Last Sunday night some of the TBC youth came back up to the church to hang out while Chad and I were cleaning. They began to kick-fight and get rowdy. David and Sean were wide eyed watching wondering how long these big boys would get away with this behavior before Chad called them out. Their “Play fighting” escalated into wrestling and name-calling. Chad quickly stepped in and asked the boys to go on home so we could lock up.
I quickly reminded him of one of our neighbors, Miss Ursula, who prays for our family and loves the Lord. I reminded him about the boys from two doors down who came to his birthday party and have become good friends. Then I felt like I had to level with him.
“Sean, I know we live in a hard place in the world.” I admitted “But what's awesome is why we live here. God wants all our neighbors to know He loves them so He sent us to tell them about Jesus. You are a big part of His plan too. We couldn’t do it without you!”
I watched his countenance lighten from the rear view mirror. Really, I think my little explanation was for my own good. How can I expect a five year old to understand this life long lesson of finding fulfillment through the discovery of who God is, How He created us, and the life He has for us to live.
Days later, I don’t remember how it came to my heart, but I started singing the old praise chorus, “He brought me to His banqueting table, and His banner over me is LOVE” It is a song taken from Song of Solomon 2:4 and I was taught many versions throughout my life beginning in pre school Sunday School.
As I studied the passage God brought it to life in my heart. This beautiful picture of a banquet being prepared for an unworthy bride. The Banquet we have been invited to is not a more elaborately decorated version of Golden Coral where we fight over who gets the biggest turkey leg. We are brought into the presence of God where we can know His promises, His truth, healing and provision. One day we will be brought into the presence of our victorious King to celebrate in all His glory.
We won’t just be shuffled in the side door either. His bride will be brought to this banquet with a royal procession under the banner of His Great Love.
Right now, though, we’re still in the heat of battle. It feels like everywhere we go we’re surrounded by the influence of evil. The world is closing in to make a mockery of all the truths Christians hold to. Every day we must lift our eyes to the “rallying standard” of the Gospel. To remember why we even bother confronting a lost and dying world.
The Love of God that gives us life and hope is the reason we move forward into the darkness. It is our protection and provision. "For God so loved the world that HE gave His only son. . ." is our battle cry.
When I was four years old my two older brothers were in school, so I spent every day with my mom. It was the best time of my life. We lived in East Texas and mom was working for a short time at the department of human services. She would go into the homes of families whose children had been taken into foster care and help them clean up.
One day she took me with her. I remember playing on the porch with a little boy who was barely walking. I watched through the front door as my mom washed dishes, gathered up infested clothes and linens. The whole time she would gracefully offer advice to this young mother about how often these things needed to be done and how she had learned to clean growing up. The most important thing she shared with the family that day was how they could know Jesus.
Being just a child, I probably shouldn't have been anywhere near this home; however, I'm glad she took me along to witness the love of Jesus overflowing from one life and into another. I pray our children will understand and grow in faith as they witness the transforming power of the Gospel. I pray they will lift up the banner of the Gospel in their own lives and continue to live for Him!
“May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose. Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God.” Psalm 20:4-5