February 16, 2021 – “This is My Story!”

    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!

     This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, all the day long.

         Each of us has a story to tell of things that happen to us. But to tell our story, someone has to listen. When I was a young girl, I roomed with a lady, and we had a conversation. We talked about our current romantic interests, taking turns. After about fifteen minutes, we began laughing, and realizing what we said was not heard, as we were busy determining what to say next.

One day my son and my teacher (all of my children are my teachers!) told me how people become friends by telling their stories to each other for a deeper understanding. We often hide from each other anything the world might ridicule.

I remembered all the times my parents told me things, but I did not ‘hear’ for it didn’t fit my understanding of ‘my world.’ Then I realized I will never understand or have a deep relationship with God, my Father, until I hear Him.  And truly listen to Him. As I child, I heard the story of Moses and wondered why God only says, “I am WHO I am.”

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:13-14.

Later, I read the first verse of the Bible plus the first two chapters of Genesis. A picture of the Great I Am grew into an enormous panorama of being.  All the stories of Who God IS come through Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jonah, Daniel, and King David, and more.

No longer did I witness the passing seasons, the rise and fall of the sun, the beauty and originality of each snowflake without knowing My Lord God brought these into being.

When I see a rainbow, I see Noah’s faith in following the instructions of building the ark. Why? Because of Noah’s faith and righteousness in God, he obeyed and was saved. He listened to God. Have you ever walked out the length and width of the ark?

In His time, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17. 

        Who is this Jesus? He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:15-20.

I wondered why my Mother worked so long and hard on raising flowers and seemed to adore them. I asked, in a scoffing voice, and her words from 80 years ago I still remember, “Because God created them!” When I snapped on the kitchen light one morning, she asked, smiling, “You love the light, don’t you?”

Now when I read this, I know why she smiled, Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

The light became alive in my heart and mind, when I realized Jesus said the following ‘I am’s’ while on earth.

         Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 18:19-20.

        Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. John 6:35-36.

         I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  John 10:14-15.

         Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26.

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7.

        I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:5-7.

        Living in this world of division, hatred, and chaos, we often cannot trust. And yet the one true gift that brings us unity, harmony, and thankfulness is this verse from John 14:25-28. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” 

       Knowing someone is to listen to their story with an open heart and compassion. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:12-17.