In my prayers I have said, "I praise you Lord, for your mercy endureth forever." Recently, I've begun adding "and grace" to mercy. Today I thought I would go to my Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary to look up "grace." When I did so, I found 20 usages. The ones I found the most applicable were these:
"Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him."
Linda has completed twice and I am in the midst of reading Imagine Heaven by John Burke. Persons who experienced a Near Death Experience frequently indicate that their exposure to God/Jesus reflects his relating to them all their wrongs committed or omissions in an instant, but, what follows is an expression of incredible and forgiving love.
"Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin."
If we appropriate the divine influence or the influence of the spirit of our Lord, we will reflect in our words and deeds the following definitions of grace, will be gracious and will reflect graciousness.
"Goodwill; kindness; disposition to oblige another; virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, proceeding from divine influence. That in manner, deportment or language which renders it appropriate and agreeable; suitableness; elegance with appropriate dignity."
Linda's and my personal pastor is the Rev. Dr. Hugh H. Morgan of Georgia, retired military chaplain, whom we consider our personal pastor. His example of graciousness is worthy of emulation in our daily encounters and communications. My dear Linda is a lady of extraordinary graciousness and reflects daily the graciousness indicative of the divine influence on her life.
Our neighborhood has recently endured back to back hailstorms, requiring new roof and window repairs. We have received numerous calls from roofers, soliciting a roof repair business, which we have contracted for already with our own insurance company. My responses heretofore have been curt and short to the calls. I have been convicted now to respond, if there are more, "Thank you for this kind offer. I already have made arrangements for my roof repairs. I know you are trying to make a living. May God bless you in this."
It is a small gesture of grace to be imparted indeed, but, perhaps it will lead always in all manners to that extension of graciousness that I know my Lord extends to me
[Editor's Comment: In 1989, Allen B. Clark was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for Veterans Liaison and Program Coordination at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1991, he received his second VA confirmation as Director of the National Cemetery System, a position in which he served until the end of the Bush Administration.
I met Allen and his wife, Linda, in April 2007, in San Antonio, TX, at the combined Military Chaplains Association and VA Hospital Chaplains Convention. I soon learned that they are Spirit-filled believers. At that time they were Episcopalians, but later moved their membership to the Anglican Church that is conservative in theology and embraces the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They have invited me to be their personal pastor.
Allen is a West Point graduate and a veteran of Vietnam where he gave both legs in combat in defense of the South Vietnamese. He is a gifted speaker and author. His wife, Linda, is also a speaker and writes dramatic scripts of great women in the Bible and acts out those roles for audiences with the appropriate dress of the Bible character. Her insights are inspiring and instructive.
Allen Clark has graciously accepted my invitation to be a Contributing Writer for Hugh's News.]