When my son was a small child, my husband used to tease with him most days. Their little banter back and forth has always been fun to watch. As my son has gotten older, the remarks have become sharper and wittier than ever. But what warms my heart the most is the relationship they have.
I giggle to think back to the time when my husband would quote this scripture to Nicholas:
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20
Back then Nicholas was too young to make a highly sophisticated statement in return. But he was old enough to read!
So being the mother that I am, I thought it appropriate to help arm my child with the Word of God. That night I took Nicholas to his room and showed him a little scripture he could use. Although it was admittedly a way to tease my husband, I took a few minutes to teach Nicholas how important it is to know God’s Word and to be able to use it to defend ourselves as children of God.
The smile on Nicholas’ face was worth a million dollars! He was armed and ready!
The next time my husband referenced Colossians, Nicholas raced to his room, grabbed his Bible, flipped to where we had marked it, and proudly came back into the den and proclaimed:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
I thought the three of us would never stop laughing that night! Well played Nicholas, well played!
Have you ever stopped to think about your heavenly Father? I mean really meditated on the fact that those of us who belong to Christ get to call the creator of the universe “Abba, Father.” And on top of that, we have this great Savior who gave His life so we could be a part of the Kingdom of God. There has never been a father and son relationship like it, and there never will be again.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
So intertwined is the relationship of the Father, the Son, and we shouldn’t forget the Holy Spirit, that one is not without the other. Though we long for our human relationships to be this close, I am certain that until we enter the Kingdom, we will never be able to imagine this closeness.
As Father’s Day approaches, take some time to reflect on the dynamic relationship of the Father and the Son!
I would love to hear your stories about fathers and sons. If you would like to share, leave a comment!
Blessings to you and yours!
PS: In honor of Father’s Day, here are two more posts I have done in the past concerning fathers. Enjoy!
All scripture taken from the:
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I hope love is in the air for you today!
Although we are not exactly sure when Valentine’s Day started, it has long been celebrated for hundreds of years. Do you remember the first time you received a Valentine? To be honest, I can’t remember exactly, but I do know I was introduced to the holiday in grade school.
We all went out and bought those cheesy little Valentine’s Day cards that you could attach a piece of candy to and proudly passed them out to everyone in our class. Or sometimes we would hit the motherload when someone’s mom would bake cupcakes and send them to school!
As I got older, however, and entered that awkward teenage stage, those with boyfriends were the only ones that received something on this special day. It was then I learned that love could be selective (or what I thought love was).
Not until I met my husband did I realize what true love was – a feeling between two people that was wrapped in commitment. See if you stop at love being just a feeling, then you’ve missed the point. Love is more than a feeling, it is a long-term commitment and it requires a little work.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is probably one of the most celebrated passages of the Bible when speaking of love. We have these words read at Christian weddings. These verses are displayed on plaques we place on the walls of our home. But do we, have we, taken the time to really let the words contained in those verses speak to us? Since the divorce rate among Christians is as high as among non-Christians, we would do well to review those lines again.
Today, I am going to use the Amplified Bible translation because I like the expanded language of the verses. Now if you are a strict King James version or New Living Translation user, don’t worry! The Amplified version only provides a little more context to what is already expressed in scripture. It helps simple-minded folks like me really wrap my brain around the meaning of some scriptures.
So here we go!
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. 1 Cor. 13:4-8
Let’s break that down a little, shall we? As we do, remember, this passage is not just about romantic love, but about loving others in general. (That stings a little, doesn’t it?)
Well, there are your 15 signs of true love. How many do you receive in a day? How many do you express yourself to someone else?
I hope you feel inspired today! If you need to work on one of the fifteen characteristics of true love, do it. You will never regret erring on the side of love. We were created because of and for love. Be the love you are longing for and watch how life changes!
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
As young girls, our feelings of infatuation for specific boys would rise and fall as fast as ocean waves crashing on the shore. Does he like me? Could he possibly love me? Remember grade school, when we would use the check box method to figure out the answer to this life-altering issue. You know, that little note with the check boxes for yes or no. You would pass that note to the person you liked and wait anxiously for its return! As we grew older, our methods changed and became way more scientific. That’s right, we turned to daisies. Yep, one petal at a time we considered the possible outcome – he loves me, he loves me not. And if the last petal pulled off the flower stem represented he loves me not, we were devastated. Well, at least until we found another daisy and started the process over again!
