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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Come as you are....

10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 ERV)

Big nose, tiny toes, dimply or bony knees, brown or pale skin tone, wiry or thinning hair - all of us are unique. In our uniqueness, we all have exactly one thing in common - we are made "what we are" by God himself. Each of us is a unique creation of his hand. We can go through life trying to "remake" what we are by getting this lifted or plumped, that tattooed or pierced, or even just a touch up here or there over the years. We go through life trying to change whatever "image" of ourselves we don't fully appreciate, or which others have poked fun at for some reason. We almost forget we were uniquely and wonderfully made by the hand of the Almighty "just as we are"!

If we want to "remake" ourselves, we might just need to refer back to this scripture once in a while to remind ourselves the "remake" is God's business. He is the one who makes us "new people" - with the express purpose of spending our lives doing the good things he has planned for us to do. There is a song I like to listen to once in a while to remind me this "remake" is God's business - it is "Come As You Are". I'd like us to consider the words of this song this morning as part of our devotion together.  It is sung by the Crowder band. 

The words begin with, "Come out of sadness, from wherever you've been. Come broken-hearted, let rescue begin. Come find your mercy - Oh sinner come kneel. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal."

- There is no "imperfection" in our lives - done by or to us - that heaven's grace cannot heal. Rescue begins the very moment we kneel in submission to his grace. What - submission to his grace? Yes, grace is something accepted and to accept something, we have to submit to the influence of it in our lives. 

The song continues: "So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame. All who are broken, lift up your face. Oh wanderer come home. You're not too far. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart. Come as you are."

- No matter who we are, or what we have done, all we need is grace. We receive the change we are so desperately desiring not by doing, but by resting - by laying those things down before the throne of grace and just resting in the finished work of Christ.

The next words speak the loudest to me: "There's hope for the hopeless and all those who've strayed. Come sit at the table, come taste the grace. There's rest for the weary, rest that endures. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't cure."

- Stray as we might, there is always the rest we so desperately need right there at the table he has prepared for us. The rest is the result of grace - weariness comes as we stray away from "center" in our lives into any path which leads us away from that table of grace. Rest returns as soon as we take our place at that table once again. In the times Jesus walked this earth, the tables weren't surrounded with hard chairs, but pillows that one lounged upon as one dined and enjoyed the company at the table! Maybe it is time we lounge a little in God's grace!

The song ends: "So lay down your burdens. Lay down your shame. All who are broken, lift up your face. Oh wanderer come home - you're not too far. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart. Come as you are - come as you are. Fall in his arms. Come as you are. There's joy for the morning. Oh sinner be still, earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal. So lay down your burdens. Lay down your shame. All who are broken, life up your face. Oh wanderer come home - you're not too far. So lay down your hurt - lay down your heart. Come as you are."

- We are never too far gone for grace to reach us right where we are. If we want to be remade, we come to the one who knows how we are "originally made" - for he is the expert on what gets laid down, picked up again, and put right by his hand. Just sayin!