The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Holiness that Humbles

Last week I shared how riding my bike against a 40-mile-an-hour wind was a humbling experience. It revealed my weakness! This is true as well when you experience the Wind of our Father’s Holiness as it reveals the depths of who you really are. When we get close to the Father and His perfect, pure, and holy nature, we want to turn the bike around as fast as we can as our sin and weakness are exposed before Him.

Yet, this is exactly what we need to encounter: a Father in the fullness of His Holiness. When we experience His Holiness we can then humbly come to know our true self, be healed, and become the true children He has called us to be. When God reveals His Holiness to His children it is truly an act of His love.

I will never forget a day many years ago when unexpectedly God visited me with the Wind of His Holiness. I fell to the ground as His nearness revealed the depth of my sin and weakness. I cried for several hours undone and broken before Him. By the time my wife got back from work that exposed sin and weakness was replaced by a powerful inner peace and a joy flooded my soul (I Peter 1:8).

This day of humbling helped me understand the utter importance of knowing a Holy Father. It made Isaiah 6 come alive for me, as proud Isaiah encountered the glorious King of kings high and lifted up. The sight of His Holiness as well as the angels declaration; “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory,” vs. 3, broke him. Overwhelmed Isaiah yelled out Woe to me!….I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty,” vs. 5.

True wholeness and healing in our hearts starts with a revelation of a Holy Father. Oh, how it hurts – I know. Yet, we need this gift of His Holy presence and need to cry out for help as Isaiah did. The realization of our weakness frees us to rely on the perfect solution provided through God’s Holy Son. More on this next week.

I believe one of the greatest needs today is for us to encounter a Holy Father! Our culture tells us to run, to cover up our sin, to cloth our nakedness with materialism, busyness, religious duty, etc. But this only leads to more pain and deeper separation from our loving Father. One of the greatest ways to open your heart to the gift of His holiness is to humble yourself and pray (2 Chron. 7:14). Moses prayed this simple life transforming prayer that brought him into the Holy Presence of the Father, “show me your glory,” Ex. 33:18. I know I need to realize my shortcomings and sin and encounter the holiness of God, and hope you find that you need this as well, so join me in this short but powerful prayer, “show me Your glory!”

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Holiness

Last week I tried to get a bike ride in before a snowstorm that was expected to blanket the Denver area. As I peddled out to the reservoir the clouds grew dark grey. Soon a gale force northwest wind hit hard and humbled me. I had to put my bike in low gear, stand-up off my saddle, and pound down on the peddles as my heart-rate raced out of control. It hurt and I wanted to turn around, especially as another biker passed me (from the opposite direction) with a thumb down, to show her disgust with the wind. What kept me crawling forward was the hope that eventually I would have that 40-mile-an-hour wind at my back.

And half dead I reached the point where I started to head southeast – and everything changed! I went from 6 miles an hour to the high 20’s. I felt like I could compete in the Tour de France, I even started to sing as I glanced at the white caps on the lake, hurling along by the glorious tail wind. As the pain left and I could think again, I pondered the invisible yet powerful wind. The sub-theme for the next few weeks of our blog series on The Character of Abba Father Heart is Holiness, or the Father’s Holy Heart.

Sometimes when I have encountered the Holy Heart of the Father I have been overwhelmed and humbled by whom He is, so pure and full of a glorious light that his holiness reveals my weakness and sin. At other times His holiness has led to a deep healing that has united my heart to His gracious eternal heart of love. And there have been times where Abba Father has unleashed the Wind of His Holiness, through the Holy Spirit who has empowered me to live out the Father’s will in a supernatural way for His glory.

If you survey the heroes of faith in the Bible who have experienced a Holy Father, you will find these three points present: Humility, Healing, and a powerful filling of the Holy Spirit. During the next few weeks we will unpack these truths as we consider the Holy Heart of our Father.

Take some time this week and meditate and pray through Isaiah 6, a passage that clearly highlights the Holiness of God. As you consider this passage, notice how the seraphs were calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty …”(vs. 3). I know of no other passage in scripture where a characteristic of God is repeated three times in a row. The Hebrew word for “holy” is qadosh, which means sacred or totally pure without defect. Heaven wants us to know how important the Father’s holiness is and how each of us needs to encounter wind of His Holiness.



