Tag Archives: grace

Grace from man or God?

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A dear friend set off a question that I have been seeking the answer to today. I was in the midst of writing a blog post when I read an article that answered my questions and made the points that my mind was landing on. So I decided to skip my blog post because I had no new information and post the article.

I hope this might help others get a better view on this beautiful doctrine of God’s amazing love and be able to apply it correctly because cheap grace is just as dangerous as legalism.

I do want to point out for those who don’t like to click on the longer article…grace is not freedom from duty. It is not letting others off the hook from their sin, it is not tolerating sin so you don’t have to make someone angry, it is not a get out of jail free card for all the things we don’t want to have to study, deal with or change. Grace is from God not men. As I have gleaned today, man’s use of grace is applying the grace God has supplied to christians to use their gifts to serve others.

Too often we say “grace” when we are really talking about what Bonhoeffer describes as, “cheap grace” in this article. This confuses the lines and muddies the water so that true seekers are quieted and truth is lost.

Grace holds us to a higher standard than the law, the law says, “Don’t kill,” grace says, “Don’t hate.” Living holy is hard and requires a lot of uncomfortable-ness, but it is commanded, not suggested. We are given grace so that we will live holy.

I am all about loving others, but defining terms is getting more and more necessary as the world has redefined even the church’s definitions of these crucial words. Love means sacrificing for the good of others, not keeping peace or even being non offensive. The gospel is offensive to many, but it is pure, undefiled, grace filled, love.

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/read/articles/what-is-grace-10339.html

Humble Passion

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Humble Passion

As I am preparing for this summer’s church camp, I am drawn to look at the past church camps for reference on what is good…what needs improving…what I did wrong…and how to help others learn from my errors and triumphs.  As I lay sleepless doing this and asking God to show me what He sees in this, I begin to hear the words, “humble passion” over and over in my head.  And as I break each word down in my usual analyzing way, I catch it!!

Let me beckon all of you teachers of Christ to learn these words.  To adopt them as your goal.  No long look to the number of people you have led to Christ as a measuring stick, but how many did you show humble passion to?

First we must determine what we are humbly passionate about or we could get real squirrely real quick.  I’m talking about humble passion for a Jesus that would pick me up out of a gutter and love me with a tenderness I have never known.  I’m talking about a humble passion for a Savior that said, I will pay whatever price I must to have you…and did.  I’m talking about humble passion for a Lord that will watch me abuse the very grace He provides and still love me enough to correct me.  A humble passion for a Father that reminds me He values me just because I exist.  A humble passion for a conglomeration of words that never fail me and always guide me in the right direction.  A humble passion to please and love the most amazing God/Lord/Savior/Father anyone could ask for.

Ok now that we are square on what we are humbly passionate about let me now paint you a picture of that humble passion in action.  These two little words demand a balance that is not easily acquired.  When I teach or even speak I want to show the passion that makes my skin explode off of me…or maybe I should say my “fig leaf” explode off of me (see Genesis 3:7).  I want to be so authentic and vulnerable that it demands attention.  Yet I also desire the humility that can take decades to carve into my soul.  So humble that I know that the passion that leads me to action and demands attention; is NONE of me, and all of Him.  So humble that when one thing goes right I immediately praise and thank my Lord for the great power it took to use me as a facilitator of this work!

I dare you to change your goal in teaching God’s Word from how many are saved…to how many saw humble passion for God in me?  How many were not drawn to my intellect or even love; but saw the love of a Savior and the Mind of infinite wisdom?

You see we have gotten it all wrong in our quest for the American Dream.  The American Dream builds little kingdoms for ourselves.  The American Dream brings glory to my results.  How successful I am in the eyes of men become my value.  Even in ministry.  How sad.

My American Dream is that I could live humbly passionate for Christ.  I will not seek to be a martyr, nor to lead X amount to Christ.  I will not always look like the good Christian woman…because sometimes mere men cannot see my accomplishments.  I won’t often be accepted because neither was Jesus.  But my hope, my dream, my longing is to love Him with a humble passion that cannot be denied.  And when I fall to my face in His amazing presence, He will say, “Rise my good and faithful slave, you have done well and I am pleased.”

I pray teachers of The Word, this too is your goal.  And with transparent vulnerability we could love each other thru the hurt this brings.  And encourage each other to continue being humbly passionate…yes excited…bursting…and energetic to allow God to be seen in our stead.

Only by His grace.

