Categories
Christian Living grace

But Wait, There’s More!

Does anyone else remember those old commercials for the Ginsu knife? I must have been ten or eleven years old the first time I saw one.

A guy uses a Ginsu to cut through nails, a soda can and a radiator hose, then picks up a tomato and slices it paper thin.

If only I’d been old enough for a credit card back then. They sold me with the radiator hose. Forget food, this ornery boy just wanted to tear stuff up! 🤓

But the coolest part of the commercial was how they kept sweetening the deal:

“This surgical grade steel knife can be yours for only $19.95. But wait, there’s more! For a limited time only, we’ll double your order. That’s right, two knives for the price of one! Just pay separate shipping and handling. But that’s not all! Order within the next ten minutes, and we’ll include a deluxe Ginsu paring knife for free.”

A countdown timer appeared on the screen…..


The Apostle Paul has a, “But wait, there’s more!” moment in his letter to the Romans. It happens about half way through chapter five. After highlighting the fact that God demonstrates His love by sending Christ to die for a bunch of unworthy sinners (Romans 5:8), Paul starts dropping exclamation points like a full-on salesman.

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:9-11 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

It’s clear, Paul is excited about the fact that salvation through the blood of Christ is so much more than an insurance policy. Jesus is both the author AND finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and we are called to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:20-21)

It’s fine to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”, but even better to investigate (through the gift of the scriptures) what He actually DID! Plus, the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit means we can literally have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). Because of these blessings, and many more, we are actually able to walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).

This must be the kind of ‘much more’ Paul was thinking about when he kept sweetening the deal in Romans chapter five. Hallelujah!

By the way, did you know Ginsu knives are still being made and sold today? After forty something years, you’d think everybody already has one–“their very own piece of indestructible surgical grade cutlery that never needs sharpening. All for the low price of $19.95.

But wait, there’s more!

Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.

1 John 2:6 (NIV)

“IMG_1483.JPG” by Hélio Sassen Paz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Categories
Christian Living grace

#shareHisgrace

Photo by Gary Fultz on Unsplash

After I posted recently about the importance of being kind to others, Barb, from My Life in Our Father’s World , commented with the following hashtag: #shareHisgrace.

While my piece spotlighted the usefulness of people cultivating the good, Barb shined a floodlight on where to find it in its purest form.

Thank you, friend, for bringing the focus back where it belongs—on God. You added to the value of my thoughts exponentially.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.

Psalm 16:2 (NASB)

This collaborative experience with a fellow believer jogged my memory about a true story of two people who showed uncommon grace to each other. It happened at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Sueo Oe (left) and Shuhei Nishida – source Wikipedia, copyright unknown

Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe were two Japanese pole vaulters tied for second place at the summer games. However, as good friends and teammates, they declined to compete against each other (in a jump off) to decide between the silver and the bronze. So the silver was awarded to Nashida and the bronze to Oe, based on the fact that Nashida cleared the height in fewer attempts.

However, when they returned home to Japan, the two athletes did something extraordinary. They had a jeweler cut each of their medals in half and splice together two new ones—half silver and half bronze. They called these creations “Medals of Friendship.”

Source, Wikipedia – copyright unknown

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

A Few Observations

  • It’s God’s gift, not mine — the two athletes valued their friendship more than competition.
  • It’s not MY grace, either — they demonstrated this by committing to something larger than themselves.
  • God’s grace comes in different flavors — the Medals of Friendship were a unique way to show the true depth of their relationship.

My collaboration with Barb (and other believers, on and off-line) reminds me that our life in Christ is a shared experience. We are many members, but ONE body (Romans 12:4-5).

I like to call this interconnection “3 Makes 2”

You and me, with Jesus at the top of the triangle.

Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers, and make it your duty to make Him known. Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.

Colossians 4:4-5 (TPT)

#shareHisgrace

Categories
Christian Living grace

The Power of Weakness

I was a bit puzzled with a recent post on the The Clean, Good Life called How To: Pick Something to Improve On. The author, Matcha, challenged me to list my strengths and weaknesses–in order of magnitude–and then get to work on my biggest weakness.

Wait a second! Most self-improvement experts say to focus on improving your strengths, not weaknesses, I said to myself–only half convinced.

Ok, I’ll give it a shot.

Strengths (high to low): kind, genuine, congenial, empathetic, open and gregarious.

Weaknesses (high to low): approval addict, overly sensitive, insecure, impetuous and conceited.

I understand, reading about me gazing at my own navel is not particularly engaging, but please read on.

Conducting this exercise wasn’t easy–especially the part about admitting my weaknesses. But I think I see what Matcha is getting at.

Considering my shortcomings not only made me aware of my frailties, it invited me to confront them.

The apostle Paul had such an aha moment when he prayed for Jesus to take away his greatest weakness–something he called his “thorn in the flesh.”

As you no doubt recall, this is how Christ responded:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul responds by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:10) He then comments that, for Christ’s sake, he actually DELIGHTS in weaknesses.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. – (2 Corinthians 12:11)

I’ve read these verses of scripture many times, but after Matcha’s improvement exercise, they took on new meaning.

Because God’s power is made perfect in weakness, His grace is always sufficient!

You and I don’t have to fear our weaknesses or avoid them. On the contrary, we should delight in them–knowing that His strength is perfect.

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Maybe you’d like to try Matcha’s exercise? What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses? And how will you get to work on your biggest weakness (besides taking Paul’s advice)?😇

Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim on Unsplash