Grace & GratitudeDecember 8, 2016
Logos & Light: Discovering Order and Purpose with GodDecember 22, 2016
1515Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.
Are you a grateful person?
I’m grateful for all God has done for me, and for the blessings he has lavished upon me. Yes I am. But I am even more grateful for God’s grace. Do you think about God’s grace often? Because it is truly an amazing thing to ponder.
Grace is getting what you do not deserve: Grace is God’s unmerited favor.
Did you know Jesus never uttered the word grace – not once? He just lived it. And died it. For you. So you could experience it. You. Flawed, prideful, judgmental, self-absorbed and selfish you: are loved, tenderly and adoringly by God Almighty, El Shaddai, creator of the universe.
Now that is amazing.
But the writers of the New Testament spoke a lot about grace. And their gratitude was overwhelming, and therefore overflowing. It’s as if they felt like Jesus had freed them from prison.
If you have surrendered your life to Jesus, you are saved. Which means Jesus plucked you out of a prison with a death sentence hanging over your head, took your blame, absorbed your shame, and reconciled you with God.
I was talking with a friend recently who had actually been to prison. We were talking about how much she has grown spiritually, and how much Jesus has transformed her heart. You see, my friend had gotten caught up in a lifestyle that was not “walking in the Light.” One thing led to another, and she was sentenced to seven years in prison. She is from a nice family and had a nice family of her own. (Please feel free to cast the first stone …)
I asked her if she ever allowed herself to think about what it was like in prison, or did she have to block that completely from her mind? She said, “Oh no, I think about it all the time. And,” she continued, “this may surprise you, but I think about how grateful I am, all the time.”
Perplexed, I asked, “Grateful that you’re out, and free?”
She replied, “Well, yes, of course. But I’m also grateful for going to prison. You see, Sam, I was in a different kind of prison before I went to prison.”
“I was in a different kind of prison before I went to prison.”
Now, as you are reading this, some of you are lighting up, and joining her with a resounding, “Yes, me too! I know just what you mean.” Others of you are cynical, thinking, “Oh, another jailhouse conversion.”
Some of you are thinking, “Well, I’m not perfect, but in prison? Oh come on, that’s for you ‘gutter to glory’ types.” Which can only mean … you still are … in prison.
The Apostle Paul joins my friend with overflowing gratitude for being rescued from his own prison:
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1 (bold added)
Rescued. Redeemed. The dominion of darkness. The kingdom of Light.