Called With Promise

My husband, Nate, and I made resolutions to read through the Bible this year. We chose a chronological plan, which in hindsight might not have been the best idea. We’ll be in the Old Testament until October!

Genesis 12 begins the narrative of Abraham, the first of the Patriarchs. When God calls Abram, He makes a covenant promise that becomes the foundation for the people of Israel and really, the coming of Christ. “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram left, as the LORD had told him.”

God’s call to Abram came with a promise of blessing and abundance. Yahweh didn’t merely say, “Get up and go.” Purpose surrounded the command of the Lord; the purpose of bringing into being a people group through whom the savior of the world would come and die on the cross. With the command to go came the promise of blessing.

Likewise, we are called in purpose and not only with the promise of blessing, but with the Promised Blessing, Jesus Christ. Paul wrote that all promises are “yes” and “amen” in Christ (2 Cor. 1). Every instruction that we receive from the Lord comes with a Promise – that Person of Christ who fulfills all prophecy and provides for all needs. Whatever He asks of us we can be confident of His blessing to be with us, for the culmination of the blessing which was spoken to Abram was the gift of Jesus Christ.

We are not asked to live according to the Word of God without the promise of His blessing and His Spirit. We are, thus, without excuse when it comes to our sanctification, that process by which we are becoming more like Christ and by which the fruit of the Spirit is increasing. He who provided Christ will provide all that we need (Romans 8). We have “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1). So let us hear this charge from Peter with confidence that we can indeed live in holiness:

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy.'”


Eyes-Open Living

A few weeks ago I was driving up the mountain at dusk. The winter trees outlined against the darkening horizon atop the ridges looked like bristles on a brush. The color resting on the mountains looked like God had laid a blanket down on the hills and said, “Goodnight.” The spot of bright red sunset reminded me of an incident a few months earlier. My husband spilled red Koolaid on the carpet. Or rather, the dog did. My husband was merely the intelligent accomplice who left the glass of Koolaid sitting by the couch on the living room floor. I think he has 10% greater bicep strength after his regiment of cleaning activities.

I’ve decided this 2011 to live with my eyes open. No more bumping around my days, letting things go unnoticed. For instance, have you ever noticed how many bird nests you can see in the winter time? I started to count them as I was driving down the highway. I don’t think I got more than a mile before I stopped because it was too dizzying trying to count all those high-twig-dwelling places. I felt that, by trying, I had seen secret things. I had noticed what other motorists had not.

Eyes-open living requires intentionality. It’s being on edge always, not in the “unpeaceful” sense, but in the “readiness” sense. It’s being ready to recognize the small things and the things that are less obtrusive than internet, television, or so much of the other noise that demands our attention. It’s making choices to forgo some of those dominant things in our lives to give time and energy to something that may be initially unattractive, like reading or taking a walk. Sometimes it’s the hard choice. After a while it becomes the easy choice.

Eyes-open living is a discipline, like fasting or prayer. It takes time and steadfastness. It becomes part of how we function, woven into our daily happenings. It’s a change of perspective. The other day I laid down on my kitchen floor. Not a pre-meditated decision, but a spontaneous action borne out of play time with my son. Looking out that window from that perspective was a fresh experience. I started to experiment by sitting in chairs or places around my house where I normally didn’t sit. It expanded my appreciation for my house. It added newness to the stale moments of my day.

My eyes-open living tends toward nature observation, like noticing sparrows picking at food on a concrete sidewalk downtown, or bees drinking from flowers. A few weeks ago while playing the piano at church, I looked down to see three ants carrying crumbs across the platform. This amused me greatly. Here I was involved in worshiping the Lord Almighty while three tiny creatures who were not capable of cognitively recognizing of this Almighty Lord collected their food without a care. It was like Matthew 6:26  in action, except instead of birds it was ants that the heavenly Father was feeding.

I invite you to join me in this eyes-open pursuit. I’d enjoy hearing from you the little things that pique your interest as you keep your eyes open to your surroundings. May the Lord bless our efforts to enjoy his creation and his people in new ways.