Week 12: 21 Weeks of Prayer & Fasting
A Call to Declaration - God the Good Father
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1a NIV)
Luke 15 records the time Jesus told the story of the prodigal son. He had demanded his inheritance early, basically saying he wished his father were dead, then goes off to waste it all on wild living. Later he comes to his senses and realizes how good his father is and heads home to ask to be accepted back, not as a son, but as a servant. We know the story - his father was watching for him, sees him and runs out to greet him. He calls for a new robe and sandals to be placed on this lost son, and a ring on his finger... then he orders the fattest calf to be killed and a party to be held in celebration of his son's return.
But there was another son, wasn't there? An older brother who stayed home as his brother left. In this story Jesus tells, that son is out in the field working and only finds out as the celebration is going on what has transpired. He goes to the father and demands answers:
"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'" (Luke 15:28-30 NIV)
Take a moment to focus on Luke 15:28-30; even though this son had stayed back with the father, the verses show us he did not fully see himself as a son. He saw himself as a servant. But whose fault was this? Was the father a hard task-master? No, the very next verse gives us the picture of the father's heart, and in turn, shows us the heart of our Father in heaven.
"'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.'" (Luke 15:31 NIV)
We are always with Him. This echoes what we talked about yesterday, doesn't it? Remember the question Psalm 8:4 asked: "What is man that Your mind is full of him?" God carries you in His thoughts throughout the day, just like a good father here on earth thinks about his children as he goes about his day.
But God is the BEST Father. He goes further and declares, "Everything I have is yours!" You see, even the best of earthly fathers will have moments of selfishness. But not God. No, our Heavenly Father - Abba... Daddy - has given us everything by giving us Jesus and the cross!
How many of us are like the older brother? How many are IN the Father's house, but are clueless to what we have access to ALREADY? Why do we have the mentality that we have to work off whatever it is the Father has already provided for us?
"Everything I have is yours!" Every. Thing.
Father... Abba... Daddy... I come to You and ask You to forgive me of forgetting who You are, and who I am. I have been reminded today that I am Your son/daughter. Forgive me for thinking I have to work off all You have for me - that somehow my good works would be enough to pay you back for what Jesus has already secured for me through His death on the cross! I am so sorry. Help me to change this mindset... to turn from this deception and walk away, never to look back at the measly pile of my works. And Jesus, I acknowledge today that what You have already done is more than enough!
For the revelation of God as a good Father to be released in the Church in Chester - that in every congregation, His love and mercy and kindness would be manifest and felt in tangible ways.
For the fatherless and those who've been hurt or abandoned by their earthly fathers, to encounter the overwhelming love of God the Father - that every hurt would be healed and hole be filled by His mercy and love.
That God would show Himself to you as the Good Father each and every day.
Listen to the song "Good Good Father" by Housefires on YouTube. Crank it up and worship the Lord as you declare:
You are a good, good Father... You are a good, good Father - it's who You are! And I'm loved by You - it's who I am!
You are perfect in ALL of Your ways! You are perfect in ALL of Your ways! You are perfect in ALL of Your ways - it's who You are!
Abba, I receive Your love! I receive Your love! I receive Your love! I want to be wrapped up in Your arms forever - never, ever, ever let me go!