Monday, August 17, 2009

Fast and the Curious: A Grace Expression

I was thinking – yeah shock I know – how the blogposts give an insight into what I’m thinking at a given time, but don’t really offer that much insight into who I am and what I do, which is cool in some cases, but not in all. Then remembering the series on fasting and a current theme on grace expressions everything coalesced neatly into today’s blog.

I walked home from the YMCA this evening from the Chill, Chat & Connect session I help to run on a Monday evenings. As I made my way down Watkin Street, the street on which I live, I began thinking to myself what I would probably blog this evening.

I was reflecting on the life I live and the blessings to which I am afforded at this time and the following concept came to mind. - Fasting in the Feast and Feasting in the Famine. I noticed that this has been a rich season for reading and writing – being able to do things I enjoy and feel gifted at. I considered the fact that Hughie’s invitation to use the upstairs office at Phase 1 or even use an office at NORSACA as a base of operations until my area in the main hall was sorted was part of a wave of good feeling.

So this was about giving me the space and the time to continue the one-to-one conversations as well as reading online material and more Bible study that would inform and shape the writing that would emerge from that.

I then reflected how that would help me work towards the scene of producing writing material for different organisations – COG, NORSACA and the YMCA chiefly and then also from that developing those audio recordings and projects that spin off from that.

Reflecting on such a time of plenty in terms of opportunities and creativity made me more aware of the need to be grateful to God for opportunities. As I put this in the context of making copious notes on the notepad as well as electronically and yet that didn’t cover all that I think and consider made me all the more thankful.

Then I thought again about that episode in Genesis when Pharaoh is bothered by a dream that he cannot understand. Then an imported foreign slave who was also a convicted rapist was discovered to also have a good way with these dreams. What he was about to divulge to the Pharaoh would contribute to the country being an economic superpower in a global downturn. The principle behind the success was relatively simple – in times of plenty as you enjoy remember to store up because days of famine are around the corner and how you deal with the feast will determine how you cope in the famine.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is a great life principle. Not every day is sunshine and not every day sees it dull and overcast. Some days are better than others, but all days can be fruitful and productive days however bad it may appear when the attitude is to make the most of every situation so that it benefits the good and the bad that comes.

It is something that has been stressed in our church that we need to make the most of the time that we have to seek God now and develop a passionate relationship with Him. We really have to soak in and retain as much as we can of the good experiences we have now. These will sustain and keep us connected to the generous Father who allows us to have all good things. It will allow us not to make the mistakes of history where a people delivered from soul-crushing slavery by mighty acts of God were only too quick to complain when bad things rather than believe that the same God who did those tremendous acts would sustain them even in time of lack and indeed the very knowledge that it is on Him they rely should not develop a complaining culture but a thankful people.

The script of God’s relationship with people is Him being gracious, loving, merciful and forgiving while we only remember Him when we reap the harsh consequences of our neglect of Him. Sometimes even this memory of Him is short term and convenience based rather than relationally dependent.

So I look at my wife and children, consider the job I have and the people with whom I work and whom I serve, the church that I am a part of with the benefits we currently enjoy and endeavour to savour these times. These are not deserved for I have done nothing to merit them, my own failings and struggles constantly disqualify me from the abundant generosity and love of God.

Yet the reality is that I am witness of His grace and genuinely believe by His grace slowly but surely as Paul and John wrote I’m getting better all the time. Better than that is that the grace of God and His character remain the same – His love endures forever, blessed be His name.

For His Name's Sake



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