Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;Â
He saved them from their distress.
He sent His word and healed them;
He rescued them from the Pit.
Let them give thanks to the LORD
for His faithful love
and His wonderful works for all humanity.
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and announce His works with shouts of joy. Â Â Psalm 107:19-22 (HCSB, my emphasis)
[Jesus said,]â€œFor God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.â€ Â Â John 3:16-18 (HCSB, my emphasis)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you canâ€™t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are Godâ€™s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Â Â Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT, my emphasis)
The lectionary texts this next week may be the hardest to live. They speak to me about the extravagant love of God. Did you see that word? EXTRAVANGANT That is what God’s love is to me. He gives us more than I ask for. He surprises me every day with ways He shows how much He loves me. Do I live like I know this?
The psalmist gives me â€œvisualsâ€ of how God shows His love for me. There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something to â€œcry out to Himâ€ about. Last night I heard of someone’s death in an accident. Last week there were two funerals of people I know. There are people that I care about who need comfort, Lord. Henry and I pray every day about the ministry that God has given us and the people we know who are in need of His touch. God saves, rescues, and heals. Our prayer time always includes our thanks â€“ even thanks before we know what He is going to do because He has proven that He is faithful.
John 3:16 may be the single most quoted Scripture. It’s the verses after #16 that I need to commit to memory. Jesus came and saved me. Free gift. I believe that I need a Savior because I can’t â€œfixâ€ my sins and so I believe in Him. I commit my life to Him. It isn’t a perfect life â€“ but He knows that and loves me and so He teaches me how to live by His example, His Word, and His Spirit. He doesn’t condemn me when I sin. His Spirit convicts me so I know it. That’s just another way He shows His love! If I feel condemned – â€œJody, you are so dumb! You just keep screwing up! You are so much worse than ____. Get it together!â€ â€“ that is not God!
Paul tells me that God did not save me because of anything that I have done or didn’t do. I can’t do something to make Him love me more or make a mistake so big that He won’t forgive me when I ask and still love me. I am God’s masterpiece. Can I wrap my brain around that? I am going to enjoy trying because I will keep moving through the facets and layers of God.
God created me to do good things. What good things do You want me to do today, God? I am humbled and awed that He lets me be a part of His eternal plan. It is an adventure and I am glad Jesus is with me, before me. Thank You. Thank You, Jesus.
Thank You, LORD by Bobby Wilson, Tim Kelley, Bob Robinson Sung by Don Moen