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Title: Seeing Through the Lens of Grace.

Introduction:

As we gather today, let's cherish the diverse paths that have led us here under God's Grace.


- I'd like to start by sharing a piece of my journey. From my years in the Air Force to battling personal demons and finding solace in Christ, my path has been anything but straight. Yet, this journey has opened my eyes to the beauty of God's Grace.


Scriptural Foundation:

- Our guiding Scripture today comes from 2 Corinthians 4:4, which tells us about the blindness that keeps unbelievers from seeing the light of the Gospel. We also look at Matthew 7:3-5, a powerful reminder to examine ourselves before judging others.


Understanding Our Frustration:

- I remember speaking passionately about my faith to an old friend, only to be dismissed by skepticism. At that moment, I was left feeling frustrated and misunderstood.


- It's a feeling many of us know too well - the pain of seeing those we care about walk in darkness, unable to see The (not any) Light that has transformed our lives.


The Role of Spiritual Blindness:

- Just as 2 Corinthians 4:4 explains, there's a Spiritual veil that obscures the Gospel's truth from unbelievers. It's not a matter of intelligence or willingness but a Spiritual blockage we once faced.


- In my military days, I learned the importance of understanding the base and surrounding area's layout. In Spiritual terms, this means recognizing the battlefield of hearts and minds clouded by Spiritual blindness.


Empathy and Patience:

- As a pastoral counselor, I've seen the power of patience and empathy. Just as Christ showed patience with His disciples, we are called to walk alongside those who are yet to believe.


- I recall fellow loggers (including myself in the beginning) who struggled to grasp the necessity of certain ways to set chokers until they saw the purpose in action, then they understood. Similarly, our lives may be the only Bible some people ever read.


Our Role as Witnesses, Not Judges:

- As someone who has walked the challenging path of recovery, I can attest to the fact that judgment can push people away, whereas understanding and love can draw them closer to Christ.


- We are called to witness Christ's love and Grace, shining lights in the darkness, "not judges" condemning those lost.


Conclusion:

- Let us leave here today with a renewed commitment to see through the lens of Grace. Remember that we were once blind, but now we see.


- I invite you to join me in a prayer for wisdom, patience, and compassion as we interact with those yet to see "The Light." Let's also pray for the Spiritual awakening of those still wandering in darkness.


- May God bless us with hearts that reflect His love and Grace, today and always.


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