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Stirring The Deep


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Part 2 of 4: Image Set up by Humankind

Part 2 of 4: Image Set up by Humankind

Daniel 3:15
Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

Revelation 13:15
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

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A Child’s Longing for the Perfect Father

Blog Talk Radio: A Child’s Longing for the Perfect Father


A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on our desire for the perfect father. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.

Overview: The impact that our dads have in our lives, good or bad, is astounding. The desire for a good father comes from the inner longing to be united to our Heavenly Father.

In this show, I talk about how our relationship with our earthly dad affects our relationship with God; how our relationship with God is conveyed through the child/father dynamic; and how coming to know God as the perfect Father we’ve all longed for.

This is a message close to many of our hearts. I pray you are blessed by it and moved to seek your heavenly Father as He is and His love for you.


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Healing the Wounds Left by a Father

Healing the Wounds Left by a Father

 

Someone made a comment on my post Fear of God – Beginning of Wisdom about how though I was blessed with a wonderful earthly father, many aren’t. I was asked to address those who haven’t been so fortunate. I don’t necessary think I’m most qualified to address such an issue, but I wanted to honor the request and share with you want I have learned from my friends who have had issues with their fathers. I was thankful for the suggestion because many of my friends fall into the latter category. In fact, this past week as I was visiting my family many conversations came up about the impact of fathers. We talked about the effects of no fathers, fathers who neglected, over protected, who loved. Here are my thoughts . . .

Unfortunately, many men have done a poor job as a father. Like the rest of us they are fallen and far from perfect. But the role they have has such an impact in our lives that their actions effect us more than most. Fatherhood is a great responsibility. It’s a job that reveals a man’s greatest weaknesses and to those he is supposed to love the most. As a result of those weaknesses, some have abandoned, neglected, abused, and overly controlled their children. Among my friends those who didn’t have a good experience with their fathers instead had with a relationship of lack that left them with deep wounds, anger, pain, disoriented paths, and vast voids in their lives.

So if the experience with your father left a huge void or vaults of pain in your life, how can you draw near to a God who says He is your father? How do you know really what that truly means? How can you trust God to be your father, when your only experience of a father was none at all or crappy?

Initially how we view God is related to how we viewed our father. We carry over the framework given to us from our father to God. But this obviously isn’t where we are to stay mentally or emotionally – whether our experience was good or bad – we each need to seek God as He is and if we do He will teach us and show us who He is. He is able to give us what we never had in our earthly relationships, if we seek. John 14:21

Talking to one of my friends about her experience with her dad, she said, it’s true he left a big hole in my soul, but it provided a larger place for God to fill. Because of that lack it pushed me closer to God seeking from Him what I didn’t get from my dad. I have been blessed to know and depend on God in this way.

This is the treasure in broken relationships; God comes into the brokenness in such intimate way. Wounded souls gain a special relationship that is nourishing and rich with God because of the lack they had. They deeply connect with Him in a way they otherwise wouldn’t.

Often it’s the void, in whatever area of our lives that drives us to seek God with passion with our hearts, souls and minds. The wound, the pain, and the emptiness are powerful drivers. God uses these driving forces to turn something deeply painful into something amazingly blessed. Our fathers have a big impact in our lives, how much more our heavenly Father if we let Him in into the depths of our pain and sorrow? It’s about perspective. We can either see our past experiences as a never ending wound in our lives or we can see it as an opportunity to experience the presence of God in a very intimate and personal way. Where do you want to be? Which one are you fostering in your life?

Our earthly fathers, whether good or bad, are to point and drive us to our heavenly Father.

A mistake often made is getting caught up in looking to our earthly fathers to repair the damage they left behind. We aren’t to look to them but God. God is our eternal Father; our earthly fathers are but a vapor Psalm 39:5. We need to be careful not to put too much focus on the temporary because then we neglect the eternal. We are to seek God to complete and fill us, to heal and restore us. As for our earthly fathers we have to abandon the hold they have on us, or we will remain living out our lives in a reaction to theirs. We are called to live in the spirit in the newness of life, not the past. With God’s grace we can. Only God can truly enable us to move forward. Though, I haven’t had to do with my father, I have in other areas. Freedom comes from Him, and He is able to set us free from whatever binds our souls. As long as we look to our earthly fathers to play a part in delivering us from the pain we are looking in the wrong place and often will be greatly disappointed.

