Saturday, 31 December 2016

Time To Pant

IT’S TIME TO PANT

¶ As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1
It’s all too easy to become lax in our desire to know and love God. I’m not sure if this is just the blight of the middle-aged who have families to tend, bills to pay, careers to manage, health to maintain, and relationships to repair. I think this laxity also beguiles the young who have friends to please, crowds to hang with, exams to pass, relationships to form, social-media posts to update, pimples to hide, and clothes to buy. How then does the deepest drive in the human soul – the drive to be with, know, and love God – find its fulfilment? This is how.
After the Reformation began in the sixteenth century, the English Protestant Reformers were faced with the challenge of transmitting the truth of the Bible to a generation of ordinary people who were mostly illiterate. They formulated their own ‘Catechism’ (a series of questions and answers to be memorised). The result was The Westminster Shorter Catechism. The first question reads-
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Fulfilling our deepest desire – a desire greater than that of wanting human companionship – begins by learning to pant. King David had been going through a tumultuous time in his life when he realised that his circumstances had distracted him from pursuing God. I think life can do this for the believer today. We get busy. We get distracted. We get lax. We must remind ourselves that our chief purpose in life is not to find a job, get married, buy a house, start a family – but to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! Panting for God as a parched deer pants for water begins in our heart where we still our souls and prayerfully ask God to come closer into His presence.
Karate-kid-2010-Xiao_DreBeing still and doing nothing are two very different things.
(Mr Han to Xiao Dre, in Karate Kid 2010)

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10
Our enemy wants us to be distracted and distant. God wants us to be still and close. In Psalm 42 King David tells us about his difficulties. He describes his despondency (“my tears have been my food day and night” Psalm 42:3) and the ridicule he endured (‘they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”’ Psalm 42:3). And he then reveals to us the master strategy for fighting our way out of such mental and emotional oppression which often sugar-coats its distractions with happiness.
¶ Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation
Psalm 42:5
As David fought through the multitude of distractions in his life which kept him from seeking God first, he tells us that was him choosing to seek God like a thirsty deer sought for water. It involved praying, reminding himself of God’s faithfulness from His Word, singing in worship to God (Psalm 42:8) and praising God with thanksgiving (Psalm 42:11).
I have found myself being distracted. Pain in my deteriorating body, pressure of responsibilities, and the things common to us all, and I have reminded myself that my greatest desire and need is to know God, love God and enjoy Him forever. My panting prayer has been to ask God to speak to me and to grant me the ears to hear Him. It has included a cry to know Him more intimately and to make Him known more clearly. It has asked Him to soften my heart and to help me to feel the pain of others and to truly see and hear them. It has encompassed a prayer that He might still my soul so that I can draw closer to Him through His Word. 
In a world where the enemy has found a powerful ally in world’s distractions, it’s time for God’s people to pant.
Happy new year.
Ps. Andrew

Saturday, 24 December 2016

NOT JUST CHANGED, BUT CHANGING

THE GOOD NEWS IS CHANGING
In the story of Ben Hur, Judah Ben Hur, a first century Jew living under the Roman occupation of Israel, has a chance meeting with the One they all call The Christ. The kindness and grace with which Jesus of Nazareth showed Judah Ben Hur in that brief moment and the courage it took to do so under the tip of a Roman spear, left an indelible mark upon Ben Hur. As all who meet with Christ experience, Judah Ben Hur became a changed man as a result of this meeting. Once he was filled with hatred, bitterness, and rage but after meeting The Christ he began to become a man of peace, love and forgiveness. The author of Ben Hur was Lew Wallace. His life was also changed by meeting Jesus Christ.
Ben_Hur+Jesus 
Lew Wallace was a Union General during the American Civil War. He would go on to become the Governor of New Mexico. In 1880 he published Ben Hur – A Tale Of The Christ. He wanted to tell people about how a meeting with Jesus Christ could dramatically change their lives – as it had his.
Lew_Wallace_(ca._1865)And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18
Rosaria_C_ButterfieldIn my last Pastoral Desk post, I mentioned the story of Professor Rosaria Butterfield. She was a lesbian feminist academic who despised Christians. She was on a mission to dismantle Christianity’s place in the public square and expose it as a flawed world of fantasy. But then she met Jesus. From that moment, her life was forever changed. Today, she is the wife of a Pastor and a home-schooling mother. Her life is now dedicated to telling others what Christ can do for them. 
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
Second Corinthians 3:18 THE MESSAGE
I have witnessed Jesus transforming many people. Some of these people have had their lives so dramatically transformed that they are barely recognisable from who they used to. These people have been changed into calm, considerate, kind, caring Christians by beholding Christ. Sometimes their former lives are characterised by averice, indebtedness, alcohol, anger, adultery, or abuse. Yet they met Christ, and their lives are now forever changed.
And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18 THE MESSAGE
Each of them will tell you though, that often their transformation was slow and long. Each time they met with Christ’s Body, they were meeting with Christ, and as the Word was preached, they were beholding Christ and being changed. God has graced us with the means of continually beholding Christ through: 
i) Prayerful time spent in God’s Word (John 17:17Heb. 4:12)
ii) Prayerful time spent in prayer (Matt. 6:6)
iii) Prayerful time in worship with Christ’s body (Heb. 10:24-25)
iv) Prayerful attention to the preaching of God’s Word (1Cor. 15:2Titus 1:3)

