Category: Personal Growth

Seeking personal improvement

Eyes to See

Developing Discernment Series
Sunday Sermon 8.22.20

Continuing with our series on discernment, we will look at how our senses are used and trained to distinguish and discern spiritual things.

Today’s focus is our eyes. What we see, how we see and developing our spiritual eyesight.

“There’s more to it than meets the eye” as the saying goes, is a pretty accurate description of what developing discernment with our eyes is like. It is the awareness that there is something else going on here, beyond what we are seeing.

I’m certain that each of you have had that “hunch” at some point in your life. You know, the time when the reaction was waaaaay off balance from the statement or question. Maybe it was with a friend, child, or partner, but you had no problem discerning that there was way more to that response than meets the eye.

Perhaps even in business settings, or world event contexts you have realized there’s something else going on here. Yep, that is part of discernment and yep, you’re right. Something else is going on.

Now to distinguish just what, though.

Remembering that there are two kingdoms we are influenced by and live under, we must learn to see them both, and recognize when one is usurping authority from the other. We learn to recognize good and evil, light and dark.

The Apostle Paul taught us:

  • we walk by faith not by sight 2 Cor. 5:7
  • we have not received the spirit of the world 1 Cor. 2:12-13
  • no eye has seen… but God has revealed it to us by his spirit 1 Cor. 2:9-10
  • the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened Eph. 2:18

When Paul was converted, he was literally blinded. He could see nothing for 3 whole days. Cut off from the world as he saw it, he was about to enter the Spirit realm which would teach him new things and grant him fresh revelation and perspective. His spiritual eyes would be activated, when he was prayed for by Ananias.

It is from this position that he tells us the things listed above. A position of having his spiritual eyes activated. A position of having eyes to see what the Spirit is doing.

There is a similar story in the Old Testament found in 2 Kings 6.

Elisha was a powerful and famous prophet. He and his servant were in a city that had been surrounded by enemy forces and the servant was very stressed out by it. The servant asked Elisha what they were going to do.

Elisha told him, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” v.16 But the servant was having none of it. He didn’t see a thing! He didn’t see what Elisha saw, he only saw with his physical eyes, not his spiritual eyes like Elisha.

So, Elisha prayed for him, “Open his eyes Lord, so that he may see.” v. 17 “And he opened the servant’s eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire…”

The servant’s spiritual eyes were opened, in addition to his physical eyes. There was truly more to it than met the eye. He now had the activation of his spiritual eyes.

In order for us to see into the spiritual realm, our spiritual eyes must be activated. The eyes of our heart must be focused on Him and the spiritual world.

We should expect to see with the eyes of our heart and spiritual eyes if we are maturing and growing in our daily walk with Him. Heb. 5:14

You see, our Creator wants to communicate with us. He made us for just that and sent Jesus as The Word, to reunite us with Him in that perfect relationship of open communication.

That Creator, endowed us with five senses all to be used in that open communication. Because God is a spirit, and lives in the spiritual realm, we communicate with Him in that realm. But we have to grow in the realm and learn to bring that realm down to earth. Remember the prayer – “on earth as it is in heaven”? (Of course God uses the natural realm to speak to us too. He is not limited in the way He can speak to us. But we are.)

There are plans, purposes, strategies and agendas for us to see in the heavenlies and bring down and apply here on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven will ultimately rule here on earth. How? By and through people who see with spiritual eyes and walk in the spirit realm seeing beyond the obvious into motivations and secret agendas.

This is not some weird doctrine, it is the Word.

Matt. 6:23 – the eyes are the light of the body… if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness

1 Sam. 16:17 – don’t look on the outward appearance, the Lord sees not as man sees

Psalm 119:18 – open my eyes to see wondrous things

2 Cor. 4:18 – we fix our eyes on what is unseen, for what is unseen is eternal

Mark 8:22-25 – Jesus touched his eyes and opened them and he saw clearly

As we develop discernment, our desire is to have our eyes opened, to see into the spirit realm and understand what the spirit is doing.

This will spare us from false teachings, and deception and keep us anchored to The Word and our great God.

