Posted in comfort, death, Father, hell, john b. prata, rejection

"My failure to provide for my children is intentional" & My father’s ashes

I received an email stating that “sometime next week,” they were going to spread my father’s ashes. If I wanted to go, my aunt, my dad’s new wife, and my brother were probably going to be there.

I sent back a reply, saying I had no plans to attend, but out of curiosity since my dad owned two residences, was the ash-spreading going to be in FL or RI? I got a reply, “RI, off Beavertail.”

Beavertail is a lovely promontory with a lighthouse overlooking the Bay and was a favorite place my father liked to go. The family would take Sunday drives and would often end up there, the salty wind whipping, the whitecaps on the bay foaming, picnics on the hill, searching for periwinkles in the tidal pool.

http://www.Jamestown-ri.info

It makes sense that they’d want to spread his ashes there. It will make for a poignant send off, and all three of those people who will probably be there will in all likelihood feel saddened and melancholy and perhaps smile wistfully at some memories. None of them are saved by grace of Jesus so none of them know the truth.

I do.

My father never repented of his sins and right now is in hell, paying for them. It is where he will be forever. There is nothing one can say at any kind of a trumped up ceremony, ashes flying in the wind over the sea. I will not be present when his ashes are scattered, but I will be present when his ashes are re-gathered and he stands before the judgment seat.

And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)

Knowing this, it is a hard thing, but I trust my Lord and it is a just thing. There but for the grace of God go I. John Prata’s legacy is a sad one. His heart is expressed in the form below. His Trust reads thus:

The legacy of a hard and bitter man, angry and proud, is an eternal one that he will have to bear for all of eternity. It will be an agony.

It is a hard thing for a daughter, who still hoped against hope that somehow, she could make her daddy proud. That he cared. That somehow underneath it all, a dad really loved his children. That never mind the inheritance, somehow there would be a final letter, an acknowledgement, a word, saying, “It was all a mistake, I loved you after all.” How can it be, that a father can coldly ignore his children while he is alive, then go to legal lengths to prove his rejection wasn’t a mistake? Isn’t blood supposed to be thicker than water? Triumph in the end? No, blood is only as thick as the sin that runs through it.

His rejection is being turned back upon himself at this very moment. He is learning the sin of exasperating and rejecting his children. (Ephesians 6:4). He is learning the cost of rejecting Jesus. (John 3:36). And he’ll soon learn the finality of Jesus’ rejection of him. (Revelation 20:15).

My sadness over my father is going to be short, not eternal like his. When I die, my inheritance will be manifold. My Father will never leave me or abandon me. I am provided for. The emotionality of wounds on this side are softened by knowing that I have a spiritual joy to look forward to of a real Father who provides and loves and cares and does not forsake His children. My sadness now will be wiped away by my real Father then. The contrast is stark.

–The legacy of an angry and bitter father who split his family and reveled in wounding and rejecting.
–The legacy of a compassionate and holy Father who gathers His family and revels in restoring and reconciling.

–The legacy of a proud and greedy father who held on to money more than love but now has neither- forever.
–The legacy of a generous and benevolent Father who delights in giving as one of many expressions of His unconditional love.

If my father sought to permanently hurt or wound by that final pen stroke on 15 September 2009, he is sadly mistaken. My real Father promises:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17

I will be so consumed with the joys of the New Heavens and New Earth and being with Jesus that my mind will have no room to be wounded over the petty pen strokes of a man who for 50 short years was named a “father” to me, a relationship that will soon not even have any meaning, (Psalm 27:10) a person whom the Lord in His grace will allow me to forget.

Yet though his life was long, his memory will be longer, eternally long.

“Are there not many here that have lived long in the world, that are not to this day born again, and so are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh sirs, your case in an especial manner is extremely dangerous; your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Don’t you see how generally persons of your years are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful dispensation of God’s mercy? You had need to consider yourselves, and wake thoroughly out of sleep; you cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.” (Jonathan Edwards)

When my father woke, it was not to mercy but to wrath, it is too late for him.

No, I have the better part, the much better part. Peace with Jesus, an infinitely long communion with Him, and good and serviceable tasks to perform for Him, worship of Him, in short, enjoying Him forever. There IS a blood that is thicker than water, thicker than anything on earth or heaven. It is the blood of Jesus. This blood covers sin, sustains us as a family, keeps us in His fold.

