Knowing God as Father

Many Christians who love God without reserve struggle with the idea that God loves them infinitely more than that. They cannot grasp the thought of God as their Father—the Father—because of the poor example of their own fathers as they grew up. If their earthly fathers have been absent from their lives or they have suffered physical or sexual abuse from their fathers, the whole concept of “father” is skewed for them. They think of themselves as damaged and unlovable and this leads to difficulties in viewing God the Father as their own “Abba Father” who loves them beyond measure.

In Scripture there are many different names used to describe God. While all the names of God are important in many ways, the name “Abba Father” is one of the most significant names of God in understanding how He relates to people. The word Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as “Daddy.” It was a common term that young children would use to address their fathers. It signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.”

Today’s post is a devotional from John MacArthur’s book, Daily Readings from the Life of Christ.

Knowing God as Father

“‘“Our Father who is in heaven . . .”’” (Matthew 6:9).

Only those who have come to God through Christ can call God “Father.” He is the Father of unbelievers only in that He created them (cf. Mal. 2:10; Acts17:28). It is only those who trust Jesus who have “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12; cf. Rom. 8:14; Gal. 3:26).

In the Old Testament, faithful Jews saw God as the Father of Israel, the nation He elected as His special people. Isaiah proclaimed, “You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name” (Isa. 63:16b; cf. Ex. 4:22; Jer. 31:9). Many of them even saw God in an intimate way as their spiritual Father and Savior (Pss. 89:26; 103:13).

But because of their disobedience toward God’s commands and their embracing of false gods around them, most Jews of Jesus’ time had lost the true sense of God’s fatherhood and viewed Him as only the remote Deity of their ancestors.

These six words at the beginning of the Disciples’ Prayer reaffirm that God is the Father of all who trust in Him. Jesus Himself used the title “Father” in all His recorded prayers except one (Matt. 27:46). Although the text here uses the more formal Greek pater for Father, Jesus likely used the Aramaic abba when He spoke these words. Abba has a more personal connotation (cf. Mark14:36; Rom. 8:15), equivalent to the English “daddy.”

Because saints belong to Jesus the Son, they can come to God the Father (“Daddy”) as His beloved children.

Ask Yourself

Certainly in our decadent day and age, many are increasingly growing up in homes where “father” is a person to be feared, a person who rejects, a person who demeans and devalues. How does God’s identity as “Father” fill the holes left by even well-meaning dads who fall short of what their role requires?

Please visit John MacArthur’s site, Grace to You.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

1http://www.gotquestions.org/Abba-Father.html

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My Treasures, Part 5

On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the fourth of the treasures on my list:

My Mother and Father

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12

MOM

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. —Abraham Lincoln

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. —Tenneva Jordan

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. —Sophia Loren

I no longer have my Mom because the Lord took her home five years ago, but I always love sharing this favorite photo of her. This version is “enhanced” with my image so you can see the resemblance:

Don’t you just love Mom’s fabulous smile? Here are some other photos of her:

Our family waaaay back in 1995

Mom relaxing after dinner

Mom and grandson Daniel

A couple of years before the Lord took Mom home

I miss my Mom but she is in a much better place, probably dancing and laughing joyfully with Jesus.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

DAD

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. —Bill Cosby

There are three stages of a man’s life: he believes in Santa Clause, he doesn’t believe in Santa Clause, he is Santa Clause. —Unknown

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. —Euripides

Dad worked hard to provide for our family and I’ll always be grateful for that. We didn’t have many luxuries but we had the necessities and a few things more. I don’t ever remember feeling deprived, but that’s probably because there was so much love to go around.

Dad lives in Florida and is flying here to visit Rick and me next month. Because of health problems on my end, I haven’t seen him since Son Alan’s wedding in 2010, so we’re really looking forward to his visit.

Here are more photos of Dad:

Me & Dad at the Grand Canyon

Dad hamming it up on the Grand Canyon excursion

Dad & Rick geared up for a ride

Relaxing after dinner

As I said before, Dad worked hard to provide for our family but now he gets to relax and spend time with each of us. As you can see from the photos, he loves having fun so I’m wondering what fun things we’ll do on his next visit here.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Parents have a huge role in shaping our lives. We alternately look to them for guidance while seeking to assert our independence. We want their approval and blessing at the same time we think we know better or more than they ever could. I am ever thankful for the treasures of my Mom and Dad. They taught me the value of a solid work ethic, patterned the “waste not want not” attitude that still guides me today, and showed me what family togetherness is all about.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. —Proverbs 1:8-9

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. —Proverbs 23:22

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. —Proverbs 23:25