Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grace in the Dark Places

Grace isn't just for sunny days.  It’s for dark days too.  Maybe grace shows up best on dark days.

King David had a few dark days.  His infidelity and murder was brought out and made public.  That had to be a dark day.  And he found grace.

There once was a woman drawing water at the community well.  She was what you might call a “woman of many men” for she had already had five husbands, and the man who was her current main squeeze had not even bothered to wed her.  Christ came along.  He brought grace to this woman’s dark and dreary life.

Another woman, one we might label as “a slut with an impure lifestyle” was found washing the feet of Christ with her tears.  Her TEARS!  And after washing his feet, she dried them with her hair.  Can you picture that one?  Those nearby chastised her, and they said some less than esteeming words to Christ as if he had lost his senses. 

And in the end, Christ extended grace to the darkest depths of this woman of the streets.  He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Grace came that day and touched the dark places of this common prostitute.  She came in as a woman of sin.  She left as a woman seized by grace. 

What is your dark place?  What parts of your life would you really like to keep in the dark and out of sight of others?

The God that I serve wants to offer you great grace.  He wants to light up your life and extend the hand of grace to your distorted, disjointed, and disengaged lifestyle.

He can bring grace to your life.  He can shed light and life on any area in which you feel great shame and disgrace.

The invitation is this:

Come, all who are tired, worn out, and carry immense problems on your shoulders.  Lay down your burdens.  I will give you rest.  Learn about my ways and a new way of living.  I shall bring peace to your soul. 

In other words … I give grace for the dark places in your life.

Amen!

Thanks be to God.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Ticket Back Home

Let’s cut straight to the point, shall we?  Our title, The Ticket Back Home is all about grace and acceptance.  Here is why.

I will borrow a line or two from Henry Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal

“Here the mystery of my life is unveiled.  I am loved so much that I am free to leave home. … But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and whisper again in my ear:  ‘You are my beloved.  On you my favor rests.’”

What is at play here is this – the relentless love of Papa God. 

He loves us so much that He, God, continues to allow us our free will.  We get to choose.  We choose our food, our clothes, our friends, our jobs, our cars, our entertainment, our sins, our lifestyle and everything else. 

He promised a long time ago that He would never revoke this one privilege.  It started in the garden.  Adam and Eve chose fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  And so today we retain that one great power.

We choose.

And even if, in that choosing, we walk away from God, what then? 

He still looks for us.  He still calls to us.  His love continually reaches out to us, offering grace, hope, forgiveness, peace, safety, assurance.

And still, if we choose to ignore all of that, He still looks for us.  With every stirring of a leaf or every rubbing together of a couple of tree branches, perhaps Father God wonders if we made that disturbance as we turn and head back to His arms of grace and His house of safety.

The ticket back home to God is always waiting for us at the station.  It is ours for the claiming.  And we get to choose when to claim it. 

Today might be a dandy time to claim your ticket and start your journey home toward redemption.

He is looking for you.  He left the light on for you.  There is food on the table and new clothes for you to wear.  And your seat by the fire is ready for you.

Come home to the one who loves you and has never stopped loving you.

Jeremiah 31:3 reminds us of this:
From afar, God reaches for us and He says, ‘I have loved you with a forever kind of love.  I shall continue to offer you my faithfulness.’

Amen.  Thanks be to God.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Help for Our 'Should Be' Life

I should be perfect.  I've had every opportunity to get it right all of my life, so I should have this “God” thing down to perfection.  I should have my act together.  I should, you know. 

But I don’t.

I've been going to church since a few days after I was born.  My Dad was a minister and we had prayer in our home, we prayed at every meal, I attended church three or more times every week. 

I should have it all together. 

I've served as a minister.  I've sang songs of salvation and grace, of love and mercy, and I've spoken about these topics too.  I've read the Bible through on more than one occasion, I've attended hundreds of Sunday school classes, I've heard even more sermons, and don’t get me started on the number of prayers I've prayed. 

I should have it all together with God.  I should be a spiritual giant … but I’m not.

Can you relate to bits and pieces of this monologue above?  Do you also sometimes struggle with your ‘should be’ life? 

Then, perhaps, here is some incredibly great encouragement for all of us.

God wants to have a conversation with you and me, and it goes something like this. 

Hi.  This is God.  I have a few words for you.  I know your whole story.  I know everything about you, every skeleton that hangs in your closet.  I know every instance of sin and shame, dishonesty and disobedience that plagues your life. 

I know every moment of your dark past.  I know your moments of weak faith, and I know how shallow your prayers are. 

I know about the inconsistencies in your discipleship, I know how many times you've slept in church, even when trying to pray.  I know your private thoughts, your secret longings, your druthers and your angst.

And in the middle of it all - I still dare to love you. 

I LOVE YOU!

I love you, not as you are. 
I love you not as you should be.
I love you in the middle of all the messiness, the missed deadlines and the misguided thoughts, longings, lusts, and damaging “stuff” you do to yourself.

I put these words into my document called The Bible.  “No one is righteous and pure and holy.  Not even one.” 
(Romans 3:10)

And a little later in this scripture, I added this.  “Whoever calls out to me will be saved.” 
(Romans 3:13)

Don’t you see?  I’ll move heaven and earth just to have you with me.  You don’t have to dress up, clean up, try harder, go to church more, be more, sing more, read more.  You just have to accept what I've already offered you.

My salvation
     My grace
          My peace 
               My forgiveness

So put aside your low self-image.
Put aside your lousy attitude of “I’m not good enough.”
Stop hating yourself. 

Stop putting yourself down.
Stop limiting my power to work in your life.
Quit limiting your concept of me and my ability to love you.

Start believing what is already yours. 

Grace for each moment of your life.

And love – my love.

Your God



P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Spiritual MRI

In layman’s terms, an MRI is a result of signals from atoms inside the body that are turned into images of the inside of the body.

If there is an abnormality, it can be readily seen and understood by highly trained medical professionals.

What about a spiritual MRI?  Have you ever asked for an inner spiritual MRI? 

King David did.  About a year after his fling with Bathsheba, he boldly asked God to do an inside job.  It sounded like this.

“Search me deeply God.  Know all about my heart.  Put me to the test.  Uncover my anxieties, my whims and my proclivities.  Look deep for any wicked, evil, scheming ways, and then lead me away from those ailments and take me to your ways where I can discover everlasting life.”
Based on Psalm 139:23-24


Do you have some ailments plaguing your life?  Have you been ignoring the warning signs, feelings of guilt, or have you swept a lot of “stuff” under the carpet?

Then you need an MRI.

Note that David is the one who asked for this procedure.  He asked that God search him, learn all there was to learn about the inner working of his heart.  He wanted God to put him to the test and dig out all unsavory, unsatisfactory, and ultimately dangerous thoughts, longing and inclinations residing inside of him. 

We are the ones who ask for the examination.  When we come to our end, when things can’t get any worse, that is the time to come to the God who sees us, knows us intimately, and He is the one who can, with great surgical skill, eradicate the cancer, the growth, the poison or the malignancy. 

HE is the Great Physician who can heal our sin-sick lives.

It is your move.  Do you need an exam? 

Ask!



P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time