Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Scandalous Grace.

Our pastor was teaching last Sunday about Jesus' famous last words. He spoke of grace. the scandal with grace. He explained that the scandal is that we can not accept grace for being just that; grace. so we will burn ourselves out on religion, or /and try and prove how "good" we are. we think if we can only be -good enough- than somehow we will have made the exchange of Christ's blood for our sins more worthy. but this is in fact an insult to God, placing ourselves over Him, saying, "but look what i can offer you back, is it now that I make it more worthy?" but friend, we are worth it by simply being born into His great plan. that is the value. the price tag could not be any greater than His blood even if you never thought another bad thought in your life. but the truth is, we will go on thinking bad things here and there, we will continue to make a mess of things, or boast in our own self worth, or lose patience, or be cynical, judging, or full of pride. accept grace for just what it is, a free gift. because He loves you. and because we need it. again, and again.  


this morning while i was walking the dog, i noticed something happening to our ground. this past week everything has become soft and muddy outside, and i kept checking but had little hope. until today. i saw the tiniest beginnings of flowers popping up. the perennials. the ones a gardener will plant because there is the promise that they will come back every year. even after the difficult beating they take every winter.  i want to be the gardener that plants the perennials. i want to be more about the promise of the return and exchange than i do about anything else. i want to plant this kind of hope and sow it in each one of my children's lives. i want it to be woven into my marriage, so that when winter occurs, i can hold onto the promise of Spring. grace my friends, grace. it is free, it is a gift. and it is yours. take it and sow it. and watch it grow. every time. 
...............
Galations 5: 22
IT’S QUIET. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
I choose love . . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy . . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace . . .
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience . . .
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness . . .
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness . . .
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness . . .
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose gentleness . . .
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control . . .
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
From When God Whispers Your Name 
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1994) Max Lucado

(above source:found here)
 
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