A Father’s Heart

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By Tom Chase

There have been many things this past year in life that have helped me get a better idea of God’s relationship to us as fallen beings. God reveals himself to us as a Father, all to give us a better idea of who He is. (I know that this metaphor gives many individuals problems due to failed relationship and connectedness with their own fathers.) Yet Scripture is clear about His “Fathership.” He loves us very much.

He loves me!

He loves you!

We take this by faith, but we also have His actions toward us as seen in history, as recorded in the Bible, and over time within our own lives.

I have seen the belligerent attitude that comes from children who are headstrong, defiant, unwilling to do what has been asked . . . oh, how it make a father’s heart sad. If the child wins in this, then the child loses. So discipline is needed, required, and necessary for a change in heart. I really don’t want to write about discipline today, but I am compelled. The Bible tells us,

“The Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:6b (CEV)

and

“For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)

Can you hear His heart for us in the following phrases?

“those He loves”

“in whom He delights”

“accepts as His child”

As I sat with my back to a little one in time out who was raging belligerently, full of anger and defiance, a few thoughts came to me. We had been here before; the little one knows how to resolve this, knows what the right response is, but, at this moment, just does not want to do it. I am present but cannot give validation to the misbehavior and heart attitude. So I sit and ignore and wait and long for repentance. At the end of this prolonged time, there is an attitude change. The sound of the cries change. The anger is gone. What this dad has been waiting for has happened: there is a change in heart. Through a small, crying voice, I hear, “Daddy?” “Yes little one,” is my reply. An explanation of why we ended up here occurs, the call to do what is right remains, and the joy of this dad is realized in a full embrace, hugs, and restoration. *Sigh* 🙂 I think, oh, I wish we wouldn’t have to go through the discipline thing in the first place.

It was in the middle of the raging defiance and prolonged waiting when I began thinking about God and us!

When we are raging or frustrated with all that is going on, and we wonder where God is, He is there and He is present! While not all hardship is discipline from the Lord, if you’re feeling alone, this could simply be a chance to check your heart. He may be waiting patiently for us to respond with a small cry, “Daddy, help?”

But if we confess our sins to him,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:9 (NLT)

We confess. He forgives . . . *sigh* 🙂 Wow!

God disciplines us, just like our earthly fathers are supposed to. Even though I am fallen and I don’t always get this fathering thing right, I think a dim reflection of God’s heart for us can be seen in this. He does love us. He wants what is best for us.

My prayer for me and you as we begin this new year is that we might find our hearts changed and be found in the embrace of the Father who loves us!

Let’s walk together with Him!

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Father

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By Jim DeAngelo

This last Sunday was Father’s Day, and I found myself reflecting on my relationship with my father and also with my children. My father passed away from cancer when I was eleven, and I have fond memories of my time with him. My mother remarried, and my step-father proved to be abusive and controlling. My memories of those times are not pleasant, and the pain and suffering that came out of that for the entire family was broad and deep.

I thought about my relationship with Abba Father, about how profoundly He has changed my life over the last fifteen years after accepting Christ as Lord and Savior and, consequently, how He has changed the lives of my children. When my children were growing up, I worked hard to do a good job at being a parent, but found I fell very short. I provided, but didn’t spend the time nurturing them and growing my relationship as I should. My job often took me away for extended periods of time, and my relationships suffered. Yet the impact that Jesus had on my life and the relationship I now have with my Father in heaven through Christ has changed me. My heart was changed, and I became a relational father instead of a provider father. My children grew up and left home many years ago, but my relationship with them has continued to grow. This isn’t because my efforts made the difference, but it’s because my heart was changed and the effort was part of who I had become.

I couldn’t help spending time meditating on the profound impact my relationship with Jesus has changed my life and how my thoughts and understanding about Abba Father has changed, grown, and deepened. I was thankful, awed, and lifted. I praised Him for that change because of who I had become and the resulting impact on my family. Our Father in Heaven deserves our reverence, praise, and thanks.

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Just because

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by Linda McCoy

There are so many ways to show our kids we love them. Paying attention to how they are really doing, taking the time to listen, making sure their needs are met and sprinkling their life with a few surprises, just to see them smile. Doing the little extra things, not because we have to, but because we want to, realizing we are making memories. You never know what your child may be storing in their memory bank, but investing in the lives of our children has the highest return of our time.

Because we are motivated by love, and gratefulness for the privilege of raising our children for Him, we are leaving a rich heritage for our grandchildren to inherit. Whether you came from a Christian home or not, God will teach you how to raise your children. His Word is filled with all the wisdom you will need. The Holy Spirit will lead, guide and correct our parenting, and prayer is our safety net. We always told our children that if they felt we had made a decision that they didn’t agree with, they could take it to prayer. If we were incorrect in our decision, the Holy Spirit would reveal it to us and on occasion, we would change our minds. This built their faith and they were taught the power of prayer. It also built our faith as we prayed for wisdom, discernment, patience, and strength to face the challenges ahead.

Our FATHER sets the perfect example of what it means to be a loving parent. HE takes such good care of us. HE sprinkles our day with many blessings. Do we really notice all HE does for us each and every day? Take time to watch for HIM at work in your life and write down the blessings you see each day. You will see HIS character behind what HE does. HE is our provider, our comforter, our protector, our loving FATHER. HE wants us to notice  all HE does for us, to praise HIM. He gives us daily gifts of HIS presence just because HE loves us.  We belong to HIM and HE wants us to know it.

So daily count your many blessings and see what GOD has done. When you go to bed each night, fall asleep as you reflect on the many ways HE showed  you … you belong to HIM.

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