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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Do overs are a good thing!

Have you ever been reminded you needed to do something just by someone's look sent in your direction?  I can recount times when I have entered a room, seen someone in the room, and then all of a sudden, the memory of what I was supposed to have done flooding my memory.  All day long, that very memory escaped my attention, but seeing the one for whom the action was to be performed made me remember it in an instant.  It should not amaze us that what is out of sight is soon out of mind.  This is a phenomena we all face at one time or another - if not today, as we age it will become more and more apparent.  The mind is consumed with what remains in immediate memory, sometimes clouded by whatever is the "loudest" thing floating around in there.  It is good that God doesn't hold it against us when we draw into his presence, only to find what we had committed to do for him somehow got put on the back burner!  In fact, he simply points us back toward his love and reminds us how much that love is the overriding principle by which he deal with his kids.  Awesome indeed!

Dear friend, I am not writing to tell you and your children to do something you have not done before. I am writing to tell you to love each other, which is the first thing you were told to do. Love means that we do what God tells us. And from the beginning, he told you to love him. (2 John 1:5-6 CEV)

Love is modeled for us - in turn, we are to model love in all our actions. There are times when we need a reminder of this, though - simply because this responsibility to model his love seems to have taken backseat in our memory. We intend right actions, good deeds, and the like, but in fact, we don't always act upon our intentions!  It is good to have an understanding of the love of God - the unconditional aspect of it giving us hope when we fail to do as we should, the drawing affect of it gently guiding us back to the place of "doing again" what we might have left off doing.  We all suffer from "amnesia" at times - when we say one thing and then totally forget we made the commitment.  In essence, this is what obedience is - doing what we committed to do.  So, whenever we "forget" to keep our commitment, we are drifting into this pattern of disobedience.  God's purpose in reminding us of our commitment is to simply provide a means by which we will get back on course - plain and simple.

We complicate life with all manner of "things" and "actions", wondering then why our brains are so consumed with all the stuff bouncing around in there. It is easy to forget what is not in the forefront, but stand assured of this - we will be able to count on God's long-term memory to help us recall the commitment we made!  In love, he draws us back in - brings again to the forefront the commitment of our lives into his hands and the desire expressed to live obediently to what he has revealed to us.  In turn, we submit again to the determination to allow him to be in the forefront of our lives - allowing all the other "things" and "actions" to settle down long enough for us to take those first steps back toward his love.

This is sometimes what we call repentance - love drawing us back into the presence of the one who helps us recall simply by being in his presence the desires and commitments we have made to love and serve him well.  WE make repentance all about us having to find our way back to the place of this commitment.  GOD makes repentance all about us being reminded of his love and what that produces within our lives.  Maybe it is time we stop complicating stuff so much and simply return to his love!  We will know we have done this when we begin "doing again" the things he tells us to do - not to gain his forgiveness or be found in 'his good graces', but because his love prompts us to be engaged in the things he values.

Some of us just need to recognize the face of the one whose presence we are in and then it will all flood our memories again - the need for repentance, the call to embrace his grace, and the love which embraces us so magnificently in its care.  Maybe today is your "face-to-face" with Jesus.  If so, don't be intimidated by what your "forgot", but be embraced by what is again brought into the forefront of your memory - his love, his grace, and his call to obedient service in his family.  Just sayin!