Ephesians 1:3-14 (NRSV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ  before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9 he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,  having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this  is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:7 (NRSV)

7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

DEVOTION – Nancy Johnson (Georgia)

We were experiencing the lowest temperatures of the year.  I wanted  to get inside quickly, but that wasn’t happening.  My freezing fingers fumbled with the house keys.  Suddenly I was surprised by warmth as the sun emerged from the clouds.  It was as if a blanket had been thrown across my back, a kind gesture that I wasn’t expecting.

The word that came into my mind was grace.  God’s grace is much like the sun.  It is always with us, but we don’t always notice it.  We can be easily distracted by the stresses in our lives, our vision clouded by uncertainty or pain.  When this happens, we can miss God’s presence with us.

But God doesn’t wait for our heads to clear.  Grace can appear unexpectedly in a call from a friend, in a warm hug, in the right word at the right time, or in rest at the end of a long day.  In small ways, we are reminded how much God loves us and provides for us.  The more we look for grace, the more we will find it.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s grace is always at work whether we see it or not.

PRAYER: Loving God, we thank you for the grace that sometimes surprise us.  Help us to trust that your grace is a gift you give us continually.  Amen.