Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Truth About Abba

I recently received this list of lies and truths about God as Abba Father, and it's good, and I want to share it. It's by Freedom in Christ Ministries.

I call God Abba because it is an affectionate term that helps me to remember that His disposition toward me is always loving. It sounds preposterous to even attach the name Abba to the lies in the list below, and doing so, for me, makes them more obviously lies.

Lie: Abba is distant and disinterested.
Truth: Abba is intimate and involved.

Scripture:
Psalm 139:1-18
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Lie: Abba is insensitive and uncaring.
Truth: Abba is kind and compassionate.

Scripture:
Psalm 103:8-14
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

Lie: Abba is stern and demanding.
Truth: Abba is accepting and filled with joy and love.

Scripture:
Zephaniah 3:17
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Romans 15:7
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Lie: Abba is passive and cold.
Truth: Abba is warm and affectionate.

Scripture:
Isaiah 40:11
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Hosea 11:3-4
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

Lie: Abba is absent and too busy for me.
Truth: Abba is always with me and eager to be with me.

Scripture:
Jeremiah 31:20
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the Lord.

Ezekiel 34:11-16
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.
15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.
16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Deuteronomy 31:8
8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Lie: Abba is impatient, angry and rejecting.
Truth: Abba is patient and slow to anger.

Scripture:
Exodus 34:6
6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Lie: Abba is mean, cruel and abusive.
Truth: Abba is loving, gentle and protective.

Scripture:
Jeremiah 31:3
3 The Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Isaiah 42:3
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.

Psalm 18:2
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Lie: Abba is trying to take all the fun out of life.
Truth: Abba is trustworthy and wants to give me a full life; His will is good, perfect and acceptable for me.

Scripture:
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

John 10:10
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Romans 12:1-2
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Lie: Abba is controlling and manipulative.
Truth: Abba is full of grace and mercy, and He gives me freedom to fail.

Scripture:
Luke 15:11-16
11 There was a man who had two sons.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me." And he divided his property between them.
13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

Hebrews 4:15-16
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Lie: Abba is condemning and unforgiving.
Truth: Abba is tenderhearted and forgiving; His heart and arms are always open to me.

Scripture:
Psalm 130:1-4
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
2 O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

Luke 15:17-24
17 But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.'"
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
22 But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." And they began to celebrate.

Lie: Abba is a nit-picking, demanding perfectionist.
Truth: Abba is committed to my growth and proud of me as His beloved child.

Scripture:
Romans 8:28-29
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Hebrews 12:5-11
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Psalm 18:19
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

I'm a little surprised by how often I think of God as being like the lies. When I read the truth about Abba, I am reminded that I dwell in the shelter of the Most High. Positionally, that's where I am. And when I remember that, I sigh with relief. I'm safe.

Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 63:7
7 For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.