By Liz Giertz
I’m gonna get you…
My sons had turned our dining table and kitchen island into something similar to a figure-eight race track traversed by two pint-sized, foot-powered drivers filled with road rage.
One had done something to the other and an all-too familiar altercation ensued as the younger one chased the older intent on inflicting bodily harm.
My older son screeched out his plea for protection.
As calmly as I could, I told him to have a seat on the bench at our table, so that I could stand between him and his brother’s flailing fists.
But he was too afraid to stop running and to climb up behind me. He continued to bolt from his brother while lapping the kitchen several more times screaming for me to save him.
“I can’t protect you, if you won’t do what I say.”
Despite the chaos swirling around my kitchen, the gravity of that statement hit me full force as soon as the words left my mouth.
How often have I petitioned God for protection while running from His direction?
How many times have I cried out to God to help me as I continued to turn a deaf ear to His instruction?
I look for His wisdom but don’t make time in my day for Him. I ask for Him to guard my marriage yet refuse to submit to my husband. I beseech Him to take care of my children but don’t teach them His ways. I want Him to shield me in an uncomfortable situation yet won’t lay down my pride. I want Him to protect my prosperity but have trusted more in money and fame than in Him. I beg Him to keep me from harm but continue to act recklessly. I call on Him to protect my reputation but proceed in gossip-worthy activities. I pray for healing but won’t treat my body as the temple He created it to be.
My Heavenly Father is not obligated to provide protection when I fail to do as He says.
Not that God is incapable of anything, but rather by my sin I place myself under the authority of another, inferior ruler. One who seeks only my demise and rejoices as my transgressions increase my vulnerability to his attacks. However, for the sake of His Son’s sacrifice, God has delivered believers from the power of darkness and conveyed us into His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13). With our belief, He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide, protect, and lead us in all truth (John 16:13).
Jesus was punished once and for all for our transgressions to ensure salvation for those who believe in Him. As children of God, we can expect to be disciplined for our sins. This is sanctifying, purifying, cleansing work, not punishment. Our salvation is not dependent on our ability to obey His commands, but Scripturetells us that protection is conditional:
He holds victory in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
For He guards the course of the just and
Protects the way of His faithful ones.(Proverbs 2:7-8)
We are made upright, blameless, just, and faithful by Jesus Christ's sacrifice. When we submit ourselves to Him, the devil will flee from us (James 4:7). When we walk in obedience to Him, His Word assures us that we will live, prosper, and prolong our days (Deuteronomy 5:33). We may not understand all His ways, but those who trust and obey are able to walk in the assurance of His eternal protection.
God’s direction is for our protection.
Verse of the Week: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you in all truth.” John 16:13
Thank you for Your flawless direction in my life. Help me all my days to walk where Your Holy Spirit guides me, so that I may be found blameless and bold in the face of trouble. Teach me to trust and obey You in all things. As I follow where you lead, surround me with Your perfect protection.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Brooke Kireta
God created families and the roles within families. Our mothers and fathers are supposed to reveal things to us about who God is - the family is a picture of what God intends.
But we live in a broken world and in broken families. So what we get is a broken picture of God. No matter how hard we try or as hard as our parents tried, none of us are perfect, and we inevitably hand some of our brokenness to our children just like we were handed brokenness by our own parents.
It sounds a little hopeless if we don’t factor God into the mix. He knows our humanity; He sees the brokenness. He wants to heal it. He is inviting us to recognize where we need healing and invite Him in.
Fathers are meant to provide protection, provision, and identity to their daughters (and sons). Can you look back at your life and ask Father God to show you where you might have missed out on any of those things? Did you feel loved and treasured as a daughter? Did you feel safe and protected from the world around you? Did you have your needs met - not just physical needs like food, clothes, and shelter - but emotional needs like acceptance, belonging, value? Did you have a father that called you into your true identity - that saw you for who you truly were - that looked beyond your behavior and your failings and called to the heart of the girl inside to be true to herself and her God, to be honest and brave and kind?
Most of us did not have all these needs met, even if we had a wonderful father. Because we all had broken fathers, just like we are broken daughters. In the places you see the needs were not met - can you invite Father God to Father you in those places? Can you invite Him in to provide everything your heart has needed? He longs to heal your hurts and to reveal Himself to you in a way you have never experienced before.
He will heal our broken hearts and establish us in Him.