WITH TEARS I WRITE

But what happens to a believer when they cease to continually behold Jesus through these graces? Paul wrote to the Philippians with tears dripping onto the vellum over those believers who had ceased to behold Christ as he said- 
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Philippians 3:18
It seems that the one of the hallmarks of a true believer is their resolve to continually behold Christ through these graces of Bible reading, prayer, congregational worship, and receiving the teaching of God’s Word. But when compromise gets its toe in the door of a believer’s heart, the drift away from the strength to change derived from these graces is almost undetectable. This is because this compromise begins in the heart, not initially in the outward behaviour. A believer who has ceased to do their spiritual warfare of resisting the devil’s distractions away from scripture, prayer, church, preaching, will still appear to others (for quite some time) to still be beholding Christ. Walking with Christ changes a soul. Walking away from Christ changes a soul. Walking with Christ beautifully graces a wretched soul to be transformed into the image, character, and likeness of Christ. Walking away from Christ disgraces a soul and makes them more wretched than they once were. 
holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
First Timothy 1:19-20
The Apostle Paul’s tears still stain the passages of our New Testament. When a believer continually beholds Christ they are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next. People who once took their comfort from alcohol have met Christ and are now being delivered from those things which had them bound. People who were once addicted to internet porn, which is an insidious form of modern-day slavery and reduces women to a piece of meat, have met Christ and are now being renewed into seeing girls as sistersworthy of respect and protection. People who once stole from their employers have met Christ and have been converted into diligent, cooperative, productive, teachable, team-members. The Gospel, the Good News, is about changing – not merely having been changed. As we each behold Christ in the graces God has mercifully provided us with, we too will be continually undergoing changing. The next time you encounter someone who seems to be too much of a wretch, remember, the Good News is changing people, and one of the graces which our Father offers these dear wretches is the opportunity to behold the growing image of Christ in us.
Amen.
Pastor Andrew.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

WHY WE FEEL AND WE MUST

WE FEEL
An ounce of experience outweighs a ton of argument! As much as I think that the claims of Christianity are reasonable, logical, factual, and true, there are some people who will never be persuaded to accept this. They have been hurt in the name of God. One of the trickiest aspects to reaching such people is that they often hide behind a fa├žade of what they assert are logical and reasonable objections to God. If we are not careful, we might be tricked into thinking that their objections to the existence of God were actually intellectual. If you care, and want to help such ones, here’s some suggestions.
They’re all hypocrites! All they want is your money!” someone said recently to one of our new converts in our church. “Besides, look at how many children they’ve sexually abused!” they followed up with. This rocked our church member and sowed some seeds of doubt into them. However, it didn’t take long for them to realise that these allegations were weak in the light of their experience. They recalled how people from our church had sat with them in their darkest hours and shown patient support. They remembered that church leaders and other members had taken them into their homes and shared meals and time with them, and offered a caring, supportive, listening ear to them without any sense that they were trying to get something from them. They considered that the church presented its financial accounts to everyone in and outside of the church in a very public fashion for all to see, query, and scrutinise. In those financial accounts were the records of hundreds of people who had been assisted in some way over the past year. And the allegations of sexual abuse of children had nothing to do with this church – and in fact, there were some very accountable guidelines in place for preventing even a hint of this. 
In one sense, such allegations could be seen as an attack against our church. (As it turns out, this person had never been to our church or knew anything about us.) Rather than seeing this as an attack against us, I feel we should see this as an uncurtained window into someone’s heart. It lets us see that they feel hurt by someone who was supposed to be representing God. Their objections to God are grounded in their emotional experiences where they were subject directly or indirectly to someone’s hypocrisy.