As Christians, we struggle to understand how such a loving and amazing God could love us. In our spirit, if we are being completely honest, we struggle almost daily with the notion: He loves me, He loves me not. A Chinese proverb states: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
I hear and I forget. We have heard over and over that we are loved by God. We can recite John 3:16 on demand. However, in our humanity, we so easily forget the depth of the Savior’s love. And when we fail Him, we immediately question whether we are truly loveable.
I see and I remember. The cross is so integral to our faith because at the site of the cross we remember what Jesus did for us. Standing in the presence of the cross, we are reminded what lengths He went to save us and how great His love is for us.
I do and I understand. What really drives home the reality of Jesus’ love for us is when we can share that love with someone else. When we are doers of the word, we start to understand Christ just a little more. In those moments, we are changing and transforming into the person He has created us to be.
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Today, let’s stop struggling with that question. Let’s resolve ourselves that we are loved -every.single.day. Be encouraged by Paul’s words, a man who stood firmly on the conviction that his Savior loved him:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. … And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16, 18 NLT
Ladies, we welcome you to a one-day event October 1st – He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Come rest at His feet. Hear stories of His great love. Worship with us, and strengthen your belief in the Savior’s love for YOU. http://believerschurch.org/home/whats-happening
Let’s admit it girls, we like bright and shiny things! Especially little diamond-embedded trinkets because they make us smile –a lot! And I don’t think we are alone in how we feel about them. I believe God is a fan of jewels too!
I mean if you read through the Bible, you will sense God’s take on bright and shiny things:
See what I mean! For God, however, these precious stones resemble something to be admired, not in the worldly ‘I got bling’ kind of way, but as reflections of transparency, flawlessness, and purity.
And for the children of God, those who are Christ followers, He sees us as just that – flawless and pure. Yet long before we ever feel like we are someone to be admired, if we ever do, we feel more like a diamond in the rough. But God sees us differently and has already spotted the thing within us that He is working to bring out –a pure, flawless, shimmering diamond.
Zechariah gives this picture of God’s people:
The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. Zech. 9:16 NIV
To think, one day we will be ‘like jewels in a crown.’ That’s pretty awesome!
But how are diamonds made? Contrary to your old science book, diamonds do NOT come from the breakdown of coal. Diamonds form in the deepest depths of the earth’s mantle. You see, the earth is divided into three layers, and the mantle is the middle layer. It is considered more than two thousand miles thick! It makes up over 80% of the earth’s volume. Think on that for a moment, and compare it to the depths of our souls. How far down do we bury our emotions? Some days, it feels about two thousand miles deep, doesn’t it?
But back to diamond development. In simplest terms, diamonds form inside this layering under high pressure and even higher temperatures. Sounds uncomfortable right? In comparison, God uses this same method to bring those things He has set inside of us to the surface. He uses terminology like trials (pressure) and refinement (high temperature) when speaking of how He transforms us.
Paul speaks about the process like this:
Yep, the process isn’t easy, but its results are magnificent!
I don’t think I have ever run into a Christian whose life has been transformed that hasn’t undergone the process a few times. And once you have been transformed a time or two, you understand that on this side of life it will continue. Sometimes our trials will be short and our refinement light, and other times we will feel like we are never going to see the end of the process. But God’s timing in these things are perfect. Our job is to believe in Him, and what He is doing, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.” Rom. 1:17 AMP
For today, don’t look in the mirror and see only the surface of your body looking back at you, but go to your jewelry box and pick out your best piece of jewelry. As you gaze upon it, know that what God is doing on the inside of you will make your presence among others glisten. And in that day when we stand before Him, we will sparkle like a perfect diamond!
So tell me, what is your favorite piece of jewelry, and why?
Amplified Bible (AMP). Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
A true story…
She was told to never walk on the Indian path, but the sisters decided to race home after they spent the day at Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn; the forbidden path promised a shortcut. She felt quite confident in her independence (at the rough age of 12) to win the race, so she separated from her sisters and speedily began her journey. In what seemed like a moment, she was stuck; quicksand engulfed her body and she knew it was a desperate situation. She clung to the one patch of grass in reach. The sand covered her entire body, to her chin, with the exception of the one arm that clung to the grassy patch as her lifeline. She can remember the face of a neighborhood girl watching in horror from a distance. The little blonde eye-witness ran away.
