Showing posts with label Father. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Father. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Now It’s Personal

“Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

In church circles, my father was well-known. He lived a life of selfless service, teaching and counseling among the Lord’s people, was a help to many, and was consequently famous — in a modest sort of way.

Because of this, my brothers and I could go to no new town without running into Christians who knew him. We became used to the phrase, “Ah, so you’re HIS son.” We had an instant welcome and unearned favor wherever we happened to go. We used to joke that just dropping Dad’s name was good in any town for three free meals and the hand in marriage of a girl from the local church.

Dad’s name was “coin of the realm”, as they used to say.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

The Spirit of Adoption

Jews pray to God generically, though they sometimes write his name “G-d”. Muslims pray to God generically; that’s what “Allah” means. The devout men and women of the Old Testament addressed their prayers to God generically: “O God” (or, more frequently, “O Lord” and sometimes “O Lord God”).

But they never prayed “O Father”. Not once.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

You Don’t Know My Father

Let me tell you a story about my father.

Once upon a time (actually, more than once), a very badly behaved little boy sat in the back seat of the family car during a long road trip, deliberately provoking the driver by ramming his pointy little knees into the small of the driver’s back. It was a source of great pleasure to the boy, who disliked long car trips, had become bored and was looking for something fun to do.

From the front seat of the car came a series of calm responses something like this: “Stop that, please” … “I believe I told you to stop that” … “If you don’t stop that, there are going to be consequences”, and eventually, “The next time you do that, we’re going to have to pull over.”

Finally, after the third or fourth transparently intentional provocation, the car eased over to the shoulder of the highway, and child and parent made a trip into the woods together for some clarification as to who was in charge.

Keep this story in mind, if you will.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Incidentally …

An idle remark made in passing may tell us considerably more about its speaker than listening to him lecture for an hour on a prepared topic.

Likewise, it is often the case that the little “asides” made by the writers of the New Testament in the process of teaching are as interesting as — and sometime even more interesting than — the subjects themselves.

Nothing in scripture is simply there to fill up space. Even incidental comments are full of important truth.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Now It’s Personal

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Trinity (and Other Committees)

Last week I spent a torturous hour and a half completing an online job safety training module. Since the company I work for has more than 15 employees, provincial law requires that we have a safety committee. So every time a new government rolls out a new initiative or an old one decides to ‘refresh’ their documentation (code for ‘same thing, new wrapper’), the byproducts of their boardroom discussions eventually filter down to me.

I suppose if you have to be on a committee, the Job Safety Committee is the one to volunteer for. Coffee and donuts monthly for doing … not much. Finding a spot to hang the first aid kit, I suspect. In case a paper cut really, really bleeds.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Irrationalization: Call No Man Father

There are two ways for, let’s say, a flabby, aerobically-inadequate middle aged blogger to approach a task like getting over a six foot hurdle. One way is to recognize that he is horribly out of shape and begin regular exercise and training.

The other way is to lower the bar … or maybe even remove it entirely.

I have always been fascinated by our ability when reading the Bible to explain away that which would be perfectly clear if understood in its natural sense. Sadly, doing so is almost always a recipe for spiritual disaster. A much safer practice is to confirm that the word of God says what it says, even when it condemns us. To let God be true and to let every man be a liar, and let the theological chips fall where they may.

All to say, I happened across a spectacular piece of religious rationalization this morning.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

On the Mount (28)

As I mentioned in a couple of recent posts, we cannot be 100% sure which of Jesus’ various references to God specifically as Father to those who believe in him came first chronologically. This is because not all the gospel writers present the events of the Lord’s life in the order they occurred. Some writers, as Luke often does, group them thematically.

In Mark, the first “your Father” doesn’t appear until chapter 11, in the context of forgiveness. In Luke it is chapter 6, and the statement, “your Father also is merciful.” In John, the expression “your Father” does not appear until after his resurrection*, when he says it to Mary Magdalene. Prior to that point, the Lord speaks exclusively of “my Father” or “the Father”.

If I had to guess, I’d go with Matthew.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fatherhood Expounded

In a previous post, I pointed out that very little is said in the Old Testament about the fatherhood of God. It took the coming of the Son to fully expound the ways in which God’s relationship to believers is paternal.

Or perhaps we have that the wrong way round. Perhaps instead we should say something like this: The human father/child relationship was designed by God to illustrate how he relates to his creations and his creations to him. In other words, we can expect that human fatherhood done right will be “Godly” in character. I don’t think that’s too much to assume.

Either way, until the Son came and made the Father known — not simply as God but in his role as Father — only a very small number of the faithful understood God’s parental care for his people, and only in the most limited of ways.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fatherhood Foreshadowed

How many times in your life have you started a prayer with the word “Father”?

For me it’s thousands upon thousands. Tens of thousands, perhaps. I can’t even begin to guess. In fact, it is fairly common for Christians to address God as their father, though I know many whose prayers customarily begin with “Dear God”, which, when you think about it, is a little perplexing.

How many of us think much about the fact that the family relationship with God into which we have been brought through faith in Jesus Christ is not only intimate but also unprecedented?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deconstructing the Narrative

Do you ever find yourself telling God stories? I do.

“Lord, you know I did my best, but ...”

Uh, no. Cease narration. Start deconstructing.

Too many words for one thing, all of them unnecessary. It’s one of those “empty phrases” Matthew talks about. The Lord knows whether I did my best or not. Chances are I didn’t. Maybe it was a 50% effort, maybe it was 80 or 95, but there’s always more I could have done. Because he would do more. He did more.

In any case it’s unnecessary. What I’m really doing is writing a sales pitch for the only Person in the universe who already knows the whole truth of the matter. I often don’t.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

You Don’t Know My Father

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Trinity (and other Committees)

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Irrationalization: Call No Man Father

The most recent version of this post is available here.