Wednesday, August 20, 2014

... and THEN some!!

There's a local department store where, when I shop there, I always get more than what I went in there to buy, because the prices are that good ... which usually means I end up spending more than what I budgeted, LOL.

When I get to the checkout, the cashier always asks, "Did you find everything you were looking for?" And usually I say, "OH yeah. And THEN some!!" And he or she smiles ... or chuckles. 

Contrast that to the small print you see on auto ads that promise a great price (and then you realize in the small print that the price is not per month or even per two weeks, but per week!!) 

It's disappointing when things aren't as good as what was expected or advertised. I think a lot of believers feel like that about relationship with God. Frustrated by rules and obligations, we feel like what we got is not like what was in the brochure. And quite frankly, many of us feel gypped. Disillusioned. And guilty, because we know we "shouldn't feel that way" and we label ourselves "selfish." We beat up on ourselves. We see other believers whose lives appear charmed (is that real or is it a fa├žade and they're up to their eyeballs in debt and family strife??) and we wonder what we did wrong, why we got the dirty end of the stick, why God "has it in for us." Or alternatively, we stick our heads in the sand and tell ourselves lies about how everything is glorious and beautiful, and we hide from the fact that we're lying by calling it "speaking in faith." 

Photo "Sun Ray Behind Dark Cloud"
courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at
But God isn't less than what has been promised. He's MORE. He is able, the Word tells us, to do exceedingly abundantly above (that's three words meaning SO VERY, VERY MUCH MORE) than we can ask or think, according to (in the same measure as) the Power that works in us (which, by the way, is the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead!!)  And we trot that verse out and claim it ... in our prayers and our declarations and affirmations ... but do we really realize what that means in the every day?? Perhaps some concrete examples would help, because I think that we use it to apply to the temporal things in life, like health and wealth and all kinds of blessing. But let's look at MORE.

He's forgiven us. No, think about that. MORE forgiveness than we could ever handle, already done well in advance so we don't have to beg for it or beat ourselves up with how awful we've been. Forgiveness with no holds barred, no matter how many times we mess up, no matter how deeply we've embarrassed ourselves. No matter how much we think we should feel ashamed of ourselves. Already forgiven. Period. No conditions, no limitations, no standing with His hands on His hips saying "tsk, tsk..." NONE of that. 

He's not only forgiven us, He's made us new, declared us righteous. Seriously!! We are absolutely new before Him at all times. I know, you might say that I just got through saying that. But there is a subtle difference between sins forgiven and having a whole new nature, being recreated completely so that there is no blemish in us, unbroken, unbreakable fellowship with Him. No exceptions. (Can it be??) We are "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world ... holy and without blame before Him." (Ephesians 1)  These are often hidden facts, hidden in a smokescreen of dos and don'ts, pray this, go to that service, assume this posture, wear these clothes, etc., etc. 

The awesome truth is that after we are God's adopted children, recreated in Christ Jesus, we don't have to "ask" for forgiveness when we mess up; it is ALREADY OURS! we simply thank Him for the provision that has already been made once and for all!! We are so grateful for such great love that would find a way to approve of us, dote on us, and welcome us into His presence any time, any place, whether alone or in the presence of one or more people.

It boggles the mind.

Meditate on those wonderful, simple truths (being already forgiven and being declared righteous and blameless before Him because of His great love, being accepted and loved lavishly by Him - not in some abstract way but in a very personal, very moment-by-moment way, like a new parent watches his or her sleeping baby!) and it won't be long you can feel "it." Realize how deep His grace goes and there is a kind of giddy, bubbly thrill that permeates your being; you just can't help it! All the "buts" clear away in the simplicity of the pure gospel of Jesus. Joy, pure delight cannot help but result! 

Those of us who have grown up in the church sometimes lose sight of the "easy yoke" Jesus places on us. We get bogged down in this and that project, this and that need, this and that doctrine or prayer focus. We get distracted by how our lives don't "measure up" to the end result that is expected of us, and we can lose sight of the simple fact that none of that means anything at all without our relationship with Jesus being the centre of everything. We put the cart before the horse and wonder why it never goes anywhere. 

Jesus is the source. Jesus loves us. He (the Truth) has already made us free, forgiven, accepted, loved, embraced, and spotless before Him. That's everything I've been looking for. 


Join me in highest praise!

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