The Queen and I

I have heard it said that none of us is more than seven people away from any person in the world. By that I mean a direct link of face to face knowledge of the person who also knows us back.

As an example from my own life, we will choose the Queen of England. She seems very far removed from me. She is in another country on another continent and she is a queen while I am an eastern Kentucky hillbilly. But, believe it or not, only three people are between the Queen of England and me.

I know a man very well–in fact was married to him at one time–who knows the former governor of Kentucky (the governor would recognize him and call him by name–would probably even hire him if he needed work done on the gutters of his house). The former governor would recognize and be recognized by the president of the United States, if not the present one then at least the one who was in power when he was governor. And the president, of course, would be on speaking terms with the queen.

So there you have it. Only three people are between the Queen of England and me. My girls used to love that when they were young and thought Prince William was all that. The rest of us probably see it as an interesting topic of discussion when we have nothing else to think about.

But as I was pondering this thought today, it occurred to me that I am only one person away from the Creator of the universe. Between Jehovah God and me stands only one man. And that man is my Savior, my Master, my Advocate, my friend, and my older brother. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Son of God, the holy Redeemer of mankind.

And He knows me intimately. He reached out to me when I did not know Him and sought my presence (Rev. 3:20). He gave His life so that He could come into my life and my heart and make me His (1 Cor. 15:3). He longed for a relationship with me. I did not have to look for Him. He looked for me.

My Savior also longs to present me to His Father spotless and blameless (1 Cor. 1:8). Because I know my Savior I know my Creator. Because I know my Savior He will go to His Father and present me as His own sister. He will confess my name before His Father and proclaim that I am one of His (Mt. 10:32, Rev. 3:5).

Although only three people exist between the Queen of England and me, I cannot get to her. She will not receive me when I go to London nor will she answer the phone when I call. But my God will answer when I call–yes, even before I call (Isaiah 65:24). He is standing ready to hear me and respond in love to my requests and petitions. He knows what is on my heart even when I do not understand it myself. He knows me because His Son knows me.

Let me introduce to you the Son of God. Here is His personal profile:

1. His name is Jesus Christ (Mt. 16:16, John 6:69).

2. He was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Mt. 2:1).

3. He died on the cross, shedding His blood for the sins of mankind (1 John 1:7, Col. 1:20).

4. He arose a victor over death, hell, and the grave (I Cor. 15:55-57, Mt. 16:18, Rev. 1:18; 20:14).

5. All who believe in Him are assured of sanctification through His name and will not be ashamed (Romans 1:16).

6. He offers His love, His salvation, and His Father to those who, through faith, will accept His divine grace and obey Him by:

a. Confessing His name before men (Romans 10:9);

b. Repenting of their sins (Luke 5:32, Acts 20:21, 2 Cor. 7:10, 2 Peter 3:9);

c. Being buried with Him in baptism for the remission of their sins (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 10:48, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Gal. 3:27.

You can know Jesus. And when you know Him and He knows you, you will be a child of God and He will answer when you call. And when you go to visit, He will take you in and welcome you as His own child.

This sonship is available to you, your family, your friends, and “all that are afar off” (Acts 2:39). That includes the Queen of England, the governor of Kentucky, and the Commodore-in-Chief of Scotland and Submarines (Prince William). It includes all who desire it. It is free!

God wants a relationship with you. Do you want one with Him? Jesus is calling. He is standing at your door and knocking (Revelation 3:20).

To almost quote Paul McCartney:

Someone’s knocking at the door;
Somebody’s ringing the bell.
Someone’s knocking at the door;
Somebody’s ringing the bell.
Do yourself a favor:
Open the door,
And let Him in.

Moonbeam


8.25.06

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For the Children

Many times married couples stay together for their children, and they are often encouraged to do so by those who think it is best for children to have both parents in the home under almost all circumstances. People say that if we would simply exhibit love within our marriages, that would solve the problems that might arise so that the thought of divorce would never even enter our minds. These people generally tend to see fault on both sides when couples decide that their children would be better served if they themselves lived separate lives. “If we would all just do what is right,” they say, “divorce would not even be a word in our language, and children could grow up with both parents in the same house.”

I do not believe it is always best for children to have their parents together. I think it can sometimes cause many problems for the children. My mother left my father when I was fourteen. I wish with everything in me that she had done it sooner. My mother’s social worker said that at one time she encouraged women to stay with their husbands. She did that until her encouragement caused one woman to return to her husband only to be murdered by him shortly thereafter.

I have great respect for my father because I think he truly loved God and wanted to do right, and I also think I got my strong desire for truth from him. But my life was forever warped because of him, and until my mother left I lived in daily fear. After several years of almost constant fear, I began to shake uncontrollably when my father would start saying things that scared me.

For many, many years after my parents’ separation (and my father’s untimely death one year later) my toes were always pulled up, ready to jump and run. To this day I jump at the slightest sound or movement. My son once said, “Mom, every time somebody walks up behind you, it’s not to kill you.” And I responded, “Yeah, but I have to be ready for that one time.” Of course, I do not really think anyone is going to sneak up on me and kill me. I am simply “shell shocked” by a dark childhood.

I know that love is important. And it can indeed solve many problems. In a perfect world love would conquer all. But we do not live in a perfect world. I know that if both people love and both people seek to do all they can to deny themselves and put their spouse’s interests above their own, then all marriages would have a fighting chance. But one-sided love does not conquer everything, or much of anything.

