Monday, 8 August 2016

Love and grace



'Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage...' In the same way that love and marriage go together so do love and grace. You can't have love without grace. 

'For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.' Eph 2:8-9

Grace is not something that we earn. It is not awarded because of something we have done. God's grace is given in mercy and not based on merit. His grace is never ending, which is just as well. We really don't deserve God's grace but that's the point. 

Grace, or being gracious is wrapped up in forgiveness. To be gracious with others we need to accept them as they are, warts and all, and to forgive their idiosyncrasies. To show love we also have to show grace and that involves acceptance and forgiveness. 

God's grace is perhaps hard for us to understand because we are so hard on other people and so hard on ourselves. We often want to beat ourselves up when we do something wrong. The bigger the mistake the bigger the stick. The bigger the stick, the less grace we show ourselves until we fail to forgive ourselves, yet alone ask God for his forgiveness. We think we are not worthy but God says, 'Yes you are, you are my child, and I love you.'

God doesn't want to beat us with a stick, he doesn't want us to feel guilty, he wants us to accept his grace, and his forgiveness and his love. Grace and forgiveness may seem alien to us if we are use to beating ourselves up, in the same way love can be alien to us if we don't actually love ourselves. It is impossible to give love unless we have experienced it for ourselves. It is impossible to behave lovingly to other people, unless we are loving towards ourselves. 

We don't have to earn God's love he bestows it upon us because of his grace. He forgives us through his grace and because of his abounding love for us. Paul's prayer for us is that we may know God's love as he knows it. 

'I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundations in love, so that together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how heigh and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love - although it can never be fully known - and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.' Eph 3:14-19

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Reflection


It's not easy to see a true reflection of ourselves. Our view is distorted, the lens clouded by our own misconceptions. The anorexic see themselves as fat, when the reality is they are far too thin. The proud see themselves as always right, when clearly no one can be right all of the time. The teenager always sees their spot as enormous, when often it is just a pimple. God however, sees us as we are. He has no rose tinted glasses or distorted views. He sees the true picture and he sees our heart. We can pretend to be what we are not but there is nowhere to hide from God. Adam and Eve tried it in the garden of Eden, they were soon uncovered, in more ways than one.

Sorry to those of you following my Lent blog but I lost my way a little. Part of me got bored in blogging every day. The other part of me thought my words and photos just weren't good enough. My frame of mind clearly distorted reality. I often find myself being self critical. Perfectionism is a difficult one to master. I seem to be rather fickle when it comes to writing. I am in love with writing but the love blows hot and cold with the pressures of life. I guess that's normal but I crave the consistency and depth of the deep love affair. Love needs encouragement, it needs time to be nurtured. It needs day trips, and holidays, and nights in front of the fire. It needs passion to survive. It needs tenderness and patience.

We all have struggles, we all have distorted views of ourselves. We all need encouragement to see ourselves as a God sees us. 

I hope God has been talking to you, I'm sure he has. Stop for a moment and ask God what he sees when he looks at you. Don't be deceived by your own distorted view.


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016:see

Here is today's photo on the theme of 'see'. I see the sea!!! It is often the most simple things that bring us joy. This was the view from my hotel room whilst I was on retreat earlier this week. Isn't it amazing? God's creation never ceases to amaze me. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: joy

Today's theme is joy. I have been trying to focus on the good things in life and what brings me joy so it seems a good topic to me. I hope the photo makes you smile..


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Photo every day, Lent 2016: covenant


I have been on a ministers retreat and thinking about today's theme of 'covenant'. My covenant with God is to live out the call he has placed on my heart as well as I am able. I feel inadequate at times but it's not about me and what I do. It shouldn't be about relying on me but about relying on God. Here is a poem that materialised today...

To serve you

To serve you
Isn't easy
yet here I am 
With open heart 
and hands outstretched 
To meet you
To greet the stranger
To love the outcast
To worship you in essence.
To say here I am
Send me.

To serve you
With every ounce of me.
All that I am
And meant to be.
I listen for instruction
But sometimes you say,
'Just simply be,
Stop, 
Relax
Breathe deeply
Lean on me.'

To serve
I need to observe
The season of change
The call of your Word
That disturbs the tranquility
In silent humility
I offer myself
Once more to your call
I listen some more
Then you whisper to me
'Just walk through the door.'

Copyright revdjo 24/2/16













Saturday, 20 February 2016