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Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Saving Grace

The 2012 cinematic adaptation of the musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, was tremendous. But my favorite adaptation of the novel was the 1998 film starring Liam Neeson. There’s a reason.

Even though the acting is superb, and the costumes, music, and scenes look first-rate, there is another element that outshines them all.  The Grace of God

Before I show you the clip of my favorite scene, here’s a brief set-up: Jean Valjean is a ex-convict living in pre-revolutionary France. Just released from prison, he wanders the streets because no one will take him in. Finally, a kindly old bishop feeds him and lets him sleep overnight.

Let’s watch the scene in the movie to see what happens.

 

Behold the transforming power of the grace of God. This must be one of the best illustrations of the grace that God has given to us.

The bishop had the right to have to Valjean imprisoned. Justice demanded it. But when the Bishop went against every human instinct for revenge, it transformed Jean Valjean’s life forever.

Being offered such grace—when he had never even sought it—tore down all his defenses. He dedicated his life from that point to helping others. Valjean kept the candlesticks always as a reminder of grace.

The Transforming Power of the Grace of God

We could summarize most messages we hear at church with two words: “Be good.”

But we need to hear more than that. Why be good? Here’s one answer:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”—Titus 2:11–12

The grace of God is a constant theme in the Bible, and it culminates in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus (John 1:17). The word translated “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.” We can all extend grace to others; but when the word grace is used in connection with God, it takes on a more powerful meaning. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves. It is His benevolence to the undeserving.

Planting

This grace is unique and is God’s gift to us.  This week, how will you reflect on this grace? What does this actually mean to you?  May you, my brothers and sisters again remember that it is by this grace that our place in heaven is assured. It was freely given to you and nothing can separate us from this.

Grace and peace my friends.

The Candlestick

Did you notice the candlestick
That I gave to you today
You forget to take the best
When you had it all your way

Do you notice how I reacted
When you said all you had to say
The nonchalant casual reply
Before you went about your way

For you your words are not compelling
And your story is so small
You wonder why I don’t respond
Or say very little at all

But I forgive and pray for you
That one day you will grow
Into the story that you live in
For it’s greater than you know

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I’ve been underfed, I’ve been overdrawn, I’m tired of walking this fine line for so long, I’ve been looking for you in all the wrong places. So who will come to the aid of a man like me.  This is one of the verses from Derek Lind’s song A Man Like Me.

Life is busy, there are many things that keep us occupied and distracted. Most of this ‘busyness’ wears us down, and tires us out. We need someone or something to come to our rescue.  Sooner than later we start to long for that wonderful time of year where we can sit on the beach, climb into the hammock, close our eyes and drift away while the sun warms our soul. Paradise.

While this is the experience of many of us, something seems wrong with this picture. Something seems very wrong. Is this really all there is to life – waiting for the next break, the next holiday to relax and rest? Is this what the rest of our life looks like? Is it the best we can hope for?

We have an opportunity to turn all of this upside down. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to find a place of rest and then operate our lives from this place. I’m not talking about sitting on a beach with a laptop. I’m talking about getting away with Jesus, taking a rest, and getting (as my American friends would say) the heck out of Dodge.

Jesus wants us to experience his way, his rhythm of life, his rhythm of grace. From this place we can still achieve all the things we need and want to do. Actually it’s more what Jesus wants us to do and be. It’s a change of attitude and mindset. It’s a change of culture.  Here’s how the band Jesus Culture describes it:
 
Come away with Me, Come away with Me
It’s never too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late for you
 
I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me
~ Come Away by Jesus Culture

How do we do this? How do we come away? – we choose to, we ask Jesus for his rest, and we believe it. It’s really that simple.

So what about you? How will you spend the rest of your life? What do you need to stop doing. Will you take up Jesus’ invitation to come away?  Maybe you’re doing this now.  Would you share your experience, here or somewhere. It may help someone find their place of rest, for the rest of their life.

Finally here’s my take from Jesus’ view on rest – his unforced rhythm of grace.

The Rhythm of Grace

Are you tired and weary      
Sick of running this race
Come away with me
Learn the rhythm of grace

Are you weighed down
By the burdens that you face
Come away with me
Learn the rhythm of grace

Are you over religion
Has the salt lost its taste
Come away with me
Learn the rhythm of grace

Do you need real rest
But can’t find it at your place
Come away with me
Learn the rhythm of grace

I can set you life free
Watch me, seek my face
Come walk with me
Learn my rhythm of grace

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