In 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis declaring salvation by grace through faith. Today the church desperately needs a second reformation of sanctification by grace. Christians are chained to a treadmill of trying to please God by their behavior, of trying harder and sinning less. If they can just discipline themselves enough and be determined enough, they are deceived into thinking they can become righteous and holy and be close to God and He will be pleased. Grace tells us that our relationship and intimacy with our Father in heaven is no longer dependent upon our behavior...or lack there of. Grace tells us we no longer have to strive to become righteous, because He has given us a new nature that is righteous. Grace tells us that it is the only thing powerful enough to deal with our sin. Grace tells us that God is already head-over-heels in love with us and nothing we do can change that. Welcome to "Formed by Grace."

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Destructive Running (50 seconds)

Robert Jonas, a close friend of the late Henri Nouwen, writes "The all-important moment in our spiritual lives is when we understand that we are truly God's beloved."  For me this "understanding" is not just a moment in the past, but has to be a continual reality. Today.  When it is not my today, I find myself running away from myself to be someone else, someone God might be more pleased with.  Running to leave behind what I am ashamed of.

"What great love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called children of God.  And that is what we are." (I John 3:1).  This word from God has been one of the most significant in my life...but one of the hardest to believe.  I so identify with Henri Nouwen when he writes, "the conviction is deeply rooted in us that being loved is something you have to earn...We can scarcely conceive of getting something for nothing.  Everything has to be worked for...You could call it the 'commercialization' of love.  Nothing for nothing.  Not even love."  And so I  "embark on the destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father."

(Quotes are from Henri Nouwens book, Letters to Marc, pages 49-52)

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