grace and peace

Receiving help from others can be difficult. Our pride wants to rear up and assume we have it covered. Like a two year old, we think, “I’m fine. I don’t need help.” And we proceed headlong into a project that proves otherwise; often leaving us looking like fools.
Not only can receiving be tough, but so can giving. Sometime it is easier to give to strangers than to give to those we love the most. Crazy, but true. I am quicker to bake cookies for the new neighbor than to remember to bake my husband’s favorite brownies. I can easily say yes to taking a meal to a sick friend but find my heart grumbles when 4:30 rolls around AGAIN and I have no plans on what to make for dinner tonight.
But as 1 Thessalonians opens, along with most of Paul’s letter greetings, we find he, Silvanus and Timothy giving freely to those they love…those in the Thessalonian church. They are freely offering grace and peace in that first scroll of the hand on the page.
“Paul, Silvanus, Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.”
Over and over Paul extends this gift of grace and peace to the churches he writes to. This is not just a traditional greeting. But by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is intentional wording. it is extended to all believers through all time. Grace. Peace.
See the grace and peace Paul speaks of is not from Paul. It is from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. So it can extend through all time and pulsate right in the heart of our mundane lives.
Grace. It is a leaning in and towards, from God towards me. Right here in the choices and attitudes and decisions of my day. Jesus leans into me. Question is, am I willing to lean into Him?
Pausing to pray rather than check social media.
Running to Him with the decisions of my day rather than picking up the phone.
Meditating on a verse He is teaching me rather than flipping on the TV.
Nothing is wrong with social media, per say, it just robs me of leaning into Jesus when I need Him most, if I choose the easy over the eternal.
Peace. This is not the peace that comes when all is well. Rather it is the peace that comes when all is not well. Peace of mind when circumstances are twisting. When I’d rather yell at the kids or run away or just eat more cake…peace comes when I look to Jesus rather than turn to selfishness.
These are gifts Paul extends to the church. they are gifts Jesus extends to you and me today, too. Grace. Peace. It is up to me to receive them. Those who have received grace, extend it. Those who have received peave, extend it.
If I am leaning into Jesus and keeping my eyes on Him, then it will be evident. Not to those I can fake it with, but those right here in my home and who know me best.
Am I extending grace to my husband when he upsets me? Am I walking through my day with peace and rest in my spirit when my kids argue or push my buttons? Keeping my eyes on Jesus is the only way to open our day with the grace and peace Paul extends in the opening of 1 Thessalonians.

Oh Lord, work this into my own heart.

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