Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Amazing Grace (3)

This past week at church a group of men sang a fabulous rendition of Amazing Grace in a style I would describe as a southern quartet with instruments...It was truly amazing to see God's heart cry out to us through their song... (I guess it kind of reminded me of O Brother, Where Art Thou? even though I have never really seen the movie, just the style I guess.)

This week, we focus on verse 3 of the original.

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,.
And grace will lead me home.

Our pastor read from Psalm 31 tonight and reminded me that from the beginning of time, we have been faced with challenges, but that God has been there EVERY time....we are here, we are breathing and we each have our own unique ability to share this Good News with someone.

The last line in the Message Paraphrase says:

Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up.
Expect God to get here soon.

Do we remember to live with this expectation that the grace of God will bring us home? That God will get here soon? What if we did? What would change? What decisions would you make differently by "expecting" God (read: having faith in God) that by grace, he will keep us safe and lead us home...

This verse indicates the past, but doesn't touch on the future other than the grace of God that will lead us home...the grace was there during the toils and will be there when danger comes again.

Knock Knock...Are you expecting anyone?

Expect Him...

A

Monday, July 7, 2008

Amazing Grace (2)

The Second Verse

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

This verse brings back memories of the time I accepted Christ as my risen Lord and Savior. "The Hour I First Believed"... Sure I thought that I knew that there was God and there was Jesus, but I didn't know that I needed to decide to believe...to take the gift of grace already laid out for me. It was July (almost 3 years ago now) and we had been attending The PROMiSE for about a month when I was captivated by the songs and message of the day and knew in my heart that not only was The PROMiSE the church for me, but that God himself had been calling me here and that it was high time that I let him know I was listening. What a precious moment...and the effects were immediate. Sure, accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior has its earthly costs, but none of that matters under the protection of grace...if only I could remember that every time the earth catches up to me :)

Recall the hour you first believed, were the effects of Grace immediate?
How have your fears been relieved by the power of Grace?

Isaiah 30:19 (The Message)
Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you'll find it's grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he'll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he'll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: "This is the right road. Walk down this road." You'll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You'll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, "Good riddance!"

Remember these words of the prophet Isaiah this week when you are seeking answers...seek Him...

A