Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 5 – Devotional 1 - Jesus Teaches About Prayer – Our Father in Heaven

31/03/2014 - Monday – Read Matthew 6:9

1 – God has lots of names and titles. He is “I AM”, the Eternal One, the Almighty, God the Provider, Maker of heavens and earth, and many other names. But the intimacy and tenderness with which God loves us is wrapped up in one of His favorite names, the one His Spirit teaches us to say first, just after we are restored to relationship with Him. This name is Abba, which is Hebrew for “Daddy” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). God has a father’s heart. He is the perfect father who always knows what is best for us and who always does what is best for us. Unfortunately, many people end up with a distorted picture of God because their earthly fathers were unable to be everything God wanted them to be for their children.

2 – Even the best parents will say and do things that cause their children lingering grief. Our human failings and weaknesses make us vulnerable to hurting and disappointing the very people we most want to cherish. So it is that moms and dads sometimes choose poorly – and do lasting harm to their kids. Children whose earthly fathers did not have a positive, intimate relationship with them will carry a measure of mistrust and confusion toward God, their heavenly Father, even into their adult years. If you had a difficult upbringing and were unable to truly rest in the close presence of your father – for whatever reason – it may explain some of your awkwardness with the Lord.

3 – If our earthly father was distant or absent, our Daddy is always close and ever present (Deut. 4:7; 31:8; Psalm 46:1; 73:28; Jer. 23:23; Matt. 28:20; Heb. 10:22); if our earthly father was selfish or self-serving, Daddy is compassionate and sacrificial (Psalm 86:15; 103:4; Isa. 30:18; Dan. 9:9; Hos. 2:23; Matt. 9:36; John 3:16; Jam. 5:11); if our earthly father showed a conditional love, Daddy’s love is unconditional (Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; Rom. 8:38,39; 1 John 4:10); if our earthly father was angry and violent, Daddy is patient and encouraging (Neh. 9:17; Psalm 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; 2 Pet. 3:9); if our earthly father was critical or fault finding, our Daddy is forgiving and gracious (Psalm 103:10; Isa. 43:25; Mic. 7:19; Heb. 8:12; 10:16,17); if our earthly father was abusive, our Daddy is restorative and redemptive (Psalm 69:16-20, 29-33; Isa. 40:31; 61:1-3,7; Jer. 30:17-18; Joel 2:25; Zech. 9:12); if our earthly father was controlling or authoritarian, our heavenly Daddy is loving and attentive (Deut. 7:7-9; 30:19; 2 Chron. 16:9; Isa. 49:13,15; Heb. 12:5-11).

 4 – Which characteristics of earthly fathers i the list above best describes your earthly father?

5 – Through which of the characteristics of your heavenly Father has God revealed Himself to you?

6 – Which characteristics of your heavenly Father do you feel is the most important way that you need God to reveal Himself to you right now? Why?

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