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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Looking Out For Love Gifts

"Know this love which surpasses knowledge," Eph 3:19

This week I managed my first walk around the park since my operation. It is a very pleasant environment in which to think and pray and usually there is something which catches my eye and raises a "thank You" in my heart.

A Love Gift
On Monday it was a very proud pair of swans with their brood of five fluffy cygnets taking a walk amongst the trees. I know the "ugly duckling" story but I don't understand how anyone could find these little creatures anything but adorable. And there they were, within a few feet and in just the right place, at the right time, for me to enjoy.

A little later that day I heard a preacher describe several similar incidents of the Lord acting to bless in unexpected ways. Like my swans, none of them were necessary but all brought a great deal of pleasure. I call these tokens "love gifts from Jesus", she used the phrase "a kiss from God."

It has become my practise to look out for these little events and I have come to the conclusion that the more we recognise these love gifts, these kisses from God, the more of them He sends our way. Sometimes they are answers to prayer but on many occasions they come completely out of the blue and have no intrinsic value. Their only purpose is for the Lord to say, "I love you," to one of His precious children.

Living in Awe and Wonder
Our God is a God of infinite love who delights in blessing His people. I have no doubt that we miss more of these love gifts than we actually see. Perhaps we pass them off as coincidences or chance events. We are old and cynical. We need to look at the world not as educated adults but as wide-eyed, wonder-filled children, as though all we are seeing is for the first time. When we recapture a sense of awe at the amazing things our God does for us we will want to reflect back to Him our thanksgiving and praise.

The Israelites were constantly complaining. The Lord did miracles amongst them - rescued them from Egypt, provided water from the rock as well as manna and quail from heaven. He offered them the Promised Land with all its bounty. But nothing was ever good enough and every challenge they faced was too hard. Unlike the psalmists they didn't make any effort to recall all the good things the Lord had done in the past. Consequently they were always defeated by their own gloom. The psalmists however were able to encourage themselves by remembering the blessings of the past, the love gifts of the Lord to His people.

Prayer College Assignment
In January I encouraged you to write a letter to Jesus. This week I want to suggest you do something similar. Look out for the Lord's little love gifts to you and then write Him a letter to say thank you. If you were to do this on a regular basis, even just once a week, you'd soon have a whole pile of paper listing dozens of things you are thankful for. In the hard and challenging times you can return to them and be encouraged.

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