Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Embracing God as a Father, Day 2

Leslie Basham: Mary Kassian says when you know God as your Father, you want to spend time with Him.

Mary Kassian: It’s not because I have to have a devotional time four times a week. It changes everything. This whole idea of Christianity is a relationship.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Holiness: The Heart God Purifies, for Thursday, June 15, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Yesterday, we began listening to a message by Mary Kassian. If you missed the first part of the message, I hope you’ll go to ReviveOurHearts.com where you can listen to that online.

Now, Mary’s about to show why everyone longs for a father’s love. So whether or not you’ve had the example of a godly and loving father in your home, your deepest longings can be fulfilled by your heavenly Father. Here’s Mary to explain more.

Mary: There’s a little town in Spain and a boy named Juan. Juan was a rebellious son, and he got in a conflict with his father and stole some money. They ran into conflict. Then he ran off to a neighboring city, a large city. He ran away from home. The father looked for him; couldn’t find him; asked around for him, and finally heard that Juan was in this neighboring city from a friend of his.

So the father went to the city and walked up and down the streets and up and down the streets, but couldn’t find him. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Because he needed to leave and go back home, he decided the only thing that he could do was to take out an ad in the local paper. The ad said this: “Juan, all is forgiven. How I long to see you again. Please meet me on Saturday at noon on the steps of City Hall. Love Dad.”

When Saturday came, he went to the appointed place. There were almost a hundred boys named Juan sitting on the steps of City Hall. Isn’t that amazing?!

We long to be fathered. All they wanted to hear was, “All is forgiven. Come meet me. Love Dad.” That’s what those boys wanted to hear.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the Bob Carlisle song, “Butterfly Kisses.” That song just went whoosh right up with enormous success. I was reading Bob Carlisle’s comments about it, and what is interesting is that he said as he was reflecting on the success of the song,

I get a lot of mail from young girls who try to get me to marry their moms. That used to be real chuckle because it’s so cute, but then I realized. They don’t want a romance for mom. They want the father that’s in that song. And that just kills me.

(singing: Come walk by the pony, Dad, it’s my first ride.) They want that father. They want a father that’s proud of them, that loves them, that is their greatest fan, that builds them up, that says, “Go for it!” They want that father so badly, and it hurts them so deep, that they write to a perfect stranger, asking him to marry their moms so they can have the father of their dreams.

Well, we can have the father of our dreams, and we do have the Father of our dreams. That is the message of hope that we have for a hurting society and hurting women and children who have grown up without fathers.

And this is the third truth: God has put a father longing in our hearts. God has put a father longing in each one of our hearts. When we become Christians, we are adopted into a family relationship. Now the Jewish adoption process is really, really interesting, because a Jewish family would find a child they wanted to adopt, and then they would pay off that child’s debts, and then they would take that child and sever all the relationships that child had and take them into a new family, new relationship, and given a new name.

It is a picture of what has happened to us when we come into the family of God. God pays off all our debts, severs our ties to sin, and brings us into His family and gives us His name, and He gives us the Holy Spirit, which is the proof of an adoption. In a Jewish society, there needed to be multiple witnesses for an adoption to be legal, and we’re told in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is the witness.

What type of witness is the Holy Spirit? And this is really interesting: The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of Sonship. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Adoption. He’s also called the Spirit of your Father, in Matthew 10:20, “the Spirit of your Father.”

It’s this Spirit, the Spirit if Adoption, the Spirit of Sonship, the Spirit of your Father that lives right in our hearts when we become Christians. It’s this Spirit that calls us and drives us to intimacy with the Father. It’s this Spirit in our hearts that is calling out, “Abba, Father. Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 and 16,

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

And Galatians 4:6:

Because you’re sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father."

Did you catch the first phrase of Romans 8:15? “For you did not receive the Spirit of bondage to . . . what? . . . fear.” Isn’t that amazing?

You see, some of us, and many, many women, and many of you in this room are so afraid of God the Father. That is the thing I encounter most in ministering to women, just a fear.

  • “I’m so afraid that He’s going to belittle me, just like my father did.”
  • “I’m so afraid He’s going to reject me, just like my father did.”
  • “I’m so afraid that He is going to yell at me, just like my father did.”
  • “I’m so afraid that His love for me is conditional, that I need to perform and jump through hoops, just like I did have to do for my dad.”

That’s not the Holy Spirit in you talking. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. The Holy Spirit in your heart cries out, “Abba, Father.” The verb here, the verb cry is a really interesting verb. It’s ongoing. The Spirit in your heart is even now crying out “Abba, Father.” It’s longing for connection. It’s longing for that intimacy. It’s longing to become one. It’s longing for closeness.

