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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Just about every dad wants his kids to get along.

Regardless of the kids’ ages, it brings a sense of calm satisifaction to the father when he sees his children viewing one another as allies rather than enemies.

I’ve seen plenty of examples of the above and it’s pleasing to the soul.

Of course, I’ve seen heartbroken fathers whose kids can’t stand each other and that is so burdening to the soul.

God is a Daddy, of course. In fact, Jesus called Him Abba Father.

God wants His kids to get along, viewing one another as allies rather than enemies.

Is this how you and I view everyone in our congregations? Or are there people whom we avoid because we don’t like their personality style or their popularity or their abilities to do certain things better than us?

We might not be gossiping about them, but we also are not embracing or encouraging them.

We are not treating them like family. And we’re certainly not treating them as friends.

What does God think about this kind of attitude?

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).

These words from the Apostle Paul were not given as an option for faith, but instead as a command.

As you do a quick inventory of your relationships with other adults in your congregation, do you have a 100 percent compliance ratio to Romans 15:7?

Be honest.

Or are there some people in your flock that you avoid for whatever reason?

Listen, Paul’s instruction doesn’t require us to imitate the best-buddy, David-Jonathan relationship that happens just a few times during the course of our lives. We are required, however, to understand that others in our congregations are just as important to the Kingdom as are we. For God paid the SAME price to atone for their sins as He did for ours — the death of His Son.

If others have the same value to God as do we, shouldn’t we accept them just as readily as part of our faith family?

If you’ve been reluctant lately to associate with certain people at church, please allow Romans 15:7 to permeate your heart and soul. For when you and I stop living to please our personal preferences and start living to include and bless others, we’ll bring praise to God.

He’ll smile as His kids gather together without some of them feeling left out or not as important.

And isn’t putting a smile on His face part of why we were created in the first place?

As always, I love you

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click Big lessons from small blessings



It’s not always the large and expensive Christmas gift that says the most about a relationship.

Sometimes it is the little, surprise blessing of fixing a wife’s cherished broken necklace or sewing a button back onto a husband’s favorite shirt or the touch-up painting of scratch on our teen child’s new used car.

These unrequested, yet greatly appreciated favors send a clear message about the heart of the one serving.

God is the master of providing surprise blessings, of course.

Last week, I was with Lori in Atlanta. She has started a new job with the Veterans Administration as a clinical dietitian and was in training sessions during the day. I stayed at the hotel and worked on the computer, attending to a number of ministry tasks.

On Tuesday morning, I drove her to the VA Medical Center east of Atlanta and dropped her off. When I returned to the hotel and exited the car, I noticed that one of the wheel covers was missing.

This was doubly discouraging since I had just bought a new set of wheel covers for her car. One of the previous wheel covers had either fallen off or been taken off and, because it was of a somewhat unique design, the cost of replacing that one was more than buying a new set at the auto parts store.

Now I was back to square one.

Geez…. I can’t believe this!” I said as I got back into the car.

I realized that the chances were almost nil for finding a non-smashed, single wheel cover along the side of six-lane, city streets and then along I-85 roads.

But I had to try. If I found the cover, I’d save myself $40.

So I drove down the streets, hugging the curb to get a close look, yet I saw no wheel cover.

Then it occurred to me where the most likely place would have been to lose the wheel cover. It was where the hard-left turn would occur from an eight-lane road onto the entrance ramp for I-85.

That’s where the wheel’s shape would be most likely distorted ever so slightly because of the left turn while heading uphill at the same time.

My physics- and metallurgical hunch were right.

Just a 100 yards or so up the ramp, in the midst of all sorts of garbage and grass on the outside edge of the shoulder, I saw a wheel cover.

“Wow! I wonder…..” I said as I pulled off the ramp and onto the shoulder.

Turns out that it was the lost wheel cover with no damage whatsoever. That’s amazing because of the hundreds of cars that had used the ramp between my trips there.

More amazingly, the wheel cover on the right shoulder had fallen off the left side of the car. Hmmmm….

The story gets better, though.

Though I had the wheel cover in my hand and was glad of it, it still couldn’t be put back on the car because the spring tensioner that holds the cover onto the rim was missing.

Halfway back to the car and wondering how I could jury rig some way to re-attach the cover, I saw the shiny, circular spring lying amidst empty water bottles, snack food wrappers and tire retread parts.

I quickly saw why I had lost the wheel cover — the spring had snapped where the ends had been welded together, making it useless.

Just as quickly as I thought I was heading to the parts store to spend another $40, I saw something I couldn’t believe.

Three feet from the broken wheel cover spring was lying another circular wheel spring of the exact same design. And this one wasn’t broken.

I’m telling you the absolute truth.

There was no other wheel cover in the vicinity that I could see. Yet there was the clone of the broken wheelcover spring just one step away.

I was nearly overwhelmed as I walked back to the car, snapped everything back into place and headed down the highway back to the hotel.

There is no way to calculate the statistical unlikelihood of what had happened and I didn’t need to. It was an undeniable blessing from God.

Dear friend, when God steps into your life with undeniable blessings that border on statistically impossible, make sure that you tell others about how our Father in heaven cares for His children even when they least expect it.

It’s just the kind of loving Daddy that He is.

As always, I love you

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