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Hi all,

Today and tomorrow I'm going to re-air 2 posts from three years ago about the nature of Jesus. I think these two posts will bless you and I pray we would together turn our eyes toward Jesus. Here we go.

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Let's dig into Jesus’ answer to Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Have you been pondering this passage?

Here is what jumps out at me – Now normally I would put all these words in red, this being Another Red Letter Day, but today I am going to paint a just a few words in blue so they stand out.

It would be awesome if you read this out loud (or out quiet) but I want it to be oral. The more faculties you involve the more tuned in you are, so let’s have a faculty party today.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." ~ John 14:9-21

I know, that is kind of a big chunk of scripture for a blog post, but as you can see from what is highlighted, there are some pretty strong ties from top to bottom.

Here is what I saw as I pondered this passage.

There are two (or maybe three) aspects Jesus emphasizes, that He says will enable us to see the Father.

Indwelling, or cohabitation

The first is the fact that, as He says, “I am in the Father.” This He says three times, and two of these are followed with “and the Father is in Me.” He tells Philip and the rest of the disciples that they can know God. They can “see the Father” right before their eyes because Jesus is indwelt by the Father.

The best way for them to see God was to look at Jesus.

Words and Works

The second way they could see God was to look at the things Jesus was saying and doing, His words and works. He actually tells them that if they were not sure what to believe about Jesus’ relationship with God, this indwelling thing, they should believe just because of the works He was doing. He was… – well as Luke tells us:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38

Jesus, because God was with Him, the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside, did works that demonstrated God, His character, and nature.

We read again in my favorite of all scriptures (I am pretty sure this is the top of my top ten list:)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:1-3

We see here that Jesus is not "like" God, fuzzy around the edges, like what the prophets taught, according to verse 1. Instead, Jesus is the “exact representation of His nature.” He is not a partial image, where He is only depicting "the good parts" of who God is, but Jesus is a complete revelation of God. If you don’t find it in Jesus, it is not in God. Jesus is the complete study guide to God the Father. Jesus is perfect theology. [Tweet This] There is nothing in Jesus that is not in God, and there is nothing in God that is not in Jesus. And God has seen to it that what is recorded in the Word about Jesus is enough of a revelation for us to know the Father.

So my first takeaway is pretty simple. The best way to know God, and what God is like is to look at Jesus, His words and His works. He, Jesus, tells us this repeatedly and these other passages reinforce this idea, that He only ever did what God was doing, or would do, and His words were coming straight from the throne of God.

But Jesus does not stop here. He does not simply say, you want to see God look at Me! He takes it to a place that changes everything.

Come back tomorrow, and we will see as the other shoe drops.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you are screwed in.

Ben

4

prepared for the gospel

The laws of Moses and the revelation of the prophets have prepared you for the arrival of the kingdom realm announced by John. And now when this wonderful news of the kingdom realm of God is preached, people’s hearts burn with extreme passion to press in and receive it. - Luke 16:16 TPT

Here’s another verse that came out of the box for me when I read it in this new translation (The Passion Translation.)

The context is Jesus parrying with the pharisees. It’s fitted snuggly between His teaching on the Lord’s requiring sole proprietorship of you life, and a rebuke for those who use divorce laws to commit adultery.

You may be more familiar with it in the NASB or something like it:

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. - Luke 16:16 NASB

What I love about this new take is the idea of the Old Testament being preparation for the Gospel of Grace. The law and the revelation of the prophets was supposed to be getting us ready to receive grace.

The Law demonstrates to us how incapable we are of living up to God’s standard of righteousness on our own. As Paul says,

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, - Romans 8:3 NASB

The law could not save us, but it could prepare us. We were like steak in a marinade. Stewing in the law was supposed to tenderize us for the grace that God had in store.

The prophets demonstrate both the law’s frustration with man and his inability to keep it, and God heart toward His people. Over and over in the prophets we read the Father’s heart to be our God, and for us to be His people. His desire to be a Father to us is stated over and over.

