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12 Days of Christmas Perspective- Day 6/ Grace

                       I have reached the half way point of my Christmas series on perspective.  It has been fun for me to get back into regular blogging and it has also been good therapy for me to think about and express my feelings (rather than trying to pretend they don’t exist) following the Thankgiving accident. 

                       Today I want to talk about Grace.  Grace, as definined in Webster’s dictionary is, ” the “unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind.”   I think that it is the same from humans.  The unmerited love and favor of people towards other people.  Grace is such a significant part of life…especially my life.  ASK MY PARENTS.  Growing up with the “young” Mark Aronowitz in Eastern Iowa was more than a handful.  I’m pretty sure my mom woke up every morning and said a prayer like this, “God, give me the patience, love, and GRACE that I need today to raise little Mark the way that you want me too…and so that I don’t kill him!”  Okay, perhaps that is a little extreme.  However, I was a handful.  I wasn’t a kid who was in MAJOR trouble…I was just very active, loved to talk, and often found myself in little situations because of it.  I think about where I am at in life today as a Youth and Young Adult Pastor in East Tennessee.  The older I get (just celebrated birthday number 29) the more I realize how important my upbringing was in who I am today.  I also know that for years I have taken for granted the GRACE that was extended to me by 1) God, most importantly, in loving me even as I turned away from him and struggled at times to stay near him; & 2) my parents, who afforded me a clean slate to be the son that they believed in OVER and OVER and OVER again.  Having worked with young people for a long time now I have seen what happens when the pressure on kids is too much.  I have seen how kids change whenever they are not forgiven, when they are be-littled, and when they don’t experience UNCONDITIONAL love every single day.  Some students time in the youth group is SO IMPORTANT because if you take away the unconditional love of Jesus Christ that I talk about on Sundays, they don’t feel that they have any in their lives.  I was so blessed to have both.  And each day I understand the importance of having Grace extended to me from all angles.  

                Grace is a powerful thing.  It is also something that can be misunderstood.  We can’t live our lives in such a way where we say, “God loves me no matter what, so I’m going to do whatever I want.”  We also can’t be offered unconditional love, mercy, and GRACE from Jesus Christ and then turn around and hold grudges and withhold love from those closest to us.  We must understand the very definition of Grace and then change our way of living accordingly.  God’s grace is real, so I will live my life in the Truth and with accountability alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ so that people who are watching me will see something different.  

                  If you remove GRACE from my life I don’t know what would have happened…but I’m fairly certain that the life of Mark Aronowitz would look a lot different.  It would most likely be a sad story of a young man who chose a dangerous path and turned away from God and his family.  And it wouldn’t be all my fault.  Because God has allowed people to have an impact on our relationships with Him.  Today, post November 27th, I realize more than ever before the role that Grace has played and IS PLAYING in my life.  I am so thankful to serve the living God, who by his Grace loved me and died for me even as i was sinning.  I’m so thankful for my parents, who instead of giving up on an “excited” young boy, loved me unconditionally and extended Grace to me as often as they were extended Grace by God (ALL THE TIME).  

                     May you all understand today, Day 6, the role that Grace plays in your everyday life.  And if you feel that Grace doesn’t live and breathe around you each and every day, perhaps its time for a look in the mirror, a conversation with friends and family, and a significant change in your way of living.  Have a fantastic Thursday.  And remember today that Jesus is the reason for the season. 

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