Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lent Day 26: God's tender heart

Z is a dear friend of +25 years. She's also one of the best moms and grandmas I've ever met. Every second week, between long one-week work shifts, she  and her husband fly to another state. Not for fun. Not for relaxation. Not for sunshine.

Their daughter and her husband are doctors. So they go to watch their daughter's 3- and 7-year old kids. I'm staggered by the practical love that this couple demonstrates. They could send emails and letters. They could just talk on the phone. Instead, Z and S meet their children and grandkids face to face.

Isn't that just like God's love for us?

Our Father in heaven sent us letters (scriptures) and his emissaries (the prophets). And then, when the time was right, He came and lived among us.

I am astonished by Jesus. He became Immanuel, God with us. More than a political deliverer, he freed us from our broken humanity. He took our burdens and shame. He extended God's forgiveness, wholeness, and abundant life.

Do we care for others in the same way?

"See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, 
that we should [be permitted to] be named 
and called and counted the children of God!
 And so we are!" 1 John 3:1 Amplified

What makes your heart sing when you think about God as Father? About Jesus as our Redeemer? About the Spirit who makes His home in us and guides us in all truth?

Read more:
*Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NEV

*Jesus says, "When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you." Luke 14:13-14 NEV

*Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21   NIV

*[We are] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Moravian Prayer: God of all, we thank you that you have included all people into your embrace. Forgive us when we leave people out and inspire us to reach out to include everybody. Amen.

CS Lewis: The Great Divorceon choosing the absence of God in hell over the presence of God

"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.”. . .

“Hell is a state of mind—ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly.”. . .

“Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste. . . .

“A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see.”

“Then no one can ever reach them?”

“Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend—a man can sympathise with a horse but a horse cannot sympathise with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell.”

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