Thursday, July 12, 2012

Every Breath, Every Hearbeat, Every Blessing

That they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ ~~Acts 17:27-28a

I love the Scripture above.  It paints a picture of men "feeling" their way to God, trying to find Him in the dark, with our blind eyes, when in reality, He's right there in front of us all along.  And even more than that, He is the very reason we live, the reason we move, and the very reason we have our being.

There is nothing I have that hasn't been given to me by Yeshua.  He created my body in my mother's womb.  He created my soul.  He gave me a family.  He found me as a child and saved me.  And every single blessing, whether it be my 12-speed mountain bike of yore, or my wonderful children, they have all come from Him. 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. ~~James 1:17

Everything in my existence comes from Yeshua.  My next breath.  My next heartbeat.  My life.  My salvation.  My eternity.  Yeshua is so intimately involved with me, that He even holds my very atoms together by His will alone.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ~~Colossians 1:17

Every joy in my life comes by His common grace, the grace He gives everyone alive.  Even non-believers.  We all can enjoy a cool glass of water on a hot day.  Or a warm, inviting fire when it snows.  We can enjoy a nice cup of coffee or a sweet slice of pie.  All of these are the common grace of our God.

Even my trials are given to me, not to beat me down, but to conform me into the image of Christ.  I do not look at a trial in the same light any more.  Most folk blame God or lament about their problems.  Where was God when A, B, and C happened?

There are many reasons to test our faith.  But most tests teach us about ourselves and our commitment to God.  All marriages have their rocky times.  It's how you work out those problems that's key.  Do you give up when things get hard?  Or do you buckle down and figure things out?  A commitment to God isn't much different.  "Where would we go?" as Saint Peter once said.  "You have the words of eternal life!" (John 6:68)

Along with a test of faith, however, our trials make us more Christ-like.  This is why Paul and Peter and John regularly said in their Epistles to rejoice in ALL circumstances.  Not only is your salvation secure in Christ, but your trials are making you like Him!

But what does that mean?  It means you aren't haughty.  You're not full of pride.  You have a certain humility about you.  You're not puffed up.  You have a heart for those in your same situation.  You do all you can to help others in need like you once were.  You learn patience.  You become kind-hearted.  

I've often wondered why God allowed me to get sick a few months back with cellulitis in my leg.  Because I was wearing bandages soaked in calamine when my leg began to swell (and no one knew I'd have a reaction to calamine), I now have a huge purple scar on the back of my right calf.  I actually have a band that goes all the way around my lower leg, but the majority of this scar is on my calf.  

I know I touched the lives of many nurses and doctors during this ordeal.  But what did this benefit ME?  What was the plan for ME?  It's embarrassing to wear shorts, although I still do.  I figure I've got this for the rest of my life, I better get used to it.  But when I think about how God uses ordeals like this to conform me into the image of Christ. I feel humbled.  Perhaps that was why God allowed it, to keep me humble.  To remind me that beauty is more than perfect skin.  That He accepts me just the way I am.  

And that's lovely to me.  In all honesty, I don't care about this scar.  I've never been one for earthly vanity.  Maybe people think it's a large birthmark.  My sister said I should cover it with a large tattoo.  :P  But in this, God has a plan.

Yeshua holds it all together.  Yeshua grants me His grace.  Yeshua holds the entire universe in His hands.  He knows what He's doing.

And perhaps trust and surrender to the King of kings is part of the test as well.  That GOD is Sovereign.  No matter what happens, He's got it all in His hands.

It's amazing when you really think about it.  I'm breathing because He allows it.  My heart beats because He's ordained it.  I exist because He willed it.

And in that, we find our worth in the Lord -- that He is so minutely involved in our lives (down to our atoms), that He loves us so very much (that He died for us), and that He conforms us into His image (Romans 8:29).

There is NOTHING apart from Yeshua.  He has given us ALL that we have, even our next blink.  I may not always know what He's doing, but I do know He's in charge, and that He's gentle and humble at heart (Matthew 11:29).  

He will NEVER allow me to fall.


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