Sunday, July 20, 2014

God's Loving Grace

God’s Loving Grace   
God’s loving grace spans a huge gulf between time and eternity. It allows us to love ourselves as He first loved us and connect into a fully-human family that excludes neither the Death Row convict nor the lonely Aids victim. God’s grace knows no limits when we accept what He freely offers.

George’s challenge proved very different but equally difficult, for he could not speak in public without stuttering hopelessly. By the time I met him, he had become a gregarious young Bible College student with a marvelous talent for singing. However, George was so bashful that he circled the school campus three times before mustering sufficient courage to enter and enroll.

Eventually, George found his place for serving God, through singing. He proved enormously popular with the youth and his music and personal testimony left everyone with a song. Following graduation George had a highly successful career as a Church of God pastor, convention preacher, and Family Life Counselor.

His path crossed mine frequently as we crisscrossed the country in our travels. He always greeted me with that thick West Georgia accent, a warm handshake, and a relaxed smile. His cheery words reverberated with passionate joy, even after the doctor told him to quit preaching or lose his voice.

Cancer finally conquered George’s body but it never captured his song or his smile. Friendship with George gave me guidance for experiencing God‘s loving grace.

Read the rulebook before playing the game

The writer of the book of Hebrews offers a repository of biblical characters that found the faith to succeed. Abraham became the Father of the Faithful, but not before exposing his wife Sarah to compromise and finding redemption for own is flawed character.

Act by faith, regardless of feeling
You may spend a fortune analyzing your fears, frustrations, and failures, if you choose. Your Analyst may offer the perfect rationale, or label your problem with the right cause-and-cure, and never give hint of possible recovery. This frequently results in a “paralysis of analysis.”

However, there is One, through whom God’s Kingdom becomes personal, active, and dynamically present. His major message and mission remains that of transforming people’s lives (Romans 12:1-2).

Live life as a means of grace

The light by which I write requires that I wire electricity into my home. My light waits my switching on the light. At any time of day or night, I can enter my room, flip on the switch, and allow the current to do what electricity does best--light my work area.

Like George, we all have frailties from which we need to freeing, as only the Gospel can free us. When we allow God to empower our lives; we can switch on the current and enjoy the light that comes with being connected to the power. We then do our work as extensions of that power to which we have connected ourselves.

Myron Augsburger defines this believing faith as “behaving in relationship.” He suggests salvation and discipleship offer an experience of grace through which we say “yes” to the Lord daily. Failed marriages, criminal behavior, unholy addictions, and hate crimes linger like terminal illness, but God’s well of grace never runs dry, no matter how bad the drought!

               1 Myron Augsburger, Walking in the Resurrection. (Scottdale/Kitchener: Herald Press, 1976), pp. 21, 33.


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