Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Reflection

As I sit and reflect on the events of yesterday’s Father’s Day, I feel many different emotions.  My mind continues to go back to the ride home from our celebratory meal to honor the fathers in our family. This includes one of my dad’s, my father-in-love, and my wonderful husband.  It was a delightful meal filled with great fellowship.  On the way home however, the topic of wishing God a Happy Father’s Day came up.  Immediately, my husband was quick to say he had, as My daughter and I struggled to remember what we did do since we hadn’t done that. 

The service was wonderful.  I so love encountering the presence of God.  It makes my day, my week, my year because the Lord Jesus, my brother and joint heir, along with my Father God, truly are all that and a bag of chips (and a Snickers bar if you must have sweet with your salty as I do)!  I’d worshipped, had some word and sweet fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ and followed it up with a wonderful meal and great family time.  However, in all of that I had not wished the one who made me a “Happy Father’s Day”.  It saddened me a little because I never want the Lord to think that I take Him for granted.   He has done so much and I am exceedingly grateful.

I am so blessed to have two earthly fathers.  One of them helped to give me life and the other raised me from elementary school and I love them both dearly.  As my relationship deepens with my ultimate creator I find that my heart is big enough for two Dad’s.  As wonderful as the journey has been with my earthly dad’s, and I look forward to what is around the bend as time goes on, I find that it can’t touch this thing I have going on with my Father God.  

The truth is God is the best Father in the world.  He is the best example to follow.

I love the lyrics of Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father: 

You’re a good good Father.
It’s who you are.  It’s who you are. It’s who you are.
And I am loved by you!
It’s who I am.  It’s who I am. It’s who I am!

It sums up short and sweetly the kind of father God is.  There is so much packed into that word good.  It includes being loving, gracious, merciful, kind, and extremely long-suffering.  Those are the words that give us hope and a heart of gratefulness because when it is all said and done we will get to be with Him for eternity.  Being loved by Him includes all of those wonderful attributes about our Father God’s nature.  It also includes some attributes that we are not quite as fond of but that are necessary in our spiritual maturation.  We don’t always like the disciplinarian side of Him. 

He teaches us through His word that we as parents must discipline our children.  It’s not love that leads us to give into our children at every turn.  Yes.  We want more for them than we had.  That is a noble and well-intended thought process.  However, we must also include wisdom in our provision for our children. 

According to Proverbs 22:15 which states:     

         Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,
         but the rod of correction will drive it far from Him.

So, discipline is necessary and in fact vital to natural maturity also.  As we have been given the gift of salvation and are joint heirs with Jesus, we are considered to be his dear sons.

Hebrews 12:5 says:

         And you have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons:
         My son, do not despise the discipline from the Lord, nor grow
         Weary when you are rebuked by Him; 6for whom the Lord loves
         He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives.

As a child, I was not eagerly anticipating any type of correction.  As an adult, I am so very grateful for the boundaries that my parents put around me to keep me safe from harm.  I am just as grateful for the Lord’s gentle prodding of His staff as I navigate this narrow path that I find myself straying from sometimes.  I have come to not only appreciate it in hind sight but to seek  out those boundaries or bumpers before taking a step. 

I am grateful that I have a loving Father that always has my best interest at heart.  So, while I know that Father’s Day is a man-made holiday meant to honor natural Fathers, I can’t let it pass that I did not honor our greatest Father. 

Father God, Happy Father’s Day!  Let my life be a reflection of the honor I wish to bestow upon you always!

Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Year's Prayer

A New Year's Prayer

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
                                                                                                2 Chronicles 7:14

This passage of scripture takes me back to a classic contemporary Christian song that I am sure was inspired by that very verse of scripture entitled When God’s People Pray by Wayne Watson.  The chorus went like this:
“When God’s people pray
And take the pains of earth to the doors of Heaven
When God’s people pray
There is hope reborn, there is sin forgiven
And miracles you can’t explain away
When God’s people pray”

With this scripture in mind please pray with Me now.

Oh God, we who are called by your name come humbly before you today.  We thank you for life, health, and strength.  We ask that you be with us as we begin a new year.  Help us not to carry last year’s trouble into the new year. We come with an expectancy of direction and purpose as we shed the unnecessary and pick up the purposeful.  Because your thoughts are not our thoughts and your ways are not our ways, we ask for your eyes to see and your ears to hear along with clarity of mind so that our prayers are both strategic and effective. 

Help us to see clearly who our enemy is and to know that his purpose is to steal the imparted word that is given to us in scripture and sown in our hearts, to kill our natural and spiritual bodies if he were able, and to destroy any sense of unity among your people. 

Lord we know that he is already defeated but he wants to take as many of your children as possible with him.  Lord God help us to see through his many manipulative smokescreens including materialism and  racism, a tactic of the enemy to keep us divided.  We know that beyond ethnic diversities we are one people ... your people.  For we know that You made us all and through the redemptive blood of Jesus we can all be born again into your kingdom and family. 

Lord in your creativity You made each culture unique and different.  You alone are our common ground.  Help us to remember that You have called us to be one with You, just as Jesus is.  Help us to remember that who we are in You supersedes who we are as an ethnic group and that all Christians, from all ethnic groups, make up the body of Christ and form your precious bride.

This year Lord as we make all manner of resolutions, help us to exercise your spiritual gifts of patience and self-control. Help us to depend on your strength in our weakness.  Help us to prefer one another and to live together in the bond of peace.

Also, help us to continue to walk in love as you commanded by showing forgiveness when we are wronged and by loving our enemies.  And last, but certainly not least, to allow vengeance to be yours and not to ever take it into our own hands. 

It is in Jesus' name we pray.

Be blessed!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Does He Know You?

Does He know You?

21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22) “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23) “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matthew 7:21-23

Not what you want to hear right?  This set of verses always stops me in my tracks.  This passage of scripture is not easily skimmed over to meet my scripture quota for the day.  These three little verses that say so much pack a powerful punch!  I personally couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of exercising spiritual gifts like prophecy or the gift of healing or teaching people about salvation…doing it all in Jesus name and then to hear Him say ‘I never knew you’.  How could that even be possible?  I began to reflect on this and realized how easy it could actually be.

 Romans 11:29 clearly says, ‘For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.’ This means that if God gives you a spiritual gift such as the gift of prophecy and you fall into sin which separates you from God, your gift remains intact even if you don’t have a good relationship with Him and are not following His ways or walking in His will.  He is not going to take the gift back.  There are many laws that operate whether we understand them or not.  This is true for physical laws like the law of gravity as well as spiritual laws like the law of sowing and reaping.  Our ignorance of the law and how it operates doesn’t dampen the effectiveness of the law. These laws apply to everyone whether you have a relationship with the Lord or not.

There is no fault in the mighty name of Jesus.  It is perfect.  There may be fault with us and our imperfectness.  People will be saved, delivered, and set free by the power of His name. We draw on the power of His name and many wondrous deeds are accomplished but it is not because of anything we tried to do. It is all God’s doing.  We can go through the motions without any real relationship and fool some of the people some of the time and even fool ourselves but we can’t fool God.

Jesus died so that God could open His heart to all of us and in fact gain many sons.  We are not mere servants that do all in His name but don’t know Him personally. We are obedient sons that do all His will and have access to His very heart.  We are joint heirs with Christ and children of the most high God who have every right to be in the know.  God tells us Himself to ask, seek, and knock.  He so wants to be known by His children.  So let’s be “in the know”.  Let’s not perish for a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6a).  Let’s take the time to know Him through the knowledge of His word and better yet be known by Him through relationship.

Be blessed!