"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
A Long January
I’m reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I highly recommend it.
Here is an excerpt:
“Often I have been asked, ‘Brennan, how is it possible that you became an alcoholic after you got saved?’ It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden and took my eyes off Jesus. Because the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set right in relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table.
“We want ever-sharp spirituality – push, pull, click, click, one saint that quick – and attempt to cultivate a particular virtue at a given point in time. Prudence in January, humility in February, fortitude in March, temperance in April. Score cards are provided for toting up gains and losses. The losses should diminish if you expect to meet charity in May. Sometimes May never comes. For many Christians, life is a long January.”
Sadly, I meet people often who are stuck in a long January. I understand how they feel. It seems to be sort of a typical problem that we too often forget grace. Kind of our default operating system.
And when we do, we revert to the old penance and punishment mode. Like God is sitting back watching us struggle and strive to “be good” and either giving us a demerit or a gold star depending on what we have done with our lives today.
Then we beat ourselves up – unless we can find someone behaving worse than we are and end up deciding maybe we’re not so bad after all. Or, we give up with the exclamation, “It’s too hard. I just can’t DO that “words of Jesus” stuff!”
I’m sorry y’all, but that is NOT abundant life. And Jesus has promised us just that. (John 10:10)
But, again, we must not forget grace.
I think one reason we forget is because there is precious little of it on display. The pattern of the world is paying for your mistakes and “sins.” We call it justice, or revenge. We have to renew our minds to God’s way.
I know that’s hard. But keep reminding yourself that God delights in forgiving us – offering grace – because He loves us. And He even likes us. He actually wants to come over for Christmas (and bring presents!)
The question is, will we accept them and use them? Those gifts will cover the floor under the tree and include grace and peace, deeper knowledge of God and His Son, abundant life and godliness, a divine and glorious nature, freedom and authority in Christ, and a heart of love for God and others.
But, don’t wait for Christmas to welcome Him. He’s at the door right now (Revelation 3:20) because
You are loved!
2nd and 4th Tuesdays. 7PM
Do you want to know how to accept Jesus? Click "Learn More" below.
It was my absolute pleasure this morning to share a time at breakfast with several members of the Men's Downtown Bible Class of Waxahachie. In spite of the name, I know that this is a coed group including one young lady who was present this morning. I was delighted to share with them what we are doing at 1Twenty2 Ministries as they presented to me a very generous donation to our ministry.
These folks have been faithful supporters of us for several years and we are exceedingly grateful for their help. Thank you MDBC for who you are and what you do for the Kingdom work. Your gift will more than fully fund our desire to train ten more facilitators and assistants for our financial health education program. We can then extend our reach to other groups and individuals in our community who need this information and encouragement.
I have said before that we depend heavily on support from generous contributors outside our ministry to enable us to do what we do. Frankly, we could not operate without you. Well over half of our budget comes from friends and organizations outside our small group. Many of those who are the core of our ministry simply do not have the financial resources to support us so we depend on others who are more fortunate financially to keep us operating. Please consider helping us reach folks, like those families at the Presbyterian Home who are learning basic healthy financial practices in our Faith & Finances program, who might otherwise never get these benefits of our ministry.
We are a 501c3 non-profit ministry which means you can deduct your gift on your income tax. You can give securely on line at our web site - www.1Twenty2.com - or mail your gift to PO Box 1089, Waxahachie, TX 75168.
All men, age JrHi age and up, are invited to come to Kingdom Men on Saturday, February 8, at 8:30AM. We will meet at our ministry, 604 E. Parks in Waxahachie for a full cooked breakfast (yes, I CAN cook) and the share in fellowship and Bible study using the series, No More Excuses! by Dr. Tony Evans. You can let me know you are coming by replying here or on our Facebook page. Look at the "Events" and click the "Coming" tab. This way, I can be sure we have enough for you to eat!
We believe that there is nothing more important to man than to be reconciled to God through His Son. We want to know Jesus more and more and to help others do likewise. We desire to be obedient and Christlike by being doers of the Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22). We want to be salt and light to the world by following the Luke 4 mandate where Jesus describes His ministry. We will seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit at all times as He leads us into the specifics of our ministry work. We will work from our Spiritual gifts and calling with a servant attitude doing all of this to bring glory to God and not ourselves. And we will be intentional in working to resolve spiritual, relational, and material poverty in our community and anywhere else where we may have influence.