Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Hunger for Father


“It may surprise us to know that the most powerful common denominator influencing men's and women’s lives today is the relationship we had with our fathers… Of the hundreds of men and women I have surveyed, perhaps ninety percent admitted that they still had strings leading back to their fathers, (even though their fathers may have been dead for years), for approval, acceptance, affection, and understanding.”
Ken Druck with James C. Simmons, The Secrets Men Keep
(Italicized words added)

One unrecognized but powerful motivator in the lives of men and women is what the American Psychoanalytic Association has termed the syndrome of “father hunger.” Adult men and women experience a deeply submerged, but nevertheless very real inner yearning for the love and acceptance of their fathers. This unconscious hunger may be even stronger in the lives of men and women who felt rejected by their fathers or by those who were orphaned.

In her book Every Mother’s Son, Judith Arcana wrote: “Men and women long for fathers who are warm, receptive, physically affectionate and comforting, open and honest about their feelings, and approving and accepting about their failures … Most sons and daughters are perpetually disappointed.” (Italicized added)

Oftentimes, it’s very difficult for people to be honest about the hurt they experienced in their family of origin. We frequently hear contradicting statements like, “My dad never paid much attention to me, but he was really a good father. He was just too busy earning a living.”

We excuse the damaging effect of some of the things that our parents unwittingly did to us, or gloss over what they didn’t do. The problem with this tendency is that we inwardly blame ourselves for the treatment we received. Our thinking as a child was something like, “If I were a more interesting, more talented, better looking, more intelligent, more athletic, more ____ (Fill in the blank) then my father would have truly loved me more, spent more time with me and accepted me.”

As we move into the adult years, this thinking becomes deeply buried within us and unconsciously influences many of our actions and motivations. However, the truth is that the defect was in their parenting style and not in us.

A good friend of mine, Alberto, opened up about how his father tended to judge and value him based on his performance. He rarely praised him, told him he loved him or otherwise affirmed him. I was surprised as Alberto said what a good man his father was. It’s amazing that he could lightly excuse his father’s action in this area and call him “a good man.” His father may have had many positive qualities, but as a father he had been a tragic failure. 

Under the surface, Alberto had erroneously judged that he was the person at fault. This way of esteeming himself carried over into his relationship with God and was making it impossible for him to enjoy His presence, sense His joy or otherwise experience the abundant life.

As we talked, Alberto shared how he rarely felt he could do enough for God, and that He seldom felt that He was pleased with him. Unwittingly Alberto had somehow transferred the nature of his relationship with his biological father onto his relationship with God, the perfect father. Studies show that most of us relate to God the Father much in the same way we related to our biological fathers.

(The above post was taken from a thesis I wrote on Mid-Life Crisis in 1993 as part of the requirements for receiving a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling).

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND PRAYER

After praying through the Listening to God Guidelines, ask God each one of the following questions and write down the impressions that He brings to your mind and heart.

1.    God, what relationship is there between my past or present relationship with my biological father and how I relate to You, as God the Father? (It will be helpful to write out your answer in your own words).

2.    To grow in personal wholeness there are at least three aspects of your relationship with your biological father to explore:

a.     Have I fully forgiven / come to peace with my dad for things he did that he should not have done? Write these areas down on a piece of paper. If you haven't already done so, ask God if He would have you forgive your father today? If the answer is affirmative, please pray and fully forgive him.

b.    Have I forgiven and come to peace for the things he should have done but didn’t do? If not, ask God if He would have you forgive your father in these areas today? If the answer is affirmative, please pray and fully forgive him. (It may be helpful to list these areas).

c.     Have I made a list of the long-term consequences or effects that his actions or neglect have had in my life as an adult?
                                               i.     If you haven’t done this, this would be a good time to do so. Ask God to help you make a list of these long-term effects.

                                              ii.     After making your list, ask God if he would have you forgive these long term effects? Forgive the one’s you are able to forgive right now.

