Tag Archive | father

Love exiles fear

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  I John 4:18 (NLT)

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalm 139:17

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7

Perfect Love casts out all Fear!  That’s is the WHOLE reason we don’t need to fear! And a good word for us on Fearless Friday!   As we direct our minds towards His love, our fears will blur. One version of the Bible says, our fears will be Banished!!

What does expelling or banishing fear really mean?  Here’s a few choice words:

deport, discard, dismiss, dispel, drive away, eject, eliminate, eradicate, evict, exclude, exile, extradite, get rid of, isolate, oust, outlaw, remove, rusticate, sequester, shake off, shut out

So perfect love exiles, eliminates, gets rid of…all fear. These words suggest a near-annihilation of something, placing it beyond reach or grasp.  We’re often unwilling to release the strangle-hold we have on our fears, because we still doubt His love.   So, perhaps this excerpt from Spurgeon will give a glimpse into God’s perfect love..for us:

God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes…

His thoughts area always tender, loving , wise  prudent, far-reaching and they bring to us countless benefits.

In all our wonderings, the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us–we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye.  In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones.

The thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.  Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.

~~~

I really enjoy finding songs that amplify our discussion, and today, this one by Annie Herring and Matthew Ward speak perfectly of perfect love:

Apple of His Eye
Glimpses CD

He’s the one who loves you more than you will ever know
He’s the one who dries the tears you cry.
He has formed your very soul and knows your every need
He will guide you through your darkest night.

Chorus

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before him
The apple of His eye.

He’s the one who holds you close when no one will come near
The one who sees what no one else can see.
He’s the one who keeps your burden light enough to bear
For He will be your strength when you are weak.

Nothing in this world could ever keep His love from you
And He gave His life to see this promise through.

He’s the one who loves you more  than you will ever know
And He has counted every tear you’ve cried.
He will take your tear-stained heart and make it light as snow
And He’ll become your wings so you can fly.

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before Him,
The apple of His eye!

~~~

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!  I John 3:1

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10

~~~

Dear Father, Help us to focus on your Love today, not our Fear. Help us to release the grasp we have on our fears, worries, cares and anxieties.  Exile, banish our fears far from us, by filling our minds and hearts with the knowledge and awareness of your perfect love…love that hung on a cross in our place.  Love that knows us better than we know ourselves.  Thank you!  In Love’s Name, Jesus, Amen.

~~~

[Note:  I regret that I can’t upload an audio version of this beautiful Annie Herring song presently.]

Christmas Carols–Grace Notes

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,’til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.”  O Holy Night

To me, Christmas Carols are the best part of the Christmas season.  I talked about it last year, HERE.  Many of the older Christmas songs are simply, yet profoundly, the truth of God’s Word set to music.  They serve as ‘notes’ or reminders, of God’s grace and goodwill toward all mankind, clothed in gentle and lovely music, to share the truth of Jesus Christ in times and places where preaching would never be received. 

So, until the New Year, I will post Christmas carols, some known, some not, to keep us me focused on the One whom angels sing, wise men seek, and shepherds kneel to worship.   One that brings me to my knees almost immediately is “O Holy Night,” written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau, a poet/wine merchant of Roquemaure, France.    [Learn some interesting historical background about this hymn HERE.]

O HOLY NIGHT!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

 

 

Sing, worship, listen, and let the Lord minister His compassionate grace to you today.  And you may enjoy Third Day’s contemporary version from their Christmas Offerings CD, just uploaded in the Music Box to the right. [Fyi, if you dig a little deeper into the Box, you’ll find another version by Mercy Me uploaded last year.]

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

The Value of Restored Joy

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.   Many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”      Psalm 40:1-3

 

What price can be set on restored joy?

What value is the heart of one set free to sing a new song to God?

The Lord spares no expense as He reaches out  to restore  joy, to set free, and to draw the one to Himself.   Jesus taught and illustrated the value He places on one restored life:

     Leaving the 99 sheep for the 1

     Making a clean sweep of the house to find 1 coin

     Watching, waiting, months, perhaps years, for the 1 son

“What a waste!”  thought the religious leaders surrounding Jesus. 

