The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Holiness and the Holy Spirit

Last week I was blessed to speak to a group of men in Chino State Prison. It was one of those times where the tangible presence of God’s Spirit was unleashed. After sharing a message on Abba Father’s love several men came forward for prayer. One man shared with me his painful story and how God had used prison to humble him and during this time the precious work of Jesus was revealed to him. He asked me to pray over him as he goes back home, tries to be a father to his four boys, and desires to live Jesus before them. He said to me “I can’t do this, I need God’s Spirit.”

This man was so right, he can’t do it, but the Holy Spirit of God can. This is where the Holiness of the Father leads us, where we know we cannot “do life” without the Holy presence of the Father invading our heart. The last few weeks we have discussed the Holy Heart of our Father and how first of all His Holiness humbles us and reveals our sin. As Isaiah found out in the presence of His glory and proclaimed, “woe to me!…..I am ruined” (6:5). Second, His Holiness brings us to repentance that leads to healing; healing that is only found in the blood of Jesus Christ, which is sprinkled over our sin stained hearts.

And the third gift of Holiness is that it leaves us hungry for the filling of the Holy Spirit. The man I prayed for had been humbled in prison, healed by the blood of Jesus, and now realized that he needs the filling of the Holy Spirit to live for Christ in his home. The Holy Heart of the Father always leads to a desire to live for Him in the world, to be His voice, to share the story of His love and glory. This is evident with prophet Isaiah as well. After he is humbled and healed he hears the voice of God say, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And Isaiah responds, “Here am I, send me!” (6:8). And what you have in the rest of the book of Isaiah is a man filled with the Holy Spirit who prophesied about the death, resurrection, and the breaking forth of the Kingdom of God through the coming Messiah, Jesus.

In a few weeks on the church calendar we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is the story of when ordinary men and women who had been humbled and healed by the Holy work of Jesus Christ, were filled by the Holy Spirit to share the message of the Father’s love. If you recall Jesus told them not to move forward until they were filled full with the gift of the Father (Acts 1:4-6). So they waited 10 days and prayed that The Father’s Holy Presence would fill them. The Father filled them with His Holy Spirit and they transformed the world!

There are 12 days until Pentecost, wait and pray with me that once again we would encounter the Holy Presence of the Father, to humble, heal, and to fill us a new with His Holy Spirit. How our world needs to see a Holy Father and His Son Jesus in us. Come Holy Spirit!!!!!!

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – The Healing of Holiness

“No pain no gain!” That saying came to mind as I watched my daughter’s track practice. After finishing a series of intense sprints, runners were crouching over and gasping for air. Some even looked for the nearest trashcan, feeling ready to lose their lunch. They were definitely in pain, yet the pain was serving a purpose as the team gears-up for its next meet and each participant strives to improve their competitive edge.

Looking at the character of the Father’s Holiness we noted last week that pain is involved, a pain that serves a powerful purpose. We can’t enter into the Holy presence of our Father without a total exposure of who we really are. Isaiah quickly found this out when He came face to face with the glory & holiness of the Sovereign King of the Universe, “Woe to me!….I am ruined!” cried this once proud man (6:5).

But for God’s dearly loved children this pain is to lead to the greatest of gains, which is His healing presence that restores our broken, sinful hearts. As Isaiah stood spiritually naked before the explosive purity of the Father King, there was a purpose and a mission was unleashed to cloth the shame-filled prophet:

“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (vs. 6-7).

This verse states that the purifying coal from Heaven’s altar now covered Isaiah’s sinful heart; the blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, now drenched his heart. This vision points us to the pain of the Cross, where the Father’s perfect one and only Son became naked and exposed with my sin and the sin of a rebellious world. The Holy Father turned away from His precious Son because His Holiness demanded it. Impurity was now dealt with forever and nothing would be able to separate God’s children from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

The gift of the Father’s Holy Presence will always take us back to the healing power of the cross. The place where the Son’s pain brought to us the greatest of gains, a restored relationship to our Holy Father. Last week I shared how an encounter with the Father’s Holiness brought me to a humble and broken place confronted by the depths of my sin. Yet, He did not leave me in the depths of despair He preceded to usher me back to the completed work on the Cross. And covered me afresh with garments of praise, a “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I Peter 1:8.

In the midst of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, worldwide terrorism, and riots in Baltimore, our world needs a Sovereign, Holy Father who leads us to the Healing power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. This is the only hope for a world groaning in unbelievable pain. Please continue to pray to the Father to unleash His Holy Glory anew in our day (Ex. 33:18). Indeed, through the pain there is great gain!



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).