Dear Children

Letters From A Father's Heart

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Understand Your Worlds

Dear Children,

Understanding this life requires ever keeping in mind that you are at the same time living in two different worlds if you are in Christ. There is the natural world that you can see, feel, taste, smell and hear. Then there is a Spiritual world that our natural senses can’t discern.

The natural world is made up of material, and so you might hear it referred to as a naturalistic/materialistic world. Take a moment to notice what you can see right now, what you are hearing, tasting, and smelling.  You are noticing sensory inputs into an infinitely complicated machine which is your body. With this body you experience the beauty of things like blue skies, birds, dogs and sunsets.  You can also experience unpleasant things like pain, sadness, fear or anger.  If this material world was all that there is then these experiences would be nothing more than your “machine” processing data by way of chemical reactions in your head.  But don’t ever buy into the notion that you are merely machines.  You are much much more!

The spiritual world that exists around us is wholly unlike the natural world. Not being material it is not experienced with our senses like the natural world, but it is discerned spiritually.  The Bible has much to say about this world and indeed without accepting that the spiritual world exists the Bible will never make much sense to you.

Of course there are some who do not believe that there is such a thing as a spiritual world. The Bible refers to this type of man as a “natural man”. God, speaking through Paul, says in 1 Cor 2:14 that: “…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

This idea that there are two worlds is interwoven throughout the Old and New Testament, but we see it in the New Testament especially. Nicodemus encountered this when Jesus told him that he must be born again. He asked Jesus how anyone could possibly climb back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time? (John 3)  And again, Jesus once told a group of people that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood.  Of course those people abandoned Him because they did not understand that he was speaking about a spiritual reality. (John 6)  The Bible also contrasts these two worlds in Romans 8 when we are told that there are those who are according to the flesh, and those who are according to the spirit. And following closely behind these principles the passage continues with: “… and the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God for it does not subject itself to the will of God for it can not do so.

In Ephesians 2 Paul points out that before the Spirit of Christ enters a person that person follows the “prince of the power of the air”, and that this same spirit is at work in this world and also in what he calls the “sons of disobedience”.  As those who are in Christ, we watch this prince at work with dismay, and sometimes with fear when we see evil thoughts, evil laws and evil deeds from natural men who have set themselves against God’s lordship in their lives. Jesus knew these things would happen, and that we would experience fear when we saw them.  That’s why he commanded us many times not to fear such things when we see them but instead to fear God, which is the beginning of understanding.

I pray that you would walk and think in the spirit and that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Your father

*Pray That Jesus Would Be Your Center

Dear Children

Your father loves songs that are prayers.  One such song is an old Hymn called “Be Thou My Vision”.  If the abundance and affluence that has your father’s existence continue also for you, then you will find that one of the inner battles you will face is the distractions that are very real part of comfort and plenty.  Personal peace and affluence are nice, but they compete powerfully for our hearts and minds, and they can and do steal our loyalties.  Indeed they have stolen mine.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is from Hebrews 11 wherein we are told that Abraham, by faith, sojourned in the land of promise looking “…for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”    A few verses later we are admonished to “[Look] unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…”   Jesus is our hope unto eternal life.  Our hope eternal is that we are hidden in Him from God’s wrath against all unrighteousness.  We must pray that He would not be merely one thing among many in our daily lives, but that he would be our all in all.

But how much is this really true for us? You will find that the glow of our hearts will wax and wane as we meander through the joys, trials, and distractions of our own sojourn. Prayer will be a necessary element in your lives, as your petition your Lord to uphold your spirit mind and body along the paths He has laid out for you. But sometimes prayer will not come easy for you. Yes, indeed, it might be difficult more often than it is natural. With that in mind consider this hymn, Be Thou My Vission. You’ll notice that it is a prayer as much as it is a song. And so you can pray as you sing, and sing as you pray. Think about the words as you send them up in petition. Oh Lord, be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart. Here are the words. Read them. Sing them as a prayer from your own heart:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

In this prayer sung we are asking for our Father in Heaven to draw our hearts and minds to Himself, come what may.  We pray that our vision would be fixed upon Him.  We pray that we would not confuse this world’s folly with Godly wisdom. We pray that he would be the center in times of war when the battle is burning hot between our spirit and our flesh, or between this evil world and Jesus’ righteousness in us.  We pray that we would not be taken captive by the securities, lusts, and comforts of this world.  And we pray that we would set not our eyes on things that are seen for a moment, but rather on the things that are unseen and eternal.

