The Grace Feeder

Titmouse on birdfeederBut to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name— John 1:12 (AMP)

I’m fairly sure that this past year hasn’t brought more species of birds to my area than what were already here, but it seems as if it has.  The difference between then and now is my personal interest in them.

Back in the winter, I bought a window-mount bird feeder and suet basket.  I’d already been feeding hummingbirds for a couple years in the summer; but the cold weather and relentless snow caused me to feel pity for the non-migrating birds and early arrivals whose meager food was far beneath the white ground.  The tree limbs and bushes were looking alarmingly bare, too.  It took a few days for them to discover this little feeding station; but once they did, they became daily regulars.

And so began my keen awareness of each kind.  Before long, there were more than the familiar robins, blue jays, cardinals, and sparrows.  Now there were cowbirds, blue-crested titmice, chickadees, finches, meadowlarks, swallows, and many others.  It wasn’t enough for me to know they were coming; I wanted to know what they were, what they liked to eat.  I took responsibility for keeping that feeder full of what is good for them. I Google-searched their descriptions so that when one came to the feeder, I would know it by name!  Even the family of gray doves who’ve lived here in the woods behind our house for the past several years began to drop by.  They of course didn’t light on the bird feeder, but politely waited for the others to knock seeds out and down to them.

And as I mused these things this morning, I thought of how blessed we are when, after accepting Jesus as our Savior, we become adopted into God’s family as real sons and daughters, joint-heirs with Christ.  We are all God’s creation; but until we accept relationship with Him, we are not yet all His children.  The same gift of eternal life is out there, made equally available to all who will receive it; but we must make the choice to do so.

While God cares for all of His creation, and longs for relationship with all of us, there are so many more blessings in store for those of us who respond to His calling.  Even those who do not accept Him are blessed daily.  He gives all of us sunshine, rain, food, life.  He gives those things anyway, out of His sheer goodness, knowing that many of those whom He blesses will still reject Him.

To those who do receive Him, however, we receive the privileges afforded with sonship even beyond eternal life.  He becomes fully vested in our lives.  He knows what we like, what our secret longings are, how to bring out the very best of the potential He birthed in us.  He begins to work all things toward our good.  He burns the dross out of our lives and makes us pure.  He prunes our branches so that we can be even more fruitful.  He makes Himself readily available to walk with us, not just in the cool of the day, but in the heat, the storms, the long nights as well.  He reminds us that, no matter what, He is with us and will never leave!  Like those birds who have chosen to come to my feeder, we come to God through pure grace.  Those birds have nothing in particular to offer me in return. They can’t help me with my housework or pay my bills.   If anything, they cost me.  I’ll be buying more feed and cleaning away messes they make; but it is my joy to bless those who will come and eat.  There’s nothing we humans could ever do to merit God’s grace.  We just have to accept it freely and know that it’s His goodness rather than what we have done.  He delights in His ability to give us what we cannot earn!

I don’t know about you, friend, but I want to know Him…and Him to know me!  I don’t want to just catch the incidental blessings He makes generally available to all of creation; I want to be treated with the distinction of being a cherished daughter.  He has agreed to be responsible for me; to always be with me both now and throughout eternity.  I want that, and through Jesus, I have that.  You can, too!

Pray with me:  “Jesus, I don’t enjoy being alone in this life.  I know that I have been blessed even though I don’t yet call myself a Christian…but my life is still empty and not the best it can be.  I’m told that relationship with You will be the element that completes what is missing.  I need that void to be filled, not with the destructive or vain things I’ve pursued which have left me disappointed; but evidently, I need for You to fill that empty part of me.  Please forgive me of the wrong things I’ve done.  I have sinned, and even my best attempts at being good haven’t made me worthy of God’s gift of eternal life.  The Bible says that You are the way, the truth, and the life, and that I must come to God through You.  I receive You now as my Lord and Savior.  Thank You for enduring the suffering of the cross, for being the sacrifice for my sins, and for raising from the dead to be my advocate before God.  I don’t yet fully understand what it means to have you as that go-between, that mediator, but I am so glad that You plead my case before Your Father.  Make me Your adopted sibling.  Wash away my sins and clean up my heart and life.  May Your Father also be my Father, too, now and forever more.  I receive eternal life through You, and I receive the favor that Your grace has bought for me.  I will not go by my feelings, but I will always take You at Your Word!  Teach me, surround me with those who will help me, and please make me someone who makes a difference in the lives of others.  I am Yours to transform, and I thank You for the promise to never leave me!  I am no longer alone!” 

A New Lease on Life…Eternal Life

grafting“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.”  Romans 8:32

Imagine how grateful you would be toward the parent who, upon his or her child’s death, has agreed to donate that child’s organs to those in need of life-saving transplants. You are on a waiting list and suddenly the very thing you need in order to live is made available to you. It’s a sobering moment when you think that your suffering is eased because someone else’s has commenced; but because that person has willed this transfer of life freely to you, you receive it with gratitude. You have a second lease on life, and the grieving parent has the solace that part of his or her child lives on in each person whose life has been saved.

So it is with the gift of Jesus to us on earth. Eternal life—God’s saving grace—came at a terrible cost. In order for you to have eternal life, someone had to die. But now, because of the sacrifice of God’s only Son, royal blood flows through your veins and you have a new heart.

A songwriter named Ellis J. Crum (no relation…smile) once penned a song, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay.” All of us were destitute and on spiritual death row for the sins set in order by the first man Adam. The disease of damnation was set in order by disobedience; and yet, the “second Adam” came to deliver us from that sentence through His own obedience. A wound was made on the Vine so that a branch could be grafted in. A branch that would otherwise die unattached to a life source was suddenly given a chance to become part of the Tree of Life, but only a cutting into that precious Life Source made this transplant possible.

Just as you would feel lifelong indebtedness to a benefactor who saved you from untimely demise in the natural realm, so should you also realize the weighty gift that’s been made available to you by your Heavenly Benefactor. If you haven’t yet received this gift of life, please…don’t neglect so great a salvation! Time is of essence for you to be saved…now is that moment when your life can be extended into eternity. A way is made. His wounds pay for your transgressions. His chastisement pays for your peace. His back was beaten mercilessly so that His blood might bring your healing. Receive what He suffered to make possible for YOU. Choose LIFE.

“He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit that leads to eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” John 4:36 (MEV)