Our Heavenly Father
Dr. Charles Stanley
When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as "Our Father." They had previously heard Jesus say, "My Father," but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who has been born again into the household of God have this same right.
Since our concepts of God are shaped by our earthly fathers, we all have different perceptions of Him, but Jesus is the only one who has a completely accurate understanding of the heavenly Father. Consider some of the ways He cares for His children:
• Loves: God's love is unconditional, since it's based on His nature rather than our performance (1 John 4:16).
• Listens: When we pray, He gives us His full attention (Ps. 55:16-17).
• Provides: The Father assumes responsibility for meeting all our needs (Phil. 4:19).
* Guides: He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).
• Protects: The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers. (Ps. 121:1-8).
• Stays: He's not an absentee parent, since He'll never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
• Disciplines: The Lord disciplines us
for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).
Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our view of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we've never known before.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org/.
Hearing God-Seeing God
by Sharon Jaynes
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:18,19 NIV).
Friend to Friend
A few years ago, a phenomenon swept the country called "Magic Eye." These were colorful pictures that had a hidden picture within the picture. The way you discovered the hidden image was to hold the picture a certain distance from you face and then stare until your eyes went a bit out of focus. When you did it just right, another three-dimensional picture would pop into view. At least that's how it was supposed to work. However, I rarely, if ever, could get my eyes to find the hidden picture. I noticed that children seemed to be able to do it right away! I'd hear them shouting, "I see it! I see it!" while I sat cross-eyed wondering what was wrong with my brain.
This reminds me of the process of reading Scripture. As I read, I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the "hidden picture." Then as He works to clarify God's Word, I begin to shout, "I see it! I see it!"
What has been so exciting to me over the years is how the Holy Spirit brings out various and deeper truths of Scripture the more time I spend in God's Word. He "opens the eyes of my heart" to see new and amazing truths in verses that I've read time and time again. So many times I've read a verse and thought, "where did that come from? I've read that passage a hundred times and never seen that before!"
The Holy Spirit speaks to us when we read the Word and expands and enriches our understanding of the Scriptures, God's character, and God's ways. When Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 16:15-17). Peter did not figure this out by himself. God revealed it to him.
We can always be certain that God will never speak to us anything that is contradictory to His written Word. However, as we go through our day, He will, through the Holy Spirit, remind us of the words we have read and give us illustration after illustration to help us understand and apply those truths to our lives. I find myself saying to Him, "Oh this is what you meant in the verses I read today," or "Now I understand what you meant by such and such." As I keep my heart in tune to hearing His voice, the Holy Spirit reminds me of certain passages throughout the day.
The Holy Spirit is the person who takes God's Word that we have stored in our hearts and brings it to remembrance. Jesus said, "The Holy Sprit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit teaches us about God's character, His purposes, His ways, His nature, and His plans.
Dear Lord, thank You for the Holy Spirit who opens the eyes of my heart to understand Your Word and opens my spiritual ears to hear Your voice. I pray that You will open my eyes today to see the riches that are hidden on the pages of my Bible and detect Your fingerprints that run throughout my day.
In Jesus' Name,
Now it's Your Turn
When was the last time God showed you something new in Scripture that you had never seen before?
Today, go back and read a passage of Scripture that you have read many times before. (Perhaps Psalm 100, John 3, 1 Corinthians 13, Psalm 23) Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see something that you have never seen before.
Girlfriends in God
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I Just Want To Be Closer To You
Closer - Shawn McDonald