{March 20, 2012}   Grace & love – His story

Cos God’s so passionate about the planet that he donates his one and only Son.  Whoever invests their life in his Son doesn’t die, but gets limitless life.  D’you think God sends his Son to slam people down?  No!  He sends his Son to liberate people. [John 3:16-21, The Street Bible, Rob Lacey]

I have a few differing Bibles, often I find that looking up a passage I know well in a more traditional Bible in a differing one can shed increased light on the passage.  I think most of us raised in the Church are familiar with John’s tagline of “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”.  On Sunday I was reminded of the fuller meaning of “world” as John wrote.  John’s Gospel was written in Greek, the word in the original being “cosmos” and more accurately might be read, “God so loved EVERYTHING that he gave his only Son.”  That thought kinda pulled me up short, and offered a challenge (as the Bible frequently does!) about my attitude to those I disagree with.  I cannot get my head around those who hold views that I find objectionable, and ultimately I find myself struggling with the graceless way that people (even those within the wider Church family) convey those views that they hold.

This amazing expression of God’s love reminds me and challenges me to get a hold of the bigger picture of divine love.  Yes, I’m sure he loves us in Church, singing and praying, meeting to pray with others all the “holy” stuff… but he loved and loves us completely and utterly… he loves us in the mess of it all…

Newsboys “Rescue” from their THRIVE album

You guys were spiritual corpses murdered by the mess that ran your lives.  You went with the flow; you weren’t going God’s way, so you let the boss of the spiritual underworld dictate your every move like some Mafia godfather.  We all did it: we merged in with the crowd, pumped our bodies with whatever our dark side fancied at the time.  We were as brainwashed as the rest of them and wound God up big time.  But God loves us so passionately he gave us some slack and let the Liberator resuscitate our spiritual side that had been throttled by our mess.  Free, no charge, a gift – God’s OTT generosity is what’s straightened you out, sorted your lives, brought you back to life (like he did with the Liberator), and now were sitting right next to our Liberator Jesus in heaven.  Why?  So that he can brag about our lives, show us off as prime examples of the phenomenal value of his freebies, use us as exhibits A-Z of his generosity to us – just cos we’re connected with the Liberator Jesus.  What’s straightened you out isn’t down to you.  There’s nothing you’ve done that’s sorted your life.  No, it’s all God’s generosity that’s done it; you’ve just taken him at his word and even your ability to do that comes direct and free of charge from him.  If it were linked to how you lived, you’d end up shouting your mouth off about how brilliant you are.  No, we’re God’s masterpiece, his tour de force, his piece de resistance.  Liberator Jesus qualifies us to be made from scratch to make good things happen, things that his planned already for us to get stuck into.  [Street Bible, Ephesians 2:1-22]

I find that Church, God and Jesus are frequently in the press for (what I think) are the wrong reasons… it’s as if the world wants to force us to the point of obscurity by squeezing us into a little box of ‘minor details’.  Grace is the heart of it.  It’s mentioned 4 times in Ephesians 2.1-10 (NIV)!  Grace, love, justice, and mercy are the bestsellers in the Bible, over and above the other stuff!

Ephesians in general is a book that hits a chord with me; loving me in the mess of it all – it takes me back to being at the foot of the cross.  He loved me when I felt I was unlovable.  He found me when I was hiding.  He waited for my return every time that I ran away.  Jesus resuscitated my spiritual side when I was drowning.  Ephesians conjures up an image of myself, pregnant, with no real idea of or hope of a positive future for myself or my unborn child.  Ephesians takes me to a very dark place in myself…

…but it is a glorious and a triumphant story.  A story of hope, and of mended relationships, a story of a new life, new dreams and new opportunities… it is HIS story, it is as if his copyright is stamped all over my life so there’s no doubt, no one can steal the image.  God asserts his right as author, creator and artist.

I try to start each day with a little prayer; sometimes I feel guilty over not being one of those who gets up an hour early to meditate and pray – but this is me, and he’s my dad… so I guess he gets me!  I say a prayer that asks Him to give me the compassion, the attitude and the grace to be like him as the day unfolds.  Sometimes the words change, depending on what the day is likely to bring… but the sentiment remains the same… not my will, but Yours.




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