They shall be My people, and I will be their God; - Jeremiah 32:38 NASB

Those attentive to God’s Fatherly intentions were ready to receive with gladness the teachings of this Messiah who came to save. They were ready for baptism, ready for repentance, ready for regeneration.

But this was not universal. There were many who used the law to their advantage, instead of allowing it to tenderize them, to break off their pride and draw out the sweet juices of repentance. These refused the kind offer from the Lord to enter into relationship. They were content with their relationship to the law. They would wield the law, thinking it held no threat for themselves.

But they were so wrong.

As the Lord began to preach the Gospel, many set up fortifications against the incoming tide of grace. This grace would ruin the law leash by which they kept others under control. It would give the hearts of the people back to their Father and release them from the tyranny of these pretenders.

I’m so glad for this Gospel of grace. I’m so thankful for the freedom it offers. Freedom from the tyranny of the law. Freedom to truly connect with our Father. Freedom to be His children and live in relationship with Him.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

9

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Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10 NASB

I love the story of Robin Hood. Robin of Loxley is such a great hero, isn’t he? I don’t care if he is portrayed as a fox in a floppy hat, or a Technicolor Errol Flynn in green tights. I love the leader of those merry men.

Some love him because of his care for the common man, some for his disregard for corruption in high places. Others find his romantic side endearing.

For me it is his fierce loyalty to a distant king.

Though Richard the lion-heart is off in a distant land, Robin is still in the kingdom – under the reign – of Richard. Robin follows the laws and enforces the priorities of that absent king. He is a loyal subject – in subjection to – the king he can’t see. He does not take advantage of his position to exploit the king absence, the way Richard’s own brother does.

This is what Jesus demonstrated. I know the analogy breaks down. God is anything but absent or distant, though even for Jesus there were days when it felt that way. When He cried out, ‘My God, My God, why hast though forsake Me?’ God may have seemed distant.

Yet, even when Jesus, could not sense God’s Spirit (and, yes, this ‘Father forsaken’ Jesus is God, though that idea makes my brain unravel just a bit) He pressed on in obedience and determination to do the will of the Father, to bow to the reign of the One True King.

When God is silent does your allegiance slip? Is your resolve to follow the Lord strong when all you can see are faint footprints and darkness ahead? Are you willing to follow His voice as He leads you though the valley of the shadow of death?

Lord, give us (me) the courage to follow you when my heart can’t feel You. [Tweet this]

Ben NelsonSee you tomorrow.

Ben

2

Jesus said:

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. - Matthew 11:27

I have to say, I am glad He said it. If I were to just come out and say, you don’t know God unless you know Jesus in this day of tolerance and relativity, I might be cast off as an extremist.

I am not extreme you see, I just follow Jesus. He is the extreme one. He is the one who keeps throwing down these exclusive statements.

You see, according to Jesus, there is only one road to the Father.

We all know He said it in John 14

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:6

But did you know that right here in Matthew 11, right before some of the most calming and oft quoted statements He ever made, He threw down this same exclusive idea.

He says in no uncertain terms, that He – Jesus is the only one who actually knows God the Father, and the only ones who will ever know the Father are ones who get their knowledge from Jesus.

But Ben, what about the religions that consider Jesus a prophet but not the “only way?”

They need Jesus!

But Ben, what about the faiths that share our scriptures?

Do they know God through Jesus, or through another?

But Ben, what about the Jews? Jesus was a Jew, as were all His disciples!

They need Jesus! Judaism without Christ – the Messiah – is still a religion pointing forward at something that happened in the past.

There is only one who came to Save His people from their sins.

After this exclusive, intolerant statement He makes an offer that we love to talk about:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
 

Matthew 11:28-30

But you can’t have this promised rest without Jesus.

Will you follow Him with me today?

Come back tomorrow for a bit on the 'WHY' behind this exclusivity.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Shine where you’re screwed in!

