March 15, 2012

March 15: Up and down

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By Alicia Hofer, a sophomore elementary education major from Dolton, S.D.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2:1-10 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.
DEVOTIONAL:

A signature. From learning to write our names in kindergarten, to making payments and filling out paperwork years later, a signature is used to show ownership. It is proof. It has value.

Even as time moves on and life changes, the value of that signature remains. Our world is constantly changing. Life has ups and down, which we all go through, but one thing that remains consistent is God’s gift of grace even when we can’t see it clearly.

Today’s Scripture names three reasons we need God in our lives. First, we need God because we are dead in our transgressions and sins (we are destined to fail). Second, without God we follow and gratify the desires and thoughts of this world (we live in sin). And lastly, we need God in our lives because without God, we are deserving of wrath due to our nature (we are incapable of escape). In other words, without some intervention – some help – life looks a bit grim. Our lives are full of reasons we need God. We face daily challenges from trying to keep positive and motivated, to facing difficulties like injury or death.

During a basketball game in my first year of college, I tore my ACL. I missed the rest of the basketball season and was unable to vault in track and field. After playing sports my whole life, I had a hard time adjusting to a sedentary lifestyle. In retrospect, however, that experience was one of the most pivotal ones in my life.

Sometimes the paths we choose don’t work out, not necessarily because they are the wrong ones, but maybe because there is something greater God wants us to know. Everyone needs a support to lean on. God gave me friends, family and a realization. After I tore my ACL, I found I had more time to nourish friendships, play music, spend time with God, as well as to merely refocus and reflect.

Throughout our lives we are destined to fall short and fail. When we sign with God and accept God’s gift of grace, we are made alive in Christ. Our frailty and challenges are no longer our destruction but rather uplifting journeys to find God within us. God has the ultimate plan for our lives and desires to persevere alongside us during both the ups and downs in our lives.

As it is written in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2:1-10 (NRSV)
1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

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Comments (7)

  1. Thank you, Alicia. I agree wholeheartedly with your three reasons we need God in our lives. How to become “unbusy” and commune with God daily becomes a challenge for many of us who are trying to walk in “The WAY”.

    Betty March 15, 2012 |
  2. Thanks for the insights into how God has been at work in your life, going beyond your plans but doing something even greater. May God bless you for blessing me.

    Bill March 15, 2012 |
  3. These times of forced rest, as you mentioned Alicia, are beautiful gifts of time to spend with God. I am a Hospice volunteer and this particular Bible phrase is one that can bring comfort to those transitioning into the spiritual realm. I love the phrase, “so no one can boast.” Very humbling.

    Patty March 15, 2012 |
  4. Thank you Alicia for your thoughtful devotional. It led me to think about times in my life when I laacked patience to believe that God had a plan for my life. That was especially true when I was young, full of energy and thought I was ready for the next step. Now I can look back and believe God’s plan was good.

    Mary K. March 15, 2012 |
  5. Thank you, Alicia for your testimony and thoughtful analysis of this portions of scripture from Ephesians. You are “right on”.

    Ron March 15, 2012 |
  6. Thanks you, Alicia for your testimony and thoughtful analysis of this portion of scripture from Ephesians. You are “right on”.

    Ron March 15, 2012 |
  7. What stands out to me most about this devotional is the verse you included at the end, from Jeremiah. It makes me think of how God’s plans for me may involve something that is very uncomfortable for me (i.e., giving up many of the things in my life in order to give to the poor, like the wealthy official in the Bible story) at the moment, but will eventually bring so much reward that I will forget about the initial discomfort.

    Elizabeth S.O. March 18, 2012 |