Christian artists and authors share a time when their Heavenly Father molded them in a positive way.
Our Heavenly Father is many things. He is a living, concerned Father who is interested in the intimate details of our lives (Matthew 6:25-34). He is the Father who never gives up on us (Luke 15:3-32). He is the God who sent His Son to die for us through we were undeserving (Rom. 5:8). He stands with us in good and bad circumstances (Heb. 13:5), available to us at any time through prayer (John 14:13-14), always aware of our needs (Isa. 65:24) and without condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Simply, He is for us (Rom. 8:31). (For more passages of scripture regarding your Heavenly Father, click here.)
Christian music celebrates our Heavenly Father. It's an expression of the creativity he has installed in us, an ability to find new and fresh ways to worship and give back. And artists and authors jumped at the opportunity to express how their Heavenly Father has molded them in a positive way.
Here are their thoughts. Share yours in the comments below.
Jonny Diaz: When I was 16 years old, my father took me to Israel. He goes nearly every year as a tour guide. On this trip I learned the importance of being able to back up my faith. My dad's knowledge of the Bible and how its message can be upheld by science, history, and geography has challenged me to deepen my knowledge so I can stand firm on my beliefs.
Joshua Schmidt of Canopy Red: Since God forgives me for the worst of sins, He has shown me where I can forgive others for small things, something I have always struggled with.
Anthony Evans: God has used so many things in my life to mold me. One of those things was my experience on The Voice. He used my time in LA to show me what my real responsibility was and is when it comes to impacting the world for Him. I've spent too long only being interested in the people inside the four walls of our churches. Now, I feel Him urging me to broaden what I do when it comes to bringing people from outside of those walls in.
Jason Bare: My life is completely clay in my Heavenly Father's hands. My prayer is that He shapes me and molds me into the man of God that He wants me to be. He does this in many ways, by surrounding me with people that make me a better person, by giving me the wife that I needed to become a better man, and the children I have to become a better leader. God changed me most when He helped me realize that I could never lead until I could learn to follow. He gave me amazing parents/pastors to train me for ministry, and gave me many musical influences to train me to become a great musician. I remember being completely overwhelmed at one point in my early ministry. I was troubled with some of the relationships that I had in my life, that I was responsible for as a leader. At this point, God used the most powerful individuals in my life to teach me about leadership. #1 - My Dad, and #2 My Musical Mentor. I walked by the wealth of knowledge that they poured into my life, and was changed forever! In saying all of this, the best way to answer the question is as follows: God molded me, most positively, by giving me an AMAZING DAD and GREAT MENTORS! Thank you Lord for giving me a teachable spirit!
J'SON: I have had to learn a lot by God's grace. God has molded me through His word by showing me what being a man is. He has allowed me to see by his example of how a women should be treated and what it means to love. We live in a culture where what is means to be a man is distorted and I'm thankful the the Lord has helped me see what it truly means to be a man and a Father.
FLAME: My heavenly Father molded me and shaped me in the areas of being thankful and grace oriented. As a recipient of so many good things from God, He has overwhelmed my heart with the gift of thanksgiving. This has made me patient, long suffering in difficult situations, and mobilized me to serve others as an extension of God's grace.
Sam Allen of No Other Name: With the birth of my son, I think God has given me a tiny glimpse of the love that He has for me. My son brings me so much joy when he's obedient and kind, and he brings me such disappointment when he's not doing what's right. And although he's young, it makes me want to try to live up to my Heavenly Father's expectations.
Holly Spears: Right now, I am experiencing God's love as a parent through discipline. "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:5-6). Through the experience of doing a Daniel's Fast, my Dad is showing me love by teaching me to take even the smallest steps of obedience such as not eatting certain foods and unplugging. His discipline is proving to make an even more intimate relationship between the two of us.
Yancy: Back in the summer of 2000, I went through my first big spiritual growing pains. As someone who likes a plan and to control things, I was at a point where there were no specifics on the calendar. It was a scary time and also a point where I really had to grow up in my faith. I was twenty and it was about me learning to trust and hear God's voice for myself. Out of that month of tears, fears and learning how to trust came a song I wrote that Avalon recorded, "I Don't Want To Go." That song has been a huge testimony and reminder for me of how God leads us and makes a way for us even when we can't see it. A lot of fruit has come from it. Plus, it's a great reminder to me to continue to trust Him in every area of my life.
Zach Bolen of Citizens: When I was 6 my dad died. For years, I looked forward to heaven for the purpose of seeing him again. I pushed God out of the picture and focused my affections toward a dead man. As years went on the loss of my dad began to create a lot of bitterness in my heart toward God. Then at the age of 14 I was at my Dad's grave (which I had only visited a few times) and began breaking down. I was hit with the reality that my dad couldnt save me, no matter how much he loved me or I loved him, ultimately all power to save rested in our Father in Heaven. I remembered being comforted with the embrace of God as he welcomed me in to His grace, forgiving me of sin and calling me His child. The Father is faithful to pursue us even when we try our hardest to run from Him.
Andrew Osenga: Can he mold us any other way? I don't know that I'm ever aware, while it's happening, exactly what He's doing. I know that being a Father myself has really let me see how you can love someone so deeply, ache with their aching, and desire for them to see beyond themselves. I feel the gift of my daughters is one of the strongest ways God is changing me.
James Mileti of The Sunrise: I began praying and "seeking" God literally decades before being saved. God was molding me even as a very young boy for His saving grace. I thank God that I lived long enough to receive it!
Laura Allen: A few weeks ago, I had a baby girl--my first child. I have been amazed by how much God has taught me in such a short time. I have learned what it really means to put someone else first. I really don't mind the late-night feedings and diaper changes. I would do anything for this precious girl. I've gotten a glimpse of the unconditional love our Heavenly Father has for us.
Jaime Thietten: I have spent the last five years of my life and ministry raising awareness and trying to protect our unborn. But many don't know that I wasn't always an advocate for the Pro-life cause. I used to feel that it wasn't my place to tell someone what they should or shouldn't do with their body. Then I had the opportunity of experiencing the most amazing miracle watching my nephew come into this world. A light went on in my heart and I couldn't believe what I'd thought for all of those years.
We all have peaks and valleys in our journeys and during a time in my career where things were very slow, I began to wonder if God had wanted me to do something different. I prayed in earnest, asking God to tell me what He wanted me to do. Was I supposed to keep plugging away at a singing career? That's when He gave me an answer...an audible answer! He said "Jaime, I want you to be a voice for the unborn." I was blown away, and yes a little scared by it. How was I going to do this? And if I did, how would the world around me take such a controversial message. Two weeks after saying "yes" to God's call, I received the song "My Chance" from a friend of a friend who had no idea what God had told me. And what had previously scared me in my hopes of a career in music actually propelled it and has sustained me for the past five years. It has taken me to two other countries and touched and saved little lives. I often wonder why He didn't bring me this song sooner and I realize now that I wouldn't have been ready for it 11 years ago. He was molding and forming and growing me into a stronger person so I could be more effective.
I thank Him for asking this of me and for guiding me on this incredible mission to spread this message. And He is still using me and my husband (13 years married) to continue to spread this message. You see, my husband and I haven't been able to conceive. So God is growing me and using my personal experience to show that there is no such thing as an unwanted child. I pray that someday we will be able to have children, biologically or through the wonderful gift of adoption. Whatever His plan is for us, I'm just resting in knowing that He's always preparing and opening the doors for me to walk through.
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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