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Re-Gifting the Gift of Grace this Christmas

Re-gifting Grace

Who can forget the episode of Seinfeld when Dr. Tim Whately is accused of re-gifting a label maker to Jerry?

It’s true that re-gifting is often frowned upon but some gifts are just meant to be given more than once. Over the next few weeks, I hope you’ll join me as we explore what it means to re-gift these types of gifts⎯those purchased in the eternal and wrapped by the love a Savior. Today, let’s unwrap and re-gift the gift of grace.

RainbowMoments ago, I stepped outside and saw a full rainbow stretched out above the mountain range. I took a quick picture but it began to rain. I ran inside to see if my speedy shot had captured this promise written across the sky in brilliant colors. As you can see, I barely caught the edge. By the time I returned outside for a better shot, the clouds had crept in, obscuring my view.

Some promises are like that, wouldn’t you agree? We’re told (or we say) just the right words at the right time but then desires shift, taking our well-meaning promises with them.

But God {the most powerful word duo ever written} — He is the keeper of promises.

Ephesians 2:8,9In verse 4 of Ephesians 2, it says that because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.There is nothing in us or about us that motivates the Lord’s favor. We deserve wrath, but through Christ, we instead received grace, which many define as “unmerited favor from God”. And this undeniable, powerful, life-changing favor changes everything. It alters the choices we make, our desire to serve, our priorities, and the way we love others. God’s unmerited favor toward us changes everything. So how can we not turn around and show the love of Christ to others?

If we are going to practice re-gifting this Christmas (and throughout the year) let it begin with the gift of grace. Here are just a few practical ways we can put this desire into practice.

Re-Gifting Grace:

 

  • Re-gifting grace happens when we pray for those who have hurt us or for those who are hurting us still. There is something about lifting a person’s name before God’s throne that slowly and quietly begins to allow us to see that person as God sees him/her. It may or may not erase the pain associated with the name but it will be offering grace through the gift of prayer.
  • Re-gifting grace happens when we give others permission to be different. A sweet friend (and one of the most humble women I know) and I sometimes tease how the world would be a much better place if everyone would just think like we do. {Yep, I just admitted that – just keepin’ it real here, friends!) We giggle and then proceed to slurp down our coffee {I didn’t say the world would be a better-mannered place!) Truth is, I think we all struggle with those who are different from us. Maybe it’s politics (as we can all attest to), our beliefs, questioning whether or not a believer should drink a glass of wine, or get tatted. The list goes on. This is where knowing the Word for ourselves (instead of believing hand-me-down beliefs) cultivates a life that’s willing to release others to be different and into His loving care. Perhaps this comes in the form of refusing to gossip or tear down the person. Or inviting him/her over for a warm dinner. Or it could be as simple as offering a warm hug or a kind word — or no words at all.
  • Re-gifting grace happens when we offer grace to ourselves first and foremost. The old adage rings true – we can’t give away what we ourselves do not possess. In Christ, we can rest in God’s unmerited favor whether we feel like or not. In fact, it’s when we least feel like resting in His love that we need it the most. The enemy reminds us of past choices, forgiven-but-former sins, and anything else he believes will mar the beauty of God-given grace. Our ability to both receive and rest in it proves the enemy wrong every single time. Every.Single.Time.

Let’s give re-gifting another try this year! I don’t know about you but focusing on eternally-produced gifts helps me to stay focused on the Gift HImself, Jesus Christ. Our Messiah, deliverer, healer, grace-giver, mercy-laden Savior. Thank You, Jesus.

What’s one way you can extend grace to another person this Christmas?

 

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Goodbye Elaine Benes, Hello Holy Spirit

by Cathy Baker

Earlier this week I shared why I chose to take up the challenge of writing under one theme for 31 Days, beginning October 1st. 

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, encouraged those bewildered by what subject to blog about to choose something that represents where they are in life right now. So it’s no surprise I decided on Join In The Dance…Staying In Step With The Spirit for the theme of my 31 Day challenge. 

See, I remember taking a dance class at a local studio to prepare for my mother/son dance at Zach and Sarah’s wedding back in 2009. We all went to the studio and had a great time but on their special night, when everyone gathered around the dance floor with all eyes on us, I froze. Everything I learned that night at the studio melted along with my confidence. And then Zach said the magic words, “Just follow me.” 

 

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said…” Mark 1:17a

In the original text, “Come, follow me,” is in the present tense, meaning it’s a continuous action. Jesus is continually calling me to follow—to stay in step with Him. So why do my dance steps of recent months look more like Elaine’s than a loving, attentive dance partner? 

When I look back over this summer, I see a lot of events. Graduations, weddings, a writer’s conference, and the funeral of a 21 year-old family member that broke all of our hearts — all crammed into a few months. In some ways, it feels like I never fully exhaled from the end of May through August. In the wake of the chaos I allowed days to rumble by without some serious time with my heavenly Father. Pages left unturned and truths not grasped all because my priorities were way out of whack. No wonder my steps were too.

While I wish I could have a re-do on my summer priorities, I can’t. I can, however, learn from the experience and become a stronger Christ follower as a result. I cling to the truth that His mercy for me is fresh every single morning (Lam. 3:22,23) and in turn, move closer towards Him with the desire of following His lead. I want to leave the independent herky-jerky moves to Elaine and instead, stay in step with One who forgives the clumsy footwork and occasional wrong turn from His partner.

How about you? Has there been a period of time when you’ve been out of step with the Spirit and His movement in your life? (If not, we’re all coming to your house for the next dance!) 

I invite you to join me during the month of October as we explore simple, fresh, and hopefully meaningful ways to stay attuned to the One who calls us by name and whispers Follow Me. 

We love because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19 ESV
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