Monday, May 2, 2016

Remember to whom you belong

Yesterday in Sunday School (Connect Group to use the Green Ridge vernacular) we discussed some metaphors used to describe membership in the church -- and then we used metaphors to define the metaphors and things got hairy.

One of the metaphors was something like children of God/we are God's family.  SS teacher/CG leader said, "We're under a new crest."  And that 1) got me excited because it made me think of knights and ancient families and that sort of thing, which I'm kind of a nerd about and 2) got me thinking.

For the previous four years (May 2011 - summer 2015), I lived in San Diego with my grandmother (my grandfather died July 2011).  She developed dementia during those four years.  It started slowly and progressively worsened.  She's all right.  Her short-term memory is completely dotty, but she still remembers who we are and where she is.

Being a caretaker for someone takes a lot of energy, or maybe it was the dementia that acted like an airborne disease.  Hang around anyone long enough, you start to act like that person.  My point is during those four years, I lost so much of myself.  I wasn't only living in a fog, but it was almost like I had amnesia:  "Do I like Jello?"

I've always struggled with identity, believing to whom I belonged (whether a person or a group) was where I gained my identity.  But where do I belong?  I am a child of God -- I understand the concept, but I never claimed it.  Knowing something is true is far different from claiming that something as one's own.

Isaiah 43:1 says to whom I belong: the LORD says, 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.'

So now I'll travel back to that phrase, once one is adopted by God to be a child of God that person is under a new crest, a new banner, a new sigil.  These things (I'll use "banner" henceforth since that is the word used in the Bible) state to which family or house one belongs, which name one claims for one's own.

To be a child of God simply means to be saved, which in this sense, means that you confess to believe that God is a triune God -- he is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  You believe that God came to earth in human form, as Jesus, born from a virgin.  You believe he died on the cross for our sins.  You believe he was buried and three days later, he rose again to life -- that he is alive today.  God did all the work, all you have to do is believe.  No joke.

Believing isn't the same thing as understanding; it's only knowing.  Believe me (yep, went there) there is not one person in history, aside from Jesus (the Son), who understands the concept of God being three full, separate entities in one.

Once you believe those things -- God is three in one, he was born of a virgin, lived, died, rose again -- and confess your belief to God, you are a child of God.  For those of you awake,  yes, every single person is a child of God; there are believers (those who know this and confessed it are saved) and unbelievers (those who don't accept this or don't realize it are not saved).

Being a child of God means you are under God's banner; he says to you: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.

He is Jehovah Nissi, which means the LORD is my banner (crest, sigil).  We are under his protection and, yes, under his authority.  He stands guard over us, each and every one.  He goes where we go.  He never sleeps but is always alert.  He provides everything we need.  And we don't have to beg an audience with the King, we simply need go to him.  Hebrews 4:16 says we may boldly approach the throne of God, and there we will find his mercy and receive his grace (= an undeserved gift) when we are in trouble or in a time of need.  Philippians 4:6 states: Do not worry about anything; instead, pray for everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

You are a child of the King.  When life is hard, remember to whom you belong and straighten your crown.  Under his wing, you are sheltered and cared for and loved beyond measure.  And when life is good, remember to whom you belong, hold your crowned head high, and act like it by sheltering others, caring for them and loving them beyond measure; remind them that they belong to.

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