You can’t wait on them to change, to apologize, to make good for the damage they did. Because many never will due to blindness to their own lack. The truth is we are fallen. We cause others pain. We damage with our actions and our words. We all fall short. God is offering freedom from that bondage of pain caused by others. It is a process no doubt especially with our fathers, but is a journey that in the end will fill you with gratitude for the earthly father you had because of what it brought to you in your relationship with God. It may be hard to believe, but God loves you more than you know. He wants to give you what you never had if you will open yourself up to Him. He wants to go into the reservoir of that pain and abide, and turn it into rivers of love.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

If you are God’s, you have a new Father, embrace Him.

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Why God Calls Himself a HE? PART II

Why God Calls Himself a HE?

PART II

 

In The Shack, which the author shares some very interesting insights, he addressed this issue of why God assigns a masculine gender to Himself in the Bible. He said the reason God did it was because He knew fathers would be the ones to fail more in their roles than the mothers and the majority of people would need a father, thus He took on the role.

If you haven’t read The Shack and plan to you may not want to read any further – I would hate to spoil it for you.

In the beginning, the main character, Mack, meets God as three people representing the trinity; God as a woman, Christ as a man, and the Holy Spirit as a woman. The God character said she came to Mack as someone he could accept so he would be open to what she had to say because Mack had negative experiences with his father. In the end, she changed into a man – when Mack could accept God as his father as well. I believe the author made a good point. God is spirit – not a gender. He can come in any form He chooses. However, He chose to be a masculine figure in the Bible for a reason – some of which I mentioned in my previous post.

Bottom line. God wants us to draw near to Him so that He is first in our hearts. He designed a world to teach us spiritual truths. And one of those truths is how to relate and build intimacy with Him. Describing Himself as our husband and father was designed to do just that.


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Why God Calls Himself a He?

Why God Calls Himself a HE?

Part I

Someone made a comment on my blog the other day asking why I refer to God as a He. It got me thinking . . .

Why do we assign God a gender when in reality He is spirit and far exceeds a limitation like gender? The issue came up because poor physical representations of a male figure – like an abusive husband or controlling father – can impede upon someone’s desire to draw near to God when we call Him our father or our husband.

God ascribes the male gender to Himself in His Word, the Bible. The question isn’t should we ascribe a gender to Him because it isn’t our decision to make because it is His as the Creator and Master Designer, but why did He ascribe a gender to Himself in His Word? This world and God’s Word are His design and it isn’t for us to change – however I believe He does want us to ask why?

So why?

God has a purpose and reason for everything. This is part of His nature that we see clearly in His Word and His creation. Therefore, what is the purpose of assigning a gender to Himself? I think the underlining purpose is to teach us about Him and our relationship to Him.

God put us in the physical flesh world for several reasons, but that is a different conversation. I want to stay focus on the fact that we are flesh and bones, and how we learn, including about God, is in accordance to the physical world.

This physical world was designed in such a way to teach us about the spiritual world. The two worlds interact and parallel each other. Because we learn best from experience, we experience truths in the flesh that point to truths in the spirit. However, even though God uses the flesh to teach us, He is still teaching us about spiritual things. Therefore if you don’t have His spirit in you, you can’t understand His instruction. 1 Corinthians 2:14

In designing the structure of this world, God created male and female; the males to represent God and Christ and the females to represent us – His people. He could have created something completely different but didn’t because this design accomplishes what He wants us to learn if we seek.

Examples of What We Learn:

For example, we learn how we are to relate to God – like we would our spouse. We are intimate, devoted, loyal, open, caring, loving, and so on. We grow in intimacy by talking one-on-one, listening, being honest and vulnerable. And when we don’t do these things we see the ramifications. When God says He is our Husband, then we understand how we are to relate to Him. When we take time to draw near, talk, open up, get to know Him, then a healthy relationship blossoms. If we don’t it doesn’t. Without this physical representation how would we know how to relate to God in this intimate way? How would we understand the consequences of not doing so?

Also with this design, we get a sense of what God feels when we turn our back on Him and don’t cultivate an intimate relationship of trust and love. When you read in the Bible in Hosea, Jeremiah, and Isaiah how God’s people have played the harlot, the imagery gives us an idea of how God feels and sees those who put their trust in something or someone other than Him. He compares Himself to a husband who has been cheated on. Something we can relate to. Now, if you have been cheated on you know now horrible that feels. Even if you haven’t you can imagine! From our flesh experience we can understand a spiritual reality. And for me it breaks my heart and makes me want to draw closer to God so I will trust Him more – because I love Him.

Why Not One Gender?

