A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father.

When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.


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Monday
Aug142017

Transformed by love

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)

Love transforms. Those of you who know me will know that I often tell the story of the Sound of Music, a movie in which the love of Maria totally transforms the children and then the captain. And of course they end up getting married. 

Love is a powerful force and here we read that the love of the Father sets us free from our sinful lives and makes us alive with Christ. It is an abundant life and one we are meant to enjoy. Living with him is not only a secure place for us but it is also one of abundance and fruitfulness. The Amplified Version says that we are given "joint seating with Christ", it is as if we are placed on an equal footing with him. 

It is the Father's kindness, expressed in Jesus, that has set us free. Once again we see the generosity of our Father as the riches of his grace are immeasurable. He never rations his love, his grace or his mercy, they are an unlimited gift for us 

As we become filled with his life we are released to do the good works which he has prepared for us to do. Not everybody else's good works but the ones that have our name on. Doing only these things is the key to living a fruitful life where are hearts are at peace and rest. Let us look for these things and do them with all our heart.

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Monday
Aug072017

Seeing our glorious inheritance

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts opened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:16-18 ESV)

Paul's prayer for each of us is that the eyes of our heart would be opened in order that we may be able to understand who God really is. In the garden, following the sin of Adam and his wife, we read that "their eyes were opened", they began to see something. Now, we know that this is not referring to their natural eyes but to the eyes of their mind as they began to grapple with what was right and what was wrong; the consequence of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As the eyes of their mind were opened so the eyes of their heart began to close and this is something that Paul prays is now reversed. 

This transformation is beyond our human understanding which is why we need the spirit of wisdom and revelation. This understanding is not contained in our mind but is a direct revelation from the Holy Spirit and a gift from the Father who lives in our heart. We understand this revelation of the Father when we allow the eyes of our heart to take over from the eyes of our mind.

As the eyes of our heart are opened we not only see who God is, but we also understand our true inheritance which is to receive the full rights of sonship through the Holy Spirit. 

My prayer is that we all would have a deeper revelation of who we are and that this revelation would lead us into our glorious inheritance. 

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Monday
Jul312017

Sons and daughters are blessed

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us in order to receive the full rights of sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:3-5 ESV)

For a moment, cast your mind back to Genesis 1 and the creation of mankind. The first thing God did, even before he said anything to them, was to bless them. It was only after he’d blessed them that they were set to work in the garden and told to be fruitful and multiply.

It’s always been the Father’s heart to bless his children and Paul reminds us of this here in Ephesians. This is an abundant blessing: we are blessed, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing that is contained in Heaven. To me, that sounds like a lot of blessing.

One of Paul’s common themes is the phrase “in Christ”. Put simply that is the definition of a Christian, when we are born again we are in him and we are with him where he is. It’s all too easy to pass over that little phrase and miss the power of its meaning. Our lives are hidden in Christ and we are with him in the Father’s presence. Our true home is with him and as we live as sons and daughters we discover a greater reality of what living in Father’s presence actually looks like.

Finally, we were chosen before the beginning of time to be sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Some translations use the word ‘adoption’ which is slightly misleading as a more correct translation would be to 'receive the full rights of sons’. God always wanted a family who he could bless, we do not have to work for this blessing because it is our inheritance as sons and daughters. 

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Monday
Jul242017

What's in a name

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:7-9 ESV)

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27 ESV)

On Jesus' last night with his disciples he takes some time to talk to his Father and this prayer is recorded for us in John 17. He starts off by acknowledging that he has completed all that the Father sent him to do which is summarised for us when Jesus says: "I have revealed you to those you gave me". This describes a relationship, one we are invited to be a part of. He has shown us the personality and nature of his Father, he has revealed who God really is and in doing so has cut through the legalism and religion of the day. Jesus shows us that relationship is more important than rules or regulations. 

