Spend Time With Your Heavenly Father
Time with My Father
Every year when the cottonwoods bloomed, my father took us on a walk in the woods.
As he led us across our pasture, over the creek, and into the woods, Daddy quizzed us about the names of the flowers and trees we encountered. He was pleased when we knew, but there were always some I could not identify. This became a teaching moment, and Daddy encouraged me to pick a flower or leaf so I could grow familiar with them.
The dogwoods were laden with blossoms, and wild flowers were scattered throughout the green grass. There were dandelions, wild violets, and stray daffodils. We saw an occasional rabbit or squirrel, which scampered away when we got too close.
This was a springtime ritual. No matter what we had learned on previous years’ walks, I never minded hearing it again. Invariably, I learned new things and relearned things I had forgotten. The best part of it all was spending time with Daddy. It was fun, and I loved those walks, simply because I was spending time with him.
I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18 NLT)
Our Heavenly Father wants to spend time with us, and He wants us to enjoy spending time with Him. He delights in us, and He always has time for us. He is never too busy. Like a loving Father, God is available whenever His children need Him and when we just want to enjoy His company.
As I spend time early in the morning praying and studying Scripture, I feel myself growing closer to God. He opens the Scriptures and often shows me facets of verses I have not noticed before. I am learning so much as I sit at His feet. These early morning times with God are so special to me. As I loved being with my daddy as a child, I love being in the presence of my Abba Father.
God uses those times as teaching moments. I am learning that when battles come, and they will, to stand strong as He fights for me. Those are the times to lean on Him and not to depend upon myself. Sometimes God lets us dwell in our valleys for a season. We learn to trust Him better there.
The more time I spend with my Father, the more I learn to discern His direction for my life. I am learning to enjoy Jesus more and getting to know Him better, as I immerse myself into Bible study and prayer. I never grow tired of studying His word and of surrounding myself with fellow believers. The Holy Spirit is showing me daily how to be more deliberate in sharing His love and encouragement, so others will be drawn to Jesus.
When I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a child, I began a lifelong journey. At the time I did not realize how exciting it would be. Since then, God has led me, walked beside me, pushed me along, and sometimes carried me in His arms. I learned at an early age that I could depend on Him.
God, my Father, has continued to bless me in so many ways, especially with His constant presence in my life. In addition to being my Savior and Lord, He has also proven to be my Encourager, my Protector, and my Sustainer.
Each of us has a unique history with our Heavenly Father who is faithful and true. Join me now in giving thanks to Him for His love, mercy, and grace.
In Pursuit of God
We often view God as the One who pursues us, and rightly so. He meets us when we turn back from our prodigal ways. He woos us back to Himself by pricking our conscience and showering us with His love. We know that God even sent His Son to seek us and save us when we were lost.
But what about our pursuit of God? I hadn’t really thought enough about this notion until recently.
I was ruminating over Luke 11:9, where Jesus tells us to keep on asking and keep on seeking and keep on knocking. If you remember, Jesus reveals this concept while telling the story of the persistent man who beseeched his friend for some bread. The persistent man never gave up his quest for good gifts, though the friend was somewhat irritated that one would ask such a request so late at night. In the end, the persistent man got what he was asking for. When we ask, we receive; when we seek, we find; and when we knock, the door is opened.
At first I got stuck on the words “ask,” “seek”, “knock,” trying very hard to distinguish between the terms, but I soon got bogged down in this lexical undertaking. Then, instead of focusing on the differences between these words, I asked myself, What do these three words have in common? The answer was simple: pursuit. God wants us to pursue Him actively and relentlessly, just as He actively and relentlessly pursues us.
Isnt that amazing? God, the One who created us, wants us to pursue Him! Why? God wants true fellowship, and true fellowship must be two-way. God shouldn’t be the only one initiating.
Have you ever had a friendship in which you seem to be doing all the work? You are always the one calling. You are the one sending the encouraging notes and cards. You are the one who remembers your friend’s birthday and anniversary and you send the appropriate gifts. You are the one who gets your friend out of financial jams or provides wise counsel. In all, you are always there for your friend no matter what.
As much as you love to spend time with your friend and care deeply about that person, don’t you wish that he or she would reciprocate? You certainly don’t want your friend to feel guilty or obligated or under compulsion to do some “duty” for you. It is not like you are trying to keep score in your friendship. You just wish that your friend would call or send cards or help you out just because you two are friends. You hope that you aren’t just a convenience. A true friend doesnt wait to be loved. A true friend loves. A true friend gives regardless.
God is always sending us good things and taking care of our needs despite our selfishness and our ignorance and our rebelliousness. God deserves more than our attention; He deserves our affections. He doesn’t just want us to listen to Him. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to follow hard after Him.
And when we do, we reap tremendous benefits, more than any human relationship could offer. We can look to several Scriptures to see just what we gain by asking, seeking, and knocking by pursuing God:
- We truly find God. We gain His presence and His heart.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV).
- We aren’t forsaken. That means we are never alone. God is always there.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 4:2, NIV).
- He forgives and heals when we repent. No earthly friendship can do both.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- God provides good things when we make Him our number-one priority.
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides (Matthew 6:33, Amplified
There is so much to gain when we make God our quest, so actively pursue a relationship with the Lord. Ask Him what He desires of you. Seek Him out day after day. Knock on the door of opportunity until He opens the way to His will and His presence. Find Him in the shade of the evening. Walk with Him in the cool of the dawn. And never give up that pursuit.
We love Him because He first loved us. Now love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
“Answer me when I call to you … In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:1, 8 NIV
David lay in bed, unable to sleep. As events flooded his mind, he could find no rest. He prayed but did not sense any answers. He certainly had not experienced peace. He responded with a simple prayer, wanting to be sure that God heard when he called.
Many men and women have had similar experiences and have gone through many dark nights without rest. These are times to remember lessons learned by David.
As David eventually realized, we always can be confident that God hears our prayers. Talking with Him, we can be completely honest. We need to persevere in our prayers and actions and always continue to do the right thing as we trust in Him.
David was reminded that “the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself.” His circumstances didn’t change immediately, but he knew that “the Lord will hear when I call to Him” (v. 3).
During those dark nights when he was troubled, David was to reflect and be still. He could look back and realize the many ways God had blessed him: “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound” (v. 7 NASB).
Trusting in God, he found peace – the peace God promises to all who call on Him. It might not seem that He hears us, but we can be confident in Him. He is with us. We can trust in Him.