We need to be as wise as serpents in these days. Not everything we see is all there is. There is much more behind the scenes and developing discernment, starting with our spiritual eyes is one of the keys to unlock “on earth as it is in heaven.”

I’m asking the Lord to give the readers of this eyes to see.

Won’t you join me in asking for your spiritual eyes to be activated?

Go with God.

I created a bible study for this, it is attached here. Enjoy.

Developing Discernment

Sunday Sermon 8.15.20

Last week we spoke about the need for discernment in these days and I feel impressed to stay with that theme – DISCERNMENT for the next few “Sunday Sermons’. Therefore, today we will begin a series I’ve entitled – “Developing Discernment“.

There is an urgency in my spirit that says we must sharpen our sensitivity to what is happening, changing, being presented and being birthed in our nation and in our lives.

We must see beyond the obvious and evident and see with “spiritual eyes” what is happening. That is where developing discernment is absolutely vital.

Let’s review what discernment means, and this week, look at the biblical definitions.

Discern or it’s related forms are only used a total of 25 times in the bible. The Old Testament uses 5 different words that are translated in a form of discern and the New Testament uses 4 different words.

Taken together, the OT definitions are: to scrutinize, look intently; to hear intelligently; to know by seeing; to separate mentally, distinguish; and to see.

The NT definitions are: to separate thoroughly, in public as a channel; to scrutinize or investigate; decisive, critical or discriminate; and to test or approve.

To help fill out the definition further, here are some synonyms for discernment = sensitivity, shrewdness, insight, perception, discrimination.

And lastly, some antonyms = unperceiving, obtuse, purblind (never heard of that one), tactless.

Thank you for wading through those tall word weeds, I know they can be cumbersome to some. (I hope there are those who ponder and further study those meanings, tho’)

Developing discerning means that we learn to scrutinize, investigate and separate or distinguish with spiritually discriminative senses any given situation, word, person, or spirit.

Jesus told his disciples –

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”

Matthew 10:16

Did you notice that word, shrewd? It is a synonym for discerning.

Jesus was warning the twelve, and his warning stands for us, we are sheep among wolves in our generation and we need to be exceedingly shrewd, and discerning among the wolves.

In another place it says –

Solid food is for the mature, who have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14

That passages tells us that it is through practice and exercise that we develop discernment. Discernment is like a muscle that strengthens and becomes more defined with regular workouts.

With regular work outs our discernment muscle learns to distinguish between good and evil, truth and error, spirit and flesh, God and Satan. Left alone though, the muscle will atrophy – waste away.

But it takes more than human flexing and pumping and determination to develop our discernment muscle. The discernment that we are taking about developing requires a spiritual activation, spiritual drive and spiritual direction.

The Apostle Paul identified one of the nine gifts of the Spirit as “the gift of discerning of spirits”. 1 Corinthians 12:10 So we know it is a gift of the Spirit.

But all who are born again have received a rebirth by the Spirit and thereby can and should be Spirit led and fed. That is not a spiritual gift, per se, but a benefit of being a child of God and heir in His kingdom.

Therefore, we learn to grow in the Spirit, follow the Spirit, walk in the Spirit and discern the spirits around us. Our life on this planet should be one of developing discernment to the things of God.

I believe, in the months that lie ahead, it will be imperative for believers to understand the times (like Issachar of old) and discern what the Spirit is saying. If they don’t, they will be deceived with the rest of the unbelievers. (check out 2 Thessalonians 2 again!)

It is my prayer, that all believers be strengthened in their Spirit and learn to discern the days and times in which we live, thereby walking in full victory in the Spirit.

To that end, from now until Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 18-19) our Sunday Sermons will be on activating our five senses to discern spiritually.

If that’s your desire, won’t you join me in presenting yourself to Him this week and inviting Him to touch your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and hands and teach you to mature in developing discernment?

Go with God.

Those darn masks

I have to chuckle each time I pick up my cell phone, with my mask on, and the facial recognition tells me I can’t be identified and I must enter my passcode.

Here we have the most elaborate and advanced mini computer ever created in our hand and it won’t work with face masks.

What’s so amusing is this is clearly stated in the Face ID set up directions, created and listed in November of 2017.

