Oct 182015

Value and BehaviorI was listening to my pastor preach yesterday. Since I had served earlier in the service, I was sitting on the front row, which is a really good place to pay attention since EVERYONE can see you! He was talking about our minds and the struggle for control that goes on there every day. He talked about what we put into our brains and how we think affects our behavior. He shared some good stuff about left brain, right brain, about visualization, about habits, good and bad.

Right in the middle of all this, he stopped cold and talked about something entirely different- my salvation. He reminded me that my salvation is not tied to all this! My quality of life and my influence on others, sure! But not my salvation.

If you read my writing much in the past, you’ll see this theme crop up over and over. Why is that? Is it that I’m running out of topics? No, it is because I keep looking for new ways to express something that I need to hear and I think you do as well.

Regardless of your faith walk, there’s something of value for you here, I promise.

In the workplace, we have standards of behavior. We have employee handbooks, and policies. We expect coworkers to follow these as a picture of what success looks like in the work environment. When they don’t,  we as leaders are bound to counsel and correct, allowing coworkers to see that their behavior and performance is unacceptable and how it can improve. What we often forget- is that regardless of the behavior, that coworker has great value as a person. How we display that fact is a measure of our own maturity as a leader and as a human being.

At home, we have expectations. For our husbands, for our wives, for our children. If they don’t behave a certain way, succeed at a certain level, measure up to a certain arbitrary point, we express disappointment, anger, disgust, favoritism, dismissal.

They start to believe that their behavior has indeed set their value.

Why? Because we have made this clear through our actions and words! Because maybe we indeed do believe that their value is related to their behavior!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.        -Romans 5:8, NIV.

God totally rocks at this! He sets our value high, before we even have a chance to let Him power us into looking more like him.

If we truly love someone, if we truly care about them through and through, then we make their value clear in all that we do, even in counseling activity at work, even during discipline at home.

Oct 032015

[embedplusvideo height=”142″ width=”200″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1jFxZvJ” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/n-0SZYTVZks?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=n-0SZYTVZks&width=200&height=142&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep3190″ /] Lots of strong feelings this week in the wake of Thursday’s mass shooting less than a day’s drive north from where I’m sitting this morning. What a hard thing for families and friends to have their loved ones forcibly taken from them by evil. I can think of lots of words being used  in connection with this disaster- unfair, evil, justice, sickness, heartbreak, vengeance, grace,…..wait. What? Grace?

I ran into this song on the radio last night. Listened to it over and over. Shared it with some loved ones.

It’s nothing less than scandalous,

This Love that took our place.

Just call it what it is,

Call it grace. -Unspoken, Call It Grace

Yes. even for this troubled young man, even to his dying breath, the gift of salvation powered by grace, powered by completely undeserved action, could have been his.

It IS mine, every day that I choose to open my heart door to Jesus. Even on days that I fumble at the door knob and get in the way of the door swinging freely. It can be yours, today and every day, even if you can’t figure it out or even know what it means. It is yours for the wanting.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,   Romans 5:20 NIV.

The strange and shocking difference between our world and Jesus’ kingdom is centered in how we place value and worthiness on people.

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
― John Newton, Amazing Grace

Today, as I wait for the sun to rise, I stand in shock and awe at the scandalous, reckless grace gift that saves me. And I am amazed at the secret of grace that I keep forgetting- when I value the people around me with grace in mind, I am copying Jesus and, just like he planned, can become just a little more like Him each day. Not because of me, but because of Him.

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