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Filtering by Category: Father's Love



“The Lord, your Father, HE is proud of you, Adam.  He is proud of you!” I can still hear the British accent speaking to me those very words as I lay weeping on the conference floor in San Jose, CA in 2000, totally lost in the ecstasy of the Father’s love.  He continued, “Adam, even though your earthly father has been absent, the Lord wants you to know that He, your heavenly Father, has always been there… He loves you.  Adam, He has been with you…Yes, He was with you on ‘sports day’, Adam.  Your heavenly Father was there on ‘sports day’”… This British man, who I had never met before was speaking with incredible insight right to the depths of my heart; I was undone.  How did he know? He wasn’t in my room that morning; he wasn’t at the football game that night, years before…was he?  There was only one explanation: God.

Just 12 hours before that historic encounter I was in my room ‘talking’ with my mom.  Ok, so we were arguing.  Literally, we were screaming at each other.  I don’t remember what we were yelling about but I do remember what happened when my mom yelled out, “What’s really the issue here, Adam?!” I broke down in tears and that moment of weakness pulled out of me some honest words that I had never previously given voice to: “You never say you’re proud of me, Mom!”

At that point I was about 18 years old and had walked with Christ since my conversion in my early teenage years following a life-threatening football injury that required emergency brain surgery (aka ‘Sports Day’).  In the end, the Lord used that nearly fatal scene to woo my heart to Him and save my soul.  Being told I’d never play sports again crushed my already broken spirit.  In the midst of my brokenness, and as a result of my mom’s faithful prayers, the gospel became the best news.  I was born again.

However, like many kids who grow up without a father, I subconsciously and hopelessly tried to fill my love-deficit with the praise of man.  As a young, gifted evangelist and preacher I very easily found the praise and encouragement I longed for in the church as a result of the many Christian families who loved seeing God work through me in ministry.  Sadly, the gracious words from these dear ones simply could not satisfy my insatiable need for the voice of the Father to heal my fatherless heart and free me from an orphan spirit.  I now know today that those who live by the praise of man die at the criticism of man…and rot at the silence of man.  I know today that even the truest words of encouragement have no lasting power to strengthen the heart that has not yet been personally rooted in the Father’s love.  Of course, I did not know this then and it was this miserable ignorance that made that argument with mom so terrible; and those words from the British man so glorious!

“The Lord, your Father, HE is proud of you, Adam.  He is proud of you…He was with you on Sports Day!”

A dozen years later the glorious work that God began in my heart that day still continues.  I have enjoyed an ever-increasing revelation of the Father’s great love for me; a truth that has anchored me in some of life’s most hostile storms and kept me centered when God has allowed others to encourage and strengthen me with words of blessing.  This love has set me free from the treadmill of striving and performance and daily guards from petty schemes of comparison and jealousy.  Most importantly, this love continually inclines my heart to love Jesus and live before Him in joy and peace.

I have a Father and He loves me.

The glorious truth of the Father’s great love for us must not be relegated to momentary encounters, no matter how awesome they are.  We must not give into the cultural lie that elevates moments of intimacy over daily commitment in relationships for we will then dangerously apply that perversion to our relationship with God.  Though it may be imparted in encounter, the Father’s love is sustained and further cultivated only as we fiercely guard the word of truth given to us, steward our hearts in righteousness and abide in communion with Him.

I have listed below some ways I’ve learned to posture my heart to keep myself in the love of God.  I hope that in practicing them you find your own posture in the Father’s love:

1      Embrace the call to forgive.  Unforgiveness is a terrible master that progressively limits our capacity to give and receive love.  Forgiveness is the divine gift that frees our hearts to walk in love.  Asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of unforgiveness in my heart and repenting is often the first step to re-aligning myself in the love of God.

2      Feast on the word of truth.  I have purposed in my heart to see my time in the word of God bring me into communion with the person of God.  Bible meditation and praying the scriptures has been a primary avenue for relating with the Lord and as a result my mind is being shaped by truth of His word and His love for me.

3      Listen for the Father’s tender words of affection.  In times of prayer I will ask the Spirit to speak to my heart and mind His words of love.  In quiet stillness I sit and receive His impressions, simple phrases and pictures that speak of His heart towards me.  I write them down, declare them out loud and hide them in my heart.  So good!

4      Learn to say ‘No’.  Every former striver and performer needs to learn to rest, take breaks and not sign up for every ministry opportunity presented to them.  At times I have sensed that the pattern of performance creeping back in, I will pull away and give attention to my first love.

1 John 3:1 – See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.



After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

At the foundation of every true ministry call on a life is a divine encounter that releases the revelation of heaven and secures the heart in the strong love of God.  As in Jesus’ life the Father often schedules this type of breakthrough to occur before any great kingdom achievement is realized; a most important preparatory measure as it ensures that the child understands a great reality of the Father’s heart: His love is not attached to performance.  Before He preached a sermon, blessed a child or performed any mighty act, Jesus heard the voice of the Father over His life; He was touched by His pleasure and delight; He was rooted and grounded in love.  Jesus would enter into His earthly ministry empowered by the voice of His Father, with nothing to prove—what joy and bliss!

Without the foundational truth of the Father’s love in place, the minister’s heart remains destined for destruction.  Until Abba’s love is secured, the servant of the Lord will continue in his subconscious pursuit, tirelessly working that he might be noticed by God, not knowing that he already has the attention of Heaven by simple virtue of His true identity as a son.  Let me tell you, this kind of labor is exhausting.  It is brutally deceptive.  It keeps you on the treadmill of performance, continually impressed by the mileage you’re racking up until at the end of your work you’re faced with the sad reality that you’re tired, sweaty and you really didn’t go anywhere!  So goes the destiny for the slave who never embraces his identity as a favored son.  When he does well, he’s preoccupied with what he could’ve done better and when he’s failed, he reasons again “perhaps I’ll return to my father’s house and he’ll take me in as one of his hired servants?”  A slave doesn’t see a father; he only sees a taskmaster.

The truth of the Father’s love for us is consistently contested by the injustice and pain of our everyday experience in a broken world.  Knowing this, God brilliantly wrote into Jesus’ life in the gospels subsequent encounters with His glorious love.  At His transfiguration, towards the end of His ministry, that mighty voice again broke in, ‘this is my beloved Son!’  Again the Father announces His great affection for His only begotten.  In the only two accounts in the gospels where we see the Father speaking directly to His Son, we find Him proudly and unashamedly declaring His love for Him.  Even for Jesus the revelation of the Father’s love could not be limited to a one-time experience.  The love of God must be imparted and secured by continual and numerous encounters that span the course of our history with Him.

A heart that is secure in the truth of the Father’s love is most feared by the hoards of hell, for it cannot be shaken, it does not fear and it has nothing to lose.  Patterns of striving and performance, comparing our gifts to our neighbors, competing with the brother/sister next to us, and even the jealousy and the inner anger that accompanies get totally undercut when we learn to live under the great waterfall of God’s heavy love for us.  When we repent of these slave-like behaviors and return to the simple truth of the Father’s heart, we are closer to the kingdom than ever before.  As the case for Jesus, intimacy with the Father becomes the cornerstone and method of our ministry, “I only do what I see the Father doing” and even in our most desperate and pressing state intimacy with the Father anchors us to the path of righteousness, “Father, let this cup pass from me…nevertheless, not my will but yours be done!”

Have you heard the Father’s voice speak tenderly to your heart of His great love for you?  Have you allowed that truth to take root in your mind and reform the way you think?  Have you asked the Holy Spirit to take that truth and build your entire life around it?

Romans 8:15

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”