Paper for REN105 The Father Heart of God

 Book: THE HOME COMING by Jack Winter

Karen (Leininger) King -- October 28, 2002

Reading this book often brought tears to my eyes since I have never known a fathers love nor have ever experienced unconditional love from anyone. As a child, I would often cry myself to sleep because I hungered for love from my parents, from anyone.

Throughout my life, I pictured God as Some One far away, difficult to approach, stingy, mean, fickle, and waiting for me to make a mismove so He could beat me down some more. Even though I have gone through a lot of healing since I have enrolled in Christian Leadership University, I know there is more to be had. This book has helped in this healing process. It is so good to be shown repeatedly that My Father is here to comfort and to restore me, not to condemn me as Satan has tried to instill in me.

Beginning with Communion with God, my relationship with Jesus was changed. Through journaling and visions, He revealed to me His great love, mercy, gentleness, patience, beauty, companionship, and will. What a revelation! What a source of healing and realigning my life! Following that, while going through Increasing the Anointing, the Holy Spirit was revealed in a much different light. Instead of being some vague mystical spirit, He came into view as a Person with His own personality, Someone I desperately need to know and allow to work in my life. Now, the Father is coming into focus. Imagine, coming to Him as a Daddy, sitting on His lap and cuddling up. Now that is love and security! During one of my visions with Jesus, He floated me up to the Father during one of our laughing times. The Father joined our time of laughing. This was my first real glimpse of the Father. He laughed with me. He actually laughed with ME! This book added punctuation marks to that experience.

I truly need to learn to be more childlike, which God is working out through me to become. Since my childhood was miserable, lonely, and insecure, I need My Heavenly Father to fill in as a parent and hold me. I can now better understand why Jesus said that we need to become as little children before Him. As I become more acquainted with My Father, it is easier to become that child. It has not been easy until now to be able, in simple faith, to reach out my hand to ask and receive. My mother thwarted that instinct. I was not to ask for things. My parents were poor. We had bare necessities, but had no money for anything much extra. But my Heavenly Father tells me to ask and then promises that He is able to give far beyond my asking. He reminds me that I am the daughter of the King. He owns the whole universe. He delights in taking care of me and my needs.

Worry was a big part of my life until my deliverance last July. As Gods child, I do not have to worry or reason things out. I know my limitations, but Father has reminded me repeatedly that He is bigger than any need I have. I am His responsibility. My needs are His responsibility, so what do I have to worry about?

He is calling me to a worldwide ministry which both excites and overwhelms me. The more He shows me the magnitude of this coming ministry, the more I realize my inability to do this. As His child, He tells me that it is His responsibility to prepare and work through me. I can do nothing without Him. He calls, He provides. As my Father, I can expect the best from Him given in love. Struggling to survive has been my lifes experience except for the time God called me to the music/teaching ministry. During that time, I was anointed of God to fulfill that calling. As I waited before God for the ministry, He worked through me in such miraculous ways. Then I was led into my tunnel years where I again struggled with life and many times wished it would end. But now, Father holds me and continues to show me His love. I know that I need to experience a lot of that before I can love myself and others as I should. As Father has shown me, this is a journey and He wants me to enjoy the process as well as to looking forward to the end product. I am convinced that in the Kingdom of Heaven greatness is not dependent upon natural talent, personality, or even intelligence. Greatness is dependent upon our ability to receive and appropriate all that the Father has for us as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. (p. 20).

I can associate with many of the real-life stories given in the book and the younger son in the parable. Because of the lack of love, betrayals, and religion, I, too, had left home, lived in sin, and fed myself in the pigpens of life. As Jack Frost aptly said in his tape, The Mother Heart of the Father, pain seeks pleasure. Pain, anger at religion and people, and rebellion against it all, led me into things that I thought I would never do and think. Yes, I had read about Gods love many times, but it seemed like I was an exception, until recently. My Father was waiting for me to come home to Him and embraced me in my filthiness, loved me, and forgave me. He has promised me that He is taking my fodder years and is turning them into anointed ministry years. My pain has finally led me to the true source of pleasure, my Heavenly Father. I am beginning to understand and experience that His love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. . .love goes on forever. I Corinthians 13:4-8a, TLB.

Learning to love Father in this manner has been somewhat difficult since the men in my life have been anything but Godlike. My father was hardly ever around and didnt pay much attention to me when he was. My husband was abusive and left me for another woman. Religious leaders were pompous and demeaning. I had to become independent, self-sufficient, and strong in order to survive, or so I thought. Now Father is calling me to trust Him, to depend on Him. God is leading me softly step by step. There are many things I dont understand, but He assures me that one of these days I will become a beautiful butterfly, the perfect apple of His eye as I yield and trust Him. Even though I fail many times, my desire is to be His pure, yielded vessel and temple.

One of the stories that spoke to my heart was that of Sandra needing to be a little girl who sits on her daddys lap. Counselors who take the place of fathers, mothers, sisters, or anyone needed, for people is so touching and wonderful in how God uses these means to heal. When Jack allowed Sandra to sit on his lap for him to hold her was amazing. (In our church, that would not have been allowed.) In other cases, women took the place of mothers which brought healing to men. How I often longed for another woman to just hold me during my formative years and even as an adult.

The other day when visiting my mother in the nursing home (she is so far gone that I cant even communicate with her), I told her I loved her when I was ready to leave. She told me that she loved me. That was the first time I can ever remember hearing those words from my mother. Ive waited fifty-three years to hear that. Those three words really made a difference. My heart was warmed and I cried.

