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The Love of The Father
In preparing this study, I found myself, as is my perpetual desire, asking Our Heavenly Father what His will is regarding the words He wants me to write. I shared with Him that it is my hope to write for others the words He might write to me.
    As I sat in the quietness, awaiting His response, I was amazed to feel the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father, who understands our sinful nature, forgives those who struggle to obey, and who sets clear rules of living to everyone everywhere so that we have no excuse but to obey; a Father who always uses the perfect amount of discipline – not too harsh, not too lenient – and is always honest, always accepting. He is always available in those desperate moments when it seems we have no friends, and never fails to offer a shoulder to cry upon, arms with which to be embraced, a tear to empathize, a smile to encourage us and an affirmation that we are His children. Most importantly, He offers words of wisdom to help us to understand, to accept and to appreciate this world into which He has brought us.
This Elohim-cursed World
He provides all these things for us in order to help us to overcome this temporary, Elohim-cursed earth (yes, I did say that); for it’s no mystery that the ground was cursed for our sake and that the “prince of the air” is the ruler, the “god” of this world – Satan himself.
    Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” Genesis 3:17-19.
    Keil & Delitzsch offer a commentary on Genesis 3:17. They wrote, “The reason why the life of the man did not come to an end immediately after the eating of the forbidden fruit, was … [so] that the mercy and long-suffering of Elohim afforded space for repentance, and so controlled and ordered [I would say, “defined”] the sin of men and [ordered] the punishment of sin, as to render them subservient to the accomplishment of His original purpose and the glorification of His name.” (Emphasis mine)
    Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Genesis 3:17 says, “This curse upon the earth, which cut off all expectations of a happiness in things below, might direct and quicken him to look for bliss and satisfaction only in things above.”
    Paul reflects upon this curse in Romans 8:20-21:
    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of Elohim.
The Father’s Plan
The fall is part of the Father’s plan: the perfecting of the saints; the Refiner’s fire; separating the wheat from the chaff – for our sake – because of us; because we are who we are; because we and the earth will be changed to perfection.
    And after they had preached the gospel to that city [Derbe] and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of Elohim,” Acts 14:21-22.
    HalleluYah! Thank you Father for not obliterating us, and instead offering salvation by the working of Your Holy Spirit in our lives and in our tribulation. Yahshua, speaking before His impalement, said
    Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself, John 12:31- 32.
    At the time of Yahshua’s sacrifice as the propitiation for our sins, the battle began. Now, we will be equipped to destroy and put away the works of Satan. This world, asmuch as we can see the hand of Yahweh in its creation and the beauty within it, is nevertheless still cursed.
So That He Might Bless Us
He, Yahweh, through Yahshua, provides for us in order to help us overcome this temporary, Elohim cursed earth – so that we might come to trust Him, to accept the salvation He has wrought for us through His Son, Yahshua, the Anointed, Set-apart, living Elohim-in-the-flesh, our Sovereign King of Kings. He does all this to reveal to us and prove: His Power and Justice, His Mercy and Lovingkindness, His Perfection and Uniqueness, His Wondrous Works, His Glory and Set-apart Spirit, His Truth and His Right to rule our hearts and minds, our souls and our very lives. Think about that; He could rule us now with a rod of iron, but His Plan is more noble – to allow us to honor Him without constraint or force, so that we might demonstrate our love for Him, out of our hearts, that we might become true children of the father. So that He might bless us. He puts us in the lion’s den – so that He might rescue us and prove His strength to those who believe and do His will.
    He is our salvation. The “Salvation of Yahweh” is the literal translation of the name of the Messiah. The “Salvation of Yahweh”, Yahshua, walked with us (take a moment to visualize that). He spoke directly to us, loved us, disciplined and corrected us, taught us, bled for us, died for us and was resurrected for us. In Him is the Love of the Father. Praise Yahweh! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Yahweh!
