GRACE GOES FULL CIRCLE

gracepicJesus-people are generous by nature.  Most of them regularly support with gifts of time, talent, and treasure a wide variety of workers and works that they desire to perpetuate, enable and encourage.  They give because they love God and in gratitude for his mercy and kindness.  Many of us serve God as both givers and receives.  It is possible for us to become so accustomed to this cycle of giving and receiving that we either take it for granted or attempt to explain the process in purely human terms.  In fact, it is a divinely-empowered dynamic in which we are privileged to be used by God as agents of his saving purpose.

The process is repeated continuously in both simple and complex forms.  The simple form occurs when one believer exercises a grace-gift (charisma) entrusted to him or her by God, and another believer is blessed as a result.  Any grace-gift can fit into this narrative.  The person who used their grace-gift to bless others gives God thanks for the privilege of doing so.  The believer who is blessed also thanks God for that.  A more complex form of this process might begin with one believer using a grace-gift to bless another believer.  As before, each of them gives thanks to God.  Then the person who was blessed uses his or her grace-gift (say, of generosity) to bless the believer whose grace-gift blessed them first.  Again, they both give thanks to God.

This is not a commercial transaction involving payment for goods or services received.  It is something far greater that one person returning a favor render by another.  It is more profound than a simple act of human kindness.  It is the intentional and voluntary completion of a full circle in stewardship to the glory of God, a process motivated and empowered by God himself.  This explanation does not lesson the significance of our sacrifice and work.  It does not distract from our love for God or our generosity to others.  It does place our giving and our receiving in gospel perspective.  And. like everything that is properly aligned with spiritual reality, it brings praise and thanksgiving to God.

NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE with GOD


14-year-bronze-sobriety-chip-219-ppossible

On August 17th, I picked up my 14-Year chip on my sobriety birthday!
“Thank you LORD for rescuing me from my alcoholism and showing me how the 12 Steps of AA and your marvelous grace could lead me to a new life and new relationships.”

The coin my wife gave me on that day with the scripture from Matthew 19: 23 – 30 I have carried with me every day since as an ever- present reminder of the truth of God’s promise.

“For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (verse 26)

I’m old enough now to remember the classic Disney film, Dumbo, a cartoon crow sings: “I…done seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly!” An elephant fly ?! Why that’s impossible, just as impossible as …a camel fitting through the eye of a needle!

Jesus really meant what he said. Some things are really so hard for us that they are impossible. For us, mind you, but not for God. It’s important to acknowledge that—and to realize that it’s God’s good pleasure to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Maybe you have already experienced God stepping into your life. At some point, you sensed his love and presence in a way that changed your life. But God doesn’t leave the rest up to you. He wants to help you overcome your character defects and shortcomings. He wants to tell you his thoughts and give you the mind of Christ. He wants to flood you with his goodness and help, his wisdom and mercy. For him, all things are possible!

Look at your life and identify situations or circumstance that you find impossible to resolve. Maybe it’s a chronic illness. Maybe it’s a broken relationship that needs healing. Ask God to restore you. Maybe you need freedom from an addiction or deeper faith for yourself or your spouse or child. Your Father loves to give you good gifts. Maybe it seems impossible to find a job, sell your house, or discern God’s will for your life. That’s OK; nothing is beyond the ability of God to accomplish. Ask him to step in and do the impossible!

God really does shower good gifts on his people. But remember, too, that our ways are not always his ways. One aspect of “all things” may be that he gives you the ability to walk through difficult situations. Coping with cancer, forgiving an unfaithful spouse, raising children with disabilities, recovering from an abusive situation–yes, all of these are possible with God! He has started a good work in you, and he will help you through to the end!

Follow.

Take the next right step.

“My help and glory are in God — granite-strength and safe-harbor God! Trust Him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. Strength comes straight from God.” Psalm 62: 7, 8, 11, 12. (The Message)

“My Father, all things are possible for you. Step into my life today and help me. Do the impossible in the challenging situation of my life.”

Ever Been on the Mat?

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get back to jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and,
after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on”   Mark 2: 3-4

EVER BEEN ON THE MAT?jesus

Maybe not, but plenty of people around you have been—people paralyzed by fear, guilt, addiction, the past; people needing someone to bring them to Jesus.

When friends bring the paralyzed to Next Right Step, God shows up…in the arms that embrace; the eyes that convey acceptance; the smiles that say, “Welcome”; the ears that listen; the voices that bring comfort with,
“Me too”;  the hearts that ache with the aching.  God shows up in Bible studies, 12 step meetings, fellowship, picnics, bowling, trips to the zoo, visits to people’s homes, help to someone who is moving out or moving in,
cards written and phone calls made.

Next Right Step touches both those on the mats and those who bring them—mentors mentoring and being mentored.
We thank God for providing a place and giving us a work to do in bringing the lost and wounded to Him to help.

Consider blessing Next Right Step with a donation and introducing others to visit our Sunday group at West End Church, 3534 West End Ave, Nashville, TN. 37205.
You then will be like those men digging through the roof for those on the mat, bringing them to Jesus, where forgiveness and healing are theirs.

WAS  Lost . . . Then  God  showed  up.