THE PHONE CALL
After one of our church TV ad campaigns (which we run every Summer on commercial television stations), a lady phoned our church to attack us. As she shared her anger at our audacity to publicly invite people to church and declare that God loved them, I gently said to her, 
It sounds like you have a story.”   
“I do!” she replied. “And maybe one day when you’ve got the time, I could tell it to you.” 
I’ve got the time now,” I said, “if you’d like to share it with me.
For the next two hours she shared how she had attended church with her family as a little girl and was all the while being secretly molested by the priest. This took place from the age of 6 up until the age of 17! She was now in her late 50s. She had tried to bury all this pain in her past and forget it, but the recent Royal Commission Into The Sexual Abuse of Children had brought it all back up for her. She told me how she actually longed for a spiritual connection with God, and knew that this necessarily involved being in a community of sincere believers. But her trust had been so egregiously violated that she suffered from involuntary physical reactions even setting foot outside of any church building. This had prevented her from attending family weddings and even funerals. I felt her pain. It was deep and almost incurable. This is not the kind of story that invited a reasoned argument as a response. It required a sincere pastoral response.
¶ “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
Mark 9:42
Rosaria_C_Butterfield
HURT PEOPLE OFTEN BEHAVE LIKE HURT PEOPLE
I recently heard the story Prof. Rosaria Butterfield. She was the Professor of English & Women’s Studies at Syracuse University, in the USA. And, by her own admission, she was also a strident atheist, feminist, and practicing lesbian. She wrote a piece for the New York Times titled, “Why Promise Keepers Is A Threat To American Democracy” (Promise Keepers was a Christian Men’s Movement striving to encourage men to be more godly) in which she attacked “right-wing Fundamentalist Christians”. Her article drew quite a reaction. But one response caught her by surprise. It was from an elderly Presbyterian minister. She later described it as, “The kindest opposition I had ever received.” She found Pastor Smith’s manner very appealing. They began to dialogue. The pastor invited Rosaria over for a meal with him and his wife. Rosaria was keen to publicly dismantle Christianity and was pleased to have this contact with Pastor Smith whom she regarded as “a research assistant”. These dinners became a weekly event, sometimes at Pastor Smith’s home, sometimes at Rosaria’s home. This went on week by week for the next two years. Professor Butterfield fired her objections to the Bible at these dinners and Rev. Smith patiently and reasonably answered each of them. In this time, the Professor read the Bible through from cover to cover seven times – looking for its glaring inaccuracies and fallacies. She couldn’t find any. But this wasn’t the tipping point for her being converted to Christ. It was kindness she received from Rev. Smith and his wife. Several times over those two years one of them would call her after a snow blizzard and ask how she was and whether they could help her in anyway. 
She observed that during their meals together, people would just drop by. Often they would make their way into the Smith’s kitchen and fix themselves a cup of coffee and make themselves at home. This sense of community was something she had come to value among her LGBT friends. Now she was experiencing it firsthand among Christians! She said, “Around this time the Word of God got into me. It was no longer an outside book – it was now inside me!” She was converted to Christ. She came to realise that her “attractions were not her identity”, yet her feelings of same-sex attraction did not disappear with her conversion to Christianity. She became more involved in her new community of fellow believers and the kindness, acceptance, and grace she received from them was transformational over the coming years. Today, she is married to Rev. Ken Butterfield, is a mother, and a home-schooler, who lives with her family in North Carolina. 
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious…¶ Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
First Peter 3:48
The Gospels repeated describe Christ as “having compassion” for the people He was with. I suspect that if we could do the same, some of the people who feel hurt by those they expected to more accurately honour God, would eventually come to see that God is real because they can see Him in us as we care for each other and for them. It might take two years of dining each week with them in our homes or theirs, but then again, when the hurt is deep, it might take even longer.
Amen.

