After the first two introductory chapters, Tim hits his stride with 9 chapters that follow the same pattern:
In every “X…” we can enjoy the Father’s/Son’s/Spirit’s “Y…”
Chapter headings are often very revealing and in the pattern Tim uses we can clearly see that his book is emphasising 3 things: experience, relationship and joy. Or to put it all into one idea – enjoying a personal relationship with God in everyday life. The 9 chapters are divided into three groups of three – one for each person of God.
Chapters 3-5 focus our attention on our relationship with God the Father through the varied experiences of pleasure, hardship & prayer. Here are my favorite quotes from each chapter. I’d love to hear what stood out to you and how these chapters have helped you to enjoy your Heavenly Father.
From Chapter 3:
Your experience of your human father may be very mixed: he may have been distant, harsh or even abusive – or simply not there. But that’s not what God is like. God is the loving Father you’ve always wished you had.
We live in a fathered world.
It’s as if we’re looking at a picture and seeing only what’s within the frame. We’ve lost the ability to see the hand of the artist… Living within the frame means we only occasionally see God at work because we only see him in the extraordinary. But remove the frame and suddenly the world lights up. Suddenly divine generosity can be seen everywhere you look.
Giving thanks is a powerful act. We all too easily focus on what we lack and feel discontented… But gratitude redirects our thoughts away from the trifles we lack and towards the amazing blessings that are already ours… The key that unlocks the treasury of joy is gratitude. Even more significantly, gratitude lifts our eyes from the gift to to see the Giver.
From Chapter 4:
Seeing hardship as God’s discipline is revolutionary. It has the potential to transform our attitude to suffering.
Hardship is not a sign that God dislikes or disowns us. Quite the opposite. It is a sign that he loves us and accepts us as his children.
God has a purpose for our suffering. He’s using hardship to shape us and grow us:… “God disciplines us for our good in order that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10)… in God’s hands bad things are also full of purpose.
Remember, our discipline as sons and daughters of God is modelled on the perfecting of Jesus the Son (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8). For Jesus, discipline didn’t mean correcting what was wrong, but equipping him for his role. In the same way, God the Father carefully organises all the circumstances of our lives to equip us to trust him and to serve him.
God disciplines us to refine our faith, wean us from idols, unsettle our self-reliance, display his power and direct us heavenwards. Above all he disciplines us so that we turn from futile sources of joy to find true joy in him.
From Chapter 5:
Seeing God as our Father radically changes your attitude to religious duties. It turns religion into relationship.
For Jesus, the intimacy of heaven is continued here on earth in the intimacy of prayer.
We ask the king of heaven to give us gifts with every expectation that he can and will hear us. Why? Because the Spirit of God testifies to our spirits that we are God’s children and prompts us to call on God as our Father… That is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit connects us to the Father, assuring us that he’s our Father and that he delights to hear our cry.
When we bring our requests before God, we’re affirming that he’s both willing and able. We glorify both his power and love. We’re treating him as the kind, capable Father that he is. And so he’s honoured by our prayers.
Personally I find it helpful to think of prayer as a place to be with God… I think of God filling the space in which I’m located. Heaven seeps into my world. I create this space in my imagination: on the outside is the rest of the world; inside I’m with my heavenly Father.
The key thing is to think of prayer as relating to your Father rather than performing a task.