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Features of a Father Part 2

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By Dorothy Valcárcel, Christian Post Guest Contributor
November 3, 2010|2:52 pm

EXPLORATION

“God has crossed the frontiers of divine life. God is not content for me to say only, ‘Forget me, I don’t matter,” because God’s attentive love looks to me, assuring me that He is, to adapt the scriptural phrase, ‘Not ashamed to be called my God,’ not ashamed to be who He is and to be identified as who He is in relation to me, even though I am a mess.”

Rowan Williams

Have I allowed myself to be surrounded by the loving-kindness in my Father’s heart for me?

“It is a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God – to be the (daughter), the love, the delight of the King of glory? Believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting – of the love which brought the Son of God’s love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory – that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffered, spat upon, crucified, pierced – which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died.  That love will eternally embrace you.”

Richard Baxter

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INSPIRATION

“I am so washed in the tide of His measureless love.”

Catherine of Genoa

            The children of Israel were on the banks of the Jordan River, ready to cross into the long dreamed for Promised Land.

            Moses sent 12 men, valiant warriors to check things out in Canaan. Two came back with a positive report and 10 came back spreading a tale of potential defeat.

            In our text for today, found in Joshua 14: 7,8, we find that over 40 years after Caleb and the other spies went over into Canaan, this mature man, stood up again to remind everyone, who had now entered Canaan, of the events in the past.

            Caleb told all the children of Israel that the negative report of the 10 spies made everyone’s “heart melt,” or as the Hebrew states, “dissolve.” Have you ever heard the phrase, “I have no heart for it?” This means you have no strength, no desire, no longing, no love for whatever lies ahead. And with melted hearts God’s children had no heart to move forward and take possession of the land God had already said was theirs.

            But Caleb didn’t stop with the reminder of the negative. Instead, he told everyone that he had laid out what was in his heart too, and he made it clear his heart was wholly for the Lord. Caleb put not only his physical being but the emotions of his heart on the line for His Father in heaven. He laid his heart wide open. A whole heart for God and God’s purpose.

            The second Feature of a Father, as witnessed in the life of Caleb is a father whose heart is wide open. Caleb gave his whole heart and didn’t hold back one tiny spot. Nothing was kept back. Before God and all the children of Israel, Caleb laid himself open – wide.

            I know what it is like to have a father like Caleb who opened his heart wide open. My dad repeatedly put his heart on the line for me – opened up for all to see. To any loving father who opens his heart wide, there is always potential hurt that can enter the sacred chamber of love. For when we wholly open in love to another, we leave ourselves vulnerable to darts of pain and sorrow.

            However, this didn’t stop Caleb. Thankfully, it hasn’t stopped our heavenly Father from opening His heart wide, either. Like the earthly father, Caleb, our heavenly Father has opened His heart wide to every one of His sons and daughters on planet earth, down through history. In II Peter 3: 10, the Apostle Peter, one of God’s sons who understood personally, just how wide and deep the heart of God, is wrote that from what he knew about God’s wide-open heart of love, his heavenly Father “doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” Lest we overlook the point Peter was making, God has opened Himself up for a great deal of hurt by offering His heart of love to everyone, for some of His children will make the choice to turn their backs on a heart wide open. Yet, that doesn’t stop our Father from keeping His heart on the line for you and for me – every day.

            I love going to the beach. In college, I would go out to a place called Bodega Bay where there were large sand dunes covered by tall, thick grass. Sitting in the shelter of the grass, atop the dunes, the view of the ocean was awe inspiring. The vastness of the water and the sound of the crashing waves always left me speechless. Maybe it’s the “hugeness” of the ocean that I find captured in the words to the hymn written by Frederick Faber, which touches my heart as I think quietly about the feature of my heavenly Father – my Father who has left His heart open wide for me and for you.

 “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea,

  there’s a kindness in His justice,

  which is more than liberty.

  For the love of God is broader

  than the measure of man’s mind,

  and the heart of the Eternal,

  is most wonderfully kind.”

            The feature of our Father – a heart wide open to every one of His children.

“O love that will not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.”

George Matheson

AFFIRMATION

Steadfast love

“Gracious God,

for your love for us,

gentle as a shower,

healing our pain,

binding up our wounds,

we give you thanks.

For your love for us,

sure as the dawn,

transforming our darkness,

revealing your truth,

we give you thanks.

For your love for us

mercifully steadfast,

calling us to you,

raising us up,

we give you thanks.

For your love for us,

encouraging questions,

open to our doubts,

making us vulnerable,

we give you thanks.

For your steadfast love

has brought us to faith.

your steadfast love

has cradled a new creation.”

Kate McIllhagga

Encompassing Presence

Dorothy Valcárcel has a 25-year career working with charitable organizations worldwide. Her experiences have taken her into ghettos, orphanages, domestic abuse shelters and food kitchens. The insight she gained, along with her own personal struggle to overcome challenging disabilities sustained in a life-threatening accident, are the catalyst for Transformation Garden - a website designed to encourage women in their walk with Jesus. Dorothy is the author of the soon to be released book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, published by Revell.
 

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