Why this waste?”  wondered the onlookers as the woman poured out the costly perfume over Jesus’ head and feet.

It’s apparent Jesus had fundamentally different values than those around him…and us.  The world blatantly advertises its values–appearance, youth, security, success, pleasure, and achievement.   Then there’s my own little world or kingdom, with my personal investments in comfort, security, avoidance of conflict, and validity or acceptance from others.  

But God’s kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy.  His kingdom is where one matters as much as many, the poor in spirit are rich, mourning turns to joy, beauty to ashes, meekness becomes honour, and being spent or giving away, means great gain.   My kingdom is seen, light-weight and temporal.  His kingdom is unseen, weighty and eternal.  Lasting.  Enduring. 

His kingdom is marked by extravagant love, mercy, kindness and grace.  No holding back…even bordering on the appearance of wastefulness.  So whose values are skewed?  Mine or God’s?  The answer is obvious and it’s where I am both challenged, and hopefully, growing in daily.  Through extravagant choices and “wasteful” decisions, the Lord has graciously allowed me to see restoration unfold in someone’s life, with joy and a new song in their heart!

So, back to the original question:

Of what value is the heart of one restored, or the joy of a new song in one’s life? 

The Psalm above says, when joy is restored in one….many will see, and trust in the Lord.

How much is THAT worth?!

Broken-Down House

I’m one-month behind in my reading plan…but I doubt anyone noticed.  However, I feel like I have a ‘great cloud” of anonymous reading partners from Lifeasmom, who are all committed to a personal reading plan for the year..and watching me.  So, I press on!   

Over the past year or so, I’ve read three books by Paul David Tripp, and each were perfectly suited for the time.   I probably shared the most from A Shelter in the Time of Storm, and still count it as my favourite.

But my May book sounded so intriguing and did not disappoint–Broken-Down House.  I think the title’s the reason I bought the book!  Over three years ago, we bought a little house in the country, which, though not truly broken-down, certainly needed some repair.  And as anyone who have ever owned a home knows, once you fix one thing, it’s time to fix something else.

Tripp shares that the world we live in is a lot like a broken-down house.  He acknowledges that “sin has ravaged the beautiful house that God created,” then he graciously, and often poetically, reminds the reader, page after page, of the reconciliation, restoration, and hope we have in Christ.  In the last chapter, he aptly summarizes the book’s context:

Yes, you are living in a broken-down house.  Here, you will face discouragement, danger, disappointment, and grief.  There will be times when life will seem overwhelmingly hard…

But you can, beyond any question, live productively in this broken world.  There are things worth living for and things worthy of celebration.  You can, beyond any question, be one of God’s tools of rescue and restoration.

…You can do these things, and know these things, because of grace.”

GRACE is the primary theme of the book.  Grace is the only way we can live in this world, or have hope for the next.   Here’s one of my favourite passages:

Grace is the most transformational word in Scripture.  The entire Bible is a narrative of God’s grace, a story of undeserved redemption.  By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of His Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are (sinners) to what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like).  The famous Newton hymn uses the best word possible for that grace, amazing!

Broken-Down House not only encourages the reader of the need for grace in this less-than-perfect world, but also challenges believers to action.  With chapter titles such as, “Reject Passivity,” “Be Good and Angry,” “Determine to Love,” and “Minister Everywhere,”  Tripp confronts us with the fact that (I) we are tools of God’s restoration and reconciliation.  As another Paul said 2000 years ago:

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us, we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Broken-Down House is more than a reminder of the state of this dilapidated world.  Through it, Tripp provokes us to “live productively in a world gone bad,” and “to fight the urge to give in or give up.  [God] calls you to live with perseverance now and invest wholeheartedly in what is to come! ” 

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

 

Presently reading/next to be reviewed:   The Pilgrim’s Progress: From this World to that Which is To Come, John Bunyan.  Edited by C.J. Lovik

A Dangerous Prayer

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is heaven.”  Matt. 6:10

How well do I know these words?  How often do I pray/say them?   But do I mean them?  Paul David Tripp suggests how dangerous these words may be–to my little kingdom: 

 

“There are things I want in my life, and I not only want them, but I know how, when, and where I want them!  I want my life to be comfortable…my schedule to be unobstructed and predictable…people around me to esteem and appreciate me…control over the situations and relationships in my life…I don’t want to suffer.  I don’t want to leave without…What I am saying is that I want my kingdom to come and my will to be done.

