Daily Devotions

Only God is Self-Made

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"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:16)

 

You can't buy it. You can't earn it. Celebrities don't get extra. The poorest and the richest have the opportunity to get it. Everyone gets the same amount. Grace. Grace is the gift worth more than Super Bowl tickets, or even Kim Kardashian's stolen ring. Yet, few people take advantage of this amazing gift.

 

In his extremely helpful book, New Testament Words, William Barclay speaks of grace, "It is not as if God chose us because we stood out because of special goodness or special attainment. It is out of the goodness of his heart that God calls us who never deserved to be called." When we get beyond the layers of self-deception and denial, we come to recognize there is little in this world we deserve. We didn't create ourselves. Our intellect, physical or mental health, where we were born, or who raised us are beyond our control. Each of those decisions came from God. There is no such thing as "the self made man!" Even our level of disciple is more influenced by outside factors, than by our inner determination.

 

Our lives, our blessings, our loves etc. etc. etc. all come from God's grace. Today, think about the ways God has blessed you with grace. It requires you to think about your shortcomings and outright sin. Then, contemplate the idea that in spite of the most horrifying recesses of your being, God loves you and reaches out to you with loving and affirming grace. Then, thank God for the gift you don't deserve, but must simply accept. Finally, since God so freely accepts you, strive to accept yourself, horrors and all!

 

Include God

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"He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him." (John 1:11)

 

We tend to think of God as this other worldly, distant, omnipotent being. That thinking is theologically mistaken. Many places in Scripture, including this one, God is loving and does care how we humans relate to Him/Her. You can feel the hurt in the phrase, "his own people did not accept him." Most of us know the pain of not being accepted, at one point or another.

 

God came to be with us, as a fully human being. God came to earth for the purpose of intimately relating with us. Jesus felt all our feelings, including the horrible feeling of being rejected. I went to twelve schools between kindergarten and 10th grade. Being the new kid almost every year, meant that I often felt the uncomfortable feeling of not being accepted. Now, I rarely felt full out rejection, but especially at the beginning of a school year, it felt more like being invisible.

 

I often worry about children and youth because acceptance is so vitally important for a young person's emotional development. If not being accepted is hurtful to God, just think how hard it can be for we very imperfect humans. But the feeling of not being accepted is not just something that occurs in childhood. Adults have subtle ways of creating our own cliques, which are by definition, exclude.

 

God does not want to be excluded from your life. God desires your acceptance as much as you wanted to be included in that middle school group that always seemed to have so much more fun than you were having. Include God in your life today by being conversational. Take little spiritual moments throughout your day to talk to Jesus. Do it out loud. Talk like you would to a friend. That is the easiest way to include God in your life and allow God to feel accepted by you.

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