Father's Love (Agape) Letter
The Cry of a Father's Heart from Genesis to Revelation
You may not know me, but I know everything about you …Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up …Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways …Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered …Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image …Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being …Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring …Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived …Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation …Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book …Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live …Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made …Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb …Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born …Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me …John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love …1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you …1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father …1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could …Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father …Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand …James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs …Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope …Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love …Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore ...Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing …Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you …Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession …Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul …Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things …Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me …Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart …Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires …Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine …Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager …2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles …2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you …Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart …Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes …Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth …Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus …John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed …John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being …Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you …Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins …2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled …2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you …1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love …Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me …1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again …Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen …Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father …Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? …John 1:12-13 I am waiting for you …Luke 15:11-32
Yet Jesus asked us "to pray without ceasing"
How to Get Your Prayers
Prayer in its simplest terms is you talking with God and then listening to Him for His answers and direction.
Why do so many prayers go unanswered?
The answer is a simple one. Because people cease praying.
It took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries to make the light bulb work. He finally did it! Why? Because he did not cease trying. The same goes with prayer. Again, to get closer to God, and to get your prayers answered, you have to... ...pray without ceasing."
"...whatever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Short and simple.
After years of scientific research it's been proven that the mind, and for
that matter your soul, responds much better to short statements. So all
prayers are short and powerful and are said as though you are saying
Here's a sample of the prayers
I love you God.
Thank you God for loving me.
I give thanks to the Lord; for He is good, His love endures forever.
We love because He first loved us.
I love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, body, and soul.
The Lord loves; the earth is full of His unfailing love.
This is my command; love each other.
I love my neighbor as I love myself.
I do not seek revenge, or bear a grudge against any of
God’s people, I love my neighbor as I love myself.
Above all love each other deeply.
God you are inside me.
God you are inside me, and you give me strength.
God you are inside me, and you give me love.
God you are inside me, and you give me happiness.
God you are inside me, and you attract blessings to yourself and me.
You have nothing to lose, and a closer relationship to God to gain.
Thanks and may you always receive God's blessings!
May God Bless You...
By his words and actions, Jesus gives us three principles to follow:
Now before we can even begin to talk about how to share our faith, we need to understand two very important points. First, when it comes to sharing our faith with others, we've all blown it. We have all regularly ignored the spiritual needs of others. We've swallowed our tongue when we should have spoken. We've all been so wrapped up in our life, our own personal agenda, that we refused to take the time to build a bridge to that unchurched person, or if the bridge was already built, refused to take the gospel across the bridge. Time and again, our own laziness, our spiritual immaturity, or fear of ridicule has kept us from being effective witnesses for Christ. If we're honest with ourselves, we have to admit we're all guilty. We've all been poor witnesses for Christ.
But wait a minute. Isn't that why we're here today? You and I are not here because we are perfect Christians. We're here because we're imperfect. We are here because we know we've dropped the ball. We know we're guilty. But more importantly, we know that for Jesus sake, God has forgiven our sins. I mean, isn't that what draws you back to the cross each week? That precious reassurance that in spite of your failures, God still loves you. He accepts you. He dresses you in Christ's holiness. My friends, before we even mention the word personal evangelism, we need to nail down that point, namely, "In Christ, our sins are forgiven. This whole idea of sharing our faith can be a real guilt trip, if we don't start from the premise that "in Christ, my sins are forgiven." So just to make sure we're on the same page, let's say it together. "In Christ, my sins are forgiven. Now, like you mean it, "In Christ, my sins are forgiven!"
Dear friends, that's the most precious message in the world. For as Dr. Luther says, "Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation." What a shame that there are many people in the world who are trying to live their lives without forgiveness of sins that God gives through his Son. But that's where we come into the picture, isn't it? God has given us a powerful message to share. The question is, how exactly do we do that? Our text for today offers us three principles to follow.
First, I. Open your Eyes. Now, maybe that's a little too blunt. Maybe I should say, simply, look for opportunities. Certainly, that's what Jesus did throughout his earthly ministry, right? Here in our text something as mundane as sitting down for a drink of water gave Jesus an opportunity to talk to someone about eternal life. Now I want you to notice a number of things about this encounter. First, notice that Jesus is tired. He's been traveling by foot in the heat of the day and now he has found a place to sit down. If I'm in his shoes, I'm thinking, "The last thing I want to do is talk to some stranger. Just leave me alone." But Jesus doesn't do that, does he? Jesus sees an opportunity to create a connection to someone.
