It’s All About that Grace

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one”—Colossians 4:6 (NKJV).

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http://www.justbetweenus.org

Hello.” No answer. “Anybody there?” More silence. If there had been a button to push, I would have pounded it with my fist. Yes, I was in a hurry. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been eating fast food for breakfast. The cars in the other drive-through lane had arrived after me. What was wrong with the woman taking orders? It was my turn.

I said, “Hello,” again. This time, a male voice answered. “I’m sorry for your wait. What can I get you this morning?”

I ordered an Egg McMuffin then pulled forward to pay for my breakfast. When the young man pulled the window open to take my money, he said, “Since you had to wait so long, I’m going to give you two Egg McMuffins.” He smiled. I didn’t. I wanted to reply with a snarl, “Why don’t you just give me a free one? I don’t need two.” But I didn’t. Instead, I handed him my money and thanked him.

As I drove away, that still, small voice convicted me. Others, like me, were also in a hurry. Yet, my impatience with the woman taking orders had surfaced and my attitude needed an adjustment. In my spirit, I heard, “It’s all about grace.”

We deserved punishment, but God graciously gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I had not reflected God’s grace toward the people who were serving me. Yes, it is their job. However, they were doing the best they could during the morning rush hour at McDonald’s.

Is it Time to Take a Good Look?

“Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living. Let’s return to the Lord”—Lamentations 3:40(NIRV).

Basket with cleaning items on blurry background

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       http://www.somewhatsimple.com

 

Yuck! How long had it been? I didn’t know, but I knew it was long overdue.

When I found myself in the mood to do some serious housework, I wasn’t looking forward to cleaning my refrigerator. While I had kept up with wiping down the inside surfaces I could see, I wasn’t excited about tackling what I knew was probably a mess in the hidden places.

If you’ve ever cleaned a refrigerator, you know what I’m talking about. Those spills you wiped off of the shelves made their way to the bottom underneath the veggie and fruit drawers. Maybe you planned to get to it later but forgot. Maybe, like me, you’re a procrastinator.

I was filled with insecurities, doubts and secrets.

How often do we procrastinate when it comes to doing things we’d rather avoid? I know I’m guilty. In the past, I very seldom put things off. It just wasn’t in my nature. However, as I have embraced each birthday, I’ve started to examine what is important. Evidently, I’ve decided cleaning out the deep recesses of my refrigerator is not a high priority.

Before Jesus got ahold of this woman, I could tell you my priorities didn’t line up with His. Instead, I was more concerned about how things appeared on the outside. For example, my house was always clean, so clean you could have eaten off the floors most days. My now-grown sons can tell you I wasn’t the easiest mother to live with when it came to keeping our house clean.

Are you allowing God to prune the sin from your life?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”—Romans 3:23 (HCSB).

GrWisteria1ehttp://waynesword.palomar.edu

If you’ve ever seen a wisteria vine, especially in bloom, you know its charms are almost impossible to resist. That’s what drew me to purchase one about four years ago. When I first saw the beautiful lavender flowers on the vines wrapped around an arbor in a neighbor’s yard, I knew I had to have one.

I succumbed to the beauty of the blooms dangling from the vines. Mesmerized, I couldn’t wait to have one growing over the arbor in my own backyard. After purchasing one at a local garden center, I hurried home to plant the woody, climbing vine. However, I soon discovered this invasive plant has a mind of its own.

In an article by Jeanne Rostaing called, “Wisteria: A Dangerous Beauty (Are You Tempted?),” she says, “You are not the first to succumb.  Marco Polo was an early conquest.  He brought wisteria seeds out of China in the 13th century. But you would be wise to take the time to get to know this beauty before you commit to her. Like a Jezebel, she will steal your heart and then, after you are weakened and besotted with love, she will set about to dominate your garden and, if possible, your house. Take this caveat to heart: she is fully capable of attempting to murder your other plants.”

Does God need to do some pruning in your life?

While the wisteria has not taken over my house, it dominates my arbor and the corner of the backyard where it is planted. Even if I had known how much work this plant takes to maintain, I would still have planted it because I love working in my yard. The resulting beauty of my labor is worth the efforts I expend.

When You Choose to Forgive

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven”—Luke 6:37 (NRSV).

forgivenessisfreedomhttps://calmclarityproject.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/forgivenessisfreedom.jpg

Upset she had cheated my son out of $30, I didn’t want to forgive her. I was also mad at myself because I had been used in the process. I guess it’s because I trust too much, trust others to do unto me as I would do unto them. However, I failed to remember not all people are trustworthy.

My son had agreed to purchase two items through an online site where people buy, sell and trade merchandise. Because the seller lived in a community closer to me, and because my son works odd hours sometimes, he asked me to contact her, set up a time to meet and pay for the merchandise. I agreed.

We met nearby in a public place where we made the exchange. Because I trusted that my son and this woman had made the deal, and he knew what he was getting, I got into my vehicle without checking the merchandise. Placing them in the cup holder beside me, I noticed a small part had fallen off one of the items. Picking it up, I discovered the part could not have broken off just by my handling it. It had been broken when she handed it to me.

Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free.”

I knew the seller hadn’t gone too far up the highway so I called her. I was trying to be gracious when I said, “The merchandise I just purchased from you…something is wrong. A piece fell off.”

Are you a Grace Giver?

 I’d like to introduce my readers to Nancy Kay Grace, an author friend of mine, who has just launched her first book titled, The Grace Impact.  I hope you enjoy and will share her post with others.

graceOnce you have received the grace of God and forgiveness for your sins, what do you do with grace? In this segment from The Grace Impact (p.141-142), we are challenged to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and share it with others.

“The grace of God launches us into a life of faith when we accept Christ as Lord. We grow in our faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown in the bonfire.” (John 15:5-7, The Message)

Without the love of Jesus, joy and peace are shallow; patience, kindness, and goodness wear thin or wear out; faithfulness will turn into inconsistency; gentleness changes into harshness; and self-control diminishes. But when we position ourselves to depend upon the Lord, the fruit of His love develops in us. Gradually, the fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in our lives — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23a) The fruit matures so it can be given away and is shown when we extend the blessings of grace to others.

Unfortunately, we are sometimes stingy and withhold grace when we think someone is unworthy because of a wrongdoing. We cling to the offense instead of grasping for God’s forgiveness. When the grace of God is absent, bitterness is born. The words of Hebrews 12:14-15 tell us, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”