Through him (our Lord Jesus Christ) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5: 2


It seems to me that if there is one thing that would make aa difference in the way that our world operates, that one thing might be the presence of more grace in our interactions and in our relationships. Now grace is an interesting concept, and it is a risky thing to engage in giving or receiving. Grace defies some of the rules of life that we all have learned, for it operates outside of the usual idea that all human interaction carries with it an inherent requirement that there be reciprocity. If I give something to you, then you are indebted to me until something of relatively equal worth is returned to me. This is the sort of platform upon which most of what we do and how we engage with each other is constructed. This give and take economy is where our world stands.


However, this is not where God is coming from in the way that He engages with His creation, in general, and with people, specifically.  In the beginning, He breathed life into us, and after we defied Him and went our own way into a universal journey of sin and its death, God came to us and provided Himself as our means of reentering the fullness of life. God asked for nothing in return as He poured out His grace upon our unworthy souls, and the only thing that Christ asked was that we be forgiven. Because of Christ and through God’s grace, anyone who turns to Him in repentance and submission is granted a new home in God’s Kingdom and a renewed purpose for this life in service to its King. Thus, in so living, we enter into our own hope of eternity wherein we will be covered in the glory of the Lord, but grace is still really for this life and it is about how we approach living today.


In Christ, we have received grace beyond our capacity or capability to measure it. There is no way to quantify or to compare this gift from God to anything else that we can perceive in this world. Yet, this grace that God has granted to us is intended to serve the purpose of setting us free from the bonds and the constraints that sin has imposed upon us. This is especially true when it comes to the way that we react to and interact with others. It seems to me that if we prepared out hearts to pour out grace upon people in all situations and under the wide range of circumstance in which we react to them in life, then this world would have a different tone and flavor to it. We might see others in a way that is more like Christ’s, and we just might find that other people start to understand some more of God’s gracious desire to redeem them. So, Lord, help me to stand today as a grace-soaked follower of Jesus and guide me to pour out that same infinite love upon others as an offering of grace given in worship to my King.


I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest.

Psalm 55: 8


The experience of a storm is something that is common to all people; however, there is a wide range of pleasure and discomfort in those experiences. In fact, each of us encounters times when the storm brings refreshing energy into our lives and others when it causes concern that can readily turn into panic. A lot of the difference is the result of how much we feel either in control or out of it and how much fear we have concerning the amount of damage that the storm might cause.


When we try to take on the swirling winds and the driving rain by ourselves, and the strength and the wisdom that we need to survive it all are coming from personal resources, there will always be a less than desirable result. We may make it through some days, and we may hold it all together for some period of time; but, in the end, the forces that are driving the winds will overcome us. Yet, there is a calm, safe, and available place to go where strength is more than restored and where the wisdom of eternity is provided to everyone who is humble enough to seek it.


The Lord does not tell us to stay safely inside our houses and to avoid those strong winds and the flying debris that are found out in our world. Rather, He wants us to find our footing, base our thinking, and plan the adventure that is daily life from the perspective of the calm of His word and with His Spirit to hold onto. The Lord is the refuge that we have to go into when life is too much to handle, and He is the One who will take us back out into the world’s tempest so that we can bring that settling grace that is found in Christ’s presence into it our world’s stormy nights.


You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 2: 1, 2


Have you ever followed the wrong directions and gone somewhere that you shouldn’t have? Maybe you were putting something together and decided to skip all of those directions at the beginning of the page that were obviously intended for people who possessed lesser mechanical skills than you. Or there was just going to be that one time that you would do that thing, eat that item, or indulge that thought; however, this was the certain thing, that especially addictive item or the thought that keeps leading you into a downward spiral of sinful and unproductive thinking. Life is filled with choices, and one of the most important ones determines who we listen to and where we go to access wisdom and truth that will frame the way we live.


Paul is helping us recognize the fact that once we know Christ we need to make the decision to allow Him to truly and completely be Lord of our lives. For, as people, we have spent our entire lives learning how to live in a world that is filled with images, thoughts, and direction that seems to work but that often tends to lead us continually away from the true righteousness of God. Christ wants to take us in a new direction; yet, I find that new directions can be uncomfortable, and it requires discipline and hard work on my part to stick with following them. Still, the rewards for those efforts are so great that there is nothing in this life to compare with them.


Christ has given us a new map, a complete set of directions, and a way to overcome the destructive habits that have caused us and others harm. His Spirit wants take the lead as we navigate through this day, and His Word has real answers to all of the questions that will arise during our travels. Even knowing all of this does not guarantee that the journey will be smooth and without side trips and interruptions. So, when the old maps and worldly influences start to take charge of my thinking, I need to stop and reflect on the peace, joy, and clarity of thought that Christ has given to me; then, from the perspective of truth and with the clarity of thought that Christ provides, I can thank God for the way that He totally loves me and allow His Spirit to lead me on from there.



Are not five sparrows sold two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

Luke 12: 6


The details matter. Just ask an airplane pilot or a surgeon, and they will confirm this fact. The details of life matter to God, too. Some of these details are formed out of attitudes and from intentions; while others are defined by the way that people live out their days in pursuit of God or in attempted escape from Him. Still, without regard to what we do, where we go, or even what masters we serve, God knows it all and Christ seeks to enter into every aspect of each day of our existence with us. You see, the point that Jesus was making when He brought up sparrows was that they were truly the poor person’s sacrifice. They were so cheap as to be completely disposable; yet, to God, their Creator, each of those throw away birds was known and considered as a valuable part of this world’s beauty and balance of nature. They all had a purpose in God’s plan for this world.


