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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

It’s amazing, really.
Then again, grace is…

Were you to ask me how I’m feeling on a scale of 1-10, I’d probably say a 6. I’m still a bit feverish, my throat still hurts, the headache is dull and hovering, neither my energy nor mental capacity is at full bars and I’m dealing with dizzy levels 2 & 3 in frequent (though not constant) bouts. So I feel I’m at the upper end of “surviving.”

And yet I feel worlds better than yesterday. The vastness of the difference rather makes me want to get up and do flips or dance around… except I can’t because I’m too dizzy and don’t have the energy. Still, the difference in astounding.

But regardless of how I feel, the fact remains that I am sustained. And that’s grace.

I clearly remember thinking last evening as I turned the dial on my antique desk calendar – after an unusually rough day of exhaustion and tears, one of those days where you can’t remember any good days before it or see the possibility of any good days yet to come – even in that moment at close of day as my fingers held the cool metal knob and my mind struggled still and again to focus on Jesus, I knew without a doubt that He was present… sustaining… enough.

Even though the day seemed more loss than victory… through the struggle and the grief and the runaway emotions and the spinning… and at day’s end even though I felt hedged in, pressed hard, perplexed, unable to find a way out, pursued (by fears and anxieties) and struck down, I was still breathing and Jesus was still there. I was not irreparably crushed, I was not completely despairing, I was not abandoned and I was not destroyed.

It was not the joyful, victorious living that I too-often prefer and picture in my head, full of pushing through and Eye-Of-The-Tiger accomplishments… but I was sustained.

And that’s grace.

Jesus is enough.
And because I know that Jesus was enough on a day like that,
I know Jesus is enough on any day.

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The voice on the other end of the line is cheerful, “Your blood work came back and everything is normal!”

She is dispensing good news. Yet tears well up within my eyes.

What should be a relief – what used to be a relief – is now a dreaded and haunting statement. Years of tests and “normal” results while being ill and getting sicker have hardened me.

If everything is so good, why am I so sick?
It’s a question I’ve asked countless times.

I think how it would be nice for once to have sometime show up as wrong and be fixable…

Caedmon’s Call is playing in the background, “And I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.”

So… onward I go.

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So I am finally trying to get around to this list of a half dozen or so “blog ideas” that I’ve been collecting for over a year!  Figured this one should be short and sweet.

Late last spring I heard a Sunday School teacher teaching on 1 Corinthians 13.  And I can’t remember where or when she said this thought struck her, but she mentioned an analogy or word picture for the whole love “keeps no record of wrongs” part.

A cache.  Like in a computer.  Like in your web browser history.  Forgiving someone (and keeping no record of wrongs) is like clearing your cache – clearing out your web browser history and cookies.

The picture struck a chord with me.  And not only that, but my mind continued on further…. including remembering how a pastor in California once included in a sermon how we can’t move on and forgive when we keep rehashing (rethinking and retelling) the incident.

In many browsers, though I am now most keenly aware of it in Google’s Chrome, if you start to type an address, it will fill it in for you from places you’ve been before (your browser history).  In fact, with Chrome, you can type the website name and even as you start with a few letters it knows which sites you visit the most and will fill in the rest for you…

These browsers have an amazing memory.  Unfortunately, we as humans also tend to have an amazing memory when it comes to ways in which we were hurt or wronged.  It doesn’t take many keystrokes for our memories to pull up the places we’ve been hurt.  Just a few keystrokes and there it is again, that place we were wronged.  And, like Google’s Chrome browser, the more often you visit the site, the quicker it comes back.

This is great for web browsers, but bad for us as Christians.

1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”  We are called to love and we are called to forgive.  Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean that we excuse the wrong done, or sweep it under the rug, or immediately trust and have an intimate relationship again – but forgiveness does mean that we choose (by the power and grace of God) not to hold the wrong against the person who wronged us, not to hold onto a grudge or take revenge.  In other words, to keep no record of wrongs.

The old song relays God saying to us:

What sins are you talking about
I don’t remember them anymore.
From the Book of Life they’ve all been torn out
I don’t remember them anymore.

 

God forgives and chooses not to remember.  To keep no record of wrongs.  To clear the cache.

And we as His followers are called to do the same.  So allow God into the “preferences panel” of your life.  Allow Him to adjust your settings.  Delete the browser history, get rid of the cookies.

Keep no record of wrongs.

Clear your cache.

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Read Philippians 2:12-13 this morning for devotions.  And in my reading of Invitation to a Journey (by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr) the other night he spoke of this text in light of spiritual disciplines.  And he mentioned a necessary tension there.  So I’ve been thinking…

continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

“Work out your salvation” – “It is God who works in you”

which is it?

our work?  or God’s work?

yes.

both.

we can’t not have the one…

… and God asks of us the other.

God’s grace – our obedience

God’s call – our response

God’s transformation – our disciplines

paradox.

tension.

good tension.

needed tension.

hence the “fear and trembling” part

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