Tag Archive: Father


Above It All

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This Mother’s Day…

As believers, let us never forget we can rejoice and praise the Lord in both the good times and in the bad.

We all have so many hopes and dreams, especially for our lives and our children’s lives, yet often this world sends storms beyond our control and we can do nothing but simply watch as our course and the courses of those we deeply love are altered. Sometimes these changes are, in part, due to decisions we have made. Other times, they are just the result of living in a broken and fallen world.

Special days like Mother’s Day can be so exciting, a time to thank our mothers and be thanked as mothers, yet it’s also a time when sorrow can quickly invade. There are many circumstances, some of which I understand first hand, that have affected families, ones that cause days like today to be quite difficult. Regardless of time, wounds are often still present. But dare we never forget that even in the worst of storms, the sun still shines above it all.

Praise Jesus, because for the born again believer, there’s eternal hope beyond the temporal storms and successes, above the peaks and valleys of this world. Regardless of the tragedies, trials, broken hearts and even beyond the earthly successes, there’s a wonderful kingdom above it all. This heavenly kingdom is eternal and available for any and all who choose to receive the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.

Despite what we’ve been told, true life is not the sum total of all our expectations, experiences, hopes, and desires. Life is so much more than us. True life is Jesus Christ and no matter what storms come across our course, as Christians, we can still know victory because our God is outside and above it all. Jesus endured it all and laid down it all. He became sin for us, so we could finally be brought above it all to know what life’s really all about.

He became the lowest of all and then raised up to highest of all to provide the only way for mankind to receive Him as our All in All! Only because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection can we have true life, ETERNAL life! In John 17, Jesus reminds us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”  John 17:3. The Christian life is not easy. In fact, it’s frankly impossible. Only Jesus lived it perfectly and only Jesus can live His life in us. True life is only discovered when we once and for all give Jesus the reins, letting Him lead us Home to our Heavenly Father.

But the old life I chose to mortify still knocks on the door of my heart and mind. It still wants to be appreciated, noticed, and coddled. It becomes jealous when anyone else gets the attention, most of all Jesus.The world, the flesh, and the devil will often remind us of the tragedies and fleshly triumphs, desiring nothing less than for us to lose sight of the Son above, all together forgetting about our risen Lord and Savior.  And days like today can sometimes become grand opportunities for the flesh to come knocking.

Instead of opening the door, may I embrace the true Comforter, the Savior and sanctifier of my soul. May I take my eyes off myself and instead look intently at the only One I truly cannot live without. May I learn to embrace the difficulties this planet offers as opportunities to steadfastly grow closer to my Rock and Refuge.

The Lord has called us to so much more than we can ever comprehend this side of Heaven. May we take time to love Jesus today, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. And then let us simply continue serving Him, letting Him take care of every outcome. There are perhaps many tragedies filling your heart today. May the Lord bring us above them all, empowering us to continue running the heavenly race He has set before us with joy and grace in our hearts!

May we simply abide in Christ, continually feasting on His wonderful Word. Then let us continue faithfully planting and watering His Word in all those He puts in our path. We cannot truly change the course of anyone, but we can point them to the only One who can. His light will shine, even piercing through the darkest of storms, and with it comes true life. What an absolute privilege and blessing to wholeheartedly love and follow Jesus, knowing He truly is above it all!

“Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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It’s often been said, but definitely bares repeating…

As born again believers, may we always embrace our faith in Christ as a child. Lest there be any confusion, being childlike is never to be mistaken for being childish. They are most assuredly a world apart.

Childlike faith recognizes and embraced complete and utter dependence upon the Heavenly Father. Childish faith continues to ignore this fact, instead attempting to accomplish the unattainable in his own power. Childlike faith is care free. Childish faith is careless. Childlike faith is trusting, yet testing all things according to God’s Word. Childish faith is ignorant and foolish, often trusting in feelings, not in the Lord who bought him. Childlike faith is always attentive to the Father. Childish faith is directed by his flesh, often tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

Childlike faith is selfless. Childish faith is consumed with self. Childlike faith is innocent regarding evil, yet not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. Childish faith is ignorant to Satan’s devices which often leads into areas loaded with spiritual and doctrinal landminds. Childlike faith happily receives from the Lord to then gladly give away. Childish faith is content to consume, rarely offering anything to anyone.

Childlike faith joyfully receives daily food from Heaven. Childish faith cares little for heavenly manna and is often ruled by foolish and fleshly appetites. Childlike faith is always inquiring of the Lord, always thinking, always desiring to grow in the knowledge and understanding of His Savior. Childish faith is always arguing with the Lord, questioning and complaining every step of the way. Childlike faith is humble, slow to speak and quick to listen. Childish faith abundant in pride, ever willing to cloak his ignorance in the abundance of words.

There’s a very good reason Jesus brought a little child in the midst of the disciples and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

God's Word FirstIn many parts of the world, people are taught to carefully create and diligently decide what jobs and training to attain in order to build a powerful and successful resume. After all, earthly speaking, our resume is often the key to opening certain doors in the business world otherwise unattainable. If I want to move in a certain direction in this life, often I must first attain, labor, and strive for the credentials and proper experience. Then I must carefully and creatively record each accomplishment to build my portfolio and resume, all in hopes of moving forward in my desired direction. But what should be the Christian’s most desired and sought after destination?

While there is definite merit in getting a good education, degree, and experience in the job world, I would argue there is a much better resume we should seek to be building, one that does not point to our intelligence, wealth, and experience, but one that instead displays our weakness and utter dependence upon the True and Living God.

