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Tag Archives: grace

Choose your own Adventure

chooseadventureI used to read the “Choose your own Adventure” stories from the library when I was a kid. I liked the fact that I could read along the same storyline and see how one decision could tailspin the story into another path or series of adventures. Sometimes, I would get aggravated if I chose something that would end drastically or abruptly. But, I was satisfied that I could return to the page before the decision and change the outcome with the other choice. There are times in my own life that I wish that I could’ve done the same with my personal story. Are there particular chapters in your journey that you would’ve chosen to erase if you could?

I imagine the author of the adventure series has the perfect plot laid out first before he adds the side stories. He probably ultimately hopes the reader will pick the right storyline that makes the greatest adventure. But instead, he gives the reader the free will to decide which path to take.

When I used to read the series, I often picked what I knew would bring a bad outcome. I did it because I wanted to push the limits of the story. Sometimes, I was just ready for the story to end because of boredom. I’ve done the same thing in my own life. I’ve come upon decisions and picked the wrong one, fully knowing it would be a bad choice. I did it out of curiosity, rebellion, or selfishness. I did it to see if I somehow could change the outcome, even though the Author already knew where the outcome would lead.

Thinking through all of this, I’m reminded of this passage, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

There are other times in my life that I let fear of the unknown stall me on a page in life. I’d lay the book down and sit down on the journey. I wanted to choose the safe path when Jesus wanted me to pursue His adventure. He reminds me that He is the author of my faith to step into those unknown pages. I need to hang onto the next word as he writes it and trust him to make it all end with an outcome that I could never do on my own. Why? Because he is also the finisher of that faith. He already knows where the path leads and he’s excited for me to follow that path instead of me choosing my own. He knows the beauty at the end of the story. And those chapters I messed up, no longer matter because of his grace and love. He uses them to remind me of where I came from and to be cautious with veering from his lead. Ultimately, if I want the best story, then I need to I look to Him to lead me through it.

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Calling Mercy

Have you ever played the game “Mercy,” on the playground? I’m sure it’s not allowed on school playgrounds anymore, due to the true brutality of the game. It’s a game of enduring pain where both participants grasp hands and try to bend the other one’s back until the weaker one yells Mercy!! I remember playing against the boys on the playground, trying to prove that girls were just as tough as boys. Sometimes I would win, but other times I wouldn’t. I really didn’t like to lose, but sometimes you just had to give in because you didn’t want a broken finger, hand, or wrist.
Thinking back to the game, it made me think about the word mercy and how much mercy God has shown me. I know there have been times in my life when I was close to snapping or breaking and I’d end up calling out for help, for mercy. It was in those times that I would admit that I was not as strong or as independent as I wanted to be. God in his wonderful nature immediately extends mercy to a mere human crying out and giving up. Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. God has the upper hand and He could quickly destroy me or you, but he doesn’t. He has compassion on us, a compassion that we can try to understand but never be able to achieve within the true character of who He is. But, in order to receive the fullness of mercy, I think you have to see the depth of it and accept the need for it with total surrender.

Mercy comes when you come to the end of yourself.

“Give thanks to The Lord, for his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Untied Giving

ImageOne of my favorite books I was introduced to in high school was “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gibran.  I loved the style and flow of his words and the depth of wisdom in that little book is profound.  There are so many nuggets of wisdom you can pull from this book, but today I’m just focusing on one little piece. 

“You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”  The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.  They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.  Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.  And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.  And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity of receiving?  And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?  See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.”

To often I hear people say that they won’t give to someone  because they aren’t sure how that person will spend the funds. Or if it’s something intangible like time, they are afraid to give it to someone who won’t appreciate it, so therefore they won’t give it.  The point of giving is to release something of value to another without strings attached.  Giving with complete release is fulfilled living. How so?  Because you are planting seeds, even if you don’t see it.  Will every seed be fruitful?  No, but some will.  Why take the chance not planting any at all?

Something small to you may be everything to someone else who needs it.  A little time listening to someone may be enough to keep them from making an unwise decision.  A smile may change another persons day.  A simple prayer may be enough to show that you care and shine a glimpse of Gods love on the one receiving it.  A kind gesture can replace hard feelings.

God is the ultimate giver.  He gave his son, Jesus for each of us that we may live.  He gave so that we wouldn’t be held hostage to our sins.  He gave because He loved and He loves.  He gave to me, although I didn’t deserve it.  He gave although I spent that gift wrong for a long time before I realized the greatness of the gift.  It took me awhile to understand the value of the gift He gave me.  But, He also gave me patience, He gave me mercy, He gave me forgiveness, He gave me blessings.  He gave and He gives to me daily.  He is my example, if you follow Him, He is yours as well.  Don’t hold tight to what you are supposed to release, it is a resounding instrument of who you are.  You are a representative to His kingdom. 

 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’   Matthew 25:44–45

 

 
 

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