What Facial Recognition software is able to do is truly amazingly powerful. It uses a “TrueDepth” camera to analyze 30,000 invisible dots on your face and then create a depth map of your face, while at the same time creating an infrared image.

The neural engine of the bionic chip transforms that depth into a mathematical representation and compares it to the facial data that is loaded into the camera.

Voila, it is either you and you’re in or it’s not and you need your passcode.

This facial rec is s’pose to be intuitive and secure and is able to adapt to changes in your appearance and location.

The odds of a stranger picking up your phone and being able to access it with their face is 1 in 1,000,000. Add to that the fact that your phone allows 5 unsuccessful match attempts then locks, and you are said to be very secure.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it is all encrypted and protected by “Secure Enclave”. (whatever or where ever that is…)

Lastly about facial recognition, not only is it amazingly powerful but it has many uses. It is used to unlock your phone or ipad, you can make purchases, sign in and it even auto fills for you.

Obviously, facial recognition is not only used on phones. It is also used in DMV data bases, airports, Customs and Border Protection, traffic cams, police departments, Dept. of Homeland Security, retail stores, find missing persons, aid investigations and diagnose diseases, to name a few.

The seemingly infinite power of an A12 Bionic, 64-bit hexa-core ARM, high performance mobile chip is within your reach and available to you pretty much anytime you want.

And yet, it is rendered useless by those darn masks!

Hmmmm…

Reminds me of another infinite power that has abilities and uses which are available for us, all within our reach… and yet, we choose to cover ourselves with those darn masks.

Hmmm… think about it.

Cheers to you.

Give us a discerning heart

Sunday Sermon 8.8.20

“Discernment”, “discerning” are words not used frequently these days and yet, in my opinion, they are needed now more than ever.

How would you define them? Go ahead, think about it, create a simple and clear definition. Remember, though, discernment is not wisdom, understanding or knowledge; they are all different words.

It took me several attempts and mental edits to make it clear and concise in my mind. How did you do?

Here’s what the pros tell us discernment is: “the ability to judge well”. Another says, “to separate or distinguish between two or more things”.

Discernment is the ability to see clearly and decide between:

  • right and wrong
  • truth and error
  • good and bad
  • primary and secondary
  • essential and indifferent
  • permanent and transient
  • good, better, best
  • in Christian worldview the ability to think and see Biblically

Discernment is lacking and yet so vital today. It has always been so. So vital in fact, King Solomon, in about 900 BC made it his number one request from God!

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”

1 Kings 3:9

What a request! He could have asked for anything. He pretty much had a blank check from God. He thought long and hard and concluded that what he needed most in his reign, life and influence was discernment.

God heard, God honored his request and God gave him more than discernment. In fact, because he asked for discernment and wisdom in order to be a good leader and distinguish between right and wrong, God said He would give him wealth and honor greater than any other king. Thus, that is why Solomon is counted as the wisest and wealthiest man of all time. BECAUSE HE ASKED FOR DISCERNMENT.

This so impacted me as a young Christian, Solomon’s request for wisdom and discernment, that I made it my life verse, goal and prayer. It is powerful.

King David also desired discernment.

Psalm 119:66 – Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust in your commands.

Psalm 119:125 – I am your servant, give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Some call discernment a 6th sense. Some call it how things look in God’s eyes.

No matter what we call it, scripturally it is called for. Today we need it. We must call for it in our lives in a greater measure.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – examine everything sensibility

1 John 4:1 – do not believe every spirit, test the spirits

2 Peter 1:3 – God has given us everything we need for godliness

Matthew 7:1,6 – be careful not to cast your pearls before swine

In these days, we need to be able to distinguish between truth and error, good and bad. We need to be able to discern or judge well. We need to be able to separate between things and sort and sift wisely.

Let’s join Solomon and ask God to “give us a discerning heart.”

Go with God.

“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents”

Although written in 1770 by British spokesman, orator and political thinker, Edmund Burke, that title could have come from our headlines today, and certainly reflects my heart and message for this blog.

It is Burke who is credited with one of the most popular quotes of all time, (even though his speech never specifically said the words.)

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I’ll still take it, wont you? It is so good, JFK used it.