Instead of dropping names in hopes of making us look competent and qualified, we should repeatedly record the fact that we are quite dependent on the Lord for everything we say, do, and think.  Our spiritual resume should minimize us and maximize the Lord Jesus Christ.  Arguably, John the Baptist may have summed it up the best when he said, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

One such example of a godly resume is found in Philippians 2. Here Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes about Epaphroditus. Most of us, myself included, might say, “Epaphro who?”  Philippians 2:25 says, “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.” Although he is only mentioned twice by name in Scripture, here in Philippians 2 and also in Philippians 4:18, he definitely serves as an awesome testimony of what occurs in one heart yielded to the Lord.

What a wonderful, godly resume Epaphoditus has! This is not to point to him, but rather to the Lord, who wants to work mightily in and through all of His adopted sons and daughters.  So what were the notable and biblical attributes applied to this believer’s spiritual resume?

BROTHER: First, he is called a brother. We all, as believers, are born again by the power of God, adopted into the kingdom of God.  We are not above one another, but simply brothers and sisters in the Lord, seeking to obey our Heavenly Father from the heart. Epaphoditus was called a brother.

COMPANION in LABOR: He was also called a companion in labor.  What a blessed title!  He was good company to Paul, encouraging and serving with him in this labor of love called Christianity. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 says, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…” May we always be good company to our brothers and sisters in the Lord, encouraging and reminding one another that our labor is never in vain and always in love!

FELLOW SOLDIER: Paul also referred to him as a fellow soldier.  We truly are in a battle and it’s a blessed thing to serve alongside fellow soldiers. This world is not our home. We are simply passing through. It’s been correctly said that we’re not on campaign to reform this world, but rather on a rescue mission, calling out as many as will come. The “mighty” Paul did not call Epaphorditus a private serving under “General” Paul, but rather a fellow soldier, comrades who desired to faithfully follow the commands of the Lord.

We are all equal at the foot of the cross; sinners saved by His grace. The work our Heavenly Commander calls us to on this planet is often difficult, dare I say impossible, without the Lord Himself doing the work in and though us! Praise God, although in a very real battle, we do not fight for victory, but from victory. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 remind us, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 

MESSENGER: Epaphroditus is also called a messenger. A messenger is usually not the one writing the message, but the one making sure the correct message gets to the right people at the right time. In both World Wars 1 and 2, carrier pigeons were successfully utilized to transport messages back and forth through very dangerous territory. Arguably, the pigeon played a crucial role in both World Wars.

A messenger has everyone other than himself in mind.  He must first make the author of the message his top priority. He then must desire those the message is intended for above his own comfort and importance.  Often the messenger receives the direct consequences of the message, yet he loves the message and the author more than his very own life. This constitutes a good and faithful messenger.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 we are reminded of the message we bring to those around us. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

MINISTER: Lastly, he’s described as one who ministered to Paul, his fellow soldier and brother in the Lord. Ministering simply means to serve, preferring the needs of others above our own desires, pleasures, and needs. In 1 Corinthians 16, it says, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, [be brave], be strong. Let all your things be done with charity [selfless, Christ-centered love]. I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that you submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helps with us, and labors.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-16   We are all called to be addicted to the ministry of the saints, seeking to be filled to overflowing with the love of Jesus, who loved not His life even unto death. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

May the Lord truly help us to earnestly and diligently add to our eternal resumes daily, first and foremost seeking those things which are above. After all, our home is in Heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.  What could be better than making the Mighty and Everlasting God our greatest pursuit and prize?!

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Giving All to Him!

Giving is an important and humbling attitude, yet not always the most exciting prospect to our flesh. As I think back to when I was little, I don’t think I was ever more excited than when I knew I was getting (not giving) something new. But one thing I now know… there is a reality beyond this world that reminds me that it’s truly more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35.

When Jesus spoke these words, I don’t believe He was talking against or contradicting the blessedness of receiving His glorious Gospel. Rather He was shining His light upon the selfish heart of fallen man. Adam’s race is by very nature selfish, creatures that desire to get as much as they can, many times giving only when expedient to self. In a nutshell, we are consumers at the core. But…once translated into the Lord’s Kingdom, being born again by His incorruptible Word, the beauty of giving should begin to bloom, becoming more and more precious as we yield to His Holy Spirit and Word. But why is giving more blessed than receiving? For the answer we need to go back to the beginning. 

God freely gave Adam and Eve their very souls, time every day to fellowship with Him, a place to live, food to eat and the company of one another. He gave them everything, yet instead of following His example of giving, they did the very opposite, taking what rightfully belonged to their Maker. They took their lives into their own hands, stealing from the Lord God. Ever since that first act of robbery, men have sought to take and take and take, not content until all is consumed, much like the locust.

But praise God He did not leave us in this predicament!  Jesus entered His creation, choosing to be born at the appointed time. Romans 5:6.  He was born as a man, never stopped being God, to do what no man had ever done, yet was originally created to do- enter into a life of giving everything unto the One who rightfully deserves it all.  Jesus laid it all down, giving up His life even unto death. Philippians 2:8.  Instead of taking, He gave His life unto the Father, a living sacrifice to redeem thieves and robbers. What mercy! What grace! What love indeed!

Giving, in and of itself, is a futile act unless you know the True One you are giving all to.  This is the key!  It truly is more blessed to give that to receive when you know who you’re giving it all to – The Lord Jesus, our Blessed Redeemer! Knowing what He has done for such a wretch as me… now knowing Him, my heart sinks in utter humility and is  filled with love for my Jesus! How could I do any less than give all to Him? May we always seek His face, asking the Lord to help us see how foolish it is to hang onto things that aren’t even ours! We have been purchased; bought with a price. Truly we are His, and what could better than that!? 

 “But drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe.  So here, Lord, I give myself away.  ‘Tis all that I can do!”  ~Isaac Watts

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.”  ~Psalm 100:2-5

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon His name: make known His deeds among the people.”  ~Psalm 105:1

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