The Good Father

prodigal song

“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.”

-2 Corinthians 6:19

There are those of us who have been raised by both a mother and a father, and there are many who have grown up lacking a parental figure. Yet the void is there, and each of us has sought to fill the gap, whether that gap is the tender love of a mother or the guidance and discipline of a father. Among those, are people who have had inadequate parents, maybe abusive parents. They too have a gap, an inner longing that can’t be ignored, not even in the passage of time.

No parent is perfect, but what makes a good earthly parent is love. A love that drives both parent and child to learn and grow together. It is a journey we are all on, regardless of age, a journey towards the Heart of God. Failure is inevitable, we will make mistakes, but what defines us is how we treat our failures. Do we give up? Or do we learn, dust ourselves off and try again? Luckily, we have the life of Jesus to look upon to guide us, and the Bible equips us in all matters, including parenting. We can even read all the stories of mothers and fathers who weren’t perfect by any means but learned great lessons through their short-comings, like Sarah and Abraham who had to learn to trust God. There are also stories of great parental love, like Jochebed who saved her son Moses life by sending him down the river in a basket, away from the slaughter of his fellow Hebrews.

It is no wonder, despite our shortcomings, that God still intends for us to continue parenting. He created the family dynamic as the best possible means of upbringing His children. We see the impact it has on kids when they are raised in a loving home, with parental love and guidance. Children grow secure in the knowledge they are loved and able to succeed. For those who are lacking parents, there are parental figures that are just as important. Whether related or not, God equips them to fill in the space of parent, offering advice, comfort, or simply being someone that is an ever-present figure to look up to. Whatever the circumstance, our need goes even deeper, so much so that our own creator has taken the role of Father, and us His adopted children.

Why a father? From God, both mother and father qualities reside as He is neither male nor female, nor Human for that matter. He is simply God and all things that we know to be both male and female characteristics came from His innermost being. We do not see this split until Adam finds himself at a loss while looking for a suitable companion. God then takes Eve from Adam’s being and sets her apart. And that is when the family as we know it began. Marriage binds both male and female together again, as one flesh, and it is both those qualities that help mold and shape children.

As to why we call God Father and not Mother can be explained by our deep need as I mentioned before, it is a need that affects the world at large. To further explain, here is a quote from William P. Young’s novel, The Shack:

“Let me say for now that we knew once the Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don’t misunderstand me, both are needed- but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence” 

Universally we are lacking true fathering. Nothing against the fathers out there, as I said this is a worldwide problem that has led to many others. Satan has attacked fathers greatly because of their potential impact. Imagine a world where every father followed God, and took charge of their families, what would this world look like? A mothers role is important, but the father is the head of every family by design. Removing this makes parenting substantially harder. A mother can manage it, but that child still needs a fatherly role model. Scientifically it is proven that young boys need a male father figure more than young girls do, as an abstract from National Bureau of Economic Research states:

“…we find that adolescent boys engage in more delinquent behavior if there is no father figure in their lives. However, adolescent girls’ behavior is largely independent of the presence (or absence) of their fathers.”

God has understood this great need, and though He has been called many names, “Father” or “Abba” is His most personal title. You can see what kind of relationship someone has with God by what they call Him both in the open and in secret. To some, God is not a father figure. Maybe they grew up abused by their own father, much like Mack in The Shack was. This can make it hard to imagine God as a “good” father. In order to shield their hurt, they avoid the term, until it becomes true for them. We call God what we know to be true, what we believe most about Him. It is time that He was seen as a Father again. In fact, it is necessary.

Satan has an agenda to destroy us. He does this through destroying our identity and our foundations. He fills the void with lies that lead to rebellion against God. But this world is full of orphans who need to see that a loving Father wants them in the family. That is the heart of God. All of us have seen good fathers, even if we didn’t have them ourselves, we know what a good father is, how much more is the Father who created them good? The fact is, if God was a bad Father, He couldn’t create a good one. Evil only creates evil, and true goodness only creates goodness. Our God is a good Father, just as Jesus is the good shepherd towards His flock.

I can say this with certainty because God has proven His character in my life. He has been a good Father to me. I’ve seen Him protect and shield me, guide me, and correct me even when I didn’t want to hear it. I respect His authority and yet I also get to laugh and dance with Him. He is everything a Father should be and more. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, He is good to me even when it doesn’t make sense. I don’t deserve such a love, but He calls me worthy.

What is your story? How has God displayed Himself as Father in your life?

More Verses:

“Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, LORD, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.” – Isaiah 63:16

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” -Luke 12:32

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” –
Matthew 7:11

 

Advertisement

Star Trek: Quotes

IMG_20160518_024630

The Enemy Within

Spock: We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man– his negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.
McCoy: Are you aware it’s the captain’s guts you’re analyzing?
Spock: Yes, and what makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.

 

In this episode, we see Captian Kirk split into two beings. One containing the more gentle and good characteristics of humanity, the other containing as Spock mentioned, the more hostile savage-like qualities of humanity. As Christians, that side is the flesh and sinful qualities that we long to be severed from, much like Kirk was. In a way, this episode is romanticising the fallen man. The animal man, apart from God and yet still somehow driven by God’s morality as a means to control savage urges. Symbolically keeping the beast locked in a cage. But is it truly these hostile qualities that make us strong?