What Burke did say in his writing “Thoughts on the Cause…” was –

When bad men combine – good men must organize.”

Edmund Burke

I feel such an urgency for good men (mankind) to speak up, step up, step out, launch out, reach out, take action, refuse the trends, stay the “good” course, and as Burke said, maybe even organize. Why not? It is time!

In the words of President Grover Cleveland, “What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something.”

I am not running for office, nor are you most likely, but here’s the hitch- what are we standing for? Are we standing up for anything? Or have we allowed our voices to be silenced by fear, complacency, louder voices, cancel culture and censorship?

In the days of Women’s Suffrage there were suffragists and suffragettes. Suffragists believed in peaceful, constitutional campaigns for women’s right to vote. Suffragettes were activists, willing to take direct action into the community. Their motto, “Deeds not words” often led to hunger strikes and handcuffing themselves to the White House fence.

Both believed in the same thing – that women had the right to vote but they took action in different ways. The key though, they took action. The result? The passage of the 19th Amendment allowing women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony would have been proud, after being arrested and still voting 150 times illegally. She stood up for that right long before others jumped on board and made it legal.

Being a student and lover of American history (I hear a yawn 🙂 ) I can’t help but go to dozens of examples of those who stood up in the face of “discontents”, injustices, and hardships and joined with others of like mind to push through change.

The good people voluntarily organized and took persistent action so that the evils of their day would not triumph in their society.

What would the nation/world be without these who stood up for the cause that gripped their soul, and sacrificed their own self interests for the good of the society and future generations?

Consider the following and their causes:

  • Dorthea Dix – mistreatment of the mentally ill
  • Horance Mann – education reform
  • Frederick Douglass – anti-slavery, civil rights
  • William Lloyd Garrison – abolition
  • Ida Tarabel – investigative journalism (what’s happened to that?)
  • Jane Addams – help for the poor and immigrants
  • Booker T. Washington – black education and training (peaceful)
  • WEB Dubois – black rights, NAACP (violent if needed)
  • Sojourner Truth – abolitionist
  • Harriet Tubman – anti-slavery
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson – writer, reformer
  • Caesar Chavez – farmworkers rights
  • Malala Yousafzai – Taliban awareness, women rights
  • Florence Nightingale – nursing
  • Clara Barton – founder of the Red Cross
  • Marie Curie – medicine
  • John Muir – wildlife conservation
  • Upton Sinclair – meatpacking industry reform
  • Jackie Robinson – racial equality
  • Sally Ride – space travel

The world is a better and changed place because each of these did something with the passion they felt. They joined with others and got things changed. These good humans pressed through the evil and triumphed over it. “Overcome evil with good”.

Solomon, in Proverbs warned us:

If you do nothing in times of trouble, your strength is small.

Proverbs 24:10

So, how’s your strength? These are NOT “do nothing days”. Shame on us if we are “do nothing-ers”.

I conclude my thoughts on the cause of the present discontents.

Cheers to you.

How big is your God

When you receive “a bad report”, when you are feeling the walls closing in on you, when circumstances go from bad to worse – how big is your God?

When you see no way possible, when funds are low and stressors are high – how big is your God?

When you have prayed and see no “answer”, when you read and see “no answer”, when your faith is all but gone – how big is your God?

How big is your God? Does your God even care? Is He listening?

Is He bigger than your situation? Bigger than your problem? Is He bigger than you can imagine? What are His limitations? How big is your God?

Is your God made by man? Ideas prescribed by human thinking? Is your God based on the philosophies of man and man’s wisdom?

What God is it that receives your praise? Your strength? Your time? How big is your God?

This is a simple call to all who will listen, how big is your God? Because in these days, the god you lean upon, should be the One you trust in, invest in and be the One who saves, strengthens and uses you. So, how big is He?

Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger…

Isaiah 40:12

Think of it, visualize it… God, holding up his thumb and little finger in front of him and using it to measure the expanse of the skies, from one end of the universe to the other. On my hand, that span barely measures 7 inches. The God of the universe measures that very universe as a master navigator or chief contractor with his thumb and little finger.

That’s a big God!

