The Father's Love Letter

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications

1999-2011 www.FathersLoveLetter.com


My Yo-Yo Life

Up and down, up and down.

I could never get the hang of a yo-yo when I was growing up.  I could do it a few times but invariably, it ended with the yo-yo just hanging there, hanging on by a thread.

This past week, my life definitely seemed like a yo-yo.  Monday started off fairly normal, then I went to work.  It seemed as if all hell broke loose.  Over the next three hours, it seems I used every management, pastoral and counseling tool in my repertoire.  When it was all said and done, I was exhausted.  I felt empty inside.  I came home to just veg and 20 minutes after walking in the door, the power went out for the next 6 hours.  

Tuesday morning I felt like I was operating on vapors, but throughout the day, the Lord continuously strengthened and encouraged me.  Wednesday, my wife and I experienced a fairly embarrassing incident and it seems I quickly crashed to earth.  By Thursday, it felt like I was hanging on by a thread.

"I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  (Galatians 2:20)

My wife gave me a quote that said in part that "Christ did not want to be our helper, but rather our Life.  He wants us to experience His life in the heat of the moment."

In the heat of the moment, I was not letting Christ shine through.  Heck, to be honest, by Thursday I was questioning God's goodness.

Now I know He is good, but in the midst of the storm it is hard to see clearly.

Yet He did bring us through the storm.  A friend reminded me of Romans 8:35 which says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?"

Romans 8:37-39 answers that question:

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Nothing can separate us from His love.


Everyone Has A Story

For the past six years I have worked with the Salvation Army.  I have seen a lot over these 6 years, not all of it pretty.  I’ve learned a lot as well.

One thing I have learned is to listen for the story.   

There is a cynicism that has crept into our society where we act like everyone on the street is a substance abuser, makes the wrong choices and “has an excuse (story)” for their actions.  I have learned how far from the truth that really is.

It’s true, some of the “street” people abuse substances and make other poor choices, but many have suffered sickness, got behind on a bill or were laid off when the company downsized due to a poor economy.  Lest we forget though, ALL were created in the image of God.  (Genesis 1:27)

“Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2

When we walk down the street and see those in need, do we see God’s image in the person we try to ignore?  Do we see the image of God in the poor, the needy, and yes, even the substance abuser?

How often do we think about the soul of the man or woman on the street? 

I will say this, God thinks of them DAILY!  (Psalm 139)

He loved them enough to send His Son for them.  (John 3:16)

Can we not stop and hear their story? 

I mentioned that I have learned to listen to the story.  It isn’t always easy but with practice, we can look beyond the symptoms and listen to what is going on in the heart of the down-and-out person.  A cup of coffee with a stranger may place us outside of our comfort zone for a moment, but it can change a life forever.

These are my neighbors.  This is my mission field. 

Will you listen to someone’s story this week?


Not What You Expect

I wrote this piece a few days ago for a colleagues blog.  (You can see Stanley Groothof's blog here: 4th Point)

The man was dirty.  He reeked of alcohol.  His appearance was the very epitome of a homeless person.  His language was rough and yet, in mere moments, he preached a Gospel message that had everyone in tears. 

We were well into worship on a Sunday morning when he walked in.  He took a seat and then bounced up to get some water.  He sat down and bounced up again looking for a snack.  A third time he stood up because he had soiled himself.  All this before I ever started my message.

I believe I was preaching on love that day.  Really, I can’t remember. 

What I remember is that in the middle of my message, this man asked if he could say something.  After I said yes, he began to talk about love, our need for God and how we should love our neighbors.  He talked about making mistakes and taking baby steps to Christ.  He didn’t talk long but he impacted the whole congregation.  As people wiped their eyes, I sat stunned that this man whom I had known for years as a “street person” had just articulated the heart of the Gospel.  I was humbled. 

God has a way of doing that.  He has a way of using people you would least expect to express the basic truths of the Word of God.

One lady had sat in our congregation for a few months.  She is a very sweet woman and one who is considered “special needs.”  After sitting in our services for some time, she came one morning and handed my wife a piece of paper.  (She likes to write letters to communicate.)  What she had written were two very beautiful, heartfelt worship songs.  It was a very real reflection of a child like faith. 

These were two very different people, both of whom had me turning to the Father in worship! 

It reminds me of the story of Rahab the prostitute found in Joshua chapter 2.  Rahab hides two Jewish spies as they check out Jericho in advance of the Israelite army.  As they are being hunted, she helps them escape.  She also expresses her own belief in God. Her actions were not what you would expect from a prostitute.  Yet Hebrews 11:31 lists her as a woman of faith and James 2:25 mentions her good works. 

God shows Himself in unexpected places and in the lives of unexpected people.  How has He surprised you?