Week 1 - Father's Love

Tom Harding

What is your guilty pleasure?

2/3 — Instant Gratifier — ate the marshmallow immediately

1/3 — High Delayers — did not eat the marshmallow, waited and received the second marshmallow for their discipline

There is a direct correlation between delayed gratification and personal (life) success.

“I researched trust in decision making for adults and children. Trust is a tremendous issue. Therefore, in the Marshmallow Test, the first thing we do is make sure the researcher is someone who is extremely familiar to the child.” 

--- Dr. Walter Mischel

Matthew 4:1–11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

How did he do it?

Father’s love -- Acceptance and Significance

Believing I am genuinely accepted by my Heavenly Father

Believing my significance is found in my Heavenly Father

Believing the right things will help us behave the right way.

Matthew 3:16–17

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 

“I AM” Statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

  • I am the resurrection and the life.
  • I am the Bread of life.
  • I am the light of the world.
  • I am the Good shepherd.
  • I am the gate.
  • I am the true vine.
  • I am the resurrection in the Life.

Dear Ann,

I have a problem. I am happily married to a wonderful woman. We have two children. But I have also been seeing another young lady for the past 6 months. My problem is that I love them both. What should I do? Please don’t give me a lecture on morality. 

Signed, Confused.

Dear Confused,

The only difference between animals and humans is morality. I suggest you consult a veterinarian. 

Signed, Ann.

-- Ann Landers

“I like the part of the Bible that talks about God speaking the world into existence, as though everything we see and feel were sentences from his mouth. I feel written.

 . . . You can call it God or a conscience or you can dismiss it as that intuitive knowing we all have as human beings, as living story tellers; but there is a knowing I feel that guides me toward better stories, toward being a better character. I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us and whispering a better story into our consciousness.

The real Voice is stiller and smaller and seems to know without confusion, the difference between right and wrong and the subtle delineation between the beautiful and profane. It’s not an agitated Voice, but ever patient as though it approves a million false starts.

So, as I write, I become more and more aware that somebody is writing me. So, I started listening to the voice, or rather, I started calling it the Voice and admitting there is a writer. I admitted something other than me was showing a better way.

And when I did this, I realized the Voice, the Writer who was not me, was trying to make a better story, a more meaningful series of experiences I could live through.”

--Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


The Father’s love means I am accepted.

The Father’s love means, I have significance.