25 Dec 2011

Christmas, an opportunity for grace

Submitted by theshovel
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Millions of folks the world over look to this day as the highlight of of the Christian calendar, while others will denounce the whole season as the perfect example of pagan superstition and commercialism gone wild. Does Christmas represent the birth of the savior or a misguided religious holiday? Let me suggest to all that Christmas might present a huge opportunity for grace to abound among us. I imagine that most are familiar with the Biblical reference regarding those who honor special days versus those who don't. If not, here it is:

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:5-9 NASB

Here is the grace challenge:

  • You who know enough about the pagan roots that have been co-mingled with the celebration of the birth of Christ or who are sick and tired of the commercialism of the season with its shop till you drop, max out the credit card mentality, is his grace sufficient for you to accept the one who finds the day a cause to thank God for the Word made flesh?
  • You who cannot understand how any Christian could have a problem with celebrating the birth of Jesus for whatever reason, is his grace sufficient for you to refuse to judge those who do not honor the day as you do?

My friends, this is the power of the grace of Christ! Live in it. :)

Shovel Audio

Adam and I hooked up once again to create another Shovel Audio for your encouragement and building up in Christ. It is called The Vine and the Branch

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I love this!!!! Grace does that. Thanks Jim.

I love this, too!  :) Oh but for the grace of GOD!  :) When I discover that I am the one that is being looked down upon and ‘judged’ because I just can’t and/or don’t get all excited the same way as someone else may get excited about whatever the ‘day’ may be for them, then I begin to feel the need to distance myself from them. I am not judging them for being excited about what is important or exciting to them. Sometimes I just simply can not ‘conjure up’ the same from within me, even if and when I may WANT to. I do find that I can allow from within my heart for them to be where they are at and I am fine with that. But if I am that much of a disappointment to them to the point that they feel they must continually judge me as not being as ‘spiritual’ as them, (and believe me, you can ‘feel’ it from them as it oozes from their very core) then I just want to give them the ‘space’ I perceive them to need from me, because I will just continue to be a reminder for both them and myself of their disappointment in me, if you know what I mean? It does not do my heart any good to hang around those who transform their freedom to enjoy something of importance to them into some kind of weapon to beat the heart with, if you know what I mean? I do not know where grace fits into that, but I find myself in that ‘position’ and mentality quite a lot in this world. I am quite fine ‘letting them be’ and just ‘being there for them’ if and when they should ever need me to be and I am able. Funny thing is, I also find that even the ‘being able’ is often a providence necessitated by GOD as well. In other words, I find more times than not, that I may be more than willing, but simply NOT able for whatever reason. That is a most frustrating reality sometimes. I am sure that I am not alone in that. Anyway … I am rambling and probably making no sense at 4 in the morning! LOL This Spoonful is another ‘thought provoker’!  :) Thank you for the grace it brings to heart and mind, regardless of my wandering mind.  :) Love and hugs!

Such LIFE oozing out of this Sherr! I mean that. You describe well the reality of the former place we held as our life in this world and how we have been set free to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. As Paul says ‘we have not been given a spirit leading to fear again’.Every hostile expectation in this world is held up by the law that controls those NOT born of God. For it keeps them convicted of their sin and holds them up as evil doers while at the same time revealing them as hypocrites. We too knew what it was to live this way and even now can get sucked into it in principal from time to time. I love seeing little glimpses of this freedom [however little] in my imidiate family. For though they may now see it as ‘more realistic expectations of themselves and others’, I know that it is really just Christ and His grace revealing itself all the more. Even if it is only understood in some segregated way I still rejoice in the freedom and space [however little] that I get to experience in the revelation of it.

oh and for those of us who do not know what the word providence means: “the guardianship and control exercised by a deity 3. a manifestation of God’s foresightful care for his creatures 4. the prudence and care exercised by someone in the management of resources”

Sher, I was actually just doing a follow up with Jim yesterday on this very thing. It brings to mind the famous Philippians quote : “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”. I do not think that most of any Christians are encouraged in this in any living way. For if we even caught a glimpse of what Paul was really saying in this, we might really be taken back just how thoroughly he actually meant it. So often[almost ALWAYS] in Christianity the natural mans fear jumps into this quote and erases any trace of the Vine and the branch relationship that this testifies to. For those of us who are getting motivational speeches in church and large prayer groups of human accountability early in the morning while being jacked up by a bunch of caffeine simply don’t want to hear that apart from Him we can do nothing. This means we do not have to pretend. That is what you describe so well in your writing this morning. For I have seen the same amount of enthusiasm in the unbelieving that I see in the church. Yeah all the emotionalism, all the promises and all the caffeine highs! lol It all comes from the same exact place and totally misses the peace brought by Christ and the true fear of the LORD.[IN THE LIVING SENSE]

thanx adam … great stuff you are sharing :) i am up early again … just hopped on the shovel to see what’s going on before i head back to bed.  :) good to hear from you. :)

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