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Bits, pieces, random musings about grace

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It seems the older I get, the less space I have in my brain, like all the file folders in the filing cabinet are full.
More often than I care to admit, I’ll write myself a quick note intending to develop it into a column later, but when later comes I’ll have no clue what I was thinking when I wrote the note.
However, all is not hopeless, as occasionally I go through my folder of assorted notes and cobble together a column of bits and pieces and random musings in the hope that something might be helpful to someone.
So here are some odds and ends I thought I’d share with you:
•  Sometimes I think I’m the most nonjudgmental person in the Western hemisphere or at least in the state of Florida. However, whenever I think that, God reminds me of the time I wrote a whole column about how tacky I consider lawn ornaments, non-hunting camouflage clothing, polyester pants with elastic waists and a number of other things and then how people who like lawn ornaments, camo and polyester pants with elastic waists called me out on it.
Someone sent me a copy of a devotional that read: “The reason you are so hostile toward people and critical of them and speak of them like you are so much better is because you are insecure. When we are not grasping God’s grace for us then we will be hostile toward others who are not like us.”
Ouch.
It’s OK to not like lawn ornaments, but thinking that my personal preferences are gospel and, therefore, superior makes me harsh and hateful, unloving and judgmental and wrong.
• I once had a conversation with someone after church about eating dirt and mud-- not eating it literally, but spiritually. We talked about how we wander into a dusty place and eat the dirt, and even though we don’t like it, we also don’t do anything to change it, at least not right away. However, because we belong to Jesus, we will eventually stop eating mud because if God has begun a good work in you, which he has in every one of his people, then he will finish it -- and the finish culminates with incredible feasting. I hope the feast includes snickerdoodle cookies and/or coconut cake.
•  Christian singer Jeremy Camp has a song that paraphrases Ephesians 1:19-20 about the same power that raised Jesus from death, the same power that moves mountains and calms a raging sea at Christ’s command also lives in us.
Intellectually, I believe that’s true, but you wouldn’t know it by the way I live. I spend way too much time worrying and fretting and feeling scared and not enough time reminding myself that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Whether God calls me to do something I feel unqualified to do, be kind to someone I want to punch in the face, make a hard decision or even suffer -- I have his power to do it. He has promised, and he is faithful.
• For a long time I used to pray for people like this: “Dear God, please let ___feel the full weight of his/her sin.”
I mostly wanted the people I prayed for to feel bad about what they were doing and to stop doing it. Also, I wouldn’t have minded if they got in trouble because I thought they shouldn’t be able to get away with what I considered their especially egregious sin.
I still pray that for people, but now it’s because I want them to be able to experience the incredible joy of being forgiven, and only when you know the full weight of your sin can you appreciate forgiveness.
That said, there are still some people whom I wouldn’t mind seeing get their comeuppance and I think you should know that about me.
• I don’t remember where I heard this, but I took the following notes:
“You don’t find grace; it finds you. Grace pursues those it loves.
Grace is not reserved for good people, but underscores how good God is.
The world says, ‘What goes around, comes around,’ and ‘actions have consequences’ and that’s true -- unless grace shows up. Grace is the exception of this principle.”
Grace doesn’t make sense. God’s love doesn’t make sense. But I don’t have to understand it. I just have to enjoy it!
• A few years ago, someone wrote in chalk on the courthouse steps: “I will love you every step of the way.”
I took a picture of it and taped the photo on the wall beside my desk. It reminds me daily that God loves me every step of the way.
I need that reminder. Maybe you do too.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927  or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.