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Monday, September 19, 2016
Spice of life
If only You would rip open the heavensand come down to earth—its heights and depths would quake the moment You appear, like kindling when it just begins to catch fire, or like water that’s about to boil. If only You would come like that so that all who deny or hate You would know who You are and be terrified of Your grandeur. (Isaiah 64:1-2 VOICE) Mom always used to say I had a mind that needed to stay active and most of my closest friends still realize that about me today. I was not the smartest kid in my class, but I was always (and I mean always) curious. I like to discover new things - always trying to see things in a new light. This fascination with seeing what might occur when you introduce a new variable into the mix is just part of how my mind works. That has served me well when trying to create a new recipe on occasion, but at other times the meal was a little less than "good", if you get my drift! There are just times when the "mix" of what is there is wrong - the variable which was introduced was just not right for what else was there. For some of us, our only impression of God is that of the GREAT JUDGE, ruling somewhere in the unknown great expanse of the skies, just waiting to bring down the gavel and declare us guilty for some slip up. For others, he is the FATHER they never knew and have the hardest time relating to because their own earthly father was so abusive or absent. God has many sides, but we must remember his most prominent "side" is that of grace - coupled with love - in which he displays himself over and over again. We might want him to rip open the skies and reign down judgment on occasion because things are so out of hand in our world, but let me just assure you of this - we don't want to see God in his full-on "Judge" mode apart from having his grace as a covering over our sinfulness if we do! His grandeur is indeed awe-inspiring and even "nature" responds to his presence. We don't really want God to display his judgment, although the circumstances might "warrant" it, because when he does nothing is left the same. It is impossible for his righteous nature to tolerate unrighteous deeds of any kind. Yet, he introduces grace into the mixture because grace has a way of overriding all the misdeeds and unrighteous motivations of a man's heart. Grace is kind of like that ingredient we always want in our dish - it is what brings out the beauty of whatever it is added to. Grace has a way of bubbling up in us - much like a pot of water put on to boil. The tiny bubbles will only give a hint of something transformational happening deep below the surface, but as grace begins to take on the "heat" of his love those tiny bubbles begin to find themselves breaking to the surface. They begin to churn within the depths of the pot and soon you begin to see steam emerging from that churning water. That steam is a product of the heat of his love - his grace is just a way of bringing forth something new and pure from within each of us. Rather than asking God to break open the skies and reign down judgment, we might rather pray God open the skies, turn up his love full force, and reign down grace like nothing ever seen before. In old time religious circles that was called praying for "revival". Israel awaited deliverance from their enemies. I have come to realize the power of grace in dealing with my enemies - it is an ingredient that never fails to bring out something in each of us that we never knew was there. Rather than praying for their judgment, maybe we need to pray for their peace. Rather than expecting them to fall on their face, perhaps we should pray God will elevate them to new heights. I am not perfect - I sometimes want them to "get what's coming to them" - but God's plan is to turn up the heat of his love, add the ingredient of his grace, and see something pure come from the mixture. Just sayin!