My reading today was in the book of Malachi. Malachi was a prophet who preached to the people of Judah about 100 years after the first exiled Jews returned to their homeland. Malachi confronts the people with their complacency and their unfaithfulness. God’s people were not worshiping God wholeheartedly. Many were marrying outside their faith. Even more were breaking their marriage covenants through divorce. They were not honoring God with their tithes and offerings. It appears they even wondered if it was worth their time and effort to serve God. Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?
For my readers not familiar with the Bible, a prophet was a person chosen by God, who walked closely with God, to deliver messages to God’s people. In other words God spoke to the people through the prophets. Does God use prophets today? I believe he does; but not in the same way or perhaps as often as he did in Old Testament times. You see until the Bible was written, the only way to hear God’s message would have been through the prophets. We are blessed in that we have, the Bible, God’s written Word in black and white (however my Bible is in purple and white… fancy that). God speaks to us today through the Bible and, yet, many of us rarely pick up our Bibles to hear and understand God.
Malachi begins his message to the people with this statement, “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ ” Have you ever questioned whether or not God loved you? Hmmm, I know I have. I have questioned whether God loves me or not at times when I should never have doubted. I serve a great big God, a God who is not limited by time, space, or circumstances, etc. It is this very fact which often causes me to doubt. God’s word says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).God’s ways are not man’s ways. Yet, I try to put God in a box and expect him to behave in human, earthly ways. When I’m faced with a challenge and it appears God is not coming through or certainly not coming through in the way I expect, I question… I doubt. How does one doubt one’s love for them when they relinquished, they gave up, a most precious, precious thing; their son? How do I doubt when Jesus, the son, willingly fulfilled the wishes of his father to die for me? And why did they do this? Simply, uncomplicatedly, they desired an ongoing relationship with me, and you! If a human being, one I could see and touch did that for me, they would have my undying, as long as I live, gratefulness. God did that, Jesus did that, and so much more.Does the fact I cannot literally see God, or that Jesus died long before I was born, diminish the truth I am loved? It shouldn’t and yet….
It shames me, hurts my heart, and saddens me to realize I take for granted and doubt, all too often God’s love for me. God not only showed me he loved me through Jesus sacrifice he also shows me every day in a ton of little ways. And some pretty big ways to. I’ve written before about keeping a blessing box, or jar. I’ve written in the past about journaling your prayers and recording the answers as a visual reminder of how God interacts in our lives; a way of seeing God’s love through answered prayer. I’ve shared how I need to be more grateful, more appreciative, more aware of God in my life. Malachi today has re-surged my desire. I’m going to begin today, June 2, a “God Loves Me Journal”. In this journal I’m going to record three ways I saw God interact with me that day; just three, no more no less. As I record them I will give thanks, verbally, being mindful of the gift I received. In my quiet time I’m going to specifically ask God to give me a verse for the day. Along with my three recorded interactions I will record the verse for the day.
It’s kind of like having a slush fund or significant savings in the bank. When one has such they don’t tend to panic or become fearful when financial trials come along. In keeping a “God Loves Me Journal” I will be storing up treasure which will build confidence and trust; mindful of the Lord’s interaction with me. It will remind me, constantly, I am loved beyond reason, circumstance and forever.
I’m excited to see where God will lead. I am excited to see and experience God’s love for me with renewed hopefulness.
Until next time,
“For God so loved the world (Insert your name here) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16