Grace and the Beast

  “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” Psalm 73:22

Why am I so foolish?—because I am ignorant.  Why am I ignorant?—because I do not know God.  Without the knowledge of Him I am but a sinful creature, no different than the other creatures that He has made.  How many times, through the means of His grace, has my heart been”grieved” at the revelation of my beastliness beofre HIm and before men.

 In this Psalm Asaph sees himself in the middle of sinful humanity. He sees himself as one of the whole of humanity, identifying with the pride of  the wicked.  Envious of their prosperity his “feet were almost gone.”  His steps had “well nigh slipped.”  But, he goes on to speak of God’s  relationship to His people—to those whom He has delivered by His grace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~  NEVERTHELESS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What a blessed word is this to me and those who are being tamed by the grace of our Father, and His Spirit—to those He has brought to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ

I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”

Which is greater—the Father’s wisdom, or my foolishness?  Which is dominant—the Father’s knowledge, or my ignorance?  Which is the overwhelming and overcoming factor in the life of God’s children—His grace, or our sin?

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”guidance

Psalm 73:23-24

Father, you know that we have none in heaven but you, that there is none upon earth that we, as your children, desire beside you.  Our flesh and our hearts fail in our own endeavors, but you are ‘the strength of our hearts, and our portion forever.”  This is all the power of the working of your grace within us. We praise you for all things, and for this day of grace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, and thank you.”

A Child’s Plea for God

A Child's Plea

     Give me not a god,
a god that I control.  

 Don’t give me a god
that I can mold.

 I need GOD, the REAL GOD,
who knows more than I know.

Give me GOD, THE LIVING GOD,
who’s free to come and go.

   GOD, Himself, who created Life,
and all living things—

  GOD, who lives, and to my life
His own LIFE He brings.

   I  want  GOD, the HOLY GOD,
who has a master plan.

  GOD, the GOD who acts in grace,
though I can’t understand.

 Where is GOD, the GOD OF TRUTH,
who tells it like it is; 

  Though painful it may seem to me,
shapes my heart like His? 

   I see GOD, the MIGHTY GOD,
when I look at the cross, 

      Who gave His life that I might live,
removing all the dross.

This GOD, THE GOD I’m looking for,
is greater than the world;

       Able to do anything,
simply by His Word.

     I will wait for GOD, THE LOVING GOD,
the GOD of POWER, still,

        Who can, in JESUS, fill my heart,
and conform me to HIS will.

(Written for our oldest grandchild for her fourth birthday.  She turns nineteen tomorrow.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANSLEY!


 

Wings of Grace

 Wings of Grace

 How the photographer got this close to the scene I do not understand.  I only know what I see in the picture.  And it reminds me of the words of the Psalmist who experienced the wings of God’s grace.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Psalm 91:1,3 ESV

It also reminds me of the need for stronger and larger wings as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Waiting on God, Andrew Murray aptly describes the work of God’s grace in us.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
 Isaiah 40:31

“You know what eagles’ wings mean.  The eagle is the king of birds; it soars the highest into the heavens.  Believers are to live a heavenly life, in the very presence and love and joy of God.  They are to live where God lives; they need God’s strength to rise there.  It will be given to them that wait on Him.

You know how the eagles’ wings are obtained.  Only in one way — by the eagle birth.  You are born of God.  You have the eagles’ wings.  You may not have known it; you may not have used them; but God can and will teach you how to use them.

You know how the eagles are taught the use of their wings.  See yonder cliff rising a thousand feet out of the sea.  See high up a ledge on the rock, where there is an eagle’s nest with its treasure of two young eaglets.  See the mother bird come and stir up her nest, and with her beak push the timid birds over the precipice.  See how they flutter and fall and sink toward the depth.  See now how she “fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11), and so, as they ride upon her wings, brings them to a place of safety.  And so, she does once and again, each time casting them out over the precipice, and then again taking and carrying them.  “So the Lord alone did lead him.”  Yes, the instinct of that eagle mother was God’s gift, a single ray of that love in which the Almighty trains His people to mount as on eagles’ wings.

He stirs up your nest.  He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence.  He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless.  And, all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on, and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you.  And all He asks is that you sink down in your weariness and wait on Him.  Allow Him in His Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of HIs omnipotence.

Dear child of God, I pray you, lift up your eyes, and behold your God!  Listen to Him who says that He “fainteth not, neither is weary,” who promises that you too shall not faint or be weary, who asks nothing but this one thing, that you should wait on Him.  And, let your answer be, With such a God, so mighty, so faithful, so tender—My soul, wait thou only upon God!”   God’s grace for God’s glory and our joy!” (Waiting on God  ~ Andrew Murray)

God’s Glory and Mother Nature

God’s glory, and mother nature, are complimentary.  More than this, nature is a reflection of the glory of God, the Father.  And yet in this visible world the natural man only sees and knows the mother.

