Saturday, August 26, 2006


So, What is it about grace that makes it so hard to just accept?
I have been in a couple of places lately where the lesson was all about making a list and checking it twice to make sure that we are doing all the stuff that God wants us to do. Now anyone that knows me knows that I am all about seeking out what God would have us do and getting about doing just that. The point is that I’m hearing people that seem to believe that the doing is the point of believing – that doing will make you believe more and will somehow get you a better seat at the table.
What really bugs me about all this is – well a couple of things –
1) All the lists of doing things and getting them done wouldn’t ever be enough to pay for the cost of my salvation. I know it’s hard to swallow but, Jesus died so I wouldn’t have to.
2) Grace is a gift from God and my God isn’t an “Indian Giver”. A lot of the talk I’m hearing is about falling in and out of grace. Man! My bible says that when God gave me grace, he made me his adopted son. From experience as a dad, once my son was my son, he was my son forever. I belong to Jesus! The parable about the prodigal son does tell me that I can turn my back on my father and reject him. It also tells me that when I walk away, he is always going to be there waiting for me to come home. The lesson from the son that stayed home also tells me that I certainly don’t have to be a perfect child to remain a son. Thank you Lord for that.
3) Doing the stuff that my friends want on a list is a natural result of loving God. Just like a happy child, they want to do things to please their parents. They have a heart for serving because their hearts are connected by love. When you love the Lord your God with all your heart, your very character and nature change and all you can think about is making your father happy. You don’t need lists or even need to be told what to do – you just ask the Father to show you what he would have you do and you go about doing it.
4) I think we have a hard time with grace because we are struggling with PRIDE. Yep, we never had to take “charity” before and not gonna’ start now. Even if that charity is the only way we can get what we want so badly to work for – if we think we are earning it by working harder, we are only fooling ourselves into believing that our own Heavenly Father’s gift isn’t good enough to just take and be thankful for.
5) Grace is free.
6) Grace comes from a Father’s love.

Well, more than a couple of points but, that is the way my brain works.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I met a grumpy lady a couple of weeks ago that made me think about how our God answers prayer.
In Honduras, a friend from the church in Los Pinos asked me to build a house for an old lady that lived on the mountain and was either confined to a wheelchair or bed. I never saw her out of her bed but, I did see a picture of her in a wheelchair. All that doesn’t matter, what does matter is how we don’t always see opportunities to serve in ways that we think we should. Let me explain –
After the group finished construction of the house for the old lady, I went into her old place to see how she was doing and how she liked her new house. I’d never in 6 years and 150 houses met anyone that was unhappy after they just had a new house handed to them - Built by TORCH & Courtesy of the God of this Universe. There is always a first for everything and this woman taught me a lesson about faith – even though it made me agitated at first and very uncomfortable. As I walked into the rook where this little woman lived, the smell was pretty foul. If you have been on the mountain of Los Pinos, you know that there aren’t many bathrooms and since this woman was confined to the bed, she used her room and the smell of that was there. Anyway, once I got past the smell, I asked her about the house and she began to talk. She talked and talked and the more that she talked, the more she asked for. She wanted food – specific kinds of food like chicken & fish & fresh fruit & potatoes & lots of other foods. She wanted a new bed and a new mattress and other things too. I’m not great at Spanish but, I well understood that she had in the period of about 5 minutes of nonstop talk – listed everything that she could think of to make her life more comfortable. At first thought, I was a little disappointed that this little lady was not all that happy with the new house and had the nerve to ask for more. Later in the day, I thought and thought about this list and realized that this woman was expressing her faith by telling me her needs. After all, if she had prayed about a new house and God delivered it through my group, then isn’t it an expression of faith to tell God’s servant her other needs? Of course it is. She must have known the words that James – the brother of Jesus gave us when he said how faithless it would be to deny this woman her needs if we had the resources to provide for her. She had the faith to ask and to expect God to deliver through us.
I just gotta build on the faith that everybody that God sends to me with needs won’t always be happy and pleasant. I likely wouldn’t be the happiest camper in the world either if I were in her shoes – except she didn’t have any shoes. She did get her new bed, and as much of the food list as I could find.
Our God is good... all the time!