Saturday, January 23, 2016

You Are Mine

Year 4-Day 23:  I am grateful to belong. 

Another gratitude inspired by "The Lion King" and the King of Kings. 

There are times in our lives that each of us may feel lost, lonely or unsure of where we belong.  A child entering kindergarten or a new school after a move knows the feeling.  A new relationship that may or may not be long term makes us wonder. A new place to worship, a new neighborhood, a new job, a new town or a "new normal" after a loss...these  are all seasons of questioning, "Who am I? Why am I here?" 

Discovering our role. Finding our fit. These are some of the great pursuits of times... puzzling life. The sum of our questions leads to bigger questions: "Why me?" "Why now?" "Why here?"  

We forget who we are. We sometimes abandon the one who gave us our soul breath and ignore his guidance, his lessons and his leading, as we are determined to find our own way. Does that work out any better for you than it does for me?    

Our God lavishly calls us His children...yet, we are often determined to make our own way. It is easy. We make it hard. At least, I do. 

I am reminded at a thought someone once shared.  The first sin...the real sin...was not eating the forbidden fruit. Oh no. It was not.  The original sin was the pride and arrogance...or maybe lack of faith and trust...that doubted who God was...that was the original sin.  It denied His sovereignty. Not a smart move. 

God said: "I love you and all of this wonderful creation is yours to enjoy, but this one tree is off limits." One tree. One rule. One bad choice would change everything. I hate it when that happens...and it still does. One bad choice can cause echoes of pain and suffering. 

Our prideful desire to be His equal caused the break in the relationship int he garden. The sinful act of disobedience was rooted in Adam and Eve's belief they could get away with it...and in trusting the wrong voice. 

God's design was for us to be His Beloved. Man broke the trust and injured the relationship. It would take generations to make it right again. 

The impact of sin can and does ripple through time and space. Sin ultimately brings each us to a decision at the foot of the cross of Christ. To accept or deny who we are in Him... by his love and his blood.  

Yes, we were designed to love and be loved. He loves us with a crazy love, but He is who he is. He is love, but he is, also, mercy and justice. We can't just choose the parts we like best. He is "I AM". He is not always "fair" by our standards but He is always good. 

When God directed Moses to lead the Israelite people out of slavery in Egypt - he was pretty sure they wouldn't follow. Love this conversation between Moses and God, Exodus 3:13-14:

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, I am has sent me to you.’” 

Long before Popeye, God said, "I am who I am" . "I AM" and that is enough.  

You won't always like it, but you can trust that I have your best interests in mind. "I AM" and you can be free "to be" because "I AM". 

If you grew up in a house with more than one child, you begin to understand that individual wants and desires do not always play into the greater good of the whole family.  Marriage teaches us a similar lesson. Even the corporate world knows that sometimes sacrifices are made for the betterment of the whole. The family of God is no different. 

We can trust his heart.  We can endure the path because we have been given a glimpse at the end of the story and He wins. There will be adventures...good and scary...but there are rich promises.  

Romans 9:25 reminds us that in Christ and prophesied by Hosea - Jew and Gentile alike have access to His grace.

"As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”  

That is good stuff. Now head over to Ephesians 1:5-

 "he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace," 

The Greek word for " He predestined" is proorizo. It is verb and creates the thought "He called out from eternity". Time and space are his to manage, but we can choose or refuse to answer his call from eternity.  

Can you hear him? "Return to me, my beloved."  Nothing can separate us, except your choice. I AM and I am here. 

Philemon 15-16 reminds me that sometimes we lose a loved one for awhile to gain them for eternity. In this instance,  it was Paul writing to Philemon about Onesimus, who a runaway slave who had stolen something from Philemon, breaking Philemon's trust and his heart. Then Onesimus encounters Paul in prison. Prison did not stop the gospel of Christ and Onesimus finds a relationship with Jesus.  

Philemon had to lose Onesimus as a servant, for awhile, to gain him as a brother for eternity.  What may seem hard or a trial turns out "for good" when it brings us to our knees, into relationship or open our eyes to the scope of eternity. Here is the passage:

"For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord." 

Onesimus went from servant...or maybe even "a fan" of the faith filled...into the family on the day he believed. Paul and Philemon gained a brother.   

We can serve the Lord as fans but not really belong to him. What a tragedy that would be. Far more tragic than the death of a believer or a believer's life-threatening illness. Onesimus, in his service to Philemon and relationship with Paul in prison, found Christ as his Lord and Savior. What a joy to the believers who loved him before he believed. Paul was happy to endure prison to further the cause of Christ. 

Crazy?  No. Crazy love. 

Christ longs for us to find him on our journey here, so He can bring us truly home when the door to our eternity opens. 

"Never forget who you are." - Mufasa

Today, I am grateful to belong to the great "I AM". 

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