You are Godís Beloved Child
January 10, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
1But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you.Ē
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Good Morning!
You are Godís beloved child!
Take these words to heart, wonít you? They are powerful spiritual medicine. Know them especially in those times that are sad for you, especially in those times that are discouraging for you, especially in those times that you doubt yourself. I tell you friend, the truth of the matter is that you are wonderful! You are amazingly and wonderfully made by an unspeakably great Creator. You are Godís beloved child.
Where did we get the initial idea for that? Well, from right here in the Gospel. Today we are celebrating the Baptism of Jesus. We are remembering the fact that Jesus did indeed go down toward the Jordan to be baptized by John. And you know what happened. John saw him coming down the hill and said to his followers, ďThereís the One! Thereís the One I have been telling you about. Thereís the One who is going to transform your life. I am not worthy to untie his shoelace.Ē
But Jesus came down to the Jordan and said, ďJohn, baptize me.Ē
John said, ďI canít, I am not worthy.Ē
Jesus said, ďLet it be so for now.Ē
Then Jesus got into the water with John and John took that shell, scooped up some water, and poured water on His head. We are told that the very heavens opened and there was a mysterious sound, the sound of a great voice. It was the voice of God saying, ďYou are my beloved child. I am well pleased with You.Ē
Friend, I believe that if it is so for Jesus, then it is true for you, too. You are Godís beloved child. You are the flower of His hand; you are the amazing and unique creation of His infinite spirit.
What does it mean to be Godís beloved child?
First, remember where you came from. You and I are not isolated events in the universe. We came from somewhere. We came from someone. Remember that being a child of God means that you came from God. You were designed by God, and you were made of the very substance of God. God made the world out of Himself. You are part of that. Remember where you came from.
One of my favorite preachers is Dr. Morris Boyd. He said, ďWhen you go out into the night, and look up at the night sky and see the stars, remember that you are made of the stuff of the stars.Ē Scientists tell us that the world started with a stellar explosion, a huge burst of light. And the world and the universe were formed. And the earth was formed and there was light, then there were oceans, and then there was sky and sea and clouds. And grass and plants and animals and finally, you and me! God looked at it and said it was very good.
You are made of the stuff of the stars! You are made by God and of God. That is part of what it means to be a child of God. Remember where you came from. Remember Who you came from. To say that you are Godís child means that you are related, you are an inheritor of the gifts of God. Your creativity is a reflection of Godís. You get that from your heavenly Father. Your unique beauty and your unique being are things that you inherited from your heavenly Father. Your ideas, your ability to love Ėwell, you inherited all that! You are Godís beloved child. Please remember where you came from. That is the first thing to think about when you think about being Godís beloved child.
Secondly, being Godís beloved child means knowing that God wants to protect you from fear. Is there ever a feeling thatís stronger than wanting to protect your children? And God wants to protect you. The Bible tells us about that. One of the highlights of the Bible, one of the crowning moments of the book of Isaiah, is found in chapter 43:
One of the first things God says is, Fear not. That is the word of the Lord. Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are an individual, you are not a number! You are mine. That is how God feels about you. And then he says, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. Through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned.
Isaiah uses three comparisons for the overwhelming challenges of life. The flood waters, the river and the flames. Who of us have gotten through a bunch of years of life without knowing what that means? The flood waters are the things that threaten to overwhelm you, the things that are just too much. He says, they are not going to be too much, because I am going to be with you. My love is going to be with you. The rivers, the things that are going to push us down, he says they wonít push you down, because I will be with you. The flames, the things that threaten to burn us and hurt us and consume us. The flames will not burn you; they will not consume you, because I am with you. That is Godís promise. That is what it means to be a child of God. God wants to protect you.
Third, God loves you.
Letís read a little more in Isaiah 43:
For I am the Lord, your God, the holy one of Israel your savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. What does that mean? That is the way love talks. "I would give the moon and the stars for you; I would give the world for you." Have you ever felt that way? "I love you all the way up to the sky!" That's what someone who loves might say. What does that mean? Can it be measured? No! That is love talking, and that is what is happening here. That is God speaking His love to you. Then he says, Because you are precious in my sight, you are special. Donít underestimate yourself. Donít sell yourself short. God loves you; He is telling you that he loves you.
Remember who you are, remember where you came from, remember God loves you. If you have been taken up by thoughts of the flood and the river and the flames, wonít you remember that there is more to life? God wants you to have joy. God wants you to have blessings. God wants you to enjoy this life that He has given you.
Wonít you receive this blessing from Him today? It is as though He is sending you a great big package of blessings in the mail, but you have to go the mailbox. You have to open the package up. You have to receive it. Give yourself permission to receive it. God wants you to have joy.
You are a child of God.
God loves you; I do too. Have a wonderful week.
© 2010 Anthony J. Godlefski