Monthly Archives: May 2018

A GIFT UNUSED

Have you ever given someone you love a gift, only to find that it has been stashed away unused? How hurt you would feel that your friendship was so little valued that the gift was tossed aside!

How does God feel when we value His gift of salvation so little that we neglect to appropriate everything He has done for us?

The psalmist asked the question, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12.

Sometimes we think that we have to do something to repay God or work to earn His salvation. We try harder to be good; we work harder to serve Him because it is our way of “repaying” Him for His love to us. Is it possible to “pay” God for His love?

Imagine if your friend, to whom you have lovingly given something that has taken you thought and planning, decides that he or she must repay you by working hard for you. He or she does everything they can to please you, to repay you for your generosity.

There is something wrong here. Does one have to pay for a gift? If so, then it is no longer a gift. How pleased would you be if your friend tried to pay for your gift? It would no longer be a gift, and the motive for giving – love and friendship – would be destroyed.

We find it difficult to receive God’s gift of salvation because we cannot imagine someone doing something so big for us without some kind of payment. What did God give us? He gave us Jesus, His only Son, not just as a person but as a bloody sacrifice to save us from our self-inflicted destruction.

I think the psalmist understood God’s heart and His intention when he went on to say, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfil my vows in the presence of all His people.” Psalm 116:13-14.

What better way of showing gratitude for a gift than to use it for the purpose it was given. The psalmist affirmed his gratitude to God by drinking deeply of all the benefits of God’s salvation and by living out what God made him to be in the company of God’s people.

Instead of forgiving those who have offended us, we hang on to our grievances and refuse to let go of our “stuff”. Jesus made it possible for us to forgive and be free.

When we embrace Jesus and all He has done for us, we are saying a big” thank you” to God for all His goodness to us.

A FATHERLESS GENERATION

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him (Psa. 103:13)

I wonder how true this metaphor is in today’s world. Not only do we live in a fatherless world where many men beget children but take no responsibility for them, but where many children suffer at the hands of fatherless fathers who don’t know how to be good fathers to their sons and daughters.

God made fathers to represent Him to their children until they are old enough to understand who God is. The sad thing is that people often reject God because their dads put them off Him. Instead of believing in Him as a compassionate Father, they only see Him through the lens of their own fathers’ failures. They turn away from Him and try to fill the void with people and things that can never take His place.

Louie Giglio said that God is a not a “blown up” version of our earthly fathers. He is not like us as all – at least not like us after Adam sinned and became independent from Him. He created us to be like Him but we chose to go our own way and messed up His plan.

To get past our dads’ failures to know God as a compassionate Father, we must first acknowledge that our fathers are or were as imperfect as we are. How do we deal with their human frailties? We forgive. We don’t have to make excuses for them or for what they did or failed to do. We cancel their debt because God has cancelled ours.

We must let it all go for two reasons. Firstly, we forgive because Jesus paid their debt as well as ours and forgives all sin – theirs and ours. Secondly, God wants us to be merciful to others because He has been merciful to us. How can we hold unforgiveness in our hearts when He has been kind to us? The debt our fathers owe us is small compared with the unpayable debt we owed God.

When we have dealt with the baggage of our father’s debt that we have carried around in our hearts, we will recognise the Father’s love and compassion for us first of all in Jesus, His Son and then in the many “kisses” He gives us every day.

Just imagine how wonderful it will be when you are no longer angry with your father. You’ll be able to enjoy your heavenly Father’s love and favour to the full because He is the perfect Abba and He loves you with perfect love.

MOLLY AND ME – REST

Molly’s favourite spot in the early morning, when I have made my coffee and settled myself in my recliner under my red “blankie”, is on my lap under the blanket. She goes to sleep again, content as a baby at its mother’s breast.

She is a very active little dog, but there are times during the day when she needs the reassurance of my lap, her warm little body resting on my legs. She relaxes with a sigh and goes to sleep like switching off a light. An hour or so later she wakes up, refreshed and ready for another excursion in the garden to chase the same ball or hunt the same “aliens” she hunted yesterday and the day before.

Rest! When Molly is on my lap, she is completely at rest.

She makes me think of the big subject of rest in the Bible. How often God calls us to rest in Him. We still have, buried deep in the old nature, the idea that God is only happy when we are “working” for Him.

I had a months-long struggle to come to terms with the fact that God was okay with my retirement. Day after day, I struggled with the guilt of not being actively involved in some or other “ministry” to prove my worth as a child of God.

Time and again, as I read through the Scriptures, I was reminded that God calls His children to a rest of faith. It’s not what I can do for Him that has any value, but what He has done for me, both in sending Jesus to take my place on the cross so that I could receive His gift of righteousness, and in supplying everything I need to live a godly life.

I reread the story of David who had been made king over all Israel after seven years of rule over Judah and Benjamin. When he had brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and settled in his palace, he expressed to Nathan, the prophet, his desire to build a permanent place for the Ark.

Nathan encouraged him to follow his dream, but the Lord told him to tell David that He had never been dissatisfied with the tabernacle as a resting place for His presence. Instead, He pledged to build a “house” for David, a permanent dynasty that would continue until one came who would rule on David’s throne forever.

David was reminded that God was taking the initiative, not him, to build the house. David was once again overwhelmed with the goodness of God. It was all about Him. He would choose the one to build His house. David’s response was a grateful, “Do as you have said.”

How often, when we think we have done something remarkable for God, does it turn out that God has done something even more remarkable for us! Let us never think for a moment that God is beholden to us for anything.

How much better it is to settle down on the Father’s lap and rest in His love and goodness which He pours on us freely for no reason at all other than He loves us. My prayers in the morning, with Molly on my lap as a reminder, are peppered with times of resting in the love, goodness and favour of God, asking for nothing but grateful for the joy and privilege of being His daughter, holy and beloved because of His grace.

Life is too full of struggles and conflicts to allow them to intrude into our fellowship with the Father. He calls us to rest in the rough and tumble of life in a fallen world, and we would be foolish not to accept His invitation gladly and gratefully. There is no place more secure and peaceful than in the eternal love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.