That is a God who’s power is limitless. Who’s attention to detail never misses even the slightest change or move. That is a God who not only cares about every detail in his creation’s life but is big and powerful enough to provide the very answer to every need that his creation has.

That’s a big God. That’s our God.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out all the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

Isaiah 40:25-26

That is the very God who cares for you; is able to provide for you all you need. That is the God who has the answers, wisdom, strength, and is always listening to prayers. He will never, ever leave you on your own to figure it out by yourself.

That is a big God, yet that is a personal, loving and all sufficient God, who simply asks for your devotion. That’s a deal I’ll take any day!

Our God is limitless, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and best of all loving. He will not be confined, limited, shut down, or locked up. He is the Great “I AM”, who will be there for you in every situation.

So, how big is your God?

Cheers to you

Musings on Moving

Everything in the universe is moving. It never stops.

Everything is moving because there are forces at work causing that movement; forces like gravity and electromagnetism. If there were no forces at work, there would be no motion.

The Earth itself moves through space at a rate of 30/km sec. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, it will have moved 450 km- about the width of Ohio.

Earth spins on its axis at a rate of 1,000 mph, and a jumbo jet moves at 500 mph, about half as fast as Earth spins.

Movement is fundamental to life. We move our bodies to express wants, needs, emotions, thoughts and ideas. How well we move and how much we move determines how well we engage with the world.

We are advised, for the benefit of our own health, to develop a body that moves well. Our bodies are designed for movement and we must defeat the sedentary life.

Sir Issac himself, three centuries ago, submitted 3 revolutionary ideas about the laws of motion, which as we now know are the foundation of modern physics.

Remember these?

  • Things cannot start, stop, or change directions by themselves
  • When a constant force acts on a massive body it causes it to accelerate
  • For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

I hope I haven’t lost your attention … but this moving issue is vital to us. Let’s look at these life lessons we can glean from the facts I’ve shared above:

  • Movement is a constant in life. Things will move, change, rearrange, and relocate. Embrace it. Move with it. Adjust. Be fluid & flexible.
  • There are forces at work causing the movement. Some you support, others you don’t; pick your battles and fight courageously. Not all forces are good.
  • In the big picture, the speed of the movement isn’t the priority, it is that the movement is actually happening, albeit, often apparently slow.
  • We were designed to move and engage the world. You can and do impact, by your motions, those around you.
  • If you are an object at rest, a greater force will definitely act upon you to get you to move.
  • Don’t be surprised if your motion accelerates, that’s good! It means a constant force is acting on you!
  • Expect opposition and resistance when you move out, move on and move in. Newton told us about that too.

We need to understand, the world will not stop moving/changing. If the Earth stopped moving, the atmosphere would still be in motion at Earth’s rotational speed of 1,000 mph and the trees, soil, rocks, buildings, even your dog, would be swept into the atmosphere.

Movement/moving, changing position or thoughts over time is part of life. It will not stop.

As you feel the world swirl around you and whirlwinds blow past you, know that there is a Greater Force acting and willing to act on your behalf.

Learn to move with that Greater Force and keep on accelerating.

Cheers to you.

When all is stripped away

What do you have?

When the accolades, excesses, superficial and shallow are gone, what remains? When the cupboards are bare, the accounts low, and energy depleted, what is left?

What is it that is important? Is it things, memories, accumulations, accomplishments or status? Maybe deeds, holdings, achievements or awards?

When all is stripped away, what matters most and still stands, and will always stand?

What values do you hold true to? What characteristics do you cherish, honor and hold in high esteem? What truths are immutable? What ideas are solid yet evolving?

Who are you, deep inside, when all is stripped away?

Who are we as a society, when all is stripped away?

This is your bedrock. This is our bedrock.

Bedrock = the lowest point; solid rock underlying surface materials; fundamental, basic or relaible

What is it that can never be taken away from you? Your family?

What is it that cannot be taken away from your community, your nation?

Now is the time to see very clearly what is important, valuable, worth fighting for and burning at our core of who we are.

Remove the filters, reduce it all to the basic common denominator, and stand strong and unapologetically for those very values, ideals, truths!