3.    If there are some actions or effects you aren’t ready to forgive as of yet, return to your list each week until you are able to come to a place of full forgiveness.

4.    In relation to things that have come up as you’ve gone though this exercise ask Jesus the following question: Lord, are there any lies that I came to believe about myself, God the Father, or any other area of life?

a.     List any lies He reveals to you.

b.    Ask Him, what truth do you have to communicate with me about the lies I believed. (Write these down as well).

c.     Don’t forget to renounce any lies that are revealed and receive the truth that Jesus brings to you.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Worshiping the Great 'I Am'


“Worship is to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission.”
"Webster's Dictionary," 1828

“Worship is more than a song; it’s a life responding to the extravagant love of God in extravagant ways. Not big ways or small ways - extravagant ways; and extravagance to God is simply using our lives and God-breathed gifts to bring Him glory. Every unique way you respond to God’s love, pour out your love to him, or his love to others – is worship.”
“In John 4:23, Jesus says, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.’ This verse tells me that God wants our love and our worship toward Him to be pure. 

Pure and love are not two words that we often put together. Maybe it’s because most of the love we experience is anything but pure. As flawed people, we rarely love without somewhat tainted motives. We all have probably ‘loved’ someone because we wanted something from them, and I’m sure we’ve all been ‘loved’ because someone only wanted something out of or from us.

We often feel we have to earn someone’s love by training ourselves to give him or her what he or she wants. Unfortunately, this kind of love isn’t ‘pure’ at all, and it doesn’t come close to reflecting God’s true heart. But we’re so used to performing and trying to impress the people we want to love us that we treat God the same way. We go around and around in circles trying to make Him happy without ever stopping to consider that maybe His love is really, truly, pure—without any selfish or deceptive motive. Maybe God doesn’t want anything from us except us.”

“Worship ‘is an exercise of the human spirit that is directed primarily to God; it is an enterprise undertaken not simply to satisfy our need or to make us feel better or to minister to our aesthetic taste or social well-being, but to express the worthiness of God Himself. To worship God is to ascribe to Him supreme worth, for He is uniquely worthy to be honored in this way.... True worship then is worship from the inside out.’

---------- A Personal Note ----------

If you live in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Israel, or the St Louis area of Missouri, please let fellow bloggers know how we may pray for you by leaving a comment or emailing L2G.Forum@gmail.com.

I injured my back and spent a good part of Saturday morning worshiping God through Christian music presentations I came across on YouTube. A worship song I encountered that was composed by Jared Anderson especially touched me. He’s an extremely gifted local Colorado Springs worship leader at New Life Church. 

I was so moved by the Phillips, Craig and Dean version of “Great I Am” that I decided to make it into a Meditational Worship song. For the background I found an incredible, ten-month in the making, timescape video of Yosemite National Park made by Colin Delahanty and Sheldon Neill. If you find this song and presentation to be inspirational in your walk with God, please share the Great “I Am” with your friends and family.

As you view, listen, and sing along with this Meditational Worship presentation may God be pleased to cause your human spirit to respond to Him with extravagant love and humble submission leading to worshiping the Great “I Am” in both Spirit and Truth. Amen. 

"GREAT 'I AM'" MEDITATIONAL WORSHIP
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3AXayM0nEo

Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Awakening


As I looked out the window during my time alone with God this morning there was a steady breeze blowing among the trees. I prayed, Jesus, I want to look up and out of myself … to look up and out to You as the Creator of the wind, the clouds, and the trees.  

As I observed the wind blowing in the trees I was reminded of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John Chapter 3. I paged through my Bible to find Jesus speaking in verse 6, Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. 

Then in verse 8 Jesus said, Just as you can hear the wind but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the spirit. 

And so I prayed, Come Holy Spirit and be pleased to stir and ignite my heart, illuminate my mind, and fill me full to overflowing this morning. Though I prayed earnestly, I didn’t sense much real movement in my heart. I experienced verse 6 … that in and of myself, I wasn't able to manufacture the new life of heaven.

