Tag Archives: grace of god

Slam Dunks or Chipotle Corn Chips?

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 18, 2012 

Slam Dunks or Chipotle Corn Chips?

                  And he entered with them into the temple walking and jumping and praising God. And all the people who saw him walking and praising God recognized him: “This is the man who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate.” 

                                                                                                   Acts 3:8-10

 

Have you ever noticed that when your favorite basketball team is blowing out their opponent by thirty points, you’re glad, but you’re also bored? You stop high-fiving your friends when your team scores on a slam dunk. You stop shouting frantically at the head coach that he needs to double-team Salinsky in the low post.

Instead, you say, “I went to Speedo Lube last Tuesday and they charged me extra to refill the windshield washer fluid. Hey, ever try these new corn chips? They’re chipotle.”

 

But what happens when your favorite team is behind, and victory seems out of reach . . . but then the rally starts? And, in the final seconds, when the point guard steals the ball and throws up the buzzer-beater from three-point land to win the game, you go wild and knock the popcorn bowl off the coffee table.

In both instances, your team won. Why do you react so differently?

 

Joy comes when you find victory after a time of uncertainty or loss of hope.

 

At the time of the evening sacrifice, no one was anxious about whether they could successfully walk through the gate to worship God in the temple.

No one – except one beggar who was lame from birth. This poor man couldn’t get into the temple – not because he was lame, but because he was banned. Jewish laws of ritual purity barred the blind and the lame from entrance into the temple. This lame beggar could only sit by the gate, but was allowed no further.

 

When Peter, by Jesus’ power, miraculously heals this man, look where the beggar’s feet take him. He doesn’t run home to tell his friends and neighbors; he rushes through the gate. Here he is in the temple for the first time in his life!

You’ll have to excuse his lack of circumspection in the sanctuary, but this man is bursting with joy, and doesn’t care that he’s creating a ruckus.

 

Have you ever noticed that those who are new to the faith are more exuberant than a happy puppy? They have known the uncertainty or loss of hope in their relationship with God. And, when they discover the downpour of God’s mercy on them, they can’t contain their joy.

But, once we get used to the victory Jesus won for us, we start talking about chipotle corn chips.

 

I don’t think we should ever get used to the grace of God.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Rescue From the Bog

Story of the Day for Monday January 16, 2012

Rescue From the Bog

                      “The grace of God . . . instructs us. . . to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.” 

                                                                             Titus 2:11-12

 When kids go to summer camp one of their responsibilities is to plot mischief.  You just know that someone is going to get a frog in their bed or the guys are going to raid the girl’s cabins and pull some sort of prank.

Let’s try to imagine this: as the kids wave good-bye to their parents and assemble in the cafeteria, the camp director spells out the rules.  One of them is that must never leave the fenced camp boundary.  “There are quicksand bogs on the adjoining property,” he warns them, “and it’s very dangerous.”

Off limits?  Dangerous?  For kids, this is an irresistible enticement. So, in the middle of the night a few boys sneak out of their cabin and climb the fence.  Sure enough, there is quicksand out there.  And they are stuck.   Their struggling only mires them deeper.  As they sink to their waists they finally cry out for help.

Eventually they see a flashlight bobbing their way and their sleepy-eyed counselor inspecting the damage.  With a big sigh he says, “Didn’t we clearly warn you to stay on the camp property?”

“Yes.”

And didn’t we tell you there were quicksand bogs out here?”

“Yes, we’re sorry.”  By this time they are up to their chests in the quicksand.

“Well, I want you to know something,” the counselor says, “I forgive you.”  And then he wishes them a good night and goes back to bed.

 

Can I ask you something?  Do you think those boys would be satisfied with the response of their counselor?  “Dude! Did you hear that?  He forgives us!  He’s not mad at us for breaking the rules.  Awesome!”

This is not how the story ought to end, is it?  But don’t you see that this is exactly how some believers view forgiveness?  They think, “I like to sin, and God likes to forgive me and say it’s okay.”

When God forgives us it means that our sins have been taken care of.   He’s not holding them against us.  But (and here is the point, so listen up)  God’s forgiveness means that he also wants to pull us out of the quicksand.

And isn’t that what we want?  God’s forgiveness is not a free pass to jump the fence.  But when we do jump the fence and get stuck in the bog, know this:  Jesus not only will come to tell you he forgives you; he will also reach out his hand because he wants to rescue you from the bog.

                                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)