Living Like Sons and Daughters

Vol. 3, No. 13 – April 8, 2018

Because you are sons [and daughters], God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” Galatians 4:6

A school teacher, Hanin, in the first century B.C. continually had students come crying to him, “Abba, Abba, give us rain. It was a season of horrendous drought.

Hanin prayed, “Lord of the universe, do it for the sake of these children who cannot know between an Abba who can give rain and an abba who cannot give rain.”

Paul reminds the Galatian Christians that they have a heavenly Father, who as Lord of all, can supply every need.

Take some time to contemplate: you have a heavenly Father who knows all and can supply all your needs.

Abba Father” is not simply the cry of one who is enslaved by the world; it is not the beggar looking for a handout, or one who lives the life of a victim. It is the cry of every person who has the reality of the Father in their heart. We who have Him in our heart think, speak, and live for Christ in our heart. It is because of His presence in our soul, prompting our thinking.

If we would put something else in our heart place, that is what would control our thoughts, speech, and actions of life.

  • Abba Father” is the cry that expresses our ministry of reconciliation that God gives us (2 Corinthians 5:18f)
  • Abba Father” is the cry of seeking wisdom as we minister to our non-believing neighbor (James 1:5)
  • Abba Father” is the cry of seeking the Holy Spirit to relieve our friend from the shackles that bind them from receiving Christ (1 Peter 3:15)
  • Abba Father” is the cry of the believer that expresses praise to Him for the changed life of one who comes to Christ (1 Peter 3:18)
  • Abba Father” is the cry of humility one has when God chooses to use them for His ministry to all that He desires to come to Him; desiring that no one perish (2 Peter 3:9)

Paul’s exhortation is that we should be willing to live as a slave, beggar, a neighbor, or friend. But we should also live as what we are, a son or daughter. A son or daughter inherits all that the Father has to give; what Jesus already has inherited. What He has belongs to us; because what Christ received He gives to us.

It is pictured in the prodigal son, who returned to his father. His father killed the fatted calf, threw a celebration, brought an exquisite robe and a ring, and brought shoes that were fit for his feet. Lovingly and graciously, the father ministered to the needs of his son. Would the Almighty do less for those who come to Him?

Paul touches our lives to contemplate in our inner selves. Where is our devotion? Where is our dependency; do we have humility or arrogance? When we live among non-believers, do they see our “Abba Father” in our lives? Often the lives of others reflect our lives, because we are the model. We, in effect, are the leaders of many. Those we influence become following leaders. What kind of leader do we want to develop?

One would do well to examine their life as we continue to live out in this new year. It always reflects who we are on the inside. The inside determines what we are on the outside. God expects that we live inside/out.

How are we doing?

Hey, Teacher (Businessperson, Church Goer, or Retiree . . .)

Vol. 3 No. 4 – 1-28-2018

Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy. –Luke 9:38

Almost 52 years ago, the doctor came down the hallway in the hospital. He did not say hi, or anything close. He just said, “Mr. Lightner, you are never going to take that boy home.” Having said that, he turned and walked away. My heart cried, and my body trembled. What was I going to say to Donna? How was I going to be the helpmate God expected me to be; how could I push my emotions back to lovingly speak to the dearest of gifts God could give me?

Religiously speaking, we are hooked on spiritual ecstasy. We are programmed to expect the big, the unusual, and the spectacular; and we often miss the glory God places in our ordinary lives. –Bruce Larson

They had been to the mountain; had a mountain top experience. Then they came down, Jesus and His followers, to the valley floor. It had been a great seminar; it was an advance, not a retreat. Think on that for a moment.

They came upon a father emotionally wrought over his son. The followers fell flat on their spiritual faces trying to help this heart-broken dad. Some of you reading this have been in the dad’s place; just as I was almost 52 years ago.

Perhaps the disciples though inwardly, “we should have stayed on the mountain. We could be worshipping and celebrating; but now we have descended to the plain of conflict and work. From the atmosphere of heaven, to the reality of hell itself. It seems we are in the presence of the devil-possessed. One day we are in the glory of the extraordinary . . . the next day we are in the ordinary! Our mountain-top experience has suddenly faded. Mondays after Sunday are the pits!”

The disciples lost their grip on things. This situation with an epileptic son was out of control. This disgraceful “disease” and the tragedy of demon possession drove the father to a point of despair. Peter, James, and John who knew so many victories now faced failure.

      I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they could not. Will you help? (9:40).

Jesus’ response was to have the father bring his boy to Him. Demons were active – they seized the boy, made him scream, threw him into convulsions. He had been thrown into fire and into water, influenced by the demons, all the time foaming at the mouth. The father and mother were in a state of helplessness. The boy would grind his teeth; his body would go rigid, giving the appearance of being deaf and dumb. Jesus was there to help at the right place and the right time – He is never late.

Christ is always equal to the challenge. He, the Son of God, rebukes His disciples for their lack of faith. He, Jesus, dismisses the evil occupant of the young son; Jesus heals the boy, then delivers the man’s only son to the grateful parents.

      Awe gripped the crown of people as they saw this display of the power of God (9:43).

Guy King sums up the miracle with this thought:
      The dad was sad
      For his son was mad
      The devil was bad

      Then . . .

      The crowd was glad
      For Jesus had done His thing!

Oh, you might want to know about my son, the one the doctor said would never go home from the hospital. He is almost 52. He was born with heart difficulties, a lung that would not work, paralysis on one side, and a growth on the base of his skull, and a variety of other difficulties. However, God had other plans. He is principal at a Christian School, married to a wonderful young lady, and father of two beautiful girls. God is good. And this son has spent his life as an educator with the focused goal of leading students to Christ, and preparing students to live with a Christian Worldview in our broken world!

      Yes, God is good; all the time God is good!

How are your connections with people who suffer in our world; do you take the other fork in the road?

Those That Serve—If you Live by the Spirit, Follow–May 21, 2017

timeVol. 2, No. 21 – 2017

If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:25

There are many that aspire to leadership; however, a large number of leaders do not want to be subject to any leadership. In order to be successful, a leader must recognize their position as a following leader. That is to say, a leader must submit to the One True Leader. Rarely does the leader admit that they are expected to be a servant-leader.

Leadership in the flesh and leadership in the Spirit are opposites. They head in opposite directions. They are actually in conflict with each other. They bring different and most often opposite outcomes.

Do not miss the obvious here! There are no other alternatives that can capture our servant-leadership. We may not like to hear this, but we are susceptible to one direction or the other—being led by the flesh or led by the Spirit. There is no plan B, C, D, E, or F.

Paul’s appeal is for us to make right choices. The reason he says this is because he has already looked inward to himself. He has evaluated himself on the basis of the truth that is before him. That is why he can say, “Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another” (vs. 26). It is always important to do introspection before offering constructive criticism toward another.

The original text uses the picture phrase of “keep in step.”

  1. Keeping in step is a servant-leadership issue.
  2. Keeping in step responds to the One True Leader that is walking beside you
  3. Keeping in step disallows our doing our own thing
  4. Keeping in step requires yielding or submission to another
  5. Keeping in step requires a servant-leader to allow another the initiative
  6. Keeping is step requires a servant-leader to allow another the guidance over their affairs
  7. Keeping in step allows the One True Leader to call the shots
  8. Keeping in step is a choice we make

When the servant-leader keeps in step, the daily decisions made always fall under the determined plan of the One True Leader.

The question then remains:

Who is out in front of you in your life these days?

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