Monday, May 18, 2020

The Gifts He Gives

Monday, May 18, 2020 Submitted by Lara Cook
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
The Gifts He GivesAs Children of God, we are given many gifts upon our adoption into His kingdom when we ask Him to be our Savior. We are justified through faith, which means we are pronounced righteous solely on the basis of our faith in God and His gift of salvation.  We had nothing to do with it other than accepting Him as Savior and Lord of our hearts.  Justification through faith means faith and not works is how we are saved.  There is nothing we do to earn salvation.  There is no way we could ever do enough or be good enough to earn this gift.  Our faith in God, acceptance of His grace, salvation, and mercy, is the only way.  And that is awesome news!  We don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING.  We simply receive by opening our hearts and letting Him in.
Justification through faith is the beginning of these eternal benefits we have as His children.  We have peace with God because all separation between us and God is gone – forever! We have total access to the presence of God – forever! We have hope – forever! And we have the Holy Spirit given to us – forever!  
The scriptures above talk about suffering also.  Becoming a child of God does not ensure us a life free of suffering as we all well know.  But it does promise us the presence of God, hope, and peace in suffering which in turn produces in us good things like perseverance and character, to be used for God’s glory.  Where do we find peace in suffering?  In times of suffering and trials, we cannot depend on what we feel, we must focus strictly on what we know, and these verses above make some solid promises to stand on. 
Peace is a by-product of our relationship with God and in that relationship is the only place we will ever find true and lasting peace. The peace that our good circumstances and sweet moments here on earth produce is nice, but it is not eternal. When the circumstances change, our peace can disappear quickly because we like to see what makes us secure - like having extra toilet paper during this pandemic. Let’s be honest - haven’t we all felt a little sigh of relief when we found some on the shelves of the store? Now there seems to be plenty and it makes us feel better - more secure that we will have what we need. Sometimes looking to God will not produce the material things we think we need but it will provide what He knows we need - a deep and abiding peace that comes from trusting Him regardless of what our hands hold. And that’s the really hard part - trusting Him with what we cannot see and resting in the peace He gives.
None of us knows what lies ahead - exactly what our new normal will be - and this whole thing has been prime property for Satan to come in and destroy the peace we have so desperately been seeking. He thought he could break the church by keeping us apart, but he has not kept us apart. If anything, I believe we have formed stronger bonds and we will come back together and rise up even stronger than before. During this uncertain transition, seek the peace that is yours as a Child of God. Sit with Him and pray, meditate, and soak it in. He can calm our troubled hearts and put our racing thoughts at ease. Rest in His promises today and every day.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid.  John 14:27 (NLT)

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