Trusting to Jump into the Pool of Life

While spending the night at a motel, we walked past the swimming pool and observed the following scene. A father was encouraging his small daughter to jump into the water. Actually, Dad was inviting the girl to jump into his arms because the father was already in the water. The little lass was hesitant because the water was much deeper in this location than where she had previously been playing in the shallow end of the pool. The father was asking his child to trust him and take a risk. It would be fun. Although this was not an unusual interaction to be happening during a family swim time, the Lord asked me to look more closely as He wanted to reveal something to me through this encounter.

The young girl playing in the shallow water was enjoying herself but the father wanted to interact more personally with his daughter. He desired to be closer to her. Maybe he wanted to teach his daughter how to swim or help her overcome a fear of deep water. Our Heavenly Father has a similar yearning for us. Although attending a worship service on Sunday mornings has value for us as believers, God longs for a deeper personal relationship with each of us. (Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.”) God does not want us to be content to only “play church” for a couple of hours every Sunday. This represents a person with a shallow faith. Our Heavenly Father holds out His arms asking each of us to trust Him and jump with both feet into a commitment of living with Him and for Him 24/7. (John 3:16-17,36 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.)

Let’s create a spiritual setting for our swimming scenario with our Heavenly Father. He invites us to jump into the pool of life with Him. Isaiah 51:15-16 says, “For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar – the LORD Almighty is His name. I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”

Are we, as believers, ready to jump into a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father? Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” These are safe arms waiting for us! In case, we fear something unsafe might happen after we jump, Isaiah 50:1 assures us, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” When we jump into the arms of our Heavenly Father, we have the opportunity to jump into the His Word. We can trust our Heavenly Father because of promises He has given us.

I want to encourage you to quit playing in the shallow end of faith and jump into a deeper relationship with God. Let me share with you some scriptures that will give you confidence to trust our Heavenly Father with your life.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18

He will not let your foot slip–
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Psalm 121:3

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Psalm 56:3

I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
Psalm 13:5

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Joyfully,
Cheryl

 

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Heavenly Father’s Day

This coming Sunday we will be observing Father’s Day. How do you feel about that day? For some of you, it will be a time to get together with your family and celebrate dads. While others of you may try to forget that the day even exists. Are positive or negative images reflected within your mind when you think about your biological father? Will you feel lonely on Sunday because this will be the first Father’s Day that you do not have your dad beside you? Or, maybe you are excited because this year will be your first opportunity to celebrate fatherhood with the birth of a baby. Personal circumstances and experiences affect our outlook towards Father’s Day.

Our relationship with our earthly father not only affects our attitude towards Father’s Day, but it also can influence our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father. If you feel like you cannot trust your biological father, it may be hard for you to trust your Heavenly Father. However, no earthly father’s feelings or actions can compare to the holiness of God. Our Heavenly Father invites us into a relationship with Him that is more rewarding than we can ever imagine. A healthy understanding of God as our Heavenly Father is essential to having this relationship with Him. Allow me to help you get better acquainted with your Heavenly Father by creating for you a portrait of your Heavenly Father’s heart through a few specific scriptures.

And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
II Corinthians 6:18

God is love.
I John 4:8

the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
I John 3:1

Love is patient, love is kind
I Corinthians 13:4

The LORD is like a father to His children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13 NLT

your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:8

Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

We must remember that earthly fathers will disappoint us at some point in time. Only our Heavenly Father is perfect. May we fulfill Ephesians 3:`4-5 that says,I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it name.” Whether or not you are able to celebrate Father’s Day with your earthly father, I want to encourage you to celebrate Father’s Day with your Heavenly Father because in Psalm 68:5 God promises that He will be, A father of the fatherless.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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A Lenten Conversation with God

prayer-man-1

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.]
Matthew 6:9-13

lentToday is Ask Wednesday and I am beginning a six-week exploration of the meaning of what has come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus suggested these words to His disciple when they asked Him how they should pray. However, Jesus did not expect His words to be repeated by rote. His intention was to give His disciples an example of how to communicate with God. In its simplest form, prayer is a conversation with God where we talk to God and then listen for His response. In her book Seven Prayers that Will Change Your Life Forever, Stormie Omartan  says, “Prayer is not just asking for things. More importantly, prayer is talking with God. It’s getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It’s seeking Him first, touching Him, getting to know Him better, being with Him, and waiting in His presence. It’s acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It is partnering with Him. It is aligning your spirit with His to see that His perfect will is done. It is establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God without reducing prayer to a formula,” With the help of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in scripture, I desire to enrich my prayer life to be all that Stormie Omartan describes. I am on an adventure with the words of Jesus as my guide during this Lenten season.

My Reader, throughout the coming weeks, I hope you will join me digging deeply into the meaning of the various phrases of this prayer recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. Primarily, I will be using the words from the gospel of Matthew. Let’s begin today with the first phrase.

Our Father who is in heaven
Matthew 6:9

For me, this phrase is a personal recognition of the One to whom I am talking or praying. I am not addressing a group of people, but I am acknowledging that I desire a one on One conversation with God. Now, I want to take time to highlight some specific words.

Our Father who is in heaven
Jesus does not limit God to being only His father, but refers to Him as our father. When I pray, I can have a personal conversation with my father, but I also need to remember that He has many other children as well. He is “our” father, not just “my” father! I am a member of the family of God! I have many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I will spend eternity.

Our Father who is in heaven
Father is defined as the male parent of a family. We all need a father! Father is the more formal title used for someone in this position. Dad was always my choice of terms for my biological father. Dada is usually one of the first words a young child will say. Gradually, the child will learn to say Daddy. Abba is the intimate name that Jesus used for Daddy. The description of God as a father originated with Jesus.

Our Father who is in heaven
These words stress that “our father” is not an earthly biological father but rather a heavenly spiritual father. Because of the shortcomings of some biological fathers, it is hard for some people to comprehend God as a loving father. However, each of us as a child of God can fully trust and love and talk with our Heavenly Father. My Reader, take time this week to talk to “Our Father who is in heaven” about whatever is on your mind. He is interested in everything that concerns you.

In conclusion, I want to quote a couple of scriptures that validate the fact that God is our heavenly father and we are His children.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!

I John 3:1

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5

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

Psalm 139:13

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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