Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sufficient Grace

When I can, I like to start off my day with a little Bible reading. And when I say "a little" I really mean, "a little..." At other times in my life I have had other routines - sometimes as much as 3 hours of what they call "quiet time" each morning... 

I've been through the Disciple course they have in the Methodist Church, had a course in Systematic Theology, done the inductive "Precepts" studies by Kay Arthur, and read classic authors like Therese of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, C.S. Lews, Madame Guyon, Fenelon, Brother Lawrence...  I took multiple classes with Jim Abrahamson, a guy who can teach and preach the Bible like no one else I've ever heard.

Because when I was single, I had that kind of time – and I think it was the "season" for it. I loved learning and chewing over the passages, and the finer points of doctrine... There's no other way I could have matured and grown as much as I did at that time. But, as with many other things, being a wife and mother has molded my days into something that looks much different now. 

Even so, I try to take about 20 minutes at the beginning of the day to read a chapter of the Bible. I have a notebook beside me and I write stuff down that I am thinking as I read it. These days it's not so much a "quiet time" as a "question time." I can't tell you how many times I've copied down a verse I just read followed by this: "What does that mean?" and "Really?" and "How do I apply this?" 

The text itself is so beautiful, yet so enigmatic. It holds endless fascination for me, but also endless head scratching. Nonetheless, I embrace it. Today in the 4th chapter of James I read, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." Putting myself in front of the Bible every day is my way of being humble before Him, and asking Him to teach me what is true.

James 4 also says: "What causes fights and quarrels among you? ... You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God." So, after reading my chapter, I say prayers for my husband and child. There is not a huge amount of fighting in our home - but there is a normal amount, and I find that It is much easier - and effective - to ask God to enter in and make things good than it is to spin my wheels trying to make things good myself... 

And that's about all I can do right now. It is tempting to worry that I am not doing enough - that I should spend more time, read more, pray more... but I just have to believe that His grace is big enough to cover all that I can't do - which is a lot. (Also from James 4: "But He gives more grace.") I'm trusting that opening my brain to Him on the days that I can is response enough to His invitation to grace: "Come near to God, and He will come near to you."

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