Today I remembered once again that God is the only sure and unending thing in this life… my husband, family, friends, relationships, job, home, church, health, wealth and material possessions may all go or change or cease to be, but God is the one thing I can always rely on no matter what falls away. I hold onto my Heavenly Dad.
'My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.'
(Psalm 73:26 AMP)
I have been listening to a preaching series by Rick Warren (pastor of Saddleback Church in California, and author of the bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life) called “40 Days in The Word”.
I’ve just finished listening to the talks called 'How The Bible Changes Us' and 'Seeing What God Wants Me To See'. Both are really helpful, practical and down-to-earth and I really recommend them! (If you click on one of the links, you will see the rest of the talks in this series down the right-hand side.)
I recently wrote an article for the Newfrontiers theology blog about why propitiation (i.e. Jesus suffering and dying and bearing the wrath of God in our place) was necessary for God being able to forgive us and reconcile us to Himself.
It is called 'Understanding Propitiation: An Illustration I Found Helpful'. I really hope it is helpful for you as well.
Hubby and I are currently on a course at my church called “Redemption”. It is intensive and follows the story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, mirroring the story of God’s rescue of our own lives.
Something that’s really struck me so far is how often we run from God rather to Him when things get tough… For me, I usually escape into my own world in my head. That’s how I learnt to cope growing up. But that is idolatry - going to something else other than God for comfort - and I am asking Him to help me change. Jesus modelled the perfect example of how to do this right at the cross: even in the most unspeakable agony, abandoned by God, He still cried out to God and entrusted Himself to the Father.
It’s not an easy or comfortable course in the least, but I am looking forward to seeing what God will do in my heart over the next few weeks…!
Having recently blogged about the Father’s love and loving others, I thought it would be useful to post links to some good resources where you can learn more about the Father’s love and His Father heart.
After all, truly understanding God’s love for us as His children in Christ will not only be the medicine to heal our hurt and wounded hearts (which we all have to some extent from living in a fallen world), but it will also propel us to passionately and joyfully take the Father’s love out to those around us so they can also know Him as well!
So here are some that I’ve found helpful:
- Father’s House Trust (founded by Mark Stibbe)
- Shiloh Place Ministries - Free Resources (founded by Jack & Trisha Frost)
- 'The Spirit of Adoption' by Julian Adams (video)
'Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].' (Psalm 27:10, AMP)
"The measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him."
There’s a reason why I’ve recently been blogging about both loving hurting, broken and lost people, and about knowing the Father’s love and growing in intimacy with Him.
It’s because they’re intrinsically linked.
To be honest, you could love other people for a number of different reasons: because it’s the “Christian” thing to do, because of feelings of guilt or obligation, out of a heart of justice, to make you feel good about yourself, and so on.
But to truly love those who are not easy to love in a genuine, sacrificial way - the way Jesus taught us to love (Luke 10:27-37; Matt. 5:43-48) - and without burning out and without losing joy… you need to live with a real knowledge of God’s love for you as His dearly beloved child.
If you have repented of your sin, have accepted by faith the free gift of forgiveness that Jesus bought for you at the cross, and have fully entrusted your life to the Lord, then you are in Christ and have been made a son/daughter of God (Galatians 3:26)! Which means that God has become your perfect Father (and Mother*) and loves you with a pure, unconditional, unchanging love - the same love He has for Jesus because you are in Christ!
No wonder the apostle John couldn’t contain himself when he wrote, 'See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!' (1 John 3:1, AMP)
And you know what, when you begin to grasp the depth and richness of the Father’s love for you, and live each day growing in that knowledge, it is the most energising, joyful, life-giving fuel that compels you to be devoted to God in all that you do and to love every person with a love that is supernatural, introducing our spiritually fatherless world to the Father.
And that, I believe, is what is at the very heart of being a Christian.