Tag Archives: father

Taking The Train

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Yesterday was one of those days. I was away on business and couldn’t get home. The airport was shut down due to weather and my flight had been canceled. The roads were closed due to ice so I couldn’t drive home. The only other option was to take a train. I realize that other countries and even parts of the States have adopted rail as normal way to commute, but it hasn’t caught on where I live. The day was ripe for adventure.

People are more friendly on a train than on a plane. I guess that’s because you are going to spend quite a bit of time together. I got to know a father from Australia who came to the US to rescue his wife and daughter. They were going to see the world together when the daughter developed a fear of flying. He came, figured out a way to get the daughter from Florida to California and then back to Australia without having to fly. It has cost him a great deal of time and money, but He was happy just to be taking care of his family.

It reminded me of the great lengths our father will go for us. When we’re suddenly afraid to take that next step of faith, even after having taken several, our Father will come to our rescue. He will leave His throne in Heaven, meet us where we are and guide us the rest of the way. It may not be the way He intended for us to take, but He’s good at finding work arounds. He doesn’t come and demand that we do it His way. He comes and gently encourages us to find a way to follow our faith.

I also met a Filipino who is an associate pastor in Long Beach. He, like many of the disciples, loves to fish. His trip had taken him from California to Florida to go on a fishing expedition. His eyes lit up as he talked about all the different types of fishing he had done. They really lit up when he talked of his seven daughters and only son whom God blessed him with “late in life.” Here was a man in his sixties who had a five year old son and referred to him as a blessing from God.

He reminded me of Abraham who had a son at one hundred years of age. He was supposed to be beyond the years of having children, yet God decided to bless him with a son. Abraham considered it a blessing and Sarah thought it was a joke. They both loved their son very much and God used that miracle to be the way to fulfill His promise he made to them 25 years earlier. I’m sure the older Abraham got, the more he doubted God’s promise. He must have become content with living in the land God showed him and had given up until the angel spoke. That son became the embodiment of the promises of God that seem too far fetched to come true. It gives us all hope that His promise to us is still coming.

I don’t know where your adventure is taking you, but I do know that all around you are reminders of who God is. To me, He proved He is the father who will go to lengths of the earth to find me. He’ll make a way for me even when I don’t see how. He also showed that the promises He made years ago are still alive. I don’t see the path to make them come true and I’m not getting any younger, but He knows when the timing will be right. Until then, I’m to be faithful, ready to call Him when I need help and open to blessings in disguise. God is good at using those to fulfill his promise.

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He is

I had the opportunity last year to meet William Paul Young, author of “The Shack”. In that time, he shared his heart and how that book came about. He also talked about the controversy that was created when in his allegory the person who represented God was a female. His message was simple, “Don’t put God in a box. He is who we need Him to be at the moment of our need.”

As I was reading the Bible this morning, God directed me to Ruth. As I was reading about Boaz being the kinsman redeemer, my mind went back to an old song called “He Is” by Aaron Geoffrey. In my mind, I heard them sing, “In Ruth He is our kinsman redeemer.” The song goes through every book of the Bible and says who God is in that book. All of a sudden it clicked. God truly is everything we need Him to be for us.

To confine Him to a box of male or female would be ridiculous. That’s the point that William Paul Young was trying to make. He was forcing us out of limiting who God is in our lives by trying to define Him with something that has limitations. Our minds want to grasp who He is, but don’t have the ability to so we try to compartmentalize Him. We try to make Him fit, but we can’t.

The song illustrates that in the Bible God is who each person needed Him to be. All throughout the scriptures God is sufficient to meet the needs of the people. He is sufficient today to meet your needs as well. He is more than able to be who you need Him to be when you need Him to be it. To David, He was a strong and mighty tower when His enemies came after Him.

Who do you need Him to be today? Are you worried and stressed out? According to Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace. Have you lost your dad and are in need of fatherly advice? Psalms 68 says that He is a Father to the fatherless. Are you in desperate need of healing? He is the God that heals you. Are you in need of forgiveness of things you’d rather not talk about? He is the God who not only forgives, but casts your sins into the Sea of Forgetfulness.

The Bible is full of scriptures that show God as the One who can be who you need Him to be. Wherever you are, whatever you need, He is able to be and do abundantly above and beyond all you could ever ask or think. He is not confined to be only the God of the box we try to fit Him into. He is the King of Kings and The Lord of Lords. He is deeply concerned with your life and knows the number of hairs on your head. He knows what you’ve done and what you’ve been through and still loves you. He is all you will ever need. He is.