Ben

Before I move on from Matthew 7:21-23 there is just one bone I have to pick with Jesus. (Just to be clear, I never win when I start on this footing, but it’s how I process.) But first – the red letters:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23

It has always struck me that Jesus lists the same works He did in His ministry

  • Prophecy
  • Casting out Demons
  • Performing miracles

and positions these as acts of lawlessness.

Check out some other translations:

  • ye that work iniquity. (KJV)
  • you lawbreakers! (HCSB)
  • you wicked people! (GNT)
  • you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. (AMP)
  • you people who do wrong. (ERV)
  • you evil people. (GW)
  • you that traffic in wrong-doing. (KNOX)
  • you have worked on the side of evil! (Phillips)
  • You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important (MSG) ([i])

Iniquity, law-breaker, wicked, evil, strong words all. Every translation of the Bible puts this in the most unyielding light. And yet, Jesus did the same things, and declared, He was doing the will of the Father.

More to the point, just a couple chapters later Jesus would be sending His own boys out to do the same works.

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give. ~ Matthew 10:7-8

So what is the deal, Jesus?

The DEAL is this. You must be connected – you must daily hear the voice of the Father for your life. You must do what you see the Father do, just as Jesus did. Trying to do these works, even doing these works, while not under the instruction of the Father is, as Eugene Peterson put it in the message “missing the boat.” He paraphrased Jesus’ words this way:

You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. ~ Matthew 7:23 MSG

Check out this verse in Malachi 3 – it nails the problem as it defines the difference between the wicked and the righteous:

So You will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. ~ Malachi 3:18

My call to you today is to walk like Jesus walked (1 John 2:6,) ever connected to His Father, and doing only His Father’s will. [Tweet This]

You can abide in Christ, and He has promised that He will abide in you.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. ~ John 14:23

BenWalk with Jesus today – do the works that Jesus did, as you see Him lead you.

Come back again soon

Ben

By the way – I have found a wonderful tool – I am sure most of you know about BibleGateway.com, but did you know that if you type a specific verse reference, a link appears below it that lets you see “all English translations.” I love this, and use it all the time. Bible Gateway has like 44 English New Testament Version available, and some times the simple nuance you get from a different way of translation opens a passage up to your heart and mind.

My favorite Bible site is still BlueLetterBible.org for word studies and the like, but this tool is a huge blessing!


[i] Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation; Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center; GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group; Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society; Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.; J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition by HarperCollins; King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain; Knox Bible (KNOX) Knox Bible. Copyright © 2012 Westminster Diocese. Published by Baronius Press. All rights reserved; The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

And do not lead us into temptation (Matt 6:13)

This part of the prayer always seems a bit odd to me. Jesus, in teaching us how to pray to the Father gives us this phrase. It is great as a stand alone, but when I get to James 1:13 I scratch my head a bit.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (James 1:13 NASB)

It strikes me as odd that Jesus would instruct us to ask the Father not to temp us, when God is untemptable, and does not temp anyone with evil.

But as I ponder this, I remember that in Mark’s gospel, after the baptism of Christ I read this:

And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. (Mark 1:12-13 NASB)

This word “impelled” some translations use the word drove. What is wild is that many of the time this word (impelled – Greek “ekballo”) is rendered ‘cast out’ as in the case of demons.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not the word used in our verse, but my point is that the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness to face satan’s temptation. (Clearly it is not the Father doing the tempting here, but God is clearly able to lead or put us in situations where our faith will come under pressure.

And by the way, it is OK to pray that He does not do that! In fact when you find yourself in a place of temptation there are clear instructions in the Book for that too!

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16 NASB)

Can you share the story of a time you faced temptation, and found that victorious grace in your time of need? Will you share it with us? Victory is contagious!

Thanks for reading today.

Ben

Thy Name – Matt 6:9

Today we are going to look at Jesus and His Jehovah declarations. Jehovah basically means I AM, and Jesus uses this phrase through his ministry. It is especially apparent when you look at the Gospel of John.

There are those who say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but these are those who do not understand the Jewish culture. This I AM that begins with Moses at the burning bush, and runs throughout the Old Testament (see yesterday’s post) we see Jesus pick up and carry into His ministry.

