Tag Archives: God as father

2 Kings 9-10, Psalm 49, Matthew 7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11

“Please? Pretty please? Can I get_______?” You fill in the blank. If you have children you know walking through the grocery store, dollar store or anything that ends with store can be a daunting task full of questions, begging and pleading. Their petitioning is not something that is music to my ears and often does not end well for them as the incessant chatter leads to my frustration. I have to admit, though, from time to time I do give in just for some peace and quiet.

Occasionally though, a child will surprise me and remain quiet throughout our trip. Once in a while, one will save their question till the end and present their case respectfully and kindly. The difference in these trips are like black and white. But with both scenarios my heart wants to give my child the things that they want, things that they perceive as good. Even though their begging becomes annoying the fact remains that when my child requests something of me, I often want to fulfill their wish when it is reasonable and appropriate. Even when they are trying my last nerve I want to give them good things, not evil things!

Do you ever feel like the things you ask of the Lord are small and trivial like they are too little to bother the Lord with? What about on the other end, too big? This scripture is much more than a passage about seeking salvation but can be applied in many different ways.

I am reminded that the Lord wants me to seek him at all times, in all circumstances and for all things. There is nothing too big or too small. Like children playing a game of hide and seek, we are to approach Him with the same passion and persistence as we seek his will and plan for our lives. I think of how much and how often I want to shower my children with good things; when they ask and when they don’t. When they deserve it and when they don’t. Simply because I love them. How much more does our Heavenly Father love us? How much more does he want to give us good things if we seek him with all of our heart!

 

Dear Lord, I have to admit that I often avoid asking you for help. I often avoid seeking your wisdom and will for my life because I feel like my requests are unimportant or too small. You are a loving and All Mighty Father God. Thank you for the reminder that every good gift comes straight from your Father’s heart. You care about the little and the big. Help me to seek you with all of my heart. Amen.

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Proverbs 6-7; Psalm 7; Romans 11

Murmuring sounds rising like iridescent bubbles, then softly falling; unintelligible languages punctuated by “Amen!” joining my heart, tender with the fresh washing of a new believer seeking a deeper walk with Christ. The congregational worship suddenly quiet as our pastor gently commanded a woman to come forth – a woman whose description perfectly fit me. Surely another woman in congregation attending this special prayer meeting would stand up. But no, so at the third call I rose and walked to the altar. Elders and Pastor prayed over me and then interpreted their impressions. Curious but confused and disappointed by their words – I knew the wrong person was standing before them. Pastor, with concern in his voice, said, “May I pray for you, again? I truly believe God has a word for you.”

I trusted Pastor J then and now, 30 plus years later, due to his gentle authority and fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture. These were his words, verbatim to the best of my memory:

When I prayed for you, I saw a vision of a little girl, five or six years old. There was a gravel road in front of a small, white house. The child stood behind the gate of the covered porch watching her parents get into a gray, family sized car. The little girl watched as they drove away; and without outward emotion, turned around, walked to the screen door, and entered the house.

Twice Pastor J repeated, “Before you speak, please do not tell me this happened just to agree with me.” Then he asked, “Has anything like this happened to you?”

How could he have known this about me? Dry mouthed, emotionless, I confirmed the accuracy of this vision which matched one of my first vivid memories of childhood. (The following day, my mother substantiated the details of that event, describing without prompting the day she left me at my grandmother’s house for six months due to moving the family to another state. Even the color of the big Rambler station wagon was accurate.)

But the words that came next on that evening of revelation undid me completely: “Your Father in heaven wants you to know that He will never leave you nor abandon you.”

This was the first of many immersions into God’s lovingkindness, deepening my desire to continue in His grace, listen for His voice, and walk out His commands. For example, when I read Proverbs 7 which says, “Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart,” I accept these words without hesitation. Or as declared in Proverbs 6, “When you roam they [God’s commands] will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you. And when you awake, they will speak with you,” I have access to God 24/7. And I delight in the emotionally packed letter from the Apostle Paul in Romans 11, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen!”

I am still overwhelmed by God’s intimate knowledge of my life’s journey; I am still comforted by His daily concern for my needs; I am satisfied knowing His mercies are new every morning. All this and more when all I can say is “Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father from whom all blessings flow.”

