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Abba Father

Abba Father

The word ‘father’ brings to mind different meanings and memories for each person. For some, a father evokes positive or happy thoughts. For others, the memories of a father may be difficult—for any number of reasons. But what is our perception of God the Father?

I believe that it is God’s desire that everyone receive a personal revelation of God, not only as our awesome God (and He is) but as our warm, loving, caring Father!  A Father that wants us to talk with Him daily. A Father that desires us to live a life of intimacy and deep affection with Him; a life that will embolden us to become men and women of significance in our world.  The scripture describes our loving Father in this way:

Romans 8:15 (NKJV) For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption and by Him (the Spirit) we cry Abba Father!

This phrase ‘Abba Father’ is a term of endearment or affection. The Passion Translation of this scripture describes God as our ‘Beloved Father’.

In Galatians chapter 4, the apostle Paul writes that when we become believers, we move from slavery to sonship. The word ‘sons’ used throughout this chapter is not a reference to an exclusively male invitation, but a reference to the nature of the relationship that God offers: that of full, total adoption. This spiritual adoption is available for each person, both male and female.

Galatians 4:6-7 (NIV) Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

God is indicating the type of the relationship that He intends us to have with Him by talking about the tradition of the day. It was the custom of full adoption, in which an adopted person took on all the rights, privileges and authority of his new ‘father’ as his rightful heir. It was an awesome moment in a person’s life when whatever limitations previously part of their life were replaced by their whole new identity of power and authority granted to them by their father. With that full adoption moment came an amazing new life with freedom and potential never dreamed of previously.

When we have a personal revelation of true fatherhood, we have the security of knowing that:

  • We are totally loved
  • We are unconditionally accepted—and never have to strive for that acceptance again
  • We are a recipient of the Father’s provision
  • The authority of the Father now fully rests on us as His heir
  • Father is guiding the steps of our lives
  • Father is always and only motivated for our good
  • Father is the all-powerful Creator of Heaven and Earth—and He is greater than all of life’s opposition.

Friends, the marks of one living with a revelation of having God as our personal, intimate, affectionate Father is SECURITY! An impregnable, unshakeable security. We can go through life totally assured of His love and acceptance. 1 John 4:18 declares, “Perfect love casts out all fear!” The revelation of God as my affectionate, protecting Father conquers all fear. My intimacy with the Father is what empowers me.

When we are secure, we don’t compare ourselves with others or become intimidated by others. A revelation of Abba Father dares us to dream impossible dreams because our God is not restricted to our humanity. We become capable of bold initiatives because our driving force is to please Him and bring Him honour. It is never too late to experience a new and intimate relationship with Father.

Spiritual sonship is God’s intention for all of us! Father gives an invitation to enter in to such a relationship. He now offers you a life of far greater intimacy and potential than you have previously known or dreamed of. Ask Him today for a revelation of His heart and get to know Him as your personal, affectionate Abba Father.

End Times

A Word About The End Times

People love to speculate on the End Times. I have heard many opinions from different people. Some have fought for the truth of their convictions, while others hazard a guess at what might possibly be. Many predicted dates for the End Times that have since come and gone… and we are still waiting.

Does God have anything definitive to say about the End Times? Is there a prophetic word of encouragement for us all today?

While having my own devotional time with God recently, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go to a certain scripture reference that I did not know by heart. In obedience, I turned to it and the following is where He led me. I believe it is God’s perspective for us about the End Times.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 NIV Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

God’s word to you for the End Times is “Live ready!” God is not going to make the date of Jesus return clear to any person. It is a mystery and it will remain a mystery. Our responsibility is not to work out when, but to live ready now.

When Jesus says “Come” are you ready to go? Here are three things the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Each point is relevant for every person that wants to be ready when Jesus triumphantly returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

  1. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 is often quoted when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, and it is a very powerful verse. What is not often stated is the preceding verses which give the context to which Jesus spoke. Let’s take a look together.