Some of you may wonder why you feel so much frustration while you’re living the Christian life and going through all the motions, but there’s no joy. And some of you may wonder why it is, it’s just blah. Certainly we go through times, wilderness times. We do. But it could be that the Spirit within you is calling out, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” because that is what the Spirit does, but you’re too busy to listen or you’re too afraid to look into the Father’s eyes and to make that connection, that relationship of love with Him.

So many women find it so difficult to accept that God really loves them. “I just find it really hard to believe that God really loves me just the way I am. I’m His girl. I’m Daddy’s girl. I’m the apple of His eye.”

Our heart longing is only satisfied in a relationship with Him. You see, Christianity is a love relationship. It’s God loving me, and me loving Him. It’s that simple. It is possible for us to know and believe.

First John 4:16 says, and this is the testimony of a people who are walking with God, 1 John 4:16: “We have known and we have believed the love [the Father] has for us.” Isn’t that a beautiful testimony? Can you say that? I know and I believe that God loves me.

Do you know that the Father knows your name? Isaiah 45:2–3: “I will go before you and make the crooked places straight. . . . I will give you . . . the hidden riches of secret places . . . I have called you by your name.” He even knows how to spell it.

I was speaking at a conference once, and a lady came up to me afterwards and said: “That meant so much to me. I’ve been married thirty years, and my dad still can’t get my last name right, my married name. Just to think that the Father knows how to spell my name, and my dad didn’t care enough to learn.”

Do you know that He keeps track of the most insignificant details of your life? Like the number of cells in your body. The number of hairs on your head. The real hair color under all that dye. He keeps track of that.

Matthew 10:30: “The very hairs of your head are numbered.”

Do you know that the Father collects your tears in His bottle? Psalm 56:8: “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle. Are they not in Your book there?” There is not a tear that you have ever cried that your Father has not caught, not one, ever.

Do you know that He has inscribed you on the palm of His hand. Isaiah 49:16: “See, I’ve inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”

I used to do that. When something was really important in grade school—you know, you’d write a phone number. Trouble is, somebody would inevitably see it, because it’s on the palm of your hand. No matter what you do, it’s ever there. It’s always there. It is always there, and your name is written on the hand of God. Isn’t that amazing? Your Father has you right there.

Do you know that you move Him, that He is stirred and aroused with compassion when He thinks of you? Psalm 103:14–15, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”

Do you know that He has got His cord of love tethered to your heart, and He is drawing you ever closer? Hosea 11:

When [you] were a child, I loved [you]. Out of Egypt I called My son. . . . I taught [you] to walk, taking [you] by [your] arms; but [you] did not know that I healed [you]. I drew [you] with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to [you] as those who take the yoke from [your neck]. I stooped, and I fed [you] (vv. 1-4).

What an astounding picture of the Father-heart of God. It is a mighty, mighty love, and no wonder the apostle John went, “Oh, how great is the love that the Father has lavished on us.”

Now, lavished . . . I have a thirteen-year-old son, six foot, two inches, 180 pounds. He lavishes everything with mayonnaise—everything. He makes a sandwich, and he gets out the mayo jar and just whoosh—it’s way too much. It’s slopping over the edges on to the floor. There’s mayo everywhere. God lavishes you with love—just lavishes you, pours it out profusely, abundantly, way more than a sandwich should have. His love is so deep for you. Do you know, and do you believe how much the Father loves you?

Patty, He has called you by name. He says, “Patty is My girl, and I love her.”

Sandy, He says, “I know how many hairs are on that beautiful head of hair. I can number them, and I could tell you right now.” That’s what God says to you.

He says to Susan, “Susan, you move me. I am aroused with compassion when I think of you. It just stirs my heart because you’re My girl.” That’s what He says.

Tina, He says, “I delight in Tina. Her name is written on the palm of My hand. Your walls are ever before me, Tina. I love you.” The Father says that.

He says to Jody, “Jody, I’ve got My cord of love tethered to your heart, and I’m reeling you closer, closer, and closer all the time.”

What an astounding, mighty love! The Father wants your heart. He wants my heart.

I want you, on a picture of the palm of the hand, to write your name there. Write your name in the middle of the hand. You see, the Father wants a love relationship with you. He says in Jeremiah 3:19, “How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. That’s what I want to give you. I’m a dad. I want to give you everything. I want to give you good things” (paraphrased).

And then He says, disappointedly, “I thought you would call Me Father and not turn away from Me. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I thought.”

What a heartbreak. And some of you moms know what a heartbreak it is when your children turn from you. You know how that pierces you to the depth of your spirit, and the Father is the same way. When you are not in an intimate relationship with Him, it pierces Him. He grieves for His children.

