The State of Grace
Grace…”The unmerited favor of God, A gift unearned and undeserved.”
The words, “a state of grace” have been in my mind and heart in the past week with new a new calling. Last Sunday the Sermon at Alexandria Presbyterian Church was from a scripture reading of Psalm 34 and was titled “Taste and See That the Lord is Good”.
The psalm speaks of a prayer of David, who after losing thousands of his troops in a battle with Saul and forced to flee finds himself in the land of Gath, a territory that was dangerous to him from former times; the King would have his head….1 Samuel 21:10-15.
I heard the words of the David’s prayer with an open heart. I felt blessed with the timing of the Sermon and my spirit entered a state of grace as we bowed our heads in prayer at the closing, seeking that The Lord search our own hearts and receive us. The Pastor had asked, don’t we all feel like David at times? Does life not bring us to face the trials that compel us to call out for God’s Help as David did. In line 18, the Psalm says.. “The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”.
Some of The Pastor’s words that remained like bells ringing truth were.
“Faith is not strength. Faith is weakness holding on to strength”.
Then as I was filled with renewal and healing he continued and said, “Suffering will either make you sweeter or more bitter!”.
I smiled with a big inner cheer. Yes! This is so true. Later in the sermon he said,
“You can be wounded and not destroyed. Every-time that something happens that is (a trial) your faith grows stronger.” (Chris Sicks, Pastor of Mercy, Alexandria Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, VA. July 30, 2017)
Taste and See That the Lord Is Good
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.