Yesterday I said that we learn much about the nature and character of God through His name. Today we will look at how much Jesus told us about Himself by using this same form. I AM…

Here are 7 notable I AMs of Jesus in John’s Gospel:

1) John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I AM the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

2) John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

3) John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I AM the door of the sheep.

4) John 10:11 I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

5) John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

6) John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7) John 15:1 I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Then there was this one that made the Jewish leadership crazy:

8) John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

This really does not need a lot of commentary. It is so clear. Jesus is everything we need, and everything we desire. One of the Old Testament names I have not mentioned is “Desire of Nations” and when I read these verses, I am like – Oh Jesus, I want you more than anything! I will follow You anywhere, because You are worthy! [Tweet ThisWhat can you hear Jesus speak to you as you read His names?

BenThanks for reading today.

Ben

"A Name I Know" by Steve Swanson
"Jesus, Name above all Names" by

In Heaven

We need to understand that Our Father has a particular perspective on our life. There are as many perspectives on any given event as there are people who view them. There was a movie released in 2008 called “Vantage Point” which took an event and replayed through the eyes of a number of people who saw a particular event. It is interesting to me to compare notes with my kids sometimes when we see something together, what each of us perceives, and remembers.
Our Father’s perspective is "from Heaven". Have you ever looked down from the top of the Empire State Building, or some other large building? I can remember watching cars on the street level and feeling like I could see into their future. I remember watching as 2 vehicles  drew toward a corner, and they were unaware they were going to reach the intersection simultaneously. There is no way for them to know what you know, but you see the events unfolding from a completely different perspective.
Now think of Our Father’s perspective. He can see everything that is happening right at this instant, and knows all the players intimately, better than they know themselves. In addition to what is going on right now, he also knows all possible outcomes of every event facing each one of these billions of characters.  He knows the personal history of each human. What do you think this perspective adds to Our Father’s ability to give us good counsel? [Tweet This] Wisdom flavored with such knowledge would change our lives!
One more thing about perspective. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul tells us that "we are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is Paul's intention that we recognize that we are not just pawns in the hands of Our Father, who is really good at chess, but rather we are partners with Christ in His mission to save the world, and in this prayer we will see that we have a role to play. So not only is heaven God’s perspective, He wants us to adopt His perspective, and look out the windows of heaven at our circumstances. This will give us a huge advantage when we try to understand the mess we are in.
Have you ever prayed through a situation and gotten a change in your perspective instead of the answer you were hoping for?
BenThanks for reading today.
Ben

Tim Biscaye writes of his dad Pierre Biscaye:

My dad evidenced similarities to my impressions of OT and the NT God.   The dad I knew growing up was much like the God of justice of the Old Testament. When I erred from the designated way there was punishment.   There were lots of house rules and requirements and he also seemed to 'hole up' a lot a bunch in his office.  Heck, what did he know, he was following what he thought were literal instructions from a Divine God. But as I left the house for Univ and grew older I knew him to be a man of great intellect, curiosity, love of life, readily available and relentless in acts of love and kindness towards me and my kids.   For many of those years, in spite of living apart, delighted when we connect via phone, Skype or email.   He is relational, generous, sensitive and loving.
Heather writes of her dad Bob Mackenzie:
Well my dad was one of the most amazing people I've ever known.
He had a zest for life and a passion for people. He had a big mouth and had a huge presence at any given time, but I've always said he had an even bigger heart. 🙂
He loved the Adirondacks. He spent a lot of summers at Deerfoot and was a lone eagle. When I was old enough, he sent me to Camp Cherith in the Adirondacks (now known as Camp Cedarbrook) which is a sister camp of Deerfoot. At camp or not, we shared a love of the outdoors and especially the Adirondacks. He encouraged me to do the backpacking trips that Camp Cherith offered; I went and I was hooked. We would reminisce about our trips.

