Posts Tagged ‘God’

What's the Difference Between Grace and Karma?

I sat at a table of friends as one relayed her experience with road rage. She told how she absent-mindedly merged into traffic and almost hit an oncoming car. The driver of said car then lashed out with a tirade of abuse and obscenity. Once the traffic cleared the car sped past her, still yelling abuse.

Funnily enough, a few minutes later my friend noticed the abusive driver pulled over by highway patrol.

Someone at the table piped up and said a word I hate to hear, “Karma,” – the insidious, normalised, celebrity-endorsed worldview that what you put out comes back to you.

You don’t have to go far to hear people refer to karma – on reality television, the radio, in conversation. Regardless of its Buddhist and Hindu origins, karma has seeped into our Judaeo-Christian society. Like its cool. A new standard.

In reality is is neither.

Karma is not Biblical nor is it life according to the New Testament. God’s kingdom operates by grace.

And grace is very different to karma.

What’s so amazing about karma? 

Karma refers to intentional actions that impact one’s future. It is a key concept in many world religions, including Sikhism and Taoism. Our western understanding of karma is the doctrine of inevitable consequence, where whatever you do is returned to you.

And there is nothing amazing about it.

Karma teaches you get what you deserve. Worse still, it teaches you get what your past deserves, even if it isn’t your past.

In modern society people rejoice when the wicked get what they deserve in the form of financial hardship, health issues or relationship struggles.

While many people – including those who have no other association with Eastern religion – live by karma, there is a higher way.

Looking for Grace

The Bible does not teach karma. It teaches grace. Grace is where you get what you don’t deserve.

Grace is unmerited favour. It is love and mercy bestowed upon us by God because He desires us to have it. As you can see, very different to karma. More like polar opposites.

It was grace, not karma, that rescued the Baby Moses from death. It was grace that allowed Queen Esther to plead for the survival of her people. Grace helped Nehemiah rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Grace appeared face to face with Saul on the Damascus road.

Grace reached out to you and me while we were sinners deserving death and took our place.

Grace. Amazing grace.

And it disappoints me that we have forgotten. It disappoints me we are more inclined to look for karma than we are to look for grace.

In the book, Bono: iIn Conversation with Mishka Assayas, Bono commented, “I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge… I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross…”

If the world knew the magnificence of God’s grace they would be holding out for it as well. Because I’ve got a feeling society doesn’t need more karma but a whole lot more grace.

If there was more grace there would be less road rage.

If there was more grace there would be less divorce.

If there was more grace families would talk to each other.

If there were more grace there would be less racism.

If there were more grace there would be less violence.

If there were more grace there would be more kindness.

More love.

Getting what you deserve is horrible because if we’re honest, we all deserve a rotten life. Getting what you don’t deserve is some kind of wonderful. And it is all around us. If we opened our eyes we would see grace working on the planet each and every day.

It was grace that got my sister-in-law an upgrade to business class on her trip from London to Australia. It was grace that caused a stranger to give my children free tickets to the zoo. It was grace that delivered groceries to single moms on Christmas Eve. Grace was the parking space at the Mall. Grace was the out of the blue phone call from a friend. Grace was the smile of a child. Grace was the not so random act of kindness you received.

Grace. Pure grace.

Getting what you don’t deserve. A gift from God.

Let’s look for the incorruptible, glorious gifts of God’s grace working through and around us in everyday life. No one deserves the consequences of karma. We all need amazing grace.

Sarah Coleman

Author

http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-s-the-difference-between-grace-and-karma.html

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Polar Bears - 1 John 3:18

Love expressed in words only can leave you feeling cold. Love expressed in deeds brings warmth and fulfillment. 

What are Joyful ‘toons? 

Joyful ‘toons are cartoons that are based on verses from the Bible. Each cartoon consists of a verse  and a cartoon illustration. It is my prayer that they be used to exhort and encourage Christians in their walk with the Lord, and also that they be used to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and savior. joyfultoons.com/faq/

About the Cartoonist

I began drawing cartoons based on Bible verses in the 1990′s. I have always loved drawing cartoons, and one day the idea came to me for a cartoon that would illustrate the relationship between faith and grace. Not long after, an idea for a second cartoon came to me. I noticed that the back page of the weekly bulletin at my church was often blank, so I approached the pastor with the idea of using my cartoons to fill that space, and he agreed to my proposal. After that, ideas for other cartoons started coming to me, and they became a regular feature of the church bulletin. I then thought of sharing the cartoons, which by this time were called Joyful ‘toons. joyfultoons.com/about/

This Polar Bear Joyful ‘toon was created by Mike especially for my blog. 

THANK YOU, Mike!

Joyful ‘toons are posted on Notes From Dawn with permission from Mike Waters. 

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CHOOSE JOY Because Happiness Isn’t Enough

Kay Warren

Revell/2012/Hardcover

256 pages

Choose Joy Text Book

Publisher’s Description

Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives–even in the tough times–and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible?The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be. In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in the good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows readers–even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression–that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joy will empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp–every day.
I highly recommend this book. Although written for women, it is extremely valuable for men and women alike showing us how joy is a choice and how to put it into practice in our lives despite any circumstances.
Kay writes in a personal style that keeps the reader’s attention on true biblical joy. Each chapter opens with a scripture and a quote and ends with questions for reflection. While scripture is referenced throughout, Chapter 3   “Rediscovering  Jesus, the Man of Joy”, looks at Jesus’ example of joy by His attitudes, words and actions.
There are so many great points throughout the book. Some that stood out most to me are:
(1) Learning that joy is a choice and Kay’s definition of joy. “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
(2) Her concept that life isn’t like “waves” or “hills and valleys” but like a set of parallel train tracks.
(3) Philip Bernstein’s quote in Chapter 11, “We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.”
This book is a definite read again book. I recommend it for everyone and would highly recommend it for those currently dealing with a difficult circumstance and or depression.
This book was sent to me by a friend. I enjoyed it, learned so much, and hope that you will read it, too!

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Secrets

Book 1 in the Gleenbrooke Series

Robin Jones Gunn

2010

288 pages

About This Book

The Glenbrooke Series

Jessica ran from her past…but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her. 

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all? 

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.

Secrets is the first book in the Glenbrooke Series and the first book I have read by Robin Jones Gunn. The story is about Jessica after she arrives in the small town of Glenbrook, Oregon looking for a new start. The author is a terrific story teller. Her characters were believable and interesting; the plot was intriguing with a bit of mystery (Jessica is keeping a secret). The story provided important truths that Jessica came to understand such as learning to trust people and surrendering to God’s plans. 

I recommend Secrets to readers from middle school age to adult who enjoy Christian fiction/romance/series books.

Author Spotlight:

ROBIN JONES GUNN is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy books, with over 4 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Best known among them are the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, and Christy and Todd: College Years teen series. A Christy Award winner and a two-time finalist for excellence in fiction, Robin has also been a Gold Medallion finalist. She and her husband have a grown son and daughter and live in Hawaii.

This ebook was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest opinion. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

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The Numbers of Hope

Autumn took this photograph.  Our house was in the construction phase and Jesse is actually standing on a ledge over an open stairwell.

re-post from July 9,2011

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Reblogged from believinginchristjesus.wordpress.com:

The choices you make,

Determine the roads you take.

My choices affect my life.

My decisions will follow me

All the days of my life.

The question I must ask is simple.

Am I making a decision based on

How I can be a better me

or based on

How I can glorify God in my life?

Michael Catt
Senior Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church
Albany, Georgia

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Isaiah 40:8

English Standard Version (ESV)

The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.

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