The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, July 22, 2022 comes to us from Kate Carroll of Kildare, Ireland
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:4-10 NIV
“Built to Last”
I inherited some pieces of wooden furniture from my parents and a great-aunt. I am not sure when they were originally made, but they are solid pieces that are both beautiful and made to last. They contrast mightily with some of the other pieces of furniture in our home that are not made from solid wood. Many of these newer items are nice to look at and functional, but I doubt I will leave any of them in my will to give to someone else.
Psalm 139 tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together by God in our mother’s womb. There may be times when we feel fragile. However, like my heirloom wooden furniture, we have an inherent strength, durability, and beauty. Circumstances may try to declare otherwise. We may hear whispers that we are not going to make it. But we can be encouraged, knowing that we are God’s enduring handiwork.
Many of the things that we have inherited are built very well, and they bring back many memories of special people and celebratory moments. God has created each of us with even greater care and value. Even when we feel weak or fragile, we are God’s good and holy ones -- “fearfully and wonderfully” made so that we can become God’s hands and feet in the world that God has given us. I invite you to consider moments when you have felt fragile, weak, or afraid. Were you able to feel fearfully and wonderfully made by God and strengthened by knowing that God’s unlimited grace is blessing you?
Dear Father, give us confidence when we feel fragile. Remind us that we are made by you, and we are yours. We pray as Jesus taught us, “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation’ but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen.
Thought for the Day:
With God, I can stand the test of time.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)