A quick stop by the ATM is an empowering feeling. That is, unless you see on the screen those dreaded words, “insufficient funds.” No one likes to be told they can’t have what they’re asking for… especially when it comes to forgiveness.
Reading Leviticus chapter 5 can encourage those of us who may be worried about whether God will accept our request for forgiveness. You see, in this passage, God makes provision for those who were unable to afford a guilt offering. In God’s economy, everyone can afford forgiveness. Do you know why? Because God paid the price. He offered Jesus as payment. Yet even before Jesus died on the cross, God was concerned that everyone would have a chance to experience the peace of forgiveness, so He made provision. We serve a truly awesome God.
- How have you experienced the forgiveness of God in your life?
- How can we begin to model to others the same type of forgiveness that God shows us?
So it’s been a bit quiet around here lately. My family and I just got back from a little vacation time in Colorado. Interestingly enough when we vacation from work, we do not vacation from being a follower of Jesus Christ.
We had planned on spending a week in a remote cabin in the mountains outside of Colorado Springs. When we arrived it was everything we had hoped for; peace and quiet, seclusion, and all the beauty of nature. We had dinner and tucked in for bed. Then we heard a loud pounding on the front door of our secluded cabin (I stress secluded!). I woke up from a dead sleep and looked over at the clock. It was 12:00 am! To say I was scared was to underscore the point. Someone was out there and I kept having flash backs to the movie Deliverance. We called the Sheriffs department to ask someone to come out…long, long, long story short the owner of the cabin we were renting had booked us for the wrong dates and consequently the cabin was double booked with my family on the short end. Now at 1:00am in the morning we packed up all of the things we just unpacked and headed down the mountain to find a hotel for the night.
We tried the first hotel. No vacancy. The second had no vacancy as well. The third and the fourth both too had the same answer. Finally we found a Motel 8 at 2:45am with two rooms available. We grabbed one up. That’s when I met Jay, the night manager.
Jay is Indian and is originally from Fuji. We talked a bit that night as I explained my families story. He was sympathetic to us and really felt bad at what had happened. The next morning as I came down to get some breakfast for my two little kids Jay and I got talking again. Things shifted to spiritual matters and we shared how we each connected with God. For the rest of the morning Jay and I had on and off conversations about God and Jesus and Christianity and Buddhism. We had some really great moments.
I guess I now know what it must have felt like for Samuel to be called by God (1 Samuel 3). At first it made no sense whatsoever. In fact Samuel was probably more annoyed with God than the Bible lets on. He was in a dead sleep and kept getting interrupted. But God had something for Samuel and it was important enough for God to interrupt his plans. We are never to take vacation from serving the Lord and if that means that he calls us down the mountain from our vacation spot to speak to one of those whom he created and loves than so be it.
I invited Jay to read my blog and Jay I hope you do. I know that our meeting was no accident and that you are being pursued by God through Jesus. I am praying that you find the path.
How has God interrupted you lately?
In recent news Sarah Palin blasted White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for referring to an idea a “f—ing retarded”. (Read the Article) Of course we should not be surprised seeing that Palin is Republican while Emanuel is a Democrat but this issue does raise and interesting question outside of the realm of partisan jockeying.
Who hasn’t used the word “retarded” in a derogatory manner? Christians are quick to stand up for the dignity of many other groups of defenseless individuals why not the mentally defenseless. Of course if your like me your quick to dismiss any true disdain for these individuals yet the Bible tells us that out of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).
Really? If I am willing to use the word to deride someone or something does it mean that am in actuality tearing down these individuals? If nothing else it’s something to think about…especially since the Bible tells us that we will be satisfied (or dissatisfied) by the words of our mouth (Proverbs 12:14).
Are you satisfied with what comes out of your mouth? Should we pursue peace and equity with our words or reflect the same flippancy for others the world does? If you feel the F word is too bad to pass through your lips perhaps the R word is too.
What do you think the deeper issue is behind our words?
Why does God care about every word we utter, even the flippant ones?
My wife and I love to watch cooking shows. Some shows boast great cooks; some just an entertaining story line. But no matter the chef’s expertise or how “impossible” the meal, all cooking show hosts share one thing in common; they’re in love with their own food. Don’t believe me? Settle in for a quiet evening with the Food Network and prove me wrong. Every taste test delivers a delicious explosion of flavor to the chef’s delicate palate. And they’re quick to tell us so.
Never a mistake. Never a flaw. But there is one big problem; I can never recreate the master piece without a little mess.
Sometimes as Christians, we act a lot like these chef’s, only instead of complimenting food we constantly focus on our own lives. Every time even a little introspection is performed we laud our own accomplishments. We present to those who are watching a perfect life.
Never a mistake. Never a flaw. But there is one big problem; no one can ever act like that.
Watching cooking shows has never inspired me to be a chef and I think it’s a safe assumption to say that “perfect” Christians rarely inspire others to pursue a relationship with Christ. It’s a real shame too, because cooks and Christians get it wrong sometimes. We mess up. We’ve all burned a soufflé or two in our time (figuratively speaking of course). So grace, not perfection, is what we need to celebrate. Grace is what we need to praise and hold up as the star. Not ourselves.
Only when we allow grace to steal the show can we provide those watching the inspiration to try and see that they can experience the love of God that will change their lives forever.
What is your favorite cooking show?
How can we allow Grace to be prominent in our every day lives?