Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 4, 2011

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."  Romans 12:14

Why would I bless one who persecutes me?

How would that keep them from persecuting me more?

If they keep persecuting me do I keep blessing them?

How does that help me? Am I to be a perpetual victim?

What does it mean to bless them?

Good questions!

What would Jesus do?

What DID He do for you?

He loved you, even though you were born a sinner and had no desire for Him.

You lived for yourself and satisfied all your selfish desires. He gave up all the privilege and pleasures of Heaven for you and came to be born as a baby in a manger.

He kept seeking you and reaching out to you as you ignored Him and chased pleasure.

As you cursed Him and took His Name in vain, He prayed for you and blessed you as much as He could.

Long before you had any desire to live for Him, He died for you.

Why would He do that?

That's grace!

What is grace?

God's Riches At Christ's Expense!

God blessed you and removed the curse of sin!

That is why He can call you to bless those who persecute you! Because He did! You can, too.

Who will you bless today? How will you grace others?

February 3, 2011

"Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath." Romans 12:14

Getting a grip on grace requires releasing grudges. Let's talk about how that happens.

Here's a story to help illustrate this truth:

An interesting system has been used for capturing monkeys in the jungles of Africa. The goal is to take the monkeys alive and unharmed for shipment to zoos of America. In an extremely humane way, the captors use heavy bottles, with long narrow necks, into which they deposit a handful of sweet-smelling nuts. The bottles are dropped on the jungle floor, and the captors return the next morning to find a monkey trapped next to each bottle.

How is it accomplished? The monkey, attracted by the aromatic scent of the nuts, comes to investigate the bottle, the nuts, and is trapped. The monkey can't take its hand out of the bottle as long it's holding the nuts, but it is unwilling to open its hand and let them go. The bottle is too heavy to carry away, so the monkey is trapped.

You hold onto a grudge out of a desire to get even with someone who has hurt you or wronged you. But in the attempt to do so, and even in the desire to do so, you are trapped by your own devices. Just like the monkeys, your stubborn refusal to release the grudge keeps you trapped like them. And like them, all you need to do is let go.

But in fact, it is more than letting go, it is grabbing something else - GRACE! You release the negative so you can possess the positive. Grace is an incredible gift that is yours for the taking, but to take it you need a free hand. If I held out a gift to you, I could offer it but it would not be yours until you received it. You have to reach out and receive it with open hands.

Grace is a gift that must be received freely and once received it must be passed on to others. You cannot do either if you are trapped in vindictiveness and resentment.

Spring the grudge trap and escape to the freedom of grace!