Beloved

"For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.e"(Colossians 1:19-22 NLT) This week, I want to share a devotional I read with you which speaks to how loved you are by God. I was reminded my identity is complete in Jesus Christ when I read this devotional. This was too good to leave in some book, so I wanted to share it with you! My prayer is that Jesus speaks this truth to you, as you read:

"What do you do when alone with God? Many of us think, talk or ask. But when alone with God how vital also to listen! Solitude is the place where you can hear the voice that calls you beloved, that leads you onto the next page of the adventure, that says, as God said to Jesus early in the Gospels, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)

How vitally that the word beloved can resound across our lives! Can you hear it? Everyone hears voices that seem to speak for God: "Prove yourself. Do something that makes you significant and then I will show up in love.". Or we hear, "Do something relevant, be sure you gather money and property and influence, then I will love you.". In our insecurity we try very hard to respond to such voices. And then we stay busy proving to others that we deserve some attention, that we are good people worth praise, that we merit affection or attention.

We push ourselves to wield influence or make a mark. Often we call that "vocation" but Jesus calls it "temptation". He has no patience with the one who insists that He jump from the temple to show His power or turn stones into bread to prove His ministry credentials. He has heard God speak of His belovedness as God's Son. This forms the basis of what He does and knows Himself called to do. He will not be distracted by merely doing superficial good. He bears the very presence of God.

It is hard for us to hear the voice that proclaims that we are loved in Christ, not for our reputation or impressive actions, but because God loved us with an everlasting love. "I don't hear anything," some say. We are too prone, too conditioned to listen for all the other voices that insist on "success" or "results". I hear only the voices that urge me to go here or do that or get done this mandate, we sometimes think. But then we also long for that other voice.

I do not suggest by this that you or I should not see fruit from our ministries, not own property, or not enjoy any possessions. I am not saying we should not want to find affection and love from others. I am saying, however, that our identity can find its basis only in God's word to us that we are beloved, not on the world's fickle promises. In Christ we live as God's beloved before we were born and after we have died; all the circumstances in between will not negate that." - Henri J. M. Nouwen, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing

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