Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we consider recognizing and appreciating the ways of the Father.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"For as man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”” Proverb, Chapter 23, Verse 7
Brothers and sisters, yesterday we saw the movie, Another Earth. In this movie the protagonist tells the story of a Russian Cosmonaut——the first man to orbit the earth. He was in orbit for 30 days. After being launched into orbit, the cosmonaut detected a steady pounding sound, like one may hear from a leaking faucet, only louder. He tried to identify the source of this sound but failed. As this sound continued with its steady beat, he realized that if he had to listen to it for 30 days, he would go mad. He realized there was only one solution: to fall in love with the sound. He did this and built a symphony in his mind around it. He fell in love with the sound.
The other day, I was talking with a good friend of mine who shared that a girlfriend had asked her how to have a relationship with the heavenly Father. The friend said that she had never known God and wanted to know him, but did not know how. "If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. Your trouble is not that you cannot find God, for the Father has already found you; your trouble is simply that you do not know God. Have you not read in the Prophet Jeremiah, `You shall seek me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart'? And again, does not this same prophet say: `And I will give you a heart to know me, that I am the Lord, and you shall belong to my people, and I will be your God'? And have you not also read in the Scriptures where it says: `He looks down upon men, and if any will say: I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not, then will God deliver that man's soul from darkness, and he shall see the light'?"
As we look back over our lives and think about the many encounters we have had with others, a certain picture of our lives can emerge. Those of us who had fathers living in the home realize at some point that regardless of how the fathers performed later in our lives, there was a period of time when they took care of us, when they protected, sheltered, and provided for us. They even played with us and showed us love. Though a lot of these events may have occurred before our memories were fully developed, this information can be corroborated by others.
And for those who did not have fathers in the home and even for those who did, there was always a neighbor, a friend, a teacher, or some other person who showed us love in the form of encouragement, concern, example, affection, help, and other positive qualities in our lives. And these forms of love still continue today in our interactions with others, though we have to acknowledge that sometimes we become overwhelmed with the struggles of living that we fail to give proper attention to these values.
We should also remember that the role of a husband is different than the role of a father. The husband does not reveal himself to his children as a husband but as a father. It is not that we can’’t find the heavenly Father, he is always with us. But like the earthly child when he is young, he doesn’’t know or understand the Father’’s ways and therefore fails to appreciate him. When the earthly child matures, the more he appreciates his Father.
In the movie Courageous, four fathers realize they have had very superficial relationships with their children, and they vow to become conscious role models for their children, showing them the way of life, spending quality time with them, and loving them with a deep fatherly affection. They solemnize this in a religious ceremony. They realize that much of the social problems that we have in our society spring from the lack of effective fathers being involved with their children. Much of the crime, drug addiction, promiscuity, and poverty result from the lack of fathers in the home, serving as role models. Children need fathers just as much as they need mothers.
The heavenly Father is a spirit; he is the creator of our souls. Having created us, his spirit remains with us. He maintains personal relationships with us through his personality circuit. Through worship and fellowship with him, we come to know and understand his ways. We know that the Father is only limited by his own volition. The Father can be everywhere at the same time. He works as a Father through many influences. Every good gift comes down from the Father of lights, every good deed is motivated by the Father. As Jesus says, "I tell you that, even when a cup of cold water is given to a thirsty soul, the Father's messengers shall ever make record of such a service of love." And so we see that every act of goodness comes from the Father. As we look back over our lives, we can see his hand in all the loving acts that we received from others. And we can understand the way the Father works. The Father works not only within us but also within others to reveal his loving and merciful nature.
But we must come to appreciate the Father’’s way of doing things. For unless we do, we shall "go mad" observing his methods. We must be like the Cosmonaut who realized that if he were to survive he would have to find a way to fall in love with the steady pinging sound. We must fall in love with the way the Father does things. If we truly want to know what the Father is like, we can look to his Son, who is ever present and who has shown and continues to show us how the Father lives a mortal life. This ideal is no further than a desire a way. We can be like the four policemen in the movie Courageous, even exceed them, for the ideal of the Father is absolutely perfect. Regardless of our experience with our earthly fathers, the ideal of the heavenly Father is only one faith look away. We can strive to emulate this ideal and will certainly make progress in copying it. And this progress will be satisfying and effective.
Having finally understood the diverse ways the Father reveals himself to and through us, we can finally appreciate his matchless ways of doing all things and can observe the effects of his spiritual parenting on our spiritual growth and development. We can finally appreciate his great love for us and become thankful for his guidance and direction, even his discipline, and fall head over heels in love with him, truly worshipping him.
Never again should we say "show me the Father" because we can find and know the Father to our soul’’s satisfaction by simply asking that he reveal himself to us. Promptly will the image of His Son, Jesus, appear, saying, "Here I am. He who has seen me has seen the Father." Once we have found him and know him, we will realize that we are absolutely spiritually safe, and the world can do us no harm.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of spiritual reflection. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.