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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: The Ease of Grace
By John Elliott


As I live this life, I am amazed at how easy it is to live, yet so difficult to enjoy the life that I live. I try my best, but it is not good enough. My own expectations will not let me enjoy the good that is accomplished and satan fills in the blanks where I fail to beat myself silly. I dwell on the bad, forget to celebrate the good and oddly, no matter the good that comes my way, I seem to want more. Life swirls around me in a seemingly endless array of appointments, deadlines, and the knowledge that I failed at something today. The sun rises the next morning and sets in the evening. I often miss both.

Every religion in this world, save one, places the burden of righteous on each individual. The world, beset with people working very hard to get it “right” is awash with new and differing ways to earn the way to Heaven. They push down those with seemingly fewer morals only to have to stare at themselves in the mirror. They resolved to do better and despite their striving, they feel empty.

Christianity celebrates the fact that the burden of sin was placed on one individual for all. One would think that knowing that through no effort of my own, I have the ability to rest in the righteousness won by another and be at peace. Yet am I at peace? I did not earn this gift. Even with the knowledge of this free gift, that seems so easy to understand and accept, I rail against the softness of its allure. Instead of embracing what was given freely and at great cost, I secretly desire that it be granted to me, not given, as if out of some worthiness of my own I could obtain the prize. That which brings rest I twist into hardship.

How odd that the acceptance of a free gift makes Jesus look so soft, and thus, becomes so hard to do. How bewildering that I take something so easy and make it look like a prize to attain. Thankfully, Jesus died for that sin too. Jesus willingly took it upon Himself to deliver what I could not obtain. God, Love itself, actively stepped into human history to fulfill a great debt that I could never repay, except with my own life.

I have lived through feast and famine, joy and heartache – only to find out that what seemed so important was only the wind. I thank God that He understands my frailty, pain and weakness and uses them to His advantage – to His glory. I am so thankful that He loves me. Therefore, tonight, peace reigns.

The wind starts in the morning.

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Marilyn Schnepp 05/02/09
This probably needs to be read two or three times in order for it to REALLY sink in. It is truly a great devotional and testimonial regarding how to accept "The Ease of Grace" I especially enjoyed the last three paragraphs, and LOVED your last sentence! Very good job and filled with Wisdom from on high. Kudos!
Lollie Hofer05/06/09
Good devotional thoughts. I had to ask myself how many sunrises and sunsets have I missed? Way too many, for sure! (And I have no excuse. Right now I'm sitting in my sunroom with its 10 windows. Four windows face east, 2 face west.) Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement as well.