Ps. Andrew

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Numb Hurts More

NUMB HURTS MORE
Chances are, you will meet a difficult person. You will have no trouble identifying them. They can be charming and nice, but then snap. When they snap, they lash out – and they hurt. These moments reveal just how underlyingly angry they are. But these moments also reveal just how hurt they are. Anger is always a symptom of hurt. And sometimes this hurt can hurt so bad that it numbs (or seeks to be numbed by) its host. 
When I was involved in a motorcycle accident (after I was hit from behind by a car) I was knocked unconscious for over six hours. Oddly, I’m rather grateful that this happened. I had clean broken my shoulder in two places, suffered concussion, bruised my entire right side, and, as it turns out, possibly broken my back. It seems that when our bodies experience intolerable pain, they shut down. What I have come to observe is that it’s not just our bodies which shut down, but our hearts can as well! 
  •  Troubles and difficulties can sometimes be overwhelmingA teenage girl’s parents divorce. She begins drinking and experimenting. Before too long she has a reputation and she doesn’t care. She’s now hurting so much she’s numb.
  • Growing up he was always lonely. He wasn’t born blessed with attractive features and always felt ugly. Ugly is as ugly does which led him to wear odd clothes and even to begin wearing Goth make-up. Girls shunned him but predators noticed him. He became a piece of meat and mistakenly thought this must be what love is. He was being abused by several men, but he didn’t care. He was now numb.
  • They never felt like they belonged anywhere. Perhaps this is why they were always looking for somewhere. Staying in a place just long enough to begin to feel settled which then triggered the childhood words of their step-parent that they were ‘a nuisance’ and ‘always in the way’. Sleeping wherever they could, often in their car, they now drifted. No friends. No family. No body. They had become numb.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.
Proverbs 14:13
Everything is going wrong!Those who are blessed to grow up in a loving home where they take for granted that they are wanted and accepted may never truly appreciate what it is like to grow up without these rich blessings. This is why encountering a numb person can be so confusing. At first they appear to be nice but this superficial varnish quickly thins to nothing when their hurt triggers are activated. When this happens they can become moody, unreasonable, aggressive or even immediately withdrawn (all are symptoms of anger). This is a part of their ‘defence’ mechanism. By hurting the one they think is about to hurt them, they incorrectly think this will prevent them from being hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Normal human empathy recoils at the possibility of hurting someone else. But often these people are so hurt their empathy is now numb
… but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13b
SEEING AGAIN
emotionsWe all need love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness. This is why a home is much more than a house. This is why a home is made of people, not of materials. The best chance we have of solving all of society’s ills is to ensure that we can build a generation of home-makers. The home should be a sacred place. It is the place where disputes are resolved, differences are understood, opinions matter, touch is appropriate, words are kind, rules are clear, values are instilled, generosity is modelled, hospitality is trained, respect is required, discipline teaches, and hugs comfort. The home is to be a secure place, a safe place, a sacred place. 
In the meantime, we now have a crisis on our hands as a society. Due to the large-scale absence of the above, we now have the worst drug crisis in human history, the highest crimes-rates in human history, more people being trafficked into slavery than at any other time in human history, the highest divorce-rate ever, the worst rates of depression and mental-illness, more single-moms than at any other time in our history, and the highest suicide-rate we have ever had! What can we do? 
¶ The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Isaiah 50:4
What can we do? That’s the primary question because the solution is mega-micro (lots of smaller efforts). We who are blessed with the privilege of living or being raised in a home are to play our role. We above all people have learned to forgive. Rather than judging/condemning your difficult person, try to see them.
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
Luke 7:44
If we can see, not merely a difficult person, but, a hurting person who is gripped by fears of rejection and being hurt yet again, we may see them differently. In doing this, we are not excusing their lack of empathy for others or even their inappropriate words and ways. But we can at least begin to understand them. And in my experience, the one thing that those who are so hurt they are now numb toward others most desperately need is someone who can at least understand them.
FEELING AGAIN
Perhaps it is you who is now numb from so much hurt? Maybe you have even said, “I just don’t care anymore.” You don’t have to go on like this. Jesus Christ can heal your heart, but it will necessarily be a process rather than a point.  
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3
 The pathway to your healed heart is paved in trust. Firstly, trust Christ as your Saviour. Then, trust Christ to transform you and help you to learn how (and who) to trust again. Thirdly, don’t expect miracles from people – especially the miracle of mind-reading! Start by sharing some of your story with someone you can have some trust in. At least let them begin to understand you. As you do, you will begin to experience increasing feeling coming back into your heart.
It is my prayer that Sunday by Sunday the hurting, broken, lonely, confused and lost will come into our church service and begin to experience the very things they long so desperately for – love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness. This is what happened in the early church, as the Apostle Paul describes below, and we should pray and then not surprised that it will happen again in our church – 
¶ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
First Corinthians 6:9-11
May God’s loving, accepting, understanding, and forgiving grace flow through each one of us this Sunday to those looking to be healed and delivered from their numbness.
Pastor Andrew

