Archive for the ‘Father’ Category

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So I just read one amazing book – “The Shack” by William P. Young. Although this book has been around for several years, I’ve never had the time or desire to read it until now. What stunned me about this book was how it showed our loving Father in a way that many of us have experienced, but our religious thinking could never really allow us to believe.

The main character in this story is Mackenzie Allen Phillips, or “Mack” for short.  Mack has never had a close relationship with God, or “Pappa,” as He is often referred to in the book.

I don’t want to spoil the ending if you haven’t read it, but I do want to leave you with some favorite lines I highlighted while I was reading it. I think I could have highlighted the entire book, so forgive me if this gets a little long.

“Oh”— now Jesus was serious—“ don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do.” (p. 98)

“Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship.”  (p. 103)

“Mackenzie, the truth shall set you free and the truth has a name; he’s over in the woodshop right now covered in sawdust. Everything is about him. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him. Then all that stuff you feel churnin’ around inside will start to work its way out.” (p. 107)

“When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of me?” (p. 108)

“Most birds were created to fly. Being grounded for them is a limitation within their ability to fly, not the other way around.” She paused to let Mack think about her statement. “You, on the other hand, were created to be loved. So for you to live as if you were unloved is a limitation, not the other way around.”  (p. 109)

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown. —Author Unknown”   The Shack (p. 132)

“Though chains be of gold, they are chains all the same.” (p. 141)

“Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved. Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me.” (p. 146)

“It’s not the work but the purpose that makes it special.” (p. 152)

“You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil on your own terms. That is a hard pill to swallow— choosing to live only in me. To do that, you must know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness.”  (pp. 158-159)

“Without wisdom, imagination is a cruel taskmaster.” (p. 166)

“The person who lives by his fears will not find freedom in my love.” (p. 167)

“All I want from you is to trust me with what little you can, and grow in loving people around you with the same love I share with you. It’s not your job to change them, or to convince them. You are free to love without an agenda.” (p. 217)

“Does that mean,” said Mack, “that all roads will lead to you?” “Not all.” Jesus smiled as he reached for the door handle to the shop. “Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.” (p. 219)

“If I take away the consequences of people’s choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all.”  (p. 229)

“Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross, so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.” ; “The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?” ; “The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two-way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship, but it is the nature of love to open the way.” (p. 232)

“It is true that relationships are a whole lot messier than rules, but rules will never give you answers to the deep questions of the heart, and they will never love you.”  (p. 239)

“Those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us to live in them. Trying to keep the Law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.” (p. 246)

Jesus now spoke again. “Mack, I don’t want to be first among a list of values; I want to be at the center of everything. When I live in you, then together we can live through everything that happens to you. Rather than the top of a pyramid, I want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life— your friends, family, occupation, thoughts, activities— is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth, in an incredible dance of being.” (p. 251)

“Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It is about letting go of another person’s throat.” (p. 272)

“Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”  (pp. 272-274)

“Oh, child,” spoke Papa tenderly. “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.” (p. 279)

“Mackenzie, this world is full of tears, but if you remember, I promised that it would be I who would wipe them from your eyes.”  (p. 281)

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. —Elizabeth Barrett Browning” (p. 285)

Young, William P. (2008-06-20). The Shack. Windblown Media. Kindle Edition.

Thanks for taking the time to read through those great lines from the book. I can’t say enough about this wonderful little book. If you’re interested, you can find The Shack here at amazon.com.

Grace and Peace

Chad

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It seems like forever that I’ve heard this:  As Jesus was dying on the cross of Calvary, His Father turned His back on Him. Is this true? A lot of you may be thinking – “Uh… didn’t Jesus say ‘My God My God, why has hast Thou forsaken Me?'” And I would say – yes – He did say that in Mat. 27:46.

So why do I question that the Father actually did forsake His son?   If you read the verse again, you will notice that is was not a statement but actually a question being asked.  Jesus, while He was fully God, was also fully man. He, at this moment, was carrying the weight of the world’s sin, sickness, depression and a host of other undesirable things that keep us in bondage. At that moment, it is worth noting that this is the first and only time Jesus addresses the Father as my God.

This, my friends, is what sin, sickness, and disease does to us. It makes us feel as though we are far from our heavenly Father. But let’s get back to the question at hand:  Did the Father forsake His only begotten Son?

I think the answer is found in Psalms 22. Jesus was actually quoting this Psalm on the cross. Let’s look at it now.

1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

As you can see, this was what Jesus was quoting on the Cross.  But if we continue to look at Psalms 22, we see that the whole chapter is a prophetic view to the crucifixion. Let me pull out a few more obvious verses that will show you what I see.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.  16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

T0his is clearly about the crucifixion. But wait – we are looking for answer to the question that Jesus asked.  For too long, we have made our own interpertion of what the Father actually did.  Remember, Jesus asked a question.  So where is the answer?  If the Father raising His Son on the third day after they had defeated hell, death and the grave wasn’t a good enough answer for you, let’s finish out Psalm 22 and see if we can find the answer (this time from the NKJV in verse).

21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth ad from the horns of the wild oxen! YOU HAVE ANSWERED ME. (capitals are mine for emphases)

So what’s the answer? If we continue to read down to verse 24 we find the answer – and yes, my friends, this is good news.

24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affiction of the afflicted; NOR HAS HE HIDDEN HIS FACE FROM HIM; BUT WHEN HE CRIED TO HIM HE HEARD.

My friends, this is the answer to the question that Jesus asked. The Father did not turn his back on Him. He did not hide His face from Him because of all the sin that was on Him, but when He cried, the Father heard Him. If we continue to look at scripture  we find that the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them 2 Cor.5:19.

This is good news! Really it’s great news.  The Father never left His Son – not even the moment He carried the weight of the world’s sin. You see, He promised never to leave us or forsake us.  Nothing can separate us, and nothing could ever separate the Trinity. NOTHING.

You may ask, “Why does this matter?” It matters because Jesus was the expressed image of the Father. To think Jesus loves us one way and the Father  loves another, or that He might turn His back on us when we sin, is something I think needs to be corrected in our thought process towards our Heavenly Father.  Sin, my friends, has been dealt with at the cross.  It can no longer keep you from the love that your Father has for you. The only thing that will keep you from that love is a refusal to receive it. Grace is on the table.

It’s time to eat!