Friday, March 15, 2013

Fine China

I heard a story from a guest speaker at a meeting I went to recently that has really stuck with me and I believe it bears repeating!

This speaker was from Romania where all of her family still lives. While visiting her family the gift of an heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation was bestowed upon her. This precious family heirloom was a set of fine china. She told her mother she was scared to transport them from Romania to the United States in fear that something would happen to them, however her mother insisted that the tradition be carried on through her: the only female of her generation.

Upon arriving home after a long journey she carefully opened the box of china. Tears sprung to her face as she beheld the sight of her family’s fine china. Several pieces lay broken and cracked in the bottom of the box. In a fit of unbelievable anger she picked up the un-broken china and smashed it into tiny pieces destroying the rest of her inheritance.

Everyone in the room gasped at her drastic reaction, until she revealed to us that instead of smashing what was left of her family’s heirloom she lovingly picked up the broken pieces, finding every speck that she could and mended them back together. Then she said to us “how many times do we set goals for ourselves and the first time we slip we smash what is left in to tiny pieces?”

I don’t know about you but I am very guilty of doing just that! I will set a goal for myself, and the very moment I mess up I will throw in the towel.

Instead we should think of ourselves as the fine china! When we mess up and fail, and we most definitely will, we need to come before God and allow him to help us pick up the pieces and mend them back together. After all isn’t that exactly what God declared when he sent his son to die on the cross for us? He was telling us that we are precious that we are beyond valuable to him.

My challenge to you today is to treat yourself as fine china! Take it a step at a time. When you mess up, confess it to God ask for his forgiveness and help; and then mend the pieces back together!

Psalm 116:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave[a] overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

His Grace is Enough

I went to a concert a few days ago and one of the bands led us in the singing of Amazing Grace. Slowly the band stopped playing the instruments and the signers backed away from their microphones, until it was only a symphony of voices worshiping the living God. What a powerful sound! I couldn’t help but ponder upon the words:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Grace: unmerited divine assistance
Unmerited (undeserved) divine assistance, grace is not something that we earn; it is a gift from God to us because of his unconditional love. “How precious did that Grace appear… the hour I first believed.” It’s immediate; it does not take works to go into effect. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior his grace covers our life!

Ephesians 2:8-9

New Living Translation (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

In her book Scandalous Grace(a must read if you need some grace in your life), Julie Ann Barnhill says it like this, “It’s all about wrapping our minds around the preposterous nature of God’s grace, embracing it for ourselves, and then extending it to those around us.”

I love how she uses the word preposterous, because that is exactly how his unmerited grace is perceived! In almost every avenue of our lives we have to “work” at things. We have to strive and push to make things happen. So our automatic thought process is that we must work for God’s grace, when in reality it is already ours.

The real key (and trust me I am not saying it is easy), is to learn to walk in the grace that already covers your life! Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will fall and fail in life. However we need to learn that God’s grace is sufficient, his grace is enough! He sent his son to die on the cross for our sins, covering us with an unmerited grace.


Acts 15:11

New Living Translation (NLT)
11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

Truly that is Amazing Grace! So walk in that grace, take ownership of it in your life. Live with the freedom and authority that God has placed over you with the sacrifice of his son.


Acts 20:24

New Living Translation (NLT)
24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Share his grace; do not keep it to yourself. Can you imagine if we all learned to walk in true grace? How many lives would be changed and saved? If we were give others the same underserved grace that God offers to us we could see a great change in our world. Let it start with you! Grab a hold of God’s grace. Allow it to cover your life, and then go and share it with those around you!

Live in Grace

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let God be your Daddy!

