Tag: experience Jesus

Behind every gift is a giver

This morning I was reading from John 6 where Jesus, you were talking about being the bread of life. First off, these people just like many of us today, were looking for you because of the bread that you had given them and not for anything else. It’s amazing how many of us, including myself come to you firstly because of our needs. Physical, financial, spiritual, it doesn’t matter. The point is that we are drawn to you because of your ability to provide and meet such an immediate need. But the true joy and experience really comes when a person like myself realizes that meeting my needs is only the teeny tiniest of the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to enjoy in relationship with you. The comfort and peace is irreplaceable, almost indescribable.

Gift boxes
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net

To know now that knowing you is actually the goal, how wonderful is that. I remember growing up and thinking it was all about making heaven. I used to think that eternal life was something to look forward to and that it somehow kicked in when we took our last breath. It was the afterlife insurance of some sort. But my Father, how wrong was I? To know that your true goal is to be known by me and to know me freely. Of course you already know me. David made that clear in his words that I cannot get away from you or from your knowledge of me. But there is a new depth that occurs when I freely let you in, when I understand that your love and approval is a constant in my life and not a requirement for your love. When strivings cease, life begins! Now that’s a tweet!

Striving
Image courtesy of ddpavumba @ freedigitalphotos.net

That’s why you said to seek first your kingdom, your way of doing things. It’s not about what we can get. When you revealed in Matthew 6: 25-33, you were letting us know that it wasn’t about what we can get – food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter for our families. No! That is already taken care of in you. But to get a hold of that, we have to be IN you. We have to learn how to let you lead, you rule, you be the head of our lives. I have to be a yes person to your leading and your spirit. I have to let your kingdom come in my life. And then, all those other things (the food to eat, the clothes to wear, the shelter over my head), they will be added to me because you being who you are, already know that I need them. Wow!

Abba’s Response: I enjoy loving you so much. That’s why my word says that I inhabit the praises of my people. I live in that place. When my love is accepted and received, my glory shines. Giving is who I am and my essence is in freely doing that, freely being good to my children. No strings attached. That is why I said in John 6:29 that

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

The only work I have given to my children is to believe that I am who I say I am and I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me. I honor it when people recognize my existence and then desire and pursue knowing who is behind the very creation that they enjoy. If I already gave that much to you in my creation, if I gave it all to you in my Son, how much more will I give to you when you receive and believe me. My giving is not conditional on people’s reception. The whole world already enjoys my gifts, whether they believe or not. But there is a depth of life and rewards and gifts for those who choose to get to know me. The whole purpose is not to come for the reward but to recognize that I am a good God, I am a good Father, and my joy is in blessing my children.

That’s what eternal life is. Imagine you leave a trail of gifts for your children at Christmas. At the end of that trail is a door. When that door is opened, it reveals your existence, the revelation that you are the source behind all the gifts. But what they haven’t even figured out is that behind you, you have prepared a room full of goodies that their minds cannot fathom. Your one desire is that the trail of gifts leads them to you so that you can love on them, take care of their every need, and just let them get to know you. The goal is about the life you have in store for them – together.

The problem however is that some of those kids get stuck on gift 1, or 2, or 3 or 30. They never make it to the door. They stop looking because gift 5 is so cool and it takes so much of their attention and time. They indulge in it so much that they don’t even question or choose to explore where the gifts came from in the first place. They aren’t willing to stop playing and keep exploring to see who the giver behind the gifts is. They totally miss the purpose and point of the gift trail in the first place and sadly, they never even realize that there is a giver with a room full of gifts for them! They don’t realize that the gifts are only a reflection of the love that you have for them. The whole point of the trail is to demonstrate your love for them.

Trail
Image courtesy of lkunl @ freedigitalphotos.net

Explore! Live! Keep picking up the gifts! Let it lead you to me! Let me love you! Let me show you the person behind the gifts. Let me show you that there is so much more to enjoy. But let me show you that it was never about the gifts. The gifts are all for you but it was never meant to be about the gifts. It was and is meant to be about getting to reveal me to you. There is a giver!

Taste and See!

Female Chef Serving Chocolate Shake - stockimages
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are some Bible verses that never get old to me. Psalm 34:8 is one of those. I have been meditating on it lately and every time that I chew it over, it brings a smile to my face.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him…Psalm 34:8

I just love it. It says to taste. What comes to mind when you think of tasting. I may tell you about my favorite meal. One of the foods I have enjoyed since childhood is fried plantains. I love fried plantains. Those who know me well know that I cannot resist a good, ripe, and rightly cooked fried plantain meal.

By Charles Haynes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Charles Haynes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I remember in my college days, my mom, knowing that I loved fried plantains, will keep the ones that she had for me. She rarely ate them herself but she would buy them for me. She would then call me when they were so ripe, they were on the verge of going bad. For those who watch their sugar intake, this may not be the best idea for you. You see, by now, the plantain is as ripe as it will ever get. Any more ripeness, and it’s death to the plantain.

Mom would then call me and tell me to come over and get my plantains before they went bad. Other times, she would cook them up with some rice or fish or something else she knew that I liked. That was one excuse to go home weekend after weekend.

Now if I tried to describe the taste to you, you can only use your imagination if you’ve never had fried ripe plantain. It’s sweet, it’s succulent, it’s even better (for me at least), when the edges are just a bit chewy! However good my descriptions may be, NOTHING beats taking a bite of the plantains yourself and tasting it!

Wow! The bursting of fresh, new tastes hitting your tastebuds at the same time. The sweetness that had been trapped inside the plantain exploding in your mouth. The succulent bite of the chunky middle and the perfect chewiness of the edges. Okay, so I am aware that some of you may taste it and not like it. But my point still stands, tasting beats being told!

Well, King David, in Psalm 34:8 is inviting you and I to not just hear about God’s goodness, but to step out and taste of it. He wants you to experience God for yourself. You may have heard about God at Sunday school when you were a kid. You may have heard about Jesus on your college campus. You may even know a lot about him from attending church or from reading your bible casually. But today, I challenge you to take a further step with God. Taste! Experience him for yourself. Talk to him, listen to him, dare to believe the things that he promises in his word, let him love you.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Overwhelmed? Exhausted? What's God gotta say about it?

Today was just one of those days that didn’t quite start the way I wanted it to. I woke up tired and already felt like I could crawl right back into bed. It just started out as one of those days where you question your own abilities to handle everything God has given you.

Can I really be the kind of wife he’s enabled me to be?

Can I truly mother my children the way he equipped me to?

How about that career that my heart constantly longs after? Am I able? Can I still pull off those dreams and at the same time handle everything else including being a wife, mother, daughter, friend?

Can I just crawl back into bed and pretend that it’s not quite morning yet?

I wish I could just say that I snapped out of it before my feet hit the floor. But no!

A few hours had gone by until I finally let that inner voice remind me of his promises that are always Yes in Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Let’s meditate on this verse this week.

Just the first part today – He’s talking to me and probably you. Those who are tired, worn out, tired of a set of rules that leave you almost lifeless!

I can sure testify of being tired of the have-tos, need-tos, must-tos. I just want to live a life full of power.

Are you with me?