Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dynamite: Soaring on Silver Wings

Recently I had the opportunity to soar above the clouds and watch majestic mountain ranges float by beneath me. As I was contemplating the amazing miracle of aerodynamics and the concept of being suspended in the sky, a train of thought started churning its wheels…

If I tried to break a window, jump out of the plane and fly, I'd be pronouncing my death sentence.

If I walked into the cockpit and started pushing buttons and levers because I thought we were going the wrong direction, I'd probably get myself in a predicament, dead or alive, that wouldn't be enviable.

Why? Because I have no knowledge of flying.

Later that week the same thought train picked up speed after reading this verse:

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." {2 Corinthians 12:10}

Familiar? Yes, I'm sure it is for most people. I know I've read or heard it at least a hundred times.
Yet sometimes we never slow down enough to really internalize, really grasp the significance

I turned to the literal Greek translation of this verse, eager to gain a deeper blessing.
And as I read through the Strong's definitions of the key words, I was struck by the poignancy of this concept.

Allow me to share my literal translation of this verse…

"This is the reason that I take delight in being left without strength, being the recipient of stinging insults, experiencing hardships, being chased and forced into narrow corners and situations for Christ's sake; because it's when I have no strength left that I am dynamite." {Glesni's Literal Translation}

Going back to the airplane analogy, it's when I realize that I can't fly by myself…
when I admit I don't even know how to guide the plane or run the controls…
when I merely sit back and admit that I know nothing — that's when I soar on silver wings.

This is how my life becomes dynamite.

Monday, January 21, 2013

His Scars, My Shame

{Jeremiah 50}

The search is on with fury. A frantic company seeks to uncover the unpleasant record, yet it has vanished.

The company of fallen angels with their commander are disgusted. 
They have been vanquished once again by One greater than themselves.

My Savior pardons those He reserves. He pleads for His remnant. 

As He stands before the Father’s throne, He presents His hands, scarred so long ago, etched with my name.
And He pleads for me…

Not because I am worthy, but because He has reserved me to become worthy.
Because His scars cover my shame…

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not a Full End

{Jeremiah 45-47}

Prophecy after prophecy. All nations seem to be the recipients of divine displeasure. 
There is one phrase, however, that grabs my attention in the seemingly endless catalog of calamity.

“I will not make a full end of thee.”*

What? Not a full end? This nation has utterly violated every tittle of His law. 
The human viewpoint stands amazed.

Punishment was surely necessary and they would receive it, yet only for the purpose of correction. 
God was still with His chosen people. He still longed to save them.

“…and none shall make him afraid.”

How could you be afraid anyway? Not with a God like that…

* Jeremiah 46:28

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mercy Twice-Over

{Jeremiah 39}

After almost two years of seige, Jerusalem fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, proving that the countless prophecies of Jeremiah could not be ignored. Although Zedekiah had listened to the counsel of the Lord, he had neglected to follow His commands. Now he was to pay the consequences—bitter consequences.

Yet in the midst of terrible slaughter and captivity, God still shows mercy. Still…
My mind is baffled by such unquenchable Love. My heart is drawn by His compassion. This is the God I adore.

Mercy twice-over. 

A simple act of kindness by a foreign eunuch. 
Ebedmelech, a Jewish stranger, is rewarded with life—life temporal and life eternal—because he placed his trust in Him. God takes notice of the littlest acts of love.

A life of resolute obedience to the voice of God.
Jeremiah, the Hebrew seer, who has been insulted and despised for the cause of God, receives incredible favor from a heathen king. Liberty and safety was granted him. Imagine being told that whatever you say, the captain has been commanded to obey. God never forgets His servants.

Mercy twice-over. Two men rewarded for faithfulness. 
One God who always works all things together for good to them that love Him. Always…

Monday, December 3, 2012

Of Rolls and Rulers

{Jeremiah 36}

Yet another chance, another token of mercy, another gift of grace, another opportunity for forgivenness. How many times can God show His longsuffering? I am filled with awe and amazement at such a God. Humanly, I know I couldn’t bear with such blunt defiance of laws and love. But He delights to show mercy…

It was a roll this time, a scroll containing all that God had declared to Jeremiah, yet another strategy to try to arouse the little bit of piety that might be residing in some hearts. When the king heard, he was driven into satanic fury, cutting the roll into pieces and throwing it into the fire.

