Phoebe, Penny and Grace

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, & Author of Experiencing Worship
December 21, 2023

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I have been reading a lot on the subject of grace lately. There are some really good books on the subject that have helped me to understand a little better this thing called grace. My most recent readings have been “The Ragamuffin Gospel” and “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning. If you are looking for two great books that will give you some great insight into true grace, these are worth reading.

Last evening as I was watching the tube, my year old dachshund Phoebe jumped up in my lap (as she does about every time I sit down). She is an affectionate little dog that barks entirely too much. If you’ve ever had a dachshund you know what I mean. Anyway, when she gets up in my lap and I begin scratching her behind the ears, she inevitably wants to lick my face. I can say "no" and even push her away and she comes back for more. It is a relentless attempt on her part to say thanks for my scratches behind the ears.

As I began to get annoyed at this high energy little barker, I was reminded of God’s grace. When I got this little weenie dog, I was looking to replace a dachshund that we had years back. Her name was Penny. She was the exact opposite of Phoebe. Penny was a true lap dog. She loved being petted and scratched as she lay in my lap. Every night she was by my side in the recliner. Penny did not have the need to get in my face as Phoebe does. I think that’s why I enjoyed her so much. I enjoyed bringing some joy to her as she lay by my lap. I enjoyed the fact that she didn’t have a need to repay me for my affection.

Many times we are like Phoebe in our walk with God in His grace. In our minds we feel as though we have to give something back to God. We feel we have to constantly be doing something to keep his gift of salvation. We feel that we cannot rest in His lap as He lavishes His love and mercy upon us. We feel that we have to do something in return for this gift.

God on the other hand may feel more like I do with Phoebe. He has given this gift freely to all who believe. He doesn’t expect anything from us in return. There is nothing we can do to repay God for this gift. We must only sit in His lap and receive it freely…a hard concept for those of us who have been brought up understanding the value of work. When we work, we get something in return. Nothing is free in this world. That’s how we are programmed.

My encouragement to you today is to be a little more like Penny in your acceptance of God’s grace. He gives it freely without the need or desire for repayment. For me to think I can repay God for this gift through my works is futile. Aside from the fact that we can never repay it, we were never expected to repay it. It is a gift. In the Family of God there seems to be more Phoebes when God intended us to be Penny's. Rest in God’s lap and accept the free gift of His salvation through grace. It is a wonderful thing to rest in Him.

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, & Author of Experiencing Worship
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