“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Fatherhood is a great Joy and also a great disruption. Many are not ready for the disruption being a father brings to their life. The reality is, none of us are ready for the disruption, no matter how much preparation we make.
If you think too much about it in advance, you may never do it. "You can’t afford it." "There isn’t enough money in the bank, and not enough income." "You don’t have enough time." "The world has too many problems." You can make an endless list of reasons not to do it.
This verse in Malachi speaks to this. God is in the business of turning hearts. God wants to turn our hearts. Throughout the whole Bible it is our heart that God desires. Even the Hebrew word for love, “ahav” gives this picture of revealing the heart of the Father.
In Malachi the word of God is saying that the spirit of Elijah will cause hearts to turn. This is amazing, because in Jeremiah 17:9, it says that the heart is deceitful in all things! The heart does not know what it wants, it's fickle. What we think makes us happy today, can enrage us tomorrow. We can't be lead by our heart unless that heart has been born again, and transformed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Word of God.
It is so important that we live our lives walking by our spirits instead of our hearts. And allowing God to change our hearts, turning our hearts towards the things that matter and away from other things.
Allow God to bring disruption to your heart.
Silicon Valley California is home to the some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world today. There are many companies and people in this area that are constantly looking for the next thing that is going to bring direction to the world and to the economy of the world.
AOL disrupted CompuServe. Facebook disrupted Myspace. Uber disrupted Taxis. Airbnb disrupted hotels. Amazon disrupted everyone. Many look at these things as being a problem. The real problem can be in fighting the disruptions.
The church, the body of Christ, this congregation of people is important in the world. This is a group of people united by a major disruption that happened in their lives. You encountered Jesus Christ, the real person and creator of the universe. He disrupted everything in the universe when he came to earth and died on behalf of us. He did this so that it would be possible once again for a person to have relationship with God.
This is the heart of our Heavenly Father; to have the relationship with us restored. Becoming a father changes everything in our lives. It should quite literally wreck us. And that gives us a glimpse into the heart of God.
He wants us to have his heart towards the people in the world. He wants us to see how His heart feels towards all the problems and injustices in the world. He wants us to be willing to reach out and touch these people and help them be made whole in their spirit, soul, and body. This can only be done by a real relationship with our father.
Today we do desperately need to have what Elijah brings in these last days, before the great and awesome day of the lord. Elijah will turn the hearts of the father’s to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers.
Let's face it. In the world today, everything is about the individual. "What I want." "What I think is right." "What I think is ok." "What I am going to do." This isn't what fatherhood is about.
As you and I turn our hearts toward God, our hearts are always turning away from ourselves. This is what repentance is. We turn away from one thing and toward something else. We turn away from our old sin, our old nature and turn toward God, and our new, born-again nature.
For me, one way I do this is by reading and studying the things that God, my father and creator has told me. He has given me words and told me to study them, and to meditate on them, because they are life and health to all that I am! Just as he has written to me and speaks to me, I talk to him. There is real communication!
I've been in conversations with friends and as soon as the conversations were over, they would up their phones and on their social media feeds were ads related to our conversation! Why? Because all their apps are listening to and manipulating what we see on these devices and online. They aren’t trying to communicate with us. They are trying to manipulate us into buying things and spending more time on their sites, so that we don't go to other sites.
Contrast that to the personal God we know. He is always listening, not just to our words, but to the deepest desires of our hearts and minds. He responds to our words and the secret desires we have. He has responded to me many times as soon as I open my Bible. The first thing I read, many times, is the exact answer to something I was talking about or thinking.
A friend of mine was on his way to federal prison in Texas. He was on the bus in the cold, in the middle of winter. They stopped for a toilet break in the middle of nowhere, no buildings, nothing. There was a tree where they stopped and as they pulled to a stop the tree was right in his window. There was a sign on the tree that said, "Jesus loves you."
In that moment, God reached in and my friend encountered a personal God who is really there and never silent. My friend started crying and gave his life to Jesus. Other inmates started crying. The guards didn’t know what has happening. All these powerful men crying on the bus were just responding to the presence of God that was with them in that bus.
God wants to turn our hearts.
I pray today for all the fathers, that you would allow God to turn your hearts. As fathers, my prayer is that God would turn our hearts toward our children and away from ourselves. As children, I pray that we would allow God to turn our hearts toward Him, and also open the door of communication to make it easier for God to speak to us and accept the disruptions that come with open arms!
I pray for all the children, that God would turn their hearts from themselves and their own “happiness,” to their fathers here on earth and our Father in heaven.
"God, break through with your love, just like you did for my friend on his way to prison. You sent your Word at just the right time and saved him!"
This is my prayer for all the children.