Summary: The Great, Almighty God, the infinite Creator of the universe, takes great delight and unsurpassed joy from our relationship with Him.
How do you think people imagine God to be? Is He far or near? Is He powerful or passive? Is He disgusted with them or in love with them? Is He a mean old man? Is He a kindly grandpa-type? Is He listening? Does He care for people individually? Can He really help?
During the late 1960’s and through the early 1970’s many people questioned if God existed due in part to the Viet Nam war. “God Is Dead” bumper stickers were everywhere. Crosses were replaced with “Peace” Symbols. Long hair and bell-bottom jeans were the fashion rage. The Jesus movement began during those troubled times and it was also when Jesus captured my heart.
A close friend of mine owned a Volkswagen panel van like the ones surfers love to carry their boards in. We would drive all over Southern California in it. Everywhere we went people would stare at us as we drove by. We were quite the sight to behold. Two young guys with long hair, beards, and wild flowered shirts, driving in this beat up old VW van, Christian music blaring, with stuffed toy animals packed on the rear shelf facing out the back window, surrounding a bumper sticker that said “God is Dad.” My friend and I had learned through our own personal and intimate experience with the risen Christ that God truly is not dead, He is Dad!
What a person believes about God is the most important thing contained in their mind. It affects everything about them. Specifically, what they believe about God affects them spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Sadly, there are many wrong perceptions of God commonly believed. These misconceptions distort our prayers and in some cases prevent people from praying all together. For too many people, God seems remote, impersonal, and unknowable. Because of that, even Christians suffer from an inability to feel forgiven, nagging doubt, and mistrust of God.
Our prayers are shaped by the way we picture God. A dysfunctional picture of Him results in a dysfunctional way of praying and preaching. Jesus revealed this truth; "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?" asked Jesus. "Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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" (Luke 11:11-13).
Those that had a father who was never around when they needed him, or have experienced trauma, abuse, or extreme discipline, will have a very difficult time preaching and personally pursuing an intimate, loving, and trusting relationship with the heavenly Father. They will see God as a vengeful judge - spewing out wrath and retribution when sinners do by nature what they do best - sin! (That’s why we need a Savior!) Jesus forgave all sinners – in the past, present and future - on the Cross. It is up to every single human on this planet to accept the free gift of forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus. When a person asks Him to become Lord of their life and repent of their sin and rejection of Him, they are reconciled back to God and can now begin experiencing intimate relationship with their Creator.