Within three days I have encountered this phenomenon from the witness of a landscape designer and a photographer.  One states that she was brought up as a Catholic, and though she does not attend church, she is a Christian through her knowledge and joy of nature.  The photographer, in his own video, gives all the credit to the beauty of his work to mother nature; even explaining that when someone responds to his work, using the name of God in vain, they are expressing the god within themselves. In both cases all the work, the sustaining, the maintenance and beauty of the Father is negated to what the human eye can see.  The creation—the mother—is worshiped, instead of the Creator.

The full scope of this negation is recorded by Paul in the first chapter of Romans.  Interestingly enough, he ties this misplaced devotion to the nature of man.  Years ago I wrote an article with a simple theme of the common denominator of homosexuality. What it is is the annihilation of the role of the father.  Look at both the female and the male role in this way of life.  There is no father figure; there is only the nature of man becoming all that he or she feels.  There is no authority or leadership beyond the human form and what we know as the “self.”

We are first, born of the natural, living after the flesh and its lusts and desires (whatever makes me feel good).  The same Father that created us—and all that we see in mother nature—sires us again, by His Spirit, through faith in Jesus Christ.  This “new creation” sees the Father in His glory, and the new mother—the heavenly Jerusalem.  We see, through all the beauty of what is created here, the glory of the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, and what they have prepared for us with them in glory.

If you are a part of this deceptive phenomenon, look up, look beyond what you see with your natural eyes, and what you feel in yourself.  Find a Bible, read the New Testament, cry out to the Father who created you—to open your eyes to see Jesus Christ, in whom He has given all that you need to worship Him.  This is the purpose of your creation.  Don’t let men deceive you; don’t deceive yourself.  If you miss the Father’s glory in Jesus Christ, you will miss it all, with only your eyes and body to see and feel what you have now, for eternity.   Men—you can be the man that God created you to be—in Christ.   Women—you can be the woman God created you to be—in Christ.

“As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust,
and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.”
1 Corinthians 15:48

Dear Father, I thank you that you have not left us as we are, to ourselves and our own feelings, but “before the foundation of the world” prepared with, and through Jesus Christ, your Son, the means of escape and salvation for the holy life for which you created us in your own image.  Through this message I pray you would call and draw to Christ those whom you desire to know you, love you, and worship you, the Father of glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Light of God’s Grace

*OUR OWN LITTLE WORLDS

On this planet earth many of us are living within our own little worlds—wombs that we think are protecting us from the rest of the world.  In essence we have imprisoned ourselves.

Before birth a baby is cradled, fed, and cared for naturally.  From the womb of the mother he exits to find himself in unknown territory, unprepared to deal with ‘life.’  This helpless bundle of blood, tissue and cells must depend on someone to show him how to survive on the outside.

Does he wonder where he is, where he came from, or how he got here?  No; his only thought is, “I need…” communicated by-way-of his natural mechanism.

But look:  Mommy cannot respond to his needs—he sees her in a fetal position, surrounded by a crystal-like ball. He is trying to tell her that he needs to be held, to feel the closeness they had while he was in the mother’s womb, to know that this world is a safe place for him to be.

She cannot break through; she has closed herself in.  Because of her own fears she is unable to convince her child that he can be secure, that his vital needs will always be met.

Soon he metamophorically forms his own outer shell and becomes one of the millions of bubbles floating around the universe, passing time and people without understanding the meaning of his existence.

(The mother is always the closest to the new-born — except for dire circumstances. Her relationship is crucial to her baby.  She is the first to nurture, to feed, to hold.  This bond between mother and child is the most important.  The person who carries him in her womb for nine months should be free for a period of time to love this baby and to meet its needs.  [I am not sure that I agree completely with Dr. William Sears, but in his book, Parenting Your Baby, he says that a new mother should plan to live in her nightgown for two weeks, nursing, holding, grooming, rocking and “securing” her new-born.  For the first year the new baby needs to know that he lives in a safe environment.]  The father’s role is to support and nurture this mother-baby relationship.  As a result he will be seen as a gentle, but strong, human being and will take his rightful place as head of his household. It is this family relationship that is the example for the future relationship this child will have with God, his heavenly Father, and His family.)

Families that have good parenting skills are rare.  We face the two most important lift-time decisions—marriage and parenting— without proper training.  We make our decisions based on feelings, from what we know, what we want, and what we see others doing.