This is much more pleasing to the Lord than the stained and angry soul that descends to the pit, with the daughter looking down and mourning that final rejection.

source
Posted in encouragement, end of all things, Father, God, jesus, love, Trinity

At the end of all things, love

Nestled in the middle of the next-to-last chapter in the first letter to the Corinthians, we find the consummation of all things.

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:23-28)

The Spirit in me was moved by this passage and it moved me. I cannot explain it, but you know the feeling you get when your indwelling Spirit is moved by the outdwelling inspired Spirit, and the grand picture that comes to mind cannot be expressed but only tears can approach the grandeur of the moment you’re reading about.

The scene where Jesus bows to the Father and gives the Kingdom back to Him…redeemed, purified, holy, beautiful…all that Jesus has fought for, died for, rose again for, bloodied His garments for, He now bows in Divine Love and presents it to God…it is utterly astonishing in its holy love that exceeds our capacity to understand. Yet we will be spectators to it. Even more than spectators to this coming act of Divine love and submission, we ARE the kingdom that will be presented to God. Do you ever just fall over thinking of the wonder that we worms have been elected, justified, redeemed, glorified, and will be the gift of love given back to our Father?

Sometimes I get thinking of my own self, my sanctification, my sins, my repentance, that I forget it is not about me. The inter-trinitarian love of our God-head is eternal and ongoing. The struggles of Jesus on the cross, the grief the Spirit sometimes feels in us, the anger of the Father, all this is ongoing and this is what it really is all about- God’s plan, God’s redeemed, God’s desire. This wondrous plan started before the world began. But it is recorded in the first moments of history in Genesis 1:26 so that we may know.

John MacArthur on the Corinthians verses:

This is such a powerful, powerful statement. What it says is this, when the Son has received the redemption, when the Son has received His redeemed humanity, if you will, His bride, when all enemies are destroyed and He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, sovereign of the universe, when everything is under Him, except God Himself, He will then take the Kingdom, all that the Father has given to Him, and He will give it back to the Father in a reciprocal act of divine love that God may be all in all. Here in a wonderful inter-Trinitarian way beyond our comprehension, the Father who ordained redemptive history to gather a bride for His Son, a Kingdom for His Son, when the Son receives that Kingdom which is a gift of the Father’s love, in a reciprocating act of love, the Son hands the Kingdom back to the Father. The grandeur of this crowning event can hardly be fathomed.

Sometimes we think about salvation in very personal terms. But it’s better for us to think about salvation in these vast and almost incomprehensible terms, that salvation while you’re involved in it by the grace of God, it’s really not about you, it’s about the infinite love, the limitless love of the Father for the Son and wanting to give to the Son a gift of His love which is a redeemed humanity that will love Him and adore Him and worship Him and praise Him and serve Him forever. And the Son recognizing that all the redeemed are gifts from the Father, even says, “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me.” The Son when He receives them all, gives them back to the Father. Everything is restored to God that He may be all in all. The Son has come as a servant of God into the world to take back to God souls redeemed. He has conquered death, He has by His own resurrection provided a full resurrection for all who believe. And when all are gathered into His arms, as it were, He will take them all and present them to the Father and will Himself subject His own life to the Father.

Our God is three-in-one, something we know but don’t understand. One God but three Persons, each with a distinct personality and tasks but in complete harmony with one another because He is one.

What a privilege it will be when we see Jesus present the Kingdom to the Father. It is an inexpressibly beautiful moment of joy, exquisite in holiness, perfect in love. The culmination of the moment we read about in 1 Corinthians is described aptly above by MacArthur as “inter-Trinitarian love” is also described by him in Genesis 1 as the deliberations of the “divine executive council”. The goal to redeem the earth was set from time immemorial, but we are privileged to read about it in Genesis 1:26.

He says, “Let us make man in our image.” God is one god and yet He is three persons as we know. What you have here then is the council of the Trinity engaged in the purpose of creating man and now the time is right.

I have to stop at this point. I wouldn’t be faithful to the intent of Scripture if I didn’t do this. Through the years, I have tried to show you that God had a divine purpose before the world began and that that divine purpose was to take a bride, as it were, for His Son. That God the Father desired to give to His Son an expression of love in a bride that would be a redeemed humanity to be given to His Son to love and adore and praise and glorify His Son forever and ever and ever and also to serve Him. That eternal purpose of God unfolded within the executive council that is God within the Trinity. (source)

The Godhead’s love for one another within the Trinity is eternal and had been ongoing since before that moment of human consciousness was created and awakened in Genesis 1. But aren’t we blessed to be able to watch this amazing love demonstrated in the gift-giving of the Kingdom at time’s end.  We will be there. We ARE the gift.