I don’t believe this is so. The bravest acts of mankind I have ever seen were driven by love. Granted, hate is a powerful motivator, but love has proven more lasting and powerful. More men and women are willing to be martyred for the sake of love and faith than for selfish hatred or retribution. I would say that it is our love that gives us courage, as well as possibly our passion for justice, or our compassion for others. When we accept Jesus into our soul we cut away the old self, the fallen man. Becoming new creations, no longer enslaved to sin. Can we choose to sin and fall away? Absolutely, but to do so without repentance would be to openly declare allegiance to the evil forces of this world. As new creations, we have the Holy Spirit who convicts us, guides us, and comforts us in the ways of righteousness. To choose the old self, would be to ignore His leanings and to put aside His convictions willingly. It is much like being given a great inheritance and then throwing it in the fire.

Therefore, we are all better off without our savage fleshly urges, they weren’t originally a part of us. We took that identity when we turned our faces from God and His design. We still may be tempted, and at times we may fail, but when our heart remains for the Lord and His righteousness, we will continue to rise from the ashes and take up our new identity as sons and daughters of God.

What do you believe?

 

 

 

Timeless

13413246_600647696783964_1966434051_n(1)

 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

-2 Peter 3:8

Digging through river stones, feeling my excitement increase as I finally snatch hold of a stone that I believed had been untouched for millions of years. I examined it in the light and smiled, the perfect outline of a shell was pressed into the stone, a shell that most likely harbored a living creature at one point in time. A time of dinosaurs and cavemen, when the world was called, Pangaea. A single floating island amidst a blue sea. That is what I was taught growing up. I learned about fossils, glaciers, plate tectonics, and the many periods of growth and evolution our world passed through. At least that is what I was taught.

In school, they told us theories but presented them as facts. The theory of evolution was taught to us every year in some form. As to the age of our world and the solar system, we were told it was billions of years old. No one questioned it, we just believed what we were taught, because how could scientists have it all wrong?

As a Christian, I believed the world was created in 7 days by the spoken Word of God. To fit in the things I had learned in school, I surmised that maybe those 7 days to God were thousands of years to us. However, though our God used science to create this world, He isn’t bound by our laws, such as time. Once I learned this, everything began to change. We need to see the world from a new perspective to understand more about it. A different reality surrounds our own, and that reality is timeless.

A scientist can only perceive the world through the lens of his own understanding. Their job is to study, test, and record things that can be seen and record facts based on those findings. To study what can’t be seen is strictly theory, and though they deny it, they theorize based on limited understanding and resources, excluding any other alternative answer to our existence. Without God as a possibility, the existence of the world is even more miraculous and unbelievable. How could life erupt from an explosion? What caused such an explosion? Why is it that we are the only planet with life? The questions are endless and the answers take more faith to believe in than the alternate answer, “divine purpose.”

Mathematician John Lennox described it using this example. When you walk into a kitchen and see a pot of boiling water, do you wonder at how it miraculously came to be there? No, you instantly question who put it there and why. And you know in part, that it is there because someone wanted it to be there. It is more believable to imagine someone placing the pot of water on the burner than it simply popping into existence there for no apparent reason. The same goes for the existence of our world and universe, it exists for a reason.

So now that we have on our new lenses that can see the world objectively, not bound by our own reality and it’s scientific discoveries, but open to the possibility of more, we can finally start piecing together this great story that we are in. Knowing God exists, and understanding that He is all-powerful. He did more than put a pot of water on the burner, He created everything both seen and unseen. If you still want to think through a strictly scientific lens maybe consider this quote by Arthur Conan Doyle:

“Once you eliminate the impossiblewhatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

A logical conclusion arrived at through open-minded investigation of the available facts. Now, let’s go forward…into the reality of God. A realm without time.

How do I know that His realm is timeless? First, we know that God created everything, this includes time. Time didn’t exist or at least wasn’t measurable before God created the universe. There was no light and day, no revolving of the planets, absolutely nothing to measure or even change with the passage of time. In our universe, things begin and they end, in God’s they continue on just as He continues. Understanding this makes it easier to swallow the fact that God has always existed, that He himself had no beginning or end. To believe He was created comes from our reality’s perspective. Time, therefore, is pointless, created only for our sakes, beings who need to sleep and who are born and eventually die.

I could go on discussing this, even listing verses that describe God and heaven as everlasting. When we go to heaven we will share an eternity with God, being given bodies that will not die. This is when we enter His realm and no longer need time. But for now, we are here on this planet bound by time, and it seems to have passed through billions of years of it, doesn’t it?

I really advise that you watch the youtube documentary, Is Genesis Historyit will better explain how the earth isn’t truly as old as scientists claim, through raw hard factual data. I believe that most of our answers come from truly understanding the power of a timeless God.

He can easily create things that have the appearance of age. We see this in the Bible when Jesus turned water into wine. He didn’t make the cheap stuff, but the very best wine which takes years to cure properly. And yet He made it in an instant. Or how about when God created man, He didn’t create Adam as a baby, but as a full grown adult male in his twenties or thirties. I truly believe that God did create the world in 7 earth days as we understand them because God is aware of our timetable. He worked within it to show us His power and majesty. This includes bringing the stars light to earth for us to see, something that would naturally have taken years to reach us. Why create something His creation couldn’t see and enjoy after all?

When it comes to science and the matters of God, I simply advise that you approach what you see and hear open-mindedly, but not so much so that you overlook the answers when they reach you. There is a truth to be found, nothing is relative. And if you seek that truth, the truth that isn’t always what we want to hear, the truth that isn’t always convenient, but stands firmly whether the world hates it or embraces it…you will find it.

Timeless

What love is this that made me

Formed me from the dust

Gave His life to save me

A gift that does not rust

 

I want to live forever

You want to live in me

Though I’m tossed within this weather

You came to set me free

 

Priceless you have called me

Though my days pass on by

Closer to your presence

I’m never more alive

 

Time is not my tether

Because you never die

And fade? I won’t ever!

Your love keeps me alive.