Blog: 25 February 2013

Monday, February 25

From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over."
Matthew 26:16

“[Peter] swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’”    
Matthew 26:74

Peter and Judas have always intrigued me because of the way they each dealt with their betrayal of Jesus. Judas takes his life, while Peter becomes “the rock” on which the church is built. Both men have acted in treasonous ways. Both betrayals are heinous. Both these men have failed morally. Yet one life allows failure to release its destructive toxins, while the other life allows failure to be transformed into something beautiful. One life allows the past to rule him; the other is able to release the past and move forward. One is able to embrace grace and forgiveness and the other allows shame to rule and control.

Someone once said, “A saint is not perfect. A saint is someone who is quick to receive forgiveness.” The story of Peter and Judas reminds me that the spiritual journey is not about attaining perfection. It’s not about getting all A’s on our spiritual report card. The spiritual journey is about receiving God’s grace so we can build on shortcomings and failures. (The Promise Effect, p. 160)

Reflect & Discuss
We are imperfect people who are grateful for the grace of God. Join in our blog discussion on grace. As you reflect on your story of receiving grace and/or giving grace, share with us how this has made you feel. Allow your story to be a testimony of God’s love for you.

View Bruce telling the Gaining Grace story. »

Pray
Gracious God, help us to receive grace. Even when we cannot forgive ourselves, help us remember that you release our failures and shortcomings to the wind.

 

Monday, February 25

 

All the nations surrounded me,
   but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. . .
They swarmed around me like bees,
   but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
. . . I was pushed back and about to fall,
   but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my defense
   He has become my salvation.
Shouts of joy and victory
   resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” . . .
The LORD has done it this very day;
   let us rejoice today and be glad.
    Psalms 118:10-15, 24

Einstein once said that there are only two ways to live one’'s life: One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle. That’'s sort of where this Psalm begins.   The Psalmist believes life is a gift. In Psalm 118 we meet someone who has all but signed his death warrant. Then . . . deliverance . . . the Psalmist is spared because of God’'s grace and intervention. So from the depths of His soul the Psalmist cries with a sense of existential wonder, “"This is the day that the Lord has made.”"

The day has been “made” by God. Reformed theologian John Calvin believed that God was so intimately involved in our lives that nothing was left to chance. Calvin believed that every breath was given by God, every heartbeat prompted by God, and every rotation of the earth encouraged by God. Considering God'’s intimate involvement, Calvin concurred that our only response can be gratitude. Therefore, the Psalmist is accurate to reply, “"I will be glad and rejoice in it.”"

Reflect & Discuss
"This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made." Can you hear the song? Do you wake each day with gratitude? Do you utter thanks or complaints? Reflect on ways to be more grateful. Share with us 5 things you are grateful for today. 

Pray
Lord help me to be more grateful and to show my gratitude each day.

 

Subscribe to Blog: 25 February 2013