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Table of Grace Blog
Tuesday, November 12 2013

I stumbled over a blog the other day and it went sort of like this…

 

I am feeling very blessed this week.  I am very blessed.

I have great family.  I have great friends.  I am a part of one of the most amazing churches on the planet.

My kids are healthy.  My marriage is healthy.

I have a lot to be grateful for.  

And so do you.  Care to share one of the many blessings in your life?  Leave a comment, I can’t wait  to read them.

 

I am certain that many of us feel this way now or have felt this way before.  The comment section following the blog attests to it.  I think if we're honest, it's not terribly difficult to reflect on the many snapshots of our lives and find more than a few things to feel sincerely thankful for.   This is good.  We should be grateful for the good things in our lives.  Reading the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 5 though, gives me a little different perspective into what it means to be blessed.   Compare the post above to the passage below from The Message.

 

"You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

"You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

"You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

"You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

"You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ’carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for.

"You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

"You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

"Not only that-count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.

 

Over and over again Jesus says, 'I am what you need.'  When we come the crossroads of what we desire most and what we need most, and we find Jesus, it's then that we know what it means to be blessed.   When Jesus came, he leveled the playing field.  He spoke against the self important and the self righteous.  Both the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the saint and the sinner ... they all needed Christ the same and they all looked the same to Him.  When Jesus looks into the eyes of the destitute, he sees the same thing he sees when he looks into the eyes of the elite.  Need.  God doesn't measure me on a scale.  He offers the same satisfaction for my needs as he does to those who are seemingly greater than me.  I am not lower class, second class, or head of the class in His eyes.  I am simply His.

 

Father, give me Your eyes.  Let me see those around me as You see them and as You see me.  People needing You.

Posted by: AT 08:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, November 03 2013

It's that time of night that if you're a parent of young children, and you're honest enough to admit it,  you've been looking forward  to since mid afternoon.  The house is finally quiet.  All the kids are tucked away in their beds and the seemingly incessant 'mommy, mommy, mommys' or 'daddy, daddy, daddys' have ended.  The stories have been read.  The prayers have been led.  All the special requests have been granted.  Ahhh, rest.   Reflecting on this day, a day remembered in churches around the nation as 'Orphan Sunday' no less, I find it hard to believe that it's been more than two years since our family of 5 became a family of 7 and we tucked Jayce and Nyah into bed for the first time.  I say hard to believe  because the memory of those first nights are still fresh.   They seemed to last forever.  You can read the books, take the required courses,  and seek advice from seasoned veterans, but nothing fully prepares you for the adjustment that follows adoption.  Although I've experienced some of the difficulties faced by adoptive parents, I can only imagine how difficult it was on the little ones we brought home.  Before we even laid eyes on them, their little lives had been scarred by abandonment and rejection.  And now, here they were, in a strange place with strange people, having been carried way once again by unfamiliar arms, to an unfamiliar world filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells.  We learned quickly that those seemingly innate responses we took for granted with our first three children, such as trust, security, and a sense of belonging, were learned.   How do you trust a stranger?  How do you feel safe in a place so foreign?  How do you belong when you've never truly belonged before?  You don't.  At least in the beginning.  In the dark, you cry out for familiarity.  In the light, you hold onto everyone and everything you see.  You eat every meal as if it were your last and hold onto every truck or doll as if it were the only one.  You bask in the attention you're receiving while doing all you can to earn the love of your new hosts.

 

If we identify ourselves with Christ, we've been adopted as children of God.  As such, we too were once orphans.  Once abandoned and rejected by this world, we now sit at The King's table with full rights to an inheritance far greater than this world could ever imagine.   If only I would grasp what I claim to be true.  Like an adopted child adjusting to my new home, I often find myself acting out testing the boundaries of my Father's love, fiercely clutching to every possession as if it’s the only thing that matters, and desperately trying to earn a love that I've convinced myself that I don't deserve.   If only we could get past that adjustment period.  If we could just trust the One who is True.  If we could rest safe in the arms of the one who holds the universe in His hands.  If we could accept our place at the table of God's abounding grace.   If only we would stop living as orphans we could echo Paul, as confident children of God,

 

 "When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!  My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.  I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit-not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength -  that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.   And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love,  you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights!  Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."

 

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed  us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.  For  he chose us in Christ  before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished   in his sight  in love. He did this by predestining  us to adoption as his  sons  through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure  of his will –  to the praise of the glory of his grace  that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son.  In him   we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight.  -- Eph 1:3-8

Posted by: Todd AT 11:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email