A young man in his twenties came to the scene. Who was he? Did the little blonde girl send for him? It didn’t matter to her because as their eyes met, she knew he was there to help. He said: “Give me your hand.” Her eyes widened to suggest that there was no possible way that she would let go. What if he didn’t grasp her hand when she reached? What if she would sink entirely?
What other choice did she have?
She must trust. Adrenaline pumping, heart-pounding sensations radiated throughout her body as she approached the moment that took all of her internal strength and focus to accomplish. This was her crucial moment, a now or never deal. She trusted. She let go and she reached up.
He rescued her.
She remembers barely muttering the words “thank you”
as she trembled with a rush of emotion
…and continued her journey home.
She is my nearly 90 year young grandma.
God desires for His children to trust His Mighty Hand.
I’m not Alice in Wonderland, nor Dorothy in Oz. I don’t always desire adventure or want to explore. I don’t think I would’ve ventured down the forbidden trail of quicksand as my grandma attempted. The unfamiliar places of life overwhelm me. I long for assurance, security, and peace in the journey far beyond adventure and exploration. I want to victoriously overcome and not cave to the overwhelming possibilities or fears of the unknown. I’m willing to learn lessons along the way to a destination, but oh yes, I want that assurance and security!
Is it possible? This life is full of disappointment, unexpected struggles or loss, and full of hurting and sinful people who hurt others. Everyone experiences the painful, the hurtful, the heart breaks… and the result is lack of trust. It’s difficult to trust in an untrustworthy world.
I cannot trust in man alone (because there will be disappointments).
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:5 NIV)
Nor can I trust the best provisions of man for the fulfillment of the deep longings in my heart, including that assurance and security I so much desire!
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7 NIV)
I’m a child of God settling my life and heart in the palm of His Great hand.
Do I trust Him?
Jonah in the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den, Joseph in slavery and prison, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace; the disciples as they watched their leader die on a cross…
I’m sure the characters felt overwhelmed and fearful, but when everything else was stripped away, what choice remained?
Trust God or not?
Job piercingly states:
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (Job 13:15 KJV)
Be His friend unto death, or not?
The once highly favored and successful Job had all stripped from him, including the lives of his family members, his property, his health, and the loyalty of his friends. He stood falsely accused of unconfessed sin that his friends claimed must be the reason for his loss and pain. His friends didn’t trust him and didn’t encourage him. Job could’ve lost all hope. He knew that God could allow him to die, but he put his trust in God, maintained his position of integrity, and continued to plead with God. Job sought to understand God, and God granted revelation of Himself to Job.
Job’s depth and understanding came with a great price, but God chose to honor His faithful servant and doubly restore all unto him.
God is with His faithful servants in the beautiful places of deliverance, restoration, and blessing. He seeks to be honored and glorified in the lovely seasons of life.
God is with His faithful servants in the ugliest of places… in the belly of a whale, in the den of lions, in slavery and prison, in a fiery furnace, in false accusation, in grief, in loss, in illness, disappointment, and sinking sand. He wants to be trusted. He wants to be honored and glorified as He’s trusted and called upon.
In this life, can I trust God is a Healer when He hasn’t healed me or someone I love? Can I trust He answers prayers while in waiting for the answer? Can I trust He is good when the bad happens?
How can I trust Him? The only way to trust Him is to spend the time knowing Him. Faithful prayer and Bible reading is the way to the secrets of His heart. Trust cannot be built in any relationship without the time dedicated to the other person. It’s the same with God and it will be difficult to trust Him if I don’t know Him. I read in His word the sweet encouragement to call on Him in the day of trouble. I know His word on the matter; I see His heart in the matter. He wants me to call on Him in trouble … so indeed, I will!
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:15 KJV)
There is so much to juggle in life, why not entrust it all to His skillful hand? I stand in a place needing the peace and assurance for the future, for the lives, health, and provision for my husband, children, and other loved ones. I can only stand secure when I first let go of my fears; my trust in man; favorable circumstances; any sense of entitlement to the promises of God for having previously suffered and remaining faithful through the trials – I must let go of it all. Absolutely all of it must go, and then I can extend my hand upward to God and allow Him to reach down and rescue me from all that entangles, engulfs, and entraps me in lack of trust of Him.
I otherwise feel like I’m sinking fast in sand.
