Searching For ‘__________’ [v139]

SEPTEMBER 2010

SEARCHING FOR ‘ _____________ ‘ [Fill in the blank]

All of us are searching for something—it just depends on the time of day and where we ‘are’ in life.

We search for our glasses in the morning so we can read the paper or watch the news on the TV (or computer); We use “MapQuest” to search for the directions to where we need to go; We search for our car keys so we can go the place we just found; We search for the best parking spot when we get to our destination; We search the store shelves for the best product for the least cost; We then search for our car, forgetting where we parked it; We get home and search for something to make for dinner; We search the channels for something good to watch on ‘TV’ just before bed; We then search our memory for the things we forgot to do today, and the things we can’t forget for tomorrow… You get the idea.

Google has a ‘service’ called “Zeitgeist,” that reveals, at the end of each year, the aggregation of trillions of searches made during that year. The following are their 2009 results for the U.S.:

Google.com – Fastest Rising
– twitter
– michael jackson
– facebook
– hulu
– hi5
– glee
– paranormal activity
– natasha richardson
– farrah fawcett
– lady gaga

News – Fastest Rising
– swine flu
– susan boyle
– jon and kate
– adam lambert
– rihanna (chris brown)
– new moon
– inauguration
– michael jackson
– nadya suleman
– missing link found

Maps – Fastest Rising
– mount everest
– laguna seca
– in-n-out
– grand canyon
– eiffel tower
– white house
– great wolf lodge
– wild animal safari
– voodoo doughnuts
– path station

Image Search – Fastest Rising
– lady gaga
– new moon
– michael jackson
– megan fox
– selena gomez
– rihanna
– taylor swift
– bella swan
– alice cullen
– jacob black

Mobile Search – Fastest Rising
– twitter
– michael jackson
– facebook
– imdb
– cta bus tracker
– bebo
– nba scores
– univision.com
– steve mcnair
– espn.com

Fastest “FALLING”
– john mccain
– olympics
– heath ledger
– barack obama
– sarah palin
– circuit city
– ron paul
– iron man
– spore
– wii fit

[ If you are interested, here’s the link to the previous years:
http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist/yearend.html ].

[ Pew Research also did a study that compared the most important searches from 2006 to 2009:
http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Reputation-Management/Part-3.aspx?r=1 ].

Looking at both the Pew study and Google Zeitgeist, I noticed that most of the ‘interest’ was in “people” and “relationships”—and doing the searches myself and looking at a lot of the comments on the blogs, most people were searching for “meaning,” “purpose,” and how to “repair” a relationship (that’s probably why “psychologists” are also a very popular search).

So, let’s do another very popular ‘search’—the “word search” puzzle (it has been said that “crosswords and “word-search” puzzles are the primary reason what is keeping the newspapers printing papers).

Try to find the following words in the puzzle below:

– Burden
– Forgiveness
– Guilt
– Grace
– Law
– Regret
– Repentance
– Shame
– Transgression

Okay, I ‘messed’ with you a bit—“GRACE” is not in the puzzle—because, it is, sadly, not usually considered to be a ‘solution’ in repairing a relationship.

Now, if you actually completed the word-search puzzle, you may have noticed that all the answers ‘created’ a symbol recognizable to most of us—it is a “CROSS”—and I am using it as THE ANSWER to truly understanding and experiencing “GRACE.”

I would venture to say that most people spend a lifetime searching to find ‘grace’ from people, and are disappointed—but, that’s not really all that bad, since God is the ONLY ‘ONE’ that can give it to you 100% of how you need it—which is different for every one of us, and NO ONE is ‘beyond’ the reach of God’s grace!

The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we have been “saved by grace”—but what does that actually mean?

Well, maybe a definition would be good right here. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that grace is, “unmerited favor or kindness shown to one who is utterly undeserving.” Yeah, but at least I’m thinking that I’ve done ‘some’ good things in this life, and am a bit ‘deserving’. But, Lloyd-Jones continues: “It is not merely a free gift, but a free gift to those who deserve the exact opposite, and it is given to us while we are ‘without hope and without God in the world’. Ouch!

