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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lavish Grace

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In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight. (Ephesians 1:7-8 ESV)

Grace. Amazing Grace. Unthinkable Grace. Lord help me if I ever get over it or get used to it.

In Jesus we are redeemed and forgiven, completely. My sin—my pride, my lust, my cynicism, my disobedience—doesn’t factor into the equation anymore. His precious blood cancels the debt I have wracked up, the debt I can never repay. I’m redeemed, made his own, brought in as a cherished member of the family.

It is crazy.

Seriously, who would have ever seen it coming? Who ever would’ve guessed? Grace is a glorious surprise, more than we would dare to hope for or even think to expect. It doesn’t make sense that God would be gracious, but he delights to be so. It’s Amazing.

I love the extravagance in these verses. He lavishes the riches of his grace upon us. If I can be so bold, it almost sounds wasteful to me. His grace is not on a budget. He gives from vast stores that will not run out. There is enough for me, even me. There is no place I can go that grace cannot go further still. No wonder the Bible calls it good news.

This week, I pray each of us know the riches of his grace lavished on us—lavished on you. He will not hold back on you, and you cannot outrun his grace. It’s stunning, and it’s true.

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I Belong

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…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6, ESV)

The last few weeks, I’ve been listening to “I Belong” by Kathryn Scott over and over again. It’s reminded me of something that seems too good to be true: I am loved and accepted by God. I am not on my own; I belong to him.

You know, God doesn’t accept us because he has to. He’s been planning on it, looking forward to it, for all eternity. These verses in Ephesians tell us that even before the world was established, the Father decided to send Jesus so that we could be adopted as his daughters. And he did it in love.

I think sometimes we forget we’ve been adopted. Even some of us who have known Jesus for years — we still live as orphans. We try to fend for ourselves or fight for ourselves. Perhaps we’re convinced that if God really knew us, if he really saw our hearts, he would reject us after all. Some us know he forgave us once, but we’re trying to earn his approval now. In short, we don’t really understand that he is our Father.

But hear his heart in Ephesians: He chose us. He adopted us. He gives us good gifts. He wants to make us whole, holy, and blameless. That’s what he’s always had on his mind. He loves us.

Last year I was part of an all-church journey focused on this very thing. There was a video we used that I’ve come back to again and again during the last year. It reminds me I have a good Father, and my home is with him forever. If you have a few moments, watch it here.

This week, let God remind you of the amazing truth: you belong to him. He’s brought you into his family — not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Because he loves you.

He Speaks a Good Word

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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, ESV)

I grew up in church. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the word “blessing” … I’d have a lot of nickels. We toss this word around a lot—we ask God to bless people, we call our material possessions blessings, and when someone asks us how we are, what’s the best, Christian answer? “I’m blessed,” of course. If I’m honest, it’s one of those words I roll my eyes at: one of those words that sounds cliche, sanitized, shallow, and churchy to me.

But there’s nothing shallow about the first chapter of Ephesians, and we miss something vital if we read over the words “blessed” and “blessing” as cliches. It’s actually a wonderful word, both simpler and more profound than I would’ve guessed.

I’m not a Greek scholar, but I did learn that when Ephesians 1:3 says God “blessed” us, the word in Greek is eulogeo. It’s a compound word that basically means to speak well of, or to speak good to.

Think about that: our God speaks good to us, and he gives us good things—in fact, every good thing. As we like to say around here, Pro Nobis, God is for us. It seems simple perhaps, but how many people serve a god who demands, who curses, who speaks only condemnation? And we who know the good God, how often do we act as if he really is?

As simple as it is, knowing that God speaks for our good can completely change the way we view him. He is for us. He does not sit on a throne and pronounce condemnation; he chases us with goodness and mercy. He speaks a good word. He blesses us. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to stop rolling my eyes and shout Hallelujah.