Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014


The word... the word for 2014… what shall it be?


So very many words leap out and beckon my name, but which has perched itself upon my soul? Last year’s word, S.I.M.P.L.I.F.Y. was so very timely. The word was selected before I even knew we would be moving from 1400 sq. ft. into 700 sq. ft. and then move yet again within six months into a townhouse we have purchased. How providential was that?

The word that keeps circulating around my mind and my brain is G.R.A.C.E. Yes… everyday grace… seeing and being keenly aware of the blessings God has bestowed up me every single day.

Grace

/grās/

noun
  1. simple elegance or refinement of movement. "she moved through the water with effortless grace" synonyms: elegance, poise, gracefulness, finesse
  2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
verb
  1. do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence. "she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades" synonyms: dignify, distinguish, honor, favor 

Paul Zahl wrote:
Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love. 
Yes, that is it. Grace is the word this year. God loves me even when I am at my worst, even when I am most unlovable. This year I will be seeking to “spy” God’s favor through everyday grace, be it a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a brilliant cardinal lighting in the tree in our small yard; especially if I am acting upon grace as a verb and bestowing it upon others.

The old hymn by Charles Wesley says it very succinctly:

And Can It Be that I Should Gain


Words: Charles Wesley, 1739 (Acts 16:26)

1.

And can it be that I should gain 
an interest in the Savior's blood! 
Died he for me? who caused his pain! 
For me? who him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 

2.

'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies! 
Who can explore his strange design? 
In vain the firstborn seraph tries 
to sound the depths of love divine. 
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 

3.

He left his Father's throne above 
(so free, so infinite his grace!), 
emptied himself of all but love, 
and bled for Adam's helpless race.
'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 
'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 

4.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, 
fast bound in sin and nature's night; 
thine eye diffused a quickening ray; 
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
my chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee. 
My chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee. 

5.

No condemnation now I dread; 
Jesus, and all in him, is mine; 
alive in him, my living Head, 
and clothed in righteousness divine, 
bold I approach th' eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 
Bold I approach th' eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 

Wishing you everyday grace,
Tamara