Please see this video here at approximately 1.56 in. It is a fascinating interaction. It shows how the Duchess of Sussex obviously had a heart-cry that people would really take a interest in her welfare. This had particularly been the case subsequent to the birth of Archie, her son.
So I want to ask you; will people leave your church tomorrow with a heart-cry that no-one had shown an interest in them? I want to challenge you (and me) to be the ones who make sure that does not happen. So to the person:
- Whose spouse has turned from the Lord, ask them how the situation is now.
- Who has been out-of-work, ask about the job applications and their prospects.
- With a difficult marriage, ask about the present situation.
- who is struggling with depression, ask how they finding help to get through the situation.
- With health difficulties, enquire about their health.
- Recently diagnosed with serious illness, express your concern for them and ask whether they need any help.
- With young children, ask how they are coping with all the demands of full -on parenting.
- Who is a full-time, carer ask how they are coping with the relentless demands of that situation.
- In work, ask how they are coping with the demands laid on them.
- At school, ask them about their studies and the pressures they are experiencing
- Who is a parent ask how their children are getting on spiritually.
Overall right now get your heart in tune with God’s and go and care for your brothers and sisters tomorrow in church. If such is the case you will be engaging in a big, big ministry. And that ministry will be even bigger if you pray with and for those people.
And if you are the person with that heart-cry yearning for others to take interest in you Can I say four things:
- It may be best you find someone who you know well, who you are sure will show interest in you and listen.
- You go up to others ask them about their difficulties and situations. An outward loving interest in others can be the means the Lord uses to help you through your perplexities.
- If no-one shows interest in you; remember that you have a Father in heaven who will always care for you and take an interest in you.
- Don’t berate the state of your church if no-one takes an interest in you. We do not always get everything right for each other. Sometimes we fail each other. Your best response to such failure is to be a loving example yourself.
This is one of the terms used of Messiah in Isaiah 9:6. In addressing ourselves to looking at the meaning we need to take time to make sure that we don’t veer towards the error of modalism.
So what is modalism? Modalism is the error by which God is one being who morphs into different persona at different times. So sometimes he appears as Father and sometimes as Son and at other times as Holy Spirit. This is false teaching. the three persons of the Trinity are eternally that. They are three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that forever. there is One God in three persons
So when we think about the Son as Everlasting Father we must be aware that He does not appear in the person of the Father or as a manifestation of the Father. How do we understand the term Father here then?
We need then to ask the question; what is a father? A father is one who cares, protects and provides. This is what a father should ideally be. So when we think of Jesus as the Everlasting Father we are thinking of one who cares protects and provides. He is everlastingly such a One.
When we enter into the meaning of this term our hearts start to lift as we think of Him as the One who is eternally looking after us. This is a Father who will never turn against us or let us down. Here is One who eternally cares for us. We need to soak in the joy of that. Fellow believer, your Saviour in heaven always provides, cares and protects. Let us trust ourselves to Him afresh and have joy in believing
So when we see our Lord incarnated we see Him, not in the person of the Father, but in the character of Father. In that sense He is The Father here on earth because He shares the same character as the Father. But He never shares the same person as the Father.
This post is based partially upon a surmise, but my surmising does not take away from the main point.
I was out on the disused athletics track at the back of our home recently at around 4.45 pm which was just about twilight. As I was finishing off my exercise routine, a man and a boy, who I surmise to be his son, appeared.
The man started to berate the boy regarding how bad he had been at football the previous weekend. He accused him of being a failure in attacking, defending etc. As a punishment he was going to have to run round the track. The boy whimpered, but the father did not let up. After a while the boy duly obliged and started to trot around the track with the overbearing father cycling alongside.
The disturbing scene was made more so because the boy looked no more than about eight and appeared very weak. This all left me somewhat stunned and with some thoughts:
- Should I have intervened and at least made the man think about the unreasonableness of his approach. In the West, we so easily don’t get involved deeming it not to be our business. I felt sobered because in my failure to take action had been a party to allowing this boy’s misery to continue
- I was sad for the boy who is been brought up in an atmosphere of fear. He must dread going to play football, if that is the response of his Dad.
- The Word of the Lord says in Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Provoking our children to anger by our unreasonableness is not healthy parenting.
