We all love to receive things: gifts, phone calls and cards from friends and loved ones, or special recognition for a job well-done. And all of these things are great. Even when we receive something we've earned through our own efforts, it gives a sense of accomplishment.
However, the sad truth is that those things we receive that are earned by our own efforts may have strings attached. We may believe we have accomplished something special, or found success in our endeavors because of the things we "get" from our labors.
We say things like "I'm going to buy myself a new car (or a vacation home or some other luxury)" because, we reason, "I've earned it." Or we say to those around us, "Look at the new car the Lord blessed me with" when we really went into unneeded debt to "own" that status symbol.
You see, all of those things are temporal; they can be taken away. Cars can be repossessed, properties can go into foreclosure or be sold on the courthouse steps, and the ring -- though beautiful -- may have to be sold to pay bills. But isn't it good to know that -- unlike the world's so-called "blessings" -- blessings that come from God can never be repossessed or foreclosed upon or sold to pay the rent?
Some folks seek security through a number of avenues. Sources like the stock market and bank accounts and investments and other "stuff" can make us feel secure for awhile, but they all have one inherent fault -- they are temporal and easily lost. They can be gone in the "twinkling of an eye" and we are left with deep despair at our loss.
But God loves us, and we need to understand that his love for us is what is truly valuable. His heart is filled with blessings for each of us, if we would only accept them.
What we try to accomplish on our own can be undone: we can lose our homes or our jobs or even our friends and loved ones, but we can never lose the blessings of God. The debt Jesus paid on the cross can never be reinstated; our new life in Christ can never be revoked or repossessed or foreclosed upon. Even our sins fail to undo what was done on the cross.
I'm not saying that sin can't bring on negative consequences. It usually does. But even that won't cause God to stop loving us.
One of the basic truths of the Bible is that God always keeps His promises -- even when the world tells us otherwise. As the Psalmist said of the Father -- "You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: you anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over" (Psalm 23:5).
And that's a great promise to hold onto during the trying times ahead.