Sunday, December 14, 2008

Impacting my Father's heart... Advent of Joy #14

Today our pastor talked about not missing Christmas. We miss it if all we focus on is the family get together, the food, the presents and never look at the greatest gift of all, Jesus.
Pastor Kim asked us to consider several things in light of Christmas.

One was the preparations of God for Christmas. Before the foundations of the world, before anything was created, He had already chosen us. He knew us intimately then. He created this world, and humans, knowing what our choices would be. He knew, going into creation that He was going to provide a way out for us from the death and separation from Him our sin would cause. He knew that Christmas was coming, before anything else started. He set all the plans in place and everything He did pointed ahead to that day.

The second thing to consider was the extravagance of the gifts God prepared. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. We have been given Jesus, Himself. We have been given the Holy Spirit to live within us, guide us, strengthen and help us. We have been given the chance to live transformed lives. We have been given the gift of eternal life with God. God didn’t have to do any of that. But He loves us so much (just as we love our own children and family) that He did everything He could to keep us with Him. Then He blessed us beyond measuring. Our cups are filled to overflowing… just as in Psalm 23 it says,

“You prepare a table before me in the presense of my enemies.
You annoint my head with oil,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:5-6

We are co-heirs with Christ; which means that we get everything that Christ the Son of God gets. Christmas isn’t about the stuff that we get. Christmas is to remind us of the incredible, unimaginable gifts God has given us.

The final thing to consider was what goes through the heart of God at Christmas. God is an emotional being. He made us emotional as well. This was the point that I got stuck up on by one simple question Pastor Kim asked us.

“Why do we think that what we do doesn’t impact the heart of God?
Do you feel that you are too insignificant to impact the heart of God?”

That really struck me. God is emotional. He rejoices when one person is saved. He wept and was wracked with grief at the coming fate of Jerusalem, as He looked out over the city.

All this year (really, all the time I have been a Christian) I have felt comfortable coming before God with requests, and He has answered them. I have been able to pour out my heart in this past year, knowing that He was hearing me, and that He loved me, cared about me. That has impacted my heart. He has answered prayers of mine and those around me, helped heal me in the deep, dark, wounded parts of my soul. I have praised Him, danced in the streets, rejoiced over the amazing things He has done.

But I never once thought of this. The things that I think, say or do impact His heart just as much as the things He has thought about me, said to me, or done for me, has impacted mine.
I guess I have always thought of Him as so big, that though He came right down here to be with me, and to indwell me, I never felt that I did anything that would touch His heart.

We get all excited about picking out the perfect gift for someone we love. We can hardly wait until they open it. When they do, their reaction impacts our hearts, our emotions. We rejoice if they are excited… we get excited with them. If they open it and meet it with a flat, “Oh. Thank you,” then we immediately feel disappointed and hurt and wish that they would have really liked what we had gotten them.

So why would it be any different with God? We are made in His image. If our hearts are impacted by the choices, words, and thoughts of those we love, why would His heart be any different?

I never thought of it this way before. Yes, rejoicing in God, and praising Him for the good, repenting of the bad, seeking healing and restoration… all of that is good, and is our response to Him. But He also has a response to us. As much as my friends and family around me have rejoiced with me in my healing this year, God has rejoiced in it as well.

As much as, or even more than my heart is touched, hurt or changed by those around me, so God’s heart is touched, hurt or changed by those He loves. By me.

I have the ability to touch my Father’s heart.

Pastor Kim said one other thing today that made me think and put it into perspective. If we go into our santuary at church, and totally blow off worship, ignore the sermon, be singing but not really thinking about it, and remain unengaged, we are missing something. We miss that intimate interaction with God.

But more than that, God misses that intimate interaction with us. He misses us, and is hurt when we don’t show up like we said we were going to.

Don’t miss Christmas. It may be a season when the whole family can get together and celebrate each other. But it is also a time when we have said that we would get together with our Father in Heaven, and celebrate His Son. Don’t miss that meeting with Him.

We have an impact on His heart.

Is there joy in that?
You bet there is!

You and I are not insignificant. He sees us and loves us. And He has not guarded His heart from us to protect Himself from hurt. He gives freely and unconditionally opens Himself to us so that we can really draw close and get to know Him and love Him better.

I can take joy in my God opening His heart to me. I would have never know Him or understood even the littlest bit about Him if I didn’t impact His heart enough for Him to give me the biggest, greatest gift He could. He has given me the gift of Himself.

I am still trying to get my head around the fact that I can touch, impact, make a mark on, my Father’s heart. It may take a while to connect it all. But oh the joy in starting to realize and understand this!

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