From the monthly archives:

August 2010

Grace Upon Grace

August 25, 2010

“…My grace is sufficient…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

I used to think that grace was like a giant vat in Heaven that God dipped from when grace was needed.  Whether it was to cover my frequent sin, give me strength through the day or conquer a besetting trial, the grace that God gave was supernatural but generic.  My faulty reasoning said that the same grace covered all circumstances all the time.

It was also “sufficient” which sounded to me like “just enough to get by.”   The word lent to its common nature a hint of frugality as if grace was given to just get us moving again so we could gut it out and finish the task.  Like a shady spot and a cup of water, grace was just enough to push me forward through the blasting heat of a spiritual desert.  Generic and just enough… somehow I don’t think that is what God has ever intended for grace.

Meditate with me for a moment on grace.
It is His grace.  Is there anything common about our Heavenly Father, anything ordinary about our elder Brother, anything unremarkable about the Holy Spirit?  Absolutely not.  The Father declared through Isaiah,

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

And what of the marvelous creativity of the Son’s miracles?  Mud opening blind eyes, waking the dead with a whisper or a shout, paying taxes through catching fish!  Or the Holy Spirit’s entrance as the “silent Partner” by wind and fire?  There is nothing that the Creator does that is less than unique and tailored.  He delights in expanding our finite thoughts of Him.  His grace is remarkable, unequaled, peculiar and defined by His nature.  Moses declared,

“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You,
glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Grace is peculiar to God.  He created it, perfected it, and uniquely fits it to our purposes day in and day out.  Since God is not common, nothing about God’s grace could be so either.

It is more than enough.  Though we may lack the means to give to those we love our Father has no lack in His trove of covenant promises.  He waits for His children to request so He might bless.  He stands ready to release to those who are desperate for Godly increase. The psalmist declared, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” He owns all and delights to give all to all those who ask and keep on asking.

It is a gift whose worth is beyond any human accounting of worth.  This gift cost the only life that could release redemption to all of the sons and daughters of Adam.  It is  incalculable in its value, unable to be matched, and beyond our ability to reasonably assess and articulate.  Because the divine payment of propitiation for this grace was neither cheap nor free, this grace should never be wasted on carnal repentance and theatrical Christianity posing as the truth.  Costing God everything is not the point.  That it gained us everything begins to tell its wonderful value.

It is Grace… the very word is like a cool breeze that always offers relief.  It can never be earned because the full cost was paid.  There is no need to demand because of its overwhelming abundance.  It can never be lacked by those who will simply ask! The writer to the Jewish nation who had only known their God through the law, astounded his readers when he wrote,

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The path to grace was cleared of all obstacles.  The veil of legalities and laws was torn beyond repair and grace has flowed freely ever since.  Grace, my friend, is the divine seal of promise to all who believe.  It can not be defined by the trinkets and jewels of this world.  It cannot be identified by a secularized theology of “name it and claim it.”  Grace is the tie that binds my life to the God of all Creation.  It is the bridge that takes me from this world to eternity.  It is the life cord that yokes my heart to the Divine lover of my soul.  And it is there for the asking.
So ask, receive, and rejoice!

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.”


No Taking Allowed

August 24, 2010

"Take. No. Thought."

“Take no thought about tomorrow…”

Scene One…“Sweet Little Babies”
The sweet little babies were playing happily when one toy suddenly became the favorite.  It wasn’t anything special.  Just another bit of something that had the distinct look of living on the bottom of the toy box.  Previously overlooked in favor of more enticing treasures, the trinket was more toy box filler than anything else.

But now it was the crown jewel.  Without a hesitation, the two sweet little babies became screaming adversaries.  The toy became the prize and the battle cry became “Mine!” “Mine!” “Mine!”

Scene Two…“The Auction Block”
You could tell the family members.  They were huddled in an emotionally charged semi-circle at the back of the crowd.  It would remind you of animals protecting their young from hungry wolves in winter.  The gavel smacked down time and again as their life and that of generation before passed over the auction block.

Now the house, their home, was next.  Ten minutes and it was over.  The auctioneer wasn’t being spiteful, but he could have been more careful.  He looked at the buyer and said “When will you take possession.”
Take.  Whenever someone takes, someone else loses what was once theirs.

The babies took from one another.
The buyer took possession.
It’s not an evil word but it is certainly aggressive.  The consonants crackle to life with a descriptive explosive sound. Take.  Aggressive, isn’t it?

And Jesus said, “Take no thought.” It’s like He knew our lower nature would grapple for the prize.  Our desire for all would move us to take possession for ourselves.  He knew that.  So He said “Do not.  Do not take.”

Just let it be. Don’t wrestle with God over the struggles of life.  Sabbath means to rest.  And that means there is no talking allowed.


Just Be Quiet

August 23, 2010

“I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”  Matthew 10:34 Now walk with me on this one.  Be ever so patient and see with the eyes of your soul and please don’t rush ahead.  I want to walk around this scripture and see the Sabbath.  In the violence of forceful intrusion, I want […]

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Tomorrow is Not Today

August 20, 2010

“Take no thought about tomorrow…” Conventional wisdom says that tomorrow is “a better day.” “There is always tomorrow.” “Tomorrow is another day.” “Look to tomorrow.” Tomorrow is portrayed as always having a cool breeze and a smile to boot.  Unless you live in the real world, that is.  In the real world, the troubles of […]

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The Sabbath Means Hope Restored

August 19, 2010

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:12-13 “He shall flourish…He shall grow…He shall flourish in the courts of our God,” says the psalmist.  “Shall” is a […]

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Do You Need a Fresh Anointing?

August 17, 2010

“I have been anointed with fresh oil.”  Psalm 92:10 Recipe for Anointing Oil Exodus 30:23-25 Five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh (the spirit of death) Half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (the spice of flavor) Two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane (the spice of authority) Five hundred shekels of cassia (the spice of worship) […]

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Spiritual Warfare

August 16, 2010

But You, Lord, are on high forevermore. For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, For behold, Your enemies shall perish; All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.”  Psalm 92:8-9 There is a lot of talk about spiritual warfare these days, enough to make some people afraid.  There is so much talk about hellish creatures in […]

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A Song for the Sabbath Day

August 13, 2010

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare your loving kindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night, On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, For You, Lord, have made me glad of Your work; […]

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Sabbath Snow Storm

August 11, 2010

“Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lovely of heart and you will find rest for your souls.”  The words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew. One winter several years ago I was […]

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The Sabbath Again

August 9, 2010

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.:  Exodus 20:8 Do you remember when Sunday was the day that everyone prepared for?  All the stores were closed and everything had to be purchased before the day. If you were missing an ingredient for your Sunday meal, you borrowed it from a neighbor.  You couldn’t run […]

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