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Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging

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grace

The Blood of Christ

I have had this in my head for several days, the power of the blood of Christ, covering so completely, filling the crevices where sin can hide. The blood of Christ like a transfusion works on the inside of the believer so that the outside of the believer manifests Christ in the world. It’s power is more than a fire screen, it is a river carrying the believer to the throne of God.

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Thanksgiving 2014 Day Four: Quality Mercy

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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy On Me a Sinner. Amen

Thank you Lord for your mercy that I can practice mercy with others.

God is just.

God is righteous.

I am dust

and unrighteous.

God is love.

God is holy.

God is mercy.

God is grace.

When I show mercy,

I see His face

in acts of mercy

And I know my place

Safely folded in His Grace.

Without his justice

Without his love

Without his mercy

Coming from above.

I might not see tormented souls

I might not care for one of those

I might not be a jar of grace.

I might only be a bit of dust

spitting in the face of God

rising up with a little gust

Trampled under a bit of sod.

For Your mercy, I give you thanks

For it fills me flowing over my banks

Like a raging river, your love and grace

bless me that I may show your face

Your arm of safety, our hiding place.

And because I memorized it in high school: Portia’s speech to Shylock from “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare:

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice.

Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea,
consider this,That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.”
— The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

Thank you Jesus,  That I receive not the justice I deserve, but a mercy that
by the gift of Grace, I am to share with others. Amen

The Power of a Grateful–The Blessing of Children

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I am far from the perfect parent. Still God blessed me with three wonderful children, who I appreciate and love more with each passing year. Somehow with no experience, Terry and I managed to raise them. And, They have grown into fine adults in spite of me by the grace of God.

I sometimes have a hard time realizing that I have a son who will be 48 years old in January…I still remember holding him in my arms…and the time he went on a trip with a friend of his and told his friend’s mother he couldn’t buy a T-shirt with his spending money, because I might need it for groceries. Or, a son who will be 47 in April…I can still see the beautiful smile on his infant face…and the time after he had his bicycle stolen that he taught himself to ride a unicycle. Or, a daughter who will be 45 in May…I still remember frantically looking for her when we she was 3 and finding her three blocks away riding another child’s tricycle in their driveway…she could slip away in a nano second. They have blessed me with the gift of grandchildren, with their friendship, and with their spouses…and have stood with Terry and I through some pretty harrowing experiences.

If you are a parent, you may understand that there are things I did, things I said, things I didn’t say or do that I would like to go back and snatch from the record or yell, “Do Over.” There are also memories of moments that somehow with all my imperfections were just right. There are no “do overs” in life, but that is where grace and forgiveness transform even the bad patches. There is no going back to those great moments, except in pictures and the mind. BUT, there is going forward. There are while I have breath still memories to make, love to give, grace to share, and forgiveness to request.

So my children, Mike, Scott and Brandee…I am so grateful for the fullness you have brought to my life and I ask your forgiveness for those times I didn’t measure up as a parent. I pray that you know you have a Father in Heaven who loves you more than your Dad and I do….SO it has to be a lot…cause we love you a lot.

Thank you Lord for entrusting me with these precious lives. I pray you keep them safely in your hand for eternity. Oh, Lord for these lives I am grateful beyond anything I can put into words…although here I am trying anyway.

No Wedge

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:3, 38, 39 NIV)

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There is no wedge
sharpened to an edge like steel
There is no wedge
driven by the forces of hell
There is no wedge
no hateful vengeful heart
There is no wedge
that can rip us apart
There is no wedge
with syrup dripping
There is no wedge
that can cause a ripping

We lift our eyes; We see his face
We feel the wedge, our sin and disgrace
His love holds us firm through time and space
For we are bound in Christ’s embrace
held by his love and the strength of Grace.

Unforced Rhythm in the Dance of Life

image“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

When God was handing out athletic ability, gracefulness, and rhythm, I was dropping the ball, tripping over my own two feet, and dancing to the words not the beat of the song. . .not to mention singing either flat or sharp. I just did not find the fun in running, hitting, or catching and though I longed to dance never really grasped the rhythms of it all. I have been clumsy and awkward most of my life, including having an eating and drinking disorder–I spill or drop food on myself often. I have envied, yes, yes, I know that envy is sin, especially the kind that turns to coveting, actually hoping the graceful fall. So easy to fall into the trap of coveting and so very wrong.

