A Father to the Fatherless

The place a father holds in the life of his children is priceless. No other relationship is like that of a dad and his little ones. Indeed, I truly wonder if any relationship can compare to that of a man and his daughter. And the loss of that relationship is especially painful.

Celebrating Father’s Day has never been the same for me since 2001, the year I lost my dad to suicide. For many years after, I browsed the card section, searching for a card for another girl’s dad who became my step-dad.

But my eyes only fell on those that spoke of growing up with your first love – first crush, first hero – and knowing this man would always hold your hand and your heart. Tears would flow and my heart would ache – or become angry. Angry over my loss, angry over his decision, angry that I could never again be Daddy’s little girl.

Another cruel form of loss is when someone comes in the aftermath of tragedy to promise love and relationship for a lifetime, but instead leaves to fulfill selfish lust and a naïve notion of “finding oneself”. And now I am, again, left without a dad on this earth.

 

But I am not Fatherless.

 

Father to the Fatherless

 

I have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby I cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15)! The word cry in this scripture denotes an intense and powerful internal affection, and a fierce and forcible outward confidence in the freedom and liberty granted to us as children of God.

Intimate yet respectful, the name Abba is our warrant for boldly claiming a filial relationship with the Most High God. What an astounding, incomprehensible thought: We hold the same standing with the Father as Jesus our Messiah, His only begotten Son!

My first love, my Abba, Father loves me and will never leave me, and He holds my hand and my heart – forever.

If you have been left without an earthly father, accept the love of the Everlasting Father as your very own today. His love endures forever, and He is waiting to hold your hand and your heart.

 

2-corinthians-6-17-18

 

 

 

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Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider

  We first find the name Jehovah Jireh in Genesis chapter 22:13 & 14, and it means Our Provider. It is the story of Abraham’s call and willingness to sacrifice his only son, and of the providence and provision of God. This name is one of the many that provide a precious knowledge of God’s care for us, yet is among the few that speak of the necessity for us to show our love for our Lord through obedience and willingness to sacrifice for Him.

 Abraham had walked with God many years by this time and had been called to many acts of faith, yet this particular one stood in a category all of its own. Never before had he been told to give so much. I can almost see the blood draining from his face, hear his heart thundering in his ears, feel his body go weak and numb, experience his desire to scream, and his inability to speak. Nothing about this command made sense. Everything about this command seemed wrong and heartless. Yet God did not want to take a life, He desired to be given a heart.

 In Hebrews chapter 11, we see that Abraham remembered God’s promise that through this very child, Abraham’s seed would be as many as the stars in the sky and countless as the sand on the seashore (v 12 ). Why then, would he be told to destroy the life of this promissory child? As they walked toward the altar on which Isaac would be killed, Isaac questioned his father saying, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen. 22: 7). Abraham’s answer to Isaac as they walked gives us a peek into the faith that God counts as righteous: “Jehovah will provide for Himself a lamb” (Gen. 22: 8). “He considered that God is able (dunamai = possesses inherent ability) to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type” (Heb. 11: 19).

 The English word “provide” is from the Latin (pro = before + vedere = vision) meaning literally to “see before hand”. Jireh is “to see”, or “to provide”, or “to foresee”, as a prophet. Philippians 4:9 tells us, “My God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory.” Our God always provides adequately! What, then, shall we fear? Abraham knew God as his provider and was ready to do His will – regardless of the cost. “Faith is not shown to be real until it is tested, and real faith is not only believing in spite of the evidence, but also obeying in spite of the consequences” (paraphrased reflection on Genesis 22). Abraham knew that covenant calls for withholding nothing from God, just as He withholds nothing good from us (Ps. 84:11).

 And indeed Jehovah did provide. He provided a ram caught in a thicket for Abraham, and the Lamb nailed to the cross for all mankind. What greater Provision could we have than our Savior?

 When we are in our greatest need for Jehovah Jireh to provide, “we must remember that our duty is to obey God’s commands, His duty is to keep His promises…these two things never conflict” (Dave Branon “Our Daily Bread”). As Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his only son, the angel of the LORD stopped him. Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the provided ram, sacrificed the ram as offering, and called the place Jehovah Jireh – the LORD my provider.

