Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for July, 2011

Why Can I Trust?

Circumstances seem to be rushing our world toward certain despair.  Our only hope can be in God—but why?  The combination of three of His attributes are my assurance:

God is wise and all-knowing.  He truly knows what is best and how it will all come out.  (Without this, power + love could be ineffective.)

God is all-powerful and sovereign over all.  He is able to do anything and has it all under control.  (Without this, wisdom + love could be impotent.)

God is good and loving.   He has our best good at heart.  (Without this, wisdom + power could be evil.)  He has promised to “cause everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Rom 8:28, NLT)

Therefore I can trust Him!  My heart echoes Peter’s words, “Lord, to whom else would we go?”  (John 6:68)

A Reason for Suffering

Having visited with lots of people in several different locales over the past few days, we have heard many stories of God’s work but also of many struggles that go on and on.  I thought of Job, whose experiences I’d read recently.  He hadn’t the faintest idea why he was being tested.  If only he could have known that God was using him to showcase His own glory!

Then in the book of John I found two similar statements:

A man was born blind “so the power of God could be seen in him.”  9:3

Lazarus’ sickness “happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  11:4

And the greatest event of all—Jesus’ death, though plotted by demons and opponents, was actually planned by God for His own glory—and our salvation. 

When I have a big or small problem, I hope I will remember to consider first how God’s glory and power may be displayed through the situation and my response. 

The Questions of John

The other day I started reading the gospel of John again.  A major theme of the book  is “Who is Jesus?”  (Related questions asked repeatedly by the people around him were “Where did he come from?” and “Where is he going?”)

In the first chapter alone, I find the following first-hand testimonies about Jesus’ identity:

The Word, God, Creator, Light, Father-revealer—v. 1-18, spoken by the narrator

The Pre-existing One—v. 15, spoken by John the Baptist

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!—v. 29, spoken by John the Baptist

The Messiah—v. 41, spoken by Andrew after spending a day with Jesus Smile

The One that Moses wrote about—v. 45, spoken by Philip after his first time with Jesus

The Son of God, King of Israel—v. 49, spoken by Nathanael when meeting Jesus

There is LOTS more in this book about who Jesus is.  This is just a teaser to get you started digging and listing—and worshipping at the feet of the One who is perfect Man and complete God, who meets all our needs in every way.

A Birthday Message from God

Psalm 139 is a great one to read on one’s birthday, as my sister suggested several years ago. I did this yesterday.  That, together with a song I heard in the morning (“It’s so nice to get to know you as my Friend”) warmed my heart with God’s love in a special way on my special day.

In the Bible I’m marking up for my granddaughter, I made the following notations on this Psalm:

Verses 1-6   God sees and knows me completely.  He is all-knowing.  I must be transparent.

Verses 7-12  God is with me continuously.  He is all-present.  I am secure.

Verses 13-16  God made me marvelously and planned out every day of my life.  He is all-powerful.  I am special.

Verses 17-18  God keeps me in His loving thoughts and in His presence.  I am overwhelmed!

Jesus Is–and I Am

You’ve heard of the set of “I Am” statements Jesus made in the book of John.  The other day I saw a new perspective or two on these:

1.  Each of these implies a two-way relationship.  What then is my corresponding role in each metaphor?  See the chart below.  (I’ve taken the liberty of adding a few other metaphorical titles of Christ which imply a corresponding role on our part.  You will probably think of others…)

2.  Each of these is exclusive—I am THE…(not “a…”)  Jesus is the only one who can truly claim to be these things and fill these needs in my life.

Jesus Is and I am

Stages of Life

We’ve been scanning the family slides dating back to when I was one year old.  Isn’t it funny how we–or is it only I?–tend to look first and primarily at ourselves when seeing a photo that includes other people?

What I see changes a lot– from cute to ugly (those awkward pre-teen years!) to self-conscious, then somewhat attractive, and more lately aging (I’m turning 59 this month!)  How is it that the pictures of myself that I think look pretty bad, look a lot better after a few years?  (We won’t even mention those driver’s license and passport photos!)

It’s so comforting to know that my “earth suit” (as my brother calls it) is only temporary.  I have a better one waiting for me that will be ever so much more beautiful, strong and able to do all those things I never could do here (such as swim, or whistle).

The bodies we now have are weak and subject to death. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal.   (1 Cor. 15:54 )

Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.  (2 Cor. 4:16b-18 CEV)

Strange Adoptions

Outside my mom’s dining room window is a mini farmyard with horses, a windmill, some cats—and of course some chickens.  I did a double take the first time I saw one of them—a fancy, fluffy, fashionable feathery hen of some exotic variety hobnobbing  with a bunch of half-grown ordinary chickens.  I was told that this hen adopted a bunch of “orphan” chicks that the family bought a few weeks ago– took them under her wing, so to speak.  Ah, the motherly instinct!

Fancy chicken & adopted chicks

And that reminds me of a bunch of amusing and heartwarming instances I’ve seen lately on U-Tube of cross-species “adoptions.”  A goat nursing a foal.  A cat nursing orphaned squirrels. A leopard caring for a baby baboon (after killing its mother!).  And others.

Is there a spiritual lesson in all this?  I’m trying to think it out.  One might be the amazing love of the Eternal God for creatures like you and me.  Another might be the love and care we are to have for others who are very unlike us.  What do you think?

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