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Aug. 12, 2018

GRACE AND PEACE

 

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 1:7

 

  We need God’s grace on a daily basis. It is good that we can turn to God in Christ for help when we need it. We frequently have those days that I call “EGR” days – that is - Extra Grace Required! At times, we all need a little help from our friends. We are all mercy cases. There are no self-made men, women, or children in God’s Kingdom. When we feel we are lost in a dark room and trip over things while searching for the light switch, we can turn our cell phone on to light our way. When we are tired, frustrated and fear losing our grip in this crazy tug-o-war world; we can be thankful that Jesus is there! When we are going through the trials of life; He gives us the strength to be strong. When we lose the will to win, He grants us the will to carry on. When our relationships are breaking and we need a friend, we can run into His embrace and know that He is always there for us to lean on.  People who receive grace are those who turn to Christ and trade their stubbornness and pride in for teachableness and humility.

  We also need a daily dose of God’s peace to stay sane in an insane world.   His gift to us is His heavenly perspective – God doesn’t panic about things. He never has to say, “Oops!” Through His Holy Spirit, God  endows His children with a  serene and stable attitude that acts; not reacts. When life hits, thank God He is there to help. He will somehow turn our tragedy into triumph. Faith is agreeing with Him even when we don’t understand. Peace is not the absence of trouble, drama, or conflict; but is the grace to endure within the midst of it. Consider the following true story.  My wife sent me out to the store for a bag of chips. The task sounded easy. But in my rush to the store, I did not take time to listen clearly to her instructions on which kind to buy. I should have listened, for there I was standing bewildered in the chip aisle. I was getting overwhelmed. It was me against a mountain of chips, all calling for me to buy them. There were: Nachos, Munchos, Doritos, Fritos, Chees-Os, regular, barbeque, pizza, salt and vinegar, ranch, sour cream and onion,  smooth ones, rippled ones,  thick ones, thin ones, bagged ones, canned ones, big bags, little bags, original classic ones, new improved ones, bagel chips, baked chips, fried chips, low salt, no salt, low fat, no fat, crispy ones, crunchy ones ... Ahh!  I was losing my sanity quickly, so I grabbed a two bags and proceeded to the beverage aisle. Then it hit me again. Did I want: regular, diet, cola, orange, grape, lemon-lime, ginger ale, Perrier, Pepsi, Coke, clear, colored, caffeine free, caffeinated, bottles, cans, six packs, or individual, sale items or not.  "Ahh!",I screamed again, as I ran to the checkout counter. Along the way, I found myself disoriented in the laundry detergent section. So in a move of desperation, with "All" that was within me, I gave a good "Cheer". This helped me turn the "Tide" of my dilemma, as I "Dashed" to checkout counter.  When I got there the girl asked: was I going to pay with cash, check, or credit card. Did I have any coupons? Did I have a rewards card? Did I prefer plastic or paper bags? Would I like help carrying my groceries to the car? Decisions! Decisions! Decisions! All that I wanted to do was to buy a bag of chips! Our lives are full of decisions every day. Big ones, little ones; minor ones, live changing ones, fun ones, serious ones.

  The good news is that when we find ourselves bewildered in the aisles of the supermarket of our lives and don't know where to turn or what to decide, it is a relief to experience God's grace and peace that keeps us from being overwhelmed with the pressures of our complex and sometimes hectic world. He will bring comfort and guidance into our lives. God is ready, willing, and able to assist a humble life. All we need do is ask Him. To receive the benefits of this blessing is a matter of surrender. To activate it is a matter of faith.

  As always, see you next time and have a great day...