain.

The same has happened, of course, with too many failed marriages when one of the spouses decided to chase what initially appeared to be greener grass.

The emotional pain felt by the wounded above has been horrendous.

Yet, to some extent, we’ve all caused pain for God because we’ve all turned away from Him when we’ve all sinned.

I realize that the words I write each weekday morning have no power to keep you from sinning and certainly have no power to cleanse you of your sin.

I do pray, however, that these weekday words will prompt you to think more about how God views your life and about how His heart is feeling about your life.

He longs to hear you say “Father” and to see you following His leading rather than wandering after the loose-lipped lies of the Devil.

Please, whatever you do today, whether in word or in deed, do it all for the glory of the Father.

That way, you’ll live out the Colossians 3:17 formula for making your Father happy.

As always, I love you
Martin

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