The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Love’s Perfect Picture

“Where in the Bible is the actual word love found for the first time?” I guess I hadn’t ever thought of that question until a friend asked me? He had attended a powerful Easter service and the pastor had addressed this topic. So now I am asking you, “Where do you think the word love is used in the Bible first?” Don’t be tempted to read ahead, but rather start with a mental search through the beginning chapters of the book of Genesis. Did you guess God’s interaction with Adam and Eve? Surely you find it there with the creation of man and woman? Nope, keep going! Noah and God’s salvation story with the ark? Sorry, not there either. Maybe when God called Abram to be the Father of all Nations in Genesis 12? You’re getting close but not quite. You have to journey all the way to Genesis 22:2 to find the word love for the first time:

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah (present day Jerusalem). Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” 

Are you as blown away as I was when my friend pointed this out to me? God kept the word love sacred until the perfect time to unleash it in this story of amazing sacrificial love. As I went back and read through Genesis 22 the picture of a father’s love for his son, a son’s love for his father and Abraham’s amazing love for God gripped me. Here you have a triad of love that goes beyond what my puny mind can conceive.

This amazing and well-known story in Scripture is a divine set up that Father God wanted His children to ponder for centuries. A painful text that always begs the question in my heart could I have done this if I was Abraham? I freaked out when I lost my son in the parking lot of Sea Word (Blog Post March 17), my only son whom I love so much, I can’t even think about doing what God called Abraham to do. But Abraham loved God and believed God would provide another sacrifice some how, some way, and he obeyed (vs. 8). And as you may recall just as Abraham was ready to give up his “only son,” whom he loved dearly, a voice from heaven stopped him and provided a perfect lamb as a substitute for Isaac (vs. 10-13).

Fast-forward 2000 years and the story of Abraham and Isaac resembles another story of a Father who loved us so much that He was willing to give up His “only Son,” (John 3:16). The authentic love and genuine heart of God the Father demonstrated a love beyond human vocabulary. It can be best demonstrated on Mount Moriah where Abba Father did not intervene and allowed His perfect, beloved Son whom he loved for all eternity, to die as our substitute for every doubt, fear, lie, broken promise and ugly, awful sin you and I have ever committed.

As I pondered Genesis 22 this week I was excited to share this with you. God set it up so that the first place the word love was used in the Bible was between a father and a son and this earthly father was willing but was stopped from thrusting the knife into the heart of his “only son.” But our Abba loved each of us so much that he allowed nails to pierce His precious perfect son’s hands, he allowed his son’s feet to be imprisoned on a cruel cross in order to liberate my hands and feet so that we can run into His forever arms of love. The Father has given us the greatest of all pictures of sacrificial love on Mount Moriah! And he calls us to receive this love and experience eternal life which is to know the Father and the love given through Jesus’ His son (John 17:3).

The passion for Oceans Ministries is to make the love of the Father known I can’t help but see how this is the heart beat of our Father God. Here is a prayer that Jesus prayed for us, keeps praying for us, and He invites us to join Him in this prayer:

“Father…I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:25-26).

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Love One Another

A high school teacher who also happened to be my football coached invited our family to join him at a Maundy Thursday service. The church was located in a strip mall in a renovated movie theater. As we walked toward the church we passed several people heading to the bank, restaurants and a liquor store located right next to the church entrance.

We hurried through the doors to escape the unexpected heavy spring snow fall – yes, snow! We all could sense something special going on as we found seats in the front row next to my coach and his wife. We immediately noticed the church was filled with an amazing diverse group of races, ages, and back grounds.

In our seats we were greeted by those around us who made us feel welcome as if we were part of their family. My daughter Anna leaned over and asked me what does “Maundy” mean? I paused, and I hated to admit it but said, “I know it comes from the Latin and pertains to the Last Supper but that’s all I got.” A few minutes later I was bailed out by the pastor who explained that the word is indeed derived from Latin and means “new commandment,” the command of the Last Supper:

“A new command I give you: Love one another.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34–35

For the next hour we experienced the powerful love of God as John 13 was read, songs were sung, and we ate and drank from the body and blood of Jesus Christ at the communion table. Toward the end of the service we sang the old spiritual:

“We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord… and they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they will know we are Christians by our love.”

I stopped singing and I took in the miracle of the Father’s love. We live in a world torn apart by hatred and racial tension and yet in this room are people from every tribe and nation united around the precious gift of the Father’s love through the death of His only Son. This brought to mind Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21: “that all of them may be one. Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Thursday night my faith was recharged as I saw the gift of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s love do the impossible and unite a diverse group of people into one family. How telling that Jesus said that the world will know Him and the Father by how we “love one another.” This is often easier said than done.

We left the church service in silence, challenged to ponder the gift of the Father’s love that would be remembered the next day as Jesus took on the Father’s judgment for our sins. Once again we passed the liquor store, various restaurants, and the bank to get into our car, as we did I thought about the fragrance of the Father’s love that we can each bring to our community. Truly we are all called to make every day Maundy Thursday and love one another as the Father has loved us!