Red-Letter Moments

Hope you are having a blessed week. We had another
great weekend with Ignite on Friday, Take a break on Saturday and
Sunday morning service where God spoke so clearly and powerfully. So,
what about this week? What is on His heart for us?

There are some red–letter moments in our lives that we will never forget;
great, defining, overpowering moments in time which stay with us
forever. They are etched on to our heart; engraved, like treasured
photographs: images; snapshots of a conversation or action, that are
simply unforgettable. Do you have any of those? Maybe one was the
moment you proposed to your partner; or maybe another was memory of
your toddlers first steps; or the time you came top of the class. I have
many of these: memories of dancing with my new wife at our wedding
reception, receiving an emailed photo of my son Matt preaching at his
church, standing up even though his leg is in plaster; a picture of my
James caught in a time of worship, absolutely singing his heart out.
Each moment summarises or defines something amazing, beautiful,
powerful. In real time it lasts a couple of seconds, but its effect lasts a
lifetime.

So, it is with the Lord. I find many red-letter moments in the Bible which
stay with me forever. One is the three words uttered by Jesus, dying on
the cross: ‘It is finished’ where he declares that the work of the Lord is
done, and the power of the enemy is destroyed. What world changing
words! Another one emerged in the preaching last Sunday. They were
three things spoken out during the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus
told. We know this parable is telling us about being a child of God and
Him being our Father. When the older son hears about the party for his
reprobate, younger, brother he is furious, and the father comes out to
him to plead with him. The young man’s frustrations; his anger and
resentments that have built over years explode: ‘I have slaved for you all
these years, obeyed your commands and you have never even given
me a goat for a party with my friends… and this reprobate son of yours
comes back after wasting your fortune; and you organise a party for him.
UNFAIR! WRONG!’ Part of us has some sympathy for the older son.

Have you not, at times, felt things were unfair? You know; you are trying
really hard to be good and you see sinners succeed. Or, you are so
careful with your life and yet that person in church lives so carelessly
and seems to get away with it.

Or maybe life just gets too hard when you
are really trying your best to live in the Kingdom. All those emotions
you’ve buried rush to the surface; hurts, resentments, jealousies,
indignation. ‘It’s just not fair! Come on! Give me a break God! I thought
you loved me! Where were you when this happened? Can’t you see how
hard I am trying?’ We rant and vent and point and throw it all at Him.
And, like the father in the parable, God the Father stands quiet and still,
taking it all. He receives every complaint and acid criticism. He feels the
anger and hurt in every syllable. We are really in full flow now. ‘And what
about the time… Why didn’t you… Where were you… I was broken…’
Gradually we slow down and eventually stop, exhausted, head bowed
and hunched over in pain. The rant is finished but we feel no better. And
then, the red-letter moment comes. The ‘we’ becomes a ‘you’: Your
heavenly Father touches your chin and lifts your head to face Him. He
leans in close; his eyes completely clear and sad. And quietly, gently,
heavy with love and compassion, he whispers these words; these red-
letter words:‘My beloved, beautiful, amazing, child.’ His incomparable love calms you
and settles you.
‘You are with me always. I am always close. I will never leave you. I am
your ever present, everlasting, dad.’ His absolute faithful commitment to
you assuages those hurts and doubts. It pours balm on the wounds;
wraps its arms around your insecurity and anxiety.
‘All I have is yours. All my power, love, grace, word, truth, is yours to use
whenever you like. Every blessing I gave my Son Jesus; is yours. It is
not mine anymore. It is ours. You are the joint owner of heaven and all
its resources. It’s all yours.’ His infinite generosity eclipses your sense of
injustice. All your lack and inability; all your limitations and poor
resources are submerged under a flood of infinite blessings and
heavenly favour. You are the richest person in the universe and your
confidence steps out of the tomb.
You look at Him, shame-faced and apologetic. And He simply smiles
and loves you. You look at yourself, and slowly, astonishingly, begin to
see who you really are: a loved, cherished, blessed, precious, wealthy,
powerful, child of God.

That moment changes everything; your perspective, your attitude, your
identity. Those words are etched on to our heart; engraved, like
treasured photographs: images; snapshots that are simply unforgettable.
Today, and every day, there is a truth that dwarfs every doubt and fear,
cancels our every failure, fills all lack. It is this:
You … Are … A … Child … Of … God.

Walk it; work it; love it!