Good day Friends! I pray your first week and weekend of 2018 went well in God’s grace. Did you try to out give the Lord this week? (A challenge I presented last week.) Well have fun with that! … and let me know if you succeed or not.
For this week I got thinking about clubs, gangs, etc. and the initiation tasks some groups require members to do. Have you ever thought about all the things people are willing to do to be initiated into a group or organization? It amazes me what people will do to belong to something they feel is important.
Let’s top up our coffee and I’ll share…
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry… Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. Kings 5:9-11a, 13-14
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:17-18
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Act 13:47
When my niece and God-daughter was dating her husband, his family had a ritual of initiating people into the family. The initiation task she was required to perform in order to show her desire to belong and her commitment to the family was to do a headstand over the toilet bowl. This she did for the sake of her relationship with the love of her life. This is such a cute story, but it did get me thinking…
What is God’s initiation task of us? Is it not simply to believe on Jesus Christ as our Saviour. To go to him and repent of our sins, of which he knows anyways. To give him our guilt. To love one another. To show commitment to our relationship with him, are we not simply required to lean on Him and to give Him our burdens? How simple is the request God has given us to belong to Him. In fact, He has done all the work. He has done it because He considers us- you and me- worthy of salvation!
And yet, so many turn their back on Him. Despite their loyalty and willingness to do ‘out-of-this-world’ stuff, they are not willing to take hold of the greatest ‘club’ ever! Over the years, I have learned of many reasons why people are resistant to come to Christ…
…But no matter the reason, I do know that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ, and nothing that a person has done or not done can change that. As long as they have breath in them, they can take up his initiation task to believe on Jesus as their saviour. Ultimately, the reality is that eventually we all will be faced with the reality of the frailty of this life.
Thanks be to God, that He is patient and faithful! Pray for those precious souls in your life that can’t seem to take up God’s initiation task to follow Him; to believe that Christ took upon Himself the punishment I, we, they deserve in order for us all to be redeemed from our sins and to belong to God now and forever. He did it all! Be his light that shines his love and forgiveness in their lives. Pray that their hearts are softened to simply receive the gift of eternal life and an immediate relationship with the Lord!
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him shall have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please be with those people in my life that seem to be resistant in taking up the challenge of acknowledging Christ as the one who has suffered the due price for their sin and lives to bring peace, love and salvation to their lives. Soften their hearts to receive your gift of faith in trusting that Jesus fulfilled the greatest initiation task on their behalf. Help me to live in His love; He in me and I in Him. Help me to be whom you need me to be for these and all people you place in my path. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. AMEN!
Reflection: Think on all the different forms of initiation you have heard people do, or have done yourself. How did the anticipation of the initiation process make you feel? Now, reflect on the tasks that Christ requires of you to be a member of His family. Compare any of those human initiation tasks with the tasks that God requires. Give praise to God for His great mercies that He bestows upon us and the simple gift of faith. Now, list those souls in your life that do not believe that Christ paid the price and won salvation for mankind. Pray for these people and yourself. May you be his voice to share the hope of eternity when these people ask, even if is in their final earthly days. Trust that God is faithful!