NO DOUBT 2015 has been the hardest year of my life. I know I may have already said that in a previous blog. Sorry for the redundancy. I’m not over here looking for pity or a pat on the back. I’m just expressing the difficulty is has been to stay a believer in Jesus. If that hasn’t been a wrestle for you at any point in your journey, then this is NOT the blog for you. I’m not looking to lament either or an opportunity to wallow in my woes. I promise this is going somewhere. A few nights ago, my wife woke up from something of a dream or an encounter where she was somewhat awake and she said there was a man standing at the foot of our bed and as she woke he said to her “Grace and Peace to you Mr. & Mrs. Thomas” to which she replied something like “I’ll take it. Give me enough to give away“. As I rolled over toward her, barely awake myself and with one eye open, I may have muttered the words “thats nice dear” somewhat brushing it off unintentionally. After we we were both awake and had a chance later to reflect on it, we agreed, that we sensed that indeed there WAS grace and we sensed peace and perhaps a turning of the ship in another direction from the disastrous we’d been on all year. My wife was QUICK to remind me however that if grace and peace were being multiplied to us NOW, then that could only mean one thing -to hold on because the storm wasn’t over yet. This almost led to a string of words that perhaps shouldn’t be in the heart of any believer.
There is much ado about grace these days. I’ve watched that word absolutely divide people, ministries, families, and create a viral presence whereby some have claimed to be “free” and others have claimed to be “hurt”. I offer no opinion or suggestion for either crowd. I just know how grace has come to play itself out in MY life and the lives of many others around me. Here is what I can offer about grace. It is NOT a means by which to “be free” in terms of doing what we want because it doesn’t matter to God anymore. No. Grace is simple. It is the POWER from God by Holy Spirit to say “NO” to unrighteousness and “YES” to righteousness. I heard Bishop Joseph Garlington recently say this about grace: Its not that you need to get the old man out of you. Its that you need to come OUT of the old man (Adam) and into your new man (Jesus)!” We lay down our old man and pick up the new man by grace (Romans 6).
Peace Peace. Peace MUST be more than just a left over phrase from the 70’s or wish for the world. REAL peace only has one origin. I am reminded of the story of Jesus on the boat with the disciples. As I recall, Jesus was sleeping during the storm and was awakened by one of the disciples because there was a storm all around them. He spoke to the storm commanding it to cease by speaking to the storm and saying “Peace. Be still” and the storm stopped. What I learned from that story is that peace isn’t the absence of the storm but the assurance that Jesus is present in the storm. And when he’s present, then there is stillness.
My wife, having received that word didn’t know it would be tested immediately! Just the next day we were faced with another difficult situation which requires LOTS of grace and peace. And for us to give it away, to someone we love dearly. It seems easier to give grace to strangers than to those whom we know and love. But as we are growing in this, I want to encourage you in whatever storm you are facing that grace and peace are available to you. Grace to grow and to cause others around you to be provoked to righteousness and peace or confidence that He is with you in the storm and in complete control of your life and circumstances.
GRACE AND PEACE…..