The Beauty and Miracle of Grace

In the basement of the church, I knelt at the alter with a few other kids. At twelve years old, I never really experienced church since my parents didn’t take us. Children’s church was a new concept to me. I heard of church but not a church for children. At the beginning of our time together in that chilly basement, we sang songs about Jesus. A Jesus I didn’t know. After singing there was a lesson that I don’t remember now. I’m sure it had to do with Jesus. Just guessing here. 😛 At the end there was an alter call for those kids who wanted to invite Jesus into their hearts. I went up not fulling understanding what I was doing, but so glad that I did.

Many years have passed since that day I knelt and received Christ. Many years and many mistakes later and I am more amazed now by the grace of Christ than I was as a young adolescent.

Brace yourself for a confession. I’ve been saved so long…and you reply: How long have you been saved? I’ve been saved so long, I actually take for granted what happened on that day.

Recently, I had the privilege of seeing someone come to faith in Christ. A very rare occasion. So rare, I would say this is really the first. This person in the crisis of their life with no where else to go, who had once identified as an atheist is now a part of the body of Christ. The transformation is incredible. The beauty of grace magnified because at one point they were in the depths of hell and now they are seated with Christ.

Those of us who are like me, who had been saved at a young age and walked with Christ now for many years, can be struck by the contrast. Once a person sat in darkness with no hope, despairing of life, and now living in the light of God’s grace with hope. As old as I am now, I can say I’ve lived most of my life walking with Christ. This person has lived most of their life apart from Christ until now. It’s like witnessing a tiny rose bud curled up in darkness suddenly stretching open its petals in response to the sun’s light.

A rose bud, unknown cultivar, photographed usi...

A rose bud, unknown cultivar, photographed using the high dynamic range (HDR) technique. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I know nothing, except what everyone knows—if there when Grace dances, I should dance.” ~ W.H. Auden

Oh, how we should dance with Grace! Sing with the angels over one lost sinner coming home!

I wonder if the church as a whole in America has forgotten Grace. I wonder if we have forgotten our mission to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations. I know I have. I forgot.

My friend turning to Christ has reminded me that we live in a broken world in desperate need of a remedy—the only remedy—Christ.

Brokenness is all around us. I recently read from the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) that addictions of all kinds is quite prevalent in our society today. It has been noted as the number one public health issue. I’m not just talking about drug and alcohol abuse either. Gambling, sex, food, digital, adrenaline. You name it, we’re addicted.

How can the church respond to the brokenness?

Elect new government officials?

No.

Pass new laws in Congress?

No.

Respond with the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel of Grace.

“Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are–not a special being made in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Maybe to do this we need to remember the place from which we came. None of us were born saved. We were all born sinners in need of a savior. We all at one point in our lives came to the revelation that we were lousy, no good sinners and accepted Christ as our Savior.

Do I remember my chains? Do I remember the prison in which sin once held me? Do I remember how God reached down to my lowest hell and pulled me up with Him? Do I remember how He washed away the red, messy stain of my sin and made me white as snow?

I remember now.

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18

Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth

Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth

Let us remember our former chains. Let us remember our mission to share the beauty and miracle of Grace with our fellow sinners. It is a beauty to behold. And when you see Grace dance, dance with her.

Prayer: Gracious Father, help us remember how You set us free. How You broke the chains of sin from us. And out of the abundance of Grace You have given, let us reach out and share with our fellow sinners to the glory of You!

What I learned In July

Fall is right around the corner and I am super excited. All you summer-lovin’ people I know will lament over the end of summer, but I rejoice! July was a hotter than hades kind of month and I stayed indoors as much as possible. You know that saying that describes the amount of sweat one produces? The “sweating like a pig” metaphor ? It is supposed to describe how profusely one sweats, however, it is not an accurate metaphor because pigs don’t sweat much at all which explains why they love the mud so much. We’re did we come up with that one!? I don’t sweat much so when it gets into the 90s (that’s Fahrenheit) and the heat index is in the 100s, I would rather eat shard glass than go outside into the suffocating heat.