The Hand of Our Heavenly Father
I’ve met many people who know the Father; who understand all that I’ve mentioned above. If you’re reading this, then you may very well know the Father. You know His love; you’ve felt His love, the warmth of His embrace – and you also know the heat of his discipline! C’mon now, be honest; you’ve felt His hand on your ornery hide, haven’t you! You’ve undoubtedly had the occasion to know that you were doing something wrong – that is, if you know the Law of the Father. His discipline followed. And, then what did you do? You examined yourself, and in humility, in your feelings of guilt and shame, you saw the folly of your ways and recognized your sense of pride and willfulness. You then decided to follow His rules. To return to obedience. He is truly our Father.
    Therefore the redeemed of Yahweh shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away, Isaiah 51:11.
    Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says Yahweh of hosts, Malachi 3:7.
    And, because you know the Love of the Father, and because you felt humility, you looked at yourself and at your environment – your relationships, your ache for physical pleasure and your work ethic. In them you recognized other things you were doing wrong. You saw your disobedience and how you hurt others through your willfulness, selfishness, pride and your unwillingness to relent from your selfcenteredness.
    Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you know the Father? If you do, then you know what happens when you repent of your worldliness, begin reading the scriptures again, begin again to humble yourself in prayer to Yahweh and begin again to treat others with kindness (especially if you do not believe they deserve your love). If you know what I’m talking about, then I believe that you know the Father.
    Yahweh has granted us understanding, and one of His most poignant concepts is based on His character, mercy. His acts of mercy toward us have nothing to do with our deserving it (in fact, this is the very definition of mercy). I believe that He grants us mercy to demonstrate to us how we are to be. He has codified it in His Word.
    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, Matthew 6:12.
    For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, Matthew 7:2.
    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:12.
    Yahweh has granted us tremendous freedom. In effect, He is saying to us, “If you want to be in My Kingdom; if you want to be a member of My family, give the gift to others that I have given to you. Be merciful, give, share, lead, protect, teach and love others as I have loved you."
The Hand of Our Earthly Fathers
I’ve met many people who didn’t, and still don’t, know the Heavenly Father, Almighty Yahweh. A young woman, not acquainted with our Assembly’s teachings, spoke to me recently about an up-coming Father’s Day celebration her family expected her to attend. She described tremendous anxiety and hate about going to meet with her father whom she described as cruel and abusive, citing physical and emotional abuse in her childhood. I won’t describe the depth of the content of her words, because of the inappropriateness of her language; but after her tirade, she then asked, “What is a father?”
    What a question! Clearly, she was confused and felt as mortally wounded as if he had actually tried to kill her; because, in her mind’s eye she had an image of what a father was supposed to be – kind, nurturing; yes, strict and strong, but inspirational and loving. However, she described a history of being on the receiving end of his meanness: neglect, threats, rejection, disgust and hate. I asked myself, “How is this person ever going to believe in Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, while having such a marred image of her own father?” “What is a father!” How sad to not have a tangible representative, a likeness or an image of our Heavenly Father to serve as her childhood’s template for the reverence, appreciation and worship of our Father in Heaven!
How Will One Know the Voice of Our Heavenly Father?
So, what did I say to her? Not as much as she deserved to hear; and not as much as I would have loved to have shared with her. Because, in my profession there are laws and ethics which regulate the nature of the relationship between a counselor and a client; one of which is the right to self determination, loosely interpreted as, “Don’t preach your religious beliefs to those who are vulnerable to the influence of someone who is seen as an authority.” Or, “Don’t take advantage of someone in their weakness to gratify your own needs.” So, I didn’t tell her about our Heavenly Father, the Almighty Yahweh, who loves her with the love of a perfect father. I encouraged her to seek out people who had the qualities of a perfect father, that in doing so, she might relearn and redecide about herself – and about fathers. We explored what those qualities might be. I prayed that I might speak to her as the Father would speak to her. Perhaps she has a clearer picture in her mind about our Heavenly Father; not by any proper name, but through an understanding and a vision of His character through my efforts to listen to her in the Spirit of Yahweh – the Spirit that is merciful, loving, kind, encouraging and uplifting. My hope and prayer is that when and if He calls her, she will recognize the Father when He speaks to her.
    May we live our lives, especially in the sight of our children, but also in the eyes of the world, so that when Yahweh does call those whom we have loved, they will hearken to the call of the One Who loved us first.
-Elder John Fisher

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