Nothing Before Us…

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:26 KJV

When will we learn? The bible is so full of reminders. Over and over, it speaks of God’s incredible (dare I say, INSANE) love for us. He didn’t need us. He had the company of His Son and of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26). Yet He created us in His own image and supplied our every need. We decided that having our needs met wasn’t enough. We wanted more and as a result, we introduced sin into the world. So, what did God do? He sent His Son to die for our sin while we were still sinners. We had not committed to change. Nevertheless, He showered us with the blood of Jesus and sustained us with grace and mercy. As if that weren’t enough, He wiped our slates clean, granted us favor as if we had obeyed Him all of our lives, and *drumroll please* gave us the gift of salvation. Redemption. Through acceptance of and belief in Jesus Christ.

What did we do to deserve such things? Certainly, He wouldn’t bless us in these ways if we had not earned them, right? Tuh. As if. The magnitude and depth of His love amazes me for this very reason. The bottom line is, God created us in His image and He loves us as such. Sure, we were not the first products of His creation, but when He created us…He gave us dominion. God didn’t put anything before us. Do you understand what that means?

He entrusts us with having a fruitful impact on His kingdom and His children. He gives us each gifts that we are to use to glorify Him and bring others closer to Him. He orders our steps so that we cross paths with others who will help us to complete our tasks. Though we have disobeyed Him and disgraced ourselves time and time again, He has not given up on us and has promised that He never will.

I will never truly understand why as long as I am on this side of heaven. I am okay not understanding. It doesn’t have to make sense. I’m just grateful that it is so. I’m grateful for a God that gives His all. I pray that He will continue to work within me so that I always have a heart that wants to give Him more and more of me each day.

We are sons and daughters of a King. If you were to be judged today, would your thoughts, words, and behavior reflect your place as royalty within His kingdom. Who do you serve? Who do you represent? What do you place before Him? Are you willing to rearrange your life to elevate God to the top of your list of priorities?

In All Things…

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) instructs us to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This morning as I arose from my warm bed, ate a filling breakfast, drove to work in my heated car, and arrived at my place of gainful (and enjoyable) employment, I had a song of praise in my heart and an unspeakable joy to match. Nevermind the freezing temperatures or my runny nose. I am alive and well. My family is alive and well. None of us slept on the street last night. We have sufficient clothing in which to bundle up and brave the harsh winds. Not everyone can say the same. I am blessed.

God blesses us because He loves us. However, He created us in His image for His glory and our blessings should ultimately result in garnering praise for the Most High and bringing others closer to Him. God’s blessings will not be wasted on me. Would I have enjoyed a “snow day” (minus actual snow, of course)? Certainly. However, I dare not complain. Joy is not circumstancial. Neither is my gratitude. God favors me. Sometimes I will have to do things that I don’t want to do, but I pledge to praise him for blessing me so that I am ABLE to do them. While my students and colleagues grumble, I will be the one that reminds them of how blessed we are to be able to provide a safe and warm place to learn. I will remind them of the people who are not as fortunate. I will remind them that it is only a matter of God’s grace that has kept us from being among those who are not as fortunate.

I pray that those friends and associates of mine who have found a reason to complain can open their eyes, minds, and hearts to the majesty of the Lord. I pray that they are able to recognize His majesty…His grace…His love for them. If nothing else, I pray that they praise Him for not giving any of us what we actually deserve.

Keep smiling, loves! 🙂