These habits will help form a posture of communicating – of living – with gracious conviction. Most of them rely on humility in action; they show and shape perspective at the same time. They are habits learned as we follow Jesus around as his apprentices. They don’t always come easily; as we learn, we still fall short. But this is the Jesus way. We can’t do less – and by God’s grace, it will become easier.
These references in Romans to love, to humble, faithful service, and to peaceful actions even toward our enemies indicate that the Christian calling is certainly a high one. Yet in the mystery of grace, this life of graciousness is the one that God has called us to live. Jesus reminds us that what is impossible for us is possible with God.
Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian pastor, but I believe that actually he was a Methodist deep down inside. Why do I say that? I don’t know anyone who more fully lived out the concept of “prevenient grace.”
“Nehemiah is faced with the news that the walls and gates of Jerusalem have been destroyed, leaving the city’s inhabitants vulnerable. What are some things in your life that need to be rebuilt? Are you ready to ask God to show you something that is in need of repair?”
“Providence does not mean that we have no free will. God’s providence does not rule out human freedom. Providence is not opposed to cooperation with God. Providence does not mean we are off the hook or that we have no sense of responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Rather, we cooperate with God as we grow in our faith by practicing spiritual disciplines or the means of grace.”
We can’t run
from this. No matter how powerful, wealthy, famous, or holy we are, we are ashes. No matter how great of an influencer on social media we are, we are
ashes. No matter how big a church we are part of, we are ashes. We are ashes. We are broken. We are sinful.
This realization of brokenness is one of the greatest gifts we can ever receive.
He tells the sailors to toss him overboard, because he believes that his God is acting like all the other gods, punishing him and them in the process. After Jonah says, “hurl me into the sea,” something strange happens. The sailors start rowing to dry land. Though it’s easy to skip ahead and assume that they picked him up and tossed him right in – they didn’t. These outsider sailors are acting in a gracious way.
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