Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Receiving From His Grace

“From the fullness of His grace we have all

received one blessing after another.”

John 1:16 (NIV)

 John states a profound truth here. When we receive blessings from God, He chooses to bestow a gift because of His unending love for us. During the initial writing of this devotion, I realized the truth involved as I reflected on my earlier exercise of recording my blessings of that morning.

 It was a Saturday, the sun shone brightly through the window behind the couch where I sat. The furnace had kicked in earlier-it was June but we experienced cooler than normal weather. I had gotten a good night’s sleep. I had enjoyed the quietness of our house.

I discovered God’s presence in each of these gifts from Him. I was richer for recognizing all He had done for me early that morning.

 Early last month, Hubby and I traveled to his boyhood home to spend some time with friends. Our friend Tom has some acreage out in the country where he dug a ‘pond.’ We did some fishing. It was the first time for me to have a fishing license. I had fished at trout farms several years ago. I had what I call ‘beginner’s blessing.’ I caught fish and more fish. I can’t cast, so when Hubby was not close by, I dropped my line in near the bank and those blue gill must have been hungry. I caught a 15” bass, but I think I caught him about three times.

 When we started home the next morning, Hubby asked me if I had thanked the Lord for his blessing me with all those fish. I chuckled and said I had. Then, I asked him if he had. He had also.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Praise for His Grace

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace which he has freely given to us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:4-6 (NIV)

 “. . . he chose us” God picked us out to belong to Him. If you are married, do you remember how you felt when your steady beau asked you to spend the rest of your life with him? Magnify that emotion many times over and that is the effect of realizing that God has chosen you and me to belong to Him.

 “. . . before the creation of the world . . .” Our heavenly Father made this selection before the beginning of time. He knows who would belong to Him. We become amazed when we hear of people having possessions that have been in their families for generations. I was recently in a group meeting. The facilitator asked each of us to tell of our most special accomplishment. The one thing I could think of was that, come November, Hubby and I will have been married 44 years. When I realize that God had me in mind eons before that, I feel very humble.

“. . . holy and blameless . . .” God sets us apart and deems us without sin. From time to time we may fall short of the standard God has set for us.

 “. . . in his sight.” God sees us as He sees us. He also looks upon others with love. I say this because, although sometimes others have hurt me, I realize God loves them as much as He loves me.
 “. . . he predestined us to be adopted . . ” God chose us to become one of His. He doesn’t stand off and watch us mess up our lives. He desires an active part in our lives. Simply put, we can ask Him to guide us through our days an to listen to our plans as we begin our activities. 

“. . . in accordance with His pleasure and will—. . .”
When we ask God to guide us through our day or through a project, we please Him. I believe He actually smiles when we bring our plans to him. Each time we approach God and ask for guidance, His answers always line up with His will.

“. . . to the praise of his glorious grace . . .” Shouldn’t we give praise to God for His marvelous, unconditional, undeserved love for us? We should thank Him for each action God does in our behalf. Our prayers should include praises as well as petitions, thanksgiving as well as requests.

“. . . freely given to us . . .” God’s bestows His love upon us without asking anything of us beyond our living for Him. Some say that it costs us our lives. He is the One who gives us those lives. Shouldn’t we be thankful and loving toward God for that?

“. . . in the One he loves.” Our heavenly Father gives all this grace through His only Son who, while on earth has taught us how to worship, live for, and adore Him.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...