Tag Archives: Grace

Pick Your Addiction

Purdue Pharmaceutical company developed and marketed a series of powerful opioids, using false claims, and deceptive and manipulative advertising to sell them to doctors and patients. Today, North Americans use over 80% of the opioids sold worldwide and the opioid crisis has exploded in the last few years.

I cannot believe there is more pain in North America than the rest of the world combined, but I believe it provides a statement to where we are as a culture and the spiritual reality it mirrors.

We were created for addiction.  We are designed to be addicted to our creator.  To long for His presence, to hunger after His voice and His Word.  To desire above all else to walk in His light and depend on His strength and grace.

If we are not exchanging our distress, pain, confusion, disillusion,  weariness, insecurity, you name the condition, with the peace, fullness, and grace of Jesus, we cannot help but turn to something else that not only numbs the pain, but steals the beautiful, intangible things received when dwelling in the throne room of God.

The alternatives the world markets come in countless forms and can be just as addictive, but like an opioid, do not lead to life and healing.

Westerners have an intense dislike for pain and its processes. The thing with opioids is they don’t fix the problem, they only mask the pain and the issue continues unchecked.

John 10:10 is so tantalizing, it is quoted often enough as to be so familiar it fails to truly reach us.

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly!” 

Culture has fed us line of BS when it comes to what life abundant looks like, telling us pain is to be avoided at all costs and consumables lead to happiness.

Jesus is not afraid of pain, nor is He unable to give us the grace we need to face difficult circumstances and come out better for the process.

Romans 8:28 says:

God works all things together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew,  He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. 

Paul continues; we may go through tribulation, distress, persecution, disease – but none of them can separate us from the victorious love and abundant life in Jesus.

It is me turning to other coping mechanisms that separates myself from the Life God gives.

Surrendering to the Father’s gentle hand leads to life abundant – unadulterated by the numbing affects of dependance on something we were not made to depend on.

Purdue’s deceptive marketing netted only blood money;we truly have good news to share with a world in pain, and new life now and eternal treasure in sharing it!

Do you have coping habits that take you from the presence of Jesus?  Do you know some one in pain that you can love extravagantly like Jesus?

 

From a Refugee’s Eyes

Friends of mine have worked tirelessly to prepare for and make welcome a refugee family from a war torn country.  I am inspired by their love and kindness as they embrace this beautiful family.

It got me thinking how similar this family’s situation is to some one who is brought into the kingdom of God.

Although granted residency, we knew they may not be familiar with much of anything “Canadian” and sure enough, with grace and patience, my friends have spent days showing them how to use money, shop for groceries, and many other things that were new for our family.

When a person comes into the kingdom  of God, they look no different, but are suddenly given a brand new citizenship with new rights, privileges and benefits and hopefully, welcomed open armed by a brand new culture.

New citizens of Heaven must be shown how to think and live in a whole new way.  Heaven culture lives from Love, not fear.   Living in the power and authority of Jesus to overcome darkness is completely foreign to a new citizen.  Things of the Kingdom of Heaven are opposite the kingdom of this world.

What if we view people who are not yet citizens of Heaven as refugees waiting to be invited?  What if we treat new believers as my friends have our new family?  We don’t expect them to know our culture, but we are willing to take them by the hand, and in love, show them how to live like a citizen of the Kingdom.

Many hours have been lovingly invested in making our family feel at home and giving them the tools and knowledge they will need to thrive.  Why would it be different with a new citizen of Heaven?

Many Canadians have no grid for people suffering from war, famine, poverty and oppression.  Fearful, many would rather stay in comfortable circles rather than reaching out to those living in pain and suffering.

Until we have  our hearts broken over the pain and suffering of those outside the Kingdom, what will motivate us to invite them in? What will inspire us to invest our time, love and resources to help them adjust?

Countless hours went into preparing a home for our family.  Many people were praying for them months before they arrived, and much preparation and thought went into their welcome.  We did not know what their response would be or if they would welcome a relationship with us in return, but the work went on regardless.

I wonder if every citizen of Heaven invested this kind of love and effort into bringing one person to citizenship in the Kingdom of God what our communities and churches would look like? And in the welcoming, we too learn, grow, and are deeply enriched!

Sacrifice’s Unexpected Reward

I was shaking as I hung up the phone. The conversation seemed too ludicrous to have occurred, yet the shock confirmed it had really happened.

I have told people over the last year of difficult obedience,  when God asks for a sacrifice, it can be costly.  But the cost keeps coming.

Paul said: Do everything without grumbling or complaining so you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life…But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith I am glad and rejoice with all of you.  (Philippians 2:17)

Yesterday I felt completely poured out, struggling to give grace to some one who seemed interested only in what they could take from us.  I found myself releasing my resentment and hurt to Jesus for the umpteenth time as I caught a fleshly response to their words mulling through my mind.

My child” Jesus said softly, “Let it go, your reward comes from me, not man.  I am intimately familiar with sacrifice.  give in the measure that is given. Now let me fill you up.”

I asked Jesus to make me steadfast in love – unshakable – regardless of the actions and words of man. His answer, as usual, is opportunity to practice.

It seems God is far more interested in holiness than comfort.  We North Americans are perhaps the most entitled of His children.  I see this attitude in myself, and it repulses me.  I want to be so full of the love of Jesus that I too could look at those crucifying me and genuinely say: “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they do.”

In the grand scheme of things this affront was not that grievous, yet my first response was to proclaim judgement, not pray for blessing.  As Jesus and I talked through the situation, my human nature wrestled with my new nature, and I cried out for God’s help.  The beatitudes came to mind;  Blessed are you when people misuse you… 

Paul speaks of rejoicing and I wonder if he knew the secret of being poured out was the being filled up part.  There is no amount I can pour out that God can’t overflow.  I am the one who stops the inflow of God.

I am learning not to fear the sacrifice, but to rejoice at the gift of the refilling and learn to receive it!  Resentment and fear of lack closes the door to the streams of God’s refilling.  Forgiveness and grace open the floodgates.

Is there a situation or person  you can choose to release and forgive to open the floodgates of God’s grace in your life?  Are you being filled up as quickly as you are poured out?