Monday, August 25, 2008

Self-Giving God: Presence

I laid in bed peeling layer after layer from my heart and laying it before the Lord. I had grown weary and lonely from the many changes, new job expectations, and separation from friends. What I wouldn't give to have Him wrap His arms around me, to speak truth that would remind me of His closeness.

"I need your personal touch." My quiet and longing request...and the silence continued on. Would I really be on my own this time with such a childish request? Am I foolish to believe that God would care to draw near in the smallest of moments?


And the doorbell rang. Surely it's not for me. Over twenty girls live here, and I'm the least social of them all! But the footsteps and the voice came strait to my door.

"Kendra? I'm running out to my car to get my DVD player and just thought of you. Do you want to come to my house and watch a movie? "

God's presence amazes me. While He touches us through people, He is present within Christians as the Holy Spirit. He is our gift (Acts 2:38-39).

In the beginning, He was present with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. "They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Gen 2:8, NAS). Later, though God sent Moses as a deliverer, He presented Himself in their midst in the pillar of cloud and fire. His presence was known. "The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light..." (Exodus 13:21, NAS).

He is also present in His promised Son. Isaiah 7:14 receives fulfillment through the birth of Christ, '"Behold the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."' (Matthew 1:23 NAS) Jesus, more than a man representing God, is named as God's very presence among men. No prophet, even with the Holy Spirit of God directing him, is given such a name.

I have only to conclude that God's presence is an act of His self-giving nature. What God gives to us is more than a leader, a word, an answered prayer. He has willingly presented Himself throughout history for the benefit of man. What He gives is Himself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Self-Giving God: Promise

Seed of nations
Believed God's Word
For a barren womb

Right faith
Bewildered mind
Stars gave count
For tomorrow's life

Yahweh spoke
Promise of land
Peculiar gift
To a childless man

One child
Many nations
Who shall confirm
To bear condemnation?

Abram slept
God walked through
Torch and pieces
On behalf of you

Confirmed alone
The LORD bears all
To bring the nomad home

Have you ever been blessed to have someone act or speak on your behalf? Through a simple act or word, another person can remove the burden that you carry. Instead of your effort and work, someone else takes responsibility to see the results come through.

This is what God did on Abram's behalf. While there was no son yet to Abram, God promised that He would be the father of children as countless as the stars. Abram "believed in the LORD" and it was credited as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, NAS).

God also promised land. Already populated, God would have to be the driving force to make this promise come true. Abram asked God to confirm His word. The Lord did so in a covenant ritual of the time. Sacrifice was made, and the animal split into two. Those making the covenant would walk between the sacrificial pieces, symbolizing what could be done to them if they failed to come through with their agreement.

As the covenant was made, Abram fell into a deep sleep. This left God alone as the responsible party to walk between the pieces. On behalf of Abram, God was giving full assurance that it would be He who gave this land to the descendants of Abram.

We do see God come through on this promise in the books of Exodus through Joshua. Without God's leading, the descendants of Abraham were unable to secure the Promised Land and be the people from whom the Messiah would come.

A torch of hope, God personally acted on Abram's behalf to secure such a great promise.

Copyright by Kendra Hinkle 2008.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Self-Giving God: The Breath of Life

Face-to-face is a very intimate posture for two people to hold. The intimacy of that moment stirs up the fear of being known and the pleasure of knowing. But God has designed it that way. To be known by another, in intimacy and closeness, resembles the spiritual fulfillment that we have with God through Jesus Christ.

Can you imagine waking up face-to-face with God?

Your source of life. Your greatest need. The very life you live began with God. Literally read, "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7) After having fashioned Adam from the dust of the earth, with His hands, God now employs His face in the creation of man. God does not need oxygen as if He had a body, but the Bible tells us that God formed with his hands and that He breathed. My assumption from the continuing bodily imagery is that God exhaled in order to give man his first breath of life.


Adam awakes to his Creator - the first act of being known for Adam was not sex with Eve. He was first known by God (in a non-sexual way, of course).

God loves us. His actions on our behalf, coming from within His own will and might, are an act of self-giving. He willingly comes face-to-face with Adam to impart life.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Self-Giving God: Imago Dei

Do you celebrate your birthday or Christmas by giving presents to yourself? Beyond ruining the fun surprise of gifts, celebrating to our own honor is silly because we live in relationship with others. Birthdays are celebrated by those in relationship with and thankful for the life of another person. Also, Christmas honors the wonderful day that Jesus was born. To celebrate we recognize Him in the place of our families, among friends, and throughout some nations. Relationship is central to our reason for giving, especially on holidays.

God also gives within the context of relationship. Firmly rooted in Scripture is a God who gives of Himself in relationship with men. He is of infinite means, not becoming less by the gifts that He gives. Instead, His self-giving shows His will to personally move in relationship with men and for His glory in us.

A first example of God's self-giving comes from the very beginning. The God who spoke the world into existence chose to fashion man by the work of His hands. Personally involved and invested with hands in the dirt, He gave of Himself by making us in His image. When we see ourselves and one another, we see a reflection of the glory of God.

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule... God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:26-27, NAS) Unique to all other creation, men and women have in themselves the image of God. The definition and exact formula of the image of God in man is debated, but in sureness we know that God vested us with part of His very likeness. We are the crown of creation, having in our being something very special from God. The image of God is not something we requested nor something that we earned, but a planned blessing for those in vital relationship with God. Our very likeness reveals His willingness to impart Himself for His own glory among men.

Thoughts provoked through reading and contemplating unpublished class notes of Dr. Scott Horrell, The Self-Giving God, Imago Dei and Nature of Church, Dallas Theological Seminary, summer 2008.