If you do not, you, your family, your community and your nation may very well change forever into a place that you no longer recognize, prize, or desire.

When all is stripped away, I want to stand proud and unashamed for the principles, characteristics, morals, ideals and mores that I am built upon. When all is stripped away there are “these truths” that I hold as self-evident and I will not compromise them. No matter what. And I will not allow anyone to rip them away from me.

When all is stripped away, I will answer to the One who made me for who I am and what I did with what He gave me. And I will stand proud upon those things of eternal value.

When all is stripped away, what about you? Who are you? What do you stand for? What is important you you? What remains of value?

Cheers to you.

Acknowledgement

Can you recall a time when you were totally ignored? Have you ever worked for a boss who was sparse, rare or void of positive recognition? When was the last time you walked into a small shop having not received eye contact or a welcome from the worker? Who were you speaking to last when they skipped right over your feelings and emotions and went straight into “fix it” mode?

How did these scenarios make you feel?

Contrast them and the feelings they evoke with that of the Zulu’s, who’s most common greeting is, “SAWUBONA“, which translated means, “We See You“. (My husband and I experienced this first-hand when we had the privilege of spending time in Kenya and Tanzania.)

The greeting “Sawubona” represents the Zulu communities philosophy of seeing each other fully, not with just visual intake but with value and acceptance. Their seeing includes not just the person, but their gods and ancestors. The Zulu realize the need to see each other slowly and as they are. They have prioritized how to feel and listen to others.

After being greeted by “Sawubona”, the response usually is, “Shikoba” which means, “I exist for you”. Wow! What acknowledgement!

This is more than an exchange of greetings or pleasantries, it represnets a deep-seeded value for the community that says, you matter to us, we totally accept you, and trust you. It symbolizes the importance of directing attention to another person and embracing their soul.

Sawubona reminds them to see the other person as they are and pay attention to them.

The Zulu believe fellow humans exist only if others see and accept them.

In our Western society, we have missed this. We greet one another with, “How are you?”, and barely listen for a response. We fail to see each other slowly. Most of the time we fail to acknowledge one another as we should.

This word acknowledge/acknowledgement has been powerful to me of late; both in its possibilities and its cost.

With its absence comes a cost. When we fail to acknowledge people, when we ignore them, don’t listen to them, fail to recognize them, we devalue them. We are saying you don’t matter to me, and they hear I don’t matter at all.

When we acknowledge people, look them in the eye and give them our presence, we are valuing them and assuring them that their life counts, what they have to say is important.

In your family, haven’t you seen this? The simple act of acknowledging a loved ones’ feelings, position, or emotions yields great reward, for understanding begins to flourish because acceptance and recognition has been granted. Both parties have SEEN the other. Both parties have given and received.

When we allow someone to be fully seen, we are giving them a magnificent gift of being who they are, without fear or hiding. Yet, we too are receiving a gift, the existence of another valuable child of God.

The gift of presence, acknowledgment, recognition, Sawubona, is a gift we all have the power to give. It can and will change lives, one person at a time. It can and will validate, and strengthen relationships as well as defuse, and neutralize jealousy, envy and other damaging emotions.

Who doesn’t feel encouraged, accepted, and better understood when someone acknowledges them? It gives energy, purpose and resolve to keep on working, and not give up. It helps us to feel validation although agreement may not have been reached. Acknowledgement empowers.

Those sound like things that we all want. Don’t they?

Give (acknowledgement) and you shall receive.

Cheers to you.

The Heart of the Father

Sunday Sermon 6.20.20

Everyone of us have at least one thing in common and that simple truth is we each have a biological father.

That father, his presence or absence, strengths and weaknesses; all he is and all he is not, have shaped our thoughts, ideas, expectations, confidence, predictions, trust and image of what fatherhood is and what fathers do.

In addition to the biological father, some have had the imprint of another father (or fathers). Other men, who have impacted the views, feelings, impressions and perspectives of how a father acts, speaks, relates, teaches, and loves.

Our family, that sacred place where fatherhood is modeled, is the seed bed for how we see, relate to, respect, fear, honor, and love our father. In our families we learn to anticipate with joy our father’s presence, dread and fear his presence or any number of measurable feelings in between.

