An Oasis of Grace

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic,love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)


Imagine coming into a place of work today that is a sacred space,an oasis of grace. A place where everybody shows sincere love for each other. Where there is gentleness and mutual respect for the talents and skills each person brings to the job. Where people submit to the leaders of their department or company for the Lord’s sake. Imagine an organization where people are tender-hearted and humble. Where empathy flows freely. Where insults are replied to with blessings. Envision a culture of peace marked by open, honest conversations. Envisage co-workers focusing on what is true, honorable, right, pure, loving and admirable. Imagine a workplace where you are respected for the skills and talents God has blessed you with, and where you are given opportunities to flourish and make meaningful contributions.

What thoughts are going through your mind as you picture this workplace? What would the conversations be like in this workplace? What would happen when you made a mistake, or you couldn’t quite figure out how to do your job in this workplace? What would people say to you when you come in to work carrying the joys and burdens of life? Would getting up this morning have been easier had you known that this described your work environment?

Although none of your work places are exactly like this,there are glimmers of some of these attributes in every work place. Which of these characteristics do you see in your workplace albeit not perfectly? Take a moment and praise the Lord for these.

Our Lord, Jesus, when he walked the earth created sacred spaces of grace in every interaction he had with other people. As he builds us up together into a spiritual temple and to be a holy priesthood, as he pours out his grace on us, we too, together, can create sacred spaces, oases of grace.

How could you live your life in such a way that within your sphere of influence you could create a sacred space, an oasis of grace for your co-workers?

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. [Psalm 34:4]

Prayer

Lord, thank you that your eyes are on the righteous, and your ears are attentive to their cry. Grant us the courage and wisdom to create an oasis of grace where we work. Amen.

Freedom

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. (1 Peter 2:16)


Christ has set you free! Free from the impossibility of earning God’s favor. Free from guilt. Free from the ruling power of sin which wages war against your soul. You have been set free from the need to return insults with insults; from the need to retaliate; from contempt, ridicule, envy, slander, jealousy and hatred.

You have the freedom to choose to submit yourself to every human authority, knowing that they are powerless to rob you of your identity in Christ. Freedom to choose to respect everyone for who they are, and the position God has allowed them to have, knowing that they, like you are created in God’s image. You have been set free so that you can choose to submit yourself to your manager, not only the good and considerate ones, but also the harsh ones.

Your freedom is rooted in Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect who bore your sins on the cross, so that you might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed [1 Peter 2:24]. Jesus chose to trust God’s perfect plan so that you have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. [1 Peter 1:3-4] An inheritance which no one can take away from you.

Your freedom is established in the fact that you are God’s child. Choose today to follow in the footsteps of your Lord and Savior who committed no sin, and entrusted himself to God the Father who judges justly. Your freedom comes as you in faith entrust everything that is happening in your life to God. Entrust yourself, your life, your pain, the injustices you experience to the one who judges justly in mysterious ways that are beyond comprehension. Trust the shepherd and overseer of your soul for justice, as he supernaturally builds his Kingdom. Live your life in such a way, that when those you work with and rub shoulders with on a daily basis see your good deeds, they will glorify God.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for setting us free. Father thank you that you judge every situation justly. Fill us with your grace and mercy so that we can show respect to everyone, and to submit to the human authorities that you have established. Amen

God’s Special Possession

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Ps 118:22-23 NIV).


You are one of God’s chosen people; you are part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation. You are God’s special possession, loved by God. You have received mercy. So continue to delight yourself in God’s life generating, life giving, nourishing living word! Then you will see the marvelous things that God is doing!

God is taking the unique skills and talents he has blessed you with, and is using you along with all those who believe in Christ to build his spiritual house, his dwelling place. This house is built upon Jesus, God’s precious chosen cornerstone. This cornerstone is a living stone. It isn’t a breathless, lifeless stone that can’t give guidance or hear or understand. It is a living, loving, redeeming, solid foundation upon which you can build your life.

God’s house is a place filled with living hope, where there is no shame and where you are loved unconditionally. This house is decorated with the imperishable beauty of the holiness and faith of your life. It is a place where brokenness and sickness are held in love and given meaning. You will not find malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy or slander in God’s house. It is a place where you rub shoulders with strangers and create a safe community that is spacious enough for everyone. Here you, your work, and your life are given purpose. Here Jesus takes everything you do and purifies them into sacrifices that ascend as a sweet aroma to God’s throne bringing him delight.

Prayer

Truly Lord, you have done a marvelous thing by calling us out of darkness into your wonderful light. May our lives and hearts declare your praises today. Amen

Grace

Link

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Grace did not allow Peter’s story to end in the pit of despair. For in that bottomless pit of despair Peter heard a voice call his name … “Peter I am risen” … It was voice of his resurrected friend, Jesus. In that moment he knew he had been given new birth into a living hope. As Peter set his hope on God’s mercy he personally experienced God’s grace as Jesus restored the one who had denied him with the call to “feed his sheep.” Although he suffered many kinds of trials through his life, Peter’s face radiated with inexpressible and glorious joy.

What Christ, in grace, has done for you alters every dimension of how you live. You now live in hope because Christ’s death and resurrection has given you hope. This hope you have is a precious gift of God. Living among people who have no hope, your living hope rests securely on God’s grace.
God’s grace calls you by name, piercing your conscience, addressing all your relationships, realigning your priorities, redistributing your values and expanding your imagination.

The same grace that called out to Peter – “do you love me more than these” every moment calls out to you to welcome you home. The grace that restored Peter with the words “go and feed my sheep” is the same grace that calls to you to go and use the talents and skills God has blessed you with in reverent fear today, right here, right now, right where you live and work.

Just as he who calls you is holy, so be holy in all you do. Be holy in how you live. Be holy in how you do your work. Be holy in your relationships. For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” . When you stumble and fall, as we all do, know that God’s grace is there every moment to redeem all your sinful actions. God’s grace will carry you safely to the last day, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you that you call us by name. May your word that endures forever re-ignite our hope and enlarge our imagination for our lives, for love and for holiness. Amen.

[1] Labberton, Mark – Our Daunting Hope, Leadership Summer 2005 http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2005/summer/10.30.html
[2] 1 Peter 1:16