Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’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 God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
My life is a masterpiece. It is something beautiful, wonderful, and worthy because I know Jesus Christ. He is the beginning of the unfolding of God’s Plan in my life beginning with my immediate rescue. But what about the days that my life resembles scribble art more than a work in progress? How about when everything that was coming together so nicely seems to all fall apart? If my new life is so wonderful, why do I not see it yet? The process of making a masterpiece is painstaking and time consuming. Impatience sets in for those who are the one being molded and shaped but the Hands of the Potter know exactly what is necessary to make our life into a masterpiece. I must have faith and confidence that God’s Plan is good and my future excellent in order to submit to this process of rebirth and renewal. I know that on some days joy and peace flood my soul and I am unaware of the process that I am in but then there are those days that feel like I have taken two steps forward only to slide three steps back. It is on those days that I must remind myself that I am a masterpiece. My life is something beautiful, wonderful and worthy of all the effort, endurance and patience as I seek the Lord and His Will each day. The Plan of God is good and well worth having.
Live. Love. Forgive. Never give up. Lyrics of a song the other day etched these words in my mind with the phrase “rinse and repeat.” Some days it feels like we are going through the motions of Christianity but the purpose is not really clear where we are going or how everything will turn out. Welcome to the realm called “Hope.” It is easier to “live, love, forgive and never give up” when there is purpose and meaning in our life. We hold on tightly to the known and understood but grasp desperately when things seem unclear. The Lord wants us to live this life with great expectation. We do not have to wait until forever to experience His Glorious Grace. He wants us to love as we live binding our hearts and lives together on this pilgrimage to His Promise of Forever. He wants us to forgive each other and ourselves so we continue to have save passage. The most important thing on the list though is that we never ever give up. This is called endurance. We must hang on until the work in our life is complete lacking nothing to experience that place of more than we could think or ask. (Ephesians 3:20) Just like in Ephesians it may take another chapter or turn of the page to get to, but it will be worth it.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT)
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
To become this masterpiece that I am called to be requires accepting God’s Unlimited Grace and His Unmerited Favor. Too often we use our past to excuse our unwillingness to wait for the Lord and His Future. Doubt tells us that no one could ever forgive us to the extent that we are supposed to believe His Grace, Mercy and Love are capable of. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. (Romans 3:23) I don’t believe that the Lord is condemning us in this verse but rather introducing us to the infinite possibilities when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We have all sinned. It’s true. Everyone. No one is exempt. It means that we are dying failures outside of our relationship with Christ. Therefore no one is better than another. God does not have favorites. If you have children, do you love one of them more than another? Of course not. God forbid but if you lost one would the others make up for the lost or would you produce another to take his or her place? That’s ridiculous. God feels the same way. You are important. You are His Child. He loves you just like you are. The moment that we decide to turn from sin and darkness and accept this marvelous grace and favor that our Father is offering – everything changes (whether we want it to or not)!
God cannot leave you the way that you are. It is below His Standard of Living. Our kids accumulate free t-shirts like bunnies reproduce. They are always picking up one here or there. Then there are the old clothes that are threadbare and barely fit that they just cannot let go of. I assure you that my children could clothe third world countries with their closet yet insist on wearing the same thing over and over again. (I assure you we are working on this.) When we get ready to go somewhere and they come out wearing ill-fitting, cast-off clothing my husband will usually make a comment or encourage them to change. Why? He provides well for His Children but they sure don’t look like it in their ragged appearance. Truthfully, when you have five children of varying ages and dispositions I was just thankful when each one had shirt, pants and shoes. But to the one who works hard to provide for them and be sure that every need is met not to mention their heart’s desire, He wants the very best for them always. God feels no less committed to making sure that His Children have all that they need AND the desires of their heart. He is not happy when we settle for anything less. You are a Child of God. Now the Lord wants us to live like it.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NLT)
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
My personality to most may come across care-free, confident, bold and even daring but really deep inside I am just like everyone else most of the time. I wonder if God’s Best is really possible or am I too far gone. When our son was diagnosed with cancer a second time, I was completely blown away. I was taken off guard. I did not expect it. I had decided that God had healed his body and we were moving on. Imagine my dilemma when it kept coming back a third, fourth and fifth time. God has healed our son each time. But how can this be a masterpiece life? Well when the second diagnosis came, I needed a Word. Many people offered many words of encouragement during that time. Some believed what they were telling me while others didn’t at all but just thought it was the right thing to say. I listened but I did not hold people accountable. I wanted, needed and desperately sought the Word of the Lord. He told me from the beginning that our son would “live and not die”. Was this some cruel trick? This wasn’t part of (my) the plan. Why? Where did I miss it? God gave me Romans 8:28. At first I was a bit miffed, that’s it. That’s all you got!
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” That is what the Lord told me. When this first happened, God asked me if I trusted Him and my response was “of course, I do!” That’s when I received the promise that our son would live and not die. But with the turn of events, I began to wonder did this mean now or forever? My son is alive. His Purpose and Plan are all encompassing. It has taken a lot of prayer and pursuing the Lord to finally understand that my life is a work in progress. When it seems to be unfolding – God’s is good. When it gets all crumpled up – He is still good. When everything falls apart – His Goodness is at work in my life. God knows me. He chose me in advance to be His Child. He has called me to come live in His Presence. Like the prodigal son, when I realize that I was not created, called or destined to this standard of life called normal then I will leave behind compromise, substitutions and less than enough to accept the Glorious Standard of Living that belong to His Children. He is giving me His Glory if I allow myself to become the new creation that He is making out of my life. Some days all I can remember to do is “live, love, forgive and don’t give up”. I love Micah 6:8 – “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Sometimes that’s all we can do in the process of becoming what the Lord has called us to be. Just keep on keeping on. Things may not immediately change for the better but they will. Things may be changing too much too fast. Welcome to the oceans we have been singing about. Faith will keep you walking. Hope leads you in the right direction. My confidence hope has become that no matter what happens today – God is doing something good so I will trust Him. I am God’s Masterpiece. No one else dictates the outcome of my life. It is being recreated according to His Glorious Standard not my weak expectations so it will be more than I can think to ask for. He has given me a future and hope that if I will just purpose in my heart and mind to seek Him daily, moment by moment and even breath by breath will be wonderfully amazing and worthwhile. A masterpiece draws the attention of others. It reflects the Glory of its maker and creator. This is your life – it is a masterpiece. You are a Child of God. He loves you. That is all that you need to succeed just live in His Love! Live, love, forgive and don’t ever give up!
Psalm 36:5-9 (NLT)
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.