At the end of his prayer Jesus says "I made known to them your name and I will continue to make it known". Why? In order that we may know that we are loved just as Jesus is loved.  In the Old Testament there are over 300 names for God. Most of these describe a part of his nature or character - they tell us what he does. When the disciples came to Jesus in Matthew 6 I imagine they wanted to know which of these 300 names Jesus would recommend; after all he seemed to know God in a more intimate way than the other teachers who were around at that time. Jesus' reply is "that's easy - when you come to him call him Father, because that's who he is". This was a radical statement which shocked most of his listeners but it was, of course, true. 

In Jeremiah 3:19 we read the longing of the Father's heart: that you and I would call him 'Father' because that's who he is. All the other names describe what God does, Father describes who he is

Jesus came to reveal the Father to us in order that we could know him in the same way as Jesus knows him. He came to reveal the Father so we can know we are loved like Jesus is. He came to reveal the Father to draw us into that intimate relationship where we know that God is being a Father to us. A daily, living giving relationship. 

What's in a name? Everything!

Monday
Jul172017

Living in Father's comfort (Psalm 27 part 3)

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. You have said, “Seek my face.”My heart says to you,“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger,O you who have been my help.Cast me not off; forsake me not,O God of my salvation!For my father and my mother have forsaken me,but the LORD will take me in. (Psalm 27:8-10 ESV)

Psalm 27 is a combination of what the Father does for us and how we can choose to respond to him. Our response is determined by the state of our heart and the peace in which we are living. 

We only see a small glimpse of the rejection that King experienced during his life but it was obviously enough to make him write “for my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (verse 10). The rejection he’d experienced was enough to leave him feeling totally abandoned by them, despite being the king he felt a loneliness of heart.

The loneliness of our heart is a desperate thing. We feel empty and devoid of love. That’s what makes us take over and embark on a lifetime of striving and performance. With no-one there for us we believe it is all down to us to make anything happen. Instead of resting in him our orphan heart takes over.

Despite the rejection King David felt he knew where to turn to in order to receive life. The cry of his heart is to the Lord to take him in. He knows that is the place of comfort and acceptance. He knows that is the place of total acceptance and love. And so throughout this Psalm he keeps seeking the Lord and his Presence. What about us?  We, too, need to receive comfort – not as a one off but we receive comfort and go on receiving comfort.  We, like David, need to know that he will take us in. as we keep seeking him we will find his presence and discover it is a place of safety, security and comfort. 

Throughout this Psalm we have seen many things that our Father longs to do for us. Our human nature will always default to us trying to do them for ourselves and so my encouragement is that you rest in his love and let him become your light and salvation, let him safe you from your enemies, let him fight for you and allow yourselves the luxury of living in that place of comfort and rest in him.  

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Monday
Jul102017

Let Father fight for you (Psalm 27 part 2)

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. Though an army encamp against me,my heart shall not fear;though war arise against me,yet I will be confident.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. Psalm 27:3&6 ESV)

Psalm 27 is a combination of what the Father does for us and how we can choose to respond to him. Our response is determined by the state of our heart and the peace in which we are living. 

Last week we saw how our Father guides and leads us along the pathway of life and how he is the one who protects us by hiding us away in his presence. When we are hidden away we can allow him to fight for us. Rather than trying to fight for ourselves we can be confident in his ability to look after us and fight on our behalf. We need not fear when we are hidden away in his presence. In Deuteronomy 1 we read how he longs to carry us, all the way through the wilderness and desert and into and through the Promised Land. He will fight for us; the battles are his, not ours. 

Our response is that we can be confident in him. We have no need to fear when we allow him to be in charge. Handing over control of our lives can be scary if we don’t have a revelation of who he is and his goodness and kindness towards us. He is our Father and his heart is for us not against us. He will never leave us nor will he forsake us. His relationship with us is him being a Father to us and, as he is the perfect Father, we have the assurance that he is with us always and that his love for us is totally reliable. 

My encouragement is that you hand over your problems to him, let him fight for us and allow yourself to yield into his perfect love for you. 

