Friday, October 21, 2005

How Blessed Is God!

I began these devotions to have a better understanding of God's love. I wanted to take a closer look at the book of Ephesians because they seemed to have it all together. They loved God and spread His message. But somewhere along the line, they blew it. By the time Revelation was written, they had lost their first love.

But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! ~Revelation 2:4-5a (NIV)

What happened? And could it happen to me?

My goal is to post weekly. If for some reason that doesn’t happen, it’s because life has gotten in the way and I need prayer to get back on track. I ask that you lift me up as we go through Ephesians. In return, I will pray for each and every person reading this. I don’t know who you are, but that’s okay. God does.

And so, we’re off on a journey together!

How Blessed Is God!
Eph 1:3a

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. ~Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)

I’m one of those rebellious children that runs to God when I need something, then tries to do things on my own when I don’t want Him interfering. Sometimes I do things that I know don’t please Him, but I shut my eyes and figure if I can’t see Him, He can’t see me. But through all of that, I still love Him with all my heart. Don’t I?

In Ephesians, after Paul’s greeting, he goes into a praise that should be shouted from the mountain tops—or the very least, a world-wide radio broadcast. “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is!” These words should be on our lips from the moment we wake up to the end of the day. Power thunders from this statement.

But somehow, in the rush of the day, other lesser statements attempt to drown it out. “How fun is that TV program! What a time I have laughing at it!” “How exciting is that game on my computer! What skill I have to make it to the last level!” “How great is that book! What satisfaction I have in reading it!” While in some cases, these other statements have validity, the truth is that over and above it all I should be thinking about God and what a blessing He is.

I think that’s where the danger lies for me. When I begin to love the little distractions of the day, rather than the God who frees me from those things, that’s when I lose my first love. When I first became a Christian, I thought of God all the time. I was so in love with Him. Every song on the radio became a love song to Him. Granted, this was the early ‘70s when peace and love oozed from much of the programming. But He was the one I thought of first while melodic contralto strains flowed from my radio and answered the question: “Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you.” Ah, that Karen Carpenter. She could really sing a love song!

Now, thirty-two years into my Christian walk, I have to re-evaluate. Have I lost my first love for Christ, my Savior? Or has it simply been squashed down in the daily rigors of my life that has involved rearing children, supporting my husband, and beginning a writing career…the list is endless! It’s my attempt as I look closely at Ephesians, to unsquash that love.

Heavenly Father, forgive me for squashing my first love. Forgive me for putting anything, including my children, husband, or career, higher on the priority list than You. I climb in Your lap, Abba Daddy, and ask for another chance, one of many in my thirty-two years of knowing You. Help me to continually praise You, and to never allow that praise to leave my lips. How blessed You truly are, God! And what a blessing You have always been to me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.