Thy kingdom come is a dangerous prayer, for it means the death of your own sovereignty.  It means your life will be shaped by the will of Another.  It means that you will experience the messiness, discomfort, and difficulty of God’s refining grace.  It means surrendering the center of your universe to the One who alone deserves to be there.  It means loving God above all else and your neighbor as yourself.  It means experiencing the freedom that can only be found when God breaks you bondage to You!  It means finally living for the one glory that is truly glorious, the glory of God.

Thy kingdom come, are words of surrender, words of protection, words of grace that can only be prayed by those who’ve been delivered by the Redeemer from…the kingdom of self.” [1]

 

Unlike many governments in place today, God’s kingdom is not one to be feared.  God’s kingdom is a reign of grace (A.W. Pink).  The ruler and King is Jesus, full of grace and truth, “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (I Tim. 6:15) .

His kingdom is also a reign of love.  “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us!”  (Rom. 8:37).  “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because He first loved us.” ( I John 4:18,19)

And so much more:

The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17

 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matt. 6:33

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Col. 1:13, 14

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A dangerous prayer?  Yes, to my self-driven kingdom of one.  But more so, a comforting prayer, as I surrender to the One who loves perfectly;  He became poor, took on my griefs and sorrows, died, and rose again!  I can trust Him.  Why do I fear, when His kingdom is the safest place to be? 

 

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is heaven.

  

 

[1] Paul David Tripp, Whiter than Snow: Mediations on Sin and Mercy. Crossway Books, 2008. Wheaton, IL.  pps 61-62.

Twice Adopted

I’m thankful for adoption!  I am twice adopted, once by my Daddy on this earth, and then by my Father in Heaven. 

When my Dad met and fell in love with my mom, he quickly became aware that I was part of the ‘package.’  A rambunctious, spoiled 3-year old, loved and trained by her mom and grandparents, didn’t dissuade him from marriage or instant fatherhood.  He fully embraced me along with my mom, and raised me as his very own.  Better yet, he adopted me, giving me his name, legally becoming my Father, and I, fully accepted and received as his daughter.  [You can read more about my dad on a past post, Remembering Dad.]

I’ve heard and read so many teachers and pastors attempt to describe adoption in theological and legal terms, yet their dissertations fall short in capturing the heart and bona fide experience of adoption.

Adoption means to me, I am not only accepted, I am Wanted!  

Some men who marry women with children reluctantly accept that they have to help raise those children.  But my dad, by adopting me, said,”I not only accept this responsibility, I want it, I welcome it, I’m ‘into it!!'”

With the exact same willingness and emotions, I’ve been adopted by my Father in Heaven.   He accepts me, even more, He wants me!  He chose to add me to His family!

“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention (lit: good pleasure) of His will.”  Ephesians 1:5

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption by which we cry out “Abba! Father!  The Spirit Himself bears witness that we are sons of God.'”  Romans 8:15, 16

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6

Knowing my daddy adopted me, gave me full assurance that I was also loved by him. I have no memory of wondering if I was loved. I never doubted.  I knew it.  What a privilege!

So, too, knowing my Heavenly Father chose me and adopted me as His very own, should have the same result, leaving no doubt in God’s love, no questioning of His affection.   That is perfect love.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 

We love, because He first loved us.”
I John 4:18, 19

I’ve been twice adopted, twice chosen.

First Loved. 

Wanted. 

Save the Bulls

Save the Bull

No, don't kill the bull!

Save the bulls.   Honor Maximus.  He won the battle.”

 

I love this quote from the film, The Gladiator.  It was uttered by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, to his son, Commodus, who conveniently “missed the war,” a deadly and terrifying battlefront in ancient Germany.  Commodus flippantly condoleses,  “Father, congratulations!  I shall sacrifice a hundred bulls  to honour your triumph,” hoping to gain his father’s favour, or possibly appease his anger.  Dad sees through the facade, cuts to the chase, and says, “Save the bulls!”