This is the key, I believe, to running strong to the very end of the race. I’ve done many, many Christian things in my life. God has had His finger on me since I was a little girl. By the time I was thirteen, I was teaching women’s courses and all sorts of things—organizing groups in my school, leading people to the Lord. I've done all that. I’ve been on the cover of Christianity Today. I’ve been on James Dobson. I’ve done it all.

But you know what? It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing, if the Father doesn’t have my heart. It means absolutely nothing. I think this is the key. Many of you are in ministry. And many of you are burning out. I know what that’s like, because you’re so busy doing things, doing things, doing things, doing things for the Father, for the Lord, and you are not nurturing that relationship with the Lord. You’re not just being His girl, little girl crawling up into His lap, looking up into His eyes, and just loving to be around Him just because of who He is.

And that is the key to running well to the very end. If you do not have that, you will not run well to the very end. You just won’t. It is also the key to understanding what this whole thing of Christianity is about. This is what we need to teach our women and our daughters and the people we minister to.

Christianity is a love relationship, and that changes everything. It changes how I view repentance. I’d just like you to think of this for a moment. My husband, Brent, if he were to get up in the morning and we were to have words, and he were to hurt me by saying something cruel and then go off to work, and then he’d be sitting there at his desk perhaps and all of a sudden, conscience stricken, goes, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. I sinned.” And then he were to call me and say, “Mary, my conscience is bothering me. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

I would be very glad that he called and apologized. But you know what I would really want from Brent? I would want him to know how much he hurt me. Because if he just broke the rules and was feeling bad that he broke the rules, he’s going to go and break the rules again, because the only thing that’s keeping him to the rules is a sense of responsibility to the rules.

That’s why so many of us struggle with sin. We sin. We repent. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I broke the rules.” And then we get up, and we sin; same thing, again and again. Same traps we fall into, again and again and again and again. You know what’s missing? We do not realize that we are breaking a relationship and grieving the One we love.

If Brent realizes that he is hurting me and that his words wounded me, and it was as though he took a knife and plunged it into my spirit, he would be very careful not to do that again if he truly realized how much it hurt me, instead of just, “Oops, I broke the rules.”

So when we’re in a love relationship with the Father, our whole view of repentance changes. It isn’t, “Oh, Father, I broke the rules. Oops.” It’s, “I hurt You. I’ve grieved You. I don’t want to grieve You. I love You.” And we receive that motivation to change.

The same thing when we’re sharing the gospel. Here’s the Four Spiritual Laws. I love the Four Spiritual Laws, but so often it’s, “Here’s the Four Spiritual Laws,” or we bring people into the church, or we bring people to Jesus. We don’t bring them into relationship with the Almighty God because if we’re in a relationship with God, our whole focus, our whole message is, “Come and meet my Friend. Come and meet my Father. Come and meet Someone who means the world to me.” It changes our focus.

It changes our focus on our disciplines. I’d be really disappointed if my husband booked me two weeks ahead of our anniversary and said, “Okay, Mary, I need your time from—oh, let’s make it 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock on December 11. Would you meet with me?”

“Uh, sure.”

And then he comes, and we meet at the restaurant, and he’s constantly looking at his watch, and then all of a sudden he goes, “Okay, I’ve done my thing, I’m outa here.”

I don’t want that. That’s not what I want. I don’t want him to come and spend time with me because he has to. I want him to want me. And you know what that’s like, ladies, because we grieve it when our husbands don’t want us.

It’s the same way with the Father. It’s the same way with that relationship. So it becomes a joy in the Word and in prayer and in fasting and in meditation. It’s because I want God. It’s not because I have to have a devotional time four times a week. It changes everything, this whole idea of Christianity as a relationship.

Nancy: And that relationship changes everything. Mary Kassian has been showing us why everyone needs a genuine relationship with God as our Father. And we know that relationship can only be found through faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

You can hear Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and our guest Mary Kassian at the conference Revive '17: Women Mentoring Women the Titus 2 Way. The conference is sold out, so why not organize your own conference at your home or church? Get a group of women together and listen to the livestream of Revive '17 on September 29–30. When you visit ReviveOurHearts.com, you can sign up for updates so you’ll know what’s happening with the livestream as we get closer. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on “events” then “Revive '17” then “livestream.”

When you embrace God as your Father, you’ll want to introduce other people to Him. 

Mary: I’d frozen my feet really badly one time. You can actually take a barbell and drop it on your feet when they’re frozen, and you won’t feel a thing. And many of us in the church are like that. We are numb, deadened, and cold to the love of the Father. He is wanting to breathe back life into our relationships, into our hearts, so we can be salt and light and hope, so we can say to women, “Come with me . . . I want you to meet my Dad.”

Leslie: Mary Kassian will be back tomorrow to talk about it. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helps you discover freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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