Living Hope Community Church

Loving God by Loving Others

Tag: father

Safe in the Father’s Embrace

Published / by cluckk / 1 Comment on Safe in the Father’s Embrace

Lately, I’ve been feeling very dry and dead inside. I decided to do some personal refreshing—something we all need from time to time. I started reading Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg. In the introduction, he speaks about his relationship with Dallas Willard. He tells a story about a young child that would come into his father’s room and crawl into bed. Since it was dark, the child could not tell if his father was looking at him. Dallas says the child would ask, “Is your face turned toward me, Father?” Only when the father had assured him that his face was turned toward the boy could the child sleep. This struck me deeply because of my granddaughter, Gloria.

              Gloria and her mother live with me and my wife. She has been with us all her life and is the joy of Nana and Pawpaw (my wife and me). Most evenings her mother works until after bedtime. For this reason, Gloria starts the night with us. She climbs into bed between the two of us. But Gloria will not sleep if Pawpaw is turned away from her. I will hear her little voice say, “Pawpaw! Sleep with me!” This is her way of asking me to roll over and face her—a request that is always honored. Once I roll over to face her, she will quickly fall asleep no matter how dark. She feels safe and loved because her Pawpaw is facing her.

              I want you to take this to heart. Gloria just knows that, with Pawpaw present and facing her, she is safe. She can rest in my arms, knowing that I will not abandon her and will protect her. It’s funny because her mother comes in later and carries Gloria to her bed. Gloria will often get up during the night and find her way back to Pawpaw’s arms and face.

              Think about this for a moment. God, our eternal Father, is always looking upon you. You are safe; you can rest; you can trust. There is no danger that can overcome you. Yes, we may have trouble in this life. Yes, we may struggle. This is not a prosperity gospel. But no matter what comes in this life, your Father is looking upon your face and keeping an ever-watchful eye upon you. And, whether you recognize it or not, you are wrapped safely in his embrace. Nothing can remove you.

              You can trust God, just as Gloria trusts her Pawpaw.

Made Sufficient

Published / by cluckk / Leave a Comment

Colossians 1:12-14 says, “…giving thanks to the father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (English Standard Version).

In the previous passage, Paul expressed his hope that the readers would be strengthened, empowered and enabled to endure with patience a and joy. He then gave them a reason to be joyful: the actions of the Father on their behalf.

The passage tells us that God the Father has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints. ἱκανώσαντι translated as “qualified” is interesting. According to Perschbacher[i] another meaning is “to make sufficient.” This is a powerful thing. God makes us sufficient to inherit with the saints. To be sufficient is to be enough, to be fully qualified with nothing lacking. He does not simply start the process of qualifying us and leave the rest to our own actions. No. He made us completely sufficient to inherit. There is nothing left for us to do but recognize the change wrought, and respond with loving praise, thanksgiving and obedience. We do not inherit our portion among the saints through any quality within ourselves or personal works (Eph 2:9), but through divine action making us qualified/sufficient.  God changes us; we experience the change; God transforms; we are transformed. God is the actor; we are the recipients of the action.

Paul goes into more detail in the next portion when he speaks of our deliverance from the power/authority of darkness and our transfer into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Note that he does not use kingdom to refer to both realms. He speaks of the kingdom of the Son, but of the power of darkness. The power of darkness is not a legitimate ruler or kingdom. It is a usurpation of the rightful rule of God. In our sinful state, we were under the command and power of darkness—sin, depravity, etc. We were ruled by darkness itself, and by the darkness within us. But God removed us, he delivered us, from that dominion. Because of his actions, we have been transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Rather than being dominated by sin and wickedness, locked in darkness, we are not ruled by the Holy One of God, his beloved Son, the bringer of light and righteousness.

The last part of this passage helps us understand this qualifying action: in Christ, God forgave our sins, redeeming us (buying us back from the one to whom our sins had enslaved us). God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together to redeem you—purchasing you—with forgiveness of your sins, and a transfer from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light. It is their action which accomplishes this.

[i] Perschbacher, The New Analytical Greek Lexicon.