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Our beautiful scripture for this week (you are welcome to use it), so poignantly points to God's amazing grace toward us.
Today is my wedding anniversary. When we celebrate our years together, we obviously talk about how well suited we are for each other...what a fabulous job God did in bringing us together! We've had so much fun partnering in parenting, ministry, work, and even collaborated on a book published a few years ago. We work well together. We are a team. What one of us lacks the other has in abundance. (God did that!) We've sharpened one another, challenged one another and grown closer together each year. We are best friends. When we married, we asked God to make our marriage a picture of His grace. I believe He answered our prayers. We've received His grace again and again, and we've stood before our family, friends and the congregations we served through the years and have shared the story of His grace to others. Oh, my! Where would I be without His grace?
If I followed my heart, this would be too long a post. I love talking about God's grace...the unmerited favor He extends to the sinner's heart. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) As we accept His grace and trust in His lordship over our hearts and lives, an amazing transformation occurs. Christ exchanges our sin-stained garment of flesh for an eternal robe of righteousness. This truth should absolutely send us to our knees in grateful, humbled thanksgiving.
If you haven't read the grace-love story in the book of Hosea, it is worth the read...far better than any romance novel on the shelves today. The story is the biblical account of Hosea and Gomer. Gomer, married to Hosea, had an addiction to men...the wrong kind of men...many of them. She literally spent herself...her dignity, her beauty, and her heart looking for love in all the wrong places. Nothing satisfied, and the more she searched the more debased she became. Finally she was standing on the auction block, a literal sex slave, dirtied in every way possible and about to be sold for more soiling of her soul. In the crowd that day, was her faithful husband. He purchased her back, walked up to her and lovingly covered her nakedness and shame with his cloak. What grace, what love! In one act of selfless sacrifice, he took upon himself her shame, and lifted her into his arms to take her home. Leaves you a little breathless, doesn't it girlfriends? Read our verse again...
Hosea is a foreshadowing of our loving Savior, who while we were still covered in the shame of our own sin, endured the cross in our place, and steps down to where we are in our guilt and offers to cover us in a sparkling white robe of righteousness. What we deserve is to wear a blackened garment with a large A (for adulterer, The Scarlet Letter) emblazoned on the front. Instead, He redeemed us, purchased us back from our enslavement to sin, and lovingly took us into His protective arms....forever. What a love story! Who wouldn't want to run into His arms? Who wouldn't say yes to that offer?
Easter is the story of God's grace. It's the account of His sacrifice, of His love for us while we were yet sinners, and of His victory over the penalty of sin....spiritual death. That robe of righteousness is more than a pretty garment. It brings LIFE! As we wear His righteousness, God sees not our sin, but the robe of Christ's own righteousness wrapped around us. Not a hint of our sin reaches His eyes....in Christ, we are whiter than snow. Our sin is cast as far as the east is from the west.
May you experience anew the grace and mercy of Christ as you celebrate this Easter, the observance of His resurrection, and His victory over all sin. I hope you will kneel in grateful praise and adoration of His love for you. And I pray that you will literally feel His righteousness wrapping around you and lifting all guilt and shame from your heart. Be clean, be new, be His!
Daydream Designs Sets Used:
5 color images, 3 outline images, and 9 sentiments
10 sheets / 12x12 / 300 ppi / resizable
Beautiful card and so true a devotional and so uplifting, Diane! I just bought the book, Israel, My Beloved by Kay Arthur and haven't started it yet...but I think it is a non-fiction account of the biblical Hosea. Thanks as always for sharing and Happy Anniversary!!ReplyDelete
Oh, Diane, I agree with Traci! What a beautiful card and wonderful devotional! I've read the book, Redeeming Love, by Francine River, and it is truly a wonderful fiction story that truly brings home to any heart the grace of God and how He has pursued us! Thank you for sharing this wonderful devotional and how God is working in your marriage...and Happy Anniversary! Hugs and blessings!ReplyDelete
This is SO lovely, Diane! That bow is just amazing with the bling near it! Congratulations on your anniversary, too! I LOVE being married, too, and I can't believe it's been 10 years this fall. :) HUGS! Mynn xxReplyDelete