Heart Of A Child

He deserves a second chance.  Mo’ne Davis forgives the college baseball player who insults her with heinous language and responds with speaking truth to an action that outrages many of us who are authentic adults. How can we not be proud by her showing such maturity and grace even in the face of systemic bigotry and racism that rears its ugly head upon the innocence of a child who clearly understands the fundamental Christian right of forgiving and being forgiven. While it is difficult to put our feelings aside concerning yet another act of cyber-bullying, this one thing we know; God both forgives and hears the prayers of the righteous. So yes Mo’ne, everyone deserves a second chance and you have paved a way for him to receive it, but perhaps not today. Perhaps not before he has learned and fully understands that same maturity and grace that helped you to move beyond such ignorance and respond according to the values many out there claim to live but rarely display. Gracious God thank you for through the heart of a child we shall all be saved.

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Shaking Off The Dust

I’ve often thought about this phrase; “shake off the dust from your feet” and for years believed that it meant you were never to return to a place because it turned out to be so unhealthy. After all what would be the purpose for returning once you’ve shaken off  every remnant of dust? I think though that it’s not so much about the place, as it is about us shaking off a not so good experience and giving ourselves and opportunity to walk in “clean” as we enter in to a new environment. In this way we don’t bring our hurt or feelings of dissappointment to the new place. Whatever drama was happening in the place we left will simply have to work itself out without us and it doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t return. At times our journey can become discouraging, but if we can shake off the dust from that discouragement, the path ahead isn’t quite so heavy. I thank you God because the harvest is plentiful. You encourage us to “shake it off” and  keep moving as we walk annointed in your grace and mercy.

He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two…  Mark 6:1-13

Work Still Necessary

Give us some of your oil.  Matthew 25:1-13  Ten were chosen to be bridesmaids, but only five took their place of honor seriously. The other five weren’t prepared for the long awaited coming of the groom. In fact it took longer than they anticipated. They assumed without consideration the process necessary for such a commitment. When the foolish five asked to be given oil, they were essentially asking the wise bridesmaids to risk their own opportunity. Commitment without accountability has no value. We are expected to continue to follow through on our faith, understanding that our work is still necessary so that when God’s grace as the bridegroom arrives, even as we rest, we are fully prepared to receive that grace.

Abounding Grace

…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…  Romans 5:12-21  The laws of God were given for the people of God in order that we know how to be in relationship with one another. On the whole humankind isn’t very good at this, but we try. We also try to separate ourselves from sin and we are not very good at that either. We are all born into the do’s and don’ts of the world. We are also born into God’s grace over the world. Thus sin and grace are not opposed to one another they are part of the duality of life. Where sin blinds us, grace is always at the ready to enable us to see. We have only to ask, “Lord let our eyes be opened”  (Matthew 20:29-34).

Perfect Freedom

…present your bodies as a living sacrifice… which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1-8  It seems unusual to me now, to see spiritual worship as sacrifice. For me, I see it as a sacrificial freedom by the relationship that I have with God. It wasn’t always that way and I must confess it took a long time before I could even express what spiritual worship really meant for me. By the grace of God I held on and the reward was finally recognizing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Along with that strength comes maturity in faith. With maturity in faith comes confidence in the Spirit that guides rather than myself. As the Spirit of God within me guides I am no longer bound by my own limitations, nor the darkness that is the unknown. No longer bound I am free. I am free to worship. I am free to trust. I am free to love. I am free to discern according to God’s will. Perhaps to the world spiritual worship seems like a sacrifice but as part of the journey for me, no matter the struggle, it’s the perfect freedom.

but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

An Open Heart Leaves Room

…but by the grace of God, I am what I am…  1 Corinthians 15:1-11  Paul, believed himself unfit to be called an apostle and yet is used by God, in spite of his confessed shortcoming. He is called into the apostolic succession to carry the message of the gospel which began in Christ. His is a testimony that regardless of who we think we are or who we believe ourselves to be, we hold an ultimate place in the heart of God who will use the heart of the one who earnestly seeks after him, even as our minds are clouded by our thinking in the midst of uncertain chaos or organized change. What we’ve done in the past is less important than what we are now doing today. An open heart leaves room for God to affect a change from within and we like Paul will move forward in God’s grace and favor. Perhaps we have yet to reach the place God has called us to be today, but we are certainly closer than where we were “yesterday”. But by the grace of God we are who we are in Christ, with everything done having meaning and fulfillment according to God’s word.

The First Step

For your arrows have already pierced me, and your hand presses hard upon me. Psalm 38:2  Particularly, in transgressions, we open our mouths and become our own worst critic. We wonder how we could have done something so foolish, selfish, and mean. We belabor the act for days and try to justify our actions knowing full well there is no justification. We despise the fact that even if for a brief moment, we became something that in the past we judged we now stand in judgment. We  project that everyone now looks upon us with disdain. We pull our selves back and everyone including God seems so far away. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t listen to the haters among us or the ones in our own mind, those who mock or scorn, who themselves are just as guilty for we all stand in judgment. Our first step is to open our mouths to confess, knowing that God will hear the sorrow that is true repentance and forgive us. We must open our mouths only to praise and bless God who continually shows us grace and mercy and accept His forgiveness and continue to follow the path you know to be right.

Breath Of Favor

mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:1-13  …for there is no one who does not sin 2 Chronicles 6:32-7:7 Of the things that please God, mercy is high on the list. Mercy has been defined as something we give to one who clearly does not deserve it. Yet God gives mercy everyday and we accept it, sometimes without graciousness and he in turn continues to be merciful. At times it seems the doses of mercy are quite small but when you think about it, it’s always just enough to bring us into the next day. The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

Special Consideration

“You know that among the Gentiles, those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them. But it is not so with you.”  Mark 10:32-45  Up to this point things between the twelve were going fairly well. Until brothers James and John decided to start some drama. At the time of Jesus glory, they wanted special consideration and the other ten got pretty indignant about it. Did James and John really think that no one would mind? Did they even care? No doubt Jesus is shaking his head, but instead of chastising the brothers for thinking ahead. Jesus reminds them that together they were chosen for a reason; serve God and serve one another. If each of us remembers to just do that  –  special consideration according to God’s grace is given to all who believe.