Why not just make everyone one gender? Because the two genders which are very different from each other yet share similar characteristics, teach us that we are different from God, but our differences create a perfect union – like two puzzle pieces coming together. In addition, having two separate genders teaches us we aren’t God, a lesson we all need in today’s world.

We need to remember that the physical didn’t come first then God related Himself to it. He designed it specifically to teach us certain things in this life and about Him. There are many, many lessons to be gained if we accept the fact it is His design and move on to seeking the lessons to be learned. If we do we will be greatly blessed in the truths we discover.

For Those with Negative Experiences

As for those who have had negative experiences with these physical representations, it is a huge travesty. However there is a great treasure waiting for them. What some of my friends have found, who have had these bad experiences with male figures, is that God filled the deep dark hole in their lives by being the perfect Father or Husband they never had. Yes, it was challenging because of the past, but the rewards were tremendous as they persisted. If we seek God He will fill the emptiness in our hearts and souls left by others. Our depravity is to push us into Him. We need to be open to His healing in this area. We need to realize that every need is ultimately to be filled by Him. We need to learn He is capable of fulfilling every need.

God’s design is perfect to teach us what He wants us to learn. We need to realize it is only an illustration, but He chose it for a reason. What we have done with that design is far from perfect – but there is another lesson altogether.

More next week . . .


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The Father Connection

The Father Connection

 

From personal experience and from a multitude of conversations, I see a very strong correlation between the type of relationship we have or had with our earthly father and the type of relationship we have with God . . . initially.

Unfortunately, many of our dads have given us negative ideas of what a father is: selfish, controlling, neglectful, abusive, overbearing, pushover, passive, and tyrannical. These poor images are often obstacles to overcome when we are seeking the truth of the character of God. Our dads’ traits create a framework of what a father means to us. Initially, we place that structure onto God, good or bad.

If your dad abandoned you, you believe God will leave you, if he was difficult to please, you think God is never satisfied, if he was distant, God seems inaccessible, if he gave conditional love, God will withdraw His love, if he was judgmental, God is seen as critical, and if he rejected you, you believe God will. On the other hand, if your dad gave you security, God is secure, if he protected you, God is your shelter, if he gave unreserved love, God gives unconditionally, if he was accepting, God will receive you no matter what, and if he was involved, God is too. Our challenge is to seek who God truly is and not what our particular experience of a dad dictates.

Whether we call him dad, daddy, pop, pops, poppa, father, sir or nothing because he wasn’t there, we all have dads who made a tremendous impact on how we view God. To understand that our natural inclination is to put our dad-filter onto God is the first step in learning the truth about Him. Without this self-reflection, we walk around unknowingly believing misconceptions about God. We will relate to Him not as He is but as our filter dictates. Our beliefs are everything and therefore it is important to abide in the Word to get to know Him as He is. It is essential to our lives, because God is life, to remove our old dusty filters and replace it with the pure, true reality.

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Understanding and acknowledging the impact that our dads have on our perception of God helps us to move closer to understanding who He is and therefore gain the relationship we were meant to have with Him. His intimate presence in our lives is His desire for us and to realize that most us have misunderstood who He is as a father is a monumental step to a fulfilling that purpose.

I have an amazing father. I am very blessed because he instilled in me trust, security, mercy, and love, which made it easier for me to believe and accept these traits in my relationship with God. However, it doesn’t require a good dad to be intimate with God. I have friends whose fathers were distant and negligent and God has filled a very special void in their lives creating an incredible bond. We didn’t choose our fathers. God chose them for us regardless of how they were to draw us to Him.

Me and My Dad

Me and My Dad

The intense hunger for an idyllic dad was placed in us by God to be ultimately for Him. Therefore, we are to seek Him to fill this role because He is the only One who can. If we continue to look to our earthly dads to fulfill it or have suppressed the desire out of continued disappointment we will never find what our souls hunger for. God created us with this yearning that we might grope for Him.

Just realizing this connection doesn’t change it but it is an essential step because it puts our hearts in a seeking mode. We have to personally dive into God’s Word and learn who He is. Our heavenly Father far surpasses any concept we have a dad and He wants to reveal this side of Himself to each one of us in a personal way. As always, our part is to seek.

Take a piece of paper divide it into two columns. Write down all the characteristics of your earthly father. On the other side write down all the characteristics you currently believe about God and be honest. Don’t write what you have heard, write what you believe. How does He respond when you do something good? How does He respond when you do something bad? What does He think about you? And so on.

Then start seeking out who God truly is in the Word. Write down the verses where He is telling you who He is as your perfect eternal Father. Try not to filter but come with an open heart to know Him as He is. If we seek, we will find.