The Gift of the Father – Believing He is Good!

Do you believe God the Father is good? As a young boy I remember building a fort in the backyard thoroughly enjoying myself while nailing boards together on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But all of the sudden I set the hammer down wondering if I had accidentally broken one of the 10 commandments. After all “keep the Sabbath holy,” meant that Sunday was a day of rest and not work. I was afraid I had upset God and punishment was sure to follow for breaking the 4th commandment. As I recall the joy and fear I had on that day I look back now and I’m sure my Father God was smiling at the fun I was experiencing constructing the fort. But for many years it was hard to imagine a Father God who wasn’t angry, but rather good and desperately desired for me to experience the outpouring of His love.

When dialoguing about the need for another Great Outpouring of the Father’s love through the Holy Spirit, it is so important for us to believe the Father is good. As we considered Jesus’ teaching last week in Luke 11:5-6, we were given a picture of a man who desperately needed bread in order to feed a guest, he ultimately realized he had nothing to give. Yes, the first step in receiving this gift of God’s Spirit is to see our emptiness and utter weakness. The second equally important step is to believe our “friend,” our Good Father possesses the bread that we desperately need.

Where do you turn when you are empty, weak, hurting, or have a huge hunger in your heart? Where you go for help will show what or who you believe in. Often, because of my past fear of God the Father, I would go elsewhere to fill the longing in my heart. I would rush to sports, friends, entertainment, or try really hard to be a “good Christian boy” so the Father would love me. However, all those things could never fill the deepest need in my soul.

In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus reminds us where He went when in his humanity He felt weak and had nothing give for the work He was called to do. Jesus approached His Father. The Father He trusted to be good. The Father He knew loved to pour out His Spirit of love upon His Children: “Which of you fathers, if your son ask for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

It has been a journey for me to come to understand this, yet today I know my Daddy God is good and he has the best of gifts for me that will fill my needy and hungry heart. This week join me once again in pounding on Heaven’s door for a fresh outpouring of the good gift from the Father, His Holy Spirit. Oh and if you have ac chance listen to this song which reminds us to trust in the Father’s goodness!

 

The Gift of the Father – “I have nothing to give!”

One of the greatest spiritual truths that The Father continues to teach me is “I have nothing to give!” It flies in the face of my human pride to admit that I am empty, needy, can’t fix the problem, have nothing to give. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus teaches is the first step to prepare our hearts for an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Right after Jesus’ instruction on prayer in Luke 11 he teaches His disciples how to prepare for the gift of the Father’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Jesus presents a short story of the friend stopping by in the middle of the night requesting food due to an unexpected visitor who had arrived at his home. In Jesus’ day it was a social taboo to not welcome a guest with food and hospitability, it did not matter if they were invited or not and deciding “to go out” instead was not an option. After frantically searching the cupboards the man desperately yells out “I have nothing to set before him,” Luke 11:6.

Oh how hard this concept is for us grasp! In our American culture we have an endless abundance of just about everything and on top of that a spirit of self-reliance; because of this we have fooled ourselves into thinking we have something to give when in reality our cupboards are spiritually bare. We’ve encountered the latest and greatest “whatever,” we have read the most popular books, we have thrown our money at “it,” worked ourselves to the bone for such minuscule results. In our efforts to advance the Father’s glory, we have been left exhausted and empty.

Jesus clearly shows us there is another way to live powerfully and fulfilled in His Kingdom. Another way to bring the Father’s message of love and hope to a dying world, it starts with realizing that we have “nothing” to give. I sense that our Good Father is seeking to awaken His children to rediscover this deep, life changing truth! As I go online and read the news at times it overwhelms me with the impossible pain that is flooding the globe. Recently, I received a phone call from another follower of Christ beaten up for his tenacious faith and I realize I have “nothing” to give on my own. But the beauty of what Jesus teaches in the following verses all flow from starting with the realization we have no bread in our spiritual cupboards, we are completely empty and must look elsewhere. I need to find The One with the resources, The One who can fill my heart with the life giving Bread of Heaven and that is what will fill my spiritual cupboard so that I have something to give away.

I encourage you to join me in prayer, speaking the words from the vision of The Last Great Outpouring shared in the September 8 blog. Take a moment and ask the Father to show you how spiritually empty you are and how desperately you need Heaven’s Bread, a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

 

 

 

 

The Gift of the Father – A New Stirring

Why do I believe there is going to be another great outpouring of the Father’s Spirit upon the earth as mentioned last week? Prayer! Have you heard about the movie War Room? A few weeks ago my wife Patty urged my daughter and I to go see it after she experienced it with some high school friends. I say “experienced it” because that is what happened when we went. I have never been to a movie where so many people were crying, laughing, and cheering throughout the penetrating story line that was centered on prayer. Without giving too much of the story line away, it was about a woman who turned her clothing closet into her War Room. In that room she battled in prayer, this is where she fought impossible odds and placed the outcome in God’s mighty hands.

The amazing thing about this low budget, 3 million dollar movie, was how well it did in the box office. Despite showing in a limited number of theaters it was the top movie on Labor Day weekend. I heard on the radio how after watching the movie a husband went outside of theatre and got on his knees and asked his wife’s forgiveness. As this happened a group of people gathered around and prayed for the couple. That just doesn’t happen after a movie unless something supernatural is going on!!

