At Home With Family

Ephesians makes me feel at home with God. I am His own child and joint heir to an inheritance I cannot begin to imagine. I hear powerful words of encouragement in 3:17-21.

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 

Now all glory to God, who is able through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (NASB)

Knowing Christ feels at home in my heart changes the way I love and live. If Christ were coming for a visit, I would be in a dither trying to get everything ready for Him. If I see Him as family at home in my heart, I can relax and enjoy the oneness and comfort family affords. With family, I can be myself. It changes the way I see God and myself when I come to the understanding that He is family.

When my roots reach deeply into God’s love, I find a strength and acceptance I cannot describe. I find peace and love and grace opening my heart to embrace that love. I can’t reach the end of His love because there is no end in any direction I go. I know I will not fully understand Christ’s love until I am with Him in heaven, but I will have a deeper fullness of life if I stretch my faith and allow my heart to explore the vastness of His precious love. Nothing strengthens the heart as effectively as a loving family, and Christ makes that possible for everyone who yearns to be loved and embraced as they are.

God accomplishes infinitely more than I can ask, think, or imagine if I allow Him to make His home in my heart. Love gets wider, longer, and deeper in my own heart as Christ tears down the walls and adds on to my heart in a powerful way. He gives me room to relax and remember who I am. I am God’s daughter, and He delights in me! When I think of Christ being at home in my heart, it makes me smile and treat Him like a big Brother. I believe He likes that better than being treated like a visitor or a marble statue.

Nothing is sweeter than the cozy feeling of being at home with my family. My son and his family have been gone for a few days, and I’ve missed my little granddaughters so very much. The house is clean; the laundry is finished, and the refrigerator is full. I even rearranged the girls playroom. As I look around at the quiet, clean house, I long for the joyful noise of play and the mess that goes along with living with those I love. Jesus and I have had a lot of quiet time together, and it’s been wonderful; but we are both ready for the house to fill up with the love that makes this life worth living.

 

His Own Child

His Own Child

Ephesians 1:3-14 brings home the transforming truth that God has identified me as His own.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance and he makes everything work our according to his plan.

God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (NASB)

God’s family expanded in a tremendous way when Jesus brought the good news that Gentiles were to be included in God’s family. I don’t know how it feels to be adopted, but accepting Christ’s love and entering into an inheritance with Him gives me a glimpse of what it might be like. I do know what it feels like to be loved and to have someone delight in me. I’m beginning to see God as a loving Father who loves and delights in me more than I ever imagined possible, and that is transforming my heart.

Identified, purchased, united to receive an inheritance of unequaled value! What joy I feel when I embrace that as truth and see myself as God sees me-His own child. God’s inheritance increases as His family expands. Earthly inheritances are diminished by numbers, but God’s ways are higher than those found here. More siblings mean less money for me. That’s bad enough if a new baby is born, but it’s unbearable when children are adopted to become joint heirs. God makes it clear there is more than enough for all; in fact, the inheritance grows if it is shared.

If I were heir to a great fortune and knew that my inheritance would increase as more heirs were added, I’m sure I would be about bringing more into the family. How much more that ought be true when it comes to my Father’s family.

 

May the Lord Bless You!

numbers6.24

The Priestly Blessing at the end of Numbers 6 is one of the most beautiful scriptures in the Bible. God told Moses to tell Aaron to bless the people of Israel with a very special blessing.

“May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show his favor and give you his peace.

Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” (NASB)

All blessings spoken, prayed, or thought in God’s name carry the power to change those being blessed and those doing the blessing.

The power of this blessing is understanding that God blesses me in my blessing of others. The same is true in my forgiving, extending grace, and loving as He desires. What a floodgate opened when I allowed this blessing to wash over my heart!

This blessing may have been for the Israelites, but Christ opened the door for me to become one of God’s children and receive His blessing when He chose to come, to love, to die, to rise, and to bring God’s Holy Spirit to a world desperately in need of blessing.

God knows blessing others in His name changes who I am. Christ expanded on these scriptures when He taught me to love, forgive, and bless my enemies. That turns my world and theirs upside down, and that is precisely what God intends. God’s blessing comes when I am willing to be turned upside down, and it brings a peace that defies description.

I don’t have to understand the why or the how of this cycle of blessing, but I must be willing to let God open my heart to possibilities I cannot imagine on my own. Nothing opens the gate to my heart more powerfully than blessing others. It is the heart of the Priestly Blessing, and it is the key to drawing nearer to God. I cannot live in a vacuum and expect God to pour blessings down upon me. He created me to connect to Him and to others, and there is no better way to connect than to bless. No one knows that better than God.

 

 

 

A Time to…

Ecclesiastes 3_1Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 is a beautiful reminder that there is a time for all things in life.

“There is an appointed time for everything.

And there is a time for every event under heaven

A time to give birth and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;

A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;

A time for war and a time for peace.

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?

I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is a gift of God” (NASB)

Understanding there is a time for everything isn’t about better scheduling or mastering multi-tasking, and it isn’t about being all or doing all. It is about living life and rejoicing in doing good in this lifetime we are given. I love a new beginning, birth, planting, building, embracing, laughing, and keeping. I do not like an ending, death, tearing, mourning, weeping, or giving up. Ecclesiastes reminds me to look at the seasons of life in a new light, an eternal one. God sets my mind and my heart toward eternity, and that changes the way I see the beautiful seasons and the dark ones.

God doesn’t promise a life without death or weeping. Life must be filled with both good and bad if I am to grow and learn as God desires. There is no better time than New Year’s Day to change my view of time. Giving up my agendas and plans allows God’s plans to fall into the open space they leave behind. I cannot be well seasoned unless I go through all the seasons of life. I am learning to embrace, but not hold tightly to, the good times and lean upon Him and not stop during the difficult. The journey is meant to prepare me for eternity. That brings a sweet new perspective and changes the way I love and live my life.