He bought me my first knife when I was 7 or 8; I proudly showed him the whistle I whittled. He taught me the importance of hunting and respecting animals and was so proud at everything I've ever shot.

We had a strong relationship on so many levels, but our shared passion for the adks and the outdoors made our relationship something very special that I shared with him and was very proud of.

I was blessed with a godly, generous, incredible father. But also with a father who instilled in me a passion for the outdoors- a trait I value and am very thankful for.

I still go backpacking up north and think of him every time I climb an adk high peak on my journey to complete all 46.

I hope he knew how amazing he was.

June Jones writes of her dad, Wally:
When my dad was in that dreadful facility in Wyckoff, his good aids would always ask me, "Was you dad always such a gentleman" and I said, YES!". Until my dad was in that facility, I had never heard him use any kind of questionable language. He was always quick to apologize. I still miss him.
Marissa Ekback writes of her dad
My dad wasn't a believer while I was growing up and late in life he came to Jesus through a 12-step program. I think my dad was an example of wanting to help your kids and never giving up in them.
Pam Osterhus writes about her dad Jim Lewis:
I feel like I should say something about my Dad, Jim Lewis. My Mom died when I was 7 and my sister was 4 and my Dad was both parents for us for a few years. He made time with his daughters of high importance and made sure God and an already established family was important to any new woman in his life. He is my biggest cheerleader. When I was a runner at a track meet, I didn't even know my Dad was there until I heard his voice cheering while I was running. Always cheering me on and encouraging me. He's always in my corner and now writes weekly letters cheering my kids on for their academic and sports accomplishments, with Bible verses to encourage them in their stages of life. When I was in college he wrote me letters a few times a week. They were stream of consciousness letters often and my friends would look forward to reading them with me, but what a gift of written communication and encouragement before the days of texts and emails and cellphones. I knew he thought about me and prayed for me. He loves the Lord and if I could say he had a hobby it would be witnessing at Fairs. He loves to tell others about the Lord. I guess one of the most important things I learned from my Dad was the love of a father and it is easy for me to see God as my Loving Father because of my Dad.
Eva Benevento writes of her dad:
My dad... He was an orphan at age 2, experienced a world war as a teen and ended up spending 7 years in a refugee camp where he met my mom and I was born. As a 25 year old, he emigrated to the U.S. with a wife, 2 children, 2 suitcases and 1 trunk containing all of their worldly goods. No money, no relatives, no friends, no contacts. It is a story of strong character, integrity, hard work ethics, and most of all, the grace of Almighty God. Children adored him, employers valued him, his family and friends loved him. In his last 30 years, he conducted bible studies for fellow immigrants who had difficulty with English bibles. He is now with Jesus along with his wife of 60 years enjoying the presence of the God he loved. We who remain miss him.
Lauren writes of her dad:

My Daddy is one of my best friends, my go-to roadtrip buddy, and can and will happily fix just about anything! Here's a story that exemplifies Daddy: During my freshman year of college, my laptop broke. I went home that weekend and left the laptop for Dad to take to a repair shop that week, and a friend who was coming to visit the school the next weekend would bring it back to me then. Dad had just bought himself a new laptop, and let me borrow it for the week. Mine ended up being a quick fix, so he had it back by Tuesday morning, and rather than just sending it out with my friend on Friday, he decided to bring it back to me right then. So he drove two hours out to school, getting there right as I was getting out of class... only my Mom had told him my class times wrong, so he thought I was just starting a class, and thinking he'd just missed me, left the laptop with my RD and drove the two hours home without even seeing me! What I learned (and still learn) from Daddy is "Love is a verb."

Larry Carroll writes of his dad Larry Carroll Sr.:
My dad taught me First Corinthians 2:4,5 which says, "My speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of men's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
My dad also demonstrated the value of associating with and respecting godly men and women, from whom I learned much about walking by faith and not by sight.

