Archive for November, 2010

Intimate Father: A Reflection on Psalm 139:13-18

November 29, 2010

(This devotional parallels “Breath of Life” posted on May 25, 2010)

 Father,

As You breathed life into Adam, even so, You breathed life into me. My heart was awaken at the sound of Your heartbeat. Your loving desire and innermost longing created me, crafted me, and birthed me. My life began in an intimacy with You that continues throughout my life.

 Psalm 139: 13-18

 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

You envisioned me. Your craftsmanship sculpted me, You placed me and positioned me in my mother’s womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I am God’s masterpiece. His artistic design of me was intentional. He wholeheartedly focused His skills in completing me. He worked with precision carrying out His master plan. God never fails, experiences no blunders, mistakes, or mishaps.

 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Nothing about me is an “oops!” During my creation nothing occurred outside Your plan, every element of my being was directed and orchestrated by You.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

You were intimately involved in my birth and intricately involved in my life. You have a purpose and a specific plan for each day. My life is full of purpose, futility is non-existent.

 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

God, Your love, knowledge, intention, and intimacy blows me away. Your goodness and greatness are baffling and incomprehensible.

He Knows Me

November 24, 2010

This devotional has been revised and reposted. It was first posted on July 8 , 2010.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” Psalm 139:1

“Please Lorie, please pray that God would give me words to explain myself to my dad,” was the prayer request of a down syndrome teenager. How I wanted to wrap my arms around this young lady and thank her for capturing and articulating the heart desire of every woman. How we yearn for words to fully express ourselves and long to communicate in a way that we are fully understood by someone who completely accepts us.

Unfortunately, the opposite is commonly experienced. We are not understood, not known intimately, and commonly dismissed. Our attempts prove futile, our words inadequate, and our energy is fully drained in unsuccessful attempts. We are left with unsatisfied longings, unmet desires, and the resulting disappointment that plunges us into hopelessness. To protect our injured hearts, we withhold speaking and eventually become silent. No longer living, simply existing. Our presence is acknowledged, but no one peers into our heart comprehending our thoughts, feelings, and the fears we are unable to communicate.

Like David, we have a friend who hears and understands the unspoken words of our heart. We travel with a life companion who thoroughly comprehends how our past experiences have framed us, defined us, and impacted us. He has faithfully traveled through each moment with us.

To those hiding away in fear concerned that once you are understood, you will be unloved, hear God’s thoughts for you… “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Oh the joy of discovering the one who knows you intimately loves you completely. Rest in the assurance that “He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

Personal Prayer

Father, thank you for the safety and security of being known intimately and loved completely and unconditionally by you. Let the knowledge of your love empower me to live securely and confidently.

Reflection Question

In what ways has Christ demonstrated His understanding of you?

How does Christ’s humanity demonstrate His understanding?

Thought to Ponder

There is no greater human need than to be understood. There is no greater gift than listening in order to understand.

Quote to Consider

What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we fear more than anything else.

Frederick Buechner

Redefining Fatherhood

November 9, 2010

Suggested Reading

John 17:20-26

“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”  John 17:26

Sunday’s sermon stirred a desire for healing in Joyce. She responded to the pastor’s invitation to come up for prayer at the end of the service. Joyce asked me to pray for her emotional healing to overcome the relational scars received by an abusive dad. After praying, Joyce shared that hearing me ask God to become a “father” to her, instead of bringing comfort, unleashed all kinds of ugly childhood memories.

Realizing that Joyce was transferring her experience with her earthly father into her image of her Heavenly Father, I asked a Joyce a few family questions. Upon discovering that Joyce was loved and adored by her grandfather, I suggested she picture her grandfather every time the word father was mentioned. I believed this would help her upgrade from a negative to a positive role model.

What I failed to recognize was as long as earthly people become our point of reference, our definition of father will be skewed. Jesus recognized earthly upgrades are limited and faulty, that’s why He came to demonstrate His Father’s love. My friend didn’t need an earthly example, she needed the ultimate model: the Father’s love demonstrated through Jesus.

Jesus’ words in John 17 express His desire for us to experience the same loving relationship He had with His Father. Christ showed us on Calvary how much our Heavenly Father loved us and what He would pay to have a relationship with us. The love Jesus received from His Heavenly Father was go powerful that He was willing to die in order for us to have this same relationship with His Father.

Now when I pray for people like Joyce who struggle in forming an accurate concept of their Heavenly Father, I direct them to the ultimate model…Jesus.

Personal Prayer

Father, expose and help me release any false beliefs and misperceptions about you. Help me to experience the depth of the loving relationship you desire with me.

Reflection Question

How can we recognize faulty assumptions and beliefs about God?

Thought to Ponder

You can’t trust your father until you know him.

Quote to Consider

“True and proper fatherhood resides in God and from this fatherhood what we know as fatherhood among us men is derived.”

Karl Barth