Posts Tagged With: father

My Father’s Love: Assurance of No Abandonment.

I have been thinking about how my father showed love for me.

One dramatic demonstration of love was when he ran after me when I tried to run away. For whatever reason, I was cranky and wanted to live in the forest. Dad knew I wouldn’t last long out there, but, as if to underscore how much his love yearned to have me at home, he ran wholeheartedly after me and caught me and pulled me kicking & screaming and brought me home and gave a whooping. Then, in that place, tears streaming down my face, I felt loved. My father would run after me and get me if I ever got lost. Every child needs a father who will do that for them. The Lord disciplines those He loves, and I am thankful that our father disciplined us.

Another time I experienced my father’s love was when we went on the journey of a lifetime. We called it our East-West-and-Crazy trip, visiting most of the states west of the Mississippi and many of the national parks in the contiguous Western USA. Many significant memories were formed on that journey. It was a family forging journey, like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Anybody who has had to zip through the west with a minivan full of a bunch of kids with no air conditioning and seeing the wonders God has performed in shaping the earth will know how suffering creates healthy, if traumatized children. We were on the journey together and experienced first hand vistas that many only see in the movies or on TV or photo books.

Years later, I fell ill. It was not fun. I was in the process of maturing from childhood to adulthood. Though I had been voted most likely to succeed in my graduating class, I suddenly felt like the biggest failure. At the worst of it, I was having seizures and could not even go to church. I was weak, tired, exhausted, nervous, anxious, scared, alone in my heart, all rolled up in one big bundle of trouble. I probably didn’t look that sick to a passerby, unless I was out walking around the neighborhood trying to get exercise by swinging a baseball bat and wearing a blanket like a kilt. I so craved to be normal again: going to school, reading regular non-children’s books, feeling alive again, feeling human again. I remember that during this season of my life there were times when I lost whole days of memory and cried when asked about things I couldn’t remember. I wanted to carry on a normal conversation and could hardly get a sentence out of my mouth. I sought medical help, but doctors only seemed to make things worse, most of the time, I sought pastoral counsel, but they didn’t know what to make of me since I couldn’t even talk and appeared to have no infectious diseases and had no apparent sin.

In the middle of that worst season of my life, I one time tried going to church, but fell into petit mal seizures once again. My dad prayed with me. Sat with me. and waited. My mom spent as much time as she could then went to her meeting. My dad lingered, then, I remember him getting up and saying, “I’m going to have to leave you, but I’m not going to abandon you. I’ll be back.” Then he went off to the prayer meeting.

However, I kept mulling over what he said. He had left with a smile, and I managed to smile back, however faintly. Most likely, the church continued to pray for me as they had since I had first developed the seizures following a medical error. I had no profound epiphany, but I felt loved. I needed a dad who would love me even when I could do nothing for him or with him or ever expect to repay him.

It was also in this season, the deepest season of depression and agony that I have ever been in, that I encountered what it means for God to pour out His Spirit of adoption again on one of His children, on one who is poor in spirit. If there ever was someone afflicted, it was me. I had seizures in church. NOT FUN. Suddenly I couldn’t talk, my muscles stiffened, I was a dead weight. It happened right after going to the single’s class at church and my last words were, “I guess I’m in the right class.” I was single, yes, but God wanted me to go home.

That day, the pastor and some elders prayed for me. They continued to pray for the weeks following. It was also that season, when I had a profound turn around. I had tried everything I knew to get better. I had even complained to God. He seemed silent. One day though, almost as if I had no place else to turn, I sat one evening in the Laz-E-Boy recliner that has since been incinerated. I would spend long hours there while I was sick. That evening though, I was alone in my thoughts until I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord.

I handed over my life to God again, “I may be an invalid the rest of my life, Lord. But I’m going to be the best invalid You ever had.” Then I got up and went to bed, ready to sleep a long time.

The next morning, I awoke. For the first time in a long time, my heart was at peace. My Mom, who had chosen to take a break from work while I recovered, greeted me in the kitchen. She said, “Mert, you look different, what happened?” I answered, “I feel different. I feel like God is my Father and He is holding me in His arms.”

Everyone needs time to come home to the Lord, when He will embrace you and receive you just as you are, with all your pain and loneliness and anger and agony and fear and rage, and He will simply embrace you. No mere human can fully mediate that grace. My Dad is the best dad a young person could ask for, but he could only be with me so much. At that moment, I needed my Father in Heaven to smile on me and embrace me as His son, well loved, accepted and approved.

If you ever feel ill and like your life is wasting away, I dare you to pray like I did, “Lord, I may be an invalid the rest of my life, but I will be the best invalid You ever had.” God will hear your prayer and prove to you that in His eyes, you are very valid and most precious, accepted in the Beloved..