 The times of the Lord’s provision in my life have left me on bended knee in thankfulness. So many times God provides in ways I didn’t know I needed! Yet every time I come boldly before the throne of grace in my hour of need (Heb.4:16), I know that the answer and providence is in His hands; my part is to trust and obey. Every financial need has been met when putting the Lord first in giving (Mal.3:8). Every trial is met with peace when my mind is stayed on Him (Is. 16:3). Every need for more faith is met when I refuse to hold on to fear and resentment because of trials that God allows to enter my life (Ja.1:2-4 ). Every need for godly companionship is met when I choose openness over isolation (Heb. 10:25). Every need for forgiveness is met when I do not allow my heart to turn from Him, but toward Him in repentance (Ps. 51:17).

 Oswald Chambers wrote, “If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him…Never decide your own martyrdom.” God provides our needs in the place of His assignment. To submit all we are and have to His will, and to trust Him to supply every need is the essence of worship. I recently read the following commentary on worship: “How foreign to the modern concept where one’s senses are pampered rather than having one’s heart laid bare, broken, and contrite.” Abraham did not choose his sacrifice, he simply allowed God to provide as he obeyed, and he was given the providence of Jehovah Jireh.

 Are you in need today? Run to the Name of the Lord, for only in Him will you be safe and find provision. Call on Jehovah Jireh, open your heart and your hand in obedience, trust in His heart, and watch Him provide as only God can, for He longs to do more abundantly than we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20)!

El Elyon

 

Preparing for the beginning of this new series on the names of God has been more difficult, required more, and meant more than I anticipated. I love the names of God and find it to be an exciting and comforting topic, and believed it would take me very little time to post a blog on any one of His names. As soon as my last blog announcing this new series was posted however, I felt the nudge of the Spirit. “This is My holy name, and My name is at stake. You must not write this in an unholy manner. Take your shoes off, Jodi, you are on holy ground.” From then on, God has searched me and pruned me thought by thought, action by action, motive by motive, to give full glory and honor to His name in holiness and sanctification, excellence and dedication .

 My prayer is that His words will be my words. So, my friends, with reverent awe, allow me to help you become acquainted with the One Who commands your world and guards your life – His name is El Elyon.

 We find this name approximately 40 times in the Old Testament, most frequently in Psalms, 12 times in Daniel, and 4 times in Genesis, with the first time being in Genesis 14. El Elyon means the God Most High, the Strongest Strong One, Possessor of heaven and earth, Sovereign over all, I AM (Gen.14:19-20).

 As I was searching for which name to present first, I became keenly aware that in order to trust and rely in the heart of Abba, our Father, to fully believe that Jehovah Roi sees me in my distress, to truly submit our lives wholly unto Adonai, our Lord and Master, to curl into the lap of Jehovah Shalom our peace, we must know that our God is Sovereign – over all; He is fully supreme, He alone is God. This name, this God, is our basis and foundation for faith in the midst of crisis, the heat of battle, the heartache of life, the testing of trials. Knowledge and understanding of the sovereignty of the God Who’s name is Most High governs the whole of our lives and encourages the fibers of our being, for in El Elyon we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

 Do you see it?! We serve, we are governed by, we are loved and cared for by the most high God! This is our Beloved, and we are His! He blessed Abram (Gen. 14:20), He enlightened Daniel (Dan 4) , He was David’s hope, rescuer, and deliverer (Ps.18:13), He delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:26), and He holds our future and we are upheld by the lovingkindness of our Rock and Redeemer (PS. 21:7; 78:35). He is free from any and all external control, boundaries, influences, or authority.

 It is the Strongest Strong One that empowers and enables us to live a life above the stronghold of a life of sin. For if God be for us, who can be against us?! (Rom 8:31).

 It is the Sovereign One that enables us to be certain that unseen things are still being held in the righteous, sovereign hand of El Elyon, and allows us to stop resisting and fighting when trouble is permitted into our lives.

 Charles Spurgeon noted that “men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne…for God on His throne is not the God they love.” We don’t often like the God that does as He pleases with His own, without consulting us on the matter.  Nevertheless, on the word of the Strongest Strong One, we can trust unwaveringly that His plan is to grow us in faith, maturity, and relationship with Him and not become bitter, rather empowered!

What would our lives look like if we inscribed this name on the tablet of our hearts? What fear would His perfect love cast out? What would we believe is possible if we knew that with El Elyon, nothing is impossible? We can know that we are upheld, guarded, guided, loved, surrounded, covered, and carried by the Most High God! Dear ones, when sorrows like sea billows roll, run into your strong tower, the name of El Elyon, the Most High God, for ,“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”, for we have made the Lord, our refuge, even the Most High our dwelling place. (Ps 91:1 & 9).

May it seem good to us to declare the signs and wonders which the God Most High has done for us (Dan 4:2).   O magnify the LORD the with me, and let us exalt His name together! (Ps 34:3).