Ephesians 2:4-10 (NIV)

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 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 workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Colossians 3:9-10 (NRSV)  You have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourself with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge acording to the image of its creator.

DEVOTION – Rebecca Seaton (Tennessee)

In mid-December, a couple came into the gift shop where I work.  As I helped them, I also commented on the woman’s beautiful coat.  After we chatted a few moments, the couple continued to browse.  Soon the man approached me with his wife’s coat and asked me to try it on.  When I told him I couldn’t do that, he announced, “This is for you! Merry Christmas!”  He thrust it at me; and the couple made a quick getaway before I could find out their names or even thank them.

This experience with extravagant generosity caused me to reflect on God’s gift of salvation.  The coat was a gift.  I had done nothing to deserve it.  God give us the greatest gift, salvation through Jesus Christ, which cannot be earned.  Also, I realized that in a way similar to how I removed my old coat to put on the new, we take off our old sinful nature to have it replace with the nature of Christ.

I realized anew that because of Christ, I can go out into life’s storms with confidence, just as I can go out into the winter weather, knowing that my new coat will keep me warm.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Salvation is the best gift of all.

PRAYER: God of mercy and grace, thank you for surprising us with your goodness. Thank you for the best gift of all, salvation given through your son Jesus Christ. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Seasonal Workers