Grace

Praying at sunrise

Cesar Malan was a famous minister from Geneva.  He showed genuine interest in the spiritual welfare of anyone he met. And get this!  He would actually ask them about it!

Once Malan asked a woman he had just met about her relationship with God.  Caught off guard, and somewhat annoyed by his question, she curtly said she didn’t care to discuss the matter.

Apparently this wasn’t the first time Cesar had faced such a response.  The minister kindly assured her that he would be praying for her salvation.

It wasn’t long before circumstances brought the two together again.  As they talked, it became apparent to Pastor Malan that the Lord was responding to his prayers.  The once-antagonistic woman had recognized her spiritual need.  Now she was asking him what was required to become a follower of Christ.

The preacher replied, “Come to Him just as you are.” [click to continue…]

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Fork in road 3

I.

There’s a word we use to describe a person who has never experienced the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s a word that describes the human condition in primal terms – a reflection of something we once knew as a race, a description of how vainly we attempt to find it again.

The word:  Lost.

To be lost is to experience some temporary goodness in this life – comforts, pleasures, and the like – and be clueless as to their Ultimate Source.

To be lost is search in vain for ultimate satisfaction in those temporary blessings and find only emptiness instead.

To be lost is to live in a material world that values life by gain and gold, and be blind to the sources of greatest joy and satisfaction. [click to continue…]

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Eagle at Sunrise

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4, NIV)

Here is a place.

An experience.

An image used to describe the powerful grace of a loving God.

Here is a birthright.

An invitation.

A metaphor for flying swiftly above the dangers and dead-ends into the loving arms of a Heavenly Father.

And where you can’t go on your own and when you lack the strength to survive, that’s when He meets you where you are and brings you to Himself… on eagles’ wings. [click to continue…]

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(Get Out of the Boat, Part 3)

Empty Boat

(Note: Today is a very special day for me. It was 40 years ago today that the Lord made it clear to a young high school sophomore’s heart that He had a call and gifts for vocational service for me. All I had asked for is clarity, and on this night He did that in no uncertain terms.  There are many things I wish I could have done differently in the last 40 years.  But if I had one thing I could say – one lesson learned that surpasses all others during this time – what follows is a pretty good expression of it.  Hope you enjoy…)

How long are you going to wear that?

How long are you going to treat that uniform as if it’s a tattoo?

How long are you going to assume that past results are a guarantee of future disappointment?

How long are you going to treat failure as if it is a person – namely you – and not an event?

How long will you believe that people who love Jesus never blow it?  And people who blow it could never love Jesus again?

How long – how long – will you assume that forgiveness couldn’t possibly mean restoration?

Maybe you’re the one who needs to get out of the boat. [click to continue…]

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Grace

What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Grace?”

Assuming you’ve moved past the former Princess of Monaco or a description of Fred and Ginger (disclaimer: they were before my time), most people with any exposure to the Bible or Church World will mention the cherished hymn.

Or, of course, what the cherished hymn refers to:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

And there it is… grace served for breakfast in the Christian walk.  Where would we be without the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of the Lord Jesus?

For a lot of people, however, that’s where the conversation ends.  God in His grace sent His Son to die so that I could be forgiven for my sin – and once I turned away from that sin and received Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, I experienced the beauty of God’s grace.

See what that all has in common? Vital as it all is, it’s all pointed toward the past.

Do a little digging in your New Testament – especially Paul’s writing, and you’ll see a different story.  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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Take me again to the Chamber of the Beloved –
To the place where I can remember my place again.
Sing over me with love and delight.
Restore my soul, oh, restore my soul. [click to continue…]

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Love Friends Family

For all the ways you may have been blessed
Or tried to bless others,
And all the ways you have received
Or given value in this life,
After all the ways that people measure contributions
Or celebrate distinction,
The greatest legacy you could ever leave
Is that you were loved first, and loved in return.
That takes a lot of grace. And a little bit of faith. [click to continue…]

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How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You (Psalm 139:17-18).

Quantity and Quality.  That’s how to measure God’s thoughts toward you. And in both distinctions, His thoughts toward you are immeasurable. [click to continue…]

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Under His Mercy

There’s a place where love feels like love,
Where all the affection in the universe seems gathered up
And pointed only, always to you…
That place – that beloved place – is under His mercy.

There’s a song where all the symphonies and sonnets,
Ballads and serenades seem to converge
And sing only, always over you…
That song – that harmonious song – is under His mercy.

Under His mercy the world is recreated,
Eden reimagined, and hope is born again.
Under His mercy we all are reinstated,
Those stains are washed away, and we’re adorned again.
We’ve traded ashes for His beauty…
And longing for His love…
Under His mercy.

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Forgiveness 3

For all the ones who wouldn’t give up on me
When I would have given up on myself…
For the ones who modeled patience
As they gave and gave me the gift of waiting…
Thank you for showing the sweetest of love.

For everyone who saw what I saw before I saw it –
The many changes I need to make in me…
For everyone who showed me grace
When they found me stuck in my own stubbornness…
Thank you for showing the sweetest of love. [click to continue…]

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