The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE; Intimate Moments with God 7/25

Posted on | July 25, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE; Intimate Moments with God 7/25

Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:14–15

GRACE-QUAKE

But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” (Matthew 9:11 NLT)

When an earthquake hits, the term “aftershock” describes the tremors that follow the initial kaboom. Typically these secondary shocks have less intensity than the original, but sometimes the aftershock is actually stronger. In this case, the secondary shock becomes the “earthquake” and the initial quake is called a “foreshock.” In other words, the second upheaval is more violent than the first!

So it is with grace. Like an earthquake, grace rattles our world. It shakes things up and makes the foundations tremble. The initial impact makes us think our world is falling apart. Life is not supposed to be like this. But then comes the aftershock and we discover that the second quake is more earth-shattering than the first. Our initial encounter with grace was only a “foreshock.” The real shock came later!

When Jesus extended grace to losers, lowlifes and reprobates, people found it shocking—earth shattering. “This is scandalous,” they said. “Life doesn’t work that way!” The gracequake Jesus brought rocked their world and upset their sense of propriety. It shattered their standards of decency and turned their notions of justice upside down. It created a seismic upheaval that shook them and their religion to the very core. The most shocking reality however had not yet hit! The gracequake they had experienced in seeing Jesus extend love to others was only a foreshock; the real shock came when they experienced grace themselves! At first the question had been, “How can God lavish love on those people? They don’t deserve it!” But now the question was, “How can God lavish love on someone like me?” Kaboom!

A poem by an unknown author poignantly describes this double-shock of grace. Though the poetry is mediocre, the message is right on target.

I was shocked, confused, bewildered,
as I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
nor the lights or its décor.

But it was the folks in Heaven who
made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh
grade who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought was
rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?
I would love to hear your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

And why is everyone so quiet,
so somber—give me a clue.”
“Hush child,” he said, “they’re all
in shock. No one thought they’d
be seeing you.”

The two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love forgiveness, and grace to other people.  —David Seamands

point to ponder • If grace isn’t amazing . . . it isn’t grace.

prayer focus • Ask God to reveal to you anyone you know who needs grace. Pray as to how you can extend God’s grace to him/her.

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