Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Fatherlike Qualities

As I was reading about the Father Heart of God and the depths of His love for us, I was so overwhelmed with these thoughts.  I found myself studying seven areas of God’s Fatherlike qualities that have oft times been misrepresented to us – either through childhood situations or life experiences and hurts. Because we tend to see God through the lens of our own perceptions, we may have a reality about Father (Abba, Papa) that isn’t His reality.

The areas are: 1. Authority 2.Trust 3.Values 4.Affection 5. Presence 6. Acceptance 7. Communication

Let’s reflect for a moment and in the process, I pray, draw closer to the heart of Papa God.

1. What breeds distrust in you in the area of authority? Was there some male figure, who wrongly misrepresented himself to you through physical, verbal, or mental abuse? Sometimes, we shrink away from God’s authority because we assume He will be like other authority figures in our lives. Let me assure, He will not. Papa God is perfect love. You don’t have to run from Him. Even when you are wrong, even we you have sinned, even when you doubt or feel discouraged, run to Him. Run to Him, Beloved and hurl yourself upon His lap. Rest in Him.

2. Maybe as a child you lost a parent or were “orphaned” because other things took precedence over you in your parent’s life. Perhaps there’s been someone you trusted to be there “forever” that chose not to honor and keep a forever covenant. Now as God’s child, you find it difficult to trust in His faithfulness. Perhaps shattered childhood promises, neglect, or a broken heart causes you to approach Him with cynicism and distrust. Know, beloved that God is there. He has always been there, through every hurt, through every disappointment – even now, at this very moment, He is there. He is waiting with outstretched arms. 2 Timothy 2:13(TLB) records,” Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us…and He will always carry out His promises to us.” Go on, beloved. If your family member or spouse or friend or pastor failed in their responsibility to you, recognize it, forgive them, and go on to receive God’s love.

3. God’s values are significantly different from ours. While we tend to be caught up in the pursuit of things, the greatest demonstration of what God values is you. His Father heart for you is revealed in His concern for every single detail of your life. God is in the dailies. He loves to bless you, He longs to love you. Papa is not stingy, possessive, or materialistic. He values you.

4. You, dear one, are the apple of God’s eye. Even covered with mud, sin, shame, guilt, He doesn’t turn you away. No, as a mom would wash the feet of child whose being playing outside in the mud before coming in, Papa simply takes the garden hose filled with His son’s blood and washes you clean and draws you into a loving embrace. He pursues you with His forgiveness and His love. Stop running from Him, run to Him.

5. God has the ability to be with you all the time. It is true that He never leaves or forsakes you. He is always there, Jehovah Shammah. Do you understand why the reality of this truth is so important? Imagine if you will, a time in your own life, when you waited all day by the window for your mom or dad. Imagine that you had planned a romantic evening for a special someone in your life only to have him come home grumpy, not wanting to engage. Imagine that your mom and dad came home, time after time, too tired to revel in the finger-painted picture, too tired to hear about your day at school, give you a hug, make eye contact, the enemy begins to use these wounds to sow ungodly beliefs in your thoughts and your heart. “You’re not important. No one values you. No one wants to spend time with you.” You know, all of the lies we unwittingly entertain. Unfortunately, those lies unchecked create an expectation of alone-ness and isolation. We begin to be lonely and expect surface friendships, even in our relationship with God. Since our parents weren’t there, we reason, God couldn’t possibly be either. Beloved, God is our for REAL Father. He always will be. There is nothing fake or pretentious about Him. Try not to resent the failings of your human mom and dad. Try not to resent the failings of special someones' who did not meet your expectations. Rather, forgive and release them. And run to Dad, Jehovah Shammah, who is always there.

6. Let’s face it – we live in a performance based society. Much of the love we give and receive is based on conditions, whether spoken or unspoken. We, unconsciously, convey to our kids, “if you make the soccer team, if you bring home a good report card, if you clean your room, then you are loved, then you are accepted, then you will receive my praise. God, however, IS unconditional love. He loves us because He is love. We don’t need to do anything to convince Him to love us, while we were yet sinners, He loves us. All we have to do is receive His love. An even greater reality that Abba wants you to glean from His love, He approves of you. You are the apple of His eye. Imagine if Doug brought me flowers and said, “I love you, Felicia.” And then I in turn ran in the room and grabbed my wallet and tried to pay him for his expression of love. It would be like a slap in his face that I just couldn’t accept and receive his expression of love. Beloved, what is your response when God says He loves you? Do you just toss His bouquet of roses to the side with a shrug and a feeling of unworthiness? Do you fall on your knees with guilt promising to pray more, serve more, read your Bible more, do more, or whatever more frantic activity you think will be repayment enough for Abba’s love? Stop striving, dear one. As content as a sleeping babe curled in the arms of his mom after a feast of nourishment at her breast, so does the Lord desire you to be in Father’s love. Rest in His love. Stop your striving, dear one. Rest in His love. Enjoy the deep sense of peace that comes from knowing Dad loves you just as you are. “He is mighty to save, he will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

7. If you have been hindered in your relationship to God because of lack in some area of parental love, because of disappointment, or what you believe to be unjust circumstances, tell the Lord how you feel and ask Him for help. You MUST choose to forgive anyone who has hurt you. No matter the offense, you are 100% responsible for forgiving. There is no peace in bitterness. And beloved, don’t allow those subtle lies of the enemy to fool you. You are not alone. You are not the only who’s been there. All flesh is grass. All have sinned. All have hurt or been hurt. What counts is that you communicate those hurts to the Lord and ask forgiveness for the hurts you’ve extended to others. Talk to Him and then listen, He’s waiting to talk back.

God is the Perfect Parent, receive His love.

©2008 Felicia Murrell

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