Now that we are into August it is time to sum up what I learned in July. I’m following Emily P. Freeman’s “What I learned” series and if you would like to keep up with her lessons of the month you can follow the link to her blog, Chatting at the Sky, for her lessons of July. What did I learn in July? Well, here is my list:

  1. It is super cool to be a part of a book launching team for an author. I was selected among 149 other people to be a part of Emily P. Freeman’s book launching team for her newest book to be released August 18th. I felt like a kid at Christmas when I received the Advanced Reader’s Copy as I opened up the package. So cool. 🙂 I plan on writing a review to post later. Keep an eye out for it! And if you can be a part of a book launching team for an author, go for it! You’ll enjoy the experience.
  2. I love cheap fluffy pillows. After my mattress purchase in June I discovered I needed a new pillow because my old pillow became a little
    Bed made with white bed linen. Four fluffy pil...

    Bed made with white bed linen. Four fluffy pillows and crumpled sheet . Original description: 350 thread count sheets. Down featherbed. Down duvet. Super fluffy pillows. Ahhhhhhh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    too flat. With my need for a straight neck and spine, it does not help to have a flat pillow, or a pillow too fluffy. Too fluffy gives me a headache. I probably tested out 8 pillows some within the price range of ten to twenty dollars. I tried a Serta pillow and a tried two memory foam pillows, both of which gave me a headache every other day. Then I went to Kmart and found a Joe Boxer pillow for the price of four bucks! Eureka! I found my pillow! Who would ever think a cheap pillow would be the right fit?! It was just the right fluffiness without being too fluffy, and just the right flatness without being too flat. Goldie Locks has found her pillow. 🙂

  3. Watching new life spring up through the acceptance of Christ is a beauty to behold. I’ve have never been privileged to be a part of seeing
    Rose Bud

    Rose Bud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    someone come to Christ and be transformed and renewed…well, except my own transformation. The Lord has blessed me with this opportunity and I stand amazed. After months of praying, weeping, and encouraging, a person I know came to Christ. Praise God for He is truly awesome!!! Wow!! The beauty of it all is like watching a rose bud unfold.

  4. It is foolish to get into an argument with someone who doesn’t want to change. You ever get into those arguments with people who are bent on doing their own thing and resist any thought that what they are doing might not be right? Yeah. You can’t change their mind, so don’t. I’ve had these conversations with people before and it eventually becomes evident that they don’t really care if they are wrong because they are wise in their own conceit. Shake the dust off your feet and move on, said Jesus. Matthew 10:14. You can have all the facts and evidence to support your point, but the person will not care. Don’t waste your energy. Move onto someone who will listen. I can raise my hand and say, “been there. Done that. Won’t do it again.”
  5. Every relationship has hard conversations if it is a real relationship. Isn’t that the truth! I’ve actually learned this from past relationships. Girls, if your dating and you can’t be honest about what you want, but instead

    change yourself in order to match what the guy you are dating wants and you end up married, you will end up miserable. Having hard conversations means being honest. Maybe you have to confront an issue. Maybe your dating and you need to have those discussions about faith and money and kids and what it is you want from the relationship before marriage. If you’re not honest, you set yourself up for failure. If you want a successful marriage full of happiness and intimacy, wouldn’t it be better to be honest about what you want so you can find out if the guy wants the same thing? Too often we girls try to change who were are, because we are too afraid of losing the guy, but remember ladies: it is better to be single and alone than married and alone. Again, “been there. Done that. Won’t do it again.” Thankfully, I’ve learned before getting to the altar. This can apply to your friendships as well. Find a friend with whom you can be honest and won’t feel condemned or belittled for your honesty.

That is all for today. I apologize for posting this late. I wanted to get this posted yesterday but I was sicky. I blamed it on the honeydew I’ve been eating the past couple of days, but really not sure what it was since I’ve not been myself the past few days. If it was something that didn’t agree with my colon and the IBS, it usually lasts just a day. However, if it is something really bad, it will last a few days. I’m still not quite right, but I’m getting there. Thankful for God’s mercy. So what have you learned in July?