Grace. I "get it", on so many levels. I get it daily from the Father; I get it, in that I come to understand it for myself more and more and more; and I get it lavished upon me by the body of Christ; and I get to continuously lavish it on others. Grace is the gift of God, not of works, just in case anyone is tempted to brag.
Have you heard of the "DIY" television network? "Do It Yourself". It is full of shows that teach you how to do something yourself. Hey...when the battle is on, and victory is necessary, when it comes to the soulish man getting in line with the ways of God, when grabbing hold of the peace of God matters - there are seasons in a person's life when it's a DIY deal. Do It Yourself. You can't hire someone to do it for you.
Even this is grace. Much like when Paul said, "By the grace of God, I outworked the other guys..." Grace was made manifest in the life of this precious apostle, in that for the sake of the church, he went through great trial, and received for himself great comfort - and revelation! - from God.
No one can give to you what they do not own. I'd love to give you a Mercedes, but I don't own one. I'd love to give you a house on the lake - a place for you to go when you need to be alone with God. But I don't own one. Only such as I have, I give to you.
So to be able to encourage you, I need to have known what it is to receive encouragement from God for myself. "And David was greatly distressed....but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." (I Sa. 30:6) I'm so glad David made that choice - over and over again he made that choice. As a consequence, we have chronicled for our benefit the journey of 150 chapters - one man's epic experience of encouraging himself in his God.
I enjoy "Do It Yourself" television programming. I regard as some of my happiest Saturdays, those few and far between off-days when I get to enjoy all my outdoor "DIY" landscaping shows, and home renovation programs. Love that stuff. I am a "DIY" kind of woman, married to the Renaissance Man, and every skill I have learned by doing something myself, no one can take from me, as long as I am alive. But above all other skills, the skill I hope to become a master of, is receiving from God. Being active and cooperative with God's Spirit is not antithetical to grace. Our inner initiative and involvement and even (gasp) a bit of holy work, when wrought from a foundation of grace, is manifest grace. It is grace upon grace.
Because David so encouraged himself in the Lord, David carries the anointing to encourage all of us, for all time. He has certainly been able to comfort us with the comfort he received from God. All the "right answers" in the world, all the soothing words we can speak to someone in their hour of need, carry no anointing when they are not the comfort that, at some point, we have received ourselves from God.
I have often said that my goal in all of life, is to be a good receiver of all God gives. That's it. Nothing more. I have been placed on this planet to receive from God, and I have come into great wealth, indeed. Hidden riches in secret places is a good thing. Durable riches can stand up to the pettiness, and even the outright cruelty, of others. Grace limitlessly received, is grace easily given. When someone feels the need to be important at my expense, this thought, without fail, enters my mind: "Let her have it. I can afford it." What would have otherwise been an offense, becomes the equivelant of a billionaire allowing someone to steal twenty bucks from them. "Good grief, take it, bless your heart! Need more?"
Others need the living water I drink. For Pete's sake (whoever Pete is), nevermind merely drinking it, I could splash and swim in living water all my life-long, if I do the work necessary to unstop the wells, open them up, and then ask God to enlarge my human heart to receive what gushes forth. I could offer you all the water you need. Why? Because I'm full of it.
::she says, as she laughs to herself::
Bottom line, I need to have first received from the Lord, for myself, before I speak to you. If I have not, somewhere in my history, wrestled till dawn and prevailed, a parrot could say what I say, and with the same result.
Polly wanna cracker?
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor. 1: 3,4)