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Chapter 10 - Our Heavenly Father.
Jesus instructs his disciples to pray by beginning 'Our father who art in heaven...'. This is a declaration of relationship. There is a general sense of God as our father in that it is he who gives us life, sustains it, and concludes it.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. - Job 12:9-10
Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; - Job 14:5
For Christians, there is a deeper relationship with God as our father. This is because we are 'born again', our spiritual nature, (that Adam and Eve had before the fall) has been regenerated and through this we obtain eternal life in Christ.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. - 1 John 5:1
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. - Galatians 4:6
It is love that defines our relationship with God as our father. His love, mercy, and patience towards us is difficult to fully comprehend.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. - Psalm 86:15
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
No matter how much love God our father extends to us, no relationship can be only one-sided. We have an obligation to draw nearer of heavenly father.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! - Luke 13:34
God requires of us that we reciprocate his love.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. - Mark 12:30
Love is essentially that which abandons selfishness and embraces selflessness.
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Since when we become Christian we still carry with us the influence of the flesh (selfishness), the love of God may work to bring encounters across our path to help us be conformed to the image of Christ.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. - Romans 8:28-29
Sometimes the encounters we have are not comfortable.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? - Hebrews 12:5
As we consider how much God the Father desires a relationship with us as his sons, we can begin to learn about relationships in general. Since we live in a time when families have been crippled and relationships in general made superficial, it can be helpful to reflect on what God desires in his relationship with us.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. - Matthew 28:20
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. - John 10:27-28
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. - Hebrews 7:25
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. - 1 Peter 5:7
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. - Matthew 10:29-30
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. - John 14:23
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. - Romans 8:15
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