Tag: God

Anxious Thoughts

National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTCPractically everyone I know is struggling with anxious thoughts – uncertainty of finances, safety issues, health problems, dangerous weather patterns and simply losing the ability to have any certainty about where things are headed in this world. When the year that has just ended has been a particularly hard and uncomfortable one, what can alleviate anxieties about things over which we have no control?

David, the Shepherd/King, gives us the answer in Psalm 139.

Union_City_Oklahoma_Tornado_(mature)As a youth, he had already experienced that every battle he fought was not his battle, but the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47). Even from childhood, David’s sustainer was God. As he fought the bear and the lion, his only companion was God. As he faced Goliath, he knew that God was the only one he could count on – not heavy armor, not an army, not even his own brothers – only God. From an early age, David recognized his only provider, protector and guide was God. Where most of us would have been afraid to face a lion, a bear or a giant of a man, David was able to do so because he was sure of God’s presence. God would not allow him to go through anything that He would not bring him through.

He begins the psalm with the acknowledgment that God knows his every thought and his every move. You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways (v.1-3).

He ends with asking God to continue to search him and know his heart. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (v.23-24).How many of us want God to recognize our anxieties, to convict us of our wicked ways? David was a rare example of a man who knew he was blessed by God, who knew he was known by God and who knew, because of his own frailties, that he needed to be examined by God daily.

David’s penning of Psalm 139 does remind us he had anxious thoughts just like the rest of us. The difference between David and many of the rest of us is that he knew those anxious thoughts were part of his life and he surrendered them in advance to God – which is what the rest of us should be doing.

My Fathers

I can know many things about someone else. I can study his life and his accomplishments, but unless I have a personal relationship with that person, there are things about him I will never discover.

For instance, the first American president I remember was Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five star Army General in WWII who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He became President in 1953 and served until 1961. I respected and admired him, but I didn’t know him personally.

Frank Ballard, WWII photoMy father also served in that war, but was known by few people outsid547396_3527358137646_407129404_ne his family. I knew him as no one else knew him. He introduced me to Christ and loved me. My personal relationship with my father had a larger impact on my life than knowing everything I could ever learn about President Eisenhower.

When my father was dying, I knew he wanted me to be near him. I didn’t have to say much. In fact, he couldn’t talk to me. He was on a breathing machine. The doctors told me that before I got there, he had been struggling. He had pulled out all the tubes and tried to get out of bed. He fought the doctors. When he saw me, everything changed. He stopped struggling. He relaxed. His daughter that he loved was near.

You may be sure God is sovereign, good and righteous and that His Son died so that whoever would believe on Him would become a child of His. Many people know this about God but they don’t know God. Until you come to understand that He loves you personally, you will never feel blessed. In turn, you will not be able to bless others if you don’t have the assurance in your life that God is personally interested in you.

I know the value of feeling my Father’s presence. I talk a lot to God, but not always. I know if He needs to say something to me or I need to say something to Him we can talk. All I really need to know is that He is near.

Psalm 119 is full of revelations of how majestic God is, but the psalmist also describes God as a very personal God. As He addresses God directly, he says that God will enlarge his heart (v. 32), has caused him to hope (v. 49), is his portion (v. 57), God’s hands made him (v. 93) and God Himself has taught him (v. 93). His very last personal reference to his relationship to God is that God is near. That is enough.

You are near, O Lord, and Your commandments are truth (Psalm 119:151).

Relating to God as Father

“What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God for His Father.” – J.I. Packer

What are your thoughts about God as your Heavenly Father?

People often form their opinion of God the Father based on their experiences with their own earthly fathers. If a person is fortunate enough to have a good Christian father, those experiences bear some resemblance to God as Father. There are many, though, who had very bad models of fatherhood. Their perception of God as Father may be quite different. However, all comparisons fall short of God, our Heavenly Father.

Backward Thinking

When we apply our father’s attributes to God, we get it backwards. God created our fathers. God came first. Everything that a father should be God is.

Every limitation our fathers had, every mistake they made is because they were born into sin, just like the rest of us. The standard of measurement as a father is God whose love and ways are perfect.

Our error in thinking about the family of God, and God as our Father, comes from our perspective. When we view God as Father through the filter of family as we know it, there will always be faulty thinking.

If we are reluctant to take responsibility for disciplining our children, we may judge His commandments as harsh and resent His discipline in our own lives.

If we were never able to have a good conversation with our own fathers, we may have difficulty praying and approaching God intimately as “Abba, Father.”

If our father was selfish and did not work to provide adequately for his family, we may be hesitant to believe that our Father can and will provide for our needs.

If we had an absentee father, we may have difficulty knowing that God the Father will give us protection and guidance and be there when we need Him.

If we had a father who did not keep his promises, we may have problems believing God means what He says.

If we had a father whose comments tore us down instead of building us up, we may not see God as trustworthy and loving.

If we had a godly Christian father, we may still limit God in our thinking because our father had limitations simply because He was human. God is able to do far more than our earthly fathers were capable of doing.

God the Father loves us so much that He paid the price for adoption

Adoption is never accidental. It is an expensive and enormously time-consuming process. Parents who adopt a child reveal  – through their sacrifices – that they really want that child. Most parents adopt because they cannot have children any other way. God has a Son, but He and His Son desired to add to their family. The cost of our adoption was the sacrificial death of God’s Son on the cross. God is Creator of all, but only Father to those who believe in His Son.

“Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship, and establishes us as His children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the father is greater” (Knowing God, J.I. Packer).

God the Father shares His heart and searches for those who share their hearts with Him

The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (2 Chronicles 16:9 NAS).

God’s children can grieve and pierce His heart by disobeying Him and doubting Him. They can, however, please Him greatly with their trust and faith in Him.

A small child may be tempted to touch a hot stove. If he trusts his father, he will save himself a lot of misery by obeying his father when he is told not to touch the stove. He doesn’t have to understand what a burn feels like to trust his father. His father knows, though, and wants to save him from pain.

A child of God never understands everything God tells him to do. If he trusts and obeys Him, he will not only please His father, but protect himself. God reserves a secret place for those who trust Him. You can trust the heart of your Father.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).

© Stephanie B. Blake

November 2011

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