Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Thank God potty training is done in my house.  There is something about discovering wet puddles on the kitchen floor with sock feet that is quite unsettling.  In fact, it is down right gross.  Soggy underpants…puddles…running to the bathroom… extra laundry…

It has probably been a good 8 months since we have moved past this training period in my house with my youngest and I am ok with that.  I was thinking that my wife and I never gave up on our son when he wet his pants.  We cleaned him up, carried him to the bathroom, did lots of laundry and sometimes picked him up and ran for the bathroom.  We knew that sooner or later he could and would get it.

I know it is an odd analogy but aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on you when you make a mess.  In fact He continues to give you chances even though you get a little messy.  He still loves you even though cleanup is required.  When you get a little stinky it doesn’t matter because you are still His child.  He still wants you to experience the best.  He does not want you to give up and settle for a stinky, messy life.  Rather He wants you to conquer and live a victorious life.

Thank God, He doesn’t give up on us as fast as we give up on others!

Advertisements

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found twas blind but now I see. 

As some of you read the first line of the hymn “Amazing Grace” you started singing the hymn or quietly humming it in your head.  Maybe you recalled the other lines of this song that were penned so long ago by the great hymn writer, John Newton

Yet for some of you the grace is not so amazing anymore.  In fact maybe it has become run of the mill and bit boring.  Sure you acknowledge its existence but fail to recognize it with any enthusiasm much less amazement.  Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself a bit.  I should probably start by sharing a simple definition of grace.  Grace is easily defined as unmerited favor.  In the context of Christianity we often refer to God’s grace.  Meaning God’s unmerited favor that is directed towards humanity by sending His son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins which results in salvation.  The day I got this concept I was amazed.  I was overcome and overwhelmed by God’s goodness and that He would sacrifice His son for a person like me. 

Like many of you reading this today, I have lived close to Niagara Falls for most of my life.  I have been the falls dozens of times in my life and many times I have gone to the city and not bothered to even go and look at the falls.  I suppose my attitude has gone to the been there done that routine. 

This summer has changed my perspective somewhat on the falls.  I have made two trips to the falls.  The first trip was for a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist with my wife.  I promised her when we still dating that I would take her to the falls and that we would go on the Maid of the Mist.  She didn’t realize then that my promise would take eleven years to happen but I am a man of my word and I never did attach a timeline to my promise. 

The second trip I took was for my daughter’s birthday.  Each year we ask our children if there is anything special that they would like to do for their birthdays.   This year for my daughters sixth birthday she requested a trip to Niagara Falls. 

The sense of wonder and awe that I saw in the faces of my three little children was a reminder to me of the awe I once felt when I first visited the falls many years ago.  I was further reminded of this when I saw the many people who had traveled all the way from different parts of Asia and Europe to view something that was only 30 miles down the road from my home.  These people traveled from the other side of the globe to see something that I had become indifferent about. 

Reality set in.  The falls had not changed, but my perspective had.  The same is true of our God and us.  Perhaps you no longer see Him as you once did.  He has not changed rather, it is your perspective. 

The power of Niagara Falls can be almost overwhelming when you stand on boat located just below the falls in the Niagara River.  The beauty of the falls can be seen when you look into the face of a child or tourist who is viewing the falls for the very first time.  Your perspective on something can change everything.

I needed a new perspective of Niagara Falls to once again appreciate its beauty and its power.  Yet some of you need a new perspective on God and His grace to once again appreciate His beauty and His power.  You may feel alone in this endeavor.  Rest assured you are not alone.  It has happened too many before you  and will happen to many in the future.  The key is that you recognize that you need a new perspective.

Some of the things I do on a regular basis to have a perspective shift on my God include three things: reading, listening, and asking. 

Reading:  I read many Christian authors.  They give me new ideas and insights from their point of view.  It helps me see what others think and how they apply God’s Word.  It keeps me fresh when I might by myself get stale.

Listening: I regularly listen to my pastor on Sunday morning and listen to other preachers or teachers while I am driving in my car.  Currently I have a series of CD’s in my car that is an expository set of messages that were preached by James McDonald on the book of Philippians.  Again, like reading, my listening to others widens my perspective.

Asking:  I purposefully maintain contact with many men in my life that I view as Godly.  I ask them questions about life and pursue their counsel on a regular basis.  I want to know what they think about not just my trials but also about my victories.  This allows me to once again widen my perspective and open me up to new thoughts and ideas rather than stayed focused on my own limited perspective.  

(I recongnize that Scripture reading, prayer, and fellowship with believers was omitted.  I have made the grand assumption, that they were already being done so don’t get mad at me:)

After reading Hebrews 11 today, I came to a realization that I have never had before. Hebrews 11 sometimes known as the Faith hall of fame or the faith chapter contains a strong undertone of reconciliation and perhaps this chapter is less about people’s faith and more about God’s grace. Have I been missing the point all this time?Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, David are among the many faithful and faith filled believers listed in Hebrews 11.

If one chose to focus on the negative, this is what they would find.
 
Abraham was a wimp. He allowed his wife to be taken into captivity and lied to save his own hide. He doubted God along with his wife. Yet he shows up in the list of the faithful.

Jacob was a con-artist and a liar. Not only did you trick his brother but he outright lied to his father’s face. Yet he shows up in the list of the faithful.

Moses had a temper problem. Not only did he smash his staff on a rock but he killed someone out of anger. He is also the only man in Scripture who took tablets from God and then smashed them in a blind rage. Yet he shows up in the list of the faithful.

Rahab was a harlot. A prostitute. Someone who slept around for cash! Need I say more. Yet she shows up in the list of the faithful.

Gideon doubted God. He feared for his life when God gave him a task. In fact he even told God what to do. You may remember the old “give me a sign routine” that he pulled. Yet he shows up the list of the faithful.

Samson committed adultery against his God with foreign women. It got so bad that the consequence of his sin led him to a life of slavery and mockery. He even had his eyes gouged out. Yet he shows up in the list of the faithful.

David gazed (lusted) at a beautiful woman (naked). He committed adultery with her. He impregnated her and then proceeded to kill her husband. Yet he shows up in the list of the faithful.

Perhaps I just ruined your view of the Faith Hall of Fame chapter. That is not my intention. My intention is this, see it from a different perspective. I mean how is it possible that God could use these “losers”. Con-artists, liars, sex addicts and murderers. Wow, God you sure picked some good ones!

To say that God picked losers and be sarcastic in addressing God regarding His choices might seem downright sinful. It is! And if this is true, then why are we so quick to write people off in our churches. People who have fallen into sin, people who do not lead stellar christian lives and people who just don’t live up to our personal standards.

Perhaps it is because we forget that even God’s best were at one time people that we wouldn’t even look at. I wonder if Hebrews 11 is less of a narative on those who were great in the faith and more of a statement from God saying, “I can use anybody.”

Next time you are temped to give up on someone stop and read Hebrews 11. Let’s be honest, most of us have given up on people who were alot better off than most of God’s faithful of Hebrews 11.

God’s Grace Is Sufficient And Reconciliation Is ALWAYS Possible!!!!Originally Written August 2008