Here’s a link to the YouTube video of the song I mentioned.

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The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

I heard a scripture a couple of weeks ago and I’m still chewing on it. I’m going over it in my mind over and over. I’m still not sure everything that it means, so I’ll keep chewing on it, breaking it down, thinking it through and pondering how it applies to my life. This simple phrase from matthew 11:28-30 keeps rolling around in my mind. Jesus said, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Jesus says it after asking some good questions. He asked, “Are you tired? Worn out?” Then He offers for us to go to Him, get away with Him and to recover our life. He will show us how to take a real rest by walking with Him and working with Him. He says, “Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” It reminds me of a father teaching His child how to do something.

Watch me. Learn from me. I’ll show you how to do it. Do what I do. That’s a father’s heart. He wants to show us the rhythm of life. Real life, not this life we’re living that is inundated with emails, phone calls and traffic. Life that is unforced and natural. A spiritual life that loves others, does what is right and follows in His steps. He promised right after that, “I won’t lay anything heavy or Ill-fitting on you.” He’s not a burdensome God. His desire is simp,y to spend time with us.

The longer that I’m a father, the more I realize His love for us and His desire to just spend time with us. Our lives are to bring Him joy. We were designed to walk with Him and to spend time with Him. We weren’t meant to carry heavy burdens. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In I Peter 5:7 It says, “Give ALL your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.”

I think giving them over to Him is the first step to learning those unforced rhythms of grace. We can’t move well when we are bogged down with things that we can’t do anything about. Release them to Him and find rest. I know it’s easier said than done. It takes a shift in your thinking. Once you come to the realization that worrying about your problems won’t solve it, you have the ability to release it to God and find rest. The Amplified version describes that rest as “relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and blessed quiet.”

Maybe that’s where you are today. You need to learn those rhythms of grace, but you have to let go of the burdens of the past first. You can’t let the worry of the unknown interfere with those rhythms either. Your life is precious and our Father wants you to learn His ways and to find rest in Him. He wants to refresh your soul today if you’ll just let Him. Don’t hold onto the things that keep you from walking forward with Him.

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God’s Distracting Hand

I love my son with everything in me. He’s funny, he’s got a great personality and is always wanting to learn. He loves to show me what he knows and often points things out as we pass them by. At two years old, his world is ever changing and his knowledge is ever increasing. Often when I try to talk to him, he gets distracted and points to something else and starts talking about it. Other times, I try to get his attention, but he’s too involved in what he’s doing to pay attention. I have to put my hand between his eyes and whatever he’s doing so he will look up to see me.

He and I are a lot alike. We’re both easily distracted, visually stimulated and get so engrossed in what we’re doing that the outside world fades away to the point that we can’t hear or see anything outside of what we’re doing. When God tries to speak to me, my mind runs away and I start thinking of the possibilities. I change the subject on Him and point to other things that aren’t a part of the conversation. Other times, I’m so involved in what I’m doing that I fail to hear Him.

He has to put His hand in my way, block my vision and do what it takes to get my attention. When that happens, like my son, I get upset. My stubbornness kicks in and I move around His hand so I can continue doing what I was doing. I even try to move His hand out of the way at times because I’m not thinking about His will, I’m only thinking of my own. I think about what I want to accomplish, not what He wants me to accomplish. His hand in my life often frustrates me.

It really shouldn’t bother me though. As my Heavenly Father, He knows what is best for me. He tries to teach me new things, redirect my attention to what matters and show me what’s important to Him. His will for my life is what is most important and I often ask for His hand to guide me. The funny thing is that I often don’t recognize His hand in my life for what it is. Instead of seeing it as Him pointing to something better, I see it as a nuisance or a problem.

When things are happening in our lives that knock us off our daily routine, I believe that it’s probably God trying to get our attention. He’s putting His hand in front of our face to get our attention off the daily routine and to focus on what He wants. Sure, we have to-do lists and things that must get done. He understands that, but when He needs our attention or tries to speak to us, it’s important to look up and to listen. I’m not there yet. I have a ways to go, but I’m starting to recognize His hand in my life. I’m making a point now to not try and get around His hand, but to stop and give Him my full attention when He intervenes.

