Wednesday, April 1, 2015

“God’s grace does not require a condition to abound. However to obtain the promises of his blessings, you have to strive for it, fight for it, work hard for it and insist upon it.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

Some of the good things that have happened to me, I earned, deserved, or was rewarded for my virtue or my effort.  Some of the bad things that have happened to me were entirely my fault or I contributed to them by bad diet, bad decisions, and acting purely on my baser instincts.  However, many of the good things that have happened to me came as a complete surprise, and there was no way I could have deserved or earned them.  Likewise, many of the bad things that happened to me were not the result of anything I did but were beyond my control, particularly when my body went south on me over and over again.  There are people who claim that nothing bad is ever their fault or had anything to do with them, and then claim that every good thing was all because of their own efforts which is just silly.  All this is leading up to what we celebrate this Sunday, the receiving of the one thing we had no right to expect—God’s grace through the death and resurrection of His son.  Grace is the absence of the bad thing we do deserve and the presence of that good thing that we could never earn or deserve.  Christ offered unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness that, if coupled with a life lived in the imitation of Christ’s life, leads to eternal life, peace, and happiness.  The grace comes freely, paid for by Christ’s suffering and death in our place, but it also calls us to loving, caring action of the kind that Christ’s life demonstrated and that He taught over and over again.  We are commanded (commanded not suggested) to love one another as He loved us, sacrificially, completely, totally.  Christ told us, taught us to be “doers of the word and not just hearers only.”  Over and over again, He reached out and touched lepers, healed the sick, and loved absolutely everyone.  His love doesn’t leave anyone out, regardless of their place in society, their physical appearance, their wealth, their health, or their lack of all things the rest of the world holds dear.  He also taught us not to judge, and to forgive if we want forgiveness.  Love, forgive, care for every single one of God’s children.  We are not to lie, steal, kill, hurt, ignore, or turn our backs on those who are suffering for whatever reason.  We receive God’s grace when we invite Christ into our hearts, and we offer that same grace to all when we live our lives in imitation of His.  Tomorrow marks the day of His “Last Supper” and His betrayal by one He loved.  Today should mark our renewed commitment to His service as receivers of His grace, His love, His forgiveness, and His peace.  I am renewing my pledge to follow His commandments and to be a faithful disciple which means to work for Him, not to rest on my laurels, but to reach out to those in need.  Can you do the same?  Will you?
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