I’ve Fallen—And I Got Right Back Up!

fallen2Have you noticed that what’s true in the physical realm is often not so spiritually? It’s understandable that the older we are, the consequences of a fall are more debilitating and difficult to heal. Wisdom instructs me to hold hand rails and watch my steps, but I’ve also discovered the converse is true in my spiritual life, in matters of my heart and soul.

Circumstances that would have devastated me in my youth are now taken in stride—I recover more quickly and get right back up. As I considered this, I wondered why it’s true.

Have I suffered to the point I’ve become numb? Have I become cynical and unsurprised by adversity? Has my heart hardened to disappointments? It’s none of these reasons—the pain is still poignant. The difference is, I’ve been exercised in grace.

Grace was waiting for me when challenges caused distress. It met me when I was hammered by despair. Grace calmed my heart and carried me when I couldn’t go on. Every debilitating loss provided a fresh discovery of God’s grace—and now, I’ve learned to expect it. This expectation may not be immediate. I often have to sit quietly to center my heart and remember, but God’s grace is always there…

Abundant grace

Fresh grace

Personal grace

Free grace

Sufficient grace

I may sorrow through the night of my affliction, but in the morning I find God’s mercy and grace, faithful and new. Again.

Belief Changers

Picture 1 from Life Alert, picture 2 from Belief Changers

 

 

Learning from the Angels

shepherds angels (1)

The angels appeared to the shepherds with a long-awaited, earth-shattering, can-it-really-be-true? message: “A Savior has been born to you.” As amazing as this announcement was, a gentle progression preceded their proclamation. Read it for yourself in Luke 2: 8-15.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

The angel arrived on the hillside with an astounding announcement, but before that, he calmed the shepherds’ fears. His first words were, “Do not be afraid.” The angel had the shepherds’ attention but needed to prepare the men to hear the message. It makes me wonder how often fear stands in the way of receiving—in the physical world and in the spiritual world.

The angel still didn’t make his announcement; he stated his purpose, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” There was urgency to the angel’s message, but the heavenly being didn’t rush. His shepherd audience needed further preparation—they were going to hear good news, a message of joy for them and the entire world.

Finally, the announcement was made: “A Savior has been born to you.” The angel proclaimed the history-changing, life-altering, sin-solving message of hope. The proclamation was simple and straightforward, without explanation of prophecy or theology.

The angel concluded with details, which were also a teaser. “You will find a baby…lying in a manger.” He didn’t tell the shepherds what to do, but enticed them to discover the truth for themselves. Then a host of angels appeared and burst into praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

With little information and the inspiration of the angels’ song resounding in their hearts, the shepherds were compelled to act.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Isn’t that exactly how God is with us? He calms our fears so we’ll be in a position to listen. He gentles our spirit before speaking His message. He tells us truth, plainly and simply, with information enough to inspire us to go and see for ourselves.

And the angels sing.

Photo compliments of endoftheage.blogspot.com