Seasoned with Grace

colossians4_5_6I live with a purpose — to live and speak in a way that reflects the one thing in my life that truly matters – Jesus Christ.  My belief that God loved me so much that He sent His Son, in spite of my willful rebellion, to die as a perfect sacrifice for me to once again enjoy right relationship with Him.  This belief is what should mark my words at all times.  I don’t always succeed – but it is my goal everyday.  This too is with purpose — that the world will be reconciled to God.

I live among Mormons, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics and many more.  I have friends among all of them.  I have been told by my friends that what they appreciate is that I don’t spend my days brow beating them into submission to what I hold to be true.  Rather, I spend my time treating my friends who are outside of the household of faith with the love and grace that has so generously been lavished upon me.  Further, I spend my private time – my alone time – studying the Word of God and the life of my Savior, Jesus Christ, so that when matter of faith come up my words will be His words and not my own – colored in dogma or arrogance.  I don’t degrade or denounce what anyone else believes — but I speak and live in such a way that the people around me know that I am certain that what I believe about Jesus is the absolute truth! Are you getting this?

There’s a lot of hateful behavior and talk going around in our nation right now.  We would rather kill them all and hold them in disdain than do what God in Christ asked us to do;  love them back to the truth.  I don’t care what they believe or how they are living; the truth is that God loves them and desires that they should not perish.  He didn’t place us on this earth to hate people.  He didn’t place us here to exchange the love of Christ for a gun and hateful words! It is our role to be the gospel to the world.

When we open our mouths, our words should drip with the sweet aroma of the Holy Spirit; offering a positive testimony to this world of the love and light of Christ.  When we are with people our actions should be drenched in grace, truth and love  so that people are attracted to what is within us.  Our words and lives should be exciting, attractive, winsome, lovely, grace filled, marked by patience – they should reflect what is inside of us!

Our words and our lives should be making such an indelible imprint on the world around us that there should be no mistake as to who is King of Kings; the Prince of Peace; the Great I Am.  Our presence in the world should make us unforgettable to everyone we come in contact with.  Do they know that they’ve been with a Christ follower when they’ve been with you?

I am so hopeful that I will never forget that my life is not about me being seen, nor is about me being right.  It is not about me having freedom and liberty on this earth. My life is about the ministry of reconciliation.  I’ve gotta live and speak what I say my heart believes!  As the old folk used to say – you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6

More than Mere Existence

existExist. That’s where most of us spend our time — in that one word – exist. EXIST – a word that really has nothing to do with who we were created to be at all! EXIST – quite boring really – it makes me think of words like survive, subsist. We exist because He created us – but He didn’t create us to merely exist – He created us to THRIVE and to live lives of purpose. We fail every day to grasp ahold of God’s wondrous plans for our existence. His will for our lives will glorify Him and satisfy us and He has give us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into His perfect will for us. His will is not a mystery – but we do not seek it.

It’s true – we don’t seek His will for us; not because we don’t want to be in His will, but because we are afraid of what He might ask us to give up. We are careful to be good people; to go to church; to give to the poor; to keep the law of the land; etc. and in return we expect God’s favor to rest on our lives. He is a gracious God – and many times He does bless mundane lives. But why would you settle for the mundane when you could have the magnificent? What if He created you to bring hope to the lost? to bring healing to broken hearts? to preach the gospel in a foreign country? to be the image of Christ for your neighborhood?

I worked for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate HR Manager in my other life. It was a fairy tale story. I was a temp in their F&B department; then a temp in HR; and the VP of HR saw something in me and gave me the job which helped me put my hubby through seminary. It was a great job! I got to see the world and stay in beautiful places. My friends loved to tell their friends where I worked. They thought it was magnificent – as did I. Some of my friends even enjoyed comp nights at some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world.  But one day God knocked on the door of my heart and said Africa is where He wanted Lloyd and I to serve. I remember telling my boss I was resigning so that we could pursue the missionary life and she asked if I could afford to do it — I told her I couldn’t afford NOT to do it. Just 3 years later we were in Ghana – leading people to the Lord; training pastors and their wives; training community leaders; giving our lives away! 10 years after that we were asked to be Africa Directors for our mission and we get to encourage, equip and empower other missionaries AND I still get to see God’s beautiful creation all over the world! The money is nothing to write home about for sure! – but I am satisfied!  AND I know beyond any shadow of doubt that God is glorified through my life. I am convinced that I am so satisfied because this life that I live is not about me – everyday my life points to and depends upon Him.

I could very well have fought God early on and tried to hang on to my corner office with the beautiful view; to my title and the prestige it brought with it — but I trusted Him enough to believe that whatever He had in front of me would be incredible – more incredible than I could imagine. I decided to believe His word when it says that He can do immeasurably more than my little mind can conceive. I decided to believe that the one who created me knew the purpose He had for me and I decided to live a life in step with Him. I never once questioned His word to me – I knew that it was He who placed me in that job, and I knew that should I ever need a job again He would surely open the door for me. I’m not perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination; but I had enough wisdom to trust in The One who is trustworthy.

Someone reading this is on the brink – God is talking to you and showing you great and mighty things; but you have taken your focus off of the blesser and become fixated on the blessings (material) and are afraid to let them go in order to run hard after what He has for you. I will not tell you that following God is easy – but I will tell you that he loves you and what He has planned for you is satisfying – completely satisfying. Don’t waste time fighting His will for you — be wise enough to trust the God in whom all wisdom dwells. He won’t lead you astray!

Look around you! This world needs the people of God on their posts. The Body of Christ needs to rise up and grab hold of God’s plan. Every believer needs to get in step with God’s will for their lives and allow him to complete the great work that He is doing within us. Take a stand to walk like God’s child today; don’t waste another minute following after the world’s lures — grab hold of Him and His will for you today!  If you want to live a life well spent – and not just exist without purpose – choose the wise way – choose His way!

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15,16)