Morning Fifteen: Walk In God’s Grace Today

28 Days of Morning Prayer Focus

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

From my heart this morning:

How can we make sure there is more room for God to speak, direct, and move in our lives?  That is the question God has prompted throughout our world in this season. 

The answer God has been putting in my heart is to begin walking even more purposefully in the grace of God. My problem with that is, grace feels like a weak word and I have been resisting. Yet consider the cross of Jesus Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

What Is The Spiritual Meaning Of Grace?

What is grace spiritually?  When I think of grace I think of the character of God. That’s probably why grace and mercy are tied together in my mind.  God shows both so often and both feel so out of my reach at times.  

Mercy – Not getting what I deserve. 

In God’s mercy, He forgave my sins. 

Grace – Getting what I could never deserve.

Through God’s grace, He saved me, adopted me, and made me a co-heir with Jesus Christ.  

Accepting and not striving are very active processes – at least in my life. Walking in the grace of God is not a passive thing.  Living by grace requires action.  In fact, looking at the action required tells me that a weak person could never live by grace. 

Woman of Grace- You are so loved. Who are you and how do you live out the work of grace in YOUR life?

A woman of grace then must be a very strong person.  Walking in the grace of God is something any of us can do if we take a few steps. 

1. Understand God’s divine grace.

2. Allow God to change what He wants.

3. Accept grace daily.

4. Allow grace to mature through practice.

5. Release the need to control.

6. Spend more time with God in prayer and Bible study and prayer.

7. Live openly in the community with the body of Christ. 

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for your abundant, abounding grace. Thank you that we don’t have to earn a drop of the mighty river of grace that flows freely for us today. Thank you for the unexpected, unmerited favor you’ve showered on my life. Help me put myself in the path of your love and grace. Help me not neglect the disciplines I need to meet with you regularly and to drink from the water of life. Thank you for your rich love. Amen.

Grace Happens Here

Grace.  A ready favor.  Sometimes it catches me by surprise

I count it a great honor and joy of my life that I get to watch kids journey in their faith. I have a precious friend named Jack that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know for several years now.  I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate a victory that I witnessed in Jack’s life recently.

In Richmond, we studied about the life of Joseph and the life cycle of a butterfly, particularly about how it is a lovely depiction of the Gospel.  After Bible Time, we actually got the opportunity to release butterflies that we’d grown.  The kids were so very excited about this and each child was interested in the good of the butterflies.  After our release, we noticed that quite a few hadn’t been able to fly away.  At that point, Jack and a few other children began a “butterfly rehabilitation center” and showed great care and concern for the welfare of our new friends.  They collected them back into cups and gathered new food for them.  I was so touched by their concern for these tiny creatures.

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Earlier in the day, I’d had one butterfly in a plastic bug container to show the kids.  I kept the container with me throughout the race.  Nearing the end of the night, Jack asked me if he could take the plastic container home with him.  I hesitated (they didn’t belong to me) and finally answered that I’d already told another child “no”, so it would be unfair for me to give it to him now.  Jack then sat back and thought about the answer I’d given him.  After a moment, he said, “Miss Danielle, why don’t you give it to [the other child]?”  “Well, I could do that, but then what would you do?”, I answered.  Jack said, “Well, I wouldn’t get one but I want [him] to have it.”  In that moment, I considered my options and felt the Spirit leading me to honor Jack’s request and hopefully illustrate a spiritual truth in his life.  Since Jack took no thought for himself and instead showed a desire to bless someone else, I told him to take the container outside to the other child.  I wanted him to see the joy I knew the gift would bring  someone else.  Before he left, though, I told him that although he couldn’t have known, I did have another plastic container.  Because of the grace he’d shown, I was going to give him the gift he so readily gave away.  I’ll never forget the look on his face.  “Sometimes, when we’re selfless and choose to bless others, God blesses us right back in a way we didn’t expect.”

I’m so proud of my friend, Jack, and the growth in grace that I see in his life.  It challenged me to consider if I would’ve been so quick to extend grace.  What a splendid example of what we’re endeavoring to teach the children this year.  God gives gifts and grace to us, but they’re never meant to stay in our possession.  He calls us to love Him with open hands, ready to extend every good gift He gives us to others.

Grace happens here.  I look forward to all the ways we’ll see grace extended and received at the Community Center the rest of this season.

Grace - a ready favor
Grace – a ready favor.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”
2 Peter 3:18

Talladega Fun

We think we have the best job in all of NASCAR!  Keep reading and I think you’ll see why…

This weekend, the MRO Community Center was sponsored by Jimmie and Chandra Johnson, in honor of Chad Knaus.  When a family sponsors a weekend, they also facilitate an event for families – they get the fun of planning and we get the honor of hosting.  Chandra was unable to be with us this weekend, so Chad and Brooke graciously arranged to have free Kona ice available to everyone in the D/O lot from noon to 3:00 pm on Saturday.  Boy, was it a hit!  Kids and adults alike enjoyed the shaved ice and the fun of choosing all your flavors on the outside of the truck.

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Chad and Brooke were so thoughtful to set this up for us.  We want to publicly thank them for their generosity and kindness – they didn’t have to do anything but instead they showed us grace by going above and beyond to bless us and the community.

We were also given a surprise blessing as Jamie and Christy McMurray brought two pools – one with water and one with sand to the playground.  They wanted to honor our weekend sponsors.  Jamie and Christy also brought many water and sand toys to share.  All of the kids loved it!  The water was perfect for a hot Alabama weekend – the adults even got in on the water gun battles!  There was one final surprise – the icing on the cake in our eyes.  They brought fruit for all the kids…but with a twist:

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Jamie proved himself a Renaissance man – he carved this watermelon shark!

The rest of our weekend was filled with the usual gifts: laughter, hugs, crafting, learning, playing, imagining, singing, and dancing.  We had our tee-pee there, as we spent our Bible Times learning the story of Moses and celebrating the Bible story inside it.  We even had a shadow puppet show:

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This year, our over-arching theme, the thing that God keeps teaching us most, is grace.  We’re defining it – a ready favor.  So simple that our smallest child can understand but so complex and beautiful that we keep seeing different angles of it each weekend.  Grace upon grace is given to us by God but it doesn’t stop there.  We are also challenged by him to be grace-livers.  He, as the Grace Giver, lives and most in us – in each moment, we can choose to open our hearts and hands in grace toward others or we can close both and miss opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We’ve seen children become grace-livers and we’ve been challenged by their obedience and faith.  We’ve seen community members extend grace to us and to each other in surprising and beautiful ways.  God continues surprising us with grace – on the good days and bad days, in every moment, He’s challenging us to see His grace.  He’s giving us the eyes to see grace – ready favors – all around, and we are giving Him thanks.

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We were the recipients of many ready favors from God this weekend.  We are blessed – to be a blessing.  May we each continue to grow in God’s grace.