Categories: Peer support, Suffering, Testimony | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Sin vs. In Christ

In our flesh, we were wicked and perverse. In Christ, we are holy and perfected as He is.
In sin, we ran from the bad news. In Christ, we run with the Good News.
In sin, we were lost. In Christ, we are found.
In sin, we sank in the miry clay. In Christ, we have been raised to sit in the heavenly places.
In the flesh, we were lame and paralyzed. In Christ, we dance in praise and march in triumph.
In our flesh, we were deaf. In Christ, we hear the voice of the good Shepherd and obey.
In our flesh, we were mute. In Christ, we praise the Lord with every breath for His majesty.
In our flesh, we were blind. In Christ, we see God’s glory in the face of Jesus.
In sin, we were broken and divided. In Christ, we are one and whole.
In our flesh, there was no good thing. In Christ we are made new made new and made a heritage.
In sin, we fall short of God’s glory. In Christ, we are the righteousness of God.
In sin, we were tormented beggars and debtors. In Christ, we are forgiven and redeemed with treasure.
In our flesh, we were in bondage and slavery. In Christ, we are liberated and adopted as children of God.
In the world, we were outside the gate. In Christ, we are welcomed into the Father’s house.
In sin, we were forgotten. In Christ, we are remembered before the throne of grace.
In haste, we had sold our birthright. In Christ, we have every blessing in heavenly places.
In sin, we were defiled and dirty. In Christ, we are cleansed by his blood and sanctified by His Spirit.
In sin we were abandoned and forsaken. In Christ, we have been loved with an everlasting love.
In our sin, we were ignorant. In Christ, we know the truth, are freed, and worship in the Spirit & Truth.
In the world, we were distressed and dispirited. In Christ, we have peace in the Holy Spirit.
In sin, we were open to satan’s attack. In Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
In the flesh, we were bare and unprotected. In Christ, we have been clothed with garments of salvation.
In violations, we were dead. In Christ, we are made alive.
In the world, we were without hope and without God. In Christ, God has given us an enduring hope

Categories: Good News, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mental Illness & the Message of God

Dedicated to all my friends & family with “mental health challenges,” myself included.

The beginning was once a mere mystery,
Now it is revealed history.
Wanting the very best, I find my self broken.
Being broken, I offer something more precious than treasure from within.
I pour out grace & wisdom that can’t be measured.
My stigma a sign:
Though curses cross my path, I fear no wrath.
Though you call me crazy, we have Christ’s mind.
With that, let the Word of God be spoken:
“Reorient your life, since the kingdom of God is at work.”

I’m honored to be loosely associated with Jesus, the Son of Man,
humbled to have my prayers answered eventually
in the name of the Son of God.
with a simple heart and much learning in store,
I’m a fool for Christ, though a fool no more.

Ridiculed for following the law that leads to the deep well of freedom.
Crazy enough to believe the truth is personal, universal, and tangible.
Mocked for telling others that life is eternal,
and also light and love in the Father’s family.
Though my faith was a flickering wick,
now the light of Christ is well lit.

Glad to be called a moron for the Messiah.
Happy to be treated as the local village idiot.
Rejoicing to be regarded as demonized
as they regarded the Christ, (John 8:48)
Blessed with the Holy Spirit.

Angry at sin, yet seeking not to.
Care free in the world, yet caring for you.
Liberated by the friend of sinners, I regard weak souls as winners.
The strong shall be shattered the voices mere clatter,
but all that will matter is that the Lord shall appear,
Yes, the One who came as our ultimate Peer,
Yes, the Lord, He is near.

So let love be your bond, and life be your banner.
Let the music go on as the fizzles grow flatter.
May our meds do no harm;
May the angels be our morning alarm.
Yet peculiar people need not fear,
for yes, the Lord, He is near.

Categories: Peer support, Persecution, Poem, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to the End of Myself, Again.

It’s too much, too, too much.
I long to fly to the desert and escape,
to hide in a cave, far, far away.
I dream of healing a heart that is broken, my own.
of hearing a Voice that touches my deepest wounds.

Broken legs, walk again.
Broken hands, serve again.
Broken mind, think again.
Broken heart, love again.

Chained tongue, speak, be free!
Chained ears, hear, listen!
Shackled mind, explore, discover!
Shackled heart, expand, express!

Closed eyes, see, gaze into glory!
Closed mind, ask, seek!
Closed fist, knock, open wide!
Closed door, open, let the King of Glory enter in!!