Sitting on the edge of her bed perfectly positioned in the light that was streaming in from the hallway through her cracked door, she could hear daddy talking and laughing with her brother across the hall. She knew it deep in her soul that tonight would be the night. Tonight he would come across the hall and tuck her into bed too. He would give her hugs and kisses and wish her sweet dreams. With her heart beating violently inside her chest she sat up a little straighter when she heard him saying his last “good nights.” Anticipation overtook her when she heard the flick of her brothers light, and the closing of his door. Daddy’s shadow cast across the floor, when his big frame entered her door jam a smile light up her tiny face. He then reached his arm in, grabbed a hold of the door handle, and without a word swung the door shut. Hearing the latches finality when it clicked into place caused her smile to dissipate. Sobs began to take over her little body as she sat on the edge of her bed and listened to daddy walking down the hall away from her.  When she heard his feet descending the stairs she felt as if she had been punched because all the air left her lungs and she struggled to breath. She heard a gentle whisper…
“I watch over the fatherless”
It calmed her, and brought a peace that was unexplainable. With that peace upon her she lay down on her bed and drifted off to sleep.
Her head hurt from all the studying, she felt as though she would never be ready for the test tomorrow. Her brother sat across the table from her working on his own homework. They had been joking with each other all evening as mom prepared dinner.  She loved spending time with her family like this; it made her feel special and loved.
Hearing the front door open she smiled, dad was home. He came around the corner into the kitchen and headed straight for mom.
“Hello my bride, how was your day?” He said as he leaned in to give her a kiss on the cheek.  They shared simple banter and then he came over to the table.
“Hey Son, how was school? Do anything fun?” He asked looking right past her at her brother. Knowing it would be her turn next she began compiling a list of things she wanted to share from her day. After her brother had bragged about his grade in science class, dad rounded the table corner and tousled his hair telling him how proud he was.
She then watched as Dad turned away from her and walked out of the room with out a single word uttered in her direction. Hurt consumed her. Every feeling of love and specialness fled from her body. She tried to finish her studying, but was unable to concentrate.
Five minutes later mom instructed them to go wash up for dinner. Entering the hall, dad bumped into her, “Oh, I forgot to say hi to you…” he said, pulling her into an impersonal embrace.  As she walked away from him, the pain worsened.
“How could he forget to say hi to me, I was right there?” Were the words she spoke under her breath. A new wave of pain overcame her. She no longer felt special at all, instead emptiness filled her.
“I sustain the fatherless”
Just as it always had, that gentle voice filled her with the peace she needed so badly.
            Waiting at the table of her favorite restaurant she kept telling herself he would show up this time. He promised. She had called and made the reservation for two. A night with just her and her father, she couldn’t wait. It had been a while since she had gotten to spend time alone with him. All week she had been anticipating their time together.
            Feeling the sudden vibration of her phone, she removed it from her pocket. Noticing a text message from her father, she said a simple prayer before reading it. “God, please say he is still coming.” Another piece of her heart felt chipped away as she read what he had to say. He was caught up at work and would have to reschedule, he would call her tomorrow. “Yeah, that’ll happen”
            She stood up, feeling badly for wasting space on a Friday night. Placing a ten dollar bill on the empty table she walked out of the building. The rain pouring down outside matched the mood in her heart and helped hide the tears that were now streaming down her face. She climbed into her car and let the emotions unleash.
            “God, I don’t understand. Why did I think it would be different this time? I have fooled myself for so long. How could I expect him to love me? I am nothing but a burden to him, an obligation. I hate how he makes me feel. I don’t feel loved, I don’t feel protected… I need a daddy!”
            I am a father to the fatherless.”
            Once again the peace she had come to rely upon consumed her. God was speaking to her, just like he always had. He was asking her to surrender, to allow him to be her daddy. Fear filled her. What would it be like to have God as her daddy, would he hurt her the way her earthly father had?
            Be strong and courageous my daughter, I will never leave you nor will I forsake you.”
            She sat in her car, embraced by the peace of God.
“I love you… daddy!” Saying the words she began to sob more passionately. She felt free, loved and cherished like she never had. It felt so right, it felt as though she had known it her whole life; God was her daddy. God would watch over her; he would sustain her; he would never leave her or forsake her. He would be her daddy.