But there were a few who were still seeking, a few whose hearts were still open. They pled with the king not to burn the scroll, but his heart was so hardened that he would not listen to them. His life was a sad tale of continued disregard of God’s law.

In fact, the king was not content to just destroy the roll; he determined to destroy Baruch and Jeremiah too. And suddenly we see the hand of God saying, “Here, but no further.” I love this phrase…

“But the Lord hid them.”

And no action of the king could quench the flame kindled in the hearts of these men. They wrote yet another scroll; this one was even deeper and more complete than the last. The enemy can never prevail.


This is not just a story from ages past. It is going to happen again, soon. Yes, we will have persecution, but the hand of God will be there saying, “Here, but no further.” Nothing the devil can do will quench our fire.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Undeserved Grace

{Jeremiah 32}

Disobedient. Idolatrous. Defiant. Back-slidden. An abomination.

They didn’t deserve grace.

God had promised “to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” And now His hand of judgment was raised.

Yet after listing all their sins and the punishments which were to be meted out, the tenor of His words change.

I will bring them back again. I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be my people. I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way to know me forever. I will make an everlasting covenant with them. I will not turn away from them. I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from me. I will rejoice over them. I will plant them in this land with my whole heart and my whole soul.”*

I will. I will. I will.

Why is God so willing to do all these things for an ungrateful, contemptible nation?
I find only one answer.


Love always wins. Consequences may come, but Love will always prevail.
True, the nation of Israel didn’t deserve grace, but neither did we…

Thursday, October 18, 2012

He is Everything… (And INFC pictures)

If there is something that has rebounded into my consciousness time after time during the past week, it is this…

God is everything.

From wakening me renewed hours before dawn day after day…
To stretching cuisine further than we deemed possible…
To the dozens of willing hands and cheerful hearts who volunteered to lighten our burden every meal…
To hearts touched and lives convicted (including my own)…
To miracles everywhere I turned…

Yes, He yet again proved Himself capable of doing above and beyond my wildest dreams. Sustaining when I deserved to be exhausted, giving when I didn't deserve to receive, encouraging when I felt drained, and so much more…

And I am reminded once again that He is everything to me.

Yes, everything…


Here's a brief glimpse into a week full of smiling faces and willing hands…

Scrumptious peanut butter carob fudge!

30+ batches of waffle batter!

Dedicated to the Harnish's :)

Those oven gloves were absolutely irresistible!

You have to watch out for Uncle Jeff… ;)

Carob delicacies

The excellent potato washers
And potato stabbers… (they developed interesting techniques!)

Gravy in the making

Helping to uniquely decorate the stage :)

Boxing lasagna for Sabbath lunch

Saturday, September 15, 2012

He Gives Again. . .

{Jeremiah 11}

It was no light matter. They had persisted in their course of wickedness.
The mercy of God had given. The justice of God must also give.

Consequences always follow disobedience.
Sometimes the results are unrecognized until distant future, yet always they exist.

There is nothing that pains God more than having to chastise His treasures.

Cursed though they were, hope and forgiveness were still extended from the Giver’s hand.
He would not give up on them until the last ray of melting mercy disappeared below the horizon of grace.
Until the last nail was driven into His palms. Until the last shout of “Crucify” faded into silent history.

And then, it would only be the people as a whole.
Individuals will ever move His heart to give again…

and again, and again…

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Gift Called Grace

Grace: an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings.*

There are but few attributes of God’s character shown to fallen man alone. Included in this special handful is grace. The only qualification for reception is unworthiness. The only prerequisite, sin.

Sin necessitates grace. We do not pursue grace, instead grace is sent in search of us. And it is when grace comes knocking at our doors that we are expected to respond.

God’s highest joy is to bestow the gift of grace on undeserving mortals. Yet there must be a mutual transaction. When God freely gives, we must reciprocate by graciously accepting.

"We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God…"**

Will others see glimpses of grace in you? 

* Heavenly Places, 34 
** Christian Service, 10