Acts 1:6-8 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples of Jesus wanted insight into the Father’s timeline of when certain things would happen. Jesus response is to be our focus today. In effect He said, “Don’t focus on trying to work out when my Father will do what He said He would do. Rather, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through Him, be my witnesses all around the world.”

The instruction hasn’t changed. We are all called to live full of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses of who Jesus is. The Father will do what He said He will do and He will do it in His time, but this is not to be our focus.

  1. Live with your bags packed.

When we go away to another place where we are going to stay for a while, we pack a bag. In it we take what we need for where we are going. We don’t pack things that we need in our present location. We pack what we need for our intended destination.

This life is not our final destination. Yes, God provides for our needs here on the earth, but they are physical things that we cannot take with us. They are important in this moment, but they are not the most important.

The things of the Spirit and the things of the Kingdom are most important. Doing the will of our Father now is what we are to pack into our bags for our ultimate destination. Living for the glory of God now is an item worth packing for eternity. Passionately loving God and selflessly serving people will also travel well – we should most definitely pack these!

Here’s what the Bible says:

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Is your focus on accumulating what you want for here and now, or is it on having what you need for all eternity?

  1. Live with your affairs in order.

We are called to live right with God. We are also called to live right with people. One of the things that empower both of these principles is our commitment to keep short accounts. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to ‘keep no record of wrongs’. When it comes to relationships, don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

We have today. In fact, the only guarantee we have is right now. Therefore, the focus of the One who holds the times in His hands and who knows the beginning and the end is for us to live ready now. Jesus is coming again – of that we have no doubt. When? Well, this is what Jesus said:

Matthew 24:36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Let God do what He said He will do, and let us do what He has called us to do. It’s time to live ready for the return of the King!

A New Destination

A New Destination

Father wants to put fresh, new spiritual destinations in your heart, along with a compelling purpose for pursuing them. God has a new destination for you – this is a time to be listening!

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

The Hebrew word ‘wilderness’ means, ‘a vast open field where cattle are driven’, ‘uninhabited land’, or ‘large tracts of open land and pasture’.

The picture is of someone herding cattle like a drover and discovering uninhabited, vast plains of land that are virgin territory. However, the thought is not that of dryness. Quite the opposite! ‘A road in the wilderness’ speaks of a place where there is an abundance of food for cattle. Settlers can come and prosper in a new land. The ‘wilderness’ speaks of new territory. Expansive new territory – a new destination!

Father clearly spoke to me one morning a number of years ago and said: “I want the rest of your life as a blank sheet of paper.” I was amazed, as I sincerely considered that was the case already. However, over a period of a few weeks He showed me how subtle the nature of our desires can be. Indeed, our view of the future can be influenced by our knowledge of the past. I had to discover a place of complete surrender, with no qualifications attached. What an incredible sense of anticipation then flooded my heart!

So, if you feel as though you are facing a wilderness, take courage. The promise of God is that He will give you a ‘road’ that will cause that wilderness to become accessible and a place of great fruitfulness.

Can I encourage each one of you to take some time aside to present yourself afresh before the Lord to hear from Him.  Bring your own blank sheet of paper to see what exciting new things He would write upon it for your future. Of one thing I am certain: He has a remarkable and fruitful new era for each one of us, if we dare to embrace it.

Just Three Words from Jesus

Just Three Words From Jesus

God is speaking all the time. He speaks in parables and stories, in statements and prophecies, in mysteries great and unsearchable. But Father also speaks with clarity and precision. And just three words that God speaks can be the very declaration that we need to hear right now.

We are all called to live a prophetic life. And the description of living a prophetic life is to hear God clearly and communicate Him accurately. But when we consider the prophetic, are we missing what God is saying because we are overlooking what God is placing right before us? Are we looking for a great and mighty prophecy and missing His voice because we mistakenly believe that the lengthier something is, the more impacting it will be?