Whenever you’re feeling small, or marginalized, or persecuted or woeful, just think of the grandeur in which we will be allowed to participate at the conclusion of the monumental plan of God, to watch our Jesus bow and say, “Father, the Kingdom is Yours.”

Posted in dad, Father, unbelief

Does Fatherlessness Influence Unbelief?

I have sympathy for all those daughters and wives and women and sons who did not have a father. Either because their dad died early, or abandoned them, or divorce, or abuse. In this One Minute Apologist session, the impact of an absent father is discussed.

It is a praise to the Holy Spirit when He saves a daughter or a son out of unbelief even though the model for the Father was absent in their lives!

You have a good Father now, and eternally loving Abba who will never abandon you again. Ever.

Posted in Father, grace, holy spirit, irresistible grace, salvation

The Irresistible Grace of the Father and its role in Salvation

I had resisted the pull from the Father toward the cross and His moment of justification. (John 6:44). I was not successful, obviously. But I vividly remember the feeling that I was OK about the concept of God but not OK with the sin and the blood of Jesus. It was just too weird. Of course we know the bible teaches that Jesus’ general call to the world (Matthew 22:14) was not an effectual call for each person upon it. (Romans 8:28). My thoughts and opinions of the matter didn’t figure into His process of salvation for me one iota.

I remember feeling like I was being drawn somewhere, (John 6:65) but kicking and screaming. I used to liken it (mentally) to the science fiction use of the famous “tractor beam.”

The 1960s show Star Trek used the tractor beam a lot, with ship engineer Scotty always yelling they were caught in it and they couldn’t get out no matter how many shields they put up or how much force they turned the engined up to. Star Wars too.

We’re caught in a tractor beam! It’s pulling us in!” ―Han Solo, Star Wars

In “Star Trek,” tractor beams were often used to pull spaceships and other objects closer to the focal point of the light source attached to another ship. The term came from a 1931 science fiction story where the author had used the term “attractor beam”.

I used to call this palpable draw ‘the invisible tractor beam’ and now I know it was the Father drawing me to Jesus. I resisted it forcibly.

I was unsuccessful. Thank God!

After I was saved, I was talking with another Christian and I was laughing about my foolishness to resist the Holy Spirit. I said, “I was dragged kicking and screaming to the cross.” They looked at me disdainfully and said “You were not!” I knew I was. The notion that person had, and so many others have, is that we all come to the cross gently and walking on cotton candy rainbows, placidly and willingly. It is such a false view. We resist salvation every step of the way and it is the Father drawing us that gets us there. (So none may boast- Ephesians 2:9)

We resist the grace of Jesus in salvation, we are in a spiritual war in which we are the enemy combatants, and we never, ever seek after righteousness or holiness, in fact we resist it.

I picture Justification as a courtroom where the guilty criminal is hustled by burly bailiffs to stand before the judge in handcuffs for his own safety, the accused yelling he’s innocent, but made to look at the judge and receive his sentence while he writhes against the process. (Sentence: PARDON!). It is all spiritual warfare and none of it is easy or gentle. But Scripture reveals a truth about a call, a summons that cannot be ignored and it cannot be resisted. It is the unyielding summons from God. It is a subpoena to appear before Him in His court for the purpose of being declared righteous… ~John MacArthur

We’re all dragged in the ‘invisible tractor beam’ toward the point of Light, and we all resist – some more than others but resistance is 100% for each person. However just like the science fiction stories say, “Resistance is futile!” lol. Wouldn’t you like to see a behind the scenes view of the process of our own justification, the angels around us, both holy and unholy, and the Spirit doing His work?

My own experience notwithstanding, as I learned by studying the Doctrines of Grace, His grace is irresistible. That is a very good thing, because if we had the strength to resist Him fully we would be sovereign over God. In addition, He would not be God if His will could be thwarted. And finally, none of us would be saved. (Romans 3:11)

Here are three good essays on the Irresistible Grace of the Savior. I’ve included an excerpt from each.

John Piper: Irresistible Grace
“The doctrine of irresistible grace means that God is sovereign and can overcome all resistance when he wills. “He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand!” (Daniel 4:35). “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). When God undertakes to fulfill his sovereign purpose, no one can successfully resist him.This is what Paul taught in Romans 9:14-18, which caused his opponent to say, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

“Irresistible Grace – is it biblical?”
“Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).”

