Extravagant Grace

Lately I’ve had several opportunities where I could have seen Grace in action

In my own life, the lives of my children, the lives of my friends….the operative phrase being

…could have seen.

This morning, as I’ve spent some time listening…to not only my thoughts but the Holy Spirit, the phrase “Extravagant Grace” kept rolling over and over me like a strong yet gentle ocean wave.

How often we bask in this unmerited favor! We want that grace to envelop us like a thick, soft blanket on a cool night! Or diffuse on us like the cooling spray of water on a hot Summer’s day! Oh, we enjoy it! And we want more.

But, how often do we extend that beautiful, comforting unmerited favor?

When spouses, children, friends and other Christians don’t act or talk or walk like we think they should, where’s the grace?

Years ago, there was a hamburger commercial and the elderly lady was always going around saying, “Where’s the beef?” indicating that all the other hamburger joints served up something “less than”. Inferior. Not up to her standards.

I’ve seen so many posts on the ever loving yet, ever painful Facebook lately, that do nothing but tear down…people, ideas, processes, churches, families, Christians, leaders, morals, men, women and children. We don’t like how someone is behaving; they are not behaving up to my standards, they don’t agree with what I think is right and true, so they are idiots or wrong or pious or un-Christlike…or, you can fill in the blank.

Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I don’t think there are absolutes in this world, I absolutely do! The Bible, the Word of God, is an absolute. It’s true. It is infallible.
There are actions that require discipline and there is a time to call someone on whatever they may be doing that is contrary to what God says. But, the Word also says to get the LOG out of your own eye before you jump on a brother about the SPECK that is in his! Luke 6:41-43

So, my challenge to all of this next week is to throw out grace, the unmerited favor, like it’s confetti! Someone cuts you off in traffic? Throw out grace instead of the one-fingered salute. The frazzled mama at Walmart who has two cartloads of groceries in the 20 items or less lane? Throw out grace instead of dirty looks. Your spouse has screwed up again and you don’t think you can take it one more time? Remember the grace that has freely been given you. A fellow church member has got his shorts in a wad because he doesn’t think he has been recognized enough for his good works? Love him anyway. Let God work out the details.

I leave you with this:
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. II Corinthians 13:11, 14 NIV

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Future & Hope

The early morning quiet

My favorite time of day

No lights but the Christmas tree

Peace

I sat at the table to read and illustrate a devotion

Today’s was about HOPE

How the Father has plans for us

Plans to give us a Future and a Hope

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord

They are plans for good and not for disaster,

To give you a future and a hope. NLT

How often I have heard this

How often I have quoted it

Today, I read around it

And I found this

Jeremiah 29:7

And work for the peace and prosperity of the city

Where I sent you into exile. NLT

Jeremiah sent this letter to all the people that Nebuchadnezzar had taken

Into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon

Today, I believe, Christians are in exile

Hebrews 11:13-16

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This world is not our home

We are only passing through

For just a short stay

But while we are here we are to occupy

Build houses and live in them

Plant gardens and eat their produce

Take wives and become fathers of sons and daughters

Seek the welfare of the city (country) where I have sent you into exile

Pray to the Lord on its behalf

This is NOT a political post

I’m just sharing what I read and how it really caused me to pause and think

So often I hear people talking about how they just wish Jesus

Would return and get us out of this mess we’re in

Don’t get me wrong!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!!

But

We are IN this world

We are not OF it

We are to occupy ’til HE comes

And PRAY

Pray for the welfare of our world

Pray for the welfare of our country

Pray for the welfare of our state

Pray for the welfare of our city

Pray for the welfare of our household

As it goes

So will we

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