Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 24 - The Friendship We've Always Longed For - 30 Days of Grace

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

The Lord your God is ·with you [in your midst];
    the mighty One will save you.
He will ·rejoice over you [take delight in you].
    ·You will rest [or He will quiet you; or He won’t rebuke you] in his love;
    he will sing and be joyful about you.”

The Lord your God
wins victory after victory
    and is always with you.
He celebrates and sings
    because of you,
and he will refresh your life
    with his love.”

Zeph 3:17

This is such a wonderful verse about our relationship with God that I wanted to give three different versions to just enjoy the nuances in meaning even more..
Look at the wonderful relationship God has brought us into through Christ!  Where is God now?  He is living among us!  He is in our hearts, the hearts of all believers!  This mighty God and Savior is here, and we have a relationship with Him!  Let's see what this relationship is like:

How does God see us according to the verse?  He sees us as delightful and bringing Him joy!  He takes delight in us with gladness.  We make God happy!  He's delighted with us.  He's not disappointed or upset with us.  He's not looking at us to point out our faults or areas needing improvement.  No, He is pleased and happy with us!  He sees us not on the basis of our rights and wrongs but on the basis of our sonship!  He sees us as His dearly loved children, and He delights in everything about His littles ones - us!  Just like a little baby is so dear to the parents, and they see no fault or flaw in him but instead rejoice over every detail of that little person, so God sees and delights in us!  

God loves us.  What effect does this love have?  One version of the verse says He will quiet or 'rest' us with His love.  His love quiets our soul, it brings rest.  We are able to stop striving and be at rest when we see God has already accepted us totally and truly loves us without condition.  Nothing we do could make Him love us any more or any less.  We are just plain LOVED by God.  And not loved a little.  We are loved to INFINITY!  We are loved with an infinite, never ending, never stopping, eternally enduring love.  His love never ceases and His love will never fails us.  This makes us settle down in peace in our hearts.  It is like a little child that is upset and crying.  As soon as the mother scoops us the child and holds the close to her heart, wrapped in her arms, the child stops crying and settles down, breathes easily, feels that everything is okay and fine.  The presence of the mother with her great love and embrace quiets the child.   In the same way, God is hugging us and quiets us with His love!

According to another version of the verse, His love will calm our fears.  His love turns our thoughts from fears over our circumstances to joy over His protection!  I read once that every fear a person has can be traced back to a feeling of being cut off from God.  God shows us in this verse that He is among us, in our very hearts.  He is here to stay and will never to leave us alone.  
Another version of this part of the verse says, "He won't rebuke you," so we know He won't bring up our sins or point out our faultsHe isn't out to put us down or call us out.  He isn't out to harm us.  He isn't against us but for us!  He isn't looking at our sins and being disapproving,  no, He is looking at us and delighting in what He sees!  He isn't being punishing, He isn't out to harm us, He isn't going to hurt us in any way, no, He is only out to protect and shield us from harm.  Love protects at all times!  We are safe in His love!  God will never do anything to harm us!  He loves and accepts us perfectly, for He delights in us with gladness and is happy with us.  He will never cut us off from Himself, leave us, reject us, abandon us, or leave us alone to fend for ourselves.  He is here and He delights in us.  He is not going to leave, and He is not going to be displeased with us and drive us away.  He is going to stay with us and He is telling us that we are going to stay with Him!  So we are safe.  We are secure.  We are loved.  Therefore, fear melts away. 

What is God doing according to these verses?  He is singing over us, rejoicing over us with joyful songs!   God sings songs over you, like a parent sings over a sleepy child at night.  God sings songs over us because He is so thrilled with us.  He is so happy about us that He celebrates, according to the verse above!  He celebrates, has a party, enjoys us, and breaks out in joyful shouts about us!  He thinks we are the greatest, the most wonderful kids of all, because we are HIS kids!  Every parent thinks the world of their own kids, thinks their children are the greatest ever, and that is how our heavenly Father feels about us.  He feels so happy about us He celebrates!  The atmosphere of God is a party atmosphere!  There is nothing but joy and laughter in His presence!  This is the atmosphere of God, the atmosphere of  unconditional love and grace.  That is the kind of relationship we have with God. We have a perfect relationship of grace, love, acceptance, celebration and life!

The last thing mentioned in one of the versions of this verse is that God will refresh our lives with His love.  His love is refreshing. It is invigorating!  It is so wonderful to know Him, that it is LIFE to us!  As the Psalmist says in Ps. 16, in His presence is fullness of joy, and also says in Ps. 20, His lovingkindness (steadfast love/grace!) is even better than life!   This is the love we've looked for always and the relationship we were made for!  And we have it now, by Grace!
Jesus' perfect work of grace has brought us into the relationship we've always longed for, always wanted.  With God, we have the unconditional love, acceptance, and communion we have always wanted!  Grace at its deepest root means joy or rejoicing, and God accepts us into His arms and rejoices over us forever!  We make Him leap with joy!  We make His heart skip a beat just thinking of us and how much He loves us!  We make Him smile, laugh, and sing! 

And grace at its heart also means acceptance.  God has accepted us.  He has welcomed us in, never to turn us out!  He will never let us go.  He will hold onto us forever.  We are safe in His arms.  We are protected, sheltered from the wind and storm, kept safe in His love.  Accepted, taken in, embraced, found, brought home, wanted, adored, loved.  We are loved as we are.  We are accepted 100% without any condition.  Nothing will make God reject or abandon us.  He knows everything about us and takes us right now and forever, whether we ever change or not.  No changes demanded or required.  We are taken right now as perfectly fine for Him!  We are okay before Him.  We are totally, completely accepted without reservations of any kind.  He truly knows us, and He truly loves us! 
Thus we can rest in Him, can open up and be ourselves with Him, knowing we are in a place of complete safety and acceptance, a place where we are always held and understood, never rejected.  

He is always there for us, deep in our hearts, glad to interact with us and ready to encourage and speak sweet words of comfort and grace to us.  He sings over us there and delights in us with joyful laughter!  We make God dance with joy!  He never has a harsh word but only and always a soft, gentle, healing, happy and beautiful word for us.  He never puts us down but only lifts us up and makes us feel better, makes us smile, makes us laugh!  He never has a problem with us or see anything amiss in us or our relationship.  

He loves being our friend!  He wanted to be around us so much that His Son died so He could come into us and tie Himself to us forever!  God loves hanging around us.  We are never a bother or burden to Him.  All is perfect bliss between us!  Our relationship gives Him ultimate joy, and it's what He created the whole universe just to have - a place in your heart where He and you could always be together, sharing life together, enjoying each other!  His goal has always been to just wrap you in His arms of love, hold eternally to His heart and love on you forever!  In His arms, there is nothing but joy and laughter, peace and fellowship, quietness and rest.  And that is where we have been brought to be forever by Jesus!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14