I know this looks like a lot of text, but I encourage you to read it *slowly* this morning. I pray it will bless you as it has blessed me!
"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us- set us right with him, make us fit for him- we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover that at the same moment the has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand- out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expenctancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary- we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatsoever to him.
Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrifical death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!"
Romans 5: 1-11, as translated by Eugene Peterson in The Message
"But me he caught- reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning...He stood me up on a wide open field; I stood there saved- surprised to be loved! God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him...God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes...What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth...Everyone who runs toward him makes it."
Psalms 18: 16-19, 20, 24, 30, Msg
Happy weekend, friends!