Friday, 2 December 2016

What To Do When Faced With Those Difficulties You Keep Putting Off

TEACH ME

more-difficult-less-difficultWhat is the most difficult thing for you to do? If you are not sure you might try asking the same question in a different way. What is it that you really don’t want to ever have to do? What is it that you would much rather have someone else do, than do it yourself? This question is also answered by looking at how we spend our time. Those things which are really difficult for us to do tend to get put down our priority list even though they belong at the top of our priority list. When something is too difficult for me to do I tend to procrastinate attempting it and then treat my lower priorities as more urgent. My procrastinations are an indication of what I find most difficult. This year, I have had to come to terms with my propensity for avoiding the difficult. I needed to learn some things and for this to happen I have had to be taught.
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Teenager with help sign.  Needing help.God has designed for us to deal with difficulties. God has also designed for us to be taught howto deal with difficulties. During Old Testament times God ordained for leaders to teach. This included priests, elders, kings and parents. In our New Testament times, even with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – Whom Jesus said would teach, lead, and guide the believer – God has particularly gifted certain people with the primary responsibility of teaching others.
And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…
First Corinthians 12:28
If I was prone to digressing, I would at this point point out that not all those who want to teach, can teach well. I would also point out that just because someone is able to teach about a particular subject, does not mean that they can teach all subjects. But I have been taught not to digress so I will make neither of these points.

The prayer God delights to hear and to answer.
The prayer, “Teach me!” occurs most frequently in the Psalms. Generally the psalmist was seeking to learn the ways of God and to learn how to follow those ways. We might join with the psalmists and pray the same prayer for the same reasons so that we too can know what God’s will for us is and how we can fulfil it. But we might also learn from the psalmists and apply this principle more particularly. There are times in each of our lives where we do not really know what, or more precisely, how to do what needs to be done. My experience and observations inform me that God most usually answers such prayers by sending us a teacher. You should be careful when this happens because sometimes they do not look like a teacher. They might not even be present in the flesh. They might be within the pages of a book, or the screen of a computer, or the voice on a radio or podcast. They may also be right in front of us.
While God has ordained for pastors to teach His unfathomable Word to His people, which may have a lifetime duration, more commonly, the teachers whom God will answer our “Teach me!” prayers are present for a moment, a season, a time. They may teach us directly, or God may even use them inadvertently to teach us indirectly when their mistakes and failings become instructive warnings for us, or perhaps more positively, their lives become a silent example for us. 
I think the most beautiful prayer that ascends into the Throne-Room of Heaven is a “Teach me!” prayer that has been reduced to a one word prayer: “Help!” (At least I hope it is one of the more beautiful prayers to God because I tend to pray that prayer a lot.) Some even pray this one word prayer expecting God to solve all their difficulties without realising that God is answering this prayer differently – as if it was the prayer He delights to answer: “Teach me Oh God.
¶ Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path…
Psalm 27:11
The most difficult things you will have to do will involve your interactions with others. Conflicts, disagreements, misunderstandings, confession, seeking forgiveness, rebuking, managing, and leading difficult people, are chief among the most difficult things you will ever do. Rather than despair; rather than procrastinate; rather than get frustrated; pray the prayer that God delights to hear and then watch carefully how He answers it. 
Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 25 November 2016

Who Does God Think He Is?




