Bring Back the Wonder

by Sarah Langness

With the arrival of warmer temperatures, my little Ezekiel’s world has gotten so much bigger. I love seeing the wonder – and sometimes fear – on his face as his feet touch grass for the first time. As his fingers crumple a dead leaf for the first time. As his mouth tastes and encloses a rock for the first time. (Actually, the wonder was completely on his face on this one; the fear completely on mine. Zeke’s mouth is far too big for his own good.) Throughout this journey of parenthood, there have been countless times that I have wished I could remember that wonder, that awe, of discovering the world for the first time. I wouldn’t want to go back and re-learn everything; but I do wish I could remember what it was like to taste a banana for the first time. What it was like to take your first step. What it’s like to see snow for the first time or feel grass beneath your feet. To just simply be amazed at the beauty of creation.

And sometimes – actually, a lot of times – I wish the same thing for my salvation. Growing up in a Christian home, growing up going to church, growing up hearing the wonderful message of the Gospel — unfortunately, the awesome loses its wonder at times. It shouldn’t. Because I’m still a sinner in need of that daily grace, that daily forgiveness. But I guess it’s just too easy to get used to the truths of Scripture; the state of what I was and have now become because of Christ. I wish it wasn’t.

So I decided that I need to pray the prayer that David prayed. And not just once, but daily. That every morning I need to humble my heart as I approach His throne and say:

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:12  NASB

I want the wonder back.

Be Amazed! Be Amazed!

by Barb Moland

God’s grace – that is amazing! Our summer Bible camp pastor reminded us again and again – be amazed! Be amazed in God’s Word. I slipped a strip of paper in my Bible – “be amazed!”

Our back yard is partially under the canopy of our much loved large Rainier cherry tree. Viewed from a spacious kitchen window, it is glorious year round – I am amazed! It is beautiful from the beauty of every branch and twig in winter against the gray/blue sky (or a most glorious wet snow on every twig angle at the rare snowfall) to the bursting of white blossoms, center blushed in pink in early spring. The deep green canopy of leaves rustle in a gentle breeze over our yard through the summer, providing shade if desired. When autumn comes every leaf turns a vibrant yellow that glows in the sun and becomes yet more radiant at twilight. I am amazed! The cycle of life – creation and onward, speaks poignantly to God’s amazing grace. Be amazed!

God’s provision in Christ is yet far, far more amazing!

In spite of ourselves, God has sent a Redeemer for us – creating us, then patiently, lovingly buying us back to Himself. Galatians 4:4,5 (CEV) – When the time was right, God sent His Son, and a woman gave birth to Him. His Son obeyed the Law, so He could set us free from the Law, and we could become God’s children.

In spite of ourselves, God has provided a help for each hour of the day, along life’s way. II Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Is spite of ourselves, He has given us His peace. John 14:27 NIV) – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

In spite of ourselves, He has promised to keep us. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) – He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

For this and more, we praise and thank our loving God. As we completed “Pearls for a Princess”, our 2012 WMF Bible study, we gathered our hearts in the pearl of praise.

Be amazed! – every year, every season, every day, every moment. Looking to God’s Word we find the amazing grace of God offered so lovingly and freely to each of us, in spite of ourselves. The framework of redemption from creation through the accounts of biblical history and lineage of Christ, as well as Christ types, is indeed amazing. The New Testament gospels bring the incarnation of Christ right to us! We go on the early Christian church writings and messages regarding the return of Christ. This is amazing!

This grace was surely offered to the great, great missionary of all time, Paul. Quoting Beth Moore in Jesus’ watch from eternity on Saul’s (later Paul’s) presence in the stoning of Stephen in To Live Is Christ Day by Day:

One for Him; one against Him. One covered in blood: the other covered by prayer shawls. One who could not save himself from men: the other who could not save himself from sin. One dead in body but alive in spirit; the other alive in body but dead in spirit. One loved by God; and the other loved by God.