Save the bulls.

Our Heavenly Father says the same to us.  When we come to Him with our sense or dread or appeasement for our shortcoming, failures, and sinfulness, we’re inclined to make some sweeping sacrifice in our life:  “I will never ____ again (you fill it in).” Or, I’m going to fast or give up _____ (whatever!)  for so many days.”  Why do we do or say such things?   We resort to sacrifices, rather than obedience.

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed, than the fat of rams.”   I Samuel 15:22

Save the bulls.

Our Father isn’t looking for sacrifices because Jesus already made the ultimate Sacrifice of His Life, for ours!

“..He gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  Ephesians 5:2

“Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
  Hebrews 9:12-14

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Therefore when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You’ve prepared for me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You take no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come, (in the roll of the book it is written of Me)  to do Your will, O God.'”” Hebrews 10:4-7

Save the bulls.

If not bulls, what?  The Word lays out several ‘sacrifices’ we can offer to honour our Lord for His great, valiant, and complete redemptive work of mercy, grace, and love for us:

GIVE HONOUR, PRAISE  and THANKS

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”  Hebrews 13:15

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.”  Psalm 50:14

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honours Me..” Ps. 50:23

WITH BROKENNESS, SORROW and CONFESSION

Take words with you and return to the Lord.  Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips.'”  Hosea 14:2

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it: You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Ps. 51:16, 17

SHOW MERCY, COMPASSION,  KINDNESS and HUMILITY

“For I delight in mercy rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”  Hosea 6:6

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?”  Micah 6:8

“But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

OFFER YOURSELF

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  Romans 12:1,2

 

Save the bulls.             HONOUR JESUS.        He has won the battle.

 

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ!”  2 Corinthians 2:14

“When He disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through it [the Cross]!”
Colossians 2:15

Praise the Father, Praise the Son

Two weeks ago, we attended a memorable wedding where worship was the theme!   The setting was surreal, as we celebrated not only the beautiful love which drew a young man and woman into an abiding relationship, but more so, the eternal love which draws Jesus’  Bride, us, to Himself–the wedding of all weddings, which God the Father anticipated, prepared, and planned before the foundation of the earth!  

Here is one of the songs we sang together with Bride and Groom.  How fitting, how precious, to praise the Author of Love, the Designer of Marriage with the only gift we can really give Him–the Praise of our lips! 

I uploaded the music to the blue Music Box to the right.   It’s another great one by Chris Tomlin and is from his CD, Hello Love.

 

Praise the Father, Praise the Son

O sovereign God, O matchless King
the saints adore, the angels sing
and fall before the throne of grace
to you belongs the highest praise.

These sufferings, this passing tide
under Your wings I will abide,
and every enemy shall flee;
You are my hope and victory.

Praise the Father, Praise the Son
Praise the Spirit, Three in One,
Clothed in power and in grace
the name above all other names.

To the valley, for my soul;
Thy great descent has made me whole!
Your word, my heart has welcome home,
now peace like water ever flows,

Praise the Father, Praise the Son
Praise the Spirit, Three in One,
Clothed in power and in grace
the name above all other names.

Yours is the kingdom,
Yours is the power.
Yours is the glory forever.

Yours is the kingdom,
Yours is the power.
Yours is the glory forever.

Praise the Father, Praise the Son.
Praise the Spirit, Three in One.
Clothed in power and in grace
the name above all other names.
The name above all other names.

God’s Compassion

Here’s a little poem I wrote, inspired by the thought that our Father loves us as much individually, as He does the “whole” world:

Compassion

Everyday someone is dying,

everyday someone feels loss,

there’s news of a disaster,

someone’s spirit has been crushed.

Our Lord does not need headlines

to tell Him what to heed,

He sees the solitary

and knows their very need.

He sees the mother crying,

prayers are heard before they’re said,

He feels the hearts, afflicted,

by sadness, pain or dread.

This all-caring Father

full of mercy, depths of love,

His very nature is compassion

to the many, to the one.