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Finding Direction in The Father

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      Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for our father’s that raised us and took care of us. Father’s are such an important piece to a family, but sadly there are a lot of sons and daughters that will struggle with fathers. From tragedy to neglect, there are many reasons that people struggle with this holiday. Even in the Bible, we see one of the most identifiable characters, Jonathan, with a messed up relationship with his dad.

     Throughout 1 Samuel we see instances of Jonathan’s father, Saul, being a man that was angry, depressed, and neglectful. In 1 Samuel 18, we see his jealousy of David and that led to him throwing a spear at him. Then Jonathan defends David, standing up to his father and then aiding David getting him to safety. Saul insults him and swears at him, calling him names and shaming his birth. Jonathan did not have it easy when it came to his father.

      Jonathan’s relationship with Saul was a tumultuous one for lack of better words. There’s a lesson we can learn from Jonathan's response to Saul. Saul’s failures and shortcomings didn’t’ define Jonathan’s direction. Saul might have wanted to kill his best friend, but Jonathan stood loyal to David. Jonathan also stood by his father’s side until the end. Even though he had every reason to abandon him, every reason to disregard him, he still stood with his brothers and defended Israel.

      We see throughout Jonathan’s life a common thread that his Heavenly Father, not his earthly one, led him. Jonathan was not defined by Saul’s actions (or inaction) in his life. He followed God and served him, even when his own father was against him. Draw on Jonathan’s example and find your direction and purpose through Christ.

Posted by Ian Misiak with 0 Comments

A Personal Faith Is Best When Shared With Others

Sometimes too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Take, for example, our modern-day emphasis on a “personal” faith. Without question, having a personal relationship with Jesus is a good thing, but it can also become a bad thing. If we swing the pendulum so far to the personal away from the relational, we can get stuck in a private faith that keeps people at arms length.

I know this from “personal” experience. Maybe you do, too.

I have my personal devotions, my personal faith, my personal times of worship, my personal experiences with Jesus, and the next thing I know I become my own personal authority in all matters of faith and practice. If somebody tries to explain to me “the way of God more accurately,” (Acts 18:26), I quickly dismiss them, because, I think, they don’t have the right to judge my personal relationship with Jesus.

It reminds me of the song by Tom T. Hall called, “Me and Jesus”:

Me and Jesus, we got our own thing going.
Me and Jesus, we got it all worked out.
Me and Jesus, we got our own thing going.
We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about.

One of our staff members was leading a training the other day, and she said she always held on to Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then one day she read further in Paul’s letter to verse 14, “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” Paul’s admission is—a personal faith is best when shared with others.

Is faith personal? You bet. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. But in order for our personal faith to grow in healthy ways, we need others who are kind enough to share our troubles.

Author Joel Miller writes, “Christians who isolate themselves from the body, whatever its defects and deficiencies, are consigning themselves to a peculiarly distorted and limited view of God: their own” (Ancient Faith Ministries).

At times Jesus meets us “in the garden alone,” but if that’s all we’re experiencing in the Christian faith, we’re in trouble. Jesus doesn’t always come by Himself. He comes with a posse (Miller) of the apostles, the saints—past, present and future—and everyone you allow in your life.

Indeed, a personal faith isn’t about Jesus and me; it’s about Jesus and us. I pray you’re doing all things through Jesus who gives you strength, but it sure is helpful (and necessary) to have others who are kind enough to share your troubles.

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