I have recently been re-exposed to the fragility of life : how it hangs by a very thin thread, how we can't control what happens to us and how Grace is all that really keeps that thread from breaking at any moment. 

I then started reflecting on epitaphs, those sentences we leave on our tombstones for all of prosterity to see. The questions started flooding in: What sentence would define me ? What words would best describe my dreams, my goals, my aspirations, my achievements, my relationships ? We are such complex people, how can it all be reduced to one last saying ? If the passerby knew absolutely nothing about me, what could I tell them ? What do I really stand for ? What is at my core ?

I searched my soul for the basic truths I hold more than anything else. I have found 3:

  1. I was loved enough for Him to send his Son and graced enough to put my faith in Him
  2. The highest achievement I could reach is to be like Christ. And I take John 1:14,17's description of Him as my personal daily guide : 'filled with Grace and Truth'
  3. My purpose on this planet is to receive from God what he sends me and share with others

And while I don't expect my epitaph to be written soon, it was a blessing to reflect on what it would say. 

Enjoy.
Picture
GraceGuy - He strove to be like Christ, Filled with Grace and Truth; From above, overflowing to others
 
 
I did not know Him
Was doing it all on my own
Money, pleasure, power, glory
Had it all
The more balls the merrier
All for the applause of the crowd

He met me and I met Him
I loved Him and knew Him
He took all my balls away
They were never mine
He gave me just two: Grace and Truth
All for the applause of heaven

I grew tired of just those two
Heaven's applause was too faint
Stooped to pick up some old broken balls
Started taking more balls
And more balls
All for the applause of the new crowd

He made me fall
And the balls I had taken, broke on me
I cried for help
The new crowd mostly left
He, with a few real friends, helped me up
He cleaned me, renewed me
I had nothing left, save for two balls: Grace and Truth
I had been led to the end of me
To lean on Him and depend on Him
All for His applause

-- Grace Guy
 
 
If God's love was really important for me, I would bless my enemies
If God's peace was really important for me, I would forgive my enemies
If God's sacrifice was really important for me, I would serve the kingdom
If God's forgiveness was really important for me, I would forgive myself
If God's law was really important for me, I would put God above all, and I would love my neighbor as myself
 
If God's power was really important for me, I would pray in truth and believe it done
If God's presence was really important for me, I would flee sin and seek Him
If God's wisdom was really important for me, I would fear Him and make His Word my constant nourishment
 
If Humility was really important for me, I would give all glory to God
If Christ was really important for me, I would emulate Him
If the Holy Spirit was really important for me, I would see Him and marvel at God's works
If Heaven was really important for me, I would never lose hope
 
If Prayer was really important for me, I would be on my knees and believe in it's power

If Sin was really important for me, I would work tirelessly to rid of it
If Satan was really important for me, I would resist him and flee
If Hell was really important for me, I would live and present the way out with every breath
 
If God's Truth was really important for me, I would seek it and apply it
If God's Grace was really important for me, I would seek it and apply it

- The Grace Guy
 
 
"God hath not promised skies always blue, flower strewn paths all our lives thru. God hath not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God hath promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love."
- Hymn

In the last years, my family has gone through an intense trial that ultimately became the reason I started this study on Grace.

I had the opportunity to experience Grace from others during these hardships and take a good look at my typical reactions when others were having a hard time.

On my end:
- I did not learn Graceful compassion, even though I grew up in the faith
- I think that saying 'I'll pray for you' is enough
- I don't persevere in helping
- I think it's because they did something or because they lack faith
- I preach them what I think God is telling them
- I think that caring too much will inconvenience them
- I don't think of their needs
- I suggest 'obvious-to-me' solutions

What I liked seeing in others 
- When they just (shut up and) listened
- When they knew we couldn't supply to our needs and put themselves in our shoes, without us saying anything
- When they didn't judge
- When they didn't offer 'solutions'
- When they persevered ... even at a high cost

Grace, it's in others' examples
 
 
Lord, how can I see you ?
Beloved blind one, turn your eyes from you to me

Lord, how can I hear you ?
Beloved deaf one, change your frequency and tune in to me

Lord, how can I feel you ?
Beloved insensitive one, stomp on your pride and let me move you

Lord, how can I feel secure ?
Beloved scared one, stop trusting yourself and give all things to me

Lord, how can I be free from sin ?
Beloved bonded one, become my slave

Lord, how can I walk with you ?
Beloved searching one, lose yourself, find Me and use My light

Lord, how can I love you and be filled with you ?
Beloved shallow one, empty yourself and obey my commandments

Lord, how can I succeed ?
Beloved poor one, meditate on Me - when you wake, when you sleep and at all times in between

Lord, how can I be at peace ?
Beloved agitated one, be at war with your flesh and find your pleasures in Me

Lord, how can I be happy ?
Beloved unfulfilled one, love me and follow Me

Lord, how can I find your will for me ?
Beloeved lost one, live Me

Lord, how can I be a true Christian ?
My precious precious child, in all things, see my Truth and my Grace : look at me, hear me,  obey me, trust me, love me, meditate me, live me and follow me. Every day, become a voluntary sacrifice of your devoted life to Me

Thank you Lord
The pleasure was all Mine.

- The Grace Guy
 
 
I knew the Word
I knew the stories
I knew the commandments
but I did not really know Your Grace

I taught the Word
I taught the stories
I taught the commandments
but I did not really know Your Grace

I served the church
I served others
I served the cause
but I did not really know Your Grace

I looked like I had to look
I did what I had to do
I said what I had to say
I sang what I had to sing
I prayed what I had to pray
I had the crowd around me
but I did not really know Your Grace

I had lost everything that I thought made me great
I was poor, miserable, naked, desperate, blind
I could not go on
I was at the end of myself
And that was where I found your Grace

You showed me who I really was
A Graced child, dependent on his Father
And then I knew You

- The Grace Guy
 
 
Following my previous post on the relationship between Grace and me, I started wondering why I don't see it when I look in the mirror. I see me as I think I know me, not as God's Grace sees me.

I see my flaws, He sees Grace
I see my imperfections, He sees Grace
I see my failings, He sees Grace
I see my weakness, He sees Grace
I see my vices, He sees Grace
I see my past, He sees Grace

Grace, it's in the mirror.
 
 
My personal relationship with Grace is an interesting one to reflect on. 

MY CONDITION
I was wholly defined by my falling from Grace (Ga 5:4)
I am now wholly defined by Grace (1Co 15:10)

MY POSITION
I am standing firm in Grace (Ro 5:2, 1Pt 5:12)
I am completely under Grace (Ro 6:14)
I demonstrate, represent and am filled with Grace as a vessel of Grace (Ro 9:23)

MY EXPERIENCE
I taste Grace (1Pt 2:2-3)

MY GLORY
I have crowns of Grace (Ps 103:4)
I have value based on Grace (1Co 15:10)
I give Him Glory because of His Grace (Ro 9:23)

Grace is all around me, Grace is in me, Grace is me.
 

The Baptist Top 1000