As I stood to speak at Downtown Fellowship Church on Father’s Day, there was a heightened sense of God’s presence. These days, I am more appreciative of this and more dependent upon it than ever before. From somewhere deep in my soul there is a yearning, a cry that our Father would feel welcomed by His children. I invited the people to recite together the Lord’s Prayer. We began, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”
In that unifying moment all seemed right with the world. Our heady arguments and uncontrolled passions seemed to settle as we humbly acknowledged God, our Father. Prior to this service and in all our venues of ministry, I am keenly aware that unless God’s Holy Spirit makes a truth real to the listeners, it is just more talk. Once again, my heart’s cry is not to present an argument that proves intellectually the legitimacy of my presupposed Biblical positions, but rather to create a place for His name to be hallowed and His role as Father to be honored.
Reading again from Malachi 1:6, I hear the Lord God ask, If then, I am the Father, where is My honor?
One night as Linda and I were dozing off to sleep we began to hum and quietly sing an old hymn we had learned as children in the Plateau Baptist Church.
This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Maltbie D. Babcock 1901
Our world has become a scary place for many. Even in our own country God the Father is not welcomed. He is not genuinely considered in our strategy meetings and progressively He is dismissed as being “out of touch.” Except for token acknowledgments, one would imagine that we had created ourselves. If necessary, we make a god in our own image, for our personal advancement, one that fits our agenda. Sometimes all this makes me critical; at other times, sad and grieved in spirit. I find myself praying in the spirit of Nehemiah, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, The crown has fallen from our head, we and our fathers have sinned and behaved wickedly in Your sight, forgive us our backslidings and save us. You alone are the hope of the fathers.
There is indeed a hope. God’s Fatherhood is eternally fixed in heaven. While the earth experiences uproar, His position has not changed. He cannot be marginalized as we might imagine. In returning to the Father, we find peace, deliverance and healing for our broken families, our racial anger and our gender confusion.
We have been like children squabbling with each other over “what’s mine,” but as we welcome our Father we discover it is all His.
The messenger, Malachi ends his book as does the Old Testament with these words,
…and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. 4:6
We cannot run after people and force them to turn to God, nor can we remain indifferent, but we can, however, intercede like Abraham did in the mountain overlooking Sodom. We can assume the role of Moses pleading with God to withhold His judgment upon the ancient children of Israel until they repented.
We can follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ Who told Peter, I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. Luke 22:32 Even now, Jesus intercedes for us! Hebrews 7:25
Discovery has been graciously given the opportunity to minister to the men at the City of Refuge near Lucedale, MS. Several weeks ago I spoke on this topic and over 70 men connected with the word.
There was visible evidence that God is turning the hearts of fathers to their children. The “bad boys” of recovery are a mixture of anger, shame, hurt and confusion, but when their hearts open to Jesus the Son and they get in step with the Father’s agenda, longterm positive results are forthcoming!
There is a spiritual reformation brewing in the hearts of many fathers and you are invested in making that happen. It is not a flash fire; it is a slow burn. It happens as we remember to welcome the original Father of us all. May His place be reserved in our hearts and may His honor be renewed upon our lips. This is a core value that leads to peace and productivity.
Keep interceding in prayer! And Thank You for supporting the Discovery Family Ministries’ mission.
Testimony of Neal and Danielle Cumbus
We just want to say thanks to Brother Gary and Mrs. Linda for the love they have for people like us. It is amazing how God’s mercy can completely transform your life! It makes you so jealous for others to receive what you have experienced.
Neal and I suffered with addictions most of our lives. The road we were headed down left us facing prison or death. After being in several institutions, God gave us another opportunity at life.
We made a decision to surrender our wills to God about four and a half years ago. He began a new work in us and Satan lost! He tried to attack us in every way. He started with our finances. Because of our past, there were left over responsibilities that had to be taken care of. But no matter how the devil tried to discourage us, we stayed true to God. This battle was won to God’s glory!
When we first surrendered to God we thought all we had to do was stay “clean and sober.” We did not realize how big God’s transformation of our lives would be.
God began to convict us about living together without being married. After we were united in marriage, He began to restore everything we had previously been destroying.
We now have a beautiful family we are proud of. Each day God works a little bit more in bringing complete restoration. Holidays are not lonely anymore. They are full of love! Thanks be to God!
We know God is no respecter of persons. What He has done in us, He will do for anyone. With God all are possible!
Gary’s response: The general public is inundated with examples and statistics of alcohol and drug failures. We should shout aloud that God is changing lives like Neal and Danielle! Their testimonies are having a positive influence wherever they go. Praise God!