Refuge

Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Father Loves You


            Father God is a source of hope, strength, and comfort, but sometimes it is difficult to open the human  heart to his love.  Ancient Israel's King David and other ministers of the time wrote the book of Psalms  in the Bible.  Many of the 150 Psalms include a phrase something like this one, "I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.  When I was in distress, I sought the Lord ..." (Psalm 77:1-2).  However, the Psalmist goes on for several verses to express an inability and unwillingness to receive God's comfort.  By the end he realizes a greater measure of God's love, but the path to this revelation was filled with darkeness, distress, and disappointment. Do you think your refusal to receive God's love has made for some miserable days in your life?  I know mine has.

            Father God's power, might, rule and reign are also spoken of frequently in the Psalms.  Throughout the Bible his standards are revealed.  In relating to God, consideration must be given to our behavior and choosing actions that align with his purposes.  These topics are important to address at another time, but for this discussion, I believe the attitudes and motivations of the heart are to be examined.  Discovering what is on God's heart and yielding our hearts to His, will change the world.  Love is on God's heart.  Love is the chief motivation.  God is love (1 John 4:16).  Love is all the things described in the "love chapter" of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13).  Our loving Father God, loves on his beloved (you and I). When God's love flows through the heart of a person, it changes lives.  It causes growth in the life of the lover, and it enriches the life of the loved.

            Father God's heart is bigger than you could ever imagine it to be. He has wonderful rooms (realms, places) prepared for His children to dwell.  The Bible speaks of Jesus as His firstborn Son among many to follow.  A disciple of Christ is welcomed into the family of God as a "son" (including both male & female gender).  God's sons (and daughters) are adopted into an inheritance of provision, safety, and identity unmatched by anything a human being could discover or develop on his own.  This place in Father's heart was provided for by what Jesus did through his crucifixion and resurrection.  Before Jesus went through this, he described to his closest followers what was about to happen.  They found it hard to believe it would happen this way, so Jesus was comforting them in their grief when he said,  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4).  The disciples were still confused about how and where Jesus was going so he clarified, " “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6-7).   Jesus is the way to experience the limitless, unfailing, unconditionally accepting, matchless, amazing, wonderful, ...  love of Father God.  Jesus, speaking of himself as the way, truth, and life physically demonstrates God's love as directive, truthful, and life-giving.  Father God has provided for his children the way to experience life on earth to its fullest.  You don't have to wait for heaven.  You can enjoy his presence now.  Jesus made the way to know Father now.  You can experience Father's love the way He intends for it to be experienced.

            God is all about heart connection. Remember the ancient proverb, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."  God gave us a mind to direct us to the well, but drinking water from His well involves engaging our heart to quench our thirst.  Knowing about His love doesn't have the impact of knowing His love..  Knowing Father's embrace changes your life -  gives you identity, security, and protection to confidently face any obstacle.  A number of childhood experiences remind me of this.  For example, as a child when my father picked me up and carried me across a stream on the hiking trail, or put his arms around me when sensing I was fearful of an intimidating pet dog or bull in the pasture, my response was relief and calm.  Perhaps I could have stumbled across the creek, but wet shoes and a miserable rest of the journey was avoided by stronger legs and arms than mine.  Maybe the bull would have wondered away on his own, but my father's presence created an authority hedge the bull was used to submitting to.  The bull knew my dad very well.  The bull had to respect my small size because my dad and I were in the pasture together.  My identity was one with my father's in his presence.  Do you know Father God as your "dad"?  You can.  Jesus made it possible to know Father God as your personal dad.  You can feel his security.  You can be confident in the identity he has given you.  You can rest in knowing that whatever you have in terms of resources will be enough, because he is your provider.  These are the kinds of "rooms" Jesus is referring to in John 14 above.  You can have places (rooms) of peace, joy, and rest when you remain securely in Father God's presence. He will carry you if you allow him to do so.  He will embrace you if you let him into the deeper parts of your heart.  He will stand up for you if you let him.  He will chase away the bull (bullies) if you let him.

            Many people have had negative experiences with their earthly father growing up. Their image of "father" is perhaps tainted or even difficult to think about.  If this is you, let me encourage you that even the most well-intentioned earthly father makes mistakes and cannot live a perfect model of father.  My wife and I raised four children, and although I was committed to the process of becoming the best father I could be, I realize my fathering had many weaknesses.  Even for those of you who have had a "good" father (whatever that means), you must be careful not to compare Father God's love too closely with an earthly father's love or lack of love.  There is a place in every human being's heart that only Father God can satisfy. No human father, mother, spouse, friend or companion can match the love of Father God.  It is also true that no human mistreatment, betrayal, or even abuse can keep you from receiving the love of Father God. Jesus is your Savior.  Father is your Lover.

            Do you desire to experience the love of God in a deeper way?  I pray right now he takes you the next step to that place of knowing deeper love. The creative nature of God never stops making things better.  These places are not just for your enjoyment.  They are for God's entire creation.  He not only wants to comfort you, but He wants to empower you to comfort others.  He not only wants to love on you, but wants to empower you to love on others. Love considers the best interests of others.  Let's keep the love ball rolling.  Receive his love and give it away.

 

            Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: http://bluerockbnb.com/healing/book_main.htm . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at  http://bluerockbnb.com 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry

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