Friday, July 24, 2015

Grace, Mercy and Influence

Grace - the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings - OxfordDictionaries

Mercy - compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm  - OxfordDictionaries

Influence - the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself - OxfordDictionaries

These are some of the words running through my brain this morning.   There are circumstances all around us - any of us - at any given time or day, that require us to consider each of these things.  What or who influences us, and what influence might we carry?  Where are people or places in time where I need to offer, or ask for mercy?  How do I accept the grace given to me, and extend that to others?

Consider these things for yourself. 

Where has grace been extended to you?  Here is a touching example...

Is there a situation where mercy is required of you?  A person that needs forgiveness?  Is there a place where you need to humbly request mercy from another?

Do you have an influence on those you come in contact with?  If so, how are you using that influence?  Do you recognize it as a sacred thing, or is it a tool to accomplish a goal?  Is your influence leading others in the right direction?  (Hint: it shouldn't lead to you...)  Are you following the right influences? (Hint:  Where are they leading you?)

These are all things I am pondering, reviewing and praying about.  There are so many places that aim to grab our attention... 

Pay attention.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Letter - On Brokenness

Dear you,

Since it isn't possible right now, for all of us to sit around the same table and sip coffee and talk about the things that are going on in our lives, I wanted to invite you to this space, this common space, to let you in on some of the things I have been thinking about. We  have been through a lot in this span of life we have lived.  We have traveled many different roads, most with ruts, bumps and the occasional detour.

Let me be the first to say that I am broken.  WE are broken.  None of us has all of the answers, none of us is perfect.  If we pretend we are fine, that nothing is wrong...well, that just proves how broken we really are.  Sometimes pride or fear keeps us from owning those cracks.  Sometimes we don't realize that we are broken, because brokenness is all we have known. 

Our faults are not to be worn as a badge of courage, a banner to wave when we feel slighted, insignificant or hurt.  Our faults need to be admitted, recognized and called out for what they are.  But we also need to recognize that when others present their faults to us, they are to be handled with care, mercy and grace.  If there is correction needed, then correction must be given and accepted in love.  If there is reconciliation needed, then it also must be attempted and if possible, accepted. **I do believe that if any party is not in the right place, then attempts for correction and reconciliation can be more damaging and hurtful.**

We are works in progress.  We will not see the final result of our striving this side of eternity.  But that doesn't mean we should sit back and accept where we are.  We press on and move forward.  We can try under our own strength and will, but that won't last long.  We will get exhausted. 

There is One who has already done the work.  Some of us may know this.  We need to remember to go to Him with our faults.  This One has carried all of our faults to a hill.  There they were all carried on His back, nailed to His cross, and the payment was made in full.  Payment for what?  For this thing called sin.  Sin separates us from the Most High, El Elyon, Jehovah, I AM.  He is holy, righteous and just.  He cannot tolerate sin.  So for we who are born sinful, with faults, what does that mean? What do we need to do?  We look to Jesus, ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings, accept His wonderful, extravagant gift!  The gift that God's Son took our faults, our brokenness, our sin upon Himself, paid the ultimate, horrendous price that was for us, and did it willingly so we could be set free. 

Do you know Him?  If you do, thank Him for His grace, mercy and love.  Go to Him with your struggles and ask Him for direction.

If you don't know Him, please call out to Him.  Go to Him with your struggles and ask Him for direction.  Tell Him of your sin (confess) with a contrite heart.  Ask Him to forgive your sins - by believing they were nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified.  Accept His grace and mercy through Jesus.  Follow Him.  Love Him.  Praise Him!