James 1:18 NKJV
Romans 5:6-8 ESV
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
Proverbs 30:5 ESV
John 1:14 NKJV
Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
Deuteronomy 26:1-4 NKJV
Every day I am amazed by how God treats me, how loving and patient He is, and how His eternal plan includes the plan He has for me today. I am most amazed that when I act like a toddler, He gently waits for me to finish my “fit” so He can help me move forward in His will. Even when I am at my worse, He is loving and patient.
In addition to how God treats me personally, I believe God is able to weave my requests and rants together into His ultimate plan for His people. In James 1:18 he wrote, “Of His own will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”
God’s will for me was created out of His own will. God’s plan for you was created of His own will. God’s plan for humanity was created of His own will. Both individually and collectively, we have been uniquely created out of His own will.
In Romans 5:6-8, the Apostle Paul tells us, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died for me. Christ died for you. Christ died for humanity. God’s will for us is that we will be drawn TO Him even though we are weak and terribly flawed.
That’s because God loves us with an unfathomable love.
Quite frankly, that’s hard for me to wrap my head around.
Through God’s generous act of love for us, we see God’s goodness. He offers salvation freely by His free gift of grace. That is made clear when we read what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Nothing we could or can do will make it so we can earn our way to heaven. I come to God empty handed. Sometimes I act like a screaming toddler but God receives me as a child of the King. I don’t do anything to deserve that kind of reception. It is a gift.
God receives you. He receives you just because you choose to think about Him. Your wanting Him is enough because He is our Father. He is Papa.
James adds to that first monumental phrase when he wrote, “He brought us forth BY the word of truth”.
In John 14:6, Jesus told His followers He is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus brought us the truth BY the truth and because of the truth.
I don’t know about you, but truth is something I hold onto as a sacred practice. My Mother had (has) a ‘thing’ about truth. When I was growing up she reminded us frequently we MUST be truthful. I think that’s why I stressed that to my own children. Truth is still ‘a thing’ with my kids. Now as adults, when they tell the whole truth I am moved by their candor.
I’ve know many military people in my life and two of my sons are career military. My son-in-law was in the Marine Corp. They do not mince words. I love it that our military holds truth in the highest regard. That’s because truth matters.
My other two children are in leadership positions in business where other people count on them. The people who report to them rely on their truth. Good leadership includes truth.
When Jesus told us He IS truth that meant He brings us truth that we can rely on. In Proverbs 30:5, the wise King Solomon wrote, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
We CAN rely on God’s truth. God brought us the Word of Truth. In John 1:14 we learn, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And in Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
I am not a gardener. I do not have a green thumb. But, I do love great fresh fruits and vegetables! As a result, when I lived in Des Moines for 20 years, one of my favorite things to do was to visit the Farmer’s Market downtown. I learned how to look for local fruits and vegetables and spoke with the people who grew them. The first taste (first fruit) of fresh vegetables in summer was a real treat!
The first fruits is a ‘deal’ to God. In Deuteronomy 26:1-4, we read that God told his chosen, His children, “And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ “Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.”
The first fruit mattered. It meant they chose God. They followed God. They were selected and God whispered their name. They turned to God and bowed down to worship Him.
We are the first fruit to God. We are chosen. Each one of us was selected for a purpose. God whispered your name and you followed Him. You bow down to worship Him.
James knew that mattered then and it matters now.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Truth
Give God your truth by telling God honestly how you feel (either about Him or about something else). Whether it’s your first time of telling God how you feel, or if it’s been done 1001 times, feel God’s love and truth coming to you as a first-fruit, fresh and new.
In God, Deborah