My Grace is Sufficient for you......God

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 88 of 100 Days of Favor

 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
    and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their righteousness is from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

I've heard this scripture over and over and yet never heard the last part. My heritage is to that no weapon formed against me will succeed and that my righteousness is from God. Its when I know my righteousness is from God that no weapon formed against me will succeed! Its when I think I have to earn my righteousness that the accuser of the brethren can make accusations against me; "who do you think you are? You're not good enough to be a Christian". These are lies from the pit of hell but they are accurate IF I continue trying to earn my righteousness. Instead, its during these times of accusation I must confess with my mouth that I am the righteousness of God through Jesus's finished work at the cross!

Romans 4:2-5 says that those that work for their righteousness, those wages are not counted as grace but debt. Ouch....then it goes on to say that those who do not work for their righteousness but believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, those peoples faith is counted for righteousness. He is a God that justifies the ungodly...this then is grace! The unrighteous and ungodly being justified by faith! Before the law, Abraham was justified by his faith. God counted it for righteousness.....and all he did was believe.

I'm super excited to know that I am fully justified before God. Not by my works but by His perfect work at the cross! Never again will I give place to the accuser of men. His mouth is silenced by the true revelation of grace. Some say that grace is divine influence to do the will of God.....and it is that, but it is so much more than this. This definition simply places grace back in the place of helping us do more.....like its just something to help us keep the law! A true definition of grace might be; unmerited favor from a holy and perfect God toward me flowing in never ending rivers of love, joy, strength and peace!

Its from this place of forgiveness, strength, peace and joy that I want to please Him. Not because of punishment if I don't but because of His unending goodness that draws me to repentance. I want to do right because He loves me so much....its the only reason I want to do right. Otherwise my human nature runs toward the darkness continually. But His goodness brings me again and again to repentance.

I am now Christ conscious instead of sin conscious! Its a much better way to live. No more fear of what I might do wrong today. Instead I rejoice in His continual forgiveness....after all, He said it is finished!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

a life time ago

I wrote my last post on April the 5th 2013. Seven days before my heart attack and 3 months ago. That seems like a lifetime ago.

So much has changed since then. My diet, weight, my health have all changed for the better. Almost no sugar, no fried foods....etc....I'm still working on it to be sure but gradually I am getting in better health.

But a quick word about the heart attack....during and after.

As you recall, I wrote about grace a few days before the heart attack. In fact, a few weeks prior to that post, God had revealed Himself and His grace in a powerful way with the words from Scripture..."it is finished". What those words meant was, there is no longer a sin issue because the sinless one has put an end to the requirement of the law. It meant I could be 100% certain of my standing with God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross regardless of how I felt about myself. No more fear of the afterlife because that was secure. I was in a state of perpetual joy over the thunderbolt of the revelation of grace in my life.

So fast forward to the heart attack, April 12th 2013 around 9:30PM. Lying in bed, thinking I had indigestion from the large meal at Red Lobster. Someone had given us a gift card and we made much use of it that night. I told myself the indigestion would go away and to just go to sleep. So I did but two hours later awoke with severe pain in my right arm and serious pressure on my upper chest. These symptoms got worse and I told my wife I didn't feel good.

Soon thereafter we made the decision to go the hospital just in case. I got up, got dressed and told my wife I'd wait downstairs whilst she finished getting dressed.

I went outside and stood in the driveway as she made her way downstairs. Soon the pain was extreme and in that moment I knew I was having a heart attack and in that very same moment standing in the street outside the house, I knew I could die any second. Oddly enough, instead of fear and panic overwhelming me, I felt at peace. As the Scripture says "The peace that passes all understanding shall KEEP your hearts and minds". I did not have peace, peace had me. It kept me. And I knew it was His grace that enabled me to have the peace that if I died that night, I would see Jesus face to face. And through the entire episode, I had no fear. Instead I had almost a sense of detachment, as if I was watching myself and knowing in the end, it would all work out so no need to get excited about it at all! Like the script had already been written and I knew the ending already.

The drive to the hospital took somewhere around 24 hours to make....really it was 10 minutes or less but it felt far longer....the pain was intense and I wanted it to be over quicly....but once there, they took outstanding care of me....for which I am eternally grateful....and there is another miracle surrounding the hospital bill as well which is a topic for another post...suffice to say, without insurance I owe nothing to YRMC!

