Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The greatest gift

Let's go back to Psalm 63. "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory." vs. 1, 2. When we remember God's past gifts, both small and big, we develop a heart of thankfulness and praise and this carries us through the desert when God might seem distant or unavailable.

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. vs. 3. When we recall what God has done in the past, we remember we are loved.

We know we are loved simply because "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son." John 3:16. So God could be reconciled to his people, he sent his son to die. It was that important to him. And Jesus willingly gave his life because he loved his father and us. If God had done nothing else for us since then, we should still know we are loved. It had nothing to do with anything good in us. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.

Yes, God loved the "world", but he also loves YOU! You, the individual. You, the sinner. You, the woman after his own heart. Why would he love you and me, as imperfect as we are? Jesus gives us the answer. "The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." John 16:27.

"I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:4. Are you committed for the long haul, no matter what?

Last Saturday night, at our families' Bible study, we gathered the children to pray for them before dismissing them to play. Our teacher, Francis, asked them how they would receive a gift if one were handed to them. One child reached out her hands to take it. Francis then instructed the children to lift up their hands during the prayer to receive God's blessings. It was a beautiful picture to see the children with their hands raised. What an example to us. God so desires to give to us, simply because he loves us. Will you lift up your hands to receive his gifts?

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