Sunday, September 30, 2012

A lesson in Grace

John 10:10

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

 The past week was a very emotional week for me.  I loss my favorite "Tia".  I wrote about her once before, in a blog titled: Prayer Impact.( ) She was a beautiful, sweet, and faithful woman.  She always prayed for me, and my siblings.  Her prayers came to life in me as she prayed the armor of God over me so many times.  I don't believe she had any idea what an impact those prayers were in my lifeNow I suffer from a joyful heartache at the loss of my sweet Tia Angie.

As the week progressed, I feel as though God has laid on my heart that I need to extend more grace.  I need to extend grace to family or friends that in one way or another have hurt my feelings or disappointed me.  I need to learn to forgive and then give grace knowing that my forgiveness will not change anything for the people who will continue to live their lives never knowing of my silent disapproval.  It is then that the John 10:10 came to mind.

You see, the thief comes to steal my freedom and joy.  He comes to kill my relationships and the love in my heart.  The thief comes to destroy all that is good in my life.  The thief uses any means by which to accomplish the destruction of my hope, my joy, my love, and all things I hold dear.  There is a real truth here, the truth is found in Jesus and His example.  Jesus gives us grace, and so in turn we should also extend grace. I have just considered that while I am free from my sins, through Christ Jesus, I am still held captive by the sins I have not forgiven.  I have decided that I no longer want to be controlled by the anger, disappointment, or hurt feelings that are associated with not forgiving.  I want to experience freedom in grace that I give to others, the way Christ gave for me.

God always has a way of sealing my thoughts.  He often validates my prayers and thoughts through others.  Today as I sat in Sunday school, we talked about slavery.  We were covering the verses from 1 Peter Chapter 2: 18-25.  The verse that struck me most is 19: "A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased."  My take on this is that the only way to stand the pain of an unfair situation is to offer grace and forgiveness.  We forgive not because of  fairness or justice, but to free ourselves from the control of the oppressor. Today's Sunday school lesson, helped to solidify and confirm just what I was thinking and what I need to do.  I need to live extending grace to others, with as much grace as I have been given.

I think I will start by praying and saying out loud that I want to forgive and that I want to extend grace to others.  Then I will try something radical and give myself grace!  I think I am often robbed of my freedom, by a thief named Miranda.  There is no one harder on me than me.  I can kick myself around over things that I should just let go.  Grace means that a mistake can be forgiven, it is still a mistake, but there can be love and forgiveness anyway.  I challenge each of you to try this with me.  Let's make this week, a week of grace, a week of forgiveness for ourselves and for others.  I think if we find ourselves wrapped in God's grace and extending grace to others, then in turn we will feel more free and more joy.  The thief CANNOT steal, kill, and destroy while the Holy Spirit stands in me.  I plan on living life in abundance with the Holy Spirit.

In honor of my Tia Angie:

Ephesians 6:10-13a
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world ad against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."    

Will you stand your ground this week?  Will you keep the thief from stealing, killing and destroying your joy?  Will you extend grace?  I am certainly going to try!  This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

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