Each new day has beauty woven into it by the Creator. It is not fleeting or only for a select few, but wonderful gift given to all those who will partake. The Grace of God is like that on a spiritual level. A gift of forgiveness, joy, and renewed beauty, taking us beyond ourselves into the everlasting. One day those who receive it will look and go “Oh!”
“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible”
Jonathan Swift – Thoughts On Various Subjects
I often think the scenes I try to capture and preserve in photos are little bits of the great beauty that Jesus splashes across His creation. Whether anyone notices is not relevant to beauties existence, it just is because God is good. Wave upon wave in unending splendor speaks of the glory of God. This is also true in my life; I have ongoing grace lavished upon me––His glorious presence working for my good. Sometimes I have the eyes to see it and thank Him, but often I am too preoccupied and it goes unnoticed. Like the beauty in nature, grace is not given only where it will be appreciated, it is freely poured out in abundance because that is the nature of God. His goodness and love lavished freely upon His creation.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 :5-6)
I need to continually remind myself to pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and wisdom to comprehend all that God is doing. Then with a heart of gratitude I can truly see, hear, and give thanks.
“He is risen,” but what does it mean?
The death of Death for those who believe.
His Life for our life for those who receive.
The proof of His Power to break all powers for those who bow.
The Joy of heaven becomes our joy for those who confess.
He is risen is hope reborn, declared by God for those who will follow.
Every morning comes heaven’s whisper––
“He is risen.”
Can you hear His love calling to you?
Let it pierce your darkness,
Let it wash over your heart,
And rest in His grace and peace.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
The hard work of grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
Grace is easy because all I need do is trust God.
It is hard because in all my ways I have to trust Him.
Grace is easy because none of it depends on my effort.
It is hard because I can’t do anything to earn it.
Grace is easy because it’s given even though I don’t deserve it.
It is hard because it is humbling––I don’t deserve it.
Grace is easy because I know God is in control.
It is hard because I am not in control.
Grace is easy because Jesus takes all the punishment for my sins.
It is hard because I am forgiven not excused.
Grace is easy because His mercy is new every morning.
It is hard because His mercy leads to change.
Grace is easy because it is sufficient for all my sins.
It is hard because some of them I want to keep.
It is God’s grace that turns this day into a special day with eternal purpose. All that is needed is God’s grace upon grace. His grace that forgives and makes me right, followed by grace to give me strength to do His will. At the start of each day I need to let these verse wash over me.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
I can approach the throne of God in His grace and be confident I will find mercy and help. (Hebrews 4:16)
I can leave my past behind and know that it does not cling to me.
Life is be pure again.
It is not mine to lose or spoil, I can only receive it, and it is a new gift every morning.
This amazing grace comes with God’s power to live for Him,
And the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not have to worry about tomorrow for the end of my story has been written.
I can breathe in the peace of God.
I can rest in the knowledge that God will cause all things to work out for good when I walk in His love. (Romans 8: 28)
When I get lost, He finds me and restores my soul.
What Jesus has started in me will be carried onto completion by His grace and power not mine. (James 1: 6)
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Before each meal I say grace, following the example of Jesus. The purpose is to give thanks for what God has provided, and ask the Lord’s blessing upon the food.
This morning as I lay in bed thinking of the coming day it struck me I could say grace over this day, following the same pattern of giving thanks and asking for God’s blessing. Saying grace over the day reminds me that God wants to bless it, to transform it into the fullness of why He has given it to me. Maybe the greatest transformation is in my perspective of the meaning and purpose of this day. After saying grace, it is no longer “just another day,” but one filled with God’s presence at every turn. The same possibility of blessing applies to the people we pray for: family, friends, and even person who cut us off in traffic. What an awesome gift is grace, for we get to lavish it around on everything and everyone that God brings into our lives. This day will be forever changed simply by praying for God’s grace upon it, and with this simple prayer this day is elevated to eternal purpose.
The scene is the Icicle Creek near Leavenworth WA. The photo was taken the morning after a snow fall in early winter. All is at peace with only the rushing of water for background music. I like to think of this moment as God’s salutation to me:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every letter in the New Testament begins with this greeting. The reason is grace and peace go together, with the gift of grace comes the gift of peace (see Romans 5:1). But I have to admit, often in accepting God’s forgiveness, I fail to also receive His peace that comes with it. Instead my mind falls into old ruts that rob me of the fullness of grace.
These are my ruts. I am sure you can add others to this list:
Grace and “Don’t let it happen again!”
Grace and “What a mess you’ve made.”
Grace and “You’re no good.”
Grace and the temptation to give up on myself.
Grace and fear.
Truth is I need help to receive all that God wants to give me. I need His help to put down the cacophony of lying voices in my head. I need His grace applied not only to forgive my sins, but also to let His peace rule in my life. Quite simply, I need grace upon grace.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. (John 1:16)
Therefore, as you live by God’s grace don’t let your thoughts lie about the conditions of His grace. Instead ask for grace upon grace, so that you can walk in the peace that God has for you in Jesus Christ.
Grace, like new fallen snow, covering everything with His peace.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16
Thank you Lord, that Your grace is not a one time gift, for I would have used it up long ago.
Thank you Lord, that Your grace goes beyond the forgiveness of my past sins to include my future.
Thank you Lord, that grace is also about the assurance of Your presence in my life, that You will be with me in all that takes place (O Immanuel).
Thank you Lord, that by Your grace, You want to change me from what I am, to what You want me to be.
I praise You that this miraculous transformation happens by Your strength not mine.
Thank you Lord, that Your grace soaks up what I have spilled, not just in my life, but also in the lives of those I have hurt.
Thank you Lord, that grace will never lose its power with use, or become dull with time.
Grace upon grace springing up eternally from Your fullness to my wholeness.
I feel weak and have a fragile faith.
When I reflect on the past, I see little accomplished and am disheartened.
When I consider the present, I have trouble overcoming my tendency to procrastinate.
When I think of future, I am fearful that I will fail.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
So my past is a story of God’s great grace.
My present one of seeking help to take the next step.
My future? I try to leave in the Lord’s hands.
Struggling to accept that whatever may come is from His hand,
And He will help me through it.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
I don’t understand why I’m this way.
I am only able to stumble along letting Jesus continually catch me.
When I stand before the throne, truly it will be an act of grace.