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Saturday, May 17, 2014

All things set in motion

Where is your place of blessing?  Think on that one for just a moment and you might come up with a profound answer.  What I really want us to do is not "over-think" our answer, though.  I want us to respond to that question spontaneously, without having to go too deep into thought.  If we were to be honest with ourselves, some of us would describe an actual "place" - like a cabin in the woods, a quiet corner in the house with a comfortable chair, or maybe even our local church building.  Others would describe a place of relationship, such as that which they have with their spouse, kids, or even a dear friend.  Maybe even a few will say it is a place of rest - such as when they can just shut off all the worries of the day and gently glide into some sense of quiet repose which re-energizes their body and mind.  For the child of God, HE is our place of blessing - physically, emotionally, relationally, and even in our repose.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. (Ephesians 1:3-6 MSG)

His places of blessing are not simply the comfy chair in the corner of the room, but the places of deep peace and tender-mercies found only at his feet. Those places of blessing are places of repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.  In those places of blessing, crumbled lives and shattered dreams are the hopes of wrongs made right and renewed vision.  The nearer we draw to his heart, the nearer we draw INTO the place of his blessing.  These are indeed high places - not subject to the pull of wrong, the destruction of sin. 

Stop to consider for just a moment the fact of God having us in mind even before he made this planet upon which we live.  Before there was habitable regions on this earth, while it was without form and void of life, he had us in mind.  He envisioned you, just as you are, completely his.  We were the focus of his love - first in his visionary creative mind and heart, then made by his creative hands.  The very image of what he saw thrilled his heart and directed the creative power of his hands.  You and I are the direct result of his creative love.

Don't stop there, though, for you will miss the best part of this passage - he created us to be made whole and holy by his love.  All we can bring to him is brokenness - all he envisions for us is wholeness.  For our every need, he has a perfect solution.  Our sinfulness could not be made right by anything we could do, so he even provided the means by which we could be made spiritually "whole" - Christ Jesus.  In restoring what sin took away, he makes us whole; in re-energizing us with his Spirit through Christ Jesus, he makes us holy.  Whole and holy - that is how God envisioned us.  Isn't it good to know he never saw us as broken and in need - but as whole and holy?

He took pleasure in planning for our every need.  That may seem a little far-fetched for some to believe, but he did.  God knew our need even before we were created and he planned for it all the same.  Each of us probably has a little bit of savings set aside in case there is to arise an unrecognized need in our lives - thinking by setting aside a little of our earnings, we are planning for our future needs of car repairs, appliance replacement, and the like.  In contrast, God knew there would be need and he planned for it before it even existed - knowing the end from the beginning.  He "recognized" the need and knew exactly when it would need to be met.  He "recognized" the one means by which that need could be met, as well.

I find that verse a little bit overlooked by most of us.  He took "pleasure" in planning for our needs.  If you are someone who likes to entertain, you might recognize how much pleasure you take in planning out each detail of the event.  From specific place-settings, serving pieces, and even decorations, you set things in motion.  Then you consider each specific member of the crowd you will be entertaining and cater to their need - some liking soda, others juice, still others bottled water.  You craft the dishes you will prepare with the likes of those who you will entertain a little later specifically in mind.  You take "pleasure" in planning and preparing.  In much the same way, God took pleasure in planning for his creation and then preparing for their every need.

Now, wouldn't it be silly to reject the invitation to participate in what has been prepared specifically for us?  Just sayin!