Father

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In my life I have held many positions with various titles. Some have been professional, some spiritual, and some just for fun. But of all the positions I have held, none compares with the title of Father. When you are young, you assume that one day you will become a father because most every man does. It’s the way of nature. And when you marry, you assume it is just around the corner because you are now in the relationship in which you can become fruitful and multiply as the Lord commanded in the Bible.

Yet you still haven’t a clue how your life will change, how you will change. For me, it was a long wait. Nineteen years we waited, then one day our prayers were answered and the miracle of life happened for us.

Seeing that beautiful precious face of our baby girl was as close to a divine experience as one could have on this earth. We fell totally and completely in love with this little stranger, whom we felt that we always knew. We held our dream in our hands for the first time.

Yes, we were crazy about our blessing and set about to do everything we dreamed of doing with a child. We bought her everything we dreamed of, we took her every place we dreamed of and took great care to plan her future. That was to be expected. But the love I felt for my child, was something I never expected. I had experienced nothing with which to compare.

I remember my Godly Grandmother, when she visited, upon seeing dozens of pictures of my baby daughter on the walls warned, “Now son, be careful not to worship that child, we are only supposed to worship the Lord.” I explained to her, “Grandmother, my love for her is so great, I can’t help it. God understands.”

I know she meant well, but as far as I was concerned, my love was God given and so I didn’t consider it worship, just the highest, most pure love one could have. That love has never wavered or waned. It continues to grow with time. It is unabashed. And as far as I am concerned, it is the closest a man can understand the love that God, our heavenly Father, has for us, His children.

The Bible says, “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6 NLT

Our Heavenly Father has a love for us, His children, that is unmatched. All the heavens and all of the earth were created with us in mind. He wanted a beautiful place for His family of mankind. He provides everything we need and much of what we want. He cares about every aspect of our lives; our health, our family, our life’s work, hobbies, dreams, and even our desires.

Father God not only loves us in church. He loves us wherever we are. He loves what we do and what we become. He watches over us while we sleep and wakes us up every morning to start a new day in His love!

He scrutinizes our every move, and every thought. The Bible says that we are so valuable to God, “even the hairs on our head are counted.” Luke 12:7 NLT

His love is so deep that we can never fully comprehend its depth. When our granddaddy Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, Father set about to place a plan in motion to win us back. It took a miracle. It took love. It took a Savior. Our Father’s love for us compelled Him to sacrifice His most precious possession.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

With our heavenly Father as our role model, we earthly fathers can glean inspiration from Him, even if our experience as sons was with a bad father or no father at all. Though we may fail in one area or another, the love of a good father never fails, as our heavenly Father helps us to share His love.

The title of Father comes to some men through biology, marriage, or adoption. The love of a Father solidifies and confirms the right to that title. It is the highest title a man may hold. It is a title most solemn, conferred and blessed of God. My child is and will always be my cherished blessing, and I will always be her Father.

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Embracing Resistance

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One afternoon while running an errand near the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, I decided to go an extra block and take a peek at the ocean. The air was cold, in the 40s, and cloudy, with a slight drizzle. It was a typical off-season day. The boardwalk was deserted/ So with my pick of the benches, I sat on a choice one, stretched out my legs, stuck my hands in my jacket pockets, and looked out over the water.

It was a little windy, as the rough waves crashed ashore making that unmistakable sound of the sea. Looking up at the seagulls flying, I noticed the drizzle had stopped. So I decided to enjoy the fresh sea air for a while, and maybe even get a little inspiration from the nature that God created.

Sitting there in the cold, my attention was drawn to a seagull flying above the boardwalk, about 10 feet in front and above me. Hovering perfectly still, his wings gave a slight flutter as he faced into the wind, which was blowing strongly. At first, I felt sorry for him as he was getting nowhere in this wind.

But by facing that wind, he was kept aloft by its force. For a few moments he opened his wings, without flapping them, and remained stationary, directly in front of me, suspended in mid-air.

As I observed this remarkable sight, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “I’m not keeping you back, I’m keeping you up.”

Maybe like me, you can relate to that seagull. Have you ever felt stuck in you life? Seemingly held back and not going forward? The Lord let me know that He’s not holding us back; He’s holding us up.

As I pondered that thought and watched the seagull closely, I realized that if the seagull had flown away from the wind, he would have been blown down to earth. But by facing the resistance of the wind, with a slight flutter of his wings, he was lifted up. So when resistance comes against you, if you face it, put your nose into the wind and flap your wings. You’ll be lifted up and not cast down. Resistance will lift you higher!

