How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).

How great is our appreciation for the Father’s love?  God, the Good Father, the Ultimate Father, loves His children unconditionally.  He does and does and does for His children, giving constantly and above measure.  God is the Perfect Father, whose love is demonstrated in every interaction He has with those who are His (cf. James 1:17).

As the Perfect Father, God has shown that love, however, does not mean giving anything and everything that a child might want.  There are things we might desire that might not be in our best interest, and God does not hesitate to withhold those things from us.  And just like little children, our understanding of His Fatherly decisions may be incomplete, but our faith in our Father’s wisdom, compassion, tenderness, and love provides the sufficiency to our lacking.

As the Perfect Father, God also has shown His love by giving victories.  For example, God brought down the walls of Jericho, the purpose being that Israel was unable to take credit themselves, but instead had to give all credit and glory to God.  This also served to remind Israel that God would fulfill His promise of giving them the land of Canaan.  The greatest example and victory, however, was the Father giving His only begotten Son.  In the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, God was able to remind all of the promise of salvation and eternal life, and of His faithfulness to those to whom He has promised.

As the Perfect Father, God has shown His love by giving His children things to do.  God has never handed everything to anyone.  Abraham, greatly blessed both spiritually and materially, obeyed (Genesis 22:18; Hebrews 11:8).  Jesus, the beloved Son of God, learned obedience (Hebrews 5:8).  The children of the Father today must obey in order to be free from sin (Romans 6:17).  The Perfect Father has given us things to do.

Spend this week appreciating the love of the Father, understanding that His love means that we will be given good things, and as children our gratitude and love returned to Him should be equally constant and above measure.

I Am a Christian

I am a Christian.  That means that I am of Christ.  I believe in Him, want to be like Him, and long to be with Him.  I will live my life for Him and in His service.

I am a Christian.  I will love those around me the way that Jesus loves me.  I will care for the needs of others, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I will love even when I can’t expect that love to be returned.  Thanks to the love of Christ, I am able to show others what love truly is (John 13:35).  I will go see those who need a smile, and I will pray with those who need access to the throne of God.

I am a Christian.  I will worship the Almighty God and His Only Begotten Son.  I will sing praises to His name, pray to Him through His Son, and commune with my Heavenly Father through the emblems of His Son’s death.  I will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

I am a Christian.  I know that judgment is coming, and on that day all the world will see Him.  Because of the Savior’s promise that all will be judged by His word (John 12:48), I will love, cherish, and adore the word of God, trusting in His Holy Word to bring me to salvation (Romans 1:16).  I will teach others the beautiful, soul-saving gospel for their soul’s sake (Mark 16:15-16).

I am a Christian.  I will give because He gave Himself for me.  I will give not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully, for God has blessed me (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).  I will be a good steward of what God has given me, knowing that the cattle on a thousand hills are His (Psalm 50:10).

I am a Christian.  I will do right, whether anyone is looking or not.  My job is not to exalt myself, but the one who saves me.  My righteousness is not my own, but I will submit to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). 

I am a Christian.  I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  Having been bought, I am His possession and am no longer bound by sin (Romans 6:18).  I will live my life free from the penalty of death that sin requires.

I am a Christian.  I have been given exceedingly great promises (2 Peter 1:4).  I have been promised an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4), eternal life (Romans 6:23), a crown of life (James 1:12), and a mansion in heaven with my Savior (John 14:2).  I will hold fast to my confession, for He who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

I am a Christian.  Alone I am not perfect, but I have been made perfect (Hebrews 12:23).  Alone I am not pure, but I have been washed (Revelation 1:5).  Alone I am not holy, but I have been sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11).  Alone I am not a saint, but through Jesus I am (1 Corinthians 1:2).

I am a Christian, and there is nothing else I would rather be.

Do Not Yield

Yield signs are my favorite.  A yield sign means you can go when you can.  If you need to stop, then you stop.  If there is someone else coming, you give them the right of way.  If the way is clear, you just keep right on moving into the flow of traffic.  You make a decision based upon the current situation and you can immediately act upon that decision.  When you see a sign, though, that says “do not yield,” then that option is taken away from you.  It has already been decided for you that you do not have the right to proceed with the  traffic without doing something else first.

Paul was in a pickle.  He had gone to Jerusalem with some Gentile Christians, and the Jewish Christians there got caught up in the idea that everyone—Jew or Gentile—had to be circumcised to be a Christian in good standing.  He had the choice:  yield and go along with their ideas, or do not yield to go with the flow that was heading down a dangerous road.  He chose to stop.  He wrote in Galatians 2:5, “to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”  He knew that it would be easier to just go along with what everyone else was saying and doing, but he also knew that if he did that, it would keep the truth of the gospel away from the Gentiles in Galatia.

How many yield signs do you come to in a day—figuratively, if not literally?  A friend wants to copy my homework.  Do I yield?  I could so easily shoplift this Snickers bar.  Do I yield?  Everyone around me is using that language or calling “them” “that name.”  Do I yield?  That new movie that everyone else is going to see has content that certainly does not honor Jesus.  Do I yield?  Scenarios like these could play out dozens of times in a day.

Paul knew—and so should you—that it is a whole lot easier to stop something wrong before it ever starts. 

3 Things to Make Your Jaw Drop

Roller coasters are fun…for some.  Some people get on them and grin, some will scream, some get sick, and then there are those who looked bored.  The point is that it takes more to excite some than it does others.

The apostle Paul has never struck me as an especially excitable guy.  (He would probably have walked past a roller coaster without looking at it twice.)  Yet when we read his words to the churches of Galatia, I believe we are seeing him in a state of intensity:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,” (Galatians 1:6, NKJV).

Paul “marveled.”  He was astonished.  He was shocked at the behavior of the Galatians, and he was going to let them know about it!

Whether you are excitable or not, please consider these three things from Galatians 1:4 that should make your jaw drop:

One—Jesus gave Himself for our sins.  The Son of God gave the ultimate sacrifice for someone else, even knowing that it would be unappreciated by many.  Even more astounding is that He didn’t give what belonged to someone else, or even just a portion of what He had, but He gave everything so that we might have life.

Two—He provides deliverance from this present world.  Jesus knows that while we must live in this world, we cannot remain in it.  While we remain on this Earth, Jesus has provided separation for us.  He has made us to be holy, sanctified, separate, His own special people.  It is amazing that God is willing to take us with all our imperfections and call us His own.

Three—This was all a part of God’s will.  God has always—ALWAYS—had a plan for humanity, and God has been engaged in fulfilling His plan for our salvation since the very beginning.  His will for our redemption has been proactive, not reactive.

Much like someone who has ridden a particular roller coaster a hundred times, you may be thinking, “I know all this, and I’ve known it forever.”  If this is you, that is great!  These are things that the Father and Son have done for us that we ought to well know.  But do not let your longterm exposure to the grace of God dull your excitement.  Our God is absolutely amazing, and we should never fail to be excited by what He has done.