Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Freedom in the Father’s Love

Wednesday night the new LifeMatters Lifegroup started at First Trinity geared towards those in the 18-35 range. We started a series looking at who God is in our lives specifically through some examples and stories in the Old Testament. Our study on Wednesday focused in on Psalm 103.
I encourage you to read the whole thing because it is AWESOME, but for the sake of this post I want to focus in on verse 13 which says

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him

Now I realize that for some reading this, it may be difficult to understand from your personal experience a father having compassion on his children. It’s perhaps hard to see God in a Fatherly role and not cringe. But in His fatherly role, God is anything but harsh or demanding. Sure, discipline is a part of being a father (see Hebrews 12:3-11), but more than anything it’s a loving, compassionate role. So, if you don’t have the best example of a caring, gracious father, I ask you to try to set that aside and stick with me for a moment.

As we went through the study, the author shared the following concept that really stuck with me:

“Fatherly love has a God-given ability to create a sense of security in children. Children who feel safe are more confident and move about more freely. On the other hand, fear and insecurity create paralysis. As God’s children, trusting His love completely can give us the freedom and confidence we need to live by faith.”

I think this is something any of us can understand no matter how amazing or not our own earthly father was. When we feel safe, we are confident and free. When we live in an environment of fear and insecurity, well, we don’t truly live at all.

This really caught my attention and stuck with me because of how true I see it in my life. When I let myself get caught in Satan’s lies of comparison and insecurity, I hide. I’m paralyzed. I’m stuck. BUT when I remember who I really am and how much my Heavenly Father loves and cares for me, I breathe more freely. I stand up boldly. I communicate more clearly. I live more passionately.

This is the Father we are called to trust in… one who “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:3-4) A Father who “is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (vs 8) “From everlasting to everlasting” is this Father’s love! (vs 17)

Now that’s a love worth trusting in! May you find freedom today in Our Father’s love to be exactly who He created you to be!


Put Jesus On Like a Wedding Dress

Last night at lifegroup we all found ourselves in awe of how well our passage for the night (James 4) tied in with Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. We talked about the desires that battle with in us (vs 1-3), submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil (vs 7), about grieving our sins and being humble before God (vs 8-10), about being ourselves and not judging others (vs 11-12), and remembering that we really are nothing but God loves us anyway (vs 13-17).

My personal favorite moment of the night was when we got into a discussion based off of verses 4-6 about how God is a jealous God… how he wants ALL of us and doesn’t want (or deserve) to be second to ANYONE or ANYTHING.  It was hard for us to really grasp our minds around God’s jealousy because in our frame of reference, it’s hard to see a time when jealousy isn’t sin.  As we searched for answers we landed at one point in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 where we are reminded that we, the church, are Christ’s bride… he our one husband.  Between these verses and the original passage in James calling us “adulterous” people, I remembered one of my favorite songs, “Wedding Dress” by Derek Webb.

As I pulled up the song and we listened to it last night, I was in awe again of how fitting this song is for Lent.  It talks about how we really have committed adultery with so many things around us, yet, God makes us knew again… white… like a wedding dress and invites us to run down the aisle to Him.   WARNING: This song does use a few words to describe us that are a bit stronger (yet very biblical) than “adulterous people”.   As blunt as he is in this song, the only offense I found myself taking was because it’s so true… we often sell ourselves out to things and people and forget our first love, Jesus.  It’s a great reminder of how big God’s grace is as verse 6 of James 4 states:

“But he gives us more grace…”

I invite you today to join me in listening to this song and remembering what awful, sinful people we are… and then, remembering that God gives more grace… grace bigger than any thing we could ever do… grace bigger than any thing we might avoid doing… grace bigger than ANYTHING.  It covers us, pure white, like a wedding dress.  And even when we go and get that wedding dress all dirty, he clothes us and cleans us again and again and again with a grace that is greater.