Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Father's Love

Right now I have been studying Psalms 119, and it has been extremely encouraging, but I don't feel ready to write about it yet. I need to the let the LORD do some more searching and revealing within me as I read before I share it with others, because I'm not exactly sure yet what it is He's teaching me through this Psalm. Once I have a better idea I'll feel more ready to write about it. However, I want to be able to post here regularly, so I'm going to copy and paste here something I wrote last summer and had posted on a blog I no longer use, simply because the site was problamatic and I could never get my HTML to work. (Blogspot has been much nicer to me.) I hope it encourages and points towards Christ.

I always find it beneficial to go back and read things I've written in the past, providing they are regarding what it is God was teaching me at the time. (You wouldn't want to see my silly, pointless, diaries from high school though, not much encouragement or edification could be found there.) Remembering where we were at in certain points in our lives is important, as it can give us a wonderful perspective regarding where God has brought us since. At the time I wrote this post, I was just beginning to truly understand how much my Heavenly Father loves me, and it was amazing me to no end. I hope this amazement is something I never lose, because His love is something I will never deserve.

(Originally written on June 13, 2007.)

The LORD is so gracious to me, and I just wish I had learned that this kind of happiness was possible when I first got saved - when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. It saddens me how many Christians there are who don't realize what being a Christian really means. I'm not saying my belief regarding salvation has changed, I still believe that the Bible teaches that someone who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Saviour can never lose their salvation. It is written over and over again in the Bible so many times, and I truly believe that. But I also know that God has something even greater than salvation from Hell prepared for his children, which to me is unfathomable as it is amazing. Something greater than being saved from a Hell we so justly deserve; what can be greater than that, you may ask. But I'm not talking about the home God is preparing for us in Heaven either. Heaven is going to be amazing, better than anything we've ever dreamed. We'll be in the Father's presence after all, but that's the third step. So many people miss how important this time we spend here on earth is. There are - usually - many many years between the time an individual places their faith in Jesus Christ, and the time that God calls that individual home to be with Him. And believe it or not, this time I believe is directly related to Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. I think a reason so many believers miss out on one of God's most wonderous blessings is because they don't fully understand what Christ's purpose was here on earth. Yes, Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners, there is no disputing that fact. But that's not the only reason He came. He didn't come to protect us from some gavel wielding, flame throwing, angry God. As God Himself, more specifically as God the Son, He came so that we might be introduced to His Father. A Father who has been yearning for fellowship with the human race ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the garden.

I really want to elaborate more on this subject, but it's 2:06 am at the moment, and I want to be able to think this through thoroughly before I post some of the things that have been going through my mind lately. They are things the Holy Spirit has been teaching me as I read the Word, and I want to be able to quote the verses that have been so instrumental in the changes my life has undergone these last few months. The things I have been learning have been so different from what I've always believed, always been taught. They're not different in regards to what they say, for the most part they are all things that I've heard practically my whole life. But to me they are different because I'm finally beginning to understand my standing in God's eyes. It's so humbling, and so amazingly heart breaking to realize, and I mean truly realize how much God must love me. He went through agony when He turned His back on His only Son - as Jesus hung at Calvary - the sins of all the world pouring onto Him. An agony that He spared Abraham from so many years before.

Isaac, and the love Abraham had for him are a picture to us today of what The Father went through, and what Jesus Christ went through in order to bring us salvation; but not salvation only. The Father and The Son went through that because God truly is a God of Love. How many times have I heard that phrase over the last 15 years? It fills me with sorrow to realize how long it took me to really realize what Their sacrifice meant. But the Lord has been working in me, and I'm finally learing to listen to Him, through the Holy Spirit who dwells inside me. The LORD has shown me how to understand His love, to realize that He and His Son made that sacrifice so that I could have fellowship with them. Fellowship on the spiritual level of what Adam and Eve had as they walked with the LORD in the garden at the very beginning, before sin entered this formerly perfect world. And I don't need to wait until I get to Heaven to have that fellowship! God's offering it to me right now, The Father wants me to have daily, moment by moment, fellowship with Him right now.