I’m fascinated with Roman history. Understanding this period helps me to understand both how the Western world has been shaped and what the conditions were like for the birth and expansion of Christianity. Nearly every Emperor of Rome demanded god-like devotion. “Kaiser Ho Kurios!” (Caesar is Lord!) was a statement of Emperor devotion demanded from the citizens and non-citizens at the time. Non-compliance could have resulted in swift execution. Roman Emperors were not the only ones to self-deify themselves. In the Book of Daniel we read that Nebuchadnezzar then Darius did the same. Of course the Romans believed in a Pantheon of gods – Zeus, Hermes, Mars, Jupiter, Hercules, and so on (note Acts 14:12-13). Not surprisingly, most the Caesars who self-deified themselves were either assassinated by someone close to them, or (as in the case of Nero) invited to commit suicide. Apparently claiming to be a god, when you are not, tends to infuriate those around you. Which is why Jesus stands out as unique among those who claimed to be God. His crucifixion reveals that He certainly infuriated some who did not know Him, but among those who did know Him, their response to His claim to Deity was worship and devotion – even from His brothers! So just who does God think He is?
To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.
Deuteronomy 4:35
¶ Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”
First Corinthians 8:4

JUDGE

If, for some impossible reason, the position for “God” became vacant, what might the job description look like? Being a Judge would definitely be listed. Judging is a god-like activity, and the God of the Universe would have to be the Ultimate Judge of that Universe.
In sustaining the Universe and the required justice that this involves, it can be seen from the Bible that God appoints some human beings to serve as His deputies – as judges. This is why the Psalmist could say-
¶ God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
Psalm 82:1
And,
¶ I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
Psalm 82:6-7
We note that the Psalmist contrasts god-like deputies with God, for, unlike God, these human deputies who perform a God-like function (judging) will themselves be judged and eventually die. Jesus cited this passage in John 10:34. His point is similar, sometimes human beings deputise for God and identified as fulfilling the God-role of ‘judge’, but His claim to deity goes further because He claimed that He would not be subject to the finality of death like mere mortals. 
God is the only person truly qualified to perfectly judge each person. Each one of us will stand before this perfect Judge and give an account of our lives.
¶ Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Revelation 20:11-12
God’s authority to judge is grounded in His claim to be Creator. Since this world is His, He alone has the right to decree how people should conduct themselves. 
.

FATHER

The Bible also refers to those who serve God as being His “sons”. In this light, many scholars believe that the ‘sons of God’ referred to in Genesis 6:2-4 is describing fallen angels who were created to serve God. While angels do not ordinarily have corporeal (physical) bodies like humans, the Scriptures leave room for the possibility that it is at least possible for an angel to take on a human form and carry out human functions such as eating and therefore (possibly) sexual activity (note Hebrews 13:2). This might explain why the offspring of this activity mentioned in Genesis 6 were born as giants
The designation of ‘sons of God’ is to be distinguished from the Son of God. Even under the Old Covenant period there was a growing knowledge that God had a Son (Proverbs 30:4) and by the time of the New Covenant this revelation is stated clearly in John 3:16 when it describes Him as God’s only Son. It was during the proceedings of the Nicene Church Council around 325AD when Athanasius identified Christ as the eternal (no beginning, no end) Son of God, since God the Father is described as the Eternal Father (did not begin to be a Father and will never cease being a Father). Thus, since God is the Eternal Father, He must have always had an Eternal Son. Therefore, the Council reasoned, Jesus is the Co-Eternal, Co-Equal, Co-Immutable, Son of God.
The New Testament reveals that God adopts each one who turns to Him for salvation. Jesus described the love of His Father in the story of the Prodigal Son. The father not only forgives the humble seeker of his forgiveness, he celebrates his return and declares him to be his son with full inheritance rights! 
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Ephesians 1:4-5
Who does God think He is? He declares Himself to be Creator, the Law-giver, Judge, Father, and Saviour. He has founded the Church as His agency for declaring to the world who He is, what His will is, to warn them of His certain judgment, to invite them to return to Him as their Father and Saviour. For those who have the eyes of their hearts opened to this amazing grace, their hearts begin to crave His holiness and their lives begin to reflect His godliness. 
We love because He first loved us.
First John 4:19
Amen.