 

The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

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The performance beast raises it’s ugly head again…

Since reading a post from ‘Raising Godly Children’ about “raising little Pharisees” (an excellent post by the way), I have fallen under great conviction.  As I read it and my children matched up to the criteria of Pharisees and my parenting style matched up with the criteria of a Pharisee, I was stopped in my tracks.  I began re-assessing all kinds of things in our daily life.  I began to realize that although my intentions to fill them with the ways of the Lord, the way I was doing it was very wrong.  I had done the very thing that God has NOT done with me…made things of the law.  Not that I yelled at them all the time (but I am guilty), not that I sacrificed animals with them, not that I never show them love and not that I myself perform spiritual rituals with no true love for the Father.  I do love the Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  But I was intensely trying to force them to obey Him because I loved Him…not teaching them in a way that they would obey because they love Him.  Now I do believe that my kids love the Lord, but my harsh teaching style when it came to life lessons was probably giving them reason to doubt, AND was not creating repentance in them.  It was creating little law abiders.  Oh they love the law!  Because they are generally good kids and are able to most times fulfill it.  And heaven knows they have learned to spot those that are NOT fulfilling it. Little Pharisees.

So I have been trying to take complete inventory of what I’ve taught them and more importantly what I’ve shown them.   The way I have let Pharisee law creep into our home is by disciplining them when I was angry.  Or disciplining them more when I was frustrated because I was wanting to do something  and they were interrupting me.  Or by telling them that those that love the Lord follow His rules, so why are they not doing that?  …By rating them on their performance.  This is hard to write and was even harder to face, because I, being raised on the principal that performance is what counts was trying so hard not to let my kids learn that wicked, never relenting message.  Yet here I am almost 10 years into parenting with 2 little Pharisees.   Prided when the did right and quick to point out those that don’t.  Hearts that were hardening to the gospel because they thought, ‘We’ve got this” since they could follow the law most of the time.

I thought I was giving grace.  There are many times I didn’t give what they would deserve.  And mercy because I gave them freedom when they didn’t deserve it.  But I was so harsh when I did give them consequences, and so harsh when they failed to perform that they were learning the disease I have been fighting against in my own mind, so hard, …all my life…performance based grace.

My inability to see it makes me cry even now.  I am so blessed that God has opened my eyes while I have time to change; albeit not much.

I see it so many times in my husband and I both…we are frustrated and will pierce their hearts with how badly they performed; instead of taking the time to teach them and bring their hearts to repentance.  Sometimes out of laziness, sometimes out of selfishness, sometimes out of bad insight on how to make them change, but always saying the same thing…you didn’t measure up and somethings wrong with you because of it.  Yeah somethings wrong…WITH ALL OF US!  It started with Adam and Eve and until my Lord comes for us we will all be wrong in our performance.  That why Jesus came.  How did I miss this?

My youngest daughter will probably struggle with this more because she is already inclined to self-righteousness by the fact that it is her nature to over-achieve.  So like me we can easily think ourselves to be the pride of the Father because we are performing so well.  I hate it.  I wished so badly I would have fought this ugly monster for her earlier.  I know in my own life how hard it is to fight after it’s taken hold.  This blog post is the very proof that I don’t even always see it manifesting itself.

And my poor older daughter that is inclined to laziness, possibly because I’ve made it impossible to achieve for her since her nature is not to over-achieve but to enjoy everything she sees around her.  Who has time to enjoy when there is so much to be done?  (my wretched motto)

I’m broken about this, but also encouraged that the Lord is shining light on it, telling me He has stepped in to change it.  I cannot change it.  I have failed to do the very thing that I desire the most…to give my girls a love for the Lord that surpasses anything else.  To make them realize their value is in God’s love for us, not our own accomplishments.

I love the Lord so much because He has been the only one in my life that did not expect me to perform.  He has been the only one I can remember that said, “I just want your heart, nothing more, because I love you just as you are.”   All those years I spent trying to prove I was good and worthy to be loved ended in the same place, heart-broken, frustrated and wondering where I hadn’t done enough.  A place that would send me into a heel-digging, overachiever, determined to do EVERYTHING PERFECT the next time phase.

Finally I picked up a bible and started reading it.  Finally I heard the heart of THE PERFECT ONE and finally He got it thru to me that I needn’t prove myself to Him.  Well I say “got it thru,” maybe getting it thru is a more honest statement.  Obviously I am still struggling with this performance beast.  But thankfully I have the Lord on my side now.  So when I end up in this heart-broken, frustrated, and wondering where I haven’t done enough place…I can repent, ask the Lord for help and have hope shine on me…love shine on me, just because He thinks I’m worth it.  Broken, sinful me is worth it to Him.  And so are my little Pharisees, to both of us.

Please read this with this in mind, God loves us freely.  He teaches us kindly.  Deals with us patiently.  And He values us regardless.  Do the same with your children.  And pray that God will heal me and mine.