- I am left wondering about what motivates such a Father. Is he wanting to live out his own dreams through his child? If that is so it is a selfish imposition and thereby reprehensible. We parent our children so as they flourish to be themselves not who we want to make them. I wrestle with my attitudes to make sure that I am driven for my children to fulfil everything God has called them to be and not what i want them to be.
Oh Lord make me to be a reasonable Father who works your best for the children you have given me to Father. Amen
Some little whole ago, someone, who normally speaks to me about important issues in their life, had made a point of speaking with someone else about a matter that had been pressing upon their heart and mind.
My initial response was to feel a little miffed that I had not been the one they had spoken to. Having pondered on this response I concluded how foolish it was. Here are a few thoughts:
- If my identity is predicated upon my usefulness then I am a very insecure individual. In fact my life is founded on very precarious foundations. So, should it turn out to be the case that I no longer am able to be of help to somebody then I will lose my worth. Rather, my worth is bound up with who I am in Christ. My life is founded in and on Christ my Lord. My Lord will never fail. Therefore, my identity is secure; very secure.
- I should be thrilled that others are being made useful and are being the means of blessing others by being available to listen to others.
- If people are being raised up in the church to minister to one another then we are seeing something of Ephesians 4:15-16 happening. Those verses read: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. If and when I see this happening in the church I should be thrilled not miffed
- If someone no longer treats me as their confidant because I have failed them, then I need to make sure that I learn from that failure.
One thing I have observed over recent times is how people can make big shows of caring for someone and then disappear “over the horizon”. Their impact is dramatic in the moment, but ineffective in the long run.
When I see this I feel that the motivation is not really to genuinely care, but rather to put on a show. It is so as to impress others about how much they care. The impression is that the person is really caring. Of course their generosity is patently obvious in the short period that it lasts. However, when all the “caring” is done then the person disappears and they are not seen for a long time.
And I am left thinking of the beautiful commendable character of long-term steady caring. It is not flashy. It is not appreciated so very often. But the regular showing of interest in someone who is a shut-in, for example, is such a commendable ministry. It displays a beautiful perseverance and is self-evidently for the good of the person in need.
In Luke 15:3-7 we have the parable of the lost sheep. This is one aspect of the parable of lostness in Luke 15. The shepherd is emblematic of our great, good and perfect Shepherd. Jesus. The Shepherd goes after the one lost sheep and does all to find the sheep. He then returns home with delight in his heart and the sheep on his shoulders. We read And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:5-6).
Interestingly, we never read of the sheep being taken off the shoulders of the shepherd. At the celebratory returning home party the sheep is always on the shepherd’s shoulders.
Ponder on that fellow believer in our Lord Jesus. You are always on His shoulders and He is happy that you are there. It cost Him His life blood to rescue you and now His delight is in you as a rescued sheep. He will never let you go. His shoulders are always broad enough and strong enough.
So if you feel weak and weary this evening remember that you have a caring Shepherd who rejoices over His rescuing and keeping care of you. You, as His sheep, are in the best of hands and on the best of shoulders. He loves you so much He will never take you off His shoulders.
As part of my time off in March I spent 18 days out in USA. This was the first time west of Dublin for me. so it was a big trip, I spent the time in California. For me it was most definitely a big trip requiring much travelling and time away from family. It was filled with much that was good and a blessing to me.
What struck me afterwards was the way in which people responded to me regarding my trip. Some showed genuine interest, others pretty well ignored it. The consequential impression upon me was that certain people were interested in me and certain people weren’t. That conclusion may well have been wrongly applied, but that was the perception I had.
This leads me on to ponder upon the whole issue of showing interest in people. As Christians this should be part of our DNA. To be people of love, that is true agape love, is to be selflessly sacrificing ourselves for the benefit of others. Moreover, self-sacrifice should be particularly true of those who confess the ultimate self-sacrificing One, our Lord Jesus Christ. Do I show interest in that which is important to others or am I just pre-occupied with myself and my business?
There are two key issues here:
- Discerning what is important to the other person at that juncture of their lives.
- Taking time to enquire and listen to that person as they tell of their experience. This involves asking appropriate questions and listening.
Above all it is about moving prayerfully, in the Spirit so as to be sensitive to God’s moving. It involves wise sensitivities. And out of it comes blessing to the person you have been showing interest in. Furthermore strengthening of relationships transpires. And in all this future potential for a relationship to be used for God’s glory is promoted.
So how about thinking right who you can show interest in and how you can do it. Then pray and then do it