Remain in my love
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:7-9 NIV)
Last week we looked at 1 Corinthians 13:13 - "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love". I almost feel that this verse in John's gospel could follow on from that - "the greatest of these is love, now remain in my love". Living in love is the most excellent way.
As we read these verses we are presented with a choice, or rather with an invitation. An invitation to remain. To dwell or to abide in his love. To be at home in his love.
The Father is always loving us, he is loving each of you right now and that love is completely unconditional and not dependent on anything we do or don't do. Living in love is the key to a fruitful life. Fruit comes from abiding and not from busying ourselves with activity. That's not to say there aren't things we do, of course there are. But like Jesus, everything we do flows from our relationship of resting in the Father.
As we remain in love we discover the truth of these words:
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:27-30 NIV)
The next Fatherheart 'A' School in the UK is in July at Cloverley Hall in Shropshire. This is an opportunity for you to experience Father's love and to know his comforting love filling your heart. All the details together with an online booking form are at http://fhmaschool.uk You are all very welcome.
The greatest of these is love
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31 NIV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)
We hope for many things, some of which we may see happen whilst others fade away like a candle that is burning out.
Hopes, like dreams, are things we hold onto and they are things we really want to experience. I guess most of us know what it feels like when our hopes or dreams are shattered. It's a bereavement. We feel the loss acutely.
Faith is a bit like a fishing line. It goes off into the future, hooks onto one of our hopes which we then reel back into the present. Faith brings our hopes into our reality, it gives them substance. Of course it would be nice if we had faith for all our hopes and dreams but it often doesn't work out quite like that.
My encouragement is that you ask Father which of your hopes are going to be drawn into the present. That's faith. Let the fishing line of faith catch your hopes and dreams and may they become a reality in your daily lives.
Faith and hope are important but they are not the most important. Paul reminds us that love is the "most excellent way".
Whatever happens with our hopes and to our faith, we are always held in his love. His love surrounds us every day of our lives regardless of how we feel or what is happening. He is always faithful, he is always loving and when we don't see our hopes realised we do have the assurance of his love holding and carrying us.
For more information about the next 'A' School, Experiencing Father's Love, click here
I will be a Father to YOU
"Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 ESV)
God has always been Father, but does that mean we have always been his children?
Many years ago, I was single. Then I got married and became a husband. A few years later we were blessed with our eldest daughter and I became a father. Sometimes that's the logic we apply to who God is. We are born again, we become a child of God and we automatically assume that is the point in time he became a Father.
Well, look at it this way. A couple of years after our eldest daughter was born we had a second daughter. I was already a father at that point in time so I did not become a father, I already was one. Our family was simply getting bigger and my fatherhood growing. So can we apply this picture to our heavenly Father? Maybe. God has always been the Father of Jesus and so the more the children he had the more his family would grow, the more his fatherhood would extend.
But even this is not a complete picture. We read in Ephesians 1:4-5 that we were chosen to be sons and daughters before the foundation of the world. Jeremiah was known before he was in his mother's womb (Jer 1:5). David writes in Psalm 139 that we were known intimately by God before our birth and that he was our Creator. God's fathering of us goes way beyond our human understanding.
Many of us have had painful experiences with our earthly parents, none of us have had perfect parents and that view can colour how we see our Heavenly Father. He is way and beyond anything we have experienced and however difficult that has been he is the Perfect Father. He has always been our Father. The trouble is, we wandered off in our own independence and thought we could manage life without him. He has pursued us and done everything to bring us back home. Through Jesus, he has made it possible to come back into relationship with him.
A couple of weeks ago we saw how God is Father. Put very simply he has lost his children and he wants them to be found and to come home.
Paul describes it like this: "God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Therefore since we are God’s offspring....." (Acts 17:27-19 NIV). We are his offspring because he has always been our Father. We are invited to become children, sons and daughters, as we come home to him and that way is through Jesus and Jesus alone.
"I thought you would call me Father"
“I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.” (Jeremiah 3:19 NIV)
This is the prophetic cry that has been on God’s heart ever since Adam and his wife chose to walk in their independent and orphan-hearted ways in the garden. In fact, I believe this is the cry that has always been on his heart, even since before the beginning of time.
God longs, he waits, he yearns, he desires to be called ‘Father’ for one very simple reason. That’s who he is. He does a lot of other things: he heals, he provides, he cares, he protects and so much more. There are 365 names for God in the Old Testament, the majority of which describe his nature or personality together with the things he does. But one name describes who he is - ‘Father’.
As we saw last week, he has always been Father and he longs to be a Father to YOU.
Generally, a father will only give his inheritance to his children, he will not give it to servants or slaves. Our Father has a wonderful inheritance for us. It is the best inheritance of any nation but it is only given to sons and daughters.
There is so much more to being a Christian than purely being saved, as wonderful as that is. There is more. As we know God as Father, I believe he opens the door for us to step into our inheritance in a much greater way. (I have written more about this in my recent booklet “Father’s Comfort” which is freely available from the Articles page on the website).
He is Father, he always has been Father and he is waiting for you to call him “my Father”.