25th August 2019

Is It Any Wonder?

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV UK)

Is there anything on earth like the smile and laughter of a child? When my daughter-by-marriage, Sarah, was about six months old, my wife, Elizabeth, participated in a research project at the University of Toledo. Sarah was shown images of various objects and her reactions recorded. She was shown numerous pictures of people’s faces as well as inanimate objects. Every time, she demonstrated a heightened and more positive reaction when shown a picture of a person’s face than when shown a picture of a tiger or an object like a beach ball. And here’s the clincher: being shown the face of her mother resulted in the sweetest of reactions, smiling and cooing. She recognised her caregiver—her mum! She recognised the face of the parent who loved and cherished her! Not only did she respond to the face of the one with whom she felt safety and love, but she also recognised her connection with other people.

I see a connection when I think about that research done with Sarah. As we continue to celebrate Jesus we are reminded that he was the Son in whom the love of his Father lifted us up in his life, death and resurrection. Being lifted up in Jesus gives us a window to see who the Father is. What we see in Jesus is that the Father is for us, he loves us and his face is turned towards us, shining with love.

With life’s mountain-top highs and especially during the valley lows, we sometimes lose sight of who God is. But as we turn our eyes to Jesus we are lifted up, with his eyes of faith, to see that the Father’s face is still shining on us. From this vantage point we can pray along with the psalmist and with confidence that the Father has answered us in Jesus: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you” (Psalm 67:1-3 NIV).

As we see the Father’s face smiling upon us, like when Sarah saw her mother’s face, we supernaturally respond with joy. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, who is the supreme revelation of the Father, a response of praise and joyful worship becomes a way of life for us. While keeping our eyes on him, Jesus works by his Spirit in our joy and laughter to bring many sons and daughters to relationship and joy for his glory. Is it any wonder?

Gracious Father, thank you for being so unlike us! But at the same time help us to respond to your kindness with love-in-action towards you. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Presented by Anthony Mullins

About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Anthony Mullins is a GCI Elder and pastors the Hickory, North Carolina congregation. He is also the National Coordinator of the Intern, Pastoral Resident and Coaching Programmes for Grace Communion International. Anthony and his wife, Elizabeth live in Hickory, North Carolina.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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