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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.”

 

The Character of the Father’s Heart – A Declaration of His Faithfulness

I love when fellow believers in Christ are able to encourage one another on their faith journeys. I share this recent email from Lori with her permission. It has been an extremely tough year as Lori and her husband lost their teenage son in February, yet they are choosing to declare the Faithfulness of their Lord and Savior.

Just wanted to thank you and let you know that the Oceans blog today spoke to my heart. Waiting is hard.  And God is our only hope. So thankful for that reassurance that Jesus waits with us and I can’t wait for that Glorious Day when we shall all be made new. We are one day closer to heaven! 

In the waiting, God nudged me to write this Facebook post.  He has done amazing things already through this post, through Zach’s life and also Zach’s death. Even though we would selfishly wish him back in a second, in the waiting, God is producing fruit. We just need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” Habakkuk 3:19.

In the pain and struggle of great loss there is this powerful declaration in trusting in God’s “Sovereign” control over everything in life even the most painful of events. That God is enough, “The Lord is my strength,” He is the one that will sustain me in the depth of the valley of the shadow. And in His perfect timing will give me the “feet of a deer” to climb to new heights of His loving presence where His glory will flow out for the world to see.

Through the grace of God and the power of The Word, somehow Lori is able to make this powerful declaration. In the midst of her family’s painful wilderness she longs to declare with Habakkuk these words: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food through there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stall, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” Habakkuk 3:16-17.

Lori’s words challenged me to continue to declare that God is faithful even when I walk through the wilderness of uncertainty; I pray her testimony challenges you to cling to God and His Word as well even when there is no clear answer. May the words of Habakkuk 3:16-17 be your prayer, and through your struggle or time in the wilderness watch as the Spirit of the Sovereign God becomes your strength and brings you into new places of His glorious love!

 

 

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – The Holy Spirit and His Faithfulness

This past week my son TJ and I took a road trip. Destination? College! This is the first vehicle that TJ owned and since the truck is up in years and miles I thought it might be wise for me to follow him to Iowa and then I would continue traveling to Michigan where I have some ministry appointments. As the miles went by I found myself staring at the back of the blue Toyota truck as we passed through the never ending state of Nebraska, anyway, as we went along our way I thought about how our Heavenly Father travels with us on the journey toward His promises for us. He is always there to make sure we get to the place He is leading us to. Just as I was with TJ to make sure just in case something happened I was right behind him with my credit card to guarantee he arrived safely to college.

How much more does our Heavenly Father want you and me to know His loving presence; a presence that never leaves us alone on this journey of faith? Which leads us to last week’s blog? Do you remember reason 1 for waiting?

Reason 1: “..we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” (Rom. 5:3-4). 

The Father uses the struggle of waiting to build into our character a passionate hope in Him alone. The wilderness of waiting strips us of self and creates a total dependency on the Father and His faithfulness. This is the place the Father desires His children to live from, a place where He is our only hope for this life and the next.

Reason 2: “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,” (Romans 5:3-4). As we grow in this “passionate hope” we open our hearts to the greatest of gifts the presence of the Father’s love by the Holy Spirit. Hope prepares the container of our hearts to be flooded with streams of living water from Heaven. Jesus taught that the Father would send the “Counselor (the Spirit) who would be with you forever,” (John 14:16). We have a guarantee that is sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit that we are going to make it, that our God will do the impossible just as He did in Abraham’s life.

Jesus told His followers to “wait for the gift my Father promised,” (Acts 1:4). They needed to know the overwhelming love of the Father through the Holy Spirit so that they could travel forward with great confidence. I know I can’t make this journey with out the awareness of my Abba Father’s loving presence with me. Join with me in crying out for a new work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts making us fully aware of our Faithful Father’s presence with us. Come Holy Spirit, Come!!!

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Waiting for His faithfulness

 

The other day Patty and I were at a Christian worship concert. It was a beautiful venue with powerful worship. Towards evening Patty was getting hungry for nachos and apparently everyone else was as well. I finally inched toward the window and guess what? Two young girls were trying to cut the line and move in front of me. With Christian music playing in the background I blocked them out feeling justice must prevail. As I waited for my order to arrive I felt the nudge of the Spirit convict me of my impatience and my own struggle with waiting. Truth is deep down I struggle with waiting, be it in a long line for nachos, sitting in traffic, or on the promises of God. I have grown up in a culture that loves quick results and instant gratification.