When you sing this song and other prayers like it, let it guide your hearts into prayer.  Dare not sing such songs mindlessly.  Sing it instead unto your Lord as a heartfelt prayer from your heart to His that perhaps he would grant you Himself as your foundation, your center, your wisdom and your shield, for unless he grants it, it will not be so.

I pray that you, my children, would stand on my shoulders, low to the ground though they be and glorify our God… your God.  Amen

Your Father

*Don’t Let These Confusing Times Confuse You

Dear Children

Having not lived in all times I dare not say that the confusion of these days is worse than they have ever been before, nor even that they are more confusing than any other time in my short life.  Let it be enough for you to understand that you are living in confusing times.  We might even say that these times only seem confusing, but really it’s only a different sort of confusion than that which was prevalent when I was a child in the 60’s.  During those days, you see, the confusion may have been hidden because almost everyone in my community went to church somewhere.  The standards of the church were the same as those of the community, so even those who didn’t even consider themselves Christians still lived according to the community’s standards.   As long as the community standards and God’s standards were not in conflict in any great way one could easily go to church on Sundays and live a moral life without being born again and no one, perhaps not even the poor unsaved soul, knew any better.

The wickedness that has overtaken this land has changed all of that.  Community life is different now because it is contrary to that which God teaches.  When I was a child, the Bible verse “…the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ( Matt 7:14) made no sense.  Very few people openly rejected the Bible’s teaching then, and in fact most went to church on Sundays and professed Christianity.  Now, while many still go to church on Sunday, many of those church attendees also reject what the Bible teaches, and they do not fear God.  Research shows that about half of the preachers on some level reject what the Bible teaches.

In some ways, however, life is clearer now.  When I was a child, a person made a pilgrimage up to the front of the church and prayed to ask Jesus in his heart, and was then considered “saved” from that point on regardless of how wicked his life became. I was one of those.  This brought confusion because salvation was a man-made formula that was followed, after which you were pronounced Christian by the preacher and that was that.  You could live and think any way you wanted and were assured that God loved you and was obliged to send you to heaven when you died because of what you did at taht church that day.

The community’s standards back then served to control how we acted so we generally lived outwardly in a way that was not that much different than what Jesus taught.  Little did I know when I was a young one living in the country that I was actually living in a time when big social shifts were taking place; shifts in mindsets that the small town in which I grew up in was not spared.  By the time I was a teenager my community’s standards had changed radically.  Divorce was acceptable and rampant, killing babies became legal and shame was dead.  It became clear to me by the time I was 20 that the increasingly unbiblical community standards had become my true guide in life, and not God or his laws.  As the community drifted toward wickedness so did I and I finally admitted to myself that I really wasn’t a Christian.  Had the community’s standards not changed, you see, I may have never realized that it was the community’s standardds that were my true guide and not God.  See?  Confusion.

I was not alone.  As Jesus plainly said that most would not find the narrow gate, the vast majority of people followed the community into wickedness and not God into righteousness.  Yet many who followed the community still sought to hold on to their religion. In time, entire denominations began to embrace what God clearly said was wrong reflecting the titantic shifts that were taken place below the surface.

But as a non-Christian, I thought following the world while still holding to the religion was a little hypocritical.  There were the masses who would live like me Monday through Saturday, and they would go to church every Sunday and teach Sunday school classes and sing in the choir.  I never paid much attention to them.  But every once in a while I would meet someone who really believed, and it was obvious that they believed.  They were different.

There is a good example of what I am talking about that took place during the time of your own childhoods.  When President Obama was running for president he said that he was a Christian and that he considered marriage to be between one man and one woman.  Nobody really him seriously.  But when the owner of Chick-fil-A mentioned that he believed the exact same thing people who loved Obama were very upset.  As it turns out, those who loved Obama were not at all confused about who he really was, nor who the owner of Chick-fil-A was.

Unlike the decisions that faced me when I was a little older than you, you must decide whether you are going to follow what society calls right and wrong, or whether you will follow what God calls right and wrong.  The one way will lead you into a life in which God is your enemy, the other will lead you into a life in which you will be ridiculed and hated by your culture.  One way will lead to life eternal, and the other to death.

With prayers for you my beloved children,

Your Father

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