Do you see that crown of life?
It shall rest upon your head.
Do you see the Lamb upon the throne?
He is all and enough for you, risen from the dead!
Do you see the book of citizens who live?
The Lord will redeem you just as He said!!

If God is able to save the worst,
then He can save me.
If Jesus can love the least,
then He wlll also love you.
If the Lord can heal to the last,
then He defines eternity!
If the Father is calling,
then He will also listen to you.

Come & rest awhile in His arms.

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love-Hate Relationships

These days everybody wants to talk about love. People act as though it is a sin to talk about hating anything or anyone.

Go to most churches on a Sunday, and you will hear the word “love” at least once. That is the way it should be.

Go to many movies, and you will hear about love, often in a more vulgar sense or almost always in a selfish sense. Sometimes you will get to see hate acted out.

Go to a stadium, and you will see love demonstrated vigorously (sometimes for no reason). But you will also see some hate (for the opposing team).

Go to a psychologist, and they will encourage you to love yourself and your family and your community. But they will put the censor on any reference to that “h” word like it is a four letter word. Well it is, but so is love … and lust. (These two “L” words are often confused by a psychologist, but we will talk about that at another time.)

If you love someone, you hate others, at least in a relative sense. If you love someone, you are drawn to him and repelled from all others. At least this is true if we are talking about the highest, deepest, and most extensive of loves.

The Love of God should fill our lives. But, we cannot love God properly, unless there is also some relative hate for all others. Jesus taught this.

Where in the Word did Jesus get the idea that we should hate?

The Psalmist says, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.”

Wait a minute, Jesus said love your enemies? There is no room for hatred if there is love, right?

The more proper question is, “Who is our first love?”
It must not be for ourselves.
It must not be for the church.
It must not be for our family.
It must not be for our spouses.
It must not be for our wealth or status.
It must not be for anyone … other than God.

The Lord is our first Love.
Shema Yisrael …
All who do not love the Lord are anathema, accursed.

Whoa, buddy! What are you doing!! Calling down curses on people?

I am simply referring to the same Holy Bible that says, “Jacob have I love, but Esau have I hated.” The Holy Spirit inspired it, and He will help us understand it, as He teaches us.

So often, you will hear people mixing up the love commands (not love command, singular, but plural.)

Our first love is for God and God alone.

NOBODY shares in the full glory of God except the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One Lord.

Muslims call such replacing the Love for God with lesser loves shirk. It is a great evil.

However, the Love of God is such that God is willing to pour out His love into our hearts. As we hate sin and even the garment stained with sin, we will be drawn to love the Lord with pure devotion.

We will humble ourselves so deeply that it will appear to be a kind of hatred. We will appeal to the God of Heaven for His mercy moment by moment, because we will know that without Him we can do nothing. This is what it is to despise oneself: to delight utterly in God.

But if we so humble ourselves, he will lift us up in due time.

To hate your wife is to put intimacy with God ahead of intimacy with your wife. This will sound weird to some, but we must kiss the Son lest He be angry in His wrath and we perish in our way.

But if we are intimate first with God and most intimate with God, then we will enjoy the times we spend with our families all the more.

Perhaps you are by now eager to hate your mother and father and sister and brother that you may get them back. I think you get the picture, your family must be formed around your identity as a child of God the Father. And if you love God, you will certainly seek to repay your debt of love to your parents and the rest of your family by sharing the Gospel with them and all that they need if you have it at all in your power to help.

However, there is more, perhaps you will be like those who only get to see their family occasionally, if at all, because they have chosen to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth to reach the nations.

Ah, you will say, the nations must be hated because they do not love the Lord, and so they must. We must never love any ethnic or pagan so much that we hide the truth from them out of a counterfeit sensitivity that leans more toward those you have gone to reach that towards the God who sent you. Yes, we must love God more than the lost.

But if you love God, you will certainly want to see His name honored among the nations. A love for God will most supremely mean that if it is your first love, you will seek to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations. If one group will not hear, you will go to those who will, till some from all have heeded the Hope of Heaven’s Reward: Life in Christ.

Perhaps you harbor a little hatred for your enemy, pure hatred rather than perfect hatred. I would urge you to repent and love your enemy as you know you should. You may receive no reward in this life. Don’t worry about that. Look to the joy you will have on the last day when you will have a clear conscious when you cared nothing for honor in their eyes, but cared more for the Honor of God among the wicked.

How do you honor God? Truth in love. Think, act, speak with all integrity and compassion, patiently and kindly fixing your eyes on God, the Author and Finisher of your faith, the Foundation and Goal of your hope, the one who loves you enough to send His Son to die for you and is worthy of supreme love to the end.

Categories: Cross, Holiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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