Sunday, November 14, 2010

Accepted in the Beloved

Walking into a room and receiving a warm welcome is always a wonderful experience.  Often, for me, it comes as a surprise.  A pleasant one to be certain.  I guess I am never looking for it.  Or maybe it is a left over from my "old tapes" where the message for me was that I wasn't anything special or desirable.  I know I was told that quite often in my early years.
Belonging to Papa's family ensures that such welcoming experiences will happen and not infrequently! 
For many months my contacts have been more one-on-one or with just a small group of "regulars."  It has been very comforting and encouraging.  Yet, being reminded that I am part of something much bigger is very necessary too.  I find it so refreshing!  I think in today's experience my honey did too!

Today Ray and I ventured out for our church's centennial celebration.  One hundred years!  Such a testimony of God's faithfulness! 
As a couple, we had not been with everyone in seven months.  As we headed to the gathering there was a sense of trepidation.  There was no doubt of being overlooked, even on such a day.  But - would it be overwhelming?   Would we be really welcomed after so much time or would it be more perfunctory?

We were enveloped in love! Yes, we were loved; gently and warmly.  This particular segment of Papa's family is so accepting and caring.  They truly know how to love unconditionally.
I am certain that our God enjoyed all of it with us.  He loves when His Truth is lived out.  And the Truth tells us that we "are accepted in the Beloved!"  It is a true joy to be helped to remember this and to experience it afresh!

Belonging to God is a very personal experience.  After all it is a personal, intimate relationship with Him. As with all relationships it needs to be invested in.  That means time and attention.  It pays immensely in blessings.
Yet, the bond that we have with others in the family is almost as essential.  Actually, developing such relationships is essential!

I read a story a long time ago of how a man had removed himself from the fellowship of other believers.  A good friend came to visit him one night and they sat together before a fire in the fireplace.  After a bit the friend took the poker and moved one of the coals off to the side, away from the rest.  Slowly its light began to wane and in time its fire's smoldering stopped.
His friend got his point across.  Without one another we lose our fire.  We are part of a body - the body of Christ.  To separate oneself is to cheat yourself of the life of the body and maim the body itself.  Any part of the whole is dependent upon the rest.  It cannot function effectively alone.  It is also very lonely.

Ah, it is so amazing to be His.  Every experience is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Papa.
Yesterday a precious friend passed me an article from "Discipleship Journal."  It was entitled "Whatever Happened to the Abundant Life" and its author is Jeff Imbach.  In it he discussed how we think we have missed out on the abundant life that Jesus promised because we are not achieving a particular result or certain behaviors and then we give up.  He argues that God is in all of it and it is we who are not recognizing Him.  Not, as we might suppose, that He is absent.
Mr. Imbach declares that this illusive life is found in experiencing whatever God has brought our way.  Savour the longing for more, be in the moment and know He is there calling you deeper.
How often I fight the experience of the moment instead of embracing it in faith that He has something good for me!
Today was easy to embrace.  Tomorrow may not be so attractive.  That is why, even when the way is pleasant, I dare not forget for a moment that He is faithful and I can depend upon Him.  I am dependent upon Him.
So as I continue to enjoy the sense of being in a cocoon of love may I remember that the love is real because the Source is truly real, more real than anything I could ever experience!

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