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Archive for February, 2014

Lavish Grace

February 28th, 2014

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

Ephesians 1:7-8

Very few of us truly live in our thoughts. Most of us live in our emotions. Though there is an ancient axiom that says, “As you think, so your life shall be,” the majority of us experience life by the axiom, “As you feel about things, so shall your life be.” Our emotional side takes what is plain and simple, factual and objective, and colors it with all sort of shades, from happy pastels to dismal grays. And this is what it means to be human.

If we would experience victory over this tyrant called “our emotions” we must decide to live by thoughts, especially by those thoughts, ideas, and knowledge that come from the Word of God. We must embrace these by faith and stand there. Faith is our victory, according to 1 John 5:4. The grace of God does not change – it is as steady and as eternal as it ever was – it is only our feelings and emotions about things that makes it seem insufficient. In these precious verses in Ephesians we have the promise that God has redeemed us from our sin through the death of Christ and He now lavishes on us His grace. The word “lavished” is a verb, eperisseusen in Greek, it means to be provided for in abundance, or to have a large over supply of some item. For us it means that the grace of Christ is of such a nature, that it exists in such supply that it more than meets whatever is lacking in our hearts and our lives. It not only covers our sins but also our sense of insignificance, our fears, our worries, our struggles.

To Paul, as he suffered with his thorn in the flesh, Christ said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9), and the word “sufficient” is a translation of some understatement actually. That original word literally means to be possessed of unfailing strength, and it is akin to the idea of the grace of God being lavished on us, poured out abundantly on us. God did not say to Paul, Well, your thorn in the flesh will take a lot of joy out of you life, and you will from this point on only have ‘just enough,’ to get by, ‘just sufficient grace” to endure the storms. God said instead that Paul and that we will have unfailing strength in the midst of our weaknesses and discouragements. It is a description of divine strength that wells up from within the believer through the Spirit of God, and provides for us in our hearts the overflow of His grace even in circumstances that are the opposite of kind and encouraging.

In the desert, in the storm, in the darkness of night, in the blackness of loss, in the sadness of pain, in the midst of our doubts, when facing the angry, when we are misunderstood, when thrown amid the lions, when the darkness of false accusations descends upon us, in times when our emotions all but destroy every vestige of hope and optimism, when darkness blots out the sun, the lavish grace of God is still present. He is still there. And if we will experience the life of overflowing peace and joy, we must learn to stand on His promises. We must learn to reject the message of our unsteady emotions and instead rest upon Him and the promise of His abundant grace.

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Our True Origin

February 27th, 2014

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:3

God’s dreams for us are not limited to our physical reality of this world. He sees us from the perspective of His home in heaven and chooses to bless us according to His wealth, according to His plans.

A stream can never rise higher than its source, and the blessings that come into our life will never become more than the nature of their origin. Since God Himself is limitless, and nothing can thwart or stop His power, we can have every assurance that what He desires for our lives will be accomplished.

Our human hearts too quickly turn to earthly riches, wanting money, power, wealth, popularity, respect, etc. But these things are fading. All the gold in the world will not prolong our lives beyond the days allotted us by God, and it will not change our eternity, nor minister to our spirits. God’s grace does this, the grace that He bestows on us through Jesus Christ.

We lose our enjoyment of earthly things because we do not see them in their heavenly light. A physical article is of no eternal significance, but if we can give that article to God for Him to use, if we can see His grace at work to provide for us, to guide us, to bless us, to use us, through these physical things – through these positions, places, items – then they all gain significance. We can enjoy a job, a house, a city, a relationship, and every physical item we touch because we can see the hand of the eternal God has having provided it.

As a child of God, your origin is in heaven. That is where and when God chose, in the aeons of eternity past, to bless you, to save you, to draw you toward His heart, to give you peace and joy, to use you for His purposes. The physical things in and of themselves are temporary and passing things, but placed in His hands, and seen in the light of His eternal purposes, they are matters for which we can be grateful and that can be used of Him to fulfill His purposes.

As a child of God our eternal home is also in heaven, with God. We are not taking physical things with us into eternity. Even our bodies must be transformed. But we are taking the perspective of life with us, and that perspective is to always be moving positively forward into the plan of God.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

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