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Wonder of Grace

The Old Testament prophesies the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  What a blessed way to raise the level of expectation and wonder of His Coming. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace  there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7
 
In Luke 2:9-14 we read of his coming:  The angels came from heaven to announce his birth.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!   And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
How often I heard these words while growing up, read by my Dad in a dimly lit living room with the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree as we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  The words caught my heart.  As I grew up, God filled my heart and mind with the wonder and expectation of the coming of Jesus Christ, the One and Only Son of God.  And there was more.  Always more surprises and the wonder of How Great is our God as His Gospel was revealed from that early moment of understanding.
I marveled at the succession of His Love from when I first believed, and how belief moves to faith and then to trusting God completely.  From watching my grandparents kneel in prayer in their farmhouse, trusting God for crops to seeing the wonder in my Grandfather’s face as he read God’s Word.  Understanding the loving sacrifices of my Grosmom made in raising four mischievous sons and one daughter as her husband traveled to preach the Word of God.  Then realizing as my Dad took his last breath with a smile on his lips, he stood on the threshold of entering the presence of God. 
Each pregnancy brought me a gift of God.  The death of the 2nd born twin gave me an anchor in Heaven, and strengthened my faith.  Where else could I go for comfort and peace?  God gave my husband and me blessing of seeing each child choose Jesus and become His brings me the ultimate joy of a parent.
Now my years grow in number, I remember my Grossmom sitting on the porch, singing a hymn and I remember my Grandfather, celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary.  As I finished singing Green Pastures, he told me that’s where he wanted to be.  He longed to be with His Lord Jesus and died within a week.  Loving family and church family memories constantly bless my heart as I study and delight in His Word. 
Psalm 37:3-5 – Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.  (This was my Mom’s favorite passage.) 
The Wonder of Grace is the Gospel  – a free gift from God.  A gift of freedom, fenced in by His Love. As children of light, we are freed from worry or concerns and guilt.  Gospel is the Good News Jesus came to show us God’s love and grace.  What happens when we unwrap the free gift of Grace?  Our hearts are freed from sin and forgiven.  Our hearts are restructured to be in harmony with God’s loving heart and mind.  Our values become eternal-centered, and not worldly-minded.  Our destination is not of this world – fame, riches or comfort, but Heaven.
 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:8-9.
It is not what we do in life that makes the difference, it is what we believe in the heart. Mom came to live near us, as she grew older because of her health, she was in a new place – strange to her.  She had no friends and a new church family.  Each morning she began her day in expectancy and prayed, “Lord, what do you have for me to do this day?”  Soon she had friends, volunteered at church, schools and the museum.  She taught a Bible Study in her home and gave piano lessons. She listened to God’s voice and let Him lead her.    
Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes, “Out of the proclamation of the amazing story of the love of Jesus other wonders grow, for signs and wonders are the witness of the gospel’s power.”
God’s Creation shouts His Name in Awe and Wonder!  Each morning is not just a new day, it is a gift of life to serve the One who creates Wonder and Joy in my heart and my every moment!  And I praise Him for His awesome Wonder of Grace and listen for His Voice!
 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

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