The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.
Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.
Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?
Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]
Something that I have been thinking about a lot is usefulness. There are moments when we have items in our home that are not useful to us. Sometimes we have apps on our devices that are not useful. Maybe at a time they seemed useful, but things have changed. But usefulness isn’t only something we consider as objects or possessions. People can be useful or not useful too.
Paul was writing to Philemon about the runaway servant Onesimus. He tells Philemon about this change that has occurred. Yes, Onesimus was deserving of punishment, which could have meant a death sentence. It was within the legal limits. But Paul mentions this great conversion of Onesimus. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but in doing so, he became useful. In saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” he became useful. God had big plans for Onesimus!
If someone would consider your usefulness, what would they say? Would they describe you as very useful? Do you think you are very useful? Or is something getting in the way? That something could even be you! Truth be told, you have a great purpose. God has known this since the very beginning. It is a purpose that I pray you embrace and pour yourself into as an offering. Aim today to come to terms with this usefulness, and if the Spirit convicts you, follow His leading. It is a very dangerous prayer to say, “Use me.” Yet is a prayer than can help position you for what God has already prepared. Be useful. Plant for a good harvest.
“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.” – Philemon 1:11 [NLT]
We never like to be wrong. Pride. It’s a terrible thing. Not only do we not like being wrong, but we usually are not quick to confess our sin. Rather than confess to God and receive His mercy, we do not take the simple step toward forgiveness.
The Psalmist noted that when he refused to confess his sin, his “body wasted away… (he) groaned all day long.” He carried around this horrible burden, this dreadful sin, and it caused him to experience great pain. It tore him up. It weighed him down.
We usually think that the confession of sin is all about us stating our imperfections, listing the laws of God we have broken. It is a time when we recognize we serve a holy God. Confession is much more than this though—it’s a release, a freedom from this sin that weighs us down. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). That’s it. Said and done. No need to look back on it. No need to remember it (He chooses not to). Read Isaiah 43:25. Freedom. If you have something to confess, take that step. Be free.
“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.” – Psalm 32:3 [NLT]
The Psalmist asks God how he could know all the sins that were lurking about in his heart. He understood that we cannot see everything. We are blind to some of the things lurking in our heart. We try not to acknowledge some things that are happening. We disregard some of the sins. We turn a blind eye. But God, He sees everything. He sees everything on our heart. He knows us more than we know ourselves. All the hidden faults, all of the bad thoughts, all of the things we deny or turn our eyes from—He sees.
The Psalmist asks that God cleanse him from these hidden faults. He does not want to have this sin in his heart. He knows he cannot see it, but he knows there’s something there. God sees it. God alone can cleanse him from it. This is a great prayer we can lift to Him. Those sins that are hiding deep within—He can purify us from them.
It’s amazing to consider how awesome our God is, isn’t it? He has unfailing love for us. He pours out grace upon grace. His mercy is unending. Even though we have these sins, even these ones we deny or cannot see, He loves us. He forgives us. He calls us His own. Today, rejoice in His love. Rejoice in the freedom from sin that He alone provides. Rejoice, rejoice that He makes all things new!
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” – Psalm 19:12 [NLT]
All you do is STRANGE and WONDERFUL (Psalm 139:14)
We are clay. You are the Potter. We are all the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8)
God is Rich in Mercy
- By Grace saved through faith
- Gift of God – not works – not fulfillment of Law’s demands least man boast
Because of Great Love for Us
Even Loved us when Dead in Sin – He made us Alive with Christ
- In fellowship with Christ – sit down together with Him in heaven
- In union with Christ – raised together with Him
- He gave us the very life of Christ Himself
We are His Workmanship
- In Jesus Christ – recreated in Christ / born anew
- For good works – fruit of faith / done for God’s glory
- Prepared beforehand/ predestined / prearranged / made ready
GOD DOES THE MAKING AND THE SAVING – It is FINISHED!
|I am accepted||I am secure||I am significant|
|I am God’s child (John 1:12)||I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2)||I am salt & light of earth (Matthew 5:13-14)|
|I have been justified through Christ (Romans 5:1)||I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)||I am chosen & appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)|
|I am united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17)||I am citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)||I am a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8)|
|I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27)||I can find grace & mercy in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)||I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)|
|I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1)||I am born of God; evil one cannot touch me (1 Jn. 5:18)||I am God’s co-worker (1 Corinthians 3:9)|
|I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14)||I can’t be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39)||I am seated with Christ in heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)|
|I have access to God thru the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)||I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)||I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)|
Bible Study Questions:
- What was our condition before Christ?
