Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Receive God’s Grace

Reading: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13

Verse One: “As fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain”.

When we look at Paul’s hardships listed in verses three through five, one might question taking up a life of faith. Yes, life itself will bring all of these hardships at times, but to choose a life’s journey that almost invites these seems like a tough choice to make. To be a Christian in today’s world is not an easy task. Our culture is not very well aligned to Christian values any longer.

As one moves on to verses four through six, it gets a little better but there are still undesirables on that list. In these verses Paul begins to paint the picture that this difficult journey is worth it. The Christian Life is a life of genuine love and fellowship, of eternal hope and real joy. Yet the world and our culture will say one can find love and joy and happiness without walking the narrow way of faith. Culture says there is an easier way.

All one has to do to find love and joy and happiness is to work a little harder and to be willing to take advantage or exploit another on occasion. Yes, a day of rest and time with God and family might be fun, but it will cost you. Come on, lots of people work on Sunday. You might miss a ball game or recital here and there or a birthday if the potential payoff is big. Don’t worry – there will be other events that you will be at. These are the lies of the world. These are the ways that we convince ourselves that it is okay to work on Sundays and evenings.

Paul opens today’s passage asking the Corinthians and us to “not to receive God’s grace in vain”. Receive it and allow it to change you. Receive it and pass it on to others. Receive it and gain a sense of hope that the world cannot give. Allow God to bring you hope in times of sorrow, peace in times of stress, joy in times of despair, and love in times of hate and anger. Receive God’s grace and allow it to open your heart wide. Walk the narrow and hard road of faith and find life. Amen and amen.

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Places, Spaces, and Faces

Sometimes it is hard to get out of our boxes.  In many ways we settle into routines and ways of doing things.  Too often we allow stereotypes to determine how we see situations and people we encounter.  Our past experiences can also cloud our expectations for the here and now and for the future.  As creatures of habit with good memories I think we often miss out on God’s presence and work in our world.

When Jesus visited his hometown to preach and offer signs of His glory, He encountered this.  As the people realized who He was – just a carpenter’s son who they saw grow up an ordinary boy and young man – their amazement turned to doubt.  The teachings and miraculous signs did not continue in this environment.  The people allowed their experience and expectations to get in the way of experiencing God.

I wonder how much I miss out on because I am so tightly packed into my little box.  How many opportunities do I miss to share God with others and to experience God through others each day?  How often do I allow my judgments and low expectations to become roadblocks to being present in meaningful ways?  Yet rarely is anything in my day ever more important than moments experiencing God’s presence.  But I do not always reflect this with my thoughts, actions, and words.

May I learn to better live a simple faith and to walk on a slower path.  May I learn to live fully in each moment and person God places before me.  May my faith, heart, and eyes be like that of a child – eager to find love and joy in all the places, spaces, and faces I encounter today.

Scripture reference: Mark 6: 1-13