Do you Know your Dad?
Be honest. When you think of characteristics that describe God, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Well, I think its safe to say that we know God loves us, but do we think of God as good?
I would argue many Christians walk around with a distorted image of God. Although, we might believe He loves us, we get a picture of God who is continually tipping the scales, and we usually come up short. We picture God through a cloudy reflection of our own personal experiences and relationships.
In fact I have struggled in my life with the fact that God loves me right where I am. And I am always finding myself thinking “God, look how good I’ve been”, (as if going up to my earthly father proving he could trust me or proving he could reward me with my good deeds….or by my obedience).
I have been reading a book called a Christian life without Father God and a lady in my BTVOS group said, I want you to read this …..as I began reading it, I found that the author and I have so many similarities….to the point I could name them off on 2 hands. She talks about her biological Father abandoning her. Not having anything to do with her and how that distorted her view of who Father God is.
Being a parent is a position that holds HIGH HIGH RESPONSIBILITY…not just taking care of our kids, but also to reflect who Father God is.
I don’t ever want my or my husband’s parenting to distort the way my kids see father God. I don’t want my kids to feel like they are in a house of mirrors at a carnival. Instead of seeing a true reflection of God, we get an image that has been skewed and manipulated.
In the book of Deuteronomy we read that He defends the cause of the fatherless in many verses.
In the book of Psalm: He is the helper of the fatherless.
A distorted view of God will directly affect our relationship with God. I believe there are people walking around who want an intimate relationship with Christ but have a hard time overcoming their preconceived concept of God.
Maybe you had a father who was more of a disciplinarian and all of a sudden our picture of God becomes more of a taskmaster than a loving Daddy.
Stacy considers herself a Christian and has always desired a deeper relationship with God. Stacy's father was a high ranking official in the military. While deep down inside Stacy knew her father loved her, he rarely showed it, and his strict disciplinarian demeanor made it hard for her to ever live up to his expectations.
She craved for any sign of affection or a brief moment where he seemed to be proud of her accomplishments. They were few and far between.
When Stacy hears about a God of unconditional love, it's difficult to comprehend. The love she has known most of her life has come with strings attached. The love she knows is usually conditional on her own accomplishments. She wants to believe it, but she's just never experienced that kind of love.
Maybe you hold your dad high and he has done a great job…But there are characteristics that may have distorted who Father God is.
Think of all the images of God that have been conjured up by our society in regards to God. Some people see God as the little kid with a magnifying glass, and we are the ants burning beneath its glare. Or maybe you view God perched atop the clouds like Zeus with his lightning bolt in hand ready to make us pay. Maybe your view of God is that he is distant or uninvolved, like a watchmaker who intricately and delicately crafts his creation and then steps back to watch it tick away.
The Bible paints several pictures of God
Some of those pictures (especially stories in the Old Testament) are difficult to comprehend. We read about a God of love and grace and then see God's destruction of an entire nation or city. That can be difficult to reconcile. I think it's important that we look at the character of God throughout the Bible.
There's a great story in the Old Testament that is often overlooked, the story Hosea & Gomer (Hosea 1-3). You may need to go read that one. God tells Hosea (a prophet of God) to go and find his wife Gomer (a prostitute) and bring her back home and love her again. Can you imagine that?
Hosea 3:1 "The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods...'"
We get this mental picture of Hosea wandering through the streets of the city looking for his adulterous wife. I can almost imagine Hosea peaking around each corner and talking to the business owners trying to find the whereabouts of his wife.
While this story speaks on many levels, Hosea becomes a picture of God, and we ultimately represent Gomer, the prostitute. God is continually searching for us and drawing us back into a relationship with him regardless of how far we've gone astray.
God is not sitting perched from his place on high, ready to judge or condemn. Instead, we see a picture of God who is intimately involved in our lives and who loves regardless of how far we might have strayed from him. We are the adulteress wife, the prostitute who is out selling ourselves, while God is still searching and calling us back home. What an amazing picture of the unconditional and relentless love of God.
Although there are many attributes of God, I would argue that many people need to reclaim a picture of God as good. The story of God and humanity is a story of redemption, a story of God trying to reclaim intimate relationship with his creation, YOU. It's a story of pursuit, and you are the one being pursued.
Being a parent has really helped me get a glimpse of God and how he sees us. You have unconditional love for your children you may not like their behavior sometimes, but that doesn’t stop your love for them.
Stuck on Friday
1. Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
2. Judas who betrayed Jesus, saw he was condemned by the people so he went out and hung himself.
3. It was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus[b] Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
4. What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
5. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
6. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
7. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
8. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
9. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
10. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
11. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God.
12. In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.
13. Vinegar was offered to him as a drink.
14. He was left to hang -Hang and suffocate, bleed, thirst, his heart was broken.
WOW, what a day of events! THAT WAS FRIDAY.....
We go through some of the darkest times, but after we read the list of events when Christ was crucified, we might feel like what we might go through doesn't even compare. Maybe at times we feel like we are in the darkest hour, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I've been there. We've all experienced some sort of hopeless feeling in our lives. Maybe you or your family is in some sort of situation in which you don’t see it getting better anytime soon, or you've lost a job, a loved one, been ill, experienced divorce, eating disorders, financial turmoil.
These things are the Fridays (tough times) in our lives; these things can cause us to be stuck on Friday. It's important to know it’s just a day, a time, a season...but hey Sunday is coming! It's temporary; there is assurance in Christ we will get through it with Him. We can be reassured Friday won't last, it’s just a day, it’s a miniscule moment in the perspective of eternity. It's Friday-Sunday its coming.
TailGatin' the Broom Rider
Have you ever wondered if while you are driving if the person beside, or in front or behind you is thinking about you and are praying for you?
Sometimes as I am driving I pray for the people around me….it’s just something I do. On my morning drive to work, for a while there I could almost count on driving behind a woman in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I don’t know how it happened but each morning on my drive I would get to a stop light on Mt View Rd and there she would be right in front of me. The first time I didn’t think much of it, but noticed something about her that stood out from the rest of the cars around me. Her license plate boldly stated that she was a witch (BROOMRDR or something along those lines). My hands get shaky just typing this. She had bumper stickers all over the back that made people know who she thought she really was.
So that first day I pulled up beside her (as if I wanted to see her face curiosity?) and did. Believe it or not, you can physically sometimes really see something about a person who doesn’t have Christ in their life. Maybe it’s the worn out look on their face or the emptiness or lack of joy in their eyes…it’s hard to describe. Anyway, as we drove that morning, I was surprised she drove almost the whole way in front of me but turned a block before I got to work. I felt the need to pray for her….so I did….that Christ would show her the way to ultimate joy.
This went on for several mornings….and continued to pray for her. Pray for breakthroughs!!
Every moment is an opportunity and we have the choice on what to do with it and I try to remember this in any situation I come across…a lot of times I fail….but not this time!
So one of the last times I was behind her I had a total God moment…..after several miles we came to the point (as we did daily a block before I got to work) where we stopped at the stop sign. She would turn right to wherever she was going and my workplace was a block straight ahead.
These 2 scriptures were fuzzy and blending in my mind but I knew what God was saying….
Proverbs 4:11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
Proverbs 2:13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways...
She was turning off the beating path and I was going straight ahead to my workplace to proclaim Jesus (interesting).
It was this “aha” type moment. I also know that God doesn't love her any less than me even if the choices she has made doesn't incorporate Him.
I haven’t seen this lady in quite some time, but I pray that when or if I do, her license plate is different and says something about being saved. I challenge you today to think about this…Are you on the straight path or have you turned? One more thing.... who can you pray for today? Jamie Knapp