As the father in the parable was pictured as running to meet the prodigal, embraced him in his filth, then cleaned him up and restored him, I experienced the same reception. How thankful I was that He was not like a lesser parent who would have stood at the door, kept his distance, rehearsed every sin, bawled me out, demanded an apology, outlined the conditions for my return, then put me on probation for several years. Father was so patient, so kind and loving. He gently picked me up when I fell at His feet sobbing over my condition. He smiled at me and encouraged me. He told me to forget the past. It was over; the future is before me for which He has wonderful things planned for me, and during the present, I am to enjoy Him. This unconditional love penetrates and reaches the very heart, which causes me to want to love and serve Him. It drives any rebellion and anger out. I just want to melt at His feet and let Him do whatever He wants with my life.

One thing that helped me get to know Father better was a vision I had of Him. It took place in my living room, which is in the same house where I grew up. Father was sitting in the rocking chair when I came into the room. There was a brightness all around Him. I could not see Him clearly, but knew He appeared as an older man. His face was lit up with a big, penetrating smile of love. He bid me to sit on His lap. Since I can only remember one time of ever sitting on my dads lap, I was hesitant, but I climbed into His lap. At first, I felt a little uneasy. As He wrapped His arms about me, I began to snuggle up to Him. After holding me for a while, He said He wanted to bless me since I had never been given a blessing. He then laid His hand on my head and said, Karen, My daughter, I love you so much. I want to bless you so you may prosper in all that you do. I bless you with good health, strength, and longevity. Others shall seek you out to minister unto them. Your life shall be a blessing to them. You will never lack for anything. I am your Father and all that I have, I freely give to you. You shall have rest. You will be blessed because I have blessed you. My blessing shall come from sources you know nothing about at this time. You have nothing to fear. I am always with you. I am your Father and it is My delight to be your Father. Now, My child, sink into My arms and soak up my love and protection. Father then looked at me tenderly and showered me with kisses. I snuggled into His arms even more and joy began to flood my being as I relaxed. Karen, I want to continue to reveal Myself to you as your Father. You can climb up into My lap anytime you want. Do not hesitate to come. I long to hold you and love you. Every time My heart beats, it is pouring forth My love to you. I can always be with you, all the time, anywhere you are, which no earthly father can do. My Son has promised to be better than a husband to you. I am promising to be a Father to you. You always have Our protection, provision, love, security, and guidance. You are never alone. After saying that, Father pulled a piece of candy out of His pocket and gave it to me with that big, loving smile on His face.

A living, loving, personal relationship with God the Father is no comparison with trying to follow and obey a bunch of religious rules. The Law is truly death, but coming to know God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as I have been doing these past few months has transformed my views of God and my relationship with Him. Love, not Law, changes lives. Ive had enough guilt and condemnation from the Law and from those who follow it. I was so bruised, but God is healing me. I am still getting used to the idea of having Father give to me so freely, lovingly, kindly, and generously, but I certainly like it.

For many years, I was caught in the performance trap. I thought the only way people would like me was if I accomplished and excelled at things. Yes, I won the admiration of many, but I didnt experience unconditional love. It is such a relief to stop my striving and let Father love me while not having to prove anything. I was pouring out without knowing how to receive. What do we have to do to be loved? NOTHING. Father does it all! We come. We ask. We receive. Love is a gift, not a reward for service. (p. 88) I love that quote!

Since my former religion was very legalistic, I tried to mature in Christ by reading my Bible, praying, fasting, memorizing Scripture, attending church, being active in the church, tithing, dressing according to the standards, etc. Even though I had tried to do my best, it never seemed good enough. I was wearing myself out striving to attain perfection. There were more and more rules. Every time I walked in the light of conforming to these, I felt a little more righteous (self-righteous) and others saw me as being righteous. Underneath, I was frustrated and tired. God began to open my eyes to the inconsistencies and uselessness of legalism and then delivered me from it. I like the statement on page 106, When we try to create an arbitrary standard for Christian conduct, we are misusing the Word of God. We are placing the focus on ourselves-what we do or dont do--instead of on the Lord Jesus Christ! How true that is! Jesus has done it all. All I have to do is trust Him and let Him work in me.

I am no longer a lonely, deprived, striving orphan. I have a Father Who loves me, adores me, and is constantly with me. I shall lack for nothing. He shares everything with me. I no longer have to dread or fear Him, but can relax, cease my striving, and be myself with Him. I do not need to fear being totally honest with Him, but I can pour out every need and problem--something I could never do with my parents. I no longer have to look for a father or mother image; HE is my All in all! I dont have to worry about catching Him at a wrong time or bothering Him because He bids me come anytime. He revels in my presence. I never, ever dreamed that I could experience a real, loving, personal relationship with the Father as I have learned in this book. I am so thankful for this knowledge which has brought forth the relationship! At last, I have a Father I can love freely, knowing that He loves me unconditionally.

You can experience exactly what Karen has experienced, and receive the full revelation of God's love for you. Once you begin to hear from God, He will reveal the depth of His love for you on a daily basis. The following books will teach you step-by-step how to have this communion with God: How to Hear God's Voice and Dialogue with God.

Described above, The Home Coming by Jack Winter is also part of the distance learning college course from Christian leadership University: REN105 The Father Heart of God. Committing to this level of discipleship will allow you to fully integrate these principles at the level that Karen describes.