Tag Archives: Grace

Grace Speaks…Beware but not Afraid

Reminding, “Beware, but not Afraid…”

     The second stanza of the cherished hymn, Amazing Grace, says,

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
grace my fears relieved;

      The beloved lyrics in the hymn written by John Newton reflect his personal experience. During a violent storm off the coast of Ireland, the terrified, non-believing Atlantic slave trader cried out to God for mercy.

      God’s mercy enabled John Newton to embrace God’s grace. His conversion experience led him away from the vile business of slave trade. Instead, he began studying theology, eventually becoming a curate in the Church of England and writing a poem that would be set to music and revered worldwide.

      The kind of fear Newton wrote about reminds me of the U.S. National Weather Center’s ‘red flag warning,’ which is the highest level of alert for extreme fire danger. When the voice of grace reminds me to ‘beware,’ I imagine the divine ‘red flag warning,’ may be God’s way of alerting me—not to cause panic but to help me prepare and avoid choices that have the potential for extreme danger in my life.

      I was growing up in the church, fear of God’s judgment was often a tactic used to help control potentially damaging conduct. I’ve come to believe the intentions of leaders were good, and this strategy may have protected me from some harmful behaviors. But, behavior modification wasn’t enough to transform my heart.

     Grace is transformational.

          Grace declares God loves little ol’ me—simply as I am, just who I am.

               Grace changes my desires—transforms ‘should do’s’ into ‘want to’s.’

                    Grace reassures God is for me and not against me.

                         Grace promises God will never leave me.

                              And, Grace my fears relieve.

     I agree with John Newton. God’s grace is amazing! How sweet is the sound of this 5- letter word.

     If you are struggling with a sense of fear or condemnation today, I pray these simple words will point you to the promise of God’s Grace.

Sue Reeve

Grace Speaks…

Probing, “Does this really matter?”

     My husband and I were on the brink of an argument the other day. He’d heard a request I’d made one way, and I was convinced I’d communicated it another way—which, naturally, in my opinion, was the RIGHT way! (You can imagine a smiley-face emoji inserted here!)

     Just as I was preparing my defense against Ron’s perception, I heard it—the voice of grace, asking, “Really, Sue, in light of eternity, does it matter?” I knew the correct answer. No, of course it doesn’t! I’m grateful I listened and was able to capture and set aside argumentative words that day. Otherwise, resentful feelings that could have easily become harsh, hurtful and long-lasting may have been the outcome. I know that from experience!

     I’m not sure when I started listening to the voice of grace ask me the ‘in-light-of-eternity’ question, or more importantly, when I realized that in light of eternity, most potential gripes and grievances truly do not matter.

     I’m one of those people who has a passionate opinion about almost everything! I possess a very strong sense of fairness and justice. And, on top of that, somewhere during childhood, I determined it was vitally important to be RIGHT.

     Here’s what grace has taught me.

          It’s all right to be passionate and have opinions, but wisdom will help me manage my
          passions and opinions, choosing with whom and when I share them.

          Fairness and justice are important, but I can decide which battles are worth fighting,
          and if I feel the need to fight a battle, I can prayerfully decide on a strategic plan for
          maximum effectiveness.

          Finally, grace has taught me I don’t NEED to be RIGHT!

     Grace not only challenges me to consider what doesn’t matter in light of eternity. Grace also reminds me that much does matter:

     a kind gesture; a helping hand; an encouraging word; generosity;

          forgiveness; gratitude; willingness to listen; temperate correction;

               gentle truth; inconvenient or undeserved acts of kindness;

                    persistence; non-malicious laughter; validation;

                         and always, always unselfish love.

I want to learn to listen more carefully, obey more readily and turn my behavior around more quickly when the voice of Grace asks, “In light of eternity does this really matter?”

     How about you?

Grace to you…

Sue Reeve

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – part 6

(Part 6 – Grace & Respect Walk Hand in Hand)

Let’s make sure that the words we speak to our children include words
of grace and respect.

Chuck Swindoll

     If you’re a regular Listening on the Journey… reader, you know the last few blog posts have focused on the matter of respect. This topic has triggered many subsequent thoughts for me. In the last post, I communicated the notion that respect is linked to love.

     Today, I’d like to introduce another thought: Grace walks hand in hand with respect.

     One reader commented that respect is learned from childhood, and I couldn’t agree more. Children who are treated with respect and who watch respect modeled in the home will be more likely to grow into respectful adults.

     Nothing breaks my heart more than when I hear reports of child abuse.

     Like most conduct, abusive behavior toward children lies on a continuum of ultra-permissiveness to cruel violence. Most of us have at times fallen somewhere on the continuum.

     I’m a grandmother now, but I remember my parenting years well. Sometimes—usually, because I was too tired to expend the energy required—I was guilty of not administering loving, fair, consistent discipline.

     At other times—usually because I was too frazzled to discipline my own frustration—I raised my voice unnecessarily, made a comment I’d regret later or was overly harsh in response to my child’s age-appropriate behavior.

     Devaluing children has been common throughout the ages. I love the way Jesus acknowledged little ones:

     People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” (Luke 18:15-17 MSG)

     As I was getting ready to write today’s post, I decided to Google “grace and respect” to see if anyone else had linked these two attributes. My search unearthed the wonderful quote I used to introduce this post from Chuck Swindoll, one of my favorite contemporary Bible teachers.

     Showing grace and respect to children is a great starting point. Grace-filled words and respectful actions— whether to our own sons and daughters, precious grandkids like Emmi and Reeve in the photo below, or the disruptive little one in the restaurant or on an airplane—reflect the heart of Jesus.

     Today’s post concludes the R-E-S-P-E-C-T series. Next time, I’ll begin a series I’ve entitled, Grace Speaks… I hope you’ll join me.

     Until then, blessings on your journey. May your days be filled with grace and respect…

Sue Reeve