What’s going on in your life right now that could be God trying to get your attention? Are you fighting against it or are you stopping what you’re doing so you can pay attention to Him?

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Abba Father

I want to wrap up this week of the names of God with one that I feel is most important: Abba Father. I spent the entire week in the Old Testament, so I thought I’d bring you one from the New. It’s a name we may use in prayer, but really never give much thought to. Abba is really like saying “Dad”. If you have a relationship with your earthly father, chances are that you call him “Dad” and not father. Dad implies a certain relationship. One that is close. One that is personal.

That’s what God wants to have with you. A close, personal relationship. He wants you to call him “Dad”. When you were born into this world, you were a spiritual orphan. We are all born without a spiritual father. Our sin nature separates us at birth. God saw that we were separated and couldn’t just leave us in an orphaned state. He chose to adopt us as His own.

As you may know, adoption isn’t cheap. Ours cost Him His blood son’s life. He gave up His only son so that you and I could be adopted into His family. Think about that for a minute. He had a son, yet He saw us fatherless and chose to pay the highest price possible because He thinks you are worth that much. Yes, you. The adoption process was long and hard. He had to wait until just the right time before He did it.

Romans 8:15 says, “You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father’.” God didn’t want us to be His slaves who had to do what we were told because He was our master. Instead He wanted us as His own children who would serve Him out of love. There’s a huge difference between those two relationships.

You may not have had a dad growing up or you may have had one that wasn’t really there or involved. Psalm 68:5 says that God is a father to the fatherless. He wants to be more than your father. He wants to be your dad. He wants to be who you never had. He wants to fill that relational void in your life. He’s not content to just have you believe in Him, He wants to talk with you, walk with you and to provide the kind of wisdom and insight that you would get from an earthly father.

I don’t fully understand what it is to adopt or to be adopted. I have many friends who have adopted or are in the process of adopting. I can tell you that my friends who have adopted love their adopted children as their own because they are their own children. They don’t see them as adopted. They see them as blood. That’s how God sees you, not as adopted, but as His own, because He bought you with His blood. You have a dad both physical and spiritual in your Abba Father.

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What God Sees

I’ve been thinking about a lot about the story of David being anointed king of Israel. Samuel approached his father Jesse and announced that one of his sons would be king. Jesse quickly gathered his sons together and I’m sure had them dress up. I can see him putting them in order of who he thought would make a great king. As Samuel looked over each one, God never gave him the go ahead. He began to worry if he had heard The Lord.

Finally after looking at all of them, he asked Jesse if he had any more sons. I love how the Message writes this answer. Jesse replied, “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” David didn’t look kingly. Not even in his own father’s eyes. His own father didn’t even think to bring him in when he heard one of sons would be king. I’m sure his brothers laughed when Samuel told them to send for him. The moment David came through the door, God spoke and said, “This is the one!”

Samuel, Jesse and each of us can learn a lesson from what God spoke to Samuel. In verse 7 of I Samuel 16, God told Samuel, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart.” Part of human nature is to judge by the outward appearance. We rarely take inner beauty into consideration. I’ve heard it said that you form an opinion about someone within 3 seconds of meeting them. It’s sad that we are that quick to judge.

It’s a good thing our worth isn’t dependent on what man sees. It is based on who you are in Christ and what He sees in you. Even you may look into the mirror and not see much, but when God looks at you, He sees royalty. He is the King of Kings and we are His children. That means that as a child of the King, you are a prince or princess. You were formed in His image and called to be His ambassador here.

When God looks at you, He shouts, “That’s the one!” You are whom He chose to bear His name. To be His light. To share His love. You may see yourself as the runt, but God sees a king or queen in you. All throughout the Bible, the people that God chose to use were not the ones you or I would choose. Moses stuttered. Esther was scared. Jonah was disobedient. Mary wasn’t married. Peter failed. Paul murdered Christians. The list goes on.

Don’t let someone else keep you from being who you are in Christ. Don’t let what you or others see prevent you from doing what God called you to do. You may be a klutz, short, fat, ugly, tall, thin or any other label that this world places on you, but don’t let that define you. You are a child of God. Romans 8:17 says that since we are His children, we are His heirs. God sees who you really are. God sees you as His child. God sees you as His perfect creation and is ready for you to step into the role He called you to.

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