Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Second Chances

Hey Friends! I took a little impromptu break from blogging over the holiday. We had Thanksgiving dinners four days in a row. Spent lots of time with family, baking, eating, dodging family tension and thought we'd get away with a politic free night but no. It was brought up just when we thought everyone was leaving. My poor hub was sucked in and a whole nother hour of discussion. smh

However, I was introduced to two new books. One is specifically for Advent, which I love btw! And the other one is about second chances, and who doesn't appreciate being given a second chance.

The hope of gospel speaks of it all throughout.

Jesus was the biggest promoter of second chances! ...a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."

And we all fall into that category. And if you don't think you do, well then you most certainly belong there!

This is the newest book I've had the pleasure of reading.

I'm close to the half way mark and I'm so excited about it! Twitter watch out. Facebook too. I'm even sending quotes to my friends.
"This is a book for messed-up overcomers, for religious rebels, for the broken but resilient."
Man oh man, if that isn't right up my alley I don't know what is.

Of all the things I've learned this year is, God grace is scandalous. It's a grace that moves beyond the rules and what's accepted, to the meet those that are unaccepted and live on the fringes. 

I makes me think about the story Jesus shares of the Pharisee and Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14. 
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: "Two men went to the Temple to pray. On was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people--cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of income.'
"But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." 
Only Jesus could wipe the slate clean for the tax collector.

Just like He does for us.

I did have someone disagree with me on this excerpt from the book:
"His heart is far larger, His love far stronger than anything we can imagine...God is one lover you cannot manipulate or woo. He's all one sided. It's all grace. And He is all love."
They don't believe that He's all grace and all love.

I remember that being told to me that last year. It felt very old testament to me.

But sometimes when we go through difficult times we press in a little harder to find out if what we think we know is really true at all.

This is what I know about an all loving, all grace God,
God is love. 1 John 4:16
We are FULLY justified (declared guiltless) freely by His grace through the redemption that came be Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24
While Jesus was hanging on the cross He said two very important things. One, to the thief hanging next to Him, "Today you will be with me in paradise." And second, to those who put Him there, "Forgive them for they know not what they do."
Our justice looks very different than His justice. Our justice is beating the guy who owes us $5, when we've been forgiven of $500. 
When we struggle to do the right thing but yield to do the wrong thing, "What a wretched man am I! Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. He delivers me through Jesus. He delivers me. The good news of the gospel.

This book has reassured me that even though I've messed up in life, and I've gone through great suffering for it, I am not the sum of my weakness and failures.

Now I'm not Catholic but I do watch the Catholic world. I also graduated from a Catholic High School so I tend to look at the Catholic church fondly. I really liked Pope John Paul II. He seemed like a warm, compassionate person. This quote of his may be my favorite of all the things he said.

"We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father's love for us..."

Just ponder that for a moment. "We are the sum of the Father's love for us."

What a sigh of relief! It truly removes the burden of sin off of us and simply covers us with a blanket of love.

Let me just here with my blanket of love that my Hunny gave me, with coffee in hand and rest in the fact, "I'm the sum of the Father's love for me."

Blessings and Peace through this Holiday Season,

If you need some reassurance in this department, go and pick this book, The People of the Second Chance. You won't regret it!