Then, a verse I memorized years ago came to mind: May the very God of hope fill you with all joy and peace believing so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). 

Then, In our hearts Lord, in this nation, awakening. Holy Spirit, we desire, awakening! For You and You alone, awake my soul, awake my soul and sing. For the world You love, Your will be done. Let Your will be done in me. 

These are lyrics written by Rolf Lovland for a Hillsong of Australia worship song. Quickly I went to YouTube, found the song, and began to worship. I sensed my heart engaging in a fresh way with You, Holy Spirit.

AWAKENING by Hillsong
   https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=-AmvyGu1WeA
Like the rising sun that shines, from the darkness comes a light. I hear Your voice say
‘This is my awakening’ …

After my time of worship, I sensed God's encouragement to intercede. As I consider the tragic things going on around the world I ask You Father God to send awakening … first to Your people, but also to the nations who are so enshrouded in darkness. Send awakening to the Middle East, both to the people of Israel, to those who live in Gaza, and to Hamas. Awaken the people of Iraq, first the Christians who are fleeing for their lives … but also to the terrorists. Send awakening to the people of the United States. May this be our awakening!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What Do You Yearn For?

In the deepest place of your heart, are you aware of what you yearn for? More importantly, are you consciously aware of the things you look to in order to satisfy your thirst?
“What a man desires is unfailing love” - Proverbs 19:22
The Miriam Webster Online Dictionary defines yearning as a tender or urgent longing.

Some say that at our most basic level, we are all driven by two basic yearnings. People of every age, nationality, language and race hunger to be:

  • Fully loved
  • Fully known
Others have described our two most profound longings as security (to be fully loved) and significance (that my life would make a worthwhile contribution).

And sometimes these two cravings conflict with one another. In our desire to be deeply loved and embraced, we may fear making ourselves fully known. If others really knew everything about us, they’d probably distance themselves from us and even reject us. So we hide behind a mask of like-ability. 

IDOL WORSHIP?

God is the only One who possesses what it takes to truly know us inside and out while, at the same time, fully love us and count us as precious in His sight. Unfortunately, relatively few of us experience ourselves as fully known and fully loved by God.

For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.  - Jeremiah 2:13 NASB
Without realizing it, most people on the planet find themselves duped into seeking to satisfy their thirst via broken cisterns that leak like a sieve.

As children, most of us looked to dad and mom to satisfy these yearnings. Later we looked to our peers. Problem is that the love and interaction from dad, mom, and our peers was imperfect at best. To complicate things, most of us we were wounded and hurt in these formative years, some worse than others. Satisfying the yearning to be fully loved and known by looking to people is like dreaming an impossible dream (more like a nightmare!)


Only God the Father as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ has the miraculous capacity to both fully know us inside and out … and at the same time … to love us fully and completely. 


LISTENING EXERCISE


This exercise can be used in a time alone with God. If you lead a small group, you may want to use this assignment with the people you are studying with. Or you can do this exercise together with your spouse or a friend.

Dedicate 30 minutes in a tranquil place where you won’t be disturbed. After quieting down, ask God the below questions. Praying through the Listening to God Guidelines before answering the questions will be helpful.

This exercise won’t really help you unless you’re honest with yourself and with God. Write down what comes to you. As you jot things down it’s like priming the pump and God often will bring additional communication to you.

