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For all the Grace...

There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last few weeks.

I changed employers, I changed income, I changed occupation, I moved countries, and I got married.

Today Chelsea, my wife, and I made our first big purchase together: a Dyson vacuum.

After we unpacked it together, like little children we ran around the house vacuuming anything that seemingly looked like it needed vacuuming. After I went to the gym and came back home to a quiet house.

I paused to look around at all that we have. Cheap second hand furniture, Ikea furniture, and hand me down lamps. It is not much but we have a cute little home. We are comfortable and we have all that we need and more. On top of that, I am a University graduate enrolled in a graduate program with a job lined up right after I complete my program.

I am truly blessed. Blessed way more than I deserve.

On nights like these, when I realize how much I have (and it is not much), I am filled with gratitude. No, I am overwhelmed by gratitude. I am overwhelmed because I never thought my life would turn out this good.

I know who I really am, and what I am capable of. So, you see... all of this (points around the room)... it is not me! It is a gift from God.

Who am I that I deserve all this? Now, for anyone that knows me, you know that I struggle with the whole "blessed" thing. Why do some get it so good and others get it so bad? And I am no Calvinist or Traditional theist to have an easy answer ready. (I should probably blog about that whole issue) But in ways that I can't explain or put into words I just know that would I be doing this on my own my life would be a lot different. This is a faith thing, not a logic thing. I know I am blessed and I do not know why I am over another. But I do know "why" I am blessed: (reason<cause)

Because God is generous.

Last week during a Greek review I was attending, our teacher reacted negatively to a gift that was given to the class. He said, "I have worked for everything I have. I don't handle gifts very well. I don't know how to respond to generosity." Earlier this year when I was pastoring at Lighthouse I invited a guest to return to our community by saying, "next week we have potluck! So we will feed you too!" and he barked back, "I work for my meals." The first guy was disturbed by generosity and the the other guy seemed to not recognize hospitality.

Maybe that is what happens when we believe we are self sufficient: generosity either makes us uncomfortable or we can't recognize it. (Pause and think about that for a moment. Make all the homiletical connections... yeah... that's deep ain't it?) From God's generosity comes two things: Grace and mercy. And yes, they are different. Grace is a favorable gift of something we do NOT deserve. Mercy is a withholding of an unfavorable consequence we DO deserve.

In a sense, God's mercy is His grace towards us. (Pause, read Ephesians 2:4-5 and praise the Lord)

I will not go through my life story here, but let it be enough to say that I didn't have much growing up and I wasn't very smart either. (A recipe for low self esteem and trouble) And as much as I want to talk about both grace and mercy I just want to say a word about grace...

All of this...

everything that I have...

all that I am....

ESPECIALLY my beautiful and wonderful wife...

Is God's grace to me.

For all the Grace, I wanted to say to the LORD: Thank you.

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God."--2 Corinthians 4:15

May I freely give as You have given to me.

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