Monday, November 18, 2013

Acts 20-22

Acts 20-22 is tense.  Man.  It reminds me so much of the time in Jerusalem right before Jesus is murdered on the cross.  Paul has spread God's Good News of grace to so many Gentiles.  He has never been closer to God.  Paul is in the hot seat, and he knows it's about to get worse even before it happens.  Paul prays, and like Jesus, spends time with his closest friends.  I am amazed at how Paul uses his bad situation, yet again, as an opportunity to share what God has done in his life, shining some light on the power of God's grace.

Paul recalls what God did for him.

15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

God worked Paul's past mistakes for His good purpose.  Paul's baggage shows God's extravagant love and power.  God wants to do the same for all of us.
How about you?  Do you have any baggage you're dragging around?  

Sometimes I feel like I've had so much to hand over to God, he's going to get tired of carrying my load.  That's the beautiful thing.  God never gets tired of our deep need for His grace.  He has a never-ending supply meant just for you and me.

The hardest, most unnatural part of accepting God's grace in my life, I think, is remembering to freely give others that same grace in the heat of the moment.  That's where I need the most divine intervention.  Paul reminds us of that by his example.

35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

We receive the blessing of God's grace.  We are even more blessed when we let grace fill and define our relationships with others.  It's hard work for sure.  It goes against the grain of my initial reactions, my impatient, selfish tendencies, and the logic of my comfort zones.  

I have a lot of praying and trusting to do.  But, I think that's the whole point.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the blessings of your grace.  Forgive me for all the ways I fail to make your grace the center of my relationships with others.  I pray your grace will fill and define all my relationships.  Help me use every situation, good and bad, as an opportunity to bless those around me.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Love and grace of Christ,

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