Who is the offender?

order up

order up (Photo credit: circulating)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

My husband and I were dining with another couple at a nice restaurant. When our food was brought out, my entrée was cold and the meat somewhat raw. I called the server over and explained the problem, but was polite and understanding. The couple with us was amazed that I didn’t get all upset and demand satisfaction. I wish I could say that I was always this understanding, but the truth is … sometimes my impatience shows through.

Allowing God’s Spirit to guide us in words and actions will be noticed. It is almost considered normal to demand our rights in this country with no consideration for anyone else. Revenge is on our hearts when we have been offended. We forget for that time span how we have been offensive. The grace of God shown through us says that we know who died for our sin and who put him on the cross. While yet offensive, Christ died for us.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times that I forget what you have done for me. There is no offense against me that measures up to the offense I had against you. You have taken the sting of death away by your grace and mercy. Amen

Faith Tip: If you have been offended or are offended today, look upon the offender as Christ looked at us from the cross.

God Can Do It!

Dressed up teddy bear

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I remember years ago when Old Kent Bank used to hold a yearly dress a bear/doll contest. I loved looking at all the creative outfits worn by the toys, and I desired to be a part of the giving to some special child. However, I did not have the gift of sewing. One day, I decided to give it a try. In one day, I made a nightgown, hat, and slippers for a bear on the sewing machine. It turned out great. I really felt I was being guided through it. The Holy Spirit took over in the task and helped me complete it. God worked wonders through my weakness.

There are many areas in life where we are weak as humans. That doesn’t mean we need to fall into those weaknesses, because we can’t help it. God’s power is the perfect fit for our weakness. He can work wonders that we know can only come from Him if we allow God to do so. The choices we make, if God honoring, will be empowered by the Spirit.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that Your grace is provided for all the wrong choices I make. You give me another chance. I pray for your power in my life today. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling like you have an old weakness that just keeps hanging on? Today, grasp onto the power of Christ and don’t let go. He will walk you through.

The Power of Relationship

Moses holding up his arms during the battle, a...

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The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. – Exodus 17:8-13

This past weekend, I spent some quality time with God’s people. It was a pilgrimage. Together we journeyed in discovering more about God. What did we discover? God’s great love for us expressed through each other. We found out that we needed one another not only through the weekend, but perhaps more after the weekend.

Gathering together in God’s name is a call. We were never meant to travel life alone. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and I praise God for that, but there is another element needed in those God puts in our life. Sometimes the relationship is life-long and sometime just for a season, but they are both crucial for our spiritual makeup.

The power of God’s love and grace is dynamic when people that follow Jesus gather together. It must be experienced for it can never be fully described in words. I encourage you to make plans to get together with some friends and family who know what this means, and be ready to show others who don’t know the great bond they are missing.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the relationships you have brought into my life, especially my relationship with you. I pray that I demonstrate the power of your love to those I come in contact with today. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider the people God has placed in your life. How do they uphold you? What part do you play in supporting another?

Healing Words of Grace

Cassettes

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

I’ll never forget the time when I was working at a bank and the president wanted me to transcribe a tape for him. He said it had a lot of important information on it. I put it on my desk with a couple of other tapes I was working on. After the tapes were transcribed, I would need to then delete the information on the tape by putting it through an erasing mechanism.

After finishing the tape I was working on, I grabbed the wrong tape and erased it. In fact, I grabbed the most important tape on the desk and erased it. I then thought about what I would need to collect on my desk as I was sure I would be escorted out after my mistake came to light. I slowly walked down the long hall to the president’s office … kind of in a daze. I knocked on his door. I swallowed hard as I walked in and hung my head in shame as I explained what happened to his tape and apologized.

He took in a breath. My breathing stopped. He then smiled and said not to worry. That he would record it again since it was still pretty fresh in his mind. When I received the tape from him, I instantly put it in the transcription machine and the first words out of the tape were, “This has been recorded on a non-erasable tape.”

The grace shown to me by this man of God was so healing to me. I learned a lot about grace that day. I saw and experienced Jesus in the president’s words and actions. He reflected the one he followed.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the grace you have shown me. I pray that I can reflect that to others each day. Amen

Faith Tip: Reflect Jesus today when someone you come in contact with needs that special gift of grace.

Only one way

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared:

   “You are a priest forever,
   in the order of Melchizedek.”

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:15-19)

Mary looked longingly at the new car her neighbor just purchased. She wondered how she did it. She works part time, but is that enough for her and her husband to afford a new car? Mary thought of her own car in comparison and knew hers was less. How great it must feel to get behind the wheel of a new car, she thought. She sighed and went back to her work.

Coveting is one of those commandments we are not to do. Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of breaking one of the laws or another. That is why in Hebrews it says that the law was weak and useless, because it did not make us perfect. The law does show us how imperfect we are and how much we need our high priest, Jesus, to make us perfect. It was by his death on the cross that we are made holy. There is no other way. We live a better hope because of Jesus drawing us closer to God. That’s something to praise about today!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the laws of Moses you have established to show us how we should live. Forgive us for the times we fall short. Thank you for the grace and mercy you give us through Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: Reflect on the true gift of the cross. Hold a cross in your hand or draw a cross and meditate on its meaning.

Grace, not works

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6)

If you work hard, you will succeed. This is a message that our society believes in and acts on. While I know it is an ideal that is promising, it is not 100% guaranteed. If my husband works hard in his garden, he should have a bounty to harvest. This is not always true. Other factors such as ground conditions and weather play a role.

That’s why I am so glad that we don’t have to work for our salvation. If we had to depend on what we did to be saved, many of us would fall short. Jesus did it all. It is by grace we are saved and it is 100% guaranteed.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for paying for my sin on the cross. The price was so high. This is a great demonstration of your love for me. I pray that I will embrace the grace I have received and be a reflection of it. Amen

Faith tip: Find ways to show grace to others today.

Taking away points

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? (Romans 2:1-4)

Watching the Olympics last winter was very enjoyable to me. One of the events I like most to watch is the figure skating. The judges watch every little movement and detail as the skaters perform. One little slip up will cost them the gold.

Sometimes I think we watch each other with the same fervor with an imaginary scorecard in our hand. In doing this, we are appointing ourselves as judges of life. As we take points away from someone else, we are having points taken away from us for doing “the same things.” It is only because of God’s grace in showing “kindness, tolerance and patience” to us that we turn away from sin. Reflecting God’s grace to others will be worth its weight in gold.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your reminder of your wonderful grace shown to me. May I reflect that grace to those I come in contact with. Amen

Faith tip: Today when you feel yourself picking up the scorecard to judge someone, pray for God’s grace to enable you to show kindness, tolerance and patience.