Tag Archives: Father

It’s Time to Come to Myself

Sunday is not my only day of listening to sermons. I listen to a variety of preachers and pastors throughout the week, some might surprise you and some may not. I’m no respecter of denominations. I’m a respecter of those who biblically speak Jesus. Period. It’s why, when a preacher that I’m “Facebook friends” with, and I use that term very loosely, went on a trashing spree of preachers my blood boiled.

There were a few that I utterly disagree with too, but I leave them to God. Although if someone asked, I’d willingly tell them why I disagree.  But this guy went so far as to say they were lost! My first thought was “who made you God?” The only One who has the right to call a man or woman saved or lost is God. I cannot look on the soul and tell. Nor do I want that responsibility.

I’m not sure he mentioned Perry Noble, though he probably would have; but I’ve followed the ups and downs of Perry Noble for years. I’ve wept with him and for him. He broke my heart when he fell as Pastor of New Spring Church. I cheered him on when he fought his way back. Though he didn’t know, because he doesn’t really know me. See… we’re “friends” too.

I like Perry because he’s real. Sometimes too real for me, I’ll be honest. He says some things that goes against my good Baptist girl grain. And he says some things that make me laugh really hard that really shouldn’t. But most important he gives me a desire to have a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. And that is what a preacher is called to do. Not judge other preachers!

So this week on Perry’s new podcast for his new church “Second Chances” he preached on the prodigal son. Not an unknown sermon for even a lost person. But Perry preached it from the perspective of the brother who stayed home. Again not an unknown sermon topic. But what was new to me was the thought about the “good” son didn’t have enough of a relationship with his father to know that (1) how upset the father had been (2) that the son had come home and (3) why there was a need for the party.

The prodigal came to himself, the farm boy needed a come to Jesus moment with Dad. But that’s not what he got. The Father had mercy for both. That was the gist of Perry’s sermon. But much better. I just gave the highlights.

What drew my mind into this today was my own relationship with God. How much do I know about what God wants for my life? I know what I want, but do I know what He wants?

It’s time to come to myself.

I am often guilty (really often) of studying for the purpose of others, and not for myself. It’s not that I don’t receive and need the messages I write and the Word of God that He speaks into my soul as well. But many of those messages are about general life issues, not personal life issues. If you’ve studies scripture for yourself, you likely know the kind; when the word of God cuts you open and fillets your heart like a fish! Showing you all the nooks and crannies of it and draws you into a conversation with Him where you almost feel like you’re sitting in His office on a crystal stool like a princess as He gives you the “Dad” talk.

Oh…. I so need to draw that someday.

But more importantly I need to be there.

I don’t need to preach to anyone about “their” life, nor do I ever want to be guilty of judging the soul of another person. I don’t know who’s saved. I only know that we all need to come to the knowledge of Who Jesus is and then grow in His grace so that we can know Him in a way that a child should know their Dad.

My girls have a very special relationship with their Dad. They adore him and when he speaks, they trust in his wisdom. That’s how a child of the King should be. Adoring. Listening. Believing.

When I lay down at night, I should listen for His bedtime story. When I rise in the morning we should meet at the table for a game plan kind of day. It should never be about you. It should be about us.

When the prodigal son came home His dad cleaned him up and threw a party. The other son threw a temper tantrum, complained about the slavery he had invested in for his Father and missed out on all the fun. Don’t miss the party because you’re looking at other folks. I’ve been guilty of it.

Getting in Tight With God

To say that open heart surgery brings on a realization of mortality is a likely an understatement. We all have somewhat of a an understanding of it, but when suddenly the single organ in your body that keeps you alive isn’t functioning correctly, you realize how very, very close we are to eternity. Literally one heartbeat away. You also realize how very important that relationship with God is.  I wasn’t too awfully worried about politics, world antics or uncompleted goals and the fact that I’ve yet to master many, many chords on the guitar. I wanted to feel my Father stroke my hair and say “Shari, I’m here with you, you’re okay.” And so it was. He did not leave me nor forsake me and for the record, there were no dark hours, because where He is, is Light. I share this so you’ll know if a time comes (which I pray not) that you find yourself in one of those predicaments, He will not leave you either.

So this morning as I read the Lord’s Prayer, it was oh… so… sweet. and each word took on a deeper meaning. Six petitions, (three relating to God’s honor, three relating to our own concerns.

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

FATHER: Creator, Redeemer, Adopter of me, an unworthy urchin of the Gentiles. Brought into a royal family, a blood bought nation, who though many of them have no earthy blood connection, treat me like a true sister through Christ Jesus. They prayed for me and petitioned Heaven on my behalf because they too love the Father, who we call Jesus. He hears our cry, just as an earthly father would and stays by our side. I know… I felt His presence in the hospital, ambulance, operating room and recovery. There is power in the name of Jesus! Our Father in Heaven, and also within the heart of His child.

HALLOWED: Sanctified and set apart. There is none like Him. There is no other name on earth that can calm a raging storm in your life or bring an unexplainable peace upon you through the storm. Buddha, Allah, nor any other of the countless gods this world calls upon have the power of Jesus. And those who encourage people to “call upon the god of their choice” are allowing the demons of Hell to open a door of torment to someone already in trouble. Praise God for He Who calmed my sea. HIS NAME IS JESUS!