As I have aged I have not become any less awkward, but I have learned to enjoy some sporting activities, even some as a participant [tennis]. I took lessons which helped. And yet, the truth is physical grace lies outside my purview and that is okay now. I am not the scrawny kid chosen last for the team. God gave me other abilities and I am still learning the grace of those rhythms.

I am also still learning the Rhythms of God’s Grace, that fill me, lift me and give me peace. The world is a tiring place, full of responsibilities, chores, physical deficits, mental, financial, relational challenges, full of fun stuff that tasks physically and mentally as well. Face it! We’d be Super Heroes, if we didn’t get tired.

God promises that if we keep company with him, which should be easy for us Christians, since the Holy Spirit lives within, but unfortunately I still try going my own way only to plunge into a series of missteps, fatigue and often depression. Why? When as The Message puts it God desires to lift my burden and give me rest, if I will

Come away with him
Walk with him
Work with him
Watch how He does it
And He will
show me how to live freely and lightlyIn other words, if we put our feet on God’s feet, He will guide us through the rhythms of the dance of life effortlessly no matter how graceful or in my case not graceful we are.

If There Are Ten?

Abraham's Prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah
Abraham’s Prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:23-25

 Abraham’s only tie to the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was his nephew Lot and Lot’s family, so it makes this passage all the more poignant as he bargains, that’s right, bargains with God for their salvation.  He knew God planned to deliver Lot and his family, but surely in these large cities, surely among the families, good fathers, husbands, men of integrity existed.  And so Abraham bargains.   If there are 50 good men, 30, what about 10?  Let’s say there are 10 good men, will You not destroy these cities?  God hears Abraham’s pleas and assents to his bargain.  Undoubtedly, God already knew there were not even 10, but I sense He was proud of Abraham for considering with compassion these two cities, for praying there was a seed of hope within their walls that could turn them around from self driven destruction.

Paul wrote, that where sin increases, so does the grace of God(Romans 5:7).  I don’t have to go farther than my bedroom mirror to find a sinful person.  Thanks to Jesus, I am also a forgiven child of God.  If I am not careful, I might rest in His Grace and ignore the thousands upon thousands, who continue to wander as Jesus said, like sheep without a shepherd.  

I might become like Jonah, who really wanted God to destroy Ninevah and its 100,000 inhabitants expressing his anger first by running from God’s call, and then heeding God’s Call with foot dragging compliance.   Poor old Jonah, who ended up sulking because in spite of his half hearted call to repentance, the Ninevites did and God spared them.  

Am I like that about certain sinners, thinking them not worthy, too wicked to save?  Or, do I turn a blind eye in the name of tolerance to obvious sin that damages individuals, confuses families, and sends society on a slippery slope to destruction, avoiding personal discomfort of calling for repentance?  Will we one day as Christians find ourselves bargaining with God for the world of the lost? Surely there are at least 10 righteous men?  Or will we work, will we stand up, will we pray, will we love the lost, will we be Jesus’ agents of salvation?

“There are two kinds of people both in life and in death:  the saved and the lost.  Jesus is the only agency of salvation.”  Lucy Kinya

How Shall I Respond to the Lost in the World?
How Shall I Respond to the Lost in the World?
Genesis 18: 20-33 (Old Testament Lectionary Reading for July 28, 2013, Proper 12, Year C)

Only Stillness

By still waters...
By still waters…

“Be Still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

And so I am still.
No words bubble up
needing to be shared.

I don’t like stillness
God knows me so well
But He asks me to wait.

I don’t like it
But I wait for …something.
No words, only stillness.

Know that I am not god
Only the One who is was and evermore shall be
Is God. Know that, trust Him

No words, so I prattle here
Waiting for His voice
Seeking His face
Rest here be still in His Grace.

No disgrace
in the resting…still in the race
Beside still waters, a safe place
to wait.

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