The year has begun and we are almost a month into it already. How quickly time passes by. I was reminded in my daily reading today that time and life are both gifts that I cannot control. What I can control is how I steward each… I can be grateful.

Malachi 3:16 ‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.’

This verse tells me a few things about God. 1. He listens to what we say. 2. He remembers what we say. 3. He connects thanksgiving with the fear or reverence of the Lord. If you read the verse before, these people are contrasted with those who complained. One who complains cannot be grateful at the same time. The one who gives thanks cannot complain at the same time either…

I choose to be grateful. I am grateful for the Body of Christ. More specifically, the brothers and sisters we spent time with in Southern California this past week. At all three locations, we connected with different people, different backgrounds, different situations, different cultures of people and of church. All of them were passionate about the Lord, in their own varied ways. All are connected to us in the tapestry of our lives and we are richer in faith because of all of them.

When God designed mankind, He made a masterpiece… Even though we are fallen and in the process of walking out the implications of the great exchange, the Body of Christ is beauty – in the making. The American Bride of Christ is poor and needy in some ways; she is beautiful as well, in so many ways. She is generous, kind and in need of all the love and care she can get. In many ways, she is humble and wants to grow into Christ…

I love the Church. She has washed herself in the blood of the Lamb. If she is so beautiful under the pressure of the age and so many other forces hard at work, bent on her destruction. Wait until revival comes… Wait until the tables are turned… Wait until we see the Bridegroom…

You see, I don’t have the time to be critical. Time is a gift and my life is a gift. I may be gone tomorrow, but today, I can say with bold assurance, that Jesus is Lord and He has a beautiful bride. Shine, you beautiful bride in the making… You are loved. I am grateful.

Jon, with Molly

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