My Dad Robert Nelson:
So my dad really never had any interest in sports of any kind. He loved to read, and he loved music. I was always playing some sport or another in my school days. He would come to my games and cheer me on, even though he had no idea what was going on. I realize that was quite a sacrifice for him.
God's word was a high priority for my dad. I remember sitting at the dinner table and playing a game with him. We would try to find the most obscure passage in the Bible that we could find, and he could tell us right where it was in a verse or two.
He loved to teach Bible studies and Sunday School classes.
When we posted my dad's picture a couple of days ago, some folks had some great things to say about my dad too.
Tim Biscaye said: Your dad was a good man. Required and merited being listened to. Extremely smart with a broad understanding of the world. Similar to my dad. I hope you are well.
Fred Beveridge said: Love the pic of your Dad, Ben. He was a constant inspiration to me--a gentleman, a scholar, a passionate pursuer of God. He was gentle, dignified, "cool" … encouraging, faithful, and loving. His face was the face I looked at for unspoken encouragement two rows back to my left during countless sermons at PBC. I will love him forever.
Thanks everybody for your input. It has been wonderful reading these great memories. I hope you have fun reading them and sharing them with your family too.
Thanks for reading today.
Ben

My dad, Robert Nelson

Our Father (Matt 6:9)

It is significant that Jesus does not teach us to pray in formal and flowery terms. Sometimes that get’s lost in the old translations, because to us they sound formal and flowery. It makes me a little sad sometimes when folks stand up and pray in public and use Thee’s and Thou’s and words they would never use in normal conversation. God is our Father.
I know that there are lots of bad examples of fathers around today, so for some “father” is the last place they want to go for relationship, but that is not the ideal. My own dad was a great father, though like all of us dads, he didn't think so himself. He loved God and was a great example to me of what it meant to live life as a Christian. When I look at pictures of my dad, I think, there is a guy who was always approachable. As an adult I would often bounce ideas off him, and go to him for advise. That's the way it is supposed to be with our Father God. He is approachable.
Father is supposed to be respected, trusted, and admired. More than that, the idea of Father is supposed to carry with it comfort and safety.
My Dad (again)
Respect we will cover further down, but suffice it to say, there needs to be an understanding of how great our God is and we should not take a flippant attitude toward prayer. The aspect of respect brings to the table making prayer a higher priority. When you respect someone, you give him honor. You honor your commitments to him. If you say you will do something, you carry through.
How God comes to be our Father is also significant. We are adopted into His family. Adopted means chosen. A child born into a family is a wonderful blessing, but to be adopted into a family indicates a level of pre-meditation, and intention. God wanted to expand His family and choose YOU!
I can trust my Father because He has my best interests in mind at all times. [Tweet This] He loves me. What does it mean to love? Many of us know that there are a few Greek words for love, but the one used most often to describe the Father’s love for us is Agape. I learned last night that agape carries with it the idea that the object of this kind of love is not loved for it's intrinsic lovability. Rather agape is express toward the unlovable.

What Is Love?

The best definition I know for this kind of love is this. Love does whatever is in its power to bring about the best for its object. Notice I did not say gives the object of love what they want, but what is best for them. The fuller the love, the higher the expenditure of resources involved. What I mean to say is this. If I love you a little, I will expend some of my uncommitted time or energy to see that you are benefited. I will consider what I see as the best outcome for you, and put some of my free resources to work for you. That may be time, money, talent, what ever.
If there is a deeper love (agape) commitment, there will be a higher level of involvement on my part. I will be more focused on what would be best for you, and expend more effort seeing it through.
Now let’s just say I am the One who created you (as well as everything else) and love you unconditionally, with a love that never fails - a love that is stronger than death - a love that can not be separated from Me by anything, created or uncreated - and I know you better than you know yourself, and I understand all possible outcomes of your life. My resources are limitless, and are completely at My disposal to bring about the best outcome for your life.

That is how Our Father loves you.

BenHey, come back tomorrow, and we are going to look at some special dads. I have been collecting stories from readers about their godly fathers and what they learned about God from them. Don't miss it tomorrow.

Thanks for reading
Ben
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