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It’s often said and sung that this is the most wonderful time of the year, but why? Is it because, as a nation, so many rejoice in the True and Living God’s provision and protection over the last four hundreds years? Is it because so many have turned from their pride and gratefully embraced the goodness of God’s forgiveness brought to light by the true Christmas story? Or is the “wonderful” claim based more on the annual traditions and childhood memories tugging the flesh in hopes of recreating a time and feeling long since passed? 

Too often the real meaning of this time of year is veiled and even replaced by the sights and smells of the physical. Much of these outward accoutrements tend to build deep, emotional connections, establishing memories which are held onto for years to come. These emotionally based memories are what we call nostalgia. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with enjoying good food and activities with family and fondly remembering time spent with friends and loved ones. But should these nostalgic notions be the light that directs our hearts? 

Interestingly, even though this is promoted as such a wonderful time of year, for many, it’s actually filled with sadness and frustration. Perhaps this is, at least in part, for the same reason so many call it wonderful… Nostalgia

Jesus reminds us that we weren’t made to walk by sight (being moved and motivated by the smells, sights, and sounds of this world), but by faith (spiritual trust in and heartfelt obedience to our glorious Savior and Lord) (2 Corinthians 5:7). Unfortunately, while this time of year can be an excellent reminder of our Wonderful God and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s also a time that tends to prop up the old man, steadily stirring our earthly emotions and pulling on fickle and fleshly feelings. And it starts at a very young age. 

Nostalgia is really no friend to the Spirit-filled, born again believer anymore than the flesh is to us. May we hold lightly to this world and tightly to the Word. Let us keep in step with our Savior and Lord, not our fleshly feelings and fading memories. Perhaps, then we will truly understand the abundance of the life Jesus promises His children, never forgetting, the most wonderful time is yet to come. 

“Now He that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:5-8

“For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; you shall love your neighbour as yourself. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:13,14,16,24-25

“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:10-13

Most treasure that’s hidden is never then openly and freely given away. Treasure maps weren’t reproduced for the masses, but only for a select few. However, the Lord’s economy is completely contrary to the selfish, prideful heart of man and praise God for that! 

The Word of God, both written and living, is our complete and sufficient treasure. And although we must hide God’s Word in our hearts, we then are compelled by the Spirit of God to freely give it all away. Why? Two reasons come to mind. 

First, it is because of the God of love Who now resides within born again believers. Love is not selfish. The Lord compels and convicts us to open our hearts and fully share that which was fully shared with us. Once hidden in our hearts, the Word of God grows the peaceable fruit of righteousness, renewing and transforming our hearts and minds to think as the Lord thinks and to love as the Lord loves. We simply begin to desire that which our wonderful Savior and Lord desires. It really is more blessed to give than to receive!

Secondly, we understand our treasure never ends. God’s Word is not like a limited chest full of gold and silver. No, it’s a limitless, flowing stream of living water that flows from His throne. We never have to worry about running out… EVER! God’s Word is an endless supply of eternal and untarnished treasure. In fact, the more we give away, the more we receive. Truly, there is no treasure that can compare!

“Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

“I have not hid Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation: I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation. Withhold not Your tender mercies from me, O LORD: let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.” Psalm 40:10-11

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So often the Heavenly Father is thought of as menacing and distant… uncaring and harsh… irrational and inconsistent, but nothing could be further from the truth. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Many have perhaps unwittingly used their poor fatherly examples as a way to keep from really learning the truth about the Lord. Others have chosen to use their earthly fathers as an excuse for not drawing near to Jesus. May it never be! “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Psalm 27:10

May we never stumble over the earthly as we seek to know the heavenly. Yes, earthly fathers have a tremendous privilege and responsibility to reflect the Heavenly Father to their children, families, and the world around them, however not all fathers are born again believers. And others are still young in the Lord. And not to excuse sin, but we all fall short at times. It’s easy for us to forget that in order to know the truth of the Father, we must focus on the Son!

As fathers, may we first and foremost humble ourselves under the might hand of God. May we be willing to show our children that the best thing in life really is free, yet comes with a tremendous cost! May we demonstrate the importance of God’s Word and absolute necessity of praying for one another. May we be willing to show how awesome God is in blessing us with the privilege to share the Gospel with others. Our children need to see our daily dependence upon our Lord and Savior. They need to witness the complete and total integration of Jesus as our life! He’s not simply part of our lives. Jesus doesn’t just come into our lives. We must make Him our life. Only then will the love and truth of God and His Word begin to radiate as it should.

Our children, both young and adult, need to hear us pray and talk about the Word. They need to see our faithful feet sharing the Gospel and showing the love of Christ in this dark and deadly world. They need to see us stand up for the truth of Jesus and His Word and joyfully turn away from the enticements of this passing planet. They need to see our hearts fixed on our Heavenly home. In a world filled with examples, earthly speaking, the father’s has the potential to speak louder than all.

As children, may we never use our insufficient earthly examples as an excuse to serve ourselves. Instead, let us follow the Lord, daily spending time with Him. I had the privilege of seeing my own dad come to Jesus several years after me, so in many ways I was the one setting the example for him.

Growing up, we all have so many expectations of our dads, but all the what ifs, should haves, would haves and could haves just don’t matter in light of the Lord. 1 Corinthians reminds us, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11. After being saved we are finally free to focus on understanding and loving our Heavenly Father. Only then can we truly love our earthly dads as we should, often in spite of themselves.

And to those men who are older in the Lord, don’t grow weary in doing well! Continue shining the light of Jesus to those younger in the faith. My dad wasn’t a godly example when I was saved, but I praise the Lord for bringing someone in my life at just the right time, someone who took the time to encourage, correct, and instruct me in the Word. He was truly a father in the Lord. Again, in 1 Corinthians, the Lord, through Paul says, “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be followers of me.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16.

God is not some sort of mean, distant ogre in the sky, but He’s also not likened to a permissive grandfather who spoils us with soda and candy. To understand and know the truth about the Father, we must keep our eyes on the Son, studying His Word with humble hearts and ready minds. Jesus reminds us in John 14, “Philip said unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it should be sufficient. Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me had seen the Father…” John 14:8-9a.

For fathers seeking to point their children to the Lord and for children seeking to point their fathers to the Lord, may we truly make it all about Jesus, not us! If we want to know the truth about our Heavenly Father, then we must seek to understand and know the One who knows Him perfectly. Jesus really is the key to Father’s Day, turning every day into a day of worship to our Heavenly Father! What an awesome God indeed!

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear Him.” Psalm 103:2-13

TRUE LOVE

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True love is so much more than a feeling! It is not governed, as many would have us believe, by the basest and most vile of our emotional faculties. Sadly, what most call love should more accurately be categorized as lust.

True love is selfless and committed, regardless of one’s fickle and foolish feelings. True love isn’t blind. Rather it seeks knowledge and judgment, carefully weighing everything against the truth. (1 Corinthians 13) True love isn’t ignorant. It doesn’t look the other way in the midst of error or adversity. It holds high as its banners integrity and righteousness.

True love is greater than any emotion. Feelings are fleeting. True love is eternal. And in reality, only a born again believer can ever really know true love, for the Bible has correctly declared, “God is love” 1 John 4.

Don’t let the world’s lies cloud the truth. True love is intelligent, committed, and discerning! Jesus truly is our true love. Abide in Him today!

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;  That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ…”
Philippians 1:9‭-‬10.

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