Fatherhood affects childhood outcomes from infancy to adulthood; including physical, emotional, academic, social and behavioral outcomes.

Along with those outcomes, consider these statistics:

  • Father involvement using authoritative parenting with loving and clear boundaries and expectations leads to better outcomes in every way for children.
  • Children who feel close to their father are twice as likely to find stable employment after high school, less likely to have teen birth, less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience depression
  • The quality of father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together
  • High levels of father involvement correlate to higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self-control
  • Children with actively involved fathers are more likely to earn A’s in school, and less likely to repeat a grade in school
  • 24.7 million children live absent their biological father
  • 39% of students grades 1-12 live in homes absent their biological fathers
  • more than 1 in 4 children live without a father in their home

And of course there are the statistics regarding fatherhood from the National Fatherhood Initiative that state, children without fathers in the home are:

  • 4 x greater risk of poverty
  • 7 x more likely to become pregnant
  • more likely to have behavioral prpblems
  • 2 x greater risk of infant morality
  • more likely to commit a crime
  • more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
  • 2 x more likely to suffer obesity
  • 2 x more likely to drop out of high school

Fathers are vitally important and how we view our father has impacted how we view our Heavenly Father. We see God, our Heavenly Father through the lens of our childhood/adolescent father awareness. Good, bad, ugly, right, wrong, our image of God has been shaped by our father image.

There is no judgment or comparison here, simply a statement of facts. That image has shaped how we see God as our Father.

But here are some valuable truths that reveal what our Heavenly Father is truly like, what his character truly is and what makes his heart pound. In Luke 15, we find these awesome insights into the Father’s heart and we see how he responded to his son:

  • when insulted and humiliated, he still distributed the inheritance to his younger son
  • his son took all and left
  • his son wasted his $$ on reckless living
  • his son was totally spent, empty and hungry
  • his son became desperate
  • in humiliation, the son wound up homeless, in a pig pen
  • alone and abandoned the son came to his senses
  • the son considered the servants at his dad’s place
  • he desired to return home as a servant and practiced his speech to dad
  • he admitted he was wrong
  • he set out to return home dirty, debased and unworthy

The Father’s reception:

  • from a long distance the father saw the son coming down the road (he was actually waiting for him to return and looking anxiously for him – after a long time)
  • with great compassion – he saw his son dressed as a beggar, but returning
  • the father raced out to meet the son, swept him up in his arms, hugged and kissed him in tender love
  • as the son started his speech, the father interrupted him and said, “Son, you’re home now”.
  • the father called for the servants to bring his very own robe and placed it on his son
  • then he called for the family ring and placed it on his finger (this allowed the son to conduct family business)
  • he then called for shoes to be placed on the sons feet (slaves went barefoot, but not his son!)
  • the son was home, now it was time to celebrate
  • a feast was prepared and celebrating began
  • the father’s heart was bursting with pride, happiness and love for his beloved son who was once dead was know was alive!

You see, the father’s heart is one of unconditional love. Always believing, hoping, loving. It is everlasting and unrelenting. The father’s heart hears our cries. The father’s heart is full of pride. The father’s heart has a plan for us. The father’s heart will provide and care for us. The father’s heart will protect us.

Your Heavenly Father is: loving, kind, compassionate, giving, faithful, merciful, strong, forgiving, good, righteousness, caring, sovereign, shepherd, ever-present, refuge, gracious, healer, powerful, one who saves, helper, and makes all things new. (I have verses for each of these if you want them.)

Our Heavenly Father shows pity, shows mercy, chastens whom he loves, loves us and is not only just but justifies us.

Our Heavenly Father gives life, loves his children, protects, provides, teaches and trains his children.

There is no man on the planet that can come close to modeling your Heavenly Father, but Jesus. But then, he wasn’t from this planet, was he?

So whether your father was a saint or a sinner, we can give thanks, this Father’s Day, for a Heavenly Father who loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and with all of his heart. He receives us, welcomes us, rejoices with us, forgives us, and celebrates with us.

God is love.

Abba Father = Daddy God, Happy Father’s Day.

Cheers to you.