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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Grace & Peace

I listened to a sermon the other day about grace and peace. I think it’s funny b/c a lot of people sign off with grace and peace, which is fine but I've never really thought much about it. The sermon basically spelled out what grace and peace mean. He defined those two words different ways. My understanding is that grace is God’s unmerited favor and kindness and compassion that is NOT deserved. And mercy is leniency, compassion, withholding punishment and trading it for love. As I listened I thought about the past year and difference situations and challenges that I've faced. It was Rob Bell's sermon and the challenge was to begin every conversation, day, argument, everything with grace and mercy, literally saying, "Grace and Mercy." Rob Bell pointed out that so many books in the New Testament begin with grace and mercy. I was challenged to offer grace and mercy. The things that we get wrapped up in hurt and they hurt bad sometimes and deep but so did the things that the writers in the New Testament endured, prison, beatings, persecution, etc. I think about the sacrifice that Jesus made and how badly He hurt and He endured so much pain for me. He could have called angels to rescue Him but he didn’t because He knew the big picture. It is easy to have our eyes a lot of other things, people, situations, hurts, busy-ness, etc. It’s so easy to do. I’m guilty of that too. I’ve kind of had my own little pity party here. That’s dangerous because that’s when my focus needs to be on God saying, teach me from this situation but in the meantime, keep me above reproach, guard my lips to speak grace and mercy instead of all the things I humanly want to say. I had a friend send me an email today and he was reflecting on a journal entry from this summer and the prayer that he wrote was really powerful. I emailed him back and rephrased some of it but I'm including it because I want it to be my prayer too.

"I pray that you will struggle to Know God. I pray that He would constantly be revealing Himself to you in different shades. I pray that He would give you strength and newness and a backbone grounded in Him. I pray that you would notice the Creation that He’s given us to enjoy and take care of. I pray that you would continue to work on forgiving those that you have animosity towards. I pray that you would extend grace and mercy to them and receive grace and mercy from them. I pray that God would rattle your cage all throughout your life while He teaches you to become a man/woman of God. I pray that He would use you in ways that you never thought possible. I pray that God would ignite your life and those around you with His flames. I pray that you would completely give yourself over to Him. I pray that He would bring followers of His into your life that would be lifelong friends. I also pray that He would let your path cross with those who need Him so desperately and that you would offer His light and His joy and His power to their lives. I pray God’s best as you discover more of who you are everyday!!"

1 comment:

Unknown said...

beautiful. i think thats one of the most difficult teachings of Jesus, "love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you." thanks for the prayer.