Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Apple of His Eye

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness.
The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."
Psalm 145: 8,9

How many times have you heard the statement, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree"?  Many times this is used in a negative way in reference to those who repeat the mistakes of their parents.  It's another way of saying, "he's a chip off the old block" or "like father, like son."

I had the privilege of having a wonderful earthly father.  Many times I think that this is why it is so easy for me to approach and enjoy my Poppa God.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case for some.  To them, the word "father" may bring painful images to mind--images of fathers who are harsh, demanding, absent, or even abusive.  These individuals may have a more difficult journey into the heart of Father God . . . . but, the good news is that Poppa loves to walk with us through experiences which will lead us to Him!

Psalm 145 gives us a wonderful glimpse into God's nature . . . . a snapshot of His heart toward His creation  . . . . and all from David, the one whom God called, "a man after My own heart."  What are His characteristics?  He is  . . . . gracious . . . . full of compassion . . . . slow to anger . . . . abounding in mercy and lovingkindness . . . . good to all.  This is not the picture of an overbearing Father who is just waiting for His children to make mistakes so that He can show them a thing or two.  No, this is a Father who tenderly loves His children--even those who have wandered far away because they have feared Him or not understood His love.

God so LOVED the world, that He sent His son . . . .  to bring us back into His own household.  God, who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the SON OF HIS LOVE . . . . THIS is the Poppa I love and who loves me!  Because I am born of Him, I have His same nature--His "DNA" is my "DNA"!

I love the movie ,A Walk in the Clouds, for many reasons.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie takes place after the family's huge vineyard has been destroyed by fire.  The main character runs back to the "Father Tree"--the tree from which the fruit of the entire orchard had been derived--and finds that it has survived the fire and is still alive.  He knows then that the life in that tree can be reproduced to bring forth many more trees, and that the vineyard can live again . . . . it's fruitfulness can continue on and on for other generations to enjoy.

God placed this principle in His creation from the very beginning.  We read about it in Genesis 1:29 when God told Adam and Eve:  Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat.  This was part of God's original covenant with man, in which He promised that seedtime and harvest would remain as long as the earth endures.  (Gen 8:22)  This was to be a natural picture of a greater spiritual truth.

So let's step back, focus our gaze,  and take a fresh look at this amazing circle of Life and Love . . . .

"God IS love."  I John 4:8

"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son . . ."   John 3:16
"The Son is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His natureHeb 1:3

"And Jesus went about doing good . . . ." Acts 10:38
" . . . whatever the Father does the Son also doesFor the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." John 5:19,20

"No greater love hath any man than this: that He lay down His life for His friends."  John 15:13
 " . . . unless a grain of wheat [seed] falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24

"As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us."John 17:21

"For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:29 

"if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
I John 4:12

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Gal 5:22

Hmmmm . . . . that mature fruit sounds an awful lot like Poppa's heart . . . . indeed, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! 

And so this beautiful demonstration is repeated over and over again across the ages:  the ceaseless giving and receiving of love . . . . reproducing the Life of the Father in many sons and daughters, who in turn lavish it again upon Him and upon His beloved children.  What a mystery . . . .what a Love!

Psalm 17:8