Three months in New Zealand is coming to an end. It has been a very enjoyable time for us both. It started with a month on Great Barrier Island teaching at the Inheriting the Nations School that is run by Fatherheart Ministries. After a fairly hectic few months it was very good to be able to be in one place for a whole month and enjoy the slower pace of life this afforded.  Then came Christmas and the whirl of family, friends and feasting.

The next few weeks were taken up with the wonderful joy of having all of our three children and their spouses and all seven of the grandchildren together in New Zealand. This was the first time some had been together as the twins were meeting their Aussie cousins for the first time.  It was a really good time.  We played together and feasted, enjoyed the sunshine and just being all in the same place for a short time.

Family is such a high value for us and it so reflects the heart of God for us all. He made us to be in families. In his heart before the creation of the world Father, Son and Spirit purposed to have sons and daughters whom they could enjoy and share together the incredible love that they experience together in the Trinity.  A total sharing of joy, love, acceptance and favour. It is amazing that this was always God's intention for humanity. To know him and be known by him. To enjoy him and to be a joy to him. To relax in his comforting loving embrace knowing that we are loved and totally accepted.

Sadly mankind chose to turn its back on him and reject this amazing love.  But God knew our fickle hearts and sent his son Jesus to come and live in our world and experience the brokenness and pain of this life without rejecting him as God and Father.  Instead he came to live among us and show us the way back to the Father and take us to be where he is, in that place of loving acceptance.  He died  for us, in our place and cancelled the devastating effect that our rejection of God has caused.  Separation from him and a deep fear of him that gives rise to a feeling of shame and loneliness where we end up hiding from him.  He effectively redeemed us, that is bought us back, so we could be brought back to the Father and placed us in the relationship of sons and daughters.   This means we are his family. He longs for us to be back in that place of his love.  Acknowledging our need to be reconciled to him as Father is the first step on that journey home. It is not forced on us. Instead he invites us and woos us to come home to him.

As I have enjoyed being with my family, sharing in their joys and challenges of bring up children in this world, I have sensed a little of the Father's love for us in his desire to know him.  I am so proud of my grown up children and their spouses. They are all such great parents.  I am thrilled to see them and their children and love them all very much. But in that I am different from God, (what an understatement!) God does not have grandchildren, he only has sons and daughters.  He wants to have a first hand connection with each of us, not one step removed.  Just another amazing thing about God our Father. What a wonderful Father he is!