Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Trick to getting Treats!?!?

He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs!
William the Disciple :)

I remember the year my mom let me be superman for Halloween. It was a store bought blue plastic onesie with a red belt and red cape. It also had a plastic mask made to resemble Christopher Reeve - the man who played superman in the 80’s. The mask effectively covered my face but with it on it was difficult to breathe. Sometime the masks we hide behind are more strenuous than they are successful.
I was the happiest kid in the world when I wore my costume. That costume went everywhere and until it became severely mangled I wasn’t letting it go. It was a sad day when she threw it away. Halloween is a time for masks and costumes but many people wear their costumes longer than necessary. Although it may be difficult to part with your mask and costume – you life could be better without it…

What costume are you wearing? Are you sporting a (confidence) cape to conceal your (scary) yellow garment feelings? Have you donned an attitude to prevent people from really getting to know you? What would happen if people really knew who you were or how you felt? Do you even know what you really look like?

It is ok wear a cloak to help us endure but even those disguises need to be removed over time. 

Romans 5:8New Living Translation (NLT)
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Ephesians 2:8New Living Translation (NLT)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

The interesting thing about Halloween is that children and some big kids travel from house to house disguised in all sorts of attire. The homemade costumes are the best! Despite how scary and revolting or fun and whimsical the costume there is always a reward when the door is opened.

Every house isn’t dispensing candy. However, the ones that leave the light on give a visual ok and light the path for you to knock. The great thing about Jesus is that He is the all-illuminating light.

John 8:12 (NLT)
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Even in your darkest place Jesus will provide the light to guide you out. He leaves the light on.

God is that smile behind the open door that says despite your costume and the past that you have covering your true identity I have sent my Son for you. I am looking beyond your issues and your scary faults and seeing your needs. With your mask still on He can still see your true identity and wants to bless you. God’s hand is outstretched with a gift of unending love and eternal life.  That’s grace! There isn't a trick to receiving God's grace. He values the true you and is looking forward to your knock. 

There is an incomparable true story about a gentleman who authored one of the greatest hymns ever created. John Newton was a slave ship captain during the height of slave trade from Africa to America. As a captain he understood that arriving at his destination with his cargo was paramount. He also understood that carrying dead or difficult cargo was a chore. If any of the slaves who were stacked and crammed on his ships were to die or become demanding during transport he would dispense of them. Many men and women were beaten and killed at his command and hands. But, it wasn’t just him, many captains and slave traders brutally killed individuals during that time. After a while, this barbaric life weighed on him and he sought God. He could not bring any one back from what he had done but he was profusely apologetic. The blood was on his and many others. Only divine grace could restore him. It was in his God-forgiven and Christ-washed state that he wrote:

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
was blind, but now I see.”

I challenge you to observe your outfit. Has your momentary mask/cloak been made permanent? Is it tattered and worth of refuse? Have you been struggling to survive behind your mask? There is someone behind a door waiting for you to knock. He is holding you healing, cleansing, redeeming, encouraging, and uplifting gifts. All of the gifts are in your “favor”-ite flavor. If you are willing to knock for candy despite how you’re dressed – will you knock for what you really need despite how you look/feel?

Lastly, there is a song written by Dottie Rembo that further articulates the AMAZING GRACE God freely gives…

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
to view the cross where Jesus died for me,
how marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul;
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.

- Dottie Rembo