mugshot required

Posted: November 5th, 2010 | Filed under: God, life | Tags: | 14 Comments »

We’ve gone off track.

We’ve stapled so many addendum’s to the Gospel that it looks tattered, and the only thing legible is the freshly printed addendum. A list of stipulations.

What I mean is, when you tell people about God’s grace and what Jesus did for them, you make sure they understand that they ‘have to believe it’ first. That’s not how it works, because you’re turning the attention from God to the person. People and their actions never come before God and His. You can compare it to starting a car. The Truth is the fuel, the physical act of hearing the truth is like turning the key, and belief is what happens as a result.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. –Romans 10:17 ESV

God’s promise (Jesus and the aggressive forgiveness of grace, [the fuel]) is the only sure thing there is. There are no stipulations. Forgiveness of sins is for every single person right now and always, no matter what they or you did or will do. That’s it. It’s not waiting on you to nail the religious dance moves.

Say it so they’ll believe it. No adding to it or taking away from it. You’re not smart enough. You’ll mess it up.

Steps to redemption, or a guide to achieving grace, makes a person focus on the checklist, which makes them focus on their ability to perform the duties. That’s not grace, that’s probation. That’s serving time, like community service. That’s saying that Jesus is not enough for the one who spilled his neon sin on your over-bleached righteousness.

You’re shooting bullets at their feet and making them dance to the beat of your trigger finger. Somebody needs to come and take your gun away.

Grace is not earned.

Grace removes the need for them to make excuses or stick up for themselves. It changes a person. It breaks them down so they can be built back up.

If someone is giving you excuses, it’s because they’re not hearing grace from you and/or they’re not believing it for themselves.

Pour it on them and they won’t be able to move. Sin ends at the point of grace. It’s the concrete blocks on the feet of sin. Grace will tear them to pieces with a love that no sin can match. No human can stand.

Grace that confuses. Love that terrifies.

The Truth, alone, changes people and sets things right. People who have not asked for forgiveness have already been forgiven. People who don’t even try to line up with God’s will are lined up with God’s will. People who don’t seem to care, are given insight that the best studied student can’t attain.

“I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” -Romans 10:20 ESV

It’s not about what a person does, what they think, or how much goodness they can muster. God makes a point to give His best to those who least ‘deserve’ it, just to prove how opposite His Kingdom is from ours. It practically takes a mugshot to get into Heaven. Grace is like reverse psychology designed by the one who created the mind.

The wise become angry, the purebred become jealous, because this gritty band of thieving gypsies get to carry the torch across the finish line.

“This is the Great Reversal: the last in line put at the head of the line, and the so-called first ending up last.” -Jesus, Luke 13:30



14 Comments on “mugshot required”

  1. 1 April said at 6:01 am on November 5th, 2010:


    there is a song by the group Sanctus Real called "Lay down my Guns" towards the end it says… "Lay down my guns and lift my hands.. Surrender to Love and live again.. May this desert reach its end where my new life begins.. And I'll abandon my defenses and live to love again.. When I lay down my guns and lift my hands."

    only by God's grace, and with only His help. I am laying down my guns. I am laying down my defenses and learning, growing in grace.


  2. 2 Genevieve Thul @ Tur said at 6:55 am on November 5th, 2010:

    Great thoughts. This is clarity I've been craving as I try to give it – Grace; Gospel – to my readers. Thanks for the about-face.

  3. 3 Charissa Steyn said at 8:27 am on November 5th, 2010:

    Love this part, "Say it so they’ll believe it. No adding to it or taking away from it. You’re not smart enough. You’ll mess it up.

    Steps to redemption, or a guide to achieving grace, makes a person focus on the checklist, which makes them focus on their ability to perform the duties."

    Thanks for writing about grace…it's been the topic of my heart for a few months now!

  4. 4 Recovering Alumni said at 8:27 am on November 5th, 2010:

    Beautiful!! I love it. Keep up the great writing.

  5. 5 Traci said at 9:36 am on November 5th, 2010:

    I love the way your write… you inspire me 🙂



  6. 6 Mugshot Available said at 9:59 am on November 5th, 2010:

    The wild freedom I feel when I read your words, the words I know my Savior spoke to you, gives my spirit energy. I can feel the deep stirring of Truth finding me. Calling me. I can go further. I know He's with me.

    Thank you, so.

    I have my mugshot. I have my Savior. I am free and nothing is hidden.

  7. 7 anonymous said at 10:09 am on November 5th, 2010:

    Serena, I've read your book several times and get something new out of it every time. There is so much to chew on. So much left over. So much to take with me, leave home, come back to, and to ponder. The push, the nudge, the gentle stirring and the aching desire for more knowing I can't handle what is already there.

    I hope that made sense, but it's hard to put words to what your words have done inside my spirit.

    Thank you for letting God use you. The 'balm of healing.'

    I know you know grace, because you could be so bitter, but you're not. The way your Christian friends turned their backs on you, I can't imagine. But you clearly protect our opinions of them. You make us see them in you and in ourselves. I don't know how you did it, …with God's guidance I'm sure, but you did.

    With much love…

  8. 8 Serena Woods said at 10:18 am on November 5th, 2010:

    I am beyond words. Thank you, all, for reading and for telling me what it's saying to you.

    There is healing. There is grace. And there is life after the pain. I am drinking that life right now.


  9. 9 Eric said at 11:42 am on November 5th, 2010:

    What a delight to read! And (in a rather odd way) exactly what I needed to read at the moment. I'm very glad I found this blog; I'll be back for more.

  10. 10 Serena Woods said at 6:08 pm on November 5th, 2010:

    Thanks, Eric. 🙂

  11. 11 Jason Cormier said at 1:50 am on November 6th, 2010:

    My wife Brandy recommended this blog to me. I have to say that I like what I see Jesus doing here.

  12. 12 suzy said at 4:22 am on November 6th, 2010:

    Your words have so touched my heart recently.

    A healing balm.

    Thank you.

  13. 13 Serena Woods said at 1:13 pm on November 6th, 2010:

    Thank you for reading, Jason and Suzy. 🙂

  14. 14 Emily said at 5:14 pm on November 6th, 2010:

    Thank you for sharing and hitting a spot in my heart once again. AMEN and AMEN!!

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