A Christian novelist named Michael Phillips was the first one to put this concept into words that made me understand. In a novel of his, one of the main characters states it as having "a father to call Father." That's what our gracious Heavenly Father wants; He wants us to run to Him, to trust Him with everything, to call Him 'Abba'. How much more wonderful could it be? As I said, it's late, (it is now 2:26am,) so I'm not sure how much sense I'm making, if what I'm trying to say is coming out the way I want it to. I of course can't expect these feeble words of mine to compare to the Word of God, only His words can truly speak with His infintessimal inspiration. But I can hope that maybe someone out there, a Christian frustrated with their walk or their trials perhaps, can read this, and through the mercy and power of God can once again realize what a wonderful and loving Father we as Christians truly have. Then hopefully they can turn to the Word with an unsatiable desire to learn about that Father, to reaquaint themselves with that Joy that the LORD can so bountifully provide in us, even through the hardest and most difficult of circumstances.

Besides the Word, there have been several authors who's God given insights into His Word have really helped open my eyes to what it is God has been trying to teach me, what He's been trying to show me as He leads me down this wonderous path called life, leading toward Life Eternal. Besides the afore mentioned Michael Phillips, Andrew Murray, W.A.Tozer, and Beth Moore have been very instrumental. I thank the LORD for their writings, that they trusted, and still trust Him to reveal to them the words He wants them to write down, to help poor, confused believers like myself realize how good He really is. At the moment, I'm doing a study that Beth Moore wrote on the life of King David, called David: A Heart Like His. I've only finished the first of the 90 days of study that she outlined in the book, but already the LORD has been speaking to me and helped me to understand Him a little more.

It makes me wonder how I ever managed to be interested in anything else, how I could have wasted so much time on certain things, when I could have spent the time studying the Word and getting to know my Father better. He is so much more than the dozen or so attributes I memorized in Sunday School. All those attributes are important parts of who He is, and they are all very true, but they are not just letters written around a triangle labeled 'God'. God truly is Love, and everything else I learned, and He is so much more than any one person can realize. Our brains do not have the capacity to understand everything that He is, but I want to devote the rest of my life to finding out as much as I can about The Father, the glorious Creator of the universe, the One who loved me enough to send His only Son to die on a tree.

(At the end of every lesson in Beth Moore's David book, there's a section called "Praying God's Word Today." I'm not sure what exactly she meant by that phrase, but underneath she wrote a little prayer thanking the LORD for what that particular lesson of David's life had taught her. After those few lines, there are many blank ones, as if encouraging the reader to thank the LORD what it was they had learned through studying a bit of the life of the man "after God's own heart." What better way to spend time than to thank the LORD for the truths He has taught you? Below I have typed out what I wrote in the above mentioned section; the words in quotes are what Beth Moore wrote, the end of the quotes is where my own prayer begins.)

"Thank you, Father, for shepherding me with Your pure heart, for guiding me with Your skillful hands (Ps. 78:72), for taking me from the sheepfolds of my life - the many places where I could have so easily been left behind forever - and transforming me day by day into someone with the potential to look more like Jesus, to be useful in Your Kingdom." ~ Yes Heavenly Father, thank you for delivering me so many times in my life. Not only in salvation from the hell I deserve, but also in the way You've protected me and kept me and loved me, even when I had no idea - or was incapable of knowing - that You were there. LORD, there are so many things I've been learning about You lately, things that are so simple, and yet sometimes so hard to understand. Because who are you LORD, if not magnificent? Your ways are not my ways LORD, and sometimes the trials I go through are so hard to understand. But I want to have a heart like David, Father. I want to yearn after You, I want to praise You daily in everything that I do. I want my life to be a testimony to Your greatness, loving Father. Help me to realize daily what a wonderful Father you truly are; 'a father to call Father.' Thank you for sending Your Son, and for giving me the Holy Spirit, both of Whom have worked and continue working to bring me closer to You, over and over again. LORD, give me wisdom. I want to know You and love You and search for You with all of my being. Please give me wisdom to discern what it is in my life that brings me closer to You, and what seperates me and distracts me from whatever it is You have purposed. You have my heart LORD, now please help me to always remember that, and to turn it into a heart worthy of You, a heart like David's, no matter how painful it may turn out to be. In Jesus name, Who sits at Your right hand and prays for me daily, Amen. ~