Summary: A message to help those face life each and everyday with the grace of God.
GRACE TO FACE THE HOURS
Scripture Reference: Job 14:1-5
A few weeks back, a movie came out entitled, "The Hours." Though the underlying theme of homosexuality may surprise you, the critics declare the movie was thought provoking as it dealt with how individuals handle the stresses of life as each tick of the clock reminds each one how quickly time does move.
A male character, dying of AIDS, declares just before he throws himself out an open window, "You still have to face the hours." A female character, who after filling her pockets with rocks walks into a river, thinks about the suicide note she left for her husband, looking back to the love and the hours they have spent together. Another female character tries to end her life by overdosing on pills.
The message for those left behind "You still have to face the hours."
No matter how well planned a life may be, the potential for sudden change is always present. When that change comes; when things don’t work out the way one thinks they should, one still has to face the hours.
What can we do with the hours that stretch interminably before us, those hours we would rather not have to face? How do we arise to face each new day knowing that the hours will come in spite of our denial, and avoidance strategies?
What do you do when you know that no matter what you wish for or fantasize about; the morning will still come and with it the hours that you will still have -- to face that same problem, that same crisis, that same situation, that same debt, that same employer, that same co-worker, that same family member? I am going to tell you in a moment how to face the hours.
For me this may be the last sermon on grace for a while, but for us this should not be the last application of grace. Grace may not be in the titles for a time, but it should be in the text of our lives everyday.
For four months this year we sought to understand this thing called “grace”. We were taught it was God’s unmerited, unearned favor applied to His creation in general, but received by His children specifically.
If you are God’s child, then it is only by God’s favor.
If you are alive, then it is only by God’s favor.
If you still have food and shelter even though your money is still messed up, then it is only by God’s favor.
If you are not consumed, defeated, or destroyed then it is only by God’s favor.
It may not make sense this grace…it may seem to simple to believe…it may appear to be a catch…why, because you are trying to figure out why God would give us favor not on the basis of how bad I am and not on the basis of how good you try to be, but just because He is who He is. The “I am that I am” God.
Can you hear Him this morning?
I am God
I am good
I am a protector
I am a provider
I am fair
I am holy
I am love
I am forgiving
I am your Savior
I am a giver of grace.
…From the mouths of men, arrogance and pride, but from the mouth of God affirming and powerful…
Listen, you have spent your whole life trying to earn your way through life. All of your life your parents, grandparents, or guardians have instilled in you to work for what you get, there is no such thing as a free lunch, you have to earn your way, pull your own weight.
Now you are told that there is something you could never earn or deserve, your flesh would almost rise up if you didn’t hear the rest of the story --- it’s free. Gates is not giving it, Cosby is not giving, Buffet is not giving, Ted Turner is not giving it.
Oprah gives away gifts, the Fannie Mae foundation gives away grants, Wal-Mart gives away goods, but only God gives away life changing and life sustaining grace.
I have realized that God has with grace let you make your own decisions, chart your own destiny, and design your own purpose for yourself with patience and tenacity. He knows that there is something better for you, but He doesn’t come down and get in your face, scream, or yell you back to reality.
So often He allows you to run your determined course; you sin but rather than a flogging, forgiveness; rather than condemnation, conviction, correction, and comfort; rather than a I told you so, a I still love you and care for you.
He allows you to go out, but not too far out. You are at a place where your stuff owns you, your business owns you, your job owns you, your pleasure owns you, it doesn’t seem like God has in say in your life at all.