God Made Us 5

Ephesians 2:10

The church provided me with a laptop computer the second year we were here. It has become an absolutely vital part of my life and work. I use it constantly to work on sermons, 10/2 Grow devotions, weekly bulletins, and it is used every Sunday as part of our worship service.

The other week the power cord stopped functioning and I really struggled with getting things done. Once a replacement came in the mail I was back in business, and – it may have been just my imagination – but the laptop seemed to operate faster. I was thrilled to have this good thing made new.

The author of the letter to Ephesians makes a comment about who we are. Who made us? How were we created? What are we to do?

There is no doubt that we are a creation of God. He has made us, caused us to come into being, and given us life. He knows our innermost being and our every thought.

But we as mortals are flawed. We have a tendency toward sinfulness and selfishness. We can often fail to be the holy people we are meant to be. But this comment in Ephesians can give us a new hope.

God created heaven and earth. He created us. But he also re-created us through Jesus Christ. We are made into new people. Through Jesus Christ we are redeemed from our sinful nature and purified. We become the good and holy people God intended from the beginning.

And God has made us to do good works in life. He has made us to share love and mercy in the world. He has created us that we might be living representatives of His grace and care.

Through our rebirth through Jesus Christ we are moved closer to the perfect beings God designed us to be. Through the grace and salvation of Jesus we are new people ready to do the holy work God has planned for us. We are re-made as God’s beautiful creations.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you of your new life?

God Made Us 4

Psalm 139:13-16

Trust doesn’t always come easily. Working last fall with a retired police officer we were traveling together through the city of Lima. He was driving and we drove down streets I had never been down. I saw parts of the city I never even knew existed. And when I was tempted to ask if he knew where he was going I reminded myself that he probably knew exactly what he was doing.

Psalm 139 is a wonderful statement of our reliance and trust in God. What has God done? What does this knowledge cause us to do? What does God know about us?

Life can be like being a passenger in a car. We are not in control and we may feel we are being taken places we don’t understand. But we need to trust.

Life isn’t always easy or simple. We are frequently confronted with problems in life. We have our concerns and fears. But we need to trust that we are not alone in this journey.

And more than the fact that we are not alone, we need to trust that God understands us completely. He is the one who has made us. He knows all about us. He understands our innermost thoughts. He knows what we are good at and what our weaknesses are.

No matter what we are facing in our lives we must know that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. Every one of us is a beautiful creation of the Lord. He has given us all that we need in our lives.

Nothing is hidden from God. He understands our thinking and He knows what we are feeling. It is that full knowledge of us that should not make us afraid that we are known, butt that we should celebrate. God can see what is possible with each of us. We simply need to live out His design and trust in His ability and presence.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Where do you need to trust God more in your life?

God Made Us 3

Matthew 6:31-33

Working as a copy editor for the local newspaper years ago, one of the primary responsibilities of my job was to read each news article and then create a headline for it. I had to sum up the essential points of the article and make it fit in the space allotted using the type size requested. It wasn’t always easy to find the right words and then make them fit, but my boss told me one day “There is always another way to say what needs to be said.”

He was right. No matter what my first few attempts might have been, no matter how frustrated I got with trying to make things work out, there was always another way to say things. Eventually it all fit.

I believe the same may be true of life. No matter how difficult things may seem, no matter how frustrated we may feel with what is going on, there is always a way for things to work out. It doesn’t matter what hardships or challenges we may be facing, there is good in life. God has created all things to work to good if we can learn to trust Him and serve Him.

In the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus points out the goodness of God. What should we NOT do? What should we trust about God? What should we do first and foremost?

We all have worries in life. There are no real guarantees in life. The future is uncertain and we may be concerned about what lies ahead. But we should not be overcome by our fears and concerns.

Of course, as intelligent and responsible people we need to prepare for the future and be ready to confront what lies ahead. But we also need to trust that God is with us in all things.

I do not believe that we should wander through life with absolutely no concern about what might happen. We need to be conscientious of our health and the care of ourselves and our family. We need to approach our jobs with some responsibility. But Jesus points out that all things will fall into place if we focus on living a good and holy life first.

We must seek the things of God first. Our spiritual health and holy attitudes should be what is most important to us. And when we have that attitude then we can more easily trust God in all the challenges that await us.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can help you to worry less?

God Made Us 2

Genesis 1:27-31

Asheville, North Carolina is the home of the Biltmore Estate. It is a fantastic, sprawling mansion on miles and miles of beautiful grounds. It was the home of the Vanderbilt family, a family that garnered vast riches in business interests.

Now this beautiful and historic home is a museum. You can visit it if you like, but the cost to tour the home is very high. The incredible beauty of this mansion is only available to those who have the financial means to buy a ticket.

But if you want to see something majestic and beautiful, something breath-taking and marvelous, you don’t have to have a lot of money. All the world around us is a beautiful creation that can take our breath away with its magnificence. The splendor of a sunrise, the intricate loveliness of a tree, the lush wonders of a green field are all available to us to enjoy and rejoice in.

In the beginning of all things God created all things. He made the heavens, the stars, the sun and the moon. He created the earth and all that is in it. And then he created humanity.

In whose image are we made? What did God do for humanity? What did God declare about His creation?

Whenever we begin to despair or worry we need to recall the words used in describing the creation of humanity. God made humans in His image. That is, we are like God in many ways. We are able to laugh and love, to care and grieve, to create and to delight in what is created.

God not only gave us all these abilities, but He blessed humanity. He surrounded us with His love that our lives might be good and satisfying. He has given us a place over all things, not that we can abuse and control the world, but that we might know we are incredibly valuable to God.

It is God’s desire that we delight in all that was made. It is God’s desire that we know we are loved and valued but our Creator. And all of it is good.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you of how much God loves you?

God Made Us 1

Isaiah 41:19-20

This past week, indeed the past several weeks have really been a challenge to us. The church basement was flooded when it rained heavily. We have been struggling with health issues as have many in the congregation. We have had worries over insurance and had our credit card “compromised” through fraudulent charges. The furnace went out. Our son’s car blew a tire and he also had unexpected school expenses.

But amid all the problems we have had to face we are aware of God’s goodness. All of the issues were taken care of and in many instances our situation was improved. In spite of all the bad in life God is good.

The prophet Isaiah speaks for God in this passage. According to verse 19, what has God done? Why has God done this?

God talks about the desert and the wastelands, places that most people would normally avoid. They are forbidding areas. They are lands that make survival difficult. Yet in the wastelands, in these severe places, there are pleasant things. God has placed cedar trees, something very much valued in the Middle East especially in the time of Christ. There are also other beautiful and much desired trees in these harsh lands.

God has put them there to show His mercy and love. He has placed these bits of goodness in the harsh and forbidding places to show His wisdom.

Our lives can feel like a desert place, a place of no relief. The struggles and challenges of life, the hard times, the problems, can make us feel that we are walking through a wasteland of hopelessness.

Yet in this trying and difficult place God has placed moments of beauty and relief. In the midst of struggles there is grace and beauty and love from God.

We must remember that God has created us. He has made all things. And in this creation God desires that we have good things. No matter how hard things become there is always goodness from God. We simply need to watch for it.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What have been your times of goodness this past week?