My mother was a saint among saints, the most gentle soul I have ever known. But my father was mentally ill. It would be great if we could all just “do what’s right and everything will work out.” It does not always work out. And this love that we proclaim, what does it do when things do not work out? Condemn or forgive?

Does love tell the divorced person that he is now stuck in limbo and can never marry again and find happiness, or does it give him a second chance to try to have a good and wholesome marriage? Does love allow a hurting woman with little children to find a new husband to help her provide for the children and give them a stable home (with a mother and a man who fathers them even if he is not their biological father), or does it tell her she must now raise her children all alone? If divorce hurts children because they no longer have two parents in the same house, then wouldn’t remarriage be one solution to that problem? Is our concern really for the children? If it is, once a marriage has broken down, we ought to want the best home life possible for the children.

We all know that the world would be a happier place and God would be more pleased if we could all be obedient to every single command. But it isn’t going to happen. And because God knew that, He sent His Son to die for our sins. Sometimes we get our lives in a real mess, so tangled that Solomon probably could not untangle them. When that happens the solution is to “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

We can make emotional pleas on both sides of the issue of divorce and subsequent remarriage. Some think that granting the right to a second marriage actually promotes divorce. If that is true, then it is because people do not love their spouses anyway (and what good is that marriage?) or they are a few bricks shy of a load. Because, let me tell you, divorce is no fun. People do not get up one morning and decide it is a good day for a divorce. They do not, as some seem to think, skip merrily into divorce court and go out the next day and joyfully seek a new spouse. The wounds and scars and scabs go on forever. A marriage has to deteriorate to the point that reconciliation is not possible before one of the people in it opts for divorce.

We have to love our spouses and we have to be concerned about the damage divorce does to children, but we have to love divorced people too. And until we walk a mile in their shoes we do not know what they have suffered and what more pain and suffering we might be putting on them (and their children) by our doctrines that we insist they accept. People who are gossips do not have to stop talking; people who are gluttons do not have to stop eating; and people who are adulterers do not have to stop marrying.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I thank God for His bountiful mercy and love!

Moonbeam


8.18.06

No White Flag


We are children of God. But what does that mean? I am not sure we really think about it much or comprehend the depths of its meaning.

I have four children. They were born physically to me. I love them with every fiber of my being. I would willingly die for any of them. We understand that God gave His own Son to die for us. We know what a great sacrifice that was. While I would die for my own children I would not let one of my children die for someone else, not even someone I love let alone a sinful person I do not even know.

We know that through Christ’s death we were able to become children of God. But Christ’s death was a one-time event. What does it mean in our daily lives that we are children of God?

Sometimes I think we view God as a hard taskmaster, watching every move we make, ready to grab us by the hair of the head and fling us off to hell at the first minor infraction. But is that how we feel toward our children?

We teach our children. We discipline them. We watch over them to make sure they do not hurt themselves. When they are little we kiss their boo-boos to make them feel better. We take care of their physical needs. But what happens when they fail to obey us? And are we watching just to catch them disobeying or do we hope they will not mess up and even sometimes turn our heads and pretend not to notice some of their shenanigans?

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Our children are in our family, generally obeying us although they probably fail in that endeavor every day and sometimes more than once a day. But they are walking with us, doing their best (most of the time), and we continue to love them even at their worst. We certainly do not disown them and push them out the door every time they make a mistake.

And, yes, the mistake might be willful and it might be horrible. Our children might deliberately go against our will, even for a long period of time, and we still consider them our children and love them as much as we ever did. Most likely, in some ways, once they are grown, they will always go against our wishes. And yet we still love them and still claim them, and even brag on them to others. We hold out hope for them. We never give up on them. Sometimes we even say to them, “No matter what you do, I will always love you.”

We are in the family of God. Do we think we love our children more than God loves us? Do we think we have more patience with our children than God has with us? Do we think we believe in our children more than God believes in us? Do we think we offer our inheritance to our children under more dire circumstances than God offers His to us?

I heard a song a few years ago that reminds me of how I feel toward my children.

 

I will go down with this ship,
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender.
There will be no white flag above my door.
I’m in love and always will be.
(“White Flag,” by Dido)

I think God feels the same way about us. He will not give up on us. We do not need to spend our days in fear of Him, at least not in the kind of fear we sometimes have. We should always honor, revere, respect, and obey Him to the best of our abilities, but we do not need to live in fear that He is looking down in anger at us when we sin. He is our Father. We are His children. He loves us. When we are weak and stumble, I am sure that God’s heart looks even more tenderly upon us, just as we look more tenderly upon our own children when they are caught up in wrongdoing. How many times have we ourselves “left the ninety and nine” to go after the one that is falling by the wayside?

God, like earthly parents, does not take our wrongdoing into account when we are walking in the light. He covers our sins with the blood of Christ.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

This does not, of course, mean that we do not commit any sin once we become children of God. We sin just like everybody else does. But we are children of God and “his seed remaineth” in us.

What a blessed thought! God is our Father and we cannot sin! He will keep us and help us stand before Him just as we keep our own children. As long as we walk in the light and have our hearts turned toward God, seeking to do His will and not turning our backs on Him, He will love us, own us, and claim us.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

If we are children of God we can boldly proclaim:  “No fear!” God is our Father, and we are home and safe. We may leave Him but He will never leave us. And even if we leave, He will be waiting and watching for us, as the father of the prodigal son did, ready at a moment’s notice to welcome us back home, no questions asked and with no change in our status with Him.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is our Father. He is in love with us, and always will be. Abba, Father!

Moonbeam

8.15.06