John Murray: Irresistible Grace
“When we speak of irresistible grace, therefore, it is not to assert that all grace is irresistible, nor is it to deny the numberless respects in which grace is resisted and resisted to the culmination of resistance in everlasting doom.”

The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call
Paul understood that he was just grabbed by the neck by God and awakened to the glory of Christ and saved and made an Apostle.

Posted in abba, daily bread, Father, God, lord's prayer, provision

Abba, Father! Crying out to God for the LITTLE things

God provides. He provides the big things. He provided a way to heaven through His Son Jesus Christ for all who would believe. He provides the Holy Spirit to indwell us and help us resist sin. He provides good gifts of the spirit to edify the body and grow in faith. He provides patience in between the time we sin and fail to repent. He provides the earth to live on.

He also provides the lesser things but which are still important, like food and clothing. He said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Even during the Exodus when the Israelites were marching hither and yon for 40 years, His observance of each person was so detailed, He saw to it that their clothes didn’t even wear out and their feet didn’t swell or get blisters! (Deuteronomy 8:4).

I had three needs this week. I am extremely frugal with my supply and I dearly attempt to shepherd it well so that the Lord would be pleased. I have little to none left over for personal things.

Earlier this week I said “I need a frame to put this sketch in.” A dear friend had sketched for me a biblical scene of the lion and the lamb. It is a fitting artistic rendering because I have an issue with pictures of Jesus. I wanted to put it into a frame but I didn’t have any.

Later in the week I said, I am getting low on tee shirts. The weather is warming up and over the winter I’d forgotten I had gotten low on shirts. You know how they get stained or worn or just to small. (That blasted dryer shrinks ’em! 😉 I wear them under other shirts in ensuring modesty. Necklines these days are atrociously low. So I wear smaller tee shirts underneath.

Yesterday I said “I need some books…” I have had opportunity to obtain some theological books, and I study those. But the books I meant are the kind where you go outside onto the patio and read a summer potboiler to unwind in the afternoon. I don’t like to watch television because the shows are so terrible and even if a show is clean, the ads are awful. I’ve had a hard time finding clean, good, interesting movies on Netflix. A quiet evening reading is what I had been longing for but haven’t had because I’ve read all my books on the shelf.

So the other day I receive a Facebook message from a local artist. She said “Hey, I still have your artwork here, can you come pick it up?”

Six years ago I participated in a gallery show, and some of my art work was hung. I had forgotten ALL about the pieces I had installed there. I went to pick up the things and there were half a dozen pieces of large and small size, including some I will use for re-framing the piece my friend gave me. Six years is a long time and out of the blue the message came- and suddenly there are frames I can re-use. Wow. Six years.

The gallery was also holding an indoor yard sale, something I’d never have known since I don’t travel to that side of town, ever. At the sale there were paperback books for a quarter. I bought three. And also there were tee shirts, $1 each. I bought four.

So for five dollars I had all three needs met.

I am not saying God is a genie who responds to wishes, He doesn’t. He is the sovereign and holy God who does what He wills. I didn’t “sow a seed” like Jentezen Franklin says to do. I hadn’t ‘expected’ him to ‘do great things‘ in my life as Joyce Meyer tells her audiences. I did not “declare” things to come to pass as Joel Osteen teaches.

I pray to the Lord, read His word, worship Him corporately and privately. I talk to Him, sing to Him, think about Him, thank him, and follow Him. I obey Him too. I have a living and active relationship with Him, and I think it’s a close one, because after all, He is my everything.

Now, prayer is an obedient act of dependence on God. Therefore I pray for the big things, salvation, intercession, repentance for others and forgiveness for myself. I pray for the little things too. Didn’t He not say “pray in this way”…”Give us this day our daily bread”? (Luke 11:3). The things I’d needed were small needs, and not completely necessary to my life or well-being, but they are in a way part of my daily bread- clean entertainment that’s God-honoring, clothing that helps me remain dressed modestly, and framing a gift an artist had drawn that is not an idol but a representation of Him as Lamb of God and Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Bread isn’t just food but things that help us in our daily needs.

God does manage provision in our lives down to smallest of details. The Lord provides. After all, He kept the clothing of 3 million Jews from wearing out, for 40 years. His eye was on the threads and straps and sandals of each person! He is a great and mighty God, but He is also our Father. My dad, Abba!

Jesus called God ‘Abba’-
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

The Holy Spirit cries out to God as Abba-
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

We who are His children by adoption call out Abba, too!
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)