life experience, Uncategorized

Pieces of Grace

Grace is the foundation of our faith and daily strength.  What then, does it mean to “live in grace”?

For me, it is to be like-minded with Christ, to want what He wants for me, not the other way around.  It’s so easy for us to let time slip, days pass without opening our Bible, reading something encouraging, sharing with our Heavenly Father, the hopes and fears we have.  Something draws us back, and I believe it the work of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps you’ve gone stagnant, still a believer, grounded in your faith, attending church regularly and bible study, but maybe your light has disappeared. That “still small voice” that guides our comings and goings.  That voice that is your Father

It’s easy to get back in touch, whether your distance has been a few weeks, or perhaps many years.  Jesus is always here for us.  He wants to reconnect, no matter how long its been.  He nudges softly, reminding us that He never left, it was us who stepped further and further away.

Your conversation doesn’t have to be complicated.  Ask God for what you need, be mindful that you are the presence of the Holiest One.  And He wants you back in the fold.  He has missed you.  Let Him provide the grace necessary to live in His word.

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life experience

Pieces of Righteous Indignation

This story comes to us by Word & Way

The story is told of a Caucasian woman who, after boarding a flight from South Africa to England, realized her seatmate was a dark-skinned African man. She was not pleased with this arrangement and expressed her displeasure to a flight attendant.

Image result for woman sitting next to black man on plane

The woman said that she was willing to pay for a first-class seat so she did not have to sit next to this African man. The flight attendant walked to the first-class cabin and had a brief discussion with the crew. A few minutes later she returned. She leaned over and said to the African man, “I’m sorry to have to do this. I need to make a seating change. If you follow me, we have a place for you in first class.”

Most of us would likely be embarrassed if this type of incident occurred on a flight that we were on. We would feel sorry for the man for the way the woman was treating him. We would also likely feel a sense of vindication for the man as he reclined back and began to enjoy the benefits of sitting in first class while the woman remained in coach.

We would feel anger, and maybe even sorrow, towards the woman for her outdated thinking about someone of a different ethnicity than hers. We might even voice our displeasure with her. I imagine that most of us would also feel a sense of righteous indignation towards the woman.

Righteous indignation is typically anger and contempt towards someone combined with the feeling that it is our right to feel that anger in the first place. Righteous indignation would be the correct response towards the woman, wouldn’t it? Are any of us willing to think about the fact that sometimes we may exhibit the same mindset, qualities and actions as the woman from the story?

We may not ask for a different seat on an airplane flight. Instead, we move to a different line in the grocery store because we don’t like the kind of person that was in front of us. Or we may say “No, I’ll wait for another elevator car to come” because we don’t want to ride with a person like that. We may not do it because of a person’s race. Instead, we do it because a person doesn’t fit our standards. Or the person looked poor. Or the person just didn’t look like they were worthy of being among us.

In the book of Jonah, the prophet experiences a bout of righteous indignation after the people of Nineveh repent and God spares them. Jonah believes that his indignation is justified. Nineveh was home to the sworn enemies of Jonah’s people. They should not have been given the opportunity to repent in the first place. Jonah’s mind is stuck on the idea that maybe, just maybe, God will not accept their act of contrition and wipe them out. When God does show mercy to them, Jonah is furious.

An indignant attitude is not only a problem for Jonah. It’s a problem we face in the 21st century. We live in a country that says if you are not on our side or do not believe exactly as I believe, you are not only my enemy, but I hope that something goes wrong in your life.

Fortunately, this is not God’s mode of operation with us. God is patient, even with those of us who are not members of the redeemed. That is just the way God is. God’s love does not end with us. It may be more visible to us through the relationship we have with God, but it does not begin or end with us. God wants — no, God implores — us, like Jonah, to reach out to others and to show love to them as well.

God sends us into people’s lives to reinforce that love and to be an example for them to see and follow. This is what Jonah couldn’t bring himself to accept or understand. I pray that we will be more faithful to this shared opportunity.

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life experience

Pieces to Remember

My 88 year old MIL passed away a few weeks ago.  It’s been so hard.  Even knowing she was called home to be with Jesus and is sitting with her Heavenly Father, reunited with family, friends and pets – doesn’t make it easier on this end.

That’s the irony of death.  They’ve moved on and we are stuck here to grieve.

It IS unfair.

But just as we live on earth, we are to continue on until we are called to live in eternity with God.  And so, we need to remember all of the good pieces that our loved one brought to our life.

Memories, laughter, silliness, joy.  Honor your love for them this way.

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