Lately I have been thinking about the word grace. It is one we don’t often talk about but it is an important word.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
So what is this grace? It is an example of God’s love for us. By grace he accepts us as the flawed human beings that we are. He understands how we can go astray and be unkind toward one another. He understands the hatred and the violence. He understands the discrimination toward others not like us.
God gets it all. But there is that word “grace.” The word that holds his love and understanding of all that we do. With faith we have been saved from ourselves.
21 My child, do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you sit down,[a] you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
Too often we look to the wrong place for help. We hunt for our security in things of this world. We try to find it in ourselves. When we do this we fall short and end up in crisis. Our only true security is in God. This excerpt from Proverbs tells us that if we sit down (with God) we will not be afraid and we will be able to lie down in sweet sleep. It is so easy to forget this. Turn to the Lord. In him is our safety.
Religion is a way of walking, not a way of talking. Dean William R. Inge
Too often we spend a lot of time talking about our faith. We tend to forget that talking is only the very smallest part of what we are to do as Christians. It’s what we do when we walk out of the door of the church that matters. People know us by our actions.
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed, droops on the little hands, little golden head; Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.
Vespers by A. A. Milne
When I was a child I knelt every night at the side of my bed and said my prayers. Somewhere in the teen years this habit faded. I started worrying that I wasn’t praying properly. My pryaers became sporadic.
There is no right or wrong way to pray. Whether we do it formally together in church, by ourselves, or just talk to God as we go through the day, our prayers are still heard.
Prayer: Help me to learn that all of life is a prayer. But let me remember that time for intentional, concentrated prayer is important too.
Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere….in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. Mother Teresa in No Greater Love
My husband says he likes to hunt but I don’t remember him ever killing anything. He just likes to sit in the silence in the woods and observe God’s beautry around him. He communes with creation. Most of us just walk by a beauriful flower or miss the glorious sunset. We don’t know how to silence our hearts and see God’s beautiful world.
Prayer: Give us, Lord, the ability to find that silence of the heart. In its center let us learn about the needs of your world and act on those needs. AMEN
One of the blogs I read is by https://mypastoralponderings.com/ from Rev. James Lawrence. Today he was talking about our ability to keep on worrying in spite of god’s promises to us. I reminded me of a talk on that subject I gave as part of a series I did on healing. We tend to want to carry everything ourselves. Not just our worries but our failings, our guilts, our pains. We turn it over to God and then we pick it back up. Put it down, pick it up, put it down.
Every day we empty those things into the trash and then grab the bag and drag it behind us. We move on and drag the bag…on and on and on. Somehow we need to learn that when we turn it loose it is gone. Really gone. Forever gone. God can handle our fears and worries. We just have to trust and believe it.
God does not stop loving us every time we do something wrong, and neither should we stop loving ourselves and each other for being less than perfect.
Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?
We can be very angry when someone else makes a mistake. We even get angry at ourselves when we can’t do things the right way. We are hard on ourselves and others. We ostracize people, and turn others against them. We are not very forgiving. We may say “I forgive you” and still hold a grudge. We are not very kind.
If we ask God’s forgiveness he will forgive us. We have to believe that we are forgiven. Sometimes that is hard to accept. Also forgiving others requires work on our part. We have to live out the forgiveness whether it is there or not. Eventually it will come.
Treasure All those things which you could call your “possessions” – both the tangible and intangible – give them up. You cannot lose what you have already given up. Live your life with nothing to lose. Find the language, find the prayer and practice, that enables you to treasure the fullness of life: life for now and life to come. As Jesus says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”-Br. Curtis Almquist
This is what I have been thinking about. Each day, each moment is precious. If we spend it in fear, for whatever reason, we are throwing away our lives. That life would not be worth living. Turn loose of worry about loss and enjoy your life.
Things have been so difficult for me since February. My husband was ill, in the hospital in March, no better at home until he was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic this month. At last we have answers and healing. Add covid and it became unbearable. During this time the only thing holding me together has been knowing that I am held in the arms of God. There were days when I couldn’t pray but could feel the prayers of others supporting me and lifting me up.
God never leaves us. Sometimes we may not be able to feel his presence but he is there. God never leaves us.
Fear is something that we all experience. Whether it is something simple like going to the dentist or something horribly frightening. I don’t know about you but I can keep turning my fears over to God and then immediately pick them back up. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about them and don’t share them in my prayers. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt and it is so true. Experiencing fear is what causes us distress. Let go of that fear. Turn it over to Jesus in your prayers. He can handle it.
Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.