Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reawakened


Life is like a ticking clock.  When we are busy and occupied, time flies.  We seem to lose days and cannot keep up with the activities in front us but when life is hard and trials abound, the clock feels as if it stops.  I am learning that there is a reason for everything and even trials serve a great purpose in life.   Because of this realization, I am understanding grace in a new way.  I guess you could say I have been reawakened to His grace. 

What that used to look like in my life went something like this…when life was hard I looked at things with the glass half empty attitude.  If I was experiencing trials, I would find myself doubting God’s presence in my life and I would turn inward.  I would give up.  I would allow “the bullies” to bully me.  I would become afraid and the enemy would win.  That had to change.  I had to do a grace inventory because my doubt was leading me to lose sight of God’s grace.  

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 
Ephesians 1:7

Taking an inventory is important.  Luckily, for me, I write.  I write a lot and so it was easy for me to sit down and revisit the obvious times that God made Himself very real to me and extended His grace.  There were times that I found myself up against those “iron chariots” of life and would begin questioning God’s grace but He would make Himself very real to me.  What was I doing wrong?  Why would I doubt? As I examined my list, I realized my difficulty came in actually accepting His grace.

We live in time where I feel there are many believers who do not understand grace.  They preach about God's judgment but have missed the mark on mercy and grace.  Too many believers find it in themselves to play the part of judge and jury and it leaves this world with a warped sense of God’s amazing grace.  That is what happened to me.  There were quite a few people in my life that I highly respected and looked up to for direction until finally, the light bulb went off and I recognized my need to separate myself from those who could not or would not extend grace to others.  That kind of attitude of looking down on others is not biblical and comes from an attitude that is full of pride. 

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 
Philippians 2:3

What I have learned over the years is that we are called to be the reflection of Christ. We are called to be His hands and feet.  We are to show His love and His grace.  Believers have forgotten this very thing.  Jesus did not walk around meeting people and respond with a judgmental attitude.  He did not meet the tax collector and say “sorry dude.  You steal money.  Stay away.  You are not allowed in my church.”  He did not say to the woman He met, “You’ve been married HOW MANY times? Yeah, sorry.  You cannot follow me.  I have no place for you.”  That was not Jesus.   His job was to love those who needed loving and to point them toward His Father.  He was to steer them away from sin and He accomplished His mission because He had a heart that extended the love of His Father. We forget that God will judge those who need to be judged.  Christ knew that there were many who needed to know love and grace because their lives were full of sin and He offered it.  He was here to do His Father’s work and He did it and we have been called to do the same but we do not.  We fail and because we fail, people turn away. I have failed and so I had to do a grace inventory.

You see, I know how many times I have screwed up.  I know how many times I have fallen but I also have journals full of each time that the Lord has picked me up and shown me His love and grace.  I have written down His countless blessings and I cannot overlook them.  God does NOT promise to give us everything we need and then leave us with a glass half empty.  His grace is a gift and is nothing that we earn but instead is given to us when we place our faith in Him because of the price Jesus paid upon the cross. 

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Ephesians 1:7

My grace inventory has given me a bold confidence.  I am walking in a new light.  I now see that every iron chariot has a purpose and that God allows them for a reason.  I see that everything that I have, that where I stand and all that has been given to me is by the grace of God alone.  My husband is a gift and for me such a beautiful example of God’s grace in my life.  My husband is a reflection of Jesus.  He is not perfect and has made wrong turns but he has a heart that longs to follow Christ and a heart to love those who need loving.  I can look at my husband and see God’s grace at work. 

I am experiencing a mind shift.  Because of God’s grace and His love, I am experiencing something that is shifting my focus and the way in which I view my purpose.  I am rediscovering my faith each day. I am learning new things on a daily basis but these things are happening because God’s mercies are NEW EVERY day!!