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Monday
Jul032017

Looking at Father (Psalm 27 part 1)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? The LORD is my light and my salvation;whom shall I fear?The LORD is the stronghold of my life;of whom shall I be afraid?
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. (Psalm 27:1,4-6 ESV)

 

Psalm 27 is a combination of what the Father does for us and how we can choose to respond to him. Our response is determined by the state of our heart and the peace in which we are living. 

He is the one who guides our path when maybe we can’t see the way clearly. He is always showing the pathway of life and this it what will lead our hearts into peace. Of course, it is up to us whether we choose to walk in the light or whether we prefer taking our own independent journey. His pathway is the best on! Having just been in Uganda and Kenya I am only too aware of how important light is at night. A torch was my constant companion once it became dark as it helped me find the paths around the compounds. As we allow him to lead us and show us the way we discover it is a way of redemption and salvation. When we walk in his ways we need have no fear because he is our strength. 

He is our safe place and he is our security. He lifts us onto a high rock where we are safe and our of reach of our enemies. He hides us in his shelter. There is no safer place to be than hidden by him. 

As he guides and protects us our response is to continue seeking his presence, gazing upon his beauty and making his home our home. Our response when we are surrounded by our enemies is to lift up our hearts and worship him. 

All too often we focus on the problems in front of us rather than turning around, putting the problems behind us and gazing on his beauty and relying on his strength. My encouragement today is that, whatever problems are in front of you, you turn and look to your Father and as you do his peace will fill your heart. 

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Monday
Jun262017

No longer slaves

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive the full rights of sonship. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-6 ESV)

When a prisoner is released from prison they are free. Sadly, so many of them very quickly turn back to a life a crime because despite being free individuals their hearts are have not been set free. They have been released, set free, but they have not become free to be something different. 

We have been set free from something in order to be free to be someone. We have been set free from our sin and we have been set free from the law but for many of us our hearts remain trapped. We have yet to discover that we were set free in order to be someone different. Not a difference that comes through our own striving or performance but a difference that is an integral part of our redemption. We are set free from something in order to receive the full rights of sonship. To live as sons and daughters to our Heavenly Father. 

We are no longer slaves but sons, we have the Holy Spirit in us which enables us to cry “Abba, Father”. There are two sides to freedom: one is being from something and the other is being free to be someone. Let’s enjoy the fulness of our freedom and enter fully into our sonship. 

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Monday
Jun192017

Let the children come

“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15 ESV)

Jesus always welcomed children when they came to him. He clearly enjoys having them around as he travels and teaches people. The thing which most attracts him to them is their childlike heart which is one of simple dependency and reliance, they lack the sophistication of adults that tries to rationalise and work everything out. Jesus points to this attitude as being very important if we are to understand the secrets of his kingdom and be able to be a part of it. 

Just after this encounter with the children a rich young man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus doesn’t condemn or judge him for his wealth but speaks to his heart. in fact he calls him to have the same childlike heart that he has just been talking about. Can this young man let go of his reliance on his wealth and simply trust?

It seems he couldn’t and so he goes away sad. 

We read that throughout this conversation Jesus looks at him and loves him. Whenever we have an encounter with Jesus we have an encounter with love, there is no condemnation or judgement just the pure and perfect love that flows from the Father. 

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Monday
Jun122017

Chosen by Him

"...even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us to receive the full rights of sonship through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." (Ephesians 1:4-5 ESV)

I don't know what God was doing in Heaven before the creation of the world. We are so conditioned by time that there is no way we can begin to understand what it is like to live outside of it, one thing we do know is that God did not live in a timeless void of nothingness but he lived in the intensity of a perfect relationship. A relationship that he wanted to share with his children. And so I believe he was thinking about us as we were to become the family that was in his heart. 

He wanted his children to freely choose him, not to be forced or coerced into following him but freely choosing to love him and find their salvation through Jesus and his work on the cross. 

This was his plan. His heart is that we would become holy and blameless, living as sons and daughters and walking as Jesus walked. This is who we are - we are his sons and daughters. To embrace this we need the spirit of wisdom and revelation that comes as the eyes of our heart are opened and then we begin to see who he really is and who we really are. 

