A Lily from His Garden….”The Greatest is Charity”

All of the sheep in attendance at the meeting today  possess something Special, given to them unconditionally.  .  .and free of charge.  The first Gift that they all receive is a Bouquet of Flowers made up exclusively of Lilies of the Valley and Roses of Sharon.  My Lily has been picking them since the day she was born.  .  .from the very Good  Moment she was given a new heart.  There are references to these Flowers in the Old Testament of the Bible.

“I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.  .  .and the Rose of         Sharon shall be a fold of flocks of sheep and the Lily of the Valley a place for the herds to lie down in.”

“My Beloved is mine and I am His:  He feedeth among the lilies.  .  .His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers.  His lips are like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.   .   .My Beloved is gone down to His garden  to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.

It was love at first sight for Lily.  Just a glance at His cheeks brought the Spice of Life to her heart and just a word from His lips filled her soul with the sweet smelling myrrh of Heaven.  It was the day that He gathered her from His garden.   .   .when He spoke to her and said, “Peace, be still.  I am your Life and your Love.”  She who had been forgiven much, she began to love much.

Lily is our guest speaker today.  She wants to share something near and dear to her new heart.  It is the only topic discussed in Heaven.  It is Charity, the Essence of Love.  “We are all ears, Love.”

“”Spring cleaning.  An annual event.  Purging the old to make room for the new.  A typical household conversation between a husband and wife during this time sounds  something like this.  .  .

“Honey, please clean out your closet.”  Ok, dear.  I’ve done it.  .  .now what should I do with all of it?  “Give it to Goodwill.  .  .We’ll have the Salvation Army pick it up.  .  .We can give it to Amvets.  .  .Purple Hearts can come and get it.”  What is all  boils down to is this:  “We’ll donate it to charity.”

Charity.  It’s a word we’ve all heard before.  .  .in a scenario similar to the one above.  Perhaps as a       woman’s name that we may have thought a little odd or unusual.  On our tax returns:  “Please list any charitable contributions you have made over the past year.” (To list as deductions)  The things that you determined you don’t need anymore and have given to others to get credit for.  But what does the word mean?  Does anyone really know?

We’ve all heard the same reading dozens of times at weddings.  .  .”Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  .  .”  In fact, we’ve heard it so many times that we could probably recite it, or parts of it, along with the reader at the next wedding we attend.  But have you ever heard this version?

“Charity suffereth long and is kind;  charity envieth not;  charity vaunteth not itself;  is    not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly;  it seeketh not her own way;  is not easily provoked;  it thinketh no evil;  it rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the Truth;  it beareth all things;  it believeth all things;  it hopeth all things;  it endureth all things. Charity never faileth.”

Webster’s defines charity as “benevolent goodwill toward, or love of, humanity;  generosity and             helpfulness especially the needy or suffering;  also:  aid given to those in need;  an institution engaged in relief of the poor;  public provision for the relief of the needy;  an institution (as a hospital)  founded by such a gift;  and lenient judgement of others.”

“Generosity.  .  .especially toward the needy or suffering.  .  .aid given to those in need.  .  .relief of the poor, of the needy.  .  .lenient judgement of others.  .  .Love of humanity.”

Charity is to generously give aid, help and relief in an non-judgmental way to poor, needy, suffering humans.  Not because we don’t need it ourselves anymore.  Not because we choose to give it.  Not because we want credit for it.  But because He does it.  Through us.  For us.  Not because we deserve it.  But because He Loves us.

“And above all things have fervent Charity among yourselves:  for Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  1Peter 4:8    He will enable us to Love one another.  Because He Loves us.

Free Charity.      Freely given.      Freely received.     Free Love.

Dependence Day Celebration. . . “Heaven’s Fireworks”

The sheep have been waiting for Dependence Day to come.  The meeting  will be crowded. . .just like church is on Christmas.  The two days have three important things in common.  Both are Holidays;  both are Holy days and both are Birthdays.  Everyone will be in attendance today.  My Lily has decorated the hall with the fairest of flowers from the Master’s Garden.  The scent makes my heart glad and quiets my soul.  We are going to celebrate Liberty.

     “Stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made you  free. . .”

In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word Liberty means, “freedom;  unrestrained (to go at pleasure);  not a slave anymore;  exempt from liability or obligation;   a free man and woman;  to come and go freely;  to be set and riveted to a place of freedom,  forever.”

I can hear firecrackers and M-80’s going off outside.  The sheep must be  sharing their stories about their own personal experiences.  .  .their own dependence day Moments.  For each and every one of them, every day is the fourth of July.  Every day is their day of Independence. . .the moment in time when they finally and clearly saw their dependency and their need of the Help that the only truly Independent Being in the Universe can give.  They met Him that day.                                                               

They are all filing in now and the scent of God-powder is all over their clothes. “Hi, my name is Mike and I’m a colt of a wild ass.”  They always shout back to me, “Hi, Jack.” The three Stars on my Dependence Day Coat is a reminder to me that God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. . . Loved me before the creation of the world.  .  . for as long as They have existed.   I usually don’t like to sing, but today I want to share the lyrics from a song about Love and dependency by Edwin McCain.  The name of the song is “I’ll Be.”

     “Tell me that we belong together and dress it up with the trappings of Love.  I’ll be captivated,  I’ll hang from Your lips.  .  .and I dropped out, I burned up.  I fought my way back from the dead;  tuned in, turned on. . .remembered the thing that You, YOU Said .  .  .I’ll Be.”

Before the eagles could soar, they relied on themselves.  “‘I’ll be,” they said.  .  .whenever they needed strength or wisdom to deal with the challenges of life.  Their own source of power.  Their own resource for whatever was required of them.   But they failed and  they failed until they were seemingly dead.  Then they heard Him say, “I’ll Be whatever you need.  I will Live your life for you.”   Liberty.

When the sheep come up lame and can’t walk any more, they are overcome with depression and sadness.  Dead inside.  They couldn’t move a muscle to help themselves.  “I can’t be the source of strength that I need.”  There was only despair.  But on the morning of July 4th, as the Son rose in the sky and in their heart, this is what each one heard God say.

     “My free grace is sufficient for you to make you able to do all things, for My Own Power is made Perfect  in your        weakness.  .  .in your utter, total dependency on Me.  When you are weak and trusting Me to meet all of your needs, I’ll be Strong in you and through you.”

My Lily had learned to depend on herself because she had no one else to depend on.  She had to place her trust in her own resources.  To have faith in her abilities and personal wisdom.  To be all that she could be.  She responded to the call of “Live, love, laugh,” as if she was capable of doing it.  .  .as if she were independent and self-sufficient to achieve and live a life with joy and purpose.  All along she was being groomed to become a helpless, dependent little lamb of God’s flock.  Then right on cue at the very Moment that God had authored before time, He whispered in her ear.  .  .“I’ll be.”   The Fourth of July.  Dependence Day.  Union with Independence.  The very Presence of God in the soul.   The Creator of all things, Doing for her what she could never do herself.  Divine Fire Works.  Works of God.

The Fire Works of God.  The Fruit from His Garden from the Life of His Son by the indwelling Power and Love of His Spirit.  “I’ll be Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Self-control, Wisdom, Power, a Sound Mind.”

   All free.  All freely given.  Free to those who know they need it.