And can it be that even on our darkest days when we face our most difficult people God is giving us opportunity to show mercy? Maybe He leads us through the valley of the shadow so that we can learn to forgive even there. A bit further on and on sunnier days we may discover how merciful and forgiving He has been to us when we were most dark and difficult with others.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy Matthew 5:7
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus John 21:3-4
We used to live in a very small town. There was one store, a gas station, and a post office the size of a large bedroom. Moving there from the city was something of a culture shock and one of the most intriguing discoveries was to come to a small store in the area and find it closed during business hours. Usually there was a sign reading, “Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12-3PM: or “gone fishing”. In the city it was unheard of to close down when there was business to be done, but not in farm country.
In the same way the disciples chose to be laid back about the things that Jesus had called them to do. They didn’t know where to begin, so going fishing seemed like as good an idea as any. You might think that Jesus would show up and give them a long lecture. But instead of treating the disciples the way any “normal boss” would do He chose instead to show up and cook them all breakfast! Can you imagine the conversation around the breakfast table that morning?
The good news for us is that even when we act a lot like the disciples by “going fishing” Jesus comes where we are with grace. He doesn’t wait for us to get everything just right. So once we finish the breakfast He stayed up all night to cook, let’s remember to share His message of love with the same grace which he gave when He waited all night for us to come to shore.
And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment Matthew 9:20
There was only one hem on the garment of Christ. In fact when the soldiers went to divide his clothing they gambled for His outer garment because it was all on piece. The only hem available for the woman to touch was at the very lowest point of the robe of Jesus Christ.
Like this woman in the crowd our own needs may have dominated our focus for years. Friends, family, holidays, and even her ability to enter a place or worship all were consumed by the power of her need – until that day. On that day as Jesus was passing by in the crowd a new found hope welled up in her heart. We are not told if she had listened to Jesus’ words herself or if she had simply believed what others had told her about him. What we do know is that the message she had heard about Jesus Christ was sufficient for her to throw off her reserve and by faith determine that she would do anything to get to Him. The power of her need was for that one single moment had no ability to prevent her from pressing through the busy crowd in order to fall to her knees and reach up and touch the hem of His robe.
The good news for us is that our invisible God gives us a visible point of contact but it may lie only in the lowest of places. Grace can always be found at the lowest place. When we are willing, when we are looking, when hearts are are humbled He will pass by and give us a small but visible connection to His invisible power and grace!
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble James 4:6
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
I like nothing of weakness infirmity or disability. I despise the inability my weak state brings me to. There is so much that needs to be done which requires, strength, endurance and intelligence – Yet God-delights in those moments when I am utterly incapacitated and cannot meet my daily demands.
I hate sitting and only listening when I feel I should speak or spending sleepless nights tossing and turning over struggles which are beyond my ability to face -Yet God- has promised that when I trust Him when I can no longer trust myself that He will give me grace.
His grace is enough in every need. His grace is enough when I cannot understand. His grace is enough when my plans end like tangled threads which His fingers alone can unknot and weave into a carpet of grace. His grace is enough when I can not sing a note to give me song in the night. Oh yes – I do not love my weakness -Yet God- has promised that in my weakness His power and strength are made perfect.
2 Corinthians 12:9b …” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Seventh Gift of Christmas – Grace
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
If Jesus came as a barefoot child to your home would he be welcomed in? If He knocked at your door would He be considered a stranger? If He asked for your time would he be treated as an honored guest? If He was rejected by your neighbors would He be defended as a part of your family?
The good news of Immanuel (God with us) is that Jesus passes through our little world every day in all these hidden ways. If we want to know the riches of the gift of His grace, what better way than to give it away?
Many of us have been complaining about the April snow, but God sees snow differently than we do. For Him, the snow is the quiet unmarked innocence of His Son Jesus Christ. It was by His innocent life’s blood that our hearts are washed and made whiter than snow. Here is a sweet rendition of this hymn and I pray it will bless your hearts today.
Truth without grace is having a bicycle but having no idea how to ride it. Grace without truth is knowing how to ride well but discovering that someone has stolen your bike!
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.