Tag Archives: Romans 11

🦆An Ugly Duckling Story🦢

GRAFTED AND GRATEFUL

From a child I’ve felt like an odd duck. I always had hopes that I would be the ugly duckling that grew into the beautiful swan, but never felt that I met that accomplishment either. Not asking for pity, just sharing my heart. Believe me when I tell you, I’ve came to terms… well kind of… with the fact that I’m peculiar.

It is my life verse you know… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9

But peculiarity won’t be a part of Heaven. Have you ever thought of that? That in that place, we will never again feel inferior. That alone should make you shout! But here I feel inferior because I know the inward Shari that the outward world does not. When they look upon me with a judging eye, it’s generally their critique of my abilities or looks. But I not only have that to contend with in this world of glitz and glam that attracts my eye, but I have the failures of the flesh as well. Oh glory… I needed a dose of Jesus this morning to remind that even though I am peculiar here, I am a part of the family of God.

Romans 11:17-18 ~ And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

While Israel awaits their coming Messiah, having missed His first appearance, we partake of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.

That thought brought such joy to my soul and tears to my eyes, to think that their rejection and God’s infinite mercy allowed me to be grafted into their family as the wild olive tree would be grafted to the Original. How can I boast about the fact that I am a child of God, and forget that for now Israel is astray?

How can I not be burdened for God’s heart as I would if my own children were astray from me?

My daughters are both loving young women. Both married. And I have accepted their spouses as my sons as well. It’s an easy fit for me, because God’s acceptance into His family was the ultimate example.

When this world tells me “I don’t fit.” I can honestly say “You’re right. I’m sorry I tried to!”

Because I do. I love worldly things. There. I said it. I love make-up and shoes and clothes and God has gifted me with such. But none of those things ever seem to heal the ugly duckling syndrome. I always feel less.

Nothing brings it on more than the blessing of a singing and speaking opportunity. I begin to tear myself down.

But this morning I was reminded that my ministry came with a high price. The life of Jesus Christ. And because of Him, and His willing sacrifice, I’m apart of the family of God and privileged to serve.

Every word of the Bible is a worthy read, but the Chapter 11 of Romans is a good read for the day if you need reminded of what a high price was paid for your soul.

I feel a little prettier today because I am one of the “All” God will conclude my blog today with Romans 11:22-26

6gtFor God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

The Danger of Walking on the Wild Side

I’ve recently watched a few Christian friends, and by watching I don’t mean “watching” in the sense of waiting for them to fall or judging their walk. I watch because they’re drawing attention to themselves and the fact that they are drawn to the wild side. To my knowledge, they’re not actively participating in a bad lifestyle, but they’re fascination of it brings me to the realization that I too, and likely every child of God, can be drawn into a desire to walk on the wild side. And there is a danger.

Romans 11:24-26

For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, untill the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungoliness from Jacob.

Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews about the wild side of the Gentiles. They didn’t appreciate it. They’d always steered clear of the Gentiles; and now, this Gentile loving Jew was telling them that they should embrace them and call them brothers and sisters. What? That rebel nation is now God’s people too. Yes! Hallelujah. Because we were made new. We were not a heathen branch grafted into a healthy tree that would have weakened it. But rather we were a newly formed branch, not formed by nature which grows wild, but rather formed by the Creator with purpose. I just wrote myself happy!

The Jews were represented by the olive tree, a valuable, fruit bearing tree. But their focus wasn’t on the fruit, it was on their status as the original tree. Apostle Paul was trying to reintroduce them to the Fruit Bearer. Christ. The long awaited Messiah that they had rejected because they didn’t understand the mystery of the work that God had done. They didn’t want to understand. That would be key.

And sometimes we don’t want to understand the price God paid to turn us from that wild branch, into a Holy Nation. You see, there’s a side of me that can look back on the wild side of life and think “that was fun.” But then I remember what life was really like outside the True Branch. And nothing on the backside of where I am now, seems appealing. I don’t want to mar the beautiful Branch that I have been allowed to become a part of.

That’s what scares me about the friends of mine that find joy in reliving the wild side memories and walk dangerously close to marring the branch.

Glorifying Sin Mars the Branch

When someone speaks of the past life’s sin in a manner that makes it sound fun and exciting, it can cause the unsaved to think that we’re missing out on something by being saved. That’s a mark on the branch, because it is the furthest from the truth.

I lived unsaved 34 years. I had plenty of experiences in life that the world deems as fun. I also know the miserable state I was in at the time. That somehow gets forgotten by those glorifying those days.

But now… Glory to God I’m having more fun, and more excitement than I ever had pre-salvation. Hands down, it is not an exaggeration!

Glamorizing Sin Mocks the Branch

That thought makes me nauseous. But for me it’s what happens when I hear someone laughing and joking about sin. Whether it’s their sin from a previous life, or someone else living in sin. There’s nothing funny about it.

What someone views as a funny story about a drunk, reminds me of the lives I’ve seen ruined, absolutely destroyed because of alcohol. When a Christian speaks of alcohol as “not sinful,” when drank in moderation, I wonder who they’re trying to convince.

While few people joke about drugs, the legalization of marijuana reminds me of a night at 15 years of age, I almost died because someone laced mine with PCP.  You may say one has nothing to do with the other. I disagree. Because one is a gateway drug to the other. Just as beer is the gateway to a stronger fix for an alcoholic. And one time just may be the end to a life that wasn’t saved. It’s a game that is too dangerous to play, and certainly doesn’t need glamorized by God’s people.

Glossing over Sin Moves the Branch

Making light of any sin, or looking at the wild side of life as a fond memory causes an instability in the life of the believer not just the unsaved. I’ve watched it play out too many times.

I heard a preacher mock the “Baptist” about not being drinkers for months and months, and then I watched him fall to alcoholism. He did eventually win the victory over it, and I praise God for that, but he paid a high price.  

I watched as a woman made light of her indiscretions and almost destroyed her marriage.

I was broken hearted when a preacher friend fell to a sexual sin. I also remember his last sermon, the title of it was “Finishing Well.” He did not.

I didn’t get my 20 plus year badge of the Christian faith without being broken hearted, hurt, and yes, I too have fallen because I’ve walked too close to the wild side. It’s too dangerous to make light of and Satan loves it every time a Christian “fondly” remembers a day of sin. Don’t give him one drop of glory.

Remember what the price for that sin was. We are not heathen branches grafted into a healthy tree. We were made new! Let us act like it.