Vs. 10 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.

THY WILL BE DONE: That’s a hard one for someone like me that needs control. So when I lay flat on my back without even the ability to go potty by myself, I suddenly understood that God was truly in control. He took every single earthly power I had away. It was just He and I. Like it always had been, but I had had forgotten. His will is for a relationship with His children that cause them to work toward all things eternal, not earthly. There is no fear in running towards Jesus, but there is a definite fear of leaving behind those who do not know Him.

Vs. 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.

DAILY BREAD: Just enough. When the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness there was no excess with the exception of what was needed to eat for the Sabbath. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 – I am that bread of life. His Word will fill the soul like a hot buttered biscuit with jam fills the belly. Matthew 6 continues on to tell us not to worry for any earthly necessity, God’s got us covered. But we should strive to collect the thoughts of God through His word and fill our soul with it in abundance so that when we’re laying there flat on our back, we don’t need to see the book. We are the book. And we are filled to the brim in want of nothing!

Vs. 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

FORGIVENESS: I can say with all honesty that I haven’t been concerned with anyone who’s hurt or upset me over the course of a life time in the past few weeks. Life in perspective is knowing that the only forgiveness that matters is my Father’s in Heaven. Scripture says that we must forgive others if we expect it in return. If Christ can hang from the cross, a sinless man, only guilty of loving us and forgive we who take His act for granted, how can we dare say we’ll not forgive anyone? It makes me nauseous to think of the times I’ve held someone’s soul in the balance of un-forgiveness because of pride and pettiness on my part.

Vs. 13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

DELIVERANCE: Temptation comes from the side of flesh, not Spirit and it is easily accessible and readily available to take us away from the peace of God. And for all that’s left in this wicked world, Satan is seeking the opportunity to devour us as a lion. Especially those who actively serve God and desire to make a difference. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were not chosen for the lion’s den and the fiery furnace by happenstance. From the Old Testament to John the Baptist and the Disciples of Christ, Satan has targeted God’s chosen vessels. He’s still targeting us. But Hallelujah we serve the Living God whose Kingdom will never fall, He Who holds ALL POWER and will receive ALL GLORY forever. Satan loses, we just have to keep on serving. We who are in Him Win! Glory!

Father vs. father… a point to ponder

chick ponder

During a recent study with the teens the subject matter came up how we often compare our relationship with God to that of our earthly parents. I hadn’t really thought about my parental viewpoint of God until that conversation. Yes, I viewed Him as my Father, but in so doing had I given to Him some of my earthly father’s attributes? I fear I had. My Dad, Gene Hardway, was an awesome godly man. But he had some quirks of human nature. He was a passive fella.

When I married my husband in 1980, yes I was baby of 18 years of age, I was not prepared for the culture of his family. They’re good people too, but they were different than the Hardway’s. They were more realistic to most families in the world. My parents never argued. For real! I never heard anyone raise their voice. So when I met people who could get loud, my Ozzie and Harriett world went upside down. I soon learned how to react in kind. I  don’t recommend it. But as for my Dad, he never changed. He did not yell. He did not argue. Which is awesome, till it’s not. I think possibly if my Dad had spoken more forceful on some things perhaps I would have listened, but maybe not.  The reality of it is, my Dad was who he was, and my husband David’s family are who they are. But now back to the Dad and God comparison… I had to ask myself if I viewed God as somewhat passive, even though I know that not to be the case according to scripture. And the answer was a resounding yes! So I asked my husband, if because his earthly dad had left him when he was one year old, if he thought that caused him to have a lack of trust in God. He said he hadn’t ever really thought about it… I’ve been married too him over half my life, I think he has.

God is truth

Titus 1:2  – In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Parents lie. They tell us things about the Easter Bunny and Santa, (Which I believe is okay) but God would not tell you those things were true, because they are not. Parents tell you you’re the most beautiful child in the world… you are not, but you are in their world, so perhaps that is true. By the same token a really crappy parent who would discourage a child and criticize them is not who God is either, they lie; God does not.

God is love

1 John 4:8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

God’s love is unconditional. We did not do anything to make God love us therefore we cannot do anything to make Him stop. Good parents for the most part love their children unconditional, but not always. Children grow into adults, make bad decisions, hurt us, let us down, as do the parents. God will not ever let you down. I would imagine unconditional love would be hard to fathom for someone brought up in a “conditional love home.”

God is Right

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Parents make mistakes, Lord have mercy I have made my fair share and somebody else’s; but God has not ever had an “oops” moment. If you read and study His word from beginning to end, regardless if it is a scientific, moral or prophetic statement, it’s truth. Tell me any man or woman who you can say that about, although my husband does profess to always be right. (Insert smiley face here) But there is none but God Who is ALWAYS right.

God is forgiving

Matthew 6:14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Do we think of Him as forgiving or condemning? I think of Him in that manner, but my Dad was a VERY forgiving guy. I have a feeling if you were brought up in a home where forgiveness was not forthcoming, you might not feel as forgiven.

This idea gave me great reason to ponder my relationship with God. What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing if your view of God was parent defined…