- What motivated God to save us? What does it mean to be saved?
- What did God do even though we were dead in trespasses? How?
- In verse 2:9, Paul speaks about salvation not being a reward for good things we have done. Why was this necessary? What is our part of the salvation process?
- The passage speaks about good works that were prepared in advance. What does this mean? What does this mean for you? How is this different from what the world thinks of good works?
- In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that we are “God’s workmanship.” What does this mean to you? Why is it sometimes difficult to see yourself as such?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
I recently moved into a new home. Before I moved in, there was a work crew here making sure that all of the blemishes were no longer visible. The nail holes were patched up. The walls were painted. Where there once was a mark on the wall, there was fresh paint. You know paint can cover up so much. For example, you can have a scrap on your car and a bit of touch up paint will make it go away. It doesn’t mean the scrap didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean you didn’t get a little too close to the garage. But it looks like nothing happened.
Long ago they would whitewash the tombs. They wanted to be sure that the graves were easily marked, some would say covered with lime or chalk, but it helped them consider it pure in case someone walked up to the tomb. Otherwise, if the whitewashing didn’t occur, a person would be contaminated, defiled for being in close contact with the dead.
Today’s passage says we cannot whitewash our sins. We cannot cover them over. We cannot pretend they aren’t there. We cannot take a paintbrush and cover it all up. Instead, we are to admit our sins. We are to confess and repent. If something you have done has not yet been confessed, get it out now. God is quick to forgive. You simply need to confess your sins and move forward. Don’t hide them behind some whitewash and think they will go away. Receive God’s mercy. Confess and receive His mercy.
“You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.”
-Proverbs 28:13 [MSG]
There are days when I am drained and just want to hide beneath the covers. There are days when my pain becomes so excruciating that for a moment I wish I could have my foot taken away. There are moments when I do not feel like doing much of anything. There are moments when it seems like I go from one trial to the next—like one continuing struggle. Things don’t always come easy. In fact, most things are a challenge. Most things are a fight. God never said everything was going to be easy.
Jeremiah wrote “yet I still dare to hope.” He remembered God’s faithfulness. He remembered God’s mercy. He boldly stated, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.”
I still dare to hope. I know that “His mercies never cease.” I know that every day is another morning full of His mercy, His love, His faithfulness. Therefore I too will boast, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him.” There is no other hope but Jesus.
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’” – Lamentations 3:21-24 [NLT]
There are people who feel unworthy to approach the throne of God, and the truth is we are all unworthy. Only through the blood of Jesus are we able to approach God. Only through God’s grace, His love and mercy, are we able to have this opportunity through Christ. In Leviticus 26, the Lord told Moses that “despite all this,” despite what the Israelites have rejected, ignored, and despised, God would not reject His people and He would not cancel His covenant with them. He told Moses He would remember the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even though the Israelites were unworthy.
We all mess up. We all can recount moments when we take the path that takes us in the wrong direction. We all can list the times we followed with lust and greed, making choices that got us into trouble and knee deep in sin. But despite all this, God loves us and forgives us. We still are called to be a holy people. His grace does not give us permission to sin. But when we do take a turn away from God, when we do cave from worldly temptations, He has promised not to reject us. Despite all this – repent and be forgiven. You are not rejected.
There are arms wide open waiting for you. We are all unworthy but through Jesus, despite all this, despite the dirty rags each of us has worn, we can approach the Father – we are not rejected. Today, thank the Lord for His great sacrifice. He gave all so we could have life—an amazing life with our loving Father. Oh how marvelous a life!
“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the LORD their God.” – Leviticus 26:44 [NLT]