The first time my heart was pricked…

Saved unto God and for God’s own pleasure.

I was sitting in communion service on the second Sunday afternoon of the month as I had most of my eight years. I had just watched as once again my uncle shook his head, making a gesture of “No, thank you,” as the fresh bread was offered to him so he could eat along with the church family. You could smell the bread, one of my favorite foods on earth. You could smell the sweetness of the grape juice and I could hardly wait to partake. Each time I saw his refusal it made me cry. I didn’t really know why, except that it felt to me as if he were cut off from the rest of us.

Even at that age I knew what it felt like to be cut off. I was now living in my third home. My principle caregiver had died and the next stop had been her son’s house so I could finish first grade at Sir Robert Eden Elementary School #20 at Eden and Federal streets in East Baltimore. When the school year ended I moved into the home of the family that cared for me until I got married at 18.

I knew what it felt like to belong to no one. And yet, even at that young age I was clear that I belonged to the Lord. Not in a professional or prophetic way. But I knew he was mine and I was his. Nothing deep. Just a child’s knowledge.

But for many years my heart was pricked as I observed people who didn’t know. People who didn’t have that little girl’s assurance. Not unsaved people. Not people who considered themselves sinners. Church people. People who had belonged to churches for most of their lives. People who had served the Lord faithfully. Who had declared their salvation and their fealty to Christ as their Savior.

And yet…yet they had no idea of the degree to which they were loved by God Himself. Loved. Forgiven. Healed. Delivered. And yes, saved. Not only from sin, but ultimately saved unto God and for God’s pleasure. Not to offer appeasement unto a jealous and zealous god, but to return love and appreciation that could never measure up to that which is received.

And in my experience it wasn’t being taught. There was always a constant barrage of do’s and don’ts. Heaven of course was the ultimate reward for service. But not a whole lot about love being the #1 item in the grace package along with mercy and forgiveness.

This is therefore the message and ministry of my life. It is the one sermon I preach; the one lesson I teach. God has loved you with an everlasting love and established you with his loving kindness. You are saved until the day of redemption and nothing and no one can separate you from the love of God.

He loved you and knew you before he formed you in your Momma’s belly. You are wonderfully and marvelously made. Shall I go on?

Take a moment. Take a walk. Have a sit down. Give yourself a space to absorb the thought that you are the recipient of a love that transcends anything we can possibly understand. Give yourself space to believe and receive that love. Be nurtured by it. Be encouraged by it. Be blessed by it. Be filled with it. Share it with everyone you meet.

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