Monday, June 10, 2013

The Gift of Grace {Graffiti Summer}



"For it is by grace you have been save, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10

Standing and worshiping God this morning was everything I needed. I missed church last week due to business meetings and I felt the absence in my soul all week long.

We sang the lyrics from a song written by our new worship leader..."Overwhelm me. Overwhelm me. Overwhelm me with your Grace." The song was written specifically for our sermon series titled, "Overwhelming Grace."

Grace. "It's the most wonderful gift we've ever received." ~ Pastor Mike Gates

Pastor Mike referred to having a "yes" face in his sermon. What exactly did he mean by having a "yes" face? "A person someone knows they can come to, to receive grace."

Alene Snodgrass tells us in the second week of her Graffiti Summer challenge to bless someone different from ourselves. I find myself more wonder-struck by others and the gift of grace they have given to many...from our side of the street and the other side of the street.

This weekend my family said good-bye to a great man. Walter Thomson, Jr. is surely now home with our heavenly Father, and also with his wife and only son. At his memorial service he was referred to as a "Gentle Giant." An appropriate reference as this man blessed many during his 86 years here on earth with his overwhelming gentleness and grace.

I found myself observing my Aunt Jean as she mourned the loss of her brother. She was another one who blessed many, and she blessed those from the other side of the street. For years and years she took in children and served as their foster parent. In total, she was a foster parent to 79 children. Overwhelming!

These are two individuals who had a "yes" face.

The last few words Pastor Mike said in his sermon were, "Live your life knowing the value of the gift you were given." In Galatians 5:6, Paul tells us the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. And it begins with God's grace.

Alene is asking us to do just that—realize the value of the gift you were given and give that same gift to others. Again, as Paul tell us, serve one another humbly in love (Gal. 5:13). Have a "yes" face.

The challenge is to be willing to have a "yes" face to those who are different from you.

"If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?" ~ Matthew 5:47 (NLT)

This may make us feel uncomfortable as it requires living differently. If you are like me you are saying, "I'm not looking to be different; I just want to fit in." But when I take a moment to realize the gift of grace I've been given, I no longer want to simply fit in. He created me differently on purpose so I need to live differently. We need to live differently.

Alene writes in her book Graffiti: scribbles from different sides of the street, "To really follow Jesus, even if it's to the other side of the street, you will have to be the change maker. You will need to live differently from your friends and sometimes your family."

In my father's eulogy he said my Uncle Wally was a man who always showed up. To me, this is a man who lived differently.

My Aunt Jean lived differently and changed the life of 79 children as a result.

It took lots of praying for me to embrace being different by stopping and crossing the street to be with my friend Bob. Wondering what others driving by in their comfy cars would think of me sitting there with Bob would have previously kept me from crossing. God's overwhelming grace led me to have peace with my differences and the differences of others to cross the street and live differently.

This coming week, I'm praying God leads me in more ways. I'm armed and ready with a few gift cards to bless others as He leads.

God, I pray my eyes and heart remain open to wherever you may lead, whether you lead me to my side of the street or the other side. Silence those cries of wanting to fit in instead. Help me to appreciate that you created me differently on purpose, that you created us all to be different. Thank you for the gift of your overwhelming grace. Teach me to embrace your gift and to offer the same grace to others by living differently. Help me to have a "yes" face. Amen.


To read previous posts on Graffiti Summer, click here.

18 comments :

  1. Beth,
    This is lovely. I will watch my face today and check to make sure I am showing God's grace - even to those who are different from me.
    Blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com
    Following you from Hear it On Sunday.

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    1. Thanks for stopping in Janis! Blessings to you. Beth

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  2. This is such a beautiful web of grace. Oh how I love it -- have a YES face!! I certainly will pocket that treasure. I want to make a difference like that. I want others to view me that way. Thanks for this beautiful picture of grace and serving with grave.

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    1. You inspire friend. I really want a YES face too. I think of my Aunt Jean and want to have that kind of impact. Thanks for how you are leading us in stepping over our fears.
      Blessings. Much love.
      Beth

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  3. Dear Beth
    I always say that for me to live this life of unconditional love, lots of mercy and compassion and it all mixed with a great amount of grace, is not possible if our Lord Jesus does not by Hs grace lives His life in and through me! I have tried so hard in the past, but had to repent and tell our Pappa that only He can.
    Much love XX
    Mia

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    1. Mia,
      Your words always speak to how amazing our God is. I love it and love when you stop in to share. He is so GOOD!
      Much love and (((hugs))),
      Beth

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  4. You have such a beautiful heart!

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    1. Thank you so much Susan! (((hugs)))

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  5. Beth--What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I felt the grace of God drip from this beautiful post!

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    1. Oh thank you, Jenn! Nice to see you here. Thanks for visiting!
      Blessings,
      Beth.

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  6. This is incredibly profound: "Live your life knowing the value of the gift you were given." Do I do this? No. Not like I could. Thank you for encouraging me to be better than I am because of who God is.

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    1. Jen,
      This #graffitisummer challenge is speaking to me in many ways on truly serving others. It's scary and amazing at the same time.
      Thanks for stopping in and for always hosting. Love your heart!
      Blessings,
      Beth

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  7. Beth,
    Thank you so much for the reminder to be thankful for the grace that I have been shown and to give that grace to others...Lord help me to have a "Yes" face!! Beautiful post!
    Love and ((hugs)), Bev

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    1. Much love to you friend. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. (((hugs)))
      Beth

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  8. I am visiting from the comment you made on my blog. What a beautiful blog you have here. I have never heard of this book, so I'm definitely looking into it. What a challenge to love on someone you might normally. I think sometimes I am too quick to judge the outside of someone and not realize that they have a story similar to mine, because they are human and God loves them and desires a relationship with them. There is such a tendency these days to stick to ourselves and try to be an island and its so sad, when so many just need that several minutes of friendly conversation or that knod to let them know they are acknowledged.

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  9. BLESSED by this post, Beth! And thank you for visiting my blog today too. Love is a precious gift and a precious challenge; thanks for sharing both sides of it here. Thankful I visited today!

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  10. Putting on my yes face and on my heart too. What a neat image, Thanks for sharing this!

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  11. The image of a "yes face" will certainly stay with me. So beautifully written. I'd love to meet with your Aunt Jean, to feel her "yes face." How amazing to shelter 79 children and make a difference "on the other side of the street."

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Much love to you.