I guess the purpose of this post is to capture my perspective about my life before and after grace. My life prior to the revelation of grace seems far removed from my current existence. It seems somehow foreign. Alien even....and more importantly, full of doubt, full of fear, full of worry and anxiety.

As a Christian, those things were not supposed to be part of my life and yet they were. Yes I believed in God and in Jesus but to be 100% honest, the life the Bible promised was not what I was living......I was however, searching for that life and I believe the prayer I was praying...."God, open yourself to me, show me grace, show me your Good News was answered that day when grace came down.....I cannot imagine life without grace. Everything seems less frightening now. Uncertainty, difficulty, disappointments, all seem to fade somehow in the light of grace. And its true, the Kingdom really is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I'm not always righteous, nor am I always peaceful and I don't always walk in joy....BUT and its a BIG BUT....those things are always close. Where before they were something I needed to search for and sometimes I never found them.....but now, they are but a breath away....regardless of what I feel like, I know I can simply appropriate them in this present moment and they are mine!

I  can't explain it. It was revelation. It is revelation.....it will be revelation....in the sense that its ongoing. There was no moment of revelation....instead there is revelation. Now, in this present moment. Revelation of His unending and unbelievable goodness. Each new breath is a revelation of His favor. I get now why the Scripture says "in Him I live and move and have my being." Because without Him I can do nothing. Yes I can work and I can strive and I can accomplish different things....but even that is because of His favor. So better to acknowledge it and rest in it.

I'm rambling and it makes no sense. I get that. Its hard to explain.  Its so deep and yet so simple. Grace. A waterfall of His mercy and goodness. I can simply stand under its flow and enjoy all His benefits.

I'm gonna post a bit more often now. There are a few topics I want to get on paper so to speak so I can preserve them while their fresh in my mind...

1. Peace (shalom)
2. Rest (the Sabbath)
3. Communion (as often as you do it)
4. Sin and sacrifice
5. Kings and priests vs slaves
6. Speaking vs doing which ties in with Kings and priests
7. And a few other things as they come up.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Grace....greasy and otherwise.....

Grace....its easy to dismiss grace as the get out of jail free card.....most of us Christians have spent much time disparaging those that need constant grace, forgetting to look in the mirror of the Word to make sure we have our own measure of grace in place.

The truth is, if not for grace, we would all be screwed. Yes, that is the technical term for it. Sin came by one man to all, grace came by one man to all. Easy to say, simple for God to do, hard for us to grasp fully what that means. 

These past few years, I am learning what grace is. It is the classical interpretation, "unmerited favor from God" but its so much more than this. This sounds religious. And Jesus had some unkind things to say about religion. Religion keeps man from God under the guise of pointing man to God by creating rules through which man must approach God. Instead, grace opens the path for man to approach God freely and in his own way. Yes, Jesus is the only way to God, but how we get to Jesus is up to us and grace throws wide the door to the throne room and invites all who are weary, dirty, tired, poor, sick, and burdened with life to enter His presence and celebrate life. There is no caveat....just invitation.  

Grace makes it possible for me to lay aside my desire to sin. Not just the sin itself, but the desire. As I revel in His grace, my desire for sin diminishes, as I rely on myself, my desire for sin increases. Grace is not greasy, its just the opposite. Grace covers all but births within me the desire to have less to cover. Grace says, "I'll cover your sin, but there's a better way". 

I see on the landscape of religion, ways to exclude, boundaries keeping people out. Yet the Good News of the Kingdom was so great that people died getting it to other people. The religion I have known is not good enough, not exciting enough to lay down my life for. Rules and regulations through which I approach God is simply not the Good News. 

If those of us calling ourselves Christians presented the real Good News (provided we understand it properly) perhaps those we are presenting to would receive it with more joy. 

Grace and truth, the entirety of the Good News message. While we were sinners, Christ died for us so that we who were dead in our sin, could live again.....the price paid for all mankind, once and for all. No one left out....and no further action needed. Because of this, we can live life fully alive in the Kingdom. Our choice. We choose to live in the Kingdom or we choose to live in hell. The Kingdom according to Jesus is in the hearts of men. If the Kingdom is in the hearts of men, which means we have the choice of where to live this present life. Surely any choice we make to live below Kingdom standards is choosing to live in the gates of hell. 

God's ways are not our ways. What makes sense to us is just foolishness to him. What is foolishness to us is very often the way of the Kingdom.....it makes sense for me to have to perform something to live in the Kingdom and yet He says "nope....just live, My gift to you, enjoy". 

I choose the Kingdom....