“You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind.” (Psalms 104:3, NLT)

When you pursue your goals and dreams in life, at some point you will inevitably encounter resistance. Think of King David in the Bible. He was chosen to be King as a young man, but the current King Saul put unrelenting pressure on him by trying to destroy him. Through the years of persecution from King Saul, David honed his skill as a guerrilla fighter, a strong leader of men, and a man of character and honor. Resistance lifted him to become the King he had been chosen to be.

Think of the early church. Great persecution came against the early church. Many were martyred for refusing to deny Christ and many had to flee for their lives. But this unrelenting pressure of persecution caused the church to become firm in the faith and spread far and wide in order to survive. Resistance lifted the church throughout the known world in 300 years, becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.

If you turn from resistance and run, it will smash you to the ground. You’ll be crushed and your flight, as well as your dreams, will be over. So instead of looking at the winds of resistance as something formidably holding you back, look on it as something that God is using to hold you up and make you strong. Embrace resistance, and it will raise you to the heights you dream of reaching!

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

Stop Praying or Else!

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Young Willie was a skinny 16-year-old boy who carried a big Bible. Willy, you see, had gotten saved in a revival service at his church, and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The year was 1929, and with the stock market crash in New York City, people were afraid for their future. The economic news was bad and men were being laid off their jobs. Money was becoming scarce and so was the faith of many people. They were losing faith in their God, their government, and in themselves.

But there was a light in the eyes of young Willy coming home late from the church revival on this Sunday night. There had been miracles and an outbreak of worship to God. This was unheard of, and unseen in this small town up until then.

It was said that Willy, who knew no music, actually sat on the piano bench during the altar service and played the most beautiful heavenly music the folks had ever heard. It had to be a true miracle of God and manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, for Willy, you see, did not know how to play the piano. He just sat down and played under the anointing of the Holy Spirit without even looking at the keys.

This small holiness church made a lasting impact on Willy’s life and he wanted nothing more than to see his father receive the Lord Jesus as his personal savior. He would spend countless time at the altar praying, “Lord, save my daddy!” Lord save my daddy was his prayer. But more than a prayer it was a dream and a wish that galvanized his thoughts. He did not want his father to die and go to a Devil’s hell. Willie had hope. The Bible teaches us,

“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT)

So day after day Willie prayed for his father, who was known around town as a mean man. Some even called him a snake. When he walked down the street some people would point to him and say, “Stay clear of that man for he would just as soon shoot you as look at you.” Rumor has it that he did, in fact, shoot a man that he thought had stolen his horse. He was a laborer with a strong back, a strong right hook, and a quick temper.

One night, after Willy returned home after church, he was on his knees at his bedside praying loudly for his Daddy to be saved. “Oh God, save my daddy!” He prayed earnestly and very loudly.

The neighbors complained because he prayed with his bedroom window opened, disturbing them with the agony of his prayers. One night while in prayer, his Father burst into his room and told him to stop praying. Willie was stunned, but he kept on praying all the more. His father threatened him with that famous temper of his and said, “Stop praying or I’ll beat you!”

Willie paused … but with the thought of his daddy’s soul hanging in the balance, he prayed even harder. “Oh Lord, save my daddy!” Daddy slapped him across the head and told him to shut up. Willie refused and kept praying. Suddenly, his prayers turned into screams as Daddy beat him into silence.

Jesus teaches us, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” (John 15:7, John 15:18-19 NLT)

The next night after church the scene was repeated. Willie prayed for his Daddy once again. He intended to pray quietly but the more he prayed, the more the power of God came upon him. His prayers raised to a crescendo as Daddy burst into the room and shouted, “Stop praying or I’ll beat you!”

“No Daddy,” Willie said as he turned once again toward his bed to pray. Once again, Daddy beat him into silence. This went on for several more nights until Daddy gave up and let Willie be.

The revival was over, time passed, and Daddy reflected on the behavior of his good son Willie. Can a man’s hard heart ever be softened?

One Sunday morning, Daddy walked through the doors of the church and sat in the back. Eventually, he moved closer to the front upon every visit, until one glorious Sunday morning Daddy made it all the way down front to the altar, repented, and gave his stoney heart to the Lord. Willie thought that all the persecution and beatings were worth it when he saw the tears stream down his Daddy’s face as he asked Willie to forgive him. It was a beautiful miracle that day. A long-fought battle had come to an end and Daddy, my Great Grandfather Arrowood, became known as a sweet, gentle man who served the Lord for the rest of his days.

The Bible teaches us to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31 KJV) If it can happen for Willie, it can happen for you.