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Beloved, Prepare Him Room

Monday, November 25, 2013 | By Leah Yin

Peter writes that we are all ‘beloved’ in Christ. Yet a few are singled out with that adjective. John is the ‘beloved’ disciple. Daniel is ‘greatly loved’. How does someone become ‘beloved’ in this special way? We know that each child of God is equally loved and infinitely loved. In John 17 Jesus prays as much: ‘I pray that the love you have for me would be in them.’

This love is the infinite eternal unchangeable love of the Father for the Son- equally poured out upon all. Yet, it is also true that some have a great capacity for this love. No matter how much water is poured into a jar, its capacity to receive it is determined by the width of the opening. Pour a massive amount of water into a jar with a small opening, most will simply pour over.

When a mother feeds her little child to take a spoonful, she coaxes, ‘Open up dear. Open up”. In a similar way God invites us to pursue a ‘beloved’ life with God.   

‘Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.’
Psalm 81

I have one grandson, Daniel, who opens his mouth wide at every meal. He simply shovels food into this mouth- with a kind of reckless relish that is very entertaining. Another grandson, Oscar, is seldom interested in food. His appetite is to play and explore the world. Eating is a necessity not a joy. He takes a bite or two and then wants to head out for adventure. Needless to say, Daniel is bigger than Oscar. He has a ‘wider mouth’. 

When it comes to having an appetite for God’s love, some are able to open their mouths wider than others. They have a bigger appetite. It is in this sense that some are called beloved- others not so. God’s love is always and only received by the openness of faith. Thomas Watson wrote, “Faith is the mouth of the soul, whatever feeds it is food.” Faith is measured by our capacity for God and his love. Our emptiness is filled by this love. Our capacity for God’s love increases the more we receive and enjoy his love. The joy of God’s love is the food. Faith is the open mouth. The important question to ask is this: “How do we expand our faith to receive God’s love and enjoy more of this ‘beloved’ life?”One way we seek, receive and grow in this love by thoughtful, meditative conversation with God- that is by prayer. 

In prayer we increase the capacity for God’s gift of himself. 

Prayer is the way we feed our faith.The chief work of the Spirit is faith. The chief exercise of faith is prayer. – Calvin.

Second, if we want to increase in the joy of God’s love we will pursue a life of holiness. If faith
increases our capacity for God, a life of faith will deepen into a life of holiness. Jesus says this in simple terms:“Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love.” John 15 Holiness is the work of God’s Spirit within us. Growth in holiness is the immediate response of those who are growing in the love of Christ.  

Holiness is not a merit by which we can attain communion with God, but a gift of Christ which enables us to cling to him, and to follow him. -Calvin 

If we want to pursue the ‘beloved life’ we must pursue holiness. Holiness begins when we empty our inner being to make room for God’s gift of himself. Self reliance and self indulgence are the twin appetites which feed on the world and reduce our faith. By filling our lives with useless passions and practices these vices we stuff our souls and choke off the opening of our heart to God. Repentance is emptying and purging our inner beings of self reliance and self indulgence in order to make room for God’s love. 

Holiness is a profound openness to God. The positive side of holiness is nothing other than beholding Christ and bathing in his love. We increase this ‘holy openness’ by praying for more knowledge and experience of Christ’s love. In this understanding of holiness, we understand the profound prayer of Paul:

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."  Ephesians 3:14-19

As we enter into Advent and the Christmas season, we remember more than a birth event. When Jesus was born, God opened the heart of the world and filled it with himself.Jesus came to occupy our world so he can inhabit our inner being. “Let every heart prepare him room!” 

By John Smed

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I learn to bless others in my prayers

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | By Admin Robin

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ  2 Thessalonians 1:11,12.

If you want to pray encouragement into others, the bible gives loads of inspiration.

In his letters the apostle Paul is eager and determined to impart spiritual riches to his readers. 

First he pronounces a blessing (commonly called a benediction). Second, Paul prays thanks and blessings to God.  Third, he prays a blessing for the Christians he is writing to.  Lastly he encourages his readers to pray for each other and for him.

Consider 2 Thessalonians.  Three short chapters filled with blessing. This letter is nothing less than an extended blessing!  Paul pronounces five benedictions-  1:2, 2:16,17, 3:5, 3:16, 3:18.  He prays two prayers of thanks and blessing to God- 1:3,4, 2;13,14  He  prays rich blessings into the heart of soul of this church in 1:11-13 (above).  Paul then asks this congregation to return the blessing and pray for him too in 3:1-3. 

Paul’s pronouncements and prayers of blessing are not a formality- a convention of greeting and salutation.  Imparting a blessing is the essence of Paul’s intent.  In context, the teaching portion of his letters is an extension of the benedictions and prayers of blessing.

I want to follow Paul’s example- to bless others in my words and to pray a blessing into their life.

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