Yet as I continue to ponder Romans 4-5:1-11 and the life of Abraham it is overwhelmingly clear that waiting is at the heart of a trust relationship with the Father. Abraham was 75 years old when God made His big promise to him about being the father of a “great nation” (Genesis 12:1-3). It was a 25 year long wait before Isaac, the promised son was born, talk about a long wait! The same story is repeated again and again in Scripture; the Father makes a promise and then the waiting begins. But why? What is His reasoning for making His children wait? Again in Romans God displays two important reasons for the wait. I will share one this week and have you wait until next week for the other reason.

Reason 1: “…..we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope..…”          (Romans 5:3-4). The Father uses the struggle of waiting to build into our character a passionate hope in Him alone. The wilderness of waiting strips us of self and creates a total dependency on the Father and His faithfulness. This is the place the Father desires His children to live from, a place where He is our only hope for this life and the next.

I wish I could say I’ve mastered this “waiting thing” but I haven’t He continues to shape His character within me. But as I learn to wait in line for His promises I also learn to cry out for the Spirit of the one who waited perfectly in His suffering. Jesus, the True Son, not only shows me how to wait on the Father, but has cleared the way through the cross, resurrection, and His present reign to wait with me. As I wait all I need to do is keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. He is my hope and He gives me hope! The Father sealed me with His precious blood; He has sealed you with His precious blood. AND this is a guarantee that every promise will be fulfilled in His perfect time.

Are you struggling today as you wait in a seemingly endless line for His promises? Gaze with me at the One who stands right next to us; keep your eyes glued to His beautiful face and trust that He will lead you into the presence and the promises of a loving Father. Join me in meditating on Hebrews 6:13-19 this week.

The Character of Abba Father’s Heart – Faith & Faithfulness

As I write this blog I am already counting the days until my family departs for Grand Lake Colorado. Grand Lake is one of my favorite spots in all of Colorado. I am looking forward to spending time in God’s creation before all the activities in the fall begin. Whenever I picture what heaven will look like I imagine a cottage on the shore of this glacier formed lake.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with the faithfulness of the Father?” Grand Lake is a tangible way to illustrate the importance of faith as it relates to the faithfulness of our Father God in both our past, present, and future situations.

Remember His Past Faithfulness: Even hearing the words Grand Lake brings back a flood of wonderful memories of past childhood days-boating, fishing, hiking, and simply enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. And, Grand Lake also makes me think of the countless ways in the past He has been faithful to my family!

As I have shared in a previous blog Romans 4-5:1-11 has been apart of my daily reading for the last month. Daily I read these words in Ch. 5:8 that remind me of His past faithfulness it states “God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” I praise God that He opened my eyes to my sin and revealed a perfect Savior in His Son Jesus. This amazing grace has been so evident in His past faithfulness and carries me forward into His loving arms in the present moment and the future.

Anticipating His Future Faithfulness: As I look forward to spending time at Grand Lake with my family, just the anticipation brings great joy. So too I look ahead with faith and joy to my Father fulfilling all His promises given for the future. Abraham is a great example of this because he believed God’s future promises even when it was deemed impossible (Romans 4:18-23). Yet, in faith he counted on God to keep His promise. Abraham knew that God was faithful in the past and would be faithful in his future. This gave him great joy for the present and great hope as he looked ahead to the future. Abraham claimed God’s promises in faith that he would have a son, and be the father of many nations.

What a blessing to be able to look back at God’s faithfulness and look forward with great joy to what my Father has in store for the future. Here is a powerful biblical promise that I have been holding on to as I look forward to what my Father has for me in the future: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…”Isaiah 41:10. 

Claim these future promises with me today: Your Father “will strengthen you and will help you,” and His powerful “right hand” will never let you go no matter what you are going through! Oh and next time you are in Colorado make sure to check out Grand Lake.