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Noticed by grace

Stop and notice life around you from time to time - you might just be surprised by what you observe!
Sometimes we miss the "little things" in life. I guess I am as guilty of "glossing over" stuff as the next person. I wonder how much I really miss out on because I never stop long enough, listen close enough, or draw close enough to really "catch" what is happening? There are times when life passes us by at break-neck speed, or perhaps we are passing it by at that insane speed! Slow down, listen a little, get in touch with things and people around you. Notice stuff - it might just blow your mind!

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world but for those you gave me, for they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, and my life is on display in them. For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world; they'll continue in the world while I return to you. Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind. (John 17:6-11)

After a not very restful night's sleep, the first thing attacking my conscious mind this morning was the awesomeness of being "given" to Christ. So many times we think we "came" to Christ - like it was some doing of our own. The most amazing thing to me is our utter inability to find our way to Christ! Without his being "given" us as his own, we'd never have "found" him! We belonged to God the Father, given as a gift to his Son, Jesus! Have you ever thought of yourself as an "inheritance" - something of value given to another by the one who owned it in the first place? By this very definition we are more than "junk" cast aside, but rather a personal possession of the God of the Universe - made to give him glory and honor - given in tender care as a matter of "birthright" to the Son of God! It should give us immense joy to know God considers us of the highest worth - for only things of worth are given as an inheritance!

The truth is it may take a while for those given as an inheritance to actually do as they are instructed to do. Just belonging to Christ doesn't make us immediately obedient to all he desires, does it? "They have NOW done what you said..." The very use of the word "now" suggests some point in time of  each one of us NOT doing what God instructs. This certainly pictures my life! I know I have those moments of absolute surrender - I think there is a Christian worship song which refers to these as "second chances". We serve a God of huge second chances! This is truly awesome news for me - since I need so many of those 'second chances' in my own life! Nothing we get from Christ is "stale" knowledge. He gives us what he receives directly from his Father. It is alive, life-giving knowledge. What else could the Creator of all things do but share knowledge which is capable of producing life for those who will embrace it? Here's the rub - we have to embrace it! We settle for something "stale" so many times - when the freshness of the Creator's touch is right there for the taking! God's greatest joy is in sharing and producing life!

Christ's life is on display in us. This is no after-thought on Christ's part - he is purposeful in his prayer to his Father about each of us. He knows we are the display of his grace - to a world who will have no knowledge of the Creator without the evidence of his Son displayed through us! We are trophies of his grace - displayed for the world to see. Our every action, reaction, and even our lack of action displays the character of God (or it should). Yet, his prayer is for us to be guarded - with a "watch" set over our lives. Not just a "watch" to ensure no one destroys us - but a watchfulness to ensure the display of his grace is not tainted by our tendency to mess things up. Jesus knew we'd struggle with the simple stuff in life! Jesus' prayer is for us to be of one heart and mind - moving in the same direction, spurring each other on toward grace and goodness. We can allow the simple things to divide us, or we can focus on the truths of God and build upon them in unity. I think this is what Jesus had in mind as he prayed for us so many years ago. The next time you are tempted to "gloss over" some of the "familiar" stuff in the Word - don't! The truths we skip may be the very blessing we need! Just sayin!

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