The Heart of the Father

Part 1: Believing that "He is"

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

You can create Godly strongholds in your life. The Lord has developed a new stronghold (or perhaps just a new facet of an old stronghold) in my life over the past few months. I want to share about that over the next couple sermons.

There is no fruit apart from connection with God. In ministry you don’t want to get eaten alive. So, you better bear fruit so that they don’t eat the branch. How do you bear fruit? Connect yourself to the vine! 
One way I can tell you how to get connected to the vine is by saying “be in the Word and be in prayer. Don’t forsake fellowship.” When you are in the Word and in prayer, it will produce connection with God. So there is a place for me to just tell you plainly like that “be in the Word and be in prayer” and I would do well to tell you that. Nevertheless, I recognize that sometimes we struggle to even get to that point.
Does God have Dry Seasons for You? In John 4:14, Jesus said “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This does not sound like a dry season. 
James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will raw near to you.”  Jesus died to have connection with you! So the first thing I want to highlight about abiding - if we believe that sometimes He will draw near to us and sometimes He will not draw near to us, we will be very inconsistent in our approach to our relationship with God - not realizing that He said “if you draw near to Me, I WILL draw near to you.” It’s a promise.
So how do you get to a place of abiding in God? If you are a branch that is not currently consistently connected to the vine, what do you need to do? You need to draw near to the Vine! Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. The biggest mark of Christian maturity (in my experience) is how long of a season of disconnection you will tolerate. 
So if you are not abiding in the Lord, you have to draw near. And God has promised that He will ALWAYS draw near to you; He does not have seasons of disconnection for you. But what causes a believer to draw near to God? If we knew what causes a believer to want to draw near, then we could govern our own hearts to stay in the place of choosing to draw near and thereby choosing to abide in the Lord!
Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6. This is the scripture that these two sermons are going to based on. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
What causes us to draw near to God? Hebrews 11:6 has an explicit answer! “… for he who comes to God must …” For he who draws near to God must … (1) believe that He is, and that (2) He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This scripture gives 2 characteristics of folks that draw near to God … and they must have these two characteristics in order to draw near to God. 
Next time, we are going to talk about those 2 characteristics: that He is a rewarder, and that He is. What does that mean that “He is.” The new stronghold that the Lord has been developing in my life is learning to recognize who He is! The God that you acknowledge is the One that will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6). So who is He?!?

Part 2: He's a Rewarder

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

We can have strongholds IN THE LORD. He after all is our refuge and strong tower! He is the lover of your soul and there is not a moment that He doesn’t want to be with you. That’s also why He promises emphatically that if you will draw near to Him He WILL draw near to you. 

So let’s settle that at the outset. If you want to be more connected to God, He wants to be connected to you even more than you want to be connected! But what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him?
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him? Well Hebrews 11:6 says that he who comes to God MUST (1) believe that He is & believe (2) that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!
If you are not currently in the place of hunger to draw near to God, who are you believing that He is? Secondly, do you think He is a rewarder - or not? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits …” (Ps. 103:2)
Maybe you’ve met a Christian that says they don’t seek God for anything … they just seek Him for Him! Well, scripturally, we are supposed to seek Him knowing that He’s the rewarder! That sort of no-reward approach to Christianity will not last. He wants to be your provision. He wants to be your supply - and He wants that to motivate you! 
Without faith, it is impossible to please Him! Faith is not an a la carte item in the Christian life; it is the main dish! The righteous shall live by faith! Not have faith sometimes; we will actually LIVE by faith!
Faith is ALWAYS an invitation to greater relationship with God. Every ounce of His grace is an invitation to relationship. Every new facet or perspective on His provision, sufficiency, and supply, is actually an invitation to closer relationship. 
God is a rewarder. The first point is that you cannot please God apart from faith. The second point is that God is a rewarder.…” Look at the father’s response to his older son in Lk. 15:31 “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Do you notice the 2 priorities of the father? Intimacy (you’re always with me) and provision (all that I have is yours). Religion is trying to do for God what you’ve not yet allowed Him to do for you. The Father is not against your service, He just wants it to be out of His provision and out of intimacy with Him … and not in order to either earn intimacy with Him or to earn provision. 
Mark Crawford says the kingdom of God is not about you changing; the kingdom of God is about exchange. Everything in the kingdom is about exchange! He became sin who knew no sin in order that I might become the righteousness of God in Him! Religion is about change. Change yourself. Change yourself. Will power. Change yourself. Check yourself. If you are a little depressed … not really wanting to seek God …. are you operating in “change” or “exchange?” 
What about us doing for God? This is a “chicken or egg” question. God knows that when we receive from Him we will become like Him! We will lay down our life because He laid down His!
David slayed Goliath for God and the Israelites but remember … God had slayed a lion and a bear for David! Matthew 10:8 says “freely you have received, freely give.” Do not minister what you’ve not freely received. If you didn’t freely receive it, it means it’s not from grace which means it won’t have the power of God upon it. This is, I believe, the biggest problem in all of ministry - trying to give away something that you have not yet received from God. 
The Lord spoke to me early this summer and then I started reading the Psalms like this for a month or two - looking for everything in the Psalms that said who God is to me! My relationship with God grew and this became a stronghold for me in Him. Here’s the phrase God gave me:
"All of who I AM is who I want to be for you!"
Faith is spelled R-E-C-E-I-V-E. The only way to please the Father is to receive. Said shortly: 
Receive to Please
Go ahead and start building this stronghold in your life! Read the Psalms looking for who God is and therefore who He wants to be for you!