Experience has shown that parents who were loved and ‘secured’ are able to love their children.  If you have been nurtured, you have been trained to nurture.  These are the people whose feet are on the ground—anchored to a purpose and a meaning for life—who see and respond to the needs of others.  These are the people who are trying to burst the bubbles of those whose cries were never heard.

How do these people convince others that they are loved and have a purpose for living?  —- to be continued)

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This above article was written in the 1980s during my times of conflict, doubt, and anxiety—the natural way I had learned to live.

The mother in this story is me at a time in my life when things seemed hopeless—a mother who could not help herself, not knowing where to turn, and not able to help anyone else. My own little world was all I knew.  This little world is a dark world which leaves no room for anyone but self.

Darkness is not a pleasant state in which to be. But then God began to shine the light into my heart. There was a calling to something from Someone I did not yet know.  My drawing was first to The Word of God which is contained in The Holy Bible.  Here I began to read and to love what I was learning, which eventually led me to Jesus Christ, who is revealed in His Word.  Then I began to love God, the Father, and God, the Son, that Someone whose light was strong enough to penetrate my darkness and bring me into His light.

Not only did the light become brighter and brighter, but I could also look back and see the darkness He had brought me through.  Still not knowing the meaning of life, nor my purpose, there was evidence that our heavenly Father had been with me all my life, protecting and guiding in a way that I did not fully understand.

During the four and a half years of caring for Mother in her last stages of dementia, and the first year in caring for Jerry after two surgeries on his left leg—the second one an amputation below the knee— the bubble formed again and my own little world seemed to be all I could handle.

Again, God, our heavenly Father,  by the power of His own light, penetrated my “little world”—the sharpness and piercing of the two-edged sword is like a laser.  (Hebrews 4:12) He continues to permeate my whole being, and perpetuate the light of His grace in my heart and through my life.  He works in each of us, by His own power, to see the needs of others, to care, intercede, and touch the lives of those for whom we pray—for His glory and our joy.

“The path of the just is as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day.”

Proverbs 5:18

*(Introduction to God’s Glory and Our Joy, The Ministry of Intercession)

The Beauty of Grace in the Eye of the Beholder

cross“And when we shall see him, there is no beauty
that we should desire him.
We hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53: 2-3

Who can SEE what is heavenly?  Who can experience the supernatural beauty of that which is above and beyond us?  Where do we find the beauty of life apart from ourselves? The human eye cannot SEE what God has prepared for His children except His Spirit REVEALS it to us. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

“But we all with open face, BEHOLDING as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

From the mouth of a layman Spurgeon heard and saw the beauty of Christ in Isaiah 45:22, “LOOK unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.”

Our heavenly Father SAW in His Son what He wants us to SEE.

“He shall SEE of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death.
He bare the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:11-12

 “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”  Psalm 50:2

“They shall LOOK on him whom they pierced.”  John 19:37

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Paul prayed for the early church in Ephesians 1:17-18:  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and REVELATION in the knowledge of him: The EYES OF OUR UNDERSTANDING ENLIGHTENED; THAT YE MAY KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

“Wherefore SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God…….LOOKING diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;” Hebrews 1-2, 15

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hst given me, be with me where I am;
that they may BEHOLD my glory, which thou hast given me,”
John 17:24

“Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key, that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see:
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  ~ Clara H. Scott
Music:  Open My Eyes, That I May See

Father, draw us by your Spirit to your Word, the written and living Word of Christ, your Son, whom you have made to be our Lord, Master, and Life. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

GRACE ~ the Sky’s the Limit

Have you been outside today?

HAVE YOU BEEN OUTSIDE YOURSELF?

OUTSIDE YOUR OWN LITTLE WORLD?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Go outside, look up  ~  What do you see?  Clouds?

WHAT SURROUNDS THE CLOUDS?  GRACE!!!!!

GRACE  is in the air.  GRACE is in the wind; in the sun.

GOD IS EVERYWHERE!  AND WHERE HE IS ~ GRACE ABOUNDS!

IN HIM WE LIVE, AND MOVE, AND HAVE OUR BEING.” Acts 17:28

The most beautiful blue in the world is the color we see in the sky.

But how often do we even look up to see our Father’s grace in what He has created?

If we look up,He will reveal His panorama of grace.  If we take time to observe, and sense His presence, He will enable us to look beyond ourselves, our circumstances, the turmoils, and the evil of this world.  He will fill us with His grace, and surround us with His glory.

THIS CANOPY OF GRACE IS THE LINING

OF HIS EVERLASTING COVENANT THAT HOLDS US IN HIS LOVE

UNTIL HE REVEALS THE FULNESS OF HIS GLORY.

“Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus,
which is taken  from you into heaven,
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts. 1:11

And then shall they see the Son of man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Luke 21:27