Some of the most powerful moments in Jesus’ life were summed up in just three words. At the start of His ministry, Jesus finds Simon Peter and Andrew fishing, and with just three words His command changed the direction of their lives: “Come, follow me.” While being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus rebukes the enemy with just three words, “It is written” and uses the power of the Word to overcome temptation. When a man with leprosy comes to Jesus to ask if He will make him clean, Jesus says just three words, “I am willing” and then heals him. While the disciples are freaked out by the wild weather which has blown up on the lake, Jesus calms the storm with just three words, “Quiet! Be still.”

Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus, who was giving up his perfect, sinless life for the salvation of humanity, says just three words, “It is finished.” Peter, wonderful impulsive Peter, who loved Jesus so much and yet who also disowned Him before He was crucified, was given his calling and purpose for life in just three words, “Feed my sheep.” And many of the simplest, yet most profound commands we hear from Jesus are summed up in three words: “Love one another”, “Remain in Me”, “Do not judge”, “Watch and pray,” “Do not worry”.

Focusing on just three words is not a principle to be followed or a rule to measure whether God is speaking or not. Jesus spoke for three chapters non-stop in Matthew when delivering the Sermon on the Mount. The entire Bible, all 66 books which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, is God speaking to us. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The length of how many words God says to you in a particular moment is not the point. The point is that God is always speaking – through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through other believers, through creation.

When it comes to hearing God’s voice, He will speak to us with exactly what we need. Never underestimate the power of what God is saying because of the length of the words or the vessel that it is delivered through. In fact, the simplicity of just three words can burn in your heart and come back to your mind time and time again when you need encouragement in your faith.

Whether it is three words, a paragraph, or a chapter – Father is always speaking. So, when the Holy Spirit whispers something to your heart, don’t discount it just because it appears simple. When a phrase is highlighted to you from the Bible, meditate and press in to hear His voice. When you receive a word of encouragement or a scripture from a friend, listen to what God is saying. Bigger is not always better. Longer is not always loftier. God knows best – let’s allow His Words to change our lives.

Woman with bible seeking God's revelation

Divine Revelation

Where do we get our interpretation of the Word of God from? Is it divine revelation, or is it our own opinions and ideas? It is important to have a correct definition of interpretation and to realign to what God authors.

“What is your interpretation of this verse?” to most people would mean “What do you think this verse means?”

But this is not what the word ‘interpretation’ means.

‘Interpretation’ from the Oxford Dictionary is defined as:

  • The action of explaining the meaning of something.
  • An explanation or way of explaining.
  • A stylistic representation of a creative work or dramatic role.

‘Interpretation’ from the Oxford Thesaurus is defined as:

  • ‘the interpretation and application of the Bible’s teaching’.
    • explanation, elucidation, expounding, exposition, explication, exegesis, clarification, definition
    • simplification

Other words we see are: ‘meaning, analysis, decoding, translation, transliteration, and paraphrase’.

Here is the bottom line truth about ‘interpretation’:

‘Interpretation’ is about ‘our explanation’, it is not about ‘out opinion’.

Let me put it this way: If it’s not accurate to the original intention, it’s not an interpretation, it’s a distortion!

2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

We have substituted ‘Handle the Word of God correctly’ with ‘Interpret the Word of God as seems best to you’. Interpretation that comes from divine revelation is accurate because the Source is God. Interpretation that does not come from divine revelation is dangerous and erroneous because the source is us. We cannot handle the Word of God correctly outside of divine revelation from our Father in heaven. Our application is aligned to our interpretation, and this is why it must be founded in divine revelation.

We do what we believe, therefore, if our belief is incorrect, our doing will be incorrect. Trying to change what we do without changing what we believe will result in ongoing frustration and disappointment. True freedom is connected to right believing, and right believing is connected to divine revelation, not natural interpretation.

John 8:31-32 states, To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I fear too many Christians are coming up with their version of truth, and it can never lead to lasting freedom. Only God’s version of the truth can result in true freedom.

We must seek the truth.

We must pursue the truth.

We must deeply desire the truth.

We must position ourselves to receive the truth.

God may say different things, to different people, from the same scripture, but He will never contradict Himself from the same scripture.

It’s time to know THE TRUTH and to get our interpretation from divine revelation.