July 12, 2010

To Live is Christ — grateful for grace

Friends came over yesterday on a motorcycle. Since my husband has one, and has two helmets, they thought I’d have leathers and the four of us could go riding.

My husband knows me. Although I’d ride anyone’s horse, wild or tame, when I was a teen, I’m not into carburetors and speed. Hand me a book, or a needle and thread, or some paintbrushes — not a helmet. He knows how I feel about speed and bought his bike without assuming that I would love to get on the back and join him.

Although we sometimes make assumptions, I’m glad that my husband didn’t do this concerning me and his motorcycle. People are individuals and he sets a good example about not taking anyone for granted.

Today’s devotional reading points out that God does not want me to take Him for granted either. I cannot assume that life goes well because I’m doing all the right things or that God will always ensure my total comfort. He is still sovereign and knows what is best for me. He is also the source of all good things, not me. This is why He told Israel,

Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:17–18, ESV)
When I bake a cake that turns out well, I know it is because someone else came up with a good recipe. Anyone who can read can make the same cake. When I create a quilt, or write a story, I know that God is the source of my ideas and skill. I’m sure of this, not just because the Bible says so, but because of those days when I feel blank and totally uninspired. I cannot do anything without the grace of God in my life.

Yet how easily God can be taken for granted. I just read a novel about a young woman who had a great job, nice home, and everything seemed perfect. However, her boss was caught embezzling company money, she was suspected to be part of it, her assets were frozen, and no one would hire her. Within a short time, she was in a homeless shelter and without hope.

It happens. Skilled people with good jobs lose them. People who have money lose it. Those with friends can become friendless. A nice home can burn to the ground. These negatives and more can happen. While it is not good to live in fearful apprehension, it is also not good to take the positives for granted.

My husband often tells people that every day we wake up by the grace of God. He is right. Every pay cheque is by the grace of God. Every skill and ability is also by His grace. I cannot assume that these things come to me because of my own doing, nor can I assume that God does this because I am special or that I deserve it all.

He is good to His people because He promises to be good to us. It isn’t about us. It is about Him and His great mercy. Because of His grace, I’m hoping to spend my day being grateful and remembering that He is the source of all the blessings in our lives, from chocolate cake to leather chaps, from safety on road trips to pennies in the bank, from family and friends to every treasure, small and great, that He provides. 

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