There’s a song I’m sure you’ve heard once or twice, “Amazing Grace,” and there’s a pretty ‘strong’ message, in the first two lines of the song, about what he thought about himself, and what he had done:

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.”

A “wretch,” wow, that is ‘strong’, but he really meant it. He wrote these words from personal experience. He was very successful in his chosen career, slave trading, but one night a terrible storm battered his ship so severely, that he thought he was going to die—and he was so frightened, that he cried out to God for mercy—a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual transformation to Christianity. He quit the slave trade and began studying theology—becoming ordained in the Church of England in 1764, and began writing hymns with poet William Cowper.

Thankfully, Newton finishes off the first stanza with some ‘hope’, and the next stanza tells us ‘WHO’ and ‘how’ he was OVERCOME WITH GRACE.

“I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.”

Grace is ‘OUTRAGEOUS’—why, it totally undermines every impulse of human nature.

The “New York Times” ran a story back in 2005, about Victoria Ruvolo, who after a teenage boy maliciously harmed her that required many facial surgeries to reconstruct her face, and many months of recovery, said to the ‘assailant’ in court, Ryan Cushing, “I forgive you,” and “I want your life to be the best it can be”—she said that God had already given her mercy, and that she wanted to be God’s ‘representative’ to offer him grace and leniency, even though the entire city of New York, the media, and both attorneys were ready for ‘justice’ to be served to this teenager. The New York Times dubbed it “a moment of grace.”

Aren’t we supposed to support justice and jeer at evil? Isn’t it ‘natural’ to affirm the process of punishing crime?

Well, ‘true’ grace is shocking—especially when love is returned for evil—we can’t help to ‘shake out heads’. Grace is the delivery of a ‘jewel’ that no one ordered, or a burst of light in a room where everyone forgets it was just dark. Grace renounces the entire conventional wisdom of social behavior. It suggests that human beings may be something more than ‘honor graduates’ of the animal kingdom after all—that the ‘rumors’ may be true that purity and goodness are real and ‘alive’!

Someone once wrote that “grace” is a five-letter word that is often spelled J-E-S-U-S, and that He is the once-and-for-all, perfect ‘image’ of grace, love, and truth.

In Jesus’ day, in the Greek language, the word “grace” was “charis.” It carried the connotation of graciousness or favor. But the term evolved in the Greek world until it meant the actual gift, the concrete expression of kindness.

The Apostle Paul (who also knew a little about “amazing grace” when Jesus ‘transformed’ him from a violent persecutor of Jewish Christians to the most prolific writer of the New Testament) explained it to the Romans as, “The free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” [Romans 5:15].

Paul also noted that grace ‘happens, and it also ‘acts’. “For by grace you have been save through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God” [Ephesians 2:8].

The ‘grace’ that the Apostle Paul, John Newton, Ryan Cushing, and many others have received can only come from God. It is the gift unsought, unmerited, unlimited. For no matter what we have done, no matter the depth of our transgression, the darkness of our ‘hearts’—grace ‘overrules’ them all. God ‘pursues’ us relentlessly (see the poem “Hound of Heaven” below). He will not give us up—and once He has ‘CAPTURED’ us, He WON’T LET US GO!

So, to fully understand grace, at least within the limits of our human comprehension, one must understand ‘mercy’—and then be clear on how the two concepts ‘intersect’.

We often use these words as if they were synonyms, but in fact, they are not. Biblical scholars have put forth the ‘neat’ and ‘simple’ proposition that the Old Testament uses “mercy” while the New Testament speaks of “grace”—but the truth is more elusive.

Dr. David Jeremiah put it this way: “Mercy is God withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve. Grace is God not only withholding that punishment, but offering the most precious of gifts instead.”

Dr. Jeremiah goes on to give some ‘comparative’ Biblical examples”:

“Mercy withholds the knife from the heart of Isaac.
Grace provides a ram in the thicket.

