Tag Archives: 70×7

Walking to Bethlehem: An Advent Study

Have you ever read something in God’s Word that got you thinking?

 

For me recently, it was Jesus praying in the garden just before His arrest.  Mark 14:36And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

 

Not what My emotions want.

Not what My thoughts want.

Not what My body wants.

But what You deem best, Father.

No matter how hard it is going to be.

No matter how many times I am going to want to walk away.

 

And reading this, seeing the ultimate commitment Jesus has for us, God showed me that these same attitudes run through the story of Jesus’ birth.

 

It is the story of person after person after person being given the choice to say “not what I will, but what You will” to God’s invitation into the miraculous.  It is an aged couple being asked to believe beyond the physically impossible to step into the miraculous.  It is a young teenage girl being asked to defy tradition and convention to step into the miraculous.  It is her fiance, a simple man, being asked to believe in the possibly of the miraculous to also walk against the expected and embrace the unbelievable.

at-the-manger

So I felt compelled to go through and study the birth of Jesus.  It started way before the journey of a young and faithful couple from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  There is so much more to this story that is full of grace – and angels.

 

Want to journey with me?  Each day is a study and several questions to make you think.  If you walk with me, God will speak to you.  God will expand your understanding.  God will pour His love into you.

 

Marie Fremin.  Originally posted 11/30/16.  Edited and reposted 12/18/16.

 

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Grace Gone

I had a bad day yesterday.  I don’t deny it.  I don’t sugar coat it.  I don’t white wash it.  I am up front honest about being a hard person with a horrible attitude.

 

I was talking to a friend telling her about my crazy day.  And I readily admitted that my grace tank was completely EMPTY for a certain individual at work.  Not for one isolated incident but for a continued pattern of reckless behavior over the last six month where I keep bearing the brunt of his lack of listening and attention to detail.

 

So what triggered my sudden outburst?  This Saturday I felt like my name was dragged through the mud – because he did not listen to the conversation we had Friday night and I was accused of giving him wrong instructions.  And I let loose on him.  With no grace.  With no forgiveness.  With no mercy.  With no peace.

 

And I know it was wrong.  I know I should have held my tongue.  I know I should have prayed more about it.  I know what I should have done.

 

And I know what I did do.  I let the emptiness of my frustration guide my words.  I allowed my grace tank to be emptied – and stay empty.

 

I know I need to have grace.  The importance of grace is burning within me.  Grace is the only way to live.

 

But I am void of grace – for this individual.  There is nothing within me right now.  And I do not know why.  I cannot seem to stir it up.  I cannot get beyond the wall of my frustrations.

 

And I wonder where to start to be better and to do better.

 

So what direction did God guide me this morning?  God’s compassion.

 

God’s compassion amazes me.  As I drove into work this morning, I considered the lack of grace I have.  And God redirected my thoughts back to His great grace.

 

What if God gave up on us after two mistakes?  Three mistakes?  Four mistakes?  What if God deemed us hopeless and wrote us off when we could (would) not get something right?  What if God deemed us unredeemable when we refuse to do things His way?

 

And I struggle.  Because I know I should have great compassion on people, just as He has great compassion on me.  But the problems continue, even with many conversations and corrections.  Because the mistakes always outnumber the good and the right.

 

So how many mistakes should I overlook?

How many days should I choose to walk through with a smile?

How many times should I give grace?

 

As many as it takes.

 

To do things God’s way.

 

Matthew 18:21-2221 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

grace-gone

Not once.  Not twice.  Not three times.

As many times each day as it takes.

If it takes every minute of every day, then I need to do it every minute of every day.

 

And that hurts!  Because that requires me to step outside my feelings and live beyond the moment.  Because that requires me to consider someone other than myself.  Because that requires me to choose humility over righteousness.

 

And I don’t want to do any of these things.  I want to be right.  I want to be angry.  I want to be self-righteousness.

 

But God says no.  God says be humble.  God says be forgiving.  God says be compassionate.

 

So every day going forward will be a new opportunity to get it right.  No, I will not always get it right.  But God will always be faithful to help me, to direct me, to correct me, and to forgive me.

 

With grace gone I am empty of the thing I need most.  But with God, grace can flow freely.  God, I’m leaning into You to help me do better!

 

Marie Fremin.  12/13/16