Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)
“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart …”
I recall years ago sitting in a large church auditorium listening to the Words being preached. During those years I was struck, more than once, by the words of John, ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God, for that is what we are.’ (1Jn 3:1) I highlighted it in my Bible, thought of it often. I was captivated by the idea, the possibility that I, weak, foolish, timid and puffed up Rick Newman might actually, someday, become a child of the living God.
“For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”
I was also attracted by His character and reputation, by His power and authority – unsurpassed in all the universe. Yes I was wooed by his name – Jehovah, God of the Armies, the God who Serves. And more than that, over the years I’ve come to realize that God has adopted me (and you perhaps) as an equal and integral member of His vast and wonderful family. God boldly and without apology has given us His name.
AN AUGUST CELEBRATION
I was first formally introduced to Jesus in August of 1968 or 1969, I don’t remember which. It was in a small wooden cabin in central Tennessee, sitting beside a guide, who himself knew and introduced me to Jesus. It was the first time in my life I ever acknowledged outside of my own heart that I needed help for my hopeless internal condition. I was lost and knew it. And right there in that cabin, Jesus came to the rescue of just another 15 year-old boy, whose life and eternity was forever changed.
I have subsequently spent my whole life, some 52 years now, pursuing and being pursued by the love of God that ‘the Father has bestowed upon us’. To be sure my pursuit was sporadic, weak, up-and-down, and even questionable. But His was steadfast and true. And after all these years, He is still here, I am still His and He is still mine.
AN AUGUST SENSE OF GRATITUDE
Now here in August 2020 I am grateful beyond words for the outrageous way God has loved and pursued me. I am also grateful for the part my parents played in ensuring I was in a place where I was likely to be introduced to Jesus. And for the Pastor of that church; for the man whose cabin I was allowed to sleep in; and for the guide who led me, and many others, into the life-changing presence of the Creator.
And if this is a list of those to whom I owe a debt, then I cannot leave out my beautiful and wonderful wife who is herself also an adopted child of our God, and has been my lifelong companion, faithful friend and loving counselor. (Besides Jesus himself, you are my most treasured blessing, Sweetheart.)
AN AUGUST OFFER
As I did here, I tend to write in the first person. I do that intentionally, because very often when I write I am trying to encourage myself to remember and trust all the outrageous truths I have come to hear and believe about God’s love for us. I am simply trying to make it personal.
But please don’t misunderstand. Though I sometimes write in the first person it is not in any way an attempt to hold myself up as anything special. In fact, the only special thing about me is a demonstration that, if the Great and Mysterious Creator of the universe can love and passionately pursue the likes of me, then he can and does pursue everyone. Including you.
‘Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God, for that is what we are.’
‘Your words were found and we ate them,
And Your words became for us a joy and the delight of our hearts;
For we have been called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.‘
And we are grateful.