The Graceful Act of Being Called Out

Let a righteous man strike me–it is a kindness;

let him rebuke me–it is oil for my head;

let my head not refuse it. – Psalm 141:5a (ESV)

We don’t like it when someone points out our mistakes.  It hurts, we get defensive, we make excuses, we deny the reality of what we have done.  Sometimes an accusation is unmerited and untrue, but when we find ourselves connected to others in the community of faith, we’ve got to understand how graceful it is to be called out.

Our deepest and most loving relationships must be strong enough to be honest with one another.  When we’ve been hurt by someone else or when we see them acting in ways that are harmful to themselves or those around them, we have to love them enough to confront them.  Of course we must do this with grace.  We must do this because we love them.  We are not looking to harm them.  In fact, to simply ignore what they are doing or have done is unloving.  It would be like watching my child play in the street during 5 o’clock rush hour, and refusing to go get them.  I know their going to get hit, but because the conversation may be uncomfortable, I’ll just let them continue.  To avoid conflict and difficult conversations is not loving our brothers and sisters well.

Not only must we be willing to confront those we love, but we must also be willing to receive the rebuke.   We all have blind spots.  We are all in process when it comes to our spiritual journey with Jesus.  God gives us each other to help us grow.  I have come to a place in my own life where when confronted, my default is to assume they are correct, especially when it is someone whom I know loves me.  It doesn’t mean I don’t still wrestle with denial and excuse making.

Brothers and sisters, God has given us one another as a display of His love and grace.  May we help one another, encourage one another, and when needed rebuke one another for our good and God’s glory.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

From East to West

I love the Psalms.  It’s God’s song book.  It’s loaded with powerful truth about our great God and His great love, protection and provision for us.  If you find that your prayer life is in a rut, just open to the Psalms and begin praying in light of what you read there.  This has become one of my favorite daily practices.

This morning I was in Psalm 103; one of my favorites!  This Psalm is loaded with praise for our great God in light of all that He has done for us.  The first portion is a reminder of “all his benefits.”  David, the writer of Psalm 103, lists them:

  1. …forgives all your iniquity
  2. …heals all your diseases,
  3. …redeems your life from the pit,
  4. …crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
  5. …satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  6. …works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
  7. …merciful and gracious
  8. …slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

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Don’t Quit!

Today marks Day 6 of the 10-Day Do Over Challenge by Jon Acuff.  This challenge is designed to help me work on something in my life for which I wish I could call a “do over.”  Small ten minute exercises each day are designed to gain momentum and focus toward achieving the goal.  My goal was to become more consistent with my writing here at restinjesus.me.  If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll notice I haven’t succeeded every day.  Just this morning, I received a text from a good friend I had asked to hold me accountable and offer encouragement for this challenge because he didn’t see a post yesterday.  I’m grateful for his text and encouragement.  I’m even more grateful for the exercise for Day 6.

“Don’t let ten minutes turn into forever” is the title for today’s challenge.  Today, Jon Acuff, offers encouragement to people like me who haven’t perfectly executed the first six days of this challenge; to press on even when we stumble.  DON’T QUIT!!!

I have a tendency, like many, to allow a small hiccup along the journey to totally derail my pursuit of a goal.  One of the greatest examples of this is Bible reading plans.  There are so many plans that exist today, designed to help people become consistent in their reading of God’s Word.  Unfortunately, perfectionist types, like me, can’t stand to fail, and therefore allow a day missed here or there to lead to complete abandonment of the pursuit.  “I’ll try again next January!”

This mindset is crippling, and ultimately will not only prevent you from reaching a goal you set, but more importantly keep you from understanding God’s grace and the work of sanctification (big word for spiritual growth) that takes place in our lives as we pursue Christ.  Bob Warren, the man who first discipled me as a new Christian, shared this with me, and it was transformational.  In light of the gospel and God’s grace toward me as His child, Bob said, “Andy, you are free to fail.”  God’s grace is there to cover our mistakes, pick us up when we fall, dust us off, and encourage us to try again.

If I don’t understand this truth, I will “let ten minutes turn into forever” and cripple me.  I’ll never reach the goal.  I’ll never grow in grace.  I’ll never become all that God intends for me as His child.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Embrace the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God.  Acknowledge that you will fail, and that’s ok!  What’s not ok is to quit!

But he (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

 

Advent Devotion 16 – The Ultimate Example of Humility

Today’s Reading – Luke 17-20

Luke 18:14b – For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (ESV)

It’s probably not something you think about very often in the midst of the gift giving and decorations and feasts of great food and fellowship, but Christmas is a celebration of the ultimate example of humility.  When Jesus Christ was born some 2000 years ago, he didn’t enter this world as the religious leaders had expected.  They were expecting a military or governmental leader who would overthrow the oppressive foreign regime and bring peace to the nation of Israel.  Instead what they got was a baby born in a lowly manger.  He wasn’t born in a palace, but he came in the midst of a stable filled with animals.  Surely, this couldn’t be the Messiah they had been longing for. Continue reading

Advent Devotion 10 – A Season for Reconciliation

Today’s Reading – Mark 9-12

Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (ESV)

Do you have a cousin Eddie in your extended family? Christmas is one time during the year when extended families gather together, and inevitably there is a possibility for high drama.  Strained relationships from past hurts, differing views of what should be central to our celebration at Christmas, or how long the turkey should be cooked are all examples of ways in which this season can become highly stressful.  As followers of Christ, how do we serve as “ministers of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18) during this time of year? Continue reading

Seeking a Greater Ministry?

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (ESV)

First, praise God for who He is; “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”  To understand this reality and pair it with the love He has demonstrated in the Gospel for us should be enough to sustain us in the midst of the most trying times.  Praise Him!

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Peter: A Warning, A Confidence

Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.  And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same. – Mark 14:29-31 (ESV)

This morning I read Mark 14-16 which gives the account of Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection.  Two things I want to point out from Peter’s life that serve as a warning and a great confidence. Continue reading

Grace Reminders!

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)

For the last several weeks, God has been bringing me back over and over again to reminders of His grace in my life.  These reminders are necessary for all of us.  Living in the do-it-yourself culture of America we have heard our entire lives that if you want to succeed you must work hard and earn what is given to you.  The Gospel however is the complete opposite of this mindset.  In the Gospel, God’s display of grace through the saving work of Jesus Christ is made available to each of us not as a result of anything we have done, but as a free gift that must be received by faith alone. Continue reading