As I have pondered the reason for the success of this particular movie, I think part of it is quite evident- it hit a cord in many hearts for the need to pray in the midst of overwhelming cultural and spiritual battles are glaring right before our very eyes. What valuable tools this movie offered. So often we neglect the power and value of prayer unless the Holy Spirit quickens our souls to see our own brokenness and our absolute need as helpless children. Yes, it is at that breaking point we fall to our knees and beg for the Father to intervene. I have had countless conversations in the last few months with pastors, church workers, and friends, who are sensing a renewed passion out of brokenness to get on their faces before God and do war in the spiritual realm over impossible situations.

Throughout the history of the Bible as well as the world you will see prayer is always a precursor to a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I believe the movie War Room and its unprecedented success is another indication that there is a stirring in the hearts of many that we have lived far too long in our own power and pride. It is time to cry out in our weakness, to cry out to a Father who promises a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May we be persistent as we ask!

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13.

The Gift of the Father – The Last Great Outpouring

Last week I unpacked boxes and boxes of books and was excited to run across a copy of a page from a devotional called Come Away my Beloved. For almost seven years this 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper hung on the bulletin board of my church office. Often I would glance up and reread the words. These words describing a powerful picture for followers of Christ. These words gave me hope for what I believe is yet to come.  It has been well over a year since I read these words and as I did my heart was quickened once again by a deep longing and renewed passion to pray for a move of the Holy Spirit.  I felt compelled to share these words with you and hope to expand upon them over the next few weeks!

Behold, you stand on the threshold of a new day. For I have truly great things in store for you. Yes, you have not power to conceive what I am about to do. For I will bring to pass a new thing. You will rejoice exceedingly. You have heard of the showers, but I say to you: I will send a mighty downpour. Many have cried out to Me from hungry hearts and have received of my fullness and seen My glory; but I say to you: In the day of the great deluge which is coming, many will come to know the reality of My power who have until now not even dreamed of such a thing.

Many who are scoffers and many who are honest doubters will find themselves swept away on the swelling tide of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For this is the time of the last great outpouring. This is the day of preparation for the coming of the Lord. Many shall rejoice together n the Spirit’s work who are now at sword’s point over doctrinal disputes and barriers of tradition. 

But let your hearts be encouraged; for a new day is dawning: a day of repentance and a day of gathering for My people. For they shall not continue to be barricaded and isolated behind walls of prejudice. I am the LORD, and I will be worshiped in spirit and in truth, and not in the bigotry of sectarianism and narrowness of denominationalism. The world is waiting for a robust Church to minister to its needs; and how can an ailing, dismembered Body bring healing to a sick and dying world?

Surely I will pour out My Spirit, and by prophecies, by signs and wonders, by many different types of miracles, and by healings. I will reaffirm the veracity of My Word and bring the message of the Gospel of Redemption to many who would otherwise never give heed. I am the Alpha and Omega. Stand firm in Me. Never waver.

Be faithful regardless of apparent failures and discouragements; for My word shall surely be fulfilled, and your eyes shall see revival in proportions such as never before witnessed in the history of the human race.

Keep your eye on the end of the course. Victory is secured already. Do not let the hurdles cause you consternation. Stay in the running. Truly, I am at your side. According to each day shall your strength be; and the race is not won by the swift, but the obedient shall receive the prize, (Come Away My Beloved, p. 130-131). 

I pray that you will join me in praying for this Last Great Outpouring!

 

 

 

 

The Charcater of Abba Father’s Heart – Stories of His Faithfulness

You and I were created to share the stories of our Father’s Faithfulness. A few weeks ago my sister and her husband invited over family and friends to celebrate the graduation of a young lady named Martha Kibozi. Martha had recently graduated from high school and was ready to head off to college, but what made this party extra ordinary is the fact that the Kibozi family, nine in all, should not even be alive.

After a great dinner we gathered in the living room and sang beautiful songs of worship led by Gilbert, the father of the Kibozi clan. After our time of praise Gilbert was asked to share his story of how he got to America. For the next hour we were overwhelmed by the testimony Gilbert shared of how he and his young family were forced to flee their village as civil war broke out in the Congo.

For a year Gilbert, his wife Ohga and their new baby Martha lived in the jungle hiding from ruthless soldiers seeking to kill them. They survived on insects, snakes and plants to keep them alive. As Gilbert continued to share how God miraculously saved them and opened a door for them to come to the United States, his face was radiant with a joy that is not from this world. Right before the eyes of everyone in that room was a living testimony of a faithful God who rescued this family and blessed them beyond words. Martha, who should have died in the jungle, graduated with top honors from her high school and is set to attend a state university.

That night we experienced “church” as the Father’s Spirit grabbed the heart of everyone in the room through as a story the Father’s Faithfulness was on display for all to see. Our family returned home that night filled up with fresh faith to trust in our faithful Father.

The Bible is one big story of God’s faithfulness to His children. As you and I step out in faith and allow the Father to do miracles in our lives we will become a living testimony of His faithfulness. Our stories will bring light, hope, and joy to a world in desperate need of an encounter with Jesus Christ and His Father who loves this hurting world so much.

Make Psalm 89:1-2 your never ending anthem to your Father’s glorious faithfulness in your life:

“I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever, with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”