  1. God, what is my deepest underling yearning as I live my day-to-day life? (You may have more than one. Just write down what comes to you.) ________________________________________________________
  2. Am I hiding behind a mask and not sharing who I truly am - or am I pretending things are going better than they actually are? _______________________________________________
  3. What or who am I looking to in an attempt to satisfy my deepest yearning(s)? ________________________________________________________
  4. If you uncover a faulty strategy you’re unwittingly following to quench your longing(s) or are disappointed because what you’re doing isn’t working, tell God all about it. If you feel you’ve been falling short of what God wants for you, confess it to Him. If you want to change, ask God for His special help. ________________________________________________________
  5. Ask Jesus, what do You have to communicate with me about the satisfaction of this yearning? (Jesus may send thoughts into your mind, a picture, remind you of a phrase from a song, fragments of scripture, etc.). ________________________________________________________
  6. Share what took place as you used this exercise by leaving a comment or writing L2G.Forum@gmail.com. This will help me know I am writing about things that are useful to you. If you’re not at a place where you want what you wrote shared with others, say so, and I’ll keep it private.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Delight is in You



“You will no longer be called Deserted, and your land will no longer be called Destroyed. But you will be named My Delight, and your land will be named Married. The LORD is delighted with you, and your land will be married.” Isaiah 62:4 

Come to Me with your ears and heart wide open. Listen to Me … the vitality of your soul and spiritual life with Me are in play. Drink Me in … let the pain and the sorrow be washed away!

I am here living inside of you. I am your God – the One who called you to Myself … to belong to Me, only Me. I want and wanted you for Myself. My delight is in you! I am jealous for your affection, attention, heart, and mind. You belong to Me! 

It boggles my mind that You delight in me and have called me to belong to You. I want to be more fully Yours … to be in more constant communion with You … to be quick to listen … to think with the mind of Christ, to feel with the Heart of my Father, to be filled with You, Holy Spirit, and to be filled with all the fullness of God.

Thank You for calling me, for pursing me, for indwelling me, and for Your patient, unfailing, abundant love.

Listen for God to speak to you within the below worship song by clicking on the image.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuHhsHK8NQM

What is God saying to you?


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Be Near


Father God, are You here with me right now? Since I can’t see You, and on ocassions I don’t feel Your presence, there are times when I doubt that You’re truly there for me.

Though I’ve felt Your closeness at times, I’m realizing that Your presence is not just an emotional experience. Even when I’m down and in a bad way I know with certainty that You are here because You promised: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I know You are there because I have Your word on it. 

My child, I Am here! 

Thank You for sticking with me in the both good and bad times. You are the One Person in my life that I can fully depend on.  Even if others abandon me, You are there for me. You are my Faithful Friend.

Be near, oh God … be near, Your nearness is my good. (To prepare your heart, consider praying through the Listening to God Guidelines.) Empower me to come fully present to You as I worship You through this song.

"BE NEAR" BY SHANE & SHANE


You can share what took place as you sought to practice His presence with other L2G visitors by posting a comment or sending an email to L2G.Forum@gmail.com.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Refuge, Shelter and Protector


In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed … Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly … Be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress. {Taken from Psalm 31:1-3 NASB}

Psalm 31 is so full of truth and encouragement. It is true that You Yourself really are my Shelter, my Protector, my Refuge, my Stronghold, and my Craggy Rock. You hide me in Your High Place from the pernicious attacks of the enemy.


You notice my pain and You are aware of how distressed I am. You do not deliver me over to the power of the enemy; You enable me to stand in a wide open place. How great is Your favor (goodness), which You store up for Your loyal followers! In plain sight of everyone You bestow it on those who take shelter in You. {Taken from Psalm 31:7,8, &19 NET}


My life is not hidden from You. You take notice of every aspect of my life and are fully aware when I am facing stress and difficulty. How wonderful it is that You don’t give me over to the power of the enemy. Instead you empower me to stand in the wide-open place that You promised to me. It’s obvious to me that this isn’t something I earned but that it’s because You decided to bestow Your incredibly great favor upon me. Thank You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for You goodness to me … at times Your generosity to me is almost overwhelming!



You are My son and My pleasure, grace, and favor rest upon you. Have no other gods before Me. Be wholly Mine. Jesus, I belong to You and You are mine as well! Drink deeply from My well of Living Water. Stay away from the polluted wells. They will not quench your thirst and will only make your life more complicated. Drink Me in so that My river flows in and through you to many others. I am the only True Drink

Water of Life