What is grace?

1-13-Grace-DefinitionDo we really understand grace? Do we get that this gift is greater than any we have ever received or ever will. The fact that grace is a free gift of God does not remove us from responsibility. It is not a get out of jail free card. Grace carries with it the fact that God loves us so much that we are given this gift before we respond…..and respond we must. Living out the message of Christ and follow his word is our response.

Generous God, you are willing to give us the gift of grace without any promise on our part. Help us to respond with hearts full of love and willingness to be your hands and feet. AMEN

 

 

Turn the other cheek

“An eye for an eye will only make the world blind” ~Mahatma Gandhi

This is an oft quoted piece from the Bible found in Exodus and in Matthew 5 after the beatitudes. The meaning is different that what we usually think. It is about retaliation but calls for only an eye to be taken for an eye. No more. In Matthew Jesus tells us what we really need to do.

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Matthew 5: 38-42

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Loving Lord, you call us to let go of our anger and put revenge aside. Help us to do so. AMEN

God expects

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the star, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heave to the human spirit. ————————-Helen Keller

All through the Bible God calls on the most unexpected people to do wondrous things. Usually they start by saying no I can’t but God doesn’t take no for an answer. He knows what we can do and expects us to do it. Never think you are not good enough for what God plans. You CAN do it!.

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Expectant God, you have made us and know what we can do. Help us to see that too. AMEN

 

Now what?

I don’t think God is as concerned about right doctrine as he is about the shape of people’s lives.-———————-unknown

God’s concern is how we live our lives. Can we be kind to others, love the unlovable, feed the hungry, house the homeless and see the pain in others. This is the bottom line. Other things are trivial compared to this.

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Understanding God, you know that we can concentrate on the minor things and let the real issues go. Help us to see the needs of others and respond. AMEN

Follow his steps

Jesus is God translated to us as a book is translated into a language that we can read and understand. –————–unknown

In Jesus God is visible. We can see and understand how God would behave…it’s how Jesus behaved. Don’t just read the Bible for the things that Jesus said. Look carefully at the things he did. He taught and loved and healed. He sat down with outcasts and sinners. He lived against the norm. He was God in action. Follow his steps.

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Lord God, you sent Jesus to show us the way. Help us to follow in his footsteps. AMEN

Whose path?

I profess to aim at perfection but in practice I like the way of perfection to be mapped out by me and not by God.-——————Pope John XXIII

This is so very true. I want to make my own plans and set my own path. It will be my idea of perfection. God has other plans. He sees the way clearly that we need to go. If only we would follow his path instead of ours.

Psalms119-105

Infinite God, I am sure you get tired of us wanting to be in charge of everything. Help us to listen for your voice and follow your path. AMEN

Walk humbly

Micah 6:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

This is such a wonderful verse and sounds so simple. What could be easier? Actually the question should be what could be harder? Are we always kind? I doubt it. Do we walk humbly? For us this is counter-culture. We need to keep this verse in front of us and read it every morning.

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O Lord, our God, you ask so little and yet to us it seems to be too much. Help us to write this verse on our hearts. AMEN

Let go

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –———Lao Tzu

We spend a lot of time concerned with ourselves. It is a natural things to do but what if we didn’t? What if we let go of ourselves and just let God be in charge. I think it would be amazing what would happen. What would we be like? Why don’t we try it?

just let go

Incredible God, help us to let go and let you! AMEN

Two simple (not simple or rules) rules

God always required something deeper than religious legalism.—-Eric Metaxas in Bonhoeffer.

In Christianity we have many different denominations. I grew up in several of them. I was expected to learn about each and understand what I had to do to be a part of the belief. As a youth I saw them as the rules of belonging. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that many of these tenets were created to keep the lines of a certain denomination clear….to set it apart from the others. This gave me difficulty.

As an adult, the rules I want to follow are not really rules but a way of life. The life that Jesus led and the one that he wants us to follow. He told us how..Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. …Love your neighbor as yourself. These are the only ones we must try our best to follow.

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Discerning God, help us to live as you would have us live..to follow your example in all that we do. AMEN

A radical?

Jesus, I found, bore little resemblance to the Mister Rogers figure I had met in Sunday school, and was remarkable unlike the person I had studied in Bible college. For one thing, he was far less tame. ————-Philip Yancey in “The Jesus I Never Knew”

Someone once said to my husband “Jesus was a conservative.” My husband replied “he was so conservative he got himself crucified.” I really don’t know the story of anyone less conservative than Jesus. He ate with tax collectors, touched women (taboo) and didn’t follow anyone’s rules. I am sure he wishes we could learn to be as open and loving as he was.

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Radical Jesus, you followed only the image of God’s kingdom and want us to help bring it to fruition. Help us to see that. AMEN