Monday Motivation: “God’s grace continues to be the hero in our storylines. Over and over again. God’s grace gives us another opportunity to be better than who we used to be. Don’t take the gift of grace for granted. Listen for God. Make better choices. Embrace His new. You shall live!”
You’re still here. After every setback and setup, you’ve made it to live one more day. But for what?
We communicate our appreciation for life by the choices we make in plain sight of an ever-present God. No matter how hard we may try to hide our audacious acts, God sees them all. No matter our attempts to escape a consequence, God corrects us all. No matter our unbelief, God forgives us all. And He grants us one more day.
In our current time of uncertainty, living during the Coronavirus Pandemic, I am reminded of the blessing and opportunity of having another day to show my gratitude for God’s grace. I whisper my thanks in prayers; however, I feel the nudging of God to extend my appreciation to action. I am compelled to take advantage of my gift of a new day, one I’ve never seen or experienced before, one He has allowed just for me, and live it as God desires for me to live it, laying aside fruitless behavior.
One more day provides a new beginning. Negative talk, lazy practices, unforgiving thoughts, and complacency are left in yesterday. The moment our eyes discover the dawning of a new day, we must honor it with an unrelenting devotion to God. We should waste no time accomplishing what He has purposed us to do and say. For much is required from those who are given the abundance of one more day.
“… get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
There’s a beautiful overlook in the Oakland Hills where we take visiting family and friends for a breathtaking view of Oakland, the Bay and in the far-off distance, San Francisco. On every trip to the overlook we would guide our guests along a short trail lined with flowered weeds to a designated spot furnished with a dilapidated wooden bench. Everyone would gaze at the amazement of such a beautiful view. Wow!
On one specific occasion, our trip to the overlook rendered a different experience. My aunt and cousin were in town and my youngest had a friend visiting from the east coast. All of us, including my oldest daughter, went to the overlook. We took them along the trail and relived the usual “amazing” moment. But that day my cousin presented an option to travel a faint path just along the edge of our amazing view. Before we could talk ourselves out of the unusual suggestion, my cousin was already leading the way. She simply hollered for us to “come on”. A little fearful, we all took each other’s hand and led each other through the sticky brush. Some of us squealed. Some of us hollered. Some of us were silent. But we stayed the course, anxious to get to the end. Along the way we happened upon a serene clearing that fancied a huge tree with hanging strong branches. We stayed a while there, the younger ones playing from the branches, enjoying the hovered area and the cool breeze. In no time my cousin was back on her feet leading us further along the trail, determined there was an even greater experience ahead. We followed suit, hand in hand, one behind the other. Then it happened.
There was another clearing. However, this one was much bigger than the last. There were no hovering trees or branches. Just an open clearing where the sun had its stage to shine freely. And then we saw it. The view left us speechless. The “amazing” view we thought we experienced along our usual path was magnified ten times over with what we were experiencing in that moment. Wow!
The impact of leadership is realized in these two experiences. The leader who takes his/her followers down clear paths of opportunity will yield expected outcomes, leaving usual impressions, right along the edge of promise. The leader who takes his/her followers down hidden paths will inspire faith and courage, yielding joy and peace, leaving an impact of purpose and an assurance of being in the right place at the right time. The glory of God shines the brightest on the unusual leading of God, on the uncomfortable journeys that lead to an anticipated destination of indescribable beauty – indescribable grace. Wow!
There are mysteries in this life that leave me often times perplexed. How the newly healed return to ill-mannered behavior. How the professed ‘delivered’ resort to trouble-making. How the resurrected reject a new life to hold on to the former. Yes, it’s all quite puzzling. It appears the second chance God awards in our cries of need are quickly discarded as trash at the first trick of the eye, the onset of a compelling lofty thought or the sleek sly whisper in the ear. And still, our loving God continues to give. He gives us another chance. And another chance.
Are we content with leaving such an ungrateful impression with God? Or is our response to God’s gracious acts, “We deserve them”? Our bold disrespectful behaviors reveal such suggestions. I can hear the ancestors moan in disgust. Was their living in vain? Is our living in vain? Our testimonies are not to be episodic tales we share. Our testimonies must motivate us to live a transformed life, which in turn encourages others to live transformed. For the Lord is good. He deserves our respect. He deserves our best.