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Filed under Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms, Romans, Uncategorized

Joshua 9-10 & Luke 3

There is a scene in The 13th Warrior, (a movie loosely based on the epic, Beowulf), where actor Antonio Banderas’s Arabian character looks anxiously to the heavens and says, “Are you listening, God?” The question makes me smile every time because I relate so well.  There is no doubt in my mind that God is all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing.  I even believe in miracles such as recorded in Joshua 10:12 where we are told that God answered Joshua’s prayer for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop for an entire day to allow him to finish the battle with his enemies.

What I sometimes doubt is that I’ve done everything necessary to get my prayers answered.  I totally believe that God is a personal God who cares about us, and that Jesus Christ our Savior even intercedes for us.  I acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit to change me from the inside out and to make deep, silent prayers on my behalf.  I enjoy meaningful communion with God when I go to my knees in prayer.  It’s just that sometimes when I get up, having left my burden at the Cross, I still have no clue what to expect next.

Was my prayer aligned with God’s will? Did I do everything right to get His attention? Believe me, I’ve looked into this to see if there is a formula that works every time.  I’ve search through books, listened to learned pastors, sought teachings, and participated in conferences on answered prayer. I’ve learned that Scripture does give guidance on getting our prayers answered.

For instance, we cannot have unforgiveness toward others.  Make apologies. We must confess our sins and accept Christ’s redeeming blood.  Nightly confessions. We should always pray and sometimes even fast in approaching God.  No Little Debbie’s for a week and keep praying. We are told to go to God boldly, but remember to remain humble. Cry out and beat my chest. And above all, enter the spiritual realm though praise and thanksgiving to God. Make a gratitude list.

When all is done and I begin to wait expectantly, some well-meaning soul will say something like, ‘In this world we all will have trouble.’ Deflate.

Oh, to be like Jesus! When He came up from the baptismal water, He prayed and God answered immediately, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” (Luke 3:22)

To be honest, this declaration by God to the world gives me more hope and comfort than all the instruction on answered prayer. For in John 17:20-26, Jesus demonstrates God’s intent to love and accept us just the same as He loves Jesus. His prayer is “that they are one just as We are one…I in them, and You in Me…that [You] have loved them as You have loved Me…that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.”

This knowledge restores my wavering faith and stops these runaway fears. God listens to and answers my prayers, not because I am following a formula but because I am His daughter, and He is my Father who loves me.

Janet

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, John, Joshua, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Numbers 25; Psalm 68; Isaiah 15; 1 Peter 3

I ran into a church friend in a parking lot yesterday. I love the deeper bonds I experience with sisters in Christ, that after the hellos and hugs were given, our conversation could go to a much deeper place–and it didn’t seem odd or inappropriate to reveal hearts and hurts to one another. We talked about family.

Lately, thoughts on family and home have been top of mind. My husband and I talked about how we were raised, and how teachings were passed down to us, shaping how we handle conflicts or other issues. We could laugh at some things–like my father-in-law’s firey courage, but other things caused a somber reflection. What values do I want to perpetuate? What things need to stop here?

When I think of family or home, it is described by words like welcome, safe, loved, included. And yet, these are not the words I would use to describe where I came from. They’re what I wanted for myself, and what I want for my children (or anyone who enters my house). And I wonder, if we are to live in but not of the world: Shouldn’t home feel holy? Set apart from the world?

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
    he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. Psalm 68:5-6 NLT

First Peter 3 is where I linger today, with thoughts on family laid out before me. He advises the wife on godliness and beauty; and the husband on how to honor her. This, for all of us:

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10 For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 NLT

In a bloodline divided, to love like brothers and sisters seemed foreign to me. But God shows me what love looks like, through his own for me, and through sisters and brothers in Christ who know and show love. He puts this lonely one into a bigger, broader community of family. Isn’t this what he wants (for all of us): Unity? Love?

I want that too.

It’s all a work in progress, but I’m so thankful to have God’s Word to guide me. Home, set apart–not an idol or a realm of perfection, but a model of love and forgiveness–where we are not cast aside for our imperfection and brokenness, but spurred by one another, tenderly and humbly.

I asked my kids what words they would use to describe home … I heard things like safe, protected (from my 10 year old) and happy (from my 6 year old). We talked about ways we can live and choices we need to make.

Father God, I’m grateful for this life tapestry you’ve woven–how sisters enter my life to encourage and show me by example how to follow you better. I’m grateful to call you Father–and to know you love me, that I can trust you, and you will not forsake me. I am your child, and you live in me. What love you have lavished upon me. I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother–help me, Lord, daily, to follow your call. Thanks (always!) for your patience and guidance.

Courtney (66books365)

Listening to Matthew West’s song, Hello My Name Is

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Filed under 1 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament