|Perhaps one of the deepest hungers present in humanity today is its hunger for a God who is a Father. Men long to know that the universe is not merely a heartless, impersonal machine, no cosmic sausage grinder, but behind the universe is a Father with a Father's heart. You can sense this wistful searching after the fatherhood of God in many of the religions of the world, in much of the philosophy of mankind, and in man's constant restless cry for something beyond himself.
It is quite evident that man can see in nature all the proof he needs that there is a God. Oh, I know there are many who say there is no God. There is even a materialistic philosophy that has captured the imaginations and loyalties of almost half the earth which says there is no such a being as God. But it seems quite apparent, as one observes this phenomenon across a number of years, that beneath the surface is a great deal of evidence of a hunger and a search after God, despite the outward pronouncement that there is no God. Those who say there is no God have simply convinced themselves about something they have already determined to be true. But when man seeks for God in nature the God he discovers is always a distant God, a fearsome God, an austere God, a God who seems unrelated to the immediate needs, problems, difficulties, and heartaches of life. Men are never satisfied with a God like that. They are looking for a Father.
Dennis Prager: Are Fathers Necessary?
It is painful to live in a society full of likable people one can easily identify with. It is painful to be unable to affect a change in all these lost people who bear the image of God and whose sins have already been paid for in full. If only they knew that! If only someone could go and convince them. Each would blossom and be fulfilled if only they could be put in touch with Jesus. (God is not a respecter of persons--as far as I could tell everyone depicted in this movie was desperately in need of God's compassionate love and mercy). The 1997 film Brokeback Mountain moved me deeply. Right near the end of the film it suddenly occurred to me that this film was not about love in any legitimate form. It was about a total absence of real love in a culture--from start to finish. Could this movie have inadvertently portrayed our current American society more closely than I had dared to imagine? I was overcome with pain and sadness before the movie ended--and soon in tears.
Everyone in this film was lost--hopelessly so. I knew what the answer was. All the characters in the film, not just the lead cowboys, need massive doses of the love that comes only from Jesus. Agape is the kind of self-giving compassionate love God designed societies to operate on. But no one in this film had any real connection to God, apparently. I got the feeling the tacit assumption that lovelessness was the normal state of affairs--the way things have always been and always will be. Ennis and Ledger had grown up without fathers and had never known a real friendship. Had raw eros not seized them and taken them captive--surely it was a strong demon--they could have become life-long friends and the whole movie would have been a different story. As it was, Ennis and Jack did not know how to love each other as brothers, they knew nothing about loving their wives nor their children. Having never really felt acceptance and unconditional love, how could they be expected to know how to love anyone?
I could see that life's consequence engine was running full tilt through this all too real film of our great American tragedy. Sexual sin devastates individuals and families and wrecks a society. With regard to sex, love, marriage, and friendship I think our American society is just about Dead Broke right now. I wish someone would prove me wrong.
If anyone wants to know details about my journey to knowing the real Jesus, just ask me. Fifty-eight years after I first met Jesus "Everything is changed, but nothing is changed." What a wonderful, but wild ride! The end is in view and it's utterly amazing! I want none to be left behind! Ray Stedman noted once, “About the time the zits clear up, the mind begins to go.”Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,
In my senior years these days a few friends consider me somewhat of a father-figure. A few seem to think I’m a safe role model. But I can see now that many have come to me in the past hoping to get a glimpse of Jesus in me. The scary part is that it’s taken a life time to get my act together.
In the real world where knowing Jesus is the norm, it’s common for very deep bonds to develop between Christians. One’s brothers and sisters in Christ become way closer than bio siblings and even mom and dad. The recent lockdown isolated most real Christians from fellowship with one another, but I also see the Lockdown as a severe judgment from God on our nation and upon her false church. The true church is flourishing
My dad was not a strong, confident man though I think he knew Jesus. He had a terrible “father wound” which my sister uncovered by careful genealogy research. Turns out my grandfather John Edward Dolphin died later the year I was born (1932). I have a photo of him holding me earlier that same year. A scandal my grandmother covered up was that her husband (who had fathered four sons)—was the town drunk. In the fall of 1932 he drove his truck into the local reservoir and drowned (while drunk). I found his tombstone in the local cemetery but it was separated from the graves of everyone else in our family. My grandmother Alma, “Amo” raised her four sons on a school teacher's wages but she was generous in lavishing love on her many grandchildren (including me). Amos is the main reason I came to Jesus at the age of 30.
An alcoholic dad can drag everyone around him down severely. So can an abusive father, an absent father, a sexually unfaithful dad, an emasculated father with viable sperm but little else going for him.
How many have I turned away who wanted to know Jesus? How many have I grievously injured? Fake Christians are everywhere and I can see many instances were I was one. The Apostle Paul claimed he was "chief among sinners" but I can't see why. I still don't know myself at very well. Some others see right through me, but are too polite to tell me. I remember clearly two young men I spent time with 40 plus years ago. Both were very intelligent, both desperately needed a father-figure, a mentor, a big brother. Christian moms, wimpy dads. Did I fail them and cause them to self-destruct? God knows! I'm expecting clarification at the Judgment Seat of Christ when all us followers of Christ get a performance review and a reality check. But I pray neither of these once-close friends refuses the grace of God and comes on into our forever family. Of course I have sought their forgiveness and assured them God has not given up on them. We can't change the past, but we can acknowledge our failures and grievous sins. How to persuade everyone we know that only Jesus forgives sins and imparts new life to sinners. Blame-shifting is big business. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, "The Buck Stops Here." In confronting a miscreant the inquirer often says "fess up," or "come clean" but bum raps happen all the time. Under torture of extreme intimidation, innocents often plead guilty to avoid further pain. Courts have elaborate protocols in place to protect the innocent. Correctional Facilities sometimes change bad guys but Recidivism is high.
"Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way." (Romans 14:3)
There is a cosmic Fall Guy available for any and all of us who admit we need one! That Man is Jesus.
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12)
In daily life many of us blame-shift without giving it a second thought. Psychologists call this coping mechanism "projection." It's a built-in system put there by God to keep us from being constantly self-deceived or deluded into thinking I'm not. Default mode for most of us is "i am god..." Never mind the real God is "I AM WHO I AM." Also, God is holy!
"For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
Full disclosure awaits all of us whether we are “saved” or not!
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit... (1 Peter 3:18)
"No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.
Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him." (Luke 8:16-18)
Good dads are as scarce as hen’s teeth these days.
This ought to be self evident.
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:15)
A classic message from Gordon Dalbey “Healing Father Wounds” has relevance for all of us—especially at this time in human history.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14:6-11)
Ray Stedman once said, “There is only one way to God, Jesus said so. Come to Jesus and He’ll take you the rest of the way.”All sorts of great guys I know (and a number of fine women also) carry a huge “father wound” most of their lives. It gets repressed most of the time because we see no resolution. We instinctively bond with our bio-families no matter how dysfunctional they were. Yet when one family member comes to know Jesus that event can throw a monkey wrench into everything. The call of Jesus is crystal clear:
In the life to come there will be no nuclear families with genetic ties:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)
And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: “For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19)
Everyone who has given himself to Jesus as Lord has been taken out of Adam and put into Christ both by Adoption and by Rebirth.
Everything Jesus did while here with us on the planet was done by His total dependence on the Father. Never once did He exercise His inherent Deity. He said so.
We, in turn, are asked not to do anything in the self-energy we inherited from Adam but to invite Jesus to take over and live His endless life through us. We gain our unique individual identity in this process! Paradoxically, by losing ourselves in following Jesus subject to His authority, and accountable to our fellow travelers. "There is no limit to what God will do through the man, woman, boy or girl, who does not care who gets the credit." (Ray Stedman).
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:7-12)
He who was born in a sheep stall and grew up as a very ordinary man among men was well aware of who He was, where He came from, and where He'd return to after His monumental work down here was finished. His great high priestly prayer hints at the splendor of the Father's house and His goal to take us there. God, the eternal Father can be glimpsed at several places in the Bible. Daniel caught a glimpse.
Jesus is now building a new human family to replace the old. (Ephesians 3:15). God is also calling out a Bride for His Son and has the healing of the whole planet in His master plan. Considering the ethnic diversity and variety of the 100 plus nations now living on the planet, creating a new human family is a tall order! As far as God, it's a done deal. This will make no sense if your Bible illiterate. Our unbelief does not hinder God at all, we merely run the risk of being left out.
While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
“I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
“I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this.
So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: ‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.
But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’
“Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
“Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.
The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’
“This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.”
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you (Cyrus), though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.’
“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.
“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”
Thus says the Lord,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.”
Experiencing God as Your Father
Many people recoil at the idea of God as their Father, based upon their experience with their own father or authority figures. They blame Him for the ills of their lives. They see Him as a harsh judge with a whip in His hand and a cold, calculating heart. To their minds, He is an angry God who makes impossible demands and then casts people into hell for failing to keep them.
As a result, most people will do anything to get free from bondage, except pursue an intimate relationship with God the Father.
The apostle Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us" (John 14:8, NIV). For us to be transformed, it is enough for us to experience the Father at deep and abiding levels — for it is from that relationship that all of the meaning of life flows. Consequently, we must pursue Him through worship and prayer — pouring out our love for Him and receiving into ourselves the confidence and assurance of His love for us.
"For this is eternal life," Jesus said as He prayed to the Father, "that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3, NIV).
Jesus also said, "Anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father" (John 14:9, NIV). Do you love Jesus? Then you know and love the Father as well. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. He is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4c), in whose face we see the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6c).
The Heart of the Father
One night, as I meditated on the crucifixion, God the Father revealed the crucifixion from His side of things. Without any warning, His heart swept into my heart and I could feel everything He felt as He watched His Son be crucified. It was a devastating revelation. The intensity of His emotion was overwhelming — the pain unbearable.
Imagine having to watch your son be tortured to death in front of your very eyes. Now imagine that you have all the power in heaven and earth to stop it — but you choose not to. That is what God the Father had to do, and that is the depths of agony He felt as He watched His Son die.
It is difficult to rebel against a Father who suffered so much for you — who loves you with such intensity.
A "Father" Story
I was deep in worship one night when I suddenly realized I was talking to the Father as though I was seven years old. I thought, "David, you're going off the deep end here. You'd better bring yourself back into reality before someone catches you and sends you away." Suddenly, the Lord said, "Don't stop talking to Me as you have been. I am taking you back to the age when things started going wrong for you so that I can grow you up seamlessly from there. Remain seven for now so that I can heal you."
It was amazing what He then began to do. He restarted my emotional growth from the point, at which it had shut down as a result of the traumas in my life. He wasn't interested in patching up a broken vessel. He wanted to recreate a new vessel, and so He began fathering me from the age of seven.
Knowing exactly what the longings of my heart had been, He began to fulfill them for me. On one occasion, as I sat in His presence, He caused me to experience myself sitting in His lap while He stroked my hair — something that I had always longed for my father to do.
On another occasion, He gave me a vision in which I was playing catch with Him — again, a deep longing in my heart that had never been realized with my earthly father.
Each year, I would grow several years on the inside, both emotionally and spiritually, so that within just a few years, I was relating to God as a teenager and then finally as an adult.
In the healing process, we must grow through the stages of maturity — childhood, adolescence, adulthood and finally, parenthood. If in some sense we missed a healthy childhood, rather than being patched up, we must return to the point where our emotional growth stopped and allow the Father to grow us to maturity.
Getting Started in an Intimate Relationship with the Father
If the idea of developing an intimate relationship with an invisible God is a bit daunting for you, let me give you a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Focus primarily on God, His glory, grace and power. Sing, worship, pray and read His Word with the goal of knowing Him intimately.
2. Listen for Him to reveal hidden things to you.
3. Allow Him to relate to you at the age level where your spiritual and emotional growth stopped. Feel free to talk to Him as a little child would, if that is where you are in your relationship with Him.
4. Commit to challenging the old and developing new thought habits.
5. With the authority Christ has given you, challenge the spiritual forces that have participated in the bondage of lying emotions and feelings.
6. Specifically address the tyranny of being controlled by feelings rather than objective truth revealed in Scripture. Practice what I call "truth therapy" in the face of old emotions and beliefs.
7. Identify the major time-stealer in your life and cut it off, using that time to commune with God.
8. Talk to Him at every crossroad, upon making every decision, at the moment of every compulsive or negative thought or feeling. Confess your weakness. Admit your dependence. Ask Him for His power to defeat the enemy.
9. Find a group of devoted, balanced, healthy Christians and join their meetings (home fellowships, men's or women's groups, etc.).
10. Commit yourself to reading every day in the Bible until God speaks to you. Then meditate on that message, asking God to guide and empower the institution of the new truth into your life.
11. Be careful to center your actions in knowing Him, responding in love to Him out of His already demonstrated love for you on the cross. When you catch yourself going to God with the primary purpose of getting something, stop, reorient your priorities and approach Him again.
It's amazing what God can do once we return to Him with the humbled heart of a prodigal son (Luke 15:21).
After getting saved from a profligate life, I began to seek the Father so that I could learn to love the One I had feared for so many years. Every night, I would kneel at my bed and pour my heart out to Him — telling Him what I was thinking, what I was feeling, what was tempting me, what I didn't understand, asking Him to give me understanding of His Word and His ways, learning to see Him through the exact representation of His Being — Jesus Christ (Col. 1:15).
Ever so slowly, I began to love the Father and, eventually, even to trust Him. The turnaround came just as the Scripture said it would — God transformed my heart through His grace and love.
In truth, the Father is an awesome, perfect, unconditionally loving and forgiving Father — one who is perfect in all His ways, flawless in wisdom, one who completes and heals us. This is the true Father in heaven! This is my daddy. If I can trust no one else, I can trust Him completely (adapted from The Sexual Healing Reference Edition).
Dr. David Kyle Foster is the host of the Pure Passion Podcast and author of Transformed Into His Image and Love Hunger. He is also the founder and director of Mastering Life Ministries. Read more of his take on sexual sin and brokenness in his newest book, The Sexual Healing Reference Edition.
God our Father
The First Begotten
The Central Glory
A Father's Joy (RCS)
The Wasted Years
Gordon Dalbey: Abbafather.com
Arrested Emotional Development
Jesus, Plain and Simple
Jesus is a Single Man
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