"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

Giving Thanks

During this time set aside to remember our blessings and give thanks for what the Lord has given us, I am thankful for:

...the vast kindnesses of God.
...the grace God showed to me on the cross.
...the grace God daily shows to me as He changes me into the image of His Son.
...the riches of His grace that God is planning to show me in the future (Ephesians 2:7).
...my wonderful family God gave me.
...the freedom I have in this country - to worship, work and live the way I choose to.
...the beautiful creation God made.
...music, cozy fires and good books.
...the knowledge that God is in control and reigns over this world - that He knows what will come in my future, that He will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
...the little Hoagie-bun!!
...being able to use the creative gifts God has given me.
...my little children's class at church!
...being able to be with family and friends during this holiday time.

And so much more!  It's so easy to forget all that God has done for me, but when I stop and think about it, I am overwhelmed with how much God has given to me.  I am so unworthy of the great kindness He has shown to me.  My simple thanks seems so inadequate, but what else can I say?  Thank You, Lord!

Walk in a Manner Worthy

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)

What if we as believers actually lived this out?  What changes would we see if we all began living in humility - recognizing that we have done nothing to deserve any of the grace God has shown to us?  What if we responded to each person we met with gentleness - realizing that they are people in need of a Savior just like we are?  What if we were patient instead of impatient - showing to others the same grace shown to us?  What if we were tolerant of one another in love - not condoning sin, but overlooking offenses or differences in love?  What if we were really diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit - focused on Christ and His priorities rather than making sure that our personal cause is advanced?  If we actually lived this out in our daily practice, what a difference it would make!  It would be a glimpse of Heaven.

Reflections on Ephesians 1:3-14

How easy it is to grow complacent in considering the gift of salvation God has offered to us.  "Oh, yes, isn't it great that we were enemies of God and now through the cross we can have a good relationship with Him."  But that doesn't even cover all that God in His wondrous grace has done for us!

First of all, yes, we were His enemies - we were in outright rebellion against God, shaking our fists at Him and wanting to follow our own desires and passions rather than humbly seeking after Him.  Then, in His great kindness and mercy, God provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him - and not just to "become friends", although that would be incredible, but to become family.  In love, He adopted us into His family.  And this wasn't some kind of last minute decision - "Oh yeah, I have to do something about those people...".  God planned this before He even created the world.

He didn't do this grudgingly - just doing "the bare minimum" - the least possible amount of help He could give us.  Instead, He lavished (gave without limits) His grace on us.  He freely and unstintingly gave it to us.  He "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  Not just a couple of them, or fifteen of them, but every spiritual blessing.  He didn't just adopt us halfheartedly, either.  He gave us an inheritance - we have the full rights of sons.

How can I view what God has done for me with complacency?  How can I shrug, thinking, "I've heard all this before"?  How can I go through my days, weeks, years, life without having every aspect of my life affected by these truths?