New Journey Fellowship
|Posted on January 8, 2017 at 10:20 AM|
This morning I awoke to a world covered with white beautiful snow and I was reminded of the way God covers us each day with His grace, mercy and love.
It has been said that the old Jewish Rabbis explained the LORD’s love for us like this: “He loves us, because He loves us”. Yep, that pretty much sums it up! God simply loves us because He chooses to. There is simply no other explication. Take a look at mankind, there really isn't much worth loving. From the time that we are children we understand the basic principle that “might makes right”. This is why, when left to their own devices the biggest bully on the playground ends up with all the toys. Have you ever noticed that it is not necessary to teach a child to scratch, or bite, or in our case, even to head butt? Did you ever sit down with your children and teach them to lie? I doubt it. The simple fact is that these behaviors come quit naturally to them. Now I realize that some might attribute this behavior to “Basic instinct” Perhaps it can be compared to a baby cow bird whose egg was placed in the nest of another unsuspecting mother bird. From the time this baby cow bird hatches it will dominate the mother’s natural babies, demanding more than it’s share of the food which eventually leads to it pushing the natural babies out of the nest. This, of course, ends their lives, but it allows the cow bird to receive all the food that its adoptive parents can provide, thus enabling the young cow bird to develop into a fully grown cow bird. The simple fact is that the adoptive parents would not be able to provide food necessary for both their natural babies and a young growing cow bird. Some would say that this is simply natures way of allowing the cow bird to survive and reach maturity. Yes, it’s cruel, but it is the way of a cow bird.
Perhaps this should simply be considered an example of the “survival of the fittest”, but in human children, these attitudes, left unchecked, can lead to very destructive behaviors as they grow up. The simple reality is that we have to teach our children not to bite, or scratch. We have to teach our children to share and to tell the truth. We teach our children to put others before themselves. But truth is, even as adults we still struggle with self centeredness, we want to take what we want without regard to others, especially when it comes to the things that we feel that we are “entitled to”. If you don’t believe me, just take a trip to the mall on Black Friday and watch what happens in the parking lot. Can you imagine just what would happen if people had no law and didn’t practice self-restraint? Things would get very ugly, very quickly.
Even when we do good, we often do it for the wrong reason, we desire to be seen by others in hopes that our actions will somehow up our standing in their eyes. The simple fact is that it is far easer to get people to do something “good” when they think that they might get something out of it. Have you ever noticed how many fund raising events are tied to some kind of raffle? Yes, they may give because they know that it is a good cause, but it sure makes it easer when they think that they might get something out of it.
Now I realize that there are times when we see great acts of selflessness. Great acts of heroism, times when people give of themselves without hope of reward, but if they were not so rare then they wouldn’t get much attention. The good news is that in our society, which has been so greatly influenced by Christian values, we have traditionally held up these people as glowing examples of the kind of people that we should all aspire to become, even though this type of behavior goes against much of our cultural norms and flies directly in the face of the winning attitude which is usually promoted as the means of being a true American success. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that those who pursue this “winning attitude” never give, no they are encouraged to be givers, but their giving is always kept within certain parameters: a truly successful person should give, just not too much, and they should always look for the trade off.
Here is the point: man is rotten. Yes, rotten to the core. Throughout mankind’s history there has always been murder and rape, stealing and war. Many have promoted the idea of “Noble Savages” but archaeologists have found that among at least some of those groups there is strong evidence of human sacrifice and even cannibalism. Do you remember the book “Through Gates of Splendor”. The Alca Indians not only killed the five missionaries, who tried to reach out to them, but were already on the verge of extinction because their preferred method of solving conflict was simply to go and spear someone.
You see, the Bible tells us that the human heart, (the very center of our being) is “...deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked...” (Jeremiah 17:9). It further tells us in the book of Isaiah that “... we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (64:6) Perhaps this is also why we find in the book of Lamentations that “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed,...” (3:22) In fact, it further tells us that: “They (His mercies) are new every morning:...”(vs 23).Yes, every morning He dumps a fresh batch of mercy right out of heaven, right on us. He gives us the mercy that we need, right when we need it.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:...” (Romans 5:20) Wow, just like the snow outside, God pours out His grace and mercy, not in response to our righteousness, but rather in response to our sin. The Apostle Paul also wrote this in 1 Timothy 1:15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Now I don’t know what that does for you, but it sure gives me a lot of hope. You see, if Jesus came into the world to save sinners, then I am immensely qualified! Now that brings us back to the "why". Well, the answer is simple and the answer is true: it’s because He loves us! John 3:16 makes it as simple as it can be put: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, God loves us because He loves us, and He saves us because He wants to.
Enjoy your day in the snow, and may God Bless and watch over each and every one of you!