Archive for May, 2014

God Planted A Garden

May 17, 2014 2 comments

gardenI planted my flower garden this week. As I was working the dirt and digging the holes, I kept reminding myself of how much I was going to love sitting on my patio this summer surrounded by thriving, flowering plants. I had to keep repeating this mantra because gardening is hard work.

In the midst of one of my many “rest periods,” I thought of the verse from Genesis 2:8, “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden.” That sounded good to me, especially the part about God doing the planting. When Adam and Eve showed up in Eden, they had a ready-made garden, because God had already done all the heavy lifting for them.

This concept of God “serving” or “working” for His children is present throughout the Bible; yet, most believers are taught the opposite. That is, as followers of Christ, we are urged to find ways to serve Him. While it’s true we are to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2), we are never to think our service toward God is anything He actually needs, that somehow He would be lacking something if we did not render Him our service.

In fact, when Paul was preaching to the Athenians, he tried to dissuade them from having such an attitude. He says in Acts 17:24-25, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” God doesn’t need anything from us, because he is the Giver of all things; He is the self-sufficient One..

The proper response to our Giver is to receive His gifts with an abundantly grateful heart, acknowledging we have nothing to give in return but our own utter dependence. Peter tells us to serve “as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 4:11).

The service that glorifies God is service rendered through Him alone.

One Person – Many Names

May 1, 2014 4 comments

Name 1My husband’s name is James. When we’re out together with friends, I call him James. When the two of us are alone in the house, I call him James, as in, “James, could you take out the garbage?”

However, the way I address my husband changes when my daughter comes over. To my daughter, James is Dad, so when I refer to him in her presence, I call him Dad, as in, “Will you see if Dad is ready to take out the garbage?”

The grandkids call my husband Papaw, so, whenever they’re around, I identify him as Papaw, as in, “Tell Papaw the garbage is ready to be taken out.”

If we’re all in the same room together, carrying on various threads of conversation, I’ll sometimes have to run through several names before settling on the appropriate one. It becomes even more confusing when my own father is present, because he has his own set of names, Dad, G-paw and Papaw.

Although not quite the same, something similar occurs on a spiritual level. God can be addressed as Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit.

Jesus, who is our model for having an intimate conversation with God, used “Father” in every recorded prayer, except for one. Father is the name most believers use today when speaking directly to God. When we call God our Father, we are acknowledging a special  relationship with the one who gives us life, who provides our needs, and who loves us as His children.

I am  incredibly blessed and privileged to call the God of the Universe my Father.

Even though the Father is the Head of the Trinity and the one we most often call upon when we pray, we are also encouraged to address our petitions to Jesus. Jesus Himself said, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12. Our petitions can be directed toward Jesus as well as to our Father, and we see both Paul and John praying in this way. (2 Corinthians 12:8; Revelation 22:20).

Because our access to the Father and to Jesus comes through the Spirit, there is a sense in which every time we pray to any member of the Godhead, we are calling on the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18; Romans 8:26).

Like my earthly relationship with my husband, I often address God according to my circumstances. Most of the time, I cry out to Him as my Father. However, situations arise when I can only relate to Him as Jesus—my Savior, my Lord, my Shepherd. When I desire to be filled with His presence, I call out to His Spirit to fill me.

Regardless of how I choose to address my husband, it doesn’t change my relationship with him. The same is true with God. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12. No matter how we address God, as born-again believers, we are always and forever His children.

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