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Summary: God loves parenting! His desire is adoption and having you in His family as His sons and daughters.

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I CAME ACROSS A HAUNTING STORY ABOUT A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS ABOUT TO BE SENTENCED TO THE PENITENTIARY. THE JUDGE HAD KNOWN HIM FROM CHILDHOOD, FOR HE WAS WELL ACQUAINTED WITH HIS FATHER. THE BOY’S FATHER WAS A FAMOUS LEGAL SCHOLAR AND THE AUTHOR OF AN EXHAUSTIVE STUDY ENTITLED, "THE LAW OF TRUSTS."

"DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FATHER?" THE JUDGE ASKED. "I REMEMBER HIM WELL, YOUR HONOR," CAME THE REPLY. THEN TRYING TO PROBE A LITTLE DEEPER, THE JUDGE SAID, "AS YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE SENTENCED AND AS YOU THINK OF YOUR WONDERFUL DAD, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST CLEARLY ABOUT HIM?"

THERE WAS A PAUSE. THEN THE JUDGE RECEIVED AN ANSWER HE HAD NOT EXPECTED. "I REMEMBER WHEN I WENT TO HIM FOR ADVICE. HE LOOKED UP AT ME FROM THE BOOK HE WAS WRITING AND SAID, ’RUN ALONG, BOY; I’M BUSY!’ WHEN I WENT TO HIM FOR COMPANIONSHIP, HE TURNED ME AWAY, SAYING "RUN ALONG, SON; THIS BOOK MUST BE FINISHED!’ YOUR HONOR, YOU REMEMBER HIM AS A GREAT LAWYER. I REMEMBER HIM AS A LOST FRIEND." THE MAGISTRATE MUTTERED TO HIMSELF, "ALAS! FINISHED THE BOOK, BUT LOST THE BOY!"

ALTHOUGH A FRIGID ILLUSTRATION OF THE RESULTS OF BEING A WAYWARD FATHER, I’M AFRAID THAT WITH STORIES SUCH AS THIS THERE ARE EVEN MORE SIMILAR ONES OUT THERE LIKE THIS.

NOW, I CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND WHY SOME PEOPLE STILL STURUGGLE TODAY WITH A DISTORTED CONCEPT OF GOD AS AN EVER-PRESENT, LOVING, GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL FATHER.

DESPITE ANY OPINIONS ON THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF OUR EARTHLY FATHERS, WE CAN STILL LEARN ABOUT THE TRUEST SINCE OF THE WORD BY LOOKING TO GOD, OUR ULITMATE FATHER.

WE CAN FIND MANY REFERENCES IN THE BIBLE FOR “FATHER” THAT COME FROM THE GREEK NOUN “PATER” (PAH-TEAR) SIGNIFYING A FATHER AS “NOURISHER,” “PROTECTOR,” AND “UPHOLDER.”

BUT, THERE IS ONE WORD FOR “FATHER” THAT I FIND TO BE PARTICULARLY INTERESTING AND UNIQUE. THE REASON FOR IT BEING SO SPECIAL IS THAT THIS FORM OF “FATHER” IS ONLY USED IN REFERENCE TO GOD HIMSELF. NOWHERE ELSE IN ALL THE BIBLE WILL YOU FIND THIS WORD USED IN ANY OTHER CONTEXT.

WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THAT WORD TODAY. THIS ONE INCREDIBLE WORD FOR “FATHER” THAT IS USED ONLY IN REFERENCE TO GOD HIMSELF IS ABBA.

THE TERM “ABBA” IS A DERIVATIVE OF BOTH ARAMAIC AND HEBREW WORDS THAT CAN MEAN “DADDY,” “DADA,” “PAPA,” “FATHER, MY FATHER,” AND “MY FATHER.”

THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC TERM IS THAT IT IS NOT ‘JUST’ A TITLE OR SIMPLY A SPECIAL REFERENCE TO GOD. THIS WORD EXPRESSES GREAT MEANING IN THE LOVE A CHILD WOULD HAVE IN ADDRESSING THEIR FATHER.

THIS WORD “ABBA” IS A VERY ENDEARING TERM THAT REFLECTS DEEP RELATIONAL INTIMACY, HONORABLE RESPECT AND TRUST THAT IS VOID OF FORMALISM AND LEGALISM.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US? IT MEANS THAT WITH GOD AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, WE WILL NEVER HAVE TO FEAR BEING DISAPPOINTED, REJECTED, SHUNNED, OR EVEN DISOWNED.

THIS IS WHY IT IS SO VITAL FOR US, ESPECIALLY AS CHRISTIANS, NOT TO TAKE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF “ABBA,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, FROM OUR EARTHLY EXPERIENCES WITH OUR EARTHLY, BIOLOGICAL FATHERS.

NO MATTER HOW LOVING, KIND, COMPASSIONATE AND INCREDIBLE YOUR EARTHLY FATHER MAY HAVE BEEN, HE IS STILL IMPERFECT AND FALLS SHORT OF GOD’S IMAGE AS A TRUE FATHER.

GOD IS OUR MODEL FATHER AND WE MUST UNDERTAND THAT CONCEPT IN LIGHT OF THE BIBLE AND NOT ACCORDING TO THE EXPERIENCES AND ENCOUNTERS WE MAY HAVE HAD WITH OUR EARTHLY FATHER. THEREFORE, LET’S LOOK AT THE BIBLE.

THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPRESSION OF LOVE COMING FROM OUR FATHER IS THE FACT THAT HE WAS WILLING TO PAY ANY PRICE IN ORDER TO SAVE YOU. ROMANS 8:32, “HE WHO DID NOT SPARE HIS OWN SON, BUT GAVE HIM UP FOR US ALL – HOW WILL HE NOT ALSO, ALONG WITH HIM, GRACIOUSLY GIVE US ALL THINGS?”

NOT ONLY DID HE MAKE PROVISIONS FOR YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY, BUT FOR YOUR PROVISIONS, PERIOD! HE PROVIDES FOR YOU AND TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. LUKE 11:11-13, “WHICH OF YOU FATHERS, IF YOUR SON ASKS FOR A FISH, WILL GIVE HIM A SNAKE INSTEAD? OR IF HE ASKS FOR AN EGG, WILL GIVE HIM A SCORPIAN? IF YOU THEN, THOUGH YOU ARE EVIL, KNOW HOW TO GIVE GOOD GIFTS TO YOUR CHILDREN, HOW MUCH MORE WILL YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THOSE WHO ASK HIM?”

ANOTHER AMAZING ASPECT OF OUR “ABBA” IS THAT FATHER GOD DESIRES YOUR MATURITY AND TO GROW YOU IN YOUR FAITH. HE IS WILLING TO TRAIN YOU SO THAT YOU GROW FROM THE INFANCY OF YOUR FAITH TO GREAT SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT.

HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE IS WILLING TO DISCIPLINE YOU TO BRING YOU TO THAT MATURITY. PROVERBS 3:11-12, “MY CHILD, DON’T IGNORE IT WHEN THE LORD DISCIPLINES YOU, AND DON’T BE DISCOURAGED WHEN HE CORRECTS YOU. FOR THE LORD CORRECTS THOSE HE LOVES, JUST AS A FATHER CORRECTS A CHILD IN WHOM HE DELIGHTS.”

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