We end this week praying:
Lord, anywhere I have been carrying wounds - I invite You in to heal those places. Anywhere I have been carrying burdens that are not mine to carry - I hand those to You and as my Father ask you to carry them for me. I am sorry for all the brokenness in myself and in my family. I want to be whole in You. But I know I cannot make myself or my family whole - only You can. Please heal my broken heart, comfort my heart, and fill me with joy and hope. I look to you, my Father, and ask You to come in ways I can’t even imagine, but by faith I believe You not only will but You want to. You want me to be Your daughter - You want to be my Father. Come and father me.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
By Brooke Kireta
Today is Thanksgiving and ironically, oftentimes, it can be the hardest day of the year to be thankful. On holidays like this, the voids in our lives can become painfully obvious - whether we have lost a father to death or whether we have experienced the painful physical or emotional absence of a father for most of our lives Family get-togethers seem to highlight the fact that there is a hole - a hole that only a father can fill. Today your heavenly Father wants to come in and fill that space in your life and in the lives of your children. He wants to Father us.
I can think of nothing better to be thankful for than the fact that the Creator of the Universe wants to be our Father. So today in the busyness of family and cooking and cleaning and just managing the chaos that is the holidays - I pray you take a few minutes for your own heart. Ask the Holy One to speak to you words of a Father - to affirm you and love you like only a Father can. Take the time to follow the link below and listen to this song. Play it as you cook or as you wash dishes. Let the words wash over you and heal your hurting heart. Songs can reach places of our heart in a way nothing else can. Really listen to the words and you will hear the heart of Father God.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for being my Father. Thank you that I will never be fatherless again. Open my eyes and my heart to receive all the ways you want to love me. I know the more I receive from you, the more I have to give away. Fill me up today with all you have for me. Let thankfulness grow in my heart until it overflows to all those around me. I love you. I need you. I trust you.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
By Brooke Kireta
What about those of us who long for recognition from the people around us? The thought of having no one but God see us and acknowledge us sounds less than hopeful.
We want someone - our kids, our husband, our parents, our boss...someone, anyone, to see us and say, “Wow! You are working hard, and I am so grateful for you.” Is that really too much to ask? Yes and no.
We were made to live in community and family and in those places it is normal and healthy to recognize and be recognized for who we are and how we contribute to the world around us. But we also are heavily influenced by the culture we live in where something only counts, something only really happened, if it was seen. In our Facebook and Instagram social media world - so much of what we do these days is manufactured for the approval and notice of others. How much of what we do is done to impress those around us? We probably don’t even realize how often our motives become mixed between wanting to obey God and wanting to seem like a good person.
God calls us to live for the audience of One, to live first commandment first - to love Him with all our hearts.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.
Our prayer today is this :
Lord, search us and test our hearts. Reveal anything in us that is not lining up with living for Your approval first and foremost. Make us a people that love You with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds. Heal the places in us that need the approval of others, the places that need to create an image of who we think others want instead of just being who You created us to be.
By Brooke Kireta
This brings up some sticky questions, though, like “Where was God when this happened or that happened?” If He sees everything, how could He let so much bad happen? This question goes to the core of our being, and it hits us right in the place where we question God’s heart towards us. Is He really good? Can I really trust Him?
We struggle with this especially if we did not have a good model of fatherly love in our earthly father. We want so much for things to be different with our own children, and we try hard to break the patterns we experienced. But can I tell you something you may not have thought about? As much as you want your own children to experience something better, something different - God wants even more for you to experience the reality of His perfect Father’s love for you- the safety, the encouragement, the affirmation, the recognition, the warmth, and acceptance.
He is not just looking down and hoping you do a better job than your parents did - He longs to parent you - even now. He wants to speak to the broken-hearted little girl that never got asked to prom, the young girl that hid in her room feeling scared and lonely while her parents fought , the ravaged heart of the girl who suffered abuse at the hands of another. Whatever the hurts have been - it’s not too late for Him to heal them. He is your biggest fan.
He is the Father that shows up at every event of your life - even the ones that seem completely insignificant - and He is so proud. He sees how you have tried to overcome the hurts in your life. Even in your places of sin and failure - He is not standing in judgment, but He is beckoning you to come to Him in His love and in His mercy so He can make your heart whole. He wants you to receive the affirmation and recognition only He can give- the kind that speaks to the deepest places of your heart, the kind of Words that transform your life.
He is just that kind of Father.
Father God, come and be my Father. Help me to lay down all my efforts to fix my own broken heart and show me how to turn to you like a little child and receive all the love and comfort and healing You have for me. Help me to connect with You as Abba Father, Daddy God. I want to know how to be the beloved daughter, the favored daughter, the chosen daughter.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.