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Monday
Jun052017

Blessed with every spiritual blessing

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:3 ESV)


What an amazing declaration at the start of this important letter from Paul. We are blessed. That's exactly how it started in the garden way back in Genesis 1: God created mankind, breathed his life into us and immediately he blessed us. Before any instruction about being fruitful, looking after the garden or anything else - we were blessed.  

That is still true for us today. We have a Father who desires to bless us with, as Paul says, 'every spiritual blessing'. To me that sounds like a lot of blessings. I know that there are some days when we don't feel that we are living under the Father's blessing, sometimes things are tough and we can easily lose sight of who we are and who our Father is. But Father's view of us never changes - he sees us seated with him in Heavenly places having been made alive in him. 

This is the Heavenly reality about us which surpasses the earthly reality that we live in and often struggle with. My prayer is that we would begin to see ourselves as the Father sees us and that we would find that place of contentment and rest as we live in the love that he has for us. 

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Monday
May292017

We can freely enter Father's presence 


"And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who near. For through him we have access in one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 2:17-18 ESV)

Right from the beginning we have seen how God wanted to be a Father to his people and live amongst them. It was never his plan for his children to be kept at a distance without the ability to come into his presence, just like any chldren will want to do with their father. It has always been in God's heart to make his home with his people. Jesus describes this perfectly in John 14:23 when he says that he and the Father will make their home with us, in our hearts so we can be completely saturated by their life-giving presence. 

We are not strangers to God, he is the perfect Father who longs to be a Father to us. This is the daily revelation of living in the centre of his affection for us.

Maybe we feel that distance beween him and us, maybe we struggle to believe that he is the perfect Father, maybe our experience of an earthly Father has left us unable to trust.  Whatever the reason we now have the assurance that we have become his family and he has made his home in our hearts. Because of the saving work of Jesus we now have peace with the Father. Quite simply we belong. 

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Monday
May082017

We are loved as Jesus is loved

I have revealed to them who you are and I will continue to make you even more real to them, so that they may experience the same endless love that you have for me, for your love will now live in them, even as I live in them! (John 17:26 Passion Translation)

This verse really sums it all up: Jesus came to show us that we are loved in exactly the way as he is loved. The Father loves each one of us with the same intensity of passion and depth of love as he has for Jesus. This is not something we earn or receive through our hard work, it is a gift of grace given freely simply because the Father loves and wants to be a Father to us.

Jesus came to show this through his life, his teachings and his relationship with the Father. He continues to reveal the Father's heart of love to us in order that we can live loved. 

God is the perfect Father and he wants to be a Father to you. 

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Monday
May012017

We are with him

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 ESV)

We have seen how Jesus revealed God’s name as ‘Father’ and how he gave us the words of eternal life. And today we see the desire in Jesus' heart for all of us. He longs that we might be where he is. 

Jesus goes back to Father or as John puts it in John 1:18 he has gone to the Father's side (or bosom) and he longs that we might be in that resting place with him. This is the intimate relationship we are called to enjoy - it is our true inheritance and defines our true identity as sons and daughters. This is more than a longing as it is a reality for each of us to live in the Father's embrace. He is not distant or removed from us, after all he chose to make his home in our hearts. 

Jesus has done his Father's work but leaves the choice with us - are we willing to step into the Father's embrace and be where Jesus is?

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Monday
Apr242017

We have his word!

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:14 ESV)

John 17 is a summary of how Jesus revealed the Father to us. Last week we saw how the revelation of God as Father was much more than a formal introduction to someone but rather that name reveals the full personality and character of who God really is. 

We now see another aspect of the Father's will accomplished through Jesus - we have his word. Jesus was and continues to be the word of God and so the words he speaks will bring us life. When he met the Samaritan woman at the well he offered her a drink of living water, he offered her real life that would change her from the inside out. When many people are turning away from Jesus he asks his disciples if they too will be leaving to which Peter replies "where shall we go, you have the words of eternal life".

We are so fortunate to have both the written word of God and the Holy Spirit inspired words which speak to us every day. These are words of eternal life to us that can become our daily bread.

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