Scandalous Grace!

“But we tell a different story. We proclaim a crucified Jesus, God’s Anointed. For Jews this is scandalous….”I Corinthians 1:23. (The Voice)

Scandalous-causing general public outrage by a perceived offense against morality or law. Improper, shocking, outrageous, appalling, disreputable.

Jesus walked in scandalous grace.

He publicly forgave an adulterous woman.

He publicly went to the house of a crooked, cheating IRS agent, Nicodemus.

He publicly invited a thief into his inner circle and put him in charge of finances, Judas.

He publicly went against cultural mores, not only speaking to a woman, but to a half-breed Samaritan woman, and He gave her a drink of living water.

He publicly harvested and ate wheat from the field on Sabbath.

He took men and women of no reputation and made them Kings and Priests.

He freely and publicly forgave his murderers when he had done nothing wrong to merit the punishment.

He took the weak and made them strong.

He took the broken and made them whole.

He took the dirty, polluted and immoral and made them pure and clean.

He took the guilty and paid their penalty.

He saw my dark, sinful, hopeless heart and filled it with light and became my hope.

Yes! Jesus walked in scandalous grace! He lived a life of extravagant mercy, magnificent holiness, and redeeming justice.

Scandalous grace, shocking mercy, outrageous love. That’s what it took to set me free. And I have fallen in love with this kind, gentle, surprising, remarkable Savior.

And all I can say is Thank You!

All I can do is praise Him!

All I can do is worship this wonderful, magnificent Redeemer.

Unforced Rhythms of Grace? So What?

Usually when we hear ‘So what?’ we think ‘Smart mouth!’ However, I have come to hear it with a different connotation thanks to my friend, Arthur Burk. ‘So What?’ is a good question to ask in our daily lives and in our Christian walk.

Upon hearing a wonderful sermon, this should be our first question. So what does this mean to me? So what are the issues I need to explore in my own life? So what will this look like on Monday morning when I go to work? So What?

In my last blog I wrote about the unforced rhythms of His grace. So what? I found myself immediately in circumstances where I had no time to sit quietly with my cup of coffee to meditate on the Word. I had the wonderful opportunity to stay five days with three of my grandchildren, ages 8, 7 and 14 months. Whew! I had forgotten the busy, hectic schedule of mothers of young children.

Caleb, 8 years old, needed to be at one ballpark for games and Christian, 7 years old, at a different ballpark for his games. Oh, and Paisley, 14 months, had to have diapers, snacks, bottles, strollers and extra clothes packed for the day. And don’t forget the Gatorade and sunscreen for the boys and the chairs for you. You know the drill. Their mom had made preparation for all of this, thank goodness. I figured we spent a total of 16 hours at ballparks in three days, BJ at one and me at the other. So where were those unforced rhythms of His grace for me in those busy days?! I thought about writing a blog dedicated to an apology to busy moms.

However, the last two days of their visit were at a much slower pace at our home in Corinth. I enjoyed watching the boys catch frogs and salamanders, playing catch in the yard and Miss Paisley just being her cute self. I discovered all over again the unforced rhythms of his grace. Hectic, busy days give way to slower, more reflective times. That is the rhythm of all of life.

Tree frog?
Tree frog?

Psalm 31:14-16. “I say, “You are my God.”My times are in your hand;…..Make your face shine upon your servant; Save me for your mercies’ sake.”

Our times are truly in His hands, even the hectic, harried, busy times. The key is to continue to look to him for our times and seasons. In the busyness of the ballgames I got to witness Christian’s first home run! That toothless smile will live forever in my heart. Thank you, Lord. Unforced rhythm. I watched as Caleb struck out a player. Thank you, Lord. Unforced rhythm. Observed Paisley covering her baby with a towel. Thank you, Lord. Unforced rhythm. The scurrying to get it all done and packed and in the car, then a deep breath because you got it all done. A great big thank you, Lord Unforced rhythm.

Unforced rhythm doesn’t mean any crazy, rushed moments or days will not take place. These only make the slower, more contemplative ones more precious. And the feeling of accomplishment of actually getting it all done is victory. Unforced rhythm.

Unforced rhythms of grace. Understanding that it takes all the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the pushing and resting to make up the rhythms of life. Unforced means just going with the flow, fast and crazy or slow and pensive. Unforced means to stop trying to slow down the fast moments or speed up the slow ones. Just enjoy the journey!

So what? So what that we didn’t get it all done. So what that it didn’t look like we thought it should look? We will trust that all of these times are in his hand and are part of His unforced rhythm of grace. We will trust he is still teaching us in whatever season we find ourselves. We can trust our loving Heavenly Father who sees and cares for us and have the confidence His face will shine on us. He will save us from our enemies who try to steal our moments of joy. He will give us his peace. Shalom peace-nothing missing, nothing broken. And that, my friend, is the ‘So What?’