And notice to whom does he create a connection with? A Samaritan woman. Now, maybe that doesn't mean that much to you and me today. But it would have been highly unusual in Jesus' day. Here in our text John tells us that Jews do not associate with Samaritans. But Jesus did. In fact, here in our text Jesus not only associates with the Samaritan woman. He associated with a Samaritan woman with a bad reputation. The very fact that she was out there drawing water in the heat of the day rather than in the cool evening, gives us a clue that this woman was a bit of an outcast, very likely because of her current living situation, which Jesus would later bring to her attention.
The point is, Jesus looks past all those potential obstacles. He looks past his fatigue. He looks past the color of her skin or her nationality or her life style. He sees an opportunity to witness. The question is, "Do we see similar opportunities in our lives? The story is told of the bartender who spent his week listening to people talk about the problems they were having, the troubled marriages, the lost jobs, hopeless futures. The bartender would nod his head and say, "Yeah, life can be a real drag sometimes." And then on Sunday, he'd come to church and say, "Pastor, when is this church going to start doing mission work?"
Wait a minute. What's wrong with this picture? Could it be that this man was missing the opportunities that were sitting right in front of him? Could it be that you and I have grown blind to some of those same opportunities? Think about it. How about the lady who cuts your hair every five weeks? What do you talk about for 20 minutes? How about the new guy at work? Have you sat down and gotten to know him? What about that foreign exchange student in your school? Can you build a bridge into his world, and into his heart?
Every day, all around us, there are people who don't know Jesus. Some of them you have a lot in common with. Others you have practically nothing common with-except a need for a savior. And that's reason enough to pray, "God, open my eyes to see the opportunities you are giving me to reach out to others.
Of course, there is a difference between seeing the opportunities and seizing the opportunities. If we're going to truly share our faith, sooner or later, we're going to move beyond the small talk. Sooner or later we're going to have to take that second step. We're going to have to II. Transition to the Spiritual.
Isn't that what Jesus did here in our text? Jesus begins by asking the woman for a drink of water to quench his thirst. But from there Jesus moves from the water she could offer him to the water he could offer her. A water that could quench her thirst forever. Jesus says to her, "Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Did you hear the transition there from things physical to things spiritual? In fact, it was such a smooth transition that, at first, the Samaritan woman misses it all together. She thinks that Jesus is still talking about well water. She says, "Give me some of this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
From there Jesus moves from here need to draw water everyday to an even greater need-namely, her need to be right with God. Jesus says to her, "Go, call your husband." Her response, "I have no husband." Jesus' reply, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had 5 husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband." In other words, "I know the real story. I know that you are living in adultery." To which the woman responds, Wow, "I can see that you are a prophet."
Now before we go on to look at Jesus' response, let's stop and apply Jesus' actions to our lives. Notice that Jesus doesn't spend his entire time with this woman talking about water. He transitions to her spiritual needs. If we are going to share our faith with someone, sooner or later we have to do the same thing. The question is, how? There are a number of ways. If someone is telling you about all the bad things that have been happening to him, you might ask, "Tell me, have you brought this matter to God in prayer? (And maybe more importantly), why do you think God should answer your prayer? A question like that could easily lead to a discussion about what God owes us because of our sin versus what God has given us in Christ.
Isn't that what Jesus did? After Jesus convicts this woman of her sin of adultery, she immediately tries to change the subject. She starts talking about where a person should worship. She says, "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is Jerusalem." Jesus response is, in effect, "Lady, where you worship is not nearly as important as who you worship." "You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation from the Jews." In other words, the world's savior is going to be of Jewish descent. "Yes," says the woman, "I know that Messiah is coming." And then those words that must have just about knocked this woman over. Jesus says, "I who speak to you am he!"
Do you see what Jesus was doing there? He was pointing to himself as the ultimate solution to her problem. He's saying, "I'm the answer to all your questions. I have come to free you from the guilt of your sin. I've come to give you a new lease on life.
My friends, isn't that what Christian evangelism is all about? It's all about pointing people to Jesus. It's not who we are, or what wonderful lives we live. It's about Jesus, his love for us, his forgiveness of us, his life for ours. He's the one who makes the difference in people's lives for time and eternity.
As you think about the purpose of your life, as you think why God has put you on this planet, as you think what he's done for you, ask God to open your eyes to see the opportunities he's given to you with the people in your lives. Ask him to help you move your conversation to spiritual matters. And then point people to Jesus. May God give us all the words to speak and the courage to act, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Today's Bible Verse
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
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