The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
Love Isn’t Earned

If you’ve ever worked a job, you know that the arrangement is really simple.  When you do what the boss tells you, he likes you.  And when you don’t, he doesn’t.  Do a good job long enough, and you get a promotion.  Do a bad job long enough, and you get fired.

In fact, most relationships in life feel that way.  If we’ve dated somebody before, we’ve seen this same dynamic at work. When you’re a good and attentive boyfriend, it tends to go well for you in the land.  And when you forget birthdays, anniversaries, and favorite colors, you tend to get dumped.

Some of us have had this experience with our parents.  When we got good grades and made the cut for the team or the orchestra or whatever, things were peaceful.  And when we screwed up, disapproval rained down from on high.

So, it makes a whole lot of sense to assume that the relationship between you and God would work the same way.

Except that it doesn’t.  At all.

Real love – which is to say God’s love – is never earned.  It isn’t increased when you do good things, and it isn’t decreased when you do bad things.  This is because God’s love is not an evaluation of your performance.  In fact, God’s love for you and your behavior don’t have anything to do with each other.  They are not connected.

So, what is God’s love about, exactly?

It turns out that God’s love is a decision he made to be devoted to your good, no matter what.  It’s a decision that he made before time itself even existed – in other words, before you had had a chance to do anything good or bad.  (Ephesians 1:3-6, MSG)

This matters, because it means that you can relax.  You will – like the rest of us – make mistakes.  You will do things that are wrong, and that you know are wrong, and that you know you shouldn’t do, and that you decide to do anyway.  And, when those moments come, some part of you is going to wonder where you stand with God as a result.

Sure, if God were a boss, you might get fired.  And if God were a boyfriend, you might get dumped.  And if God were an earthly parent, you might get disowned.

But God isn’t any of those things.  God is God. He’s holy – which is to say, different.  He doesn’t think like anybody else.  And he doesn’t act like anybody else.

No, when those moments come, what you’ll find is that God is just as devoted to your good as he was before you did that thing.  In other words, he loves you exactly as much as he did before you sinned. 

So you can relax.  You can go to him and say, “I’m sorry I did that wrong thing.  Please help me get back up.”  And He will stand you up, brush you off, and help you keep on walking with Him. 

“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” (1 John 4:10, MSG)

Jed Brewer and Mission:USA - So Here I Am
1,049 plays

Hey my friends, I’ve had a number of requests for the chord chart on this song, so, here you go! If you run into any problems, let me know, and we’ll sort it out.

Click here to download a PDF:

https://www.yousendit.com/download/UW14SXR5Z2dPSHh4Tk1UQw

Thanks y’all.

Jed

jspark3000:

I had the privilege of hearing this song live at The Bridge service last week.  It’s a ministry that serves ex-convicts, gangsters, and those recovering from addiction.  Please support these guys, they’re the real deal and I totally believe in what they’re doing for the inner-city.

jedbrewer:

Hey guys,

This is a worship song I wrote for men and women coming out of prison and drug addiction.  If you listen to the song, you’ll hear about 100 ex-convicts and recovering drug addicts singing this at the top of their lungs.  That’s an unparalleled privilege in my life.

I have a chord chart for those who would like it - just message me.

Jed

So Here I Am

If you were looking for accomplishment
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted failures, so here I am

If you were looking for intelligence
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted fools, so here I am

Thank you God for love I don’t deserve
Thank you God for love I did not earn

If you were looking for good citizens
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted prisoners, so here I am

If you were looking for faithful men
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted doubters, so here I am

Thank you God for love I don’t deserve
Thank you God for love I did not earn

If you were looking for righteous men
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted sinners, so here I am

If you were looking for worthy men
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said you wanted me, so here I am 

Thank you God for love I don’t deserve
Thank you God for love I did not earn

Anonymous asked: I always hear that I should act with grace and speak with grace, but if grace is  God forgiving our sin and not sending us to Hell, how do I do that?

I answered: I think grace is a term that gets used a lot, which is understandable because it is a wonderfully beautiful concept, but that can blur the meaning. Grace is defined as “the unmerited favor of God”. So it is not just that God forgave our sin and we are not going to hell, it’s that He did those things even though we have never done nor will ever do the slightest thing to deserve it. So God loves us and shows us favor even though we deserve the opposite. That is something we can let profoundly influence the way we treat people.

A lot of the crappy things people do to and say about each other can be traced back to insecurity. People put others down, try to hurt people before they get hurt, or any other manner of stupid, hurtful behavior. So since our favor with God is something our behavior didn’t merit, that means we can’t lose it by our behavior. So we should have grace with ourselves not to beat ourselves up after every mistake, and instead move forward. The grace we have been given also means we can love others with more gentleness. This is the basis of the biblical command to forgive others as you have been forgiven. If we can really get our heads around how great the grace we have been shown is, then it is so much easier to give other people a break.

The key is to remind yourself of how incredible the grace we have received is. Every time you screw up is an opportunity to remember, as is every time you don’t hold something against someone. 

While we are on the subject of grace, another way to keep it in mind is this awesome song Jed Brewer wrote.

-Matt From The Bridge

Scott Copeland - What Now Looks A Lie
89 plays

LOUD ROCK FOR FANS OF FOO FIGHTERS, RED, AND HE IS LEGEND.

This is a fantastic song from my friend Scott Copeland.  Here’s what Scott has to say about the song: “A heavy approach to help teach that God sent himself in the form of Jesus to pay off what we did.”

The whole song is good, but this lyric - written from God’s perspective - makes it a must-listen on constant repeat…

When you were off getting high,
I still stood right by your side.

Even though you were not ready for me,
I am ready to give you everything.
 

The most powerful word in the universe is “anyway”. As in, you mess up, but God loves you anyway. You make mistakes, but God believes in you anyway. You are a sinner, and God wants you anyway.

“Anyway” is what makes love, well, love. Because love doesn’t depend on behavior. It doesn’t depend on performance. Love sees you and chooses you. Love makes up its mind to be for you. Love loves you anyway.

Jed Brewer

God understands everything. Someone did you wrong, now you want to do something wrong in return. He understands. You see a half-naked body, now your mind is off to the races. God understands about that. You have worries, fears and some massive doubts. God understands all those feelings. The end goal is to do right, the starting point is honest talk with a God who really gets you.
Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

When you turn to God, He runs to you. The father saw the prodigal son ‘while he was still a long way off’, that’s because the father was yearning and watching and waiting. When you burst out your front door to go find God, you see He was already standing at your door and knocking. Whatever you’ve done, wherever you’ve gone off to, God is right there.
Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)