Wednesday, December 14, 2011

His Desires More Than Ours

I think of this scenario every year about this time.

I am a teenager, perhaps sixteen or seventeen and it is Christmas.  My father is going to give me money with which to go Christmas shopping, but he has a twist on the request.  I must write on a slip of paper how much I am requesting.  He writes on his own slip how much he is willing to give me.  The twist is that he will only give me what is on my slip of paper, regardless of what is on his, only I don't know that at first.

I only remember once my father did this to me.  Once was enough. I recall feeling a dilemma about what to put on my paper.  I didn't want to ask for too much, but I wanted to ask for enough to buy all the presents I wanted to buy for my parents, grandparents and siblings.  Oh, and my friends, too.

I thought about it for a while and finally wrote down my number.  He had written his down immediately.  I handed him my slip of paper, he looked at it, nodded his head and said, "I'll give you that much."

Then unfolding his own piece of paper, he said, "Now see how much I was willing to give you."  His amount was much, much more than the amount I had written down.  I knew my father well enough to know that no amount of pouting, cajoling or begging would result in the additional cash being removed from his wallet, so I didn't even try.  I learned a valuable lesson that day about my father, one that eventually transferred to my Heavenly Father.

My father was willing to give me so much more than I thought he was. . .he was willing to give me more than I was willing to ask for.  I underestimated his desire to please me and to meet my needs.  Isn't that true of what we often believe of our Heavenly Father as well?  I heard a preacher say once, "God desires to answer our prayers more than we desire to ask them."

So many times in my life this has been true.  I have been unwilling, unbelieving perhaps, or maybe just afraid of being presumptuous - as I was with my earthly father that afternoon -- to ask for the really "big" things, to ask for those answers to prayers that we really desire. . .but our prayers are His delight and He wants to answer all our prayers that are in accordance with His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.

So let us approach our Heavenly Father with the assurance that it is His "good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

"Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 
Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." 
Psalms 37:4,5

Monday, December 12, 2011

Included in Him

Once a month a group of us go to the Rescue Mission in the downtown part of our city for a church service.  Three of us lead the music, one gentleman preaches and the other two or three gentlemen come to meet with the men there and offer their support.

When we arrive at the door, we are required to sign in.  Last month, John, the gentleman who preaches, was signing in first.  When someone else motioned toward the book to sign in, the man at the book said, "The rest of you don't need to sign in because you are all included in him," motioning toward John.  Because we were with John, we were accepted to come in on his behalf.  His signature granted us admission.

This picture is so clear throughout Scriptures,  as in the story of Noah.  God told Noah to build an ark and said that He had established a covenant with Noah:

"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife and thy sons' wives with thee."

Those that were with Noah -- as we are with John each month -- were accepted to come into the ark, not because God had established a covenant with them, but because of His covenant with Noah.  They were accepted on Noah's behalf.  Noah was accepted and they got to go along because they were considered part of Noah.

Once we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Lord, this is also true of us as well.  We are "found in Him" and because we are found in Him, we are "accepted in the Beloved" according to Scripture. 

When that great day comes for us to stand before our maker, there will be no need for us to plead our case as to why we should be admitted into the realms of Glory. . .we will simply be told that He is enough for our admittance.  The nailprints in His hands and the mark of His Spirit upon our hearts will be more than enough, no other ticket will be needed.

How glorious that as the old hymn declares, "Nothing in my hands I bring, only to Thy cross I cling,"  He has done it all, provided it all, and now waits to usher His children in to a long and glorious eternity.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, 
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation 
ready to be revealed in the last time."

 I Peter 1: 3-5