The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(For The Family)
I didn't know about the gift.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments, as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore" (Psalm 133:1-3).
I did not grow up in church, although throughout my childhood, I always found the things I heard or read about the Lord Jesus Christ very interesting. However, I knew very little about salvation and its glorious blessedness. When I became a born again believer on September 17, 1975, I did realize my sins were forgiven, God became my Father, eternity with Him was assured, and He called me to live a life that reflected well on the Lord Jesus and served as a blessing to others. Still, I didn't know about the gift.
"Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3:13-15).
I did not know about the gift of family, that is, the spiritual family into which the Holy Spirit births us when we believe. I did not know God gave to me the gift of people - brothers and sisters who trusted Him like myself, and who would prove to be blessings so immeasurably wonderful that I will never have enough opportunity to give adequate thanks. I did not know that while I cannot see the Lord Jesus in this present lifetime, I have seen Him dwelling and walking in His people (II Corinthians 6:16). I did not know I would find my wife among the holy company, or that we would have children who would join us therein. I did not know I would live my earthly lifetime with "the whole family of Heaven and earth" as a prelude for a joyous eternity together with our Lord and each other. And I did not know I would meet so many of His children as the result of these devotionals that graciously grant me another immeasurably wonderful gift, namely, your fellowship and friendship.
I did not know about the gift. But I know about it now. I have seen the glory of God in so many faces, and in so many places. Homes, churches, neighborhoods, workplaces, retirement communities, nursing homes, rescue missions, hospitals, restaurants, coffeeshops, mountain trails, and so many venues where I have encountered the living God among His enlivened sons and daughters in Christ. In days that often seem dark, I have seen one believer after another beautifully illuminate the pathways of a fallen world, even as the Apostle Paul declared of the church: "Ye shine as lights in the world" (Phillipians 2:15).
I don't allow myself to often ponder the dark thought of what my life would have been like without that day God so graciously led me to Himself. It would not have been life. "To live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). Moreover, I think of the people I would never have known, including all of you. No, I rarely allow the dark thought because it too sad to contemplate. Instead, I seek to dwell on the gift, the Gift of Himself, that God gave to me so long ago. And I dwell on the gift of His people, His sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters. Great light fills my heart as I do, and also the yearning to find words to properly express my gratitude for such grace. Such words do not exist, however. So, I bow my head to ask the Lord to look into my heart to see that which I could never express.
I did not know about the gift before I believed. But since that blessed day, I grow in the knowledge, and even more, in the wonder that with Himself, God gave to us each other when we believed. The Lord Jesus Himself rejoices in the gift, and we close with His beckoning to see and rejoice in the family, in His family…
"For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, I will put My trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given Me."
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now."
Weekly Memory Verse
"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends."