Last week I shared how everywhere I turned it seemed that God was dropping heavy hints about a certain topic He was wanting to teach me. Now, let me state right at the beginning of these thoughts today…He’s not finished with me yet and that is evident with how many lessons God seems to be teaching me. Thank you Lord that you have such a sense of humor!
My immediate family has had the privilege of spending quite a few hours together; mainly in the car driving in the last couple of weeks. This adventure causes one to evaluate the behaviors of those individuals with great scrutiny. *smile*
Does anyone else have visions of grandeur as they travel with their children? I don’t do a very good job of managing my expectations as I tend to have dreams of an old fashion scene. It is one that I sometimes paint in my mind of having my children quietly and content riding in the back seat reading books or taking a nap. Instead I hear, “She touched me!”, “She won’t share her game with me!” or better yet, “She looked at me funny!”
During these moments, I have been continually coming back to the question that I ask God on a regular basis of …“Where have I messed up? What have I done wrong? Am I missing something?”
This week it finally all came to a head, when I got these very subtle cues that I needed to not only teach my children the great truth of Grace but also learn this very valuable lesson myself.
Grace is something that we receive from God. It’s his blessings that He bestows on us even when we don’t deserve it. It is like salvation in that we don’t have to earn it by doing good works. It is a gift that God chooses to lavish on us as His children because we are HIS CHILDREN.
In receiving this grace from the Lord, we in return are called to show grace to others. Not because they deserve it, but because it is the evidence that is also seen in a believe’sr life which includes the fruits of the Spirit that God puts in us.
The word Grace in the dictionary is defined as
a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
This is a hard concept for a 7-year-old and even 9-year-old to grasp. And it is not too much easier for a 13-year-old as well. Showing grace and forgiving others even when they don’t deserve it is something most adults have a hard time with too. I seem to be consciously working on this these days. I will just say, some days are better than others.
Now let me tell you how the journey of my clues from God began last week. It all started with this plaque we saw in a store while traveling in Knoxville, TN.
It says, “Grace is not just something we say at the dinner table. It is a way to live.” I really want to be at a place that I can extend this type of reaction to others.
It doesn’t matter what someone has done in their life, or what they even owe me. No matter what I think I deserve….I am called to show them grace. By doing this hopefully, God will be glorified through my actions. Sometimes that is the bottom line…to ask how can God be best glorified in this situation? Showing Grace is usually the action that wins out.
Needless to say, this plaque was a purchase that will be hung on the wall in a prominent place in our home. 🙂
My second clue was a podcast that I listened to on our way home from our trip. You can listen to it here.
This pastor is Bishop Dale C. Bronner from Word of Life Ministries in Atlanta, GA. Get your pen and paper ready because he has lots of really great comments and great truths from the Bible that helped me through understanding Grace.
One of my favorite quotes from this podcast was “We sometimes can’t control our circumstances but we can control our reactions.”
The last clue in this journey of God teaching me about Grace was found in a quite humorous way. When we arrived at home that evening I was busy checking on all my vegetables from my garden as well as my sunflowers. Obviously, we had received some rain while we were gone and some of the sunflowers had gotten beaten down to the ground.
It amazed me that even though the main stems was laying on the ground, there were still flowering stems that had sprouted in the most precious flowers I had seen. The way the wind was slightly blowing it seemed as if they were dancing happily that they were still alive.
I distinctly heard God say, “Well look a there…this stem has been beaten down and it still has found joy in sprouting flowers. Amy, isn’t that what I call you to do? When you get beat down with unexpected things or disappointments in life you are still called to produce the fruit I have put in you.”
Hummm….I had never looked at it that way before, but these flowers changed my perspective that night. It took several clues for God to bring His point home but I am working harder on this grace response each day.
So, no matter who you are dealing with or what situation you may be going through, maybe this word of encouragement will help you also see things in a different light.
Grace ~ undeserved favor that we receive from God but also should try harder to extend to others.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.