Monday, July 2, 2012

God's Amazing Grace

If I were to have started this blog today, instead of years ago I would probably have titled it “That Grace May Abound”. Not that I wasn't aware of God's grace(s) at that time, but He was showing me so much truth from His Word and about what I had been living for the bulk of my life. Today, my 44th Birthday, as I reflect back over the past years of my life I see the signs and evidences of God's grace throughout. Yes, even when I was lost and in rebellion to my Lord, He was still pouring His grace and His love out in my life. Grace is often attributed as "unmerited favor" or a reprieve of guilt and with those I totally agree with, but it is also the natural extension of God's love to His children. 

I think about my childhood, about how He put me in a church, to learn the bible stories that showed His power and how He worked in people's lives like David, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Noah, Moses and many others in the Bible. I never really learned, though, why these stories were in the bible, that they all actually pointed to Christ, but nonetheless, they were laying groundwork in my life to point me to Him later in life. I think of my “rebellious” years, which were actually all my years until He saved me. But the ones that stick out are when I openly flung my fist in the air and said, “I'm doing this my way, I'll do what I want – when I want”. All the time thinking that I was saved because of a profession as an 8 year old in that same church's youth group.

The years passed and I can honestly only think of only a single night that, as I lay down to sleep, I did not pray to the god I had created in my own mind. The reason? I dozed off drunk. I would always pray for forgiveness, for the same sins, for the life that I lived and for the multitude of sins I committed each day. God was still graceful to me, He kept me safe, He kept those around me safe, He still allowed me the days until I would finally and truly know Him.

I see the signs of God working my life through the years. Even though, at the time, I didn't realize it was Him. The things I prayed for that never came to pass, the things I did pray for that actually did. The staying of His wrath against me as I defiled His Name by professing to know Him, all the while living in open sin to and with those I was making the profession to. I know first hand the deception of a false convert, which is again by His grace. I attribute this to my “zeal” for truth. I just so greatly want others that live in deception to be awakened from their slumber and meet the One True God.

I have in my recent past, since God saved me, seen His grace in many ways. Today He has shown me that a lot of times His grace is shown through people He has put in my life. I think about people that for many different reasons should have had their anger heightened toward me, in my zeal (misdirected zeal) said and did things that I should have actually stopped to think about beforehand. But God in His richness of Grace allowed these people to react with the grace that I lacked. These occurrences have made a huge impact on me and I now see that these, too, were an act of God's grace in my life. God has used these people in many ways and without that grace shown I would not be where I am today. I still have the “zeal” for His truth, but also have a fresh zeal for His Grace. It is through His grace that I have a better understanding of how to interact with others better. Not perfectly by a long shot, but better.

In 2010, on my birthday, I set out on a year long journey on this blog titled “A Year In MY Life ThroughPictures”. It seemed like a good idea at first, but soon became somewhat tedious. I do not regret doing the series, but it did leave a sense of antipathy ($2 word alert) to me, I just didn't want to write any longer. I was burned out and I was spent. I needed a break. So, since finishing the year long series in 2011, on my birthday, I have been sporadic, at best, with my postings. A few things here and there have sparked me to bang something out, but no real inspiration. Until now. Why? I have no idea, but I feel the need to start posting again.

Let me say something again that I have said from the get-go on this blog. I AM NOT A WRITER. I hated English class in high school. I hated diagramming sentences. I can't spell. I do not properly punctuate. I make up words. I ramble on and on. I lack sentence structure. I lack any sense of writing ability that would characterize someone that anyone else would want to read. But I think of Moses, who had a speech impediment, whom God used anyway. I think of Jeremiah who tried to talk God into not using him:
Jeremiah 1:4-9 
4 The word of the Lord came to me: 5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. 6 But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” 
7 Then the Lord said to me:
Do not say, “I am only a youth,”
for you will go to everyone I send you to
and speak whatever I tell you.
8 Do not be afraid of anyone,
for I will be with you to deliver you.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
9 Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me:
I have now filled your mouth with My words.

Not that I should be compared to Moses or Jeremiah, but God is still God and I am still feeble. Moses and Jeremiah tried to talk God out of using them and I have done that too. But I see that God can use whoever He pleases, however He pleases, whenever He pleases and I don't want to miss that. I want to be aware when He is using me and actually, willingly and openly be used of Him in whatever capacity that is. I don't want to miss God like I did 38 years of my life.

So I ask anyone who ventures upon this blog site to be graceful of my mistakes, I make them often. Please do not hesitate to correct me grammatically or if I have something wrong spiritually. I would actually prefer that you correct me, so I do not continue in error. But some things you may be in error in as well and I ask that you seek correction too. God is still graceful to the humble, but not the prideful. I have learned that the hard way, through my stubbornness and through my lack of grace to others. God has been very good to me and has corrected me through His grace and through His grace through others.

What better way to describe grace than this:
Ephesians 2:4-9
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

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