He is gentle. He is loving. He is kind. He sweetly promises and reminds that…
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
The great men and women of the Bible first grew in their faith. They developed a strong relationship with God even when they didn’t have all of the facts about what would happen as they moved forward. I love the story of Abraham when he was called to venture into unknown territory. Hebrews 11:8 says that he “obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going.”
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) and trust is knowing the facts and odds are potentially lined up against you, but being willing to take a leap of faith anyway… because God is God. He is the Great I AM. He is trustworthy. Period.
The new seasons of life with unfamiliar territory of emotions and questions require new levels of trust, but also bring new revelation of who He is. Embrace the opportunity to know Him more and trust Him to guide.
I honestly trust my car GPS to get me to my desired destination. Likewise, God is my Guide. He knows the way through life and the secrets of life and the heart. He knows the way to eternity and He provides direction through His word. He promises to lead and guide through life and to eternal destiny. I trust He knows the best path for my life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)
He furthermore promises restoration in the next life for all of those that faithfully love, trust, and serve Him in this life. In the circumstances of this life when promises are not fulfilled, we can rest assured that He will fulfill every longing, reveal all things in truth, and reward in eternity.
I want to trust Him right here and right now, so I will seek Him… to know Him… to trust Him.
I will trust in the Mighty Hand of God. I will trust in HIM.
For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. (Psalm 48:14 NASB)
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. (Psalm 31:19 NIV)
Planting God’s Seeds of Hope
This post was written by Brook Joy. She writes articles on Faith, Life, Culture, and her personal journey with Health (IBD). Brook is a chocolate-loving wife & homeschooling mama (and a Christian for 20+ years)… planting and growing God’s seeds of hope at missionzera.com
I’m not sure what your church service looked like this past Sunday, but this was mine! At Believers Church, we had service outside underneath a HUGE tent adjacent to the property our church family will soon call home (hopefully within the next 18 months to 2 years). We called it Celebration Sunday!
Yes, we got a little crazy, but isn’t the love of Jesus something to be crazy about!
So what were we celebrating? I am so glad you asked! During this service, we were able to look back and see how far the church has come since the Rescue Project, a former project that allowed the church to build our current worship center. Back then, the church was really no bigger than your average Baptist church is today, and my husband and I weren’t part of the membership! We have, however, benefited from the hard work and strong faith of those who took God at His word and launched out into the unknown “to rescue those who were drowning in their sin.” Darrell and I came to Believers in 2006. Next year, we will have been with the church 10 years! And the growth has been incredible, so much so that we have outgrown our current building and are working toward building a new church that house all the kids, teens, and adults that Jesus sees fit to send us each Sunday (almost 1500 total).
Well, it’s November, the month of Thankfulness (which should be every day, right?). So as I reflect on November, I thank God for all that has happen this past year and for all that will come. What I struggle with the most is thanking Him for what is happening in the moment -right now, today! You too! I’m so glad you spoke up!
Crazy how we can reflect on past things or even dream of future things, but those things right there in front of us always seem to elude me. I am sure I am not alone in this, which is probably why Cinderella’s hit Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Til It’s Gone) was so wildly popular in the 80’s. (but I digress!)
I am so thankful for a God that sees me in the moment, and although it is against our nature, I strive to see Him the very same way. I want to catch Him working in my life every hour, even every 5 minutes! Good to know Jesus “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NLT). It gives me hope that I might actually catch up to Him someday. Ironic that to get up to speed with God, I actually need to slow down. Slow down from the busyness of the day, slow down and push out the distractions, slow down and listen for a small, still voice whispering words of mercy and grace to me.
So today I thought I would just post a little something to inspire you! I constantly need to be reminded how He sees me and what He wants for me. From these words in Proverbs, let Him speak to you and comfort you. Know that He is Truth, and He wants to share it with you!
My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him. Proverbs 2:1-8 NLT
This week I just wanted to share with you why I think the Bible is a huge love letter from God. First, nothing is more important to us than something written down. Sure, we love to hear family and friends tell us they love us, but there is just something special about having it ‘in writing.’ Second, the most significant reason for having something written is so we can go back and reread it over and over! In that way, we can relive the feeling we got when we first read it, and enjoy the moment all over again.
God is no different. He loved us enough to put His thoughts in writing, and He hopes that we will go back and read them over and over. So let’s read a little on the subject of love from our heavenly Father’s perspective.
12. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39