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graphic: Martha G. Brady

graphic: Martha G. Brady

I know. You’re not sure you can really buy into this one. I will tell you the context where I heard it.

It was at the end of a sermon on the last part of Ephesians 4!

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, 

by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

Another quote from Brennan Manning in that same segment?

GOD loves you as you are, not as you should be.

To hear it all in context, you’ll need to listen to the sermon with yesterday’s date found here.

What do I need from this sermon to grow in the grace & knowledge of Jesus Christ?

Obviously, these statements are giving a little more of one side than the other, but not much more, and it is the side that often needs the most emphasis!

For many of us, our inclination is toward trying harder when we mess up (a nice word for sin most of the time.) We don’t naturally gravitate toward the concept of grace and having favors done for us that we don’t deserve. So the reminder that can occasionally be a little extreme on this side, balances out the actual truth for us. It is the side of truth that we most need to hear.

How often do we feel that GOD couldn’t possibly love us the way we are? Honestly. We think to ourselves, if only I could just get  my act together and be like… the older brother of the prodigal son instead of the prodigal? Uh, well, I hadn’t thought of it that way!

If only I prayed more or was more kind or…fill in the blank. Don’t you realize that if you already had it together and were truly perfect, you wouldn’t need Jesus?

If you were even close to perfect, you wouldn’t be aware of your need for Him either! It can be a good thing to be in a place where you realize that you need Him. A very good thing.

And honestly, He knows what a mess you are right now…and to a greater degree than even you do! In a sense, it’s the messes in your life that have brought beauty to it.

Think of the older home that has character vs. the new pristine home that looks perfect…but has no character.

Or the beauty of the older woman who hasn’t had work done on her face. Each line and mark on her face brings out the character of a life well-lived vs. the young woman whose face is unmarked by life. I’m sure you can think of many other examples of the beauty that time and age brings to something. Yes, it mars it, but with the marring comes a certain beauty.

If GOD only loved you when your life was all neat and tidy, that would be conditional love wouldn’t it? Could you even call it love?

Our worship service today was definitely stimulating to my mind and touching to my heart. Sharing a few of my thoughts may help you too…hopefully!

How was your worship service today?

What about it was helpful to you?

What stimulated your thinking about GOD and His ways even if you aren’t certain if it is Biblical or that you agree?

The latter are the best kind because they stimulate me to search Scripture…not to prove that my opinion is the right one, but to find out if my pastor has insight that I may need for growth in grace and knowledge…novel approach?

Who knew?