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You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing. No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth. I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop singing your praises, my Lord and my God. Psalm 30:11-12 (CEV)

A prayer of Praise and Worship:

Heavenly Father,

I come to you today in worship and praise for all you have done for me. I thank you that during those darkest times of my life, those times when I couldn’t feel your presence at all, I know you were there. I praise you for protecting me from my own decisions, and the evil actions of those around me.

I continue to be amazed that you, the Creator God of the universe loves me the way you do; that you have forgiven me of my past, understand the weaknesses that still haunt me, and promise me that my relationship with you will last for eternity because of your Son, Jesus Christ. All, this and because of my position with you, I can call you my daddy.

Like David, I dance before you today. Whether I am in silent worship or a rousing service of praise and worship, my soul dances before you. I can’t contain myself. The praise of my heart finds no words to express themselves. My Spirit will always sing your praise because my worship of you isn’t a time, place or activity. My worship of you is a very part of my essence.

Lord, I am surrounded by many things that still cause me to worry; things that shake my faith at times; actions I take and words I utter that I know are displeasing to you. Forgive me for my weakness. Empower me to praise you during the hard times that still attack me as well as the times of victory and prosperity.

You, O Lord, are my God and I will praise you from the depths of my heart forever and ever. I look forward to the day when my worship is face to face. Amen.


As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14

After one of my speaking engagements a man came up to me to talk. He was, perhaps in his mid sixties. He told me that he had been a Christ-follower for as long as he could remember but he had always struggled with his salvation.

As we talked more he told me that during my session he’d realized that his issue wasn’t really so much about his salvation as it was the concept of a loving forgiving God as ‘Father God.’ When he was growing up his father was non-existent for the most part and when he was around he was angry, demanding, unforgiving and, at times, abusive physically. He came to the realization that God wasn’t like any earthly father he’d ever known. God did love him. God was forgiving. God wasn’t harsh or abusive.

I left the conversation wondering how many of the rest of us struggle with what it means to have God as our Father. Personally, I’m fortunate to have an earthly father who loves God and his children. He wasn’t perfect, but we kids knew he loved us. I have no problem seeing, in my father, what a compassionate, forgiving and loving God we have.

Many of us don’t have that luxury. Earthly fathers fail us. Some are abusive emotionally, physically or even sexually. Some are so caught up in making a living and providing physically for us that they fail at their most important job: building relationships. Some are absent completely, having checked out emotionally or physically from our lives. The demise of the family also hinders our view of father hood. More than half of our children are being influenced by two or more male figures that could be called ‘dad’, such as step-dads and foster dads.

Then God comes along to say he is a compassionate father? Two terms put together that describes someone we can’t relate to. We see compassion as passion and we see fathers as someone to be feared and avoided!

If you are struggling with your view of God as Father then it’s time to rethink what a ‘father’ is supposed to be.. Your Heavenly Father, Lord of all creation, doesn’t love you as earthly fathers may. He knows you are frail. He knows you will struggle and fail miserably at times. He won’t demand that you do things that will harm you or harm others.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles in your life for a compassionate father knows that struggle is required to gain strength. When you are learning to ride a bike he’ll allow you to fall, but he’s there to clean up the scraped knees and help you get back on again.

Don’t allow the failures of earthly fathers to hinder your view of a loving God who will stand by you in the good times and the bad. You may not always understand your Heavenly Father, but he always understands you. Rules aren’t the important thing to him, relationship is! He gave us a picture of himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that the idea of you being a father isn’t particularly comforting to me. My father here on earth didn’t leave me with a very good feeling about fathers. I ask that you would show me what a truly compassionate father is. Help me to learn to trust you and grow in relationship with you as I learn to walk with Jesus. In your name I pray, Amen.


See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

Of all the promises God gives us, none is more precious, more powerful and more amazing than the fact that we are his children. Ponder that thought today. Say it slowly in your mind and contemplate its meaning.

‘I am God’s child. The Creator/sustainer of the universe is my dad.’

When you were in grade school and kids were getting to know you, a question that often came up was “So what does your dad do for a living?” The question was more than a casual one. You were, in a sense, judged by the answer. ‘My dad is a carpenter or my dad works at a gas station’ may not carry as much clout as ‘my dad is a doctor or lawyer or president of the United States.’ Your importance was determined by the value placed on what your father did and you were expected to behave according to that distinction.

Today it’s a bit harder to get the concept of fatherhood established. For one thing, many kids have fathers who are uninvolved in their lives or only see them on given days. The term ‘father’ has lost its luster due to divorce and the dysfunctional state of the family, especially in the USA. The fact that earthly father’s often fail us doesn’t change the character or meaning behind our Heavenly Father. He isn’t distracted by getting the lawn mowed or finishing some project at work. He’s not more interested in his golf score than your well-being. He can be trusted, counted on to always be there, to be a ‘man’ of action not words. Your Heavenly Father will do just exactly what he says he’ll do. He’ll take care of you and knows what is best for you. You can trust your Heavenly Father because you are his child.

I don’t know if the story is true or not. I heard it years ago, but true or not it gives us a perfect picture of how we can trust our Heavenly Father.

The story is told of a house that caught fire in the middle of the night. The parents made it out but were unable to reach their little boy on the second floor. When the fire fighters arrived they heard the boy calling for help from a second floor window. They tried to coax him to jump so they could catch him, but he didn’t recognize their voices and the smoke and darkness (not to mention fear) kept him from being able to see his rescuers.

