Grace Notes: Random thoughts

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By The Staff

We're in the process of painting the inside of our house (which means my husband paints and I mostly stay out of the way lest I find myself with a paint roller in my hand).

I do have one job, however, which is to go through the closets and drawers and under-bed boxes and weed out the throw-away and give-awayable from the keepable stuff.

Today I got sidetracked reading through the files of notes I've jotted down while listening to sermons or reading books. Since these notes are too good to just put back in my file box to sit for another five years, I thought I'd share some of them with you:

- The you that you can't stand is the one God loves. That's the gospel. It's to Jesus' glory that he loves the real you ... Stop hating your weakness - it's what draws you to Jesus, which makes it your best attribute. (Sue Cortese, conference speaker)

- If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go ... When we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus. (Brennan Manning, "Abba's Child")

- Being pure in heart is not something we can accomplish on our own. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig ... The only hope we have (of being pure in heart) is not to clean ourselves up but to be made new in Jesus. All the water in the world cannot wash your heart clean. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can transform your life. (Donnie Seagle, First Baptist Church in Inverness)

- When my agenda is challenged, I rage. I worry, fret and despair when life doesn't go as I plan. Worry is arrogance - "I know better than God." It's a gift from God that life doesn't go as I plan ... It's in the furnaces that we know him and trust him deeply. Only our God goes into the furnace with us and for us. (Adam Jones, Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church)

- Failure is succeeding at something that doesn't matter. (Ray Cortese, Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church)

- When someone invites you to dinner, you automatically ask, "What can I bring?" We struggle against coming empty-handed. (Adam Jones)

- When you come to communion, you don't bring bread with you - you come empty-handed. (Ray Cortese)

- Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don't let go. (John 6:37, The Message)

- If I hear one more spiky-haired, jeans-wearing, goateed, shirttail-untucked, studiously cool guy backed by a band and a light show walking around with a coffee cup from Starbucks, sitting on a stool saying "Dude" every third word I'm going to scream. It's not about cool. It's not about style; it's about God.

It's not about ritual; it's not about suit-wearing traditionalists who think God only spoke in King James English, who think somewhere in the New Testament it says we should only sing songs from a book that was written by dead white people more than 200 years ago. Worship is about God engaging our hearts and minds and focusing on him. The form of worship is subservient to the focus. (Donnie Seagle)

- When you meet the living God you find healing in the deepest parts of you, at the core of who you are. (Ray Cortese)

- Nothing exceeds Thy power, nothing is too great for Thee to do; nothing too good for Thee to give. ("The Valley of Vision," a collection of Puritan prayers)

- The cardinal sin is to believe that I am more committed to my well-being than God is. (Ray Cortese)

- It's not becoming for the people of God to be whiners. (Ray Cortese)

- God's people are chosen - left to ourselves we would never choose God. We are chosen, but we are not "choice." We are chosen because we are weak, broken, lost. Chosen is the ground for our humility. (Ray Cortese)

- Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men? Oh, you rescue the souls of men. ("Wonderful, Merciful Savior")