LebBlog

LebBlog

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kindness is contagious!

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
(Ephesians 2:4-5 )

I grew up in the Bronx and walking the streets, taking public transportation and putting coins into parking meters was second nature.

This weekend I visited my sister in Union City, NJ and we decided to go shopping. We parked in a public parking garage that demanded quarters to be fed to the parking meter to grant us the privilege of leaving the car parked.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to pay to park!

After an hour and half we returned. The parking garage is now full. The parking attendant is walking up and down the parking lanes to see who she can issue a summons to.

We still had 30 minutes on our meter but did not need the extra time.

I noticed to my left that the meter had expired. They could not have been there to long because when I parked the lot was empty. As the attendant drew closer to the vehicle I can tell she noticed the meter had ran out of time. I rolled down my window and said, “may I please put a quarter in the meter?” I was hoping to save the neighboring car from getting a ticket. It was just an act of kindness.

I received a quick rebuttal, “no” she said. I preceded to ask her why. She replied, “is this your car?”. I said, “no”. With a stern face she continued to proceed to write the owner of the vehicle a ticket.

There was another lady observing the entire conversation. She quickly gestured by shaking her head. The words she did not speak were clear on her facial expression.

Grace.

Grace is often described as unmerited favor, receiving a blessing even though we do not deserve it.

The Word of God speaks of One who came to demonstrate grace to us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (John 3:16). We rejected him! We spat on his face, took abrasive nails and hammered them through his flesh producing a flow of blood. The blood that was shed would redeemed mankind to himself. We did not ask to be saved but the Lord knew our condition! We would expire to eternal separation from God.

The vehicle’s owner next to mine did not ask me to add a quarter to his expired meter. It was an act of kindness and grace. But the law, the parking attendant refused to allow grace to operate!

We all need grace.

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit of God and it desires to be dispensed everywhere we go.

Grace usually comes along with Mercy. We often use these two words interchangeably, but they are different. I've heard it described like this, mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is often described as unmerited favor, God blessing us even though we do not deserve it.

Despite the disappointment, I will offer grace again as the opportunity presents itself.

We are all born with an “expired” sign because of the Fall in the Garden. But at the Cross, Mercy and Grace was dispensed to cover our deficit!

I receive your grace Lord!  Wash over me with your mercy!

Kindness is contagious!  Try it.

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

God bless you!~Liz

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Free Indeed!

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I often hear about people releasing birds or butterflies as a sign of celebration.

We capture the free birds and butterflies and then say we are setting them free. My first thought is, were they not free to begin with?

When Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the Garden they were free! Free to explore the beauty the Lord had created. Adam was free and even encouraged to name all the animals. Free to walk the Garden, to play and laugh. They talked with the Lord and life was good! They were free to eat of everything in the Garden except from the Tree of Good and Evil.

We know the story. Temptation visited the Garden and though they were content, the planted thought of not having access to the Tree of Good and Evil caused them to stumble. And stumble they did, right into bondage.

The free Adam and Eve were now enslaved to Sin. A rash decision, a decision against the counsel of God led them to a life of oppression.

No more walking in the Garden and talking with the Lord. No more beauty to behold. Sin tainted it all and darkness shadowed all God had created.

When Jesus approaches mankind in the flesh he speaks to the crowds and says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

See when enslavement came it brought darkness and death to enslave God’s creation. The freedom that came with joy, laughter and exploration of every good thing was replaced with oppression, brokenness and the probe would now be for liberty. Freedom eludes us. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 8:24)

When the Lord spoke about freedom he indeed knew what he was offering! We were once free. We roamed without any fear of being captured and enslaved. When temptation came and lured us, the freedom that was once ours was stolen; actually, we gave it away for a moment of curiosity and entertaining the thought that we could be like God knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)

We are like the birds and butterflies that have been captured but with deadly repercussions. When we encounter the Lord the freedom he offers is not just so we can go on our merry way and enjoy God’s beauty even with it’s tainted spin. The freedom he offers is from death! He speaks of the separation that desires to keep us from Himself. God wants to give us eternal freedom. He offers the gift of Redemption. Redemption clothed in the flesh, his only son Jesus restoring the life that should have been. A life with Him never to be separated again.

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 8:24) The answer is Jesus!

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Let the celebration begin! The one that was captured and enslaved to sin can now be free!

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Father forgive me! Bring me home.

God bless you!~Liz
 

 







Monday, April 9, 2018

Blind

He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
John 9:25

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear that I was blind.

The story of the man born blind should resonate within all of us. The Scriptures unfold a theme on sin.

Whose fault was it that the man was born blind is the question?

What I see in this testimony is that the blind man was not even aware that Jesus was around or that he could heal him. After all he was blind. He could not see him walking toward him. Nevertheless, the Lord reached him.

I love to tell the story of how I got saved; how I went from blindness to sight.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear I was blind. I was dead in sin!

While on vacation visiting Disney World the encounter that I had changed my life forever.

During my holiday I visited cousins that I had not seen in years. After an awkward invitation to a small church we all headed to this tiny building where the people of God were meeting. It all happened so quickly. I was sitting in my chair with my family and next thing I know I was in the front of the church holding hands with my husband and our son along side us. The pastor saw that I was blind and reached for the Word of God.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it was clear that I was blind.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

The Scriptures reads, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) I recall standing there and acknowledging the Lord, confessing my sins. I asked the Lord to forgive me of everything that I had ever done to displease him, knowingly and unknowingly.

I remember wondering was this all a religious act? What I did not realize is the there was a transformation that was occurring, a change that had begun at the moment of my confession. Angels rejoiced at the sound of another soul being saved. Something had happened and continued to manifest itself within me.

Honestly, I did not realize what had happened in total.

Like the blind man who received his sight, I began to see things differently. An increased hunger for the Word of God was remarkable. I could not get my fill quickly enough for the Spirit of the Lord was dialoguing with me. Even in dreams the Lord was showing me his strength and his might, his undeniable authority!

We often don’t know what we need until someone brings it to our attention.

The man blind was touched by Jesus as the spit and mud was applied to his eyes. My heart was exposed as the Holy Spirit opened my ears to hear the written Word of God. Salvation came to me and removed the scales from my eyes.

It must have been and exciting time to discern every shape, colors flooding the eye gate of the man born blind. The enjoyment of horizons that glowed with the sunlight diminishing. But above all he was able to see the face of Jesus. Of what a glorious sight!

The biggest need of mankind is to understand that God loves them! If no one else ever told us that we are loved, God surely wants to interrupt our day and let us know, “Liz, I love you”. Daughter you are blind and I have come to cause you to see.

I did not know I needed help. I did not ask for it, but it is clear that I was blind but now I see!

Jesus came for me.  "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." 
(John 15:13)

God bless you!~Liz