Then, his father called to him and implored him to jump. Immediately the boy jumped into the darkness to be wrapped in the arms of his father. What made him jump? It was the assurance that his daddy lay on the other side of the darkness and his daddy could be trusted.

You are God’s child. The creator of the universe is your daddy. He chose to make you so. Live today in the assurance that your Father loves you, cares for you, is ready and willing to forgive you of anything in your life that will keep you from relationship with him. He is real. He is powerful. He passionately loves you.

PRAYER: Dear Dad, Much as I love my earthly father I have to confess there were times he didn’t understand me like you do. There are times as a parent I’ve failed my own children. I praise you for always being there for me. Forgive me for the times I’ve doubted you or rebelled against you. Help me to live in such a way that even though the world doesn’t know you, they will know I’m your kid. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fool.  Romans 1:21-22

Relationship is an interesting thing. The more one puts into it, the more they get out of it. First of all, we need to define ‘relationship.’ In a relationship, both parties benefit from being together. If only one person’s needs are being met it’s not a relationship. It’s an arrangement.

It’s sad to say, but many marriages never get to the ‘relationship’ stage. As a result one person feels like they give and give and give with nothing in return. Eventually the stress is too much and divorce (either emotional or physical) happens.

The same is true in our spiritual lives with God. Many people believe in God or a god of some sort. But knowing God or about God and being in relationship with God are completely different. Compare it to a physical love relationship.

What does a perfect love relationship look like to you? Don’t you think constantly about the other person? You go to work. You go about the mundane tasks of life. You hang with friends, deliver the kids to soccer practice and fold the laundry. But in the back of your mind there is always that thought of the person you love.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. The God of the universe earnestly desires a passionate love relationship with you. But relationship with God, like any relationship is a two-way street. Our Father God has given everything for us, even his only Son, Jesus. What does he want in return? Our love. Love shown through obedience to the things we know we should do. Love that is shown through avoiding the things we know are wrong.

When love is given and not returned we call it being ungrateful. When we are ungrateful to God for his blessings it makes our hearts insensitive to his desire to draw us to himself. We show ingratitude by compartmentalizing our lives. God is good on Sundays. God is looked to in the face of adversity or severe trial. As one pundit remarked, “When a jetliner is going down, there are no atheists on board!”

The longer we live lives that are ungrateful to God, the more our hearts grow insensitive to God and his leading. Will God still bless us? Sometimes, but those blessings may not satisfy. We can receive outward blessing and still harbor inner turmoil. Turmoil that we seek to fill with other gods like financial security, new ‘relationships’, social action, or religion.

Your Father God in heaven is real. He earnestly desires to have a relationship, not an arrangement with you. Part of that process is showing him living gratitude in your thoughts, words and actions.

PRAYER: Father God. I don’t want to be one of those who never shows my gratitude for all you’ve done for me. Forgive me for following my own way and expecting your blessing when I’m really being ungrateful.  Empower me with your Spirit to enter into a passionate love relationship with you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. Psalm 142:2

“I just wish he’d listen to me and not try to fix everything!”

Ever heard someone say that about someone else? Maybe they’ve said it about you? Or perhaps you’ve said those words yourself either out loud or in your mind. There are times when life seems so overwhelming and unbearable that we just need to speak our mind. We don’t need grammatical correction or advice or solutions. We just need to talk.

The problem is that as humans we have this little part of our brain that says we need to fix everything and heal everyone. The spot tends to be larger and more pronounced in the male brain but everyone has it!

It may be when a friend is going through health issues or has lost a loved one. It happens when moms, in particular, send the oldest child off to school the first day with tears in her eyes.  It can happen even during those times when you can’t put your finger on what’s bugging you but you just need to cry. Life happens and there are times when solutions, advice and judgment are unneeded, unwanted and out of place.

During one of the times when David was on the run from King Saul he hid in a cave and wrote what we know as Psalm 142. In reading the entire Psalm we read the words of a man distraught and full of all sorts of emotion. He was angry. He was afraid. He was tired. He was no doubt lonely and confused as well. But in the midst of his turmoil he remembers that there is one person he can go to when he needs to be heard.

The same is true for us today. There will be times when no one understands. There will be times when you don’t want to talk to people because you don’t want to risk getting a boat load of unwanted advice, judgment, solutions or stories about how someone else had “the same problem and they tried…”.

That’s where God comes in. It’s hard to think of God giving you His undivided attention. First of all, you can’t see Him (although He sees you from inside out). Secondly, we get this idea that with all the ‘big things’ going on in the world, He’s far too involved with wars, earthquakes and disease to be able to listen to you. (That by the way is a lie straight from Satan himself)

Your Heavenly Father never sleeps. He’s never out of touch with your needs, wants, desires and emotions. He is always available to listen and, even though He does have all the answers, He will simply listen to your words, your heart and your thoughts without judgment.

What an awesome promise to take with you today. When you fail, He supports you. When you win, He cheers for you. When you cry, He listens and holds you close.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the promises that you have given me that you will always be there for me. Thank you for understanding me when I don’t understand myself, for listening when no one else will listen, for encouraging when life is discouraging. Help me to remember that I can always come to you without fear of being ignored, judged or scolded. Amen.

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