The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Faithful

“Great is thy faithfulness oh God my Father…

As a young boy I remember my Grandpa belting out these words from the well-known hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” This was one of my Grandfather’s favorite hymns and I must say it expressed so well his view of God the Father. My grandpa lived through so many peaks and valleys throughout his life, but there was one constant and that was a faithful God who stayed true to His promises no matter what.

I too have always loved this hymn, and the longer I journey through life the more I cherish the deeper meaning of this verse“…there is no shadow of turning with Thee; though changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; as Thou has been, Thou forever will be.” The author of this song was obviously inspired by the truths of Lamentations 3:22-23:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

This past year our family launched Oceans Ministries, truly a step of faith, yet we can testify to the Father’s “great love” and His “compassion” that shows up in GREAT FAITHFULNESS! Even in times of fear or when our faith is small and shaky He shows up and shows off as a Father whom never stops loving. I wish I could share my journal entries with you from this past year, truly page after page testifies to a Father who provides in miraculous ways.

Whenever my faith starts to waver I read through my journal and find a Father who continues to give daily bread, who opens up ministry opportunities beyond understanding, and who has placed wonderful supportive people in our lives that show us Abba’s heart in a multitude of ways.

Those of you who know me, know I can’t sing, but our Good Father has given me every reason to belt out the words “Great is thy faithfulness oh God my Father…”

Spend some time today looking back at your past and identify times where His faithful hand has shown up and showed off in amazing, loving ways.  Then how about joining me in singing this famous hymn and declaring the great faithfulness of your Father God!

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Choosing Joy

Have you ever had one of those weeks where it is a challenge to find joy? Ironically, blogging on this theme of joy for the last few weeks has put my joy to the test. Lately several of our good friends have been walking through a dark valley, experiencing marriage difficulties or a spiritual oppression that is hard to explain.

Last week one of the tipping points challenging my joy was a routine visit to the dentist. Typically, I walk in and out of the office with a great check up. Not this time, you know something’s up when the dentist brings the business manger in while you are still in the dental chair to explain payment plans. As I brought home the news about the discouraging dental report, the rest of the family also began sharing some of the storms they had been facing and to state the obvious we were all struggling with joy.

A good night of sleep did not bring relief and I awoke with a pit in my joyless soul. It seemed as if the pain of others and uncertainty of the future were all hitting me at once. As the sun broke through in the early hours of the morning I picked up my Bible and turned to Romans 4:1- 5:1-5. For the last month I have been reading this passage every morning in order to gleam what true faith and trust looks like from the Apostle Paul as he sees the life of father Abraham. This particular morning it was if the Holy Spirit took a highlighter to these words:

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us,” (5:3-5).

As I paused and digested the promises in this passage I found Patty and we spent some time praying about the Father’s promises. We proclaimed our trust in Him over darkness and spiritual battles in the heavenly realms that seemed to be a dark cloud over our family and others. That night during dinner the conversation led to how we all sensed a break through that day it was as if a heavy burden was lifted. About an hour later while I was working downstairs I heard my girls yelling with joy for me to come outside. As I ran upstairs and made it to the back yard I experienced an incredible rainbow. Oh the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” seeing a first hand picture of the faithfulness of God our Father!

Yes, I was reminded that joy has very little to do with circumstances, rather it is trusting the Father enough to rejoice when the dark clouds cover the soul and joy is hard to find. My dear friends keep choosing joy by trusting your Father no matter what your day may bring, He is faithful to His children!

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The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Abba’s Joy

How does your Abba Father feel about you? Last week Patty and I had the privilege of meeting a young lady named Emily. Emily is the daughter of a good friend of mine who tragically died in a motorcycle accident when Emily was four. Emily has very few memories of her father Ron and so she wanted to find out all that she could.

What a blessing it was to share stories about her father and the great friend he was in middle school and high school. In fact Ron was actually the one who asked Patty on our first date skiing, since I was too shy to ask her myself. It was a wonderful time-sharing story after story as she continued to probe about the heart of her father.

At the end of our time together I shared with Emily that her father would have been so proud at the godly woman she had become and how much she reflects him. We all had tears as we ended our time together, and quite honestly I have had a difficult time getting that meeting out of my mind.

As I thought about Emily’s desire to know what her earthly father was like it prompted me to think about the desire so many of us have to know the heart of our Heavenly Father. Deep within every created soul is a longing to know the Father in heaven. I believe ultimately everyone is searching to find Him and know Him because he created us to be with Him. As Augustine said, “our hearts have no rest until we find our rest in thee.”

Zephaniah the Prophet shared a vision with Israel about a day when those who trusted in God as their Father would “sing” and “shout aloud,” because: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you he will quiet you with his love he will rejoices over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).

Zephaniah longed for the day when the Father would send His only Son Jesus to tell and show the world what He looks like. That heavenly Father is one who rescues orphan children like you and me, brings us back home into His arms of love, and “rejoices over you with singing.” I love the Hebrew word for “rejoice”, it means to spin around violently with great joy. You make your Father dance! I know Emily’s dad Ron would want to tell her how proud he is of her and how she brings him great joy. AND, I can share with Emily and with each of you who trust in your Abba Father, that He is crazy about you. So much so that He dances and sings over you with great joy. You are “Abba’s Joy!” and He is never going to let you go.

Our Father has left us His great Word to show us and tell us just how He feels about His children. Take some time this week and listen to some stories about your Father from His love letter to you. Spend time letting Zephaniah 3:17 capture your soul and remind you that YOU are “Abba’s Joy!”

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Joy in His Presence

You have likely heard that where we spend our time is reflected in who we become and is evident in our countenance. This statement was evident as I was recently speaking to a group of 70 men. Each of these individuals faced the fact that choices, in this case the use of drugs and alcohol, had brought about negative consequences. As I scanned the crowd I took a mental picture of each man’s body language and level of engagement.

During the time of teaching I noticed one man in particular, he was very engaged in what I was sharing about the Father’s love and seemed to have a peace about him. Later in the evening I met Brad and he shared his story of how his addiction to crystal meth left him hopeless on the streets of Phoenix. That is until one day in brokenness he fell to his knees on the sidewalk and cried out for Jesus to save him. This prayer gave him hope and was the start on the journey of true healing. He went on to say that the only way his meth addiction could be broken is by daily living in the presence of God, spending time with The Father, and experiencing the overflowing joy that comes from time with Him.

Unknowingly Brad articulated David’s words in Psalm 16:11:

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Brad encountered Jesus, “the path of life,” who brought him into the “joy” of the Father’s “presence.” The Father’s heart is overflowing with joy, the fountain of every blessing we need to fill our craving soul. Like Brad, each of us seeks to fill the empty spot in our heart, yet so often we have bought into the lie of the enemy by seeking joy in substitutes that leave us parched and deeply wounded.

Our culture is desperately searching for “joy,” and yet continues to fall short of locating that authentic joy. No matter how many drinks are consumed, drugs used, stuff purchased, sex encountered, no matter how hard we try for the acceptance of others, somehow joy eludes us. But as I think of Brad’s face beaming with an eternal glow there is hope for us joy seekers. Our Father has a limitless supply of joy that flows out of His heart and He longs for you and me to follow His Son Jesus home to a place filled with “joy unspeakable and full of glory,” (I Peter 1:8).

Make His presence your priority and prepare to be overtaken by Heaven’s joy!