Remote Control Words

31 07 2014

Most of my adult life has been spent ferreting out the lies I believed about God as a result of treatment by the men in my life. It’s sad, but true.

Children do not have the emotional maturity to distinguish between their parents behavior – especially their fathers – and God’s character and nature.

Because these are our parents, it is assumed by every child that they love us. Consequently, we define love by their words and actions. We lack the experience necessary to discern our parents’ shortcomings, and assume that we are the ones to blame…that we are bad and don’t deserve any better.

They are all we have in the way of security. They are all that stand between life and death for the child, by his or her limited understanding.

As we get older, and interact with more people, we may begin to feel a sense of injustice about our relationship with our parents, but due to utter dependence upon them, are powerless to change our lives.

Many end up with a shut-down heart, and an intense hatred for and distrust of God.

As a child, I went to a vacation Bible school, and fell in love with Jesus. He didn’t seem to share other’s opinions about me, and that made Him as attractive as a magnet to a fridge in my mind!

We didn’t go to church much, though. After while, He faded into the background…

…until I made a mess of things at the age of 12.

My cousin and her friend decided to have some guys over while her parents were gone. We set up a table in the garage with booze and snacks. (Where it came from, I’m not sure).

However, I’d never me the fellow they’d invited to keep me company. I was a nervous wreck, so helped myself to some of the alcohol…then more…and more.

I don’t remember anything about that evening. I was already blacked out by the time they arrived. Still on my feet, but completely unconscious.

By the time my aunt and uncle returned home, my body was rejecting the alcohol. I ‘baptized’ their house from one end to the other.

The next day, instead of yelling at me and carrying on, my aunt sat me down and gently spoke to me about her concern for my future, and how sad Jesus was about what I’d done.

Grace.

Her act of lovingkindness caused me to determine to become a “good girl” and go to church. I picked out the nearest one and began attending Sunday school, morning and evening services, a prayer breakfast for teens, the mid-week service, and youth group.

Jesus loved me, I knew this for sure.

Too bad His Dad hated my guts!

Just like my dad and step-dad…and nearly every other man I’d ever met.

Religion became a chain tightly wound around my neck, choking the life out of me. God had so many rules, and seemed so hard to please. I never knew what was going to set Him off.

Just like my dad.

Meanwhile, Jesus loved me, coaxed me to walk with Him, to trust Him.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I realized all the lies I’d believed about God because of experiences with men.

I thought God was altogether like them.

Today I have a loving relationship with my heavenly Father.

He is nothing like my dad.

For many years, I was angry with God for choosing the parents He gave me. After all, He could have given me healthy, whole, God-fearing parents. Was this all He thought I deserved?

Then I realized that in order for me to be created, it took a specific sperm, and a specific ovum to combine. Any other combination, and I would not exist! This had to come from my mother and my father…no one else on the planet could have done it.

He didn’t hand-pick them; He chose me!

All this to say,

“Men, you have been given the responsibility to bear the Father’s likeness to the world. It’s a high calling.

“These are big shoes to fill, and you will fail in some respects. You will need Abba’s heart if you are going to do this well.

“The men and women in your life need you to reflect the Father’s love, to speak His heart to them, to empower them to become the person He intended the day He chose them.”

A woman’s voice does not carry the same weight as a man’s.

Not when it comes to identity. 

Here are a couple of quotes by William M. Struthers (from Wired for Intimacy, p. 150):

“The masculine voice of affirmation spoken to a woman lets her know that she is loved because of who she is and that she is worthy of pursuit.”

“The masculine voice is received as a voice that speaks unchanging truth. Just as we think of the Word of God being truth that is unchanging, so a man’s words speak what he knows to be true.”

Because men are not nurturing, as a rule, their words are received as concrete truth – whereas a woman speaks from her heart to make things better. Man ‘sees’ the truth and speaks it out.

That’s how humans perceive your words. Did you know that?

It is for this reason that we are told that there is power of life and death in the tongue.

When a man we perceive to be an authority figure makes a judgment call about us, good or bad, we believe it.

Please be certain that your words reflect God’s heart. They will remotely control people for years to come.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29





Through A Glass Darkly

27 11 2013

This week we’re looking at specific obstacles to intimacy with God. If this one’s out of whack, nothing else said here will matter. In fact, if this is your issue, call the heavenly “Roto-Rooter” asap, for this is a clog that will require the Spirit’s help!

“Wow, what could be such a big deal?” you’re asking.

Well, this is the granddaddy of them all:

A distorted image of God

A. W. Tozer stated that the most important thing about you is what you believe about God. To this I shout a hearty “Amen!”

If we believe Him to be a harsh taskmaster, we will do our best to “stay off His radar.”

If we believe Him to be cruel and whimsical, we will hide.

Intimacy is impossible if we believe God to be the ultimate abuser.

For some of us, God seems to be like our earthly father…and that is not a good thing.

(For others, God is like your earthly father – which makes you run to Him. I envy you!)

We all have a tendency to transfer our experience with our biological (adopted or step-) father onto our heavenly Father. For many, this leaves us with “father issues…” and this will be a major hindrance to our intimacy with God. In fact, some (like me) shudder at the idea of being within His arm’s reach.

Beth Moore once said,

“I knew that Jesus loved me

…but I wasn’t so sure about His Dad.”

That sums up my sentiments for most of my “Christian” life!

If this is the case, then it’s time to commit ourselves to the journey of allowing God to renew our vision of who He is. Transformation begins by having our thinking about God corrected.

How can we tell if this is a problem for us? If there are issues between us and our earthly father, pastor, or other authority figure (who’s in a “father-like” role), there’s a good chance that one occurs between God and us as well.

Here are a few truths about God:

In Luke 15, Jesus reveals the Father in the story of the prodigal. Note that when the son was still a long way off, his father – who’d been watching for his son – ran to meet him!

In Romans 8:1 we read that there is no condemnation to those who are “in Christ Jesus.”

In Romans 8:38 we read that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing (this would include you!) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Phew!

Even Jonah knew God’s character. Listen to his complaint after Nineveh repented and God spared the city:

“Lord, was this not what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish,

for I knew You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God that relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2)

Poor old Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. He wanted to see them wiped off the planet. The last thing he desired was to warn them, lest they repent and God spare their city…which is what happened.

Did you note the last bit of that verse? Jonah knew God’s character.

So can we!

If a faulty view of God is clogging up the works, admit it to God:

“I have father issues. I’m owning it and want to resolve it.”

He already knows. 😉

Ask God to reveal His true character to you…

…then stand by.

This request is “according to His will.”

The answer is “YES!”

I highly recommend these books (especially the first two):

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning

The Return of the Prodigal Son Henri Nouwen

Into the Depths of God by Calvin Miller

God has a lot to say to us. Words that will bring healing and wholeness in ways we never dared dream. You can read about one of many such experiences I had with my Father in Who Defined You

*****

You’ve dropped in on the series Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…

This week’s series is about obstacles to intimacy. It begins here: A Clogged Conduit