Mercy runs to forgive the Prodigal Son.
Grace throws a party with  every extravagance.

Mercy bandages the wounds of the man beaten by robbers.
Grace covers the costs of his full recovery.

Mercy hears the cry of the thief on the cross.
Grace provides paradise that very day.

Mercy pays the penalty for our sins at the cross.
Grace substitutes the righteousness of Christ for our wickedness.

Mercy converts Paul on the road to Damascus.
Grace calls him to be an apostle.

Mercy saves John Newton from a life of rebellion and sin.
Grace makes him a pastor and author of a timeless hymn.

Mercy closes the door to hell.
Grace opens the door to Heaven.

Mercy withholds what we have earned.
Grace provides blessings we have not earned.”

Remember, in Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables,” when the Bishop corroborated the story of the ‘criminal’ to the police that he “gave” the silver forks and spoons to him and that he was glad the ‘criminal’ (Valjean) came back for the candlesticks? Then, remember when the Bishop told Valjean that he was “free,” and added that he should use the money to “become an honest man”? The Bishop added that “it is your soul that I am buying for you…I withdraw it from heinous thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and give it to God.”  The Bishop had filled the whole soul of this ‘wretched’ man with a ‘magnificent radiance’.

A moment of grace can change a life—in fact, it can change an eternity!

The thing is, even if you have a ‘crime-free’ record, are in ‘good standing’ with the IRS, did many ‘works’ akin to Mother Theresa, had the ‘conviction’ of Gandhi, you will stand ACCUSED and CONVICTED before the ‘perfect’ standards of an infinitely righteous Judge!

So, what can one do? Well, the only ‘requirement’ comes in two supreme realizations: First, that we are totally ‘contaminated’; and second, that we are totally FORGIVEN ONLY through the love, grace, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Just before John Newton died, when much of his memory was fading, he said, “But I remember two things. That I an a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.” He held on to the two essential facts—penitence is the prelude to the wonderful work of grace!

If you have not ever done so, this might just be your ‘point’ of decision—to accept the ‘grace’ Jesus wants to freely give you if you want it. He has been anxious to know you as His ‘friend’—to help you through the ‘storms’ of life, and ‘stand’ beside you. Most importantly, He wants you to let Him ‘answer’ for EVERY SIN and FAILING in your life, and give you the absolute assurance of much more than “ten thousand years” with Him in Heaven! It just takes one sincere ‘yes’ from your heart to Him.

[Excerpts from: Dr. David Jeremiah]

To read more about your MOST IMPORTANT DECISION IN LIFE, then visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v139) for SEPTEMBER 2010

(Note: If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net)

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AMAZING GRACE
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and
Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

[John Newton – 1779]

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GRACE LIKE RAIN
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see, so clearly.

Hallelujah, grace like rain
falls down on me.
Hallelujah, and all my stains
are washed away, they’re washed away.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
and grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Hallelujah, grace like rain
falls down on me.
Hallelujah, and all my stains
are washed away, they’re washed away.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing Your praise
than when we first begun.

Hallelujah, grace like rain
falls down on me.
Hallelujah, and all my stains
are washed away, they’re washed away.

Hallelujah, yeah
Hallelujah, yeah, yeah
Hallelujah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And Hallelujah, all my stains,
are washed away,
they’re washed away.

[Todd Agnew – 2003]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pC1gnDHeeA

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THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to:
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars:
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
“Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.”

I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
“Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me” (said I) “your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine you with caresses,
Wantoning
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
Banqueting
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.”
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spuméd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noised Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
“Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.”

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist.
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must—
Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou can’st limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpséd turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
“And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught” (He said),
“And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

[Francis Thompson – 1893]

Quick Interpretation of “The Hound of Heaven” poem:
http://bible.org/article/hound-heaven

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When in doubt, mumble,
When in trouble, delegate.
When in charge, ponder.

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GRACE
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve, while mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.”

[Dr. David Jeremiah]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” [Romans 3:10-18].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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