Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Love of God for Us and Through Us

When I think of "entering in" my thoughts are first drawn to a song my daughter, Jamie, wrote for her older sister's wedding. The title is Wedding Eucharist and is a beautiful song. You can hear it HERE. It begins like this:

"Entering his temple with reverence and grace, beauty and transcendence mystically adorn this place. To the east bend your knee to hasten his return. Let fire in your heart, like the incense burn..." 

It makes me think of entering into the presence of God. Technically we are in God's presence all the time because he is everywhere, but I'm thinking of something more intimate. I'm talking about falling down before him in worship and awe, but also with questions, with tears, begging for answers. He is Abba, our Father who loves us deeply and is not surprised by anything we say or do. He knows our thoughts anyway, so why should we be afraid to come to Him?  Too often we are taught, "You have to be good or God won't be happy with you." Sometimes this is done to shame the child into obedience. When we do that we are in essence teaching our children they have to be good before God will accept them, which is definitely not the case. Sometimes it even causes them to have an unhealthy fear of God and instead of running to him, they run away. What does the Bible tell us about that?

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.        (Romans 5:8 NAS)

While it does displease Him when we disobey, that does not stop His love for us. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are able to come before God unafraid. It's like going into the Holy of Holies which formerly only the high priest could do and that only once a year.  When Jesus died, the curtain that divided that most holy place from the rest of the temple was torn right down the middle from top to bottom.  It's like God was saying, "It's okay, you can come now. My Son has made the way clear."

Yes, the way is clear for us, but what a price was paid for that privilege.  

I too often take for granted what Jesus did that day on the cross, being grateful but not thinking too much about it. What if I did take more time to think about what Jesus actually went through in fulfilling those ancient prophecies. How would that affect my day to day life? Would I want to get to know Him better by spending more time in prayer or reading my Bible or going outdoors observing the wonders of nature? I could begin praying through the hours, stopping at certain times during the day to pause and reflect. Jamie has written an ebook of poetry to help with that practice. It is called Book of Hours In Shadow and SunFor now it is a free download.

How can I live my life in light of what Jesus did for me? 

I think things might look quite a bit different if I thought about His sacrifice for me as I go about my day. Would I be more thoughtful of others? Would I take more care in how I go about my chores? Would I reach out to others more? I don't mean just those I know but people I chance to meet while I'm out somewhere. What about the people in my own neighborhood? This brings me to another aspect of "entering in."

My friend Morgan Paddock and her husband are founders of a non-profit organization called The Dream Campaign. I don't know all that they do but I know they live and work with inner city kids that are at risk. Just the other day there was another shooting in their area. This time it was a triple shooting that took place across the street from the house where one of the kids they minister to lives. You can read about the story at her blog,  A Day in the Life of the Paddocks. They have "entered in" to a ministry that is difficult, but I think she would also say rewarding. They are investing their lives in the lives of these children and their families, showing them love and welcoming them into their home as a safe place, helping them to see their worth and to realize their dreams.

What they do is an inspiration to me, but it also gets me to thinking. 

What am I doing for people in my community that may need help? I have prayed for people when needs are made known, but I'm wondering if there is something else I should be doing in my own little part of the world. I'm sure there are homeless people here, and I would guess many through no fault of their own. A few years ago we attended a concert by Ken Medema which was to raise money for a couple of organizations that reach out to homeless people and give them shelter, help them find jobs or help to meet other needs they may have. At that time I was determined to see if there was anything I could do in my area, but other duties and things got in the way and I forgot about it.

We do need to take care of our own family and extended family, and not everyone is called to live in at-risk situations like my friend, Morgan. One thing I do know is that we are supposed to show hospitality to all and to be faithful in doing what God has called us to do in our own sphere of life.  I want to find out if there is anything I can do right here to help others who may need help in the basic needs of life. I pray that God would help me to remember to do this. What about you? What are your thoughts? Here is some encouragement to all of us:

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Romans 6:9,10 NAS)

I'm linking up with Marvia Davidson again this week for her Real Talk Tuesday. Won't you join us? Tell us what "entering in" means to you, and drop on by to link up with us. Just click on the photo below. We'd love to have you.

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