I've turned several of you onto Brennan Manning's book, "Abba's Child". It is a very uplifting and enlightening book and I still encourage you to read, if you haven’t. And for those of you who have read it, I suggest you read it again ;o)
There is something else you might enjoy: "The Boy Who Cried Abba: A Parable of Trust and Acceptance" and Manning's new book called "The Furious Longing of God".
The first time I read "Abba's Child," it was during a time when I felt broken and hurt. I had became embarrassed and ashamed of myself because I had entered a period of rebellion and loss. I had tried to hide from the One who truly loved me. Like Adam and Eve, I cried, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:8-10)
Manning’s book helped me to return to my first-love and again freely accept my identity as a child of God and find the rest I longed for. The Holy Spirit can do those kinds of things. He has a way of simplifying our relationship with God the Father and Jesus. He is the One who teaches us to say, “Abba, Father.”
"Abba's Child," brought me a renewed realization that the Holy Spirit has a way of simplifying our relationship with God the Father and Jesus. He is the One who teaches us to say, “Abba, Father.”
This phrase, “Abba, Father,” refers to an oriental custom regarding the adoption of a child. Until the “adoption papers” were signed, sealed and delivered by the adopting father, the child simply saw this man only as a father. He didn’t have any right to call him Abba, meaning “my.”
However, as soon as the papers were signed, registered and sealed, the child’s tutor presented him to the adopting father—and for the first time the child could say, “Abba, Father!” As the father embraced him, the child cried, “My father! He’s not just a father anymore. He’s mine!”
This is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He teaches you about Christ. He presents you to the Father. And he keeps reminding you, “I have sealed the papers. You are no longer an orphan—you are legally a child of God! You now have a very loving, wealthy, powerful Father. Embrace him—call him ‘my Father.’ I have come to show you how much you’re loved by him! He loved and wanted you!”
Our cry should be one of exceeding joy and thanksgiving. The Spirit in us literally cries out, “You are an heir, an inheritor of everything that Jesus won.” And what an inheritance you have, because your FATHER is the wealthiest in the whole universe! Don’t shy away from him, he’s not mad at you. Stop acting like an orphan who is poverty-stricken, without joy and spiritual victory. You are not forsaken—so enjoy him!
Not only are we not forsaken but the Holy Spirit is there with us during moments of confusion and suffering.
The Holy Spirit’s mission is to comfort Christ’s bride in the absence of the Bridegroom. “He will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit” (v. 26).
A comforter is someone who “soothes in a time of pain or grief”—someone who eases pain and sorrow, brings relief, consoles and encourages. But I like this definition from the Greek: “One who lays you down on a warm bed of safety.” Wow! During the cold, dark night of your soul, he lays you down on the soft bed of his comfort, soothing you with his tender hand.
By calling the Holy Spirit the Comforter, Jesus made an infallible and dependable prediction. He was predicting his followers would suffer discomfort, and would need comfort—that there would be a lot of pain and suffering among his disciples in the last days.
The Holy Spirit brings comfort by reminding you that he lives in you with all the power of God inherent in his being. And that’s why you can say, “Greater is he that is in me than all the world powers combined—greater than all demon powers!” God sent the Spirit to use all his power to keep you out of the clutches of Satan—to lift your spirit, drive away all depression and flood your soul with the love of your Lord.
“we[a] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance . . . And this hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3, 5).
Father, I rejoice that I have received your promised gift of your Spirit. He is indeed my comfort and joy. He has become my Counselor in times of distress; my Helper in times of weakness; my Intercessor when I need strength; my Advocate who continually intercedes for me; gives my strength when I am faced with an enemy; the Holy Spirit, Whom you have sent teaches me everything. And causes me to remember everything Jesus has told me (John 12:26-37).