When John Owen writes about saints, he is referring to all Christians, not those who have been specially recognised by the church.
The chief way by which the saints have communion with the Father is love – free, undeserved, eternal love. This love the Father pours on the saints. Saints are to see God as full of love to them. They are to receive him as the One who loves them, and are to be full of praise and thanksgiving to God for his love. They are to show gratitude for his love by living a life which pleases him.
John Owen, Communion with God
Sadly I don’t anticipate that this post will mark the beginning of a golden era of blog posts here, but I wanted to share this before I forget. Quoted below are two verses of a hymn I came across about a week ago. Take a minute or two now to reflect on the words, and what they say about God and us.
In Him is only good,
in me is only ill;
my ill but draws His goodess forth,
and me He loveth still.
‘Tis He who saveth me,
and freely pardon gives;
I love because He loveth me,
I live because He lives.
From “I bless the Christ of God” by Horatius Bonar
How can a young Christian serve their church?
I get the impression that young people in churches are sometimes keen to help, but don’t know how. They get put on teams to serve tea, or do other fairly small tasks, and this is great. I think it’s really valuable to be involved in practical service, but I want to suggest there is a real spiritual service open to even the youngest Christians.
In order to serve the church, it is necessary to serve the people within the church. There is no abstract ‘church’ which is somehow distinct from the Christians who meet together. The church is the body of Christ, a united nation. Time and time again, the New Testament speaks of the church in language which is both corporate and personal.
So how can a young person serve their church? They may not be able to preach, or help with regular meetings, but they can serve the people of the church. Serving tea is a great example, but it needn’t stop there. Befriending people is a valuable service to the church. Talking about God’s work in your life is bound to encourage other believers. Asking people for help to understand the Bible will bring the church together. Offering to pray for people will not go unappreciated. The list is almost endless.
A good church should be a loving community of Christians, mirroring the loving community of God. Let us show love to those Christians around us, seeking to build them up and helping them fix their eyes upon Jesus.
If you want to serve your church, serve the people.
I’ve been in Bournemouth for a week so this week’s blog post will just be a short quote.
God has thoughts of love in all He does to His people. The ground of His dealings with us is love (though the occasion may be sin), the manner of His dealings is love, and the purpose of His dealings is love.
That’s a good thought to meditate on and chew over. Sorry I can’t remember where I first came across this. If you’re interested I’m sure google will help you out.
I’ve just been listening to some Eels songs on spotify, and noticed an interesting lyric in one. It went:
God shine your light down here
Shine on the love
Love of the loveless
I don’t know if anything profound was meant (I don’t suppose so) but it did strike me that it’s a plea which describes exactly what God has already done. By sending Christ (who is the light of the world, John 8:12) to earth, God has shown love to the loveless. We have nothing in us to commend us to God, and even our best efforts at good living are filthy rags in His eyes (Isaiah 46:4). Our only access to God comes through Jesus (John 14:6) who came to earth so we could repent of our wrongdoing (Luke 5:32) and be accepted by God (1 John 1:9).
The Eels capture it quite nicely in another of their songs, in which they sing:
You don’t need a thing from me
but I need something big from you
And now, in the title of another Eels song, “I need some sleep”.
I’m grateful to God for my dad for many reasons, but with today being fathers’ day I’ve been particularly struck by one reason for thankfulness. Without a loving father, the idea of a loving Father is meaningless. My dad helps me understand my Dad.
I love them both dearly, and I thank God for giving me a father on earth who demonstrates love towards me as a picture of God. So many people seem to be without a loving earthly father, and while of course they can still come to our heavenly Father I would imagine some must struggle with the idea of a father being loving.
I’m grateful my upbringing includes both my father and my Father, and both love me dearly.