Fatherly Relations (Relations with the Father)

by Carolyn Hope

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. (Ephesians 1:2-6)

The bulk of this passage is describing what God has done for us and how He has become our Father. Before the first sunrise, before the first day, the Lord decided to adopt us into His family. It was always His plan to draw us to Himself through Jesus; and the thought of our becoming His brought Him joy and delight. We don’t have to do a thing to gain His favor. All we have to do is believe Him. Because of this, we give Him praise. Not out of obligation or duty, but from the abundant overflow of gratitude in our hearts.

How do we interact with our Perfect Father? We do so with freedom, confidence, and love. We are free to approach Him at any time and about anything. We can be confident in the goodness of who He is, and in who we are because of Him. Finally, we can walk in love, for we are always, unchangeably, unshakably loved by our Dad; and because He loves us, we can love Him back.

Last week, I was serving in the nursery at my church. There were a dozen children in the class, ranging from about five months old to three and a half years. One particular baby was in there for the first time, and he was doing really well. Toward the end of the service, however, he got a little fussy because he was tired but didn’t want to fall asleep. I picked him up and held him, rocking him gently and holding him close. After a couple minutes, he settled into my arms, calm and peaceful. Soon he was sleeping, and he remained asleep even after the service was over and his dad picked him up.

Your Father holds you tenderly and gently, and you are forever secure in His embrace. Settle into His love. Let yourself find rest and peace in His strong arms. You don’t have to work, or strive, or stay awake. In His presence, you can be free. You can be confident that He will take care of you. His love for you is perpetual and enough. You are enough in Him.

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Joseph: Many Roles, One Character

by Carolyn Hope

If you’re looking for a roller-coaster ride, the life of Joseph is a great place to start. He was a man who seemed to be followed by misfortune and success at the same time. However, everything that happened in Joseph’s life was setting the stage for a purpose and destiny greater than even he could dream. Wherever he went, whatever he did, God remained with him.

As Joseph’s story progressed, he had to play many different roles. This week, I’d like to share with you some of the key functions, or possible titles, that Joseph performed or had. Through it all, his character stayed the same; if anything, it only deepened and grew more secure with time. We can learn from Joseph, for no matter the season of life we walk through, we can have success, favor, and victory.

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Peaceful: Full of Peace

by Carolyn Hope

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

There is nothing quite like peace.

The peace of God goes beyond anything our minds can know. Some decisions aren’t made by reason or knowledge; sometimes, we must let peace guide us and lead us on the right path. When peace is present, everything feels right. Peace brings a smooth settling to a turbulent ride. Peace provides clear vision amidst swirling thoughts. At the sound of Peace’s gentle voice, chaos shuts up and confusion flees.

The peace that is within you is more potent than all the craziness of the world. Peace is like a rock underneath your feet, firm and grounded to the truth. Others teeter and totter, on the edge of disaster, but you can build a life and a home on the security of your peace.

Let your heart be guarded and your mind guided by the peace Jesus has given to you. You can choose peace every day, in every circumstance. There is no need to listen to fear; as a new creation, you are a free child who is perfectly loved by your Father. He has given you a perfect peace (see Isaiah 26:3). Walk full of the peace that belongs to you.

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Hope That Anchors

by Carolyn Hope

Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:18-20)

There was a time when the most innovative way to travel was by boat. Walking, horseback, carriages, or wagons could only take you so far. A ship, however, could cross the vast waters and navigate the mysterious seas. New lands and peoples could be found by sailing. There was (and is) a sense of great adventure traveling by sea.

Perhaps the ship’s most prized possession and necessary tool is an anchor. Without an anchor, people can sail far, but they can’t stay anywhere. An anchor is what secures and steadies a boat, ensuring that it isn’t swayed from its course by the wind or waves. When stopped, sailors can rest in peace, because there’s an anchor grounding them in the earth below the waters.

If you’ve ever been on a boat, or even on a dock, you can understand how much they sway under the influence of the waters. Even a small current or a gentle tide is enough to push and pull a ship from its resting place. Imagine how far away a boat would drift with no anchor!

There are many circumstances that will come into your life, trying to sway you off course. Through all the pushing and shoving and pulling of this world, you have an anchor to call you back to your purpose. This anchor is hope, which continually reminds you of God’s character and promises. When you get discouraged or begin to despair, hope tugs at your heart and pulls you to the truth of God’s Word. When everything seems against you and the promise appears impossible, hope calls you to faith in your God. Jesus will do what He says He’ll do. Hope assures you of His faithfulness and certainty.

Let hope anchor you today. Whatever your situation is, don’t let it pull you away from the promises of the Lord. Listen to the voice of hope, and let it re-center you and remind you who you are, Whose you are, and where you’re going.

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