So, if that was true about humble birds, how much more so does this same Creator God care about and fully comprehend each of the people that He has set out in this same world? We matter to God; so, we matter to Jesus Christ. God’s intent and desire for us is to be in close relationship with us; thus, Christ comes into our lives in order to redeem us from the separation of sin and to restore us to the glory of God that is our greatest and truest potential. We can fight against God’s intent and His desire. In fact, to various degrees most people do struggle with and against God for parts of our lives and throughout all of our days to some extent. However, these times of departure, rebellion, and disaffection with our Lord are futile. Those sparrows have more power to set their own direction and destiny than we do, for in the end, we all face the reality of our lives as our days on this earth end, and we go before Christ as the purveyor of truth and final justice.


There is no escaping this day of reckoning, and we should not be living in fear of it, either. God’s desire is that He would be greatly pleased to welcome each person on this earth home into His eternal presence. Jesus literally poured out His blood in order to buy each of us that outcome to the life that we have been given by God. This is a good day and this hour is the perfect time to consider my life in light of God’s view of those precious sparrows. Although the world may have viewed them as throw aways with no real usefulness or value, God sees the unique design and infinite depth of quality in every feather on their bodies. So, it is with each of us. God sees us as vitally important to Him, and He grants to each of us the talents, skills, and gifts that we will need in order to follow His will and to live out our days in service to our Godly calling. Our lives are filled with those details that matter so greatly to our Lord, and He will not overlook or forget anything that truly matters as we live out lives of service to Him.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

Psalm 139: 23


These are the words of someone who really trusts God. The desire to be known by God is a part of growing and maturing in our relationship with Him. Generally, when we start out in a relationship we want to know everything there is to know about the other person, and in the process of building the relationship, we start to give them small portions of ourselves. As time goes by and we don’t learn anything too scary about the other person, we start to open up more of ourselves to them.


God does things very differently; He opens His entire book to us in advance. We can study His nature and His character in detail; we have access to His relational history, and we know what He thinks about us. All of this information is available before we have given anything to Him. The heart of God is the truest open book that exists. The Lord desires that we would want Him to know us totally. He does know us; for. He created each of us, and quite simply, He does know all. What He wishes is that we would grow in our trust of Him to the place where the words of this Psalm would become our daily prayer.


By going through the day with this prayer on our lips and with this desire in our hearts, we are opening up our thinking to God, and we are trusting Him with our transparency regarding the underlying heart motives for everything we engage in. Then we can allow the Lord to take us through our day to places that are more in line with his desire for us, and we trust him to tell us when we are off track. We are also allowing Him to encourage us and to praise us when we are listening and doing His will. When I trust God to this degree, when I am open with Him to this deep level, the rewards and the blessings that Christ gives to me are truly amazing.


And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Ephesians 2: 17


If only people could learn to compromise. This is the exasperated lament of many of us today as a vast array of big issues remain unresolved and without solution. I do hold that there is much to commend the practice of compromise when it comes to governance and the management of society. Yet, I think that there is something else involved in the way that God would see people learn to live together peacefully in this world. The Lord doesn’t call upon us to compromise; rather, He desires for us to move away from our tightly held positions on everything and move toward Him and His singular point of view on all that we think, feel, and do.


In order for us to do this, we need to start to function in a manner that is like the one that God uses with us. God listens well, and He hears what we are saying both in the words of it and in the emotion that is behind those words. He also knows us in a manner that goes deep into our hearts and minds, and even with this knowledge, which includes our darkest secrets and our doubts and fears, the Lord still seeks to engage with each of us. He pours out His love, grace, and mercy upon us as He also brings the full weight of His truth and righteousness to bear upon our choices and decisions. In Christ, we find God’s great love in direct contact with humanity’s abandonment of relationship with our Creator, and the purpose of that contact is redemption and the reconciliation of our lost bodies and souls to God’s absolutely loving presence.


So, it seems that the real and true starting point for resolution of all that is difficult and to the conflict in our world is Christ. The strife, violence, and loss of our world will cease only when Christ returns and reigns over the restored order of creation that will become the new and eternal world at that time. However, that should not stop those of us who know Christ from living today as He would have us live. That would mean that we would seek to apply the truth of God’s Word in its totality to all that we think and do and also that we would strive to hear all others well and to attempt to get to know them in a deep and real way so that when we listen to them we can actually hear what is being spoken to us. This also suggests that we would be bold and brave enough to hold fast to what is non-negotiable from God’s perspective while inviting Christ to be our anchor point of truth and belief. In this world where disagreement is our common language, Christ speaks forth a different dialect as He leads His people into the conciliation of peace and the restorative hope of His grace and love.

Since therefor, Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

1 Peter 4: 1, 2


Let’s face it, most of us do not like pain. We will do almost anything to avoid it and to get rid of it as quickly as is possible when we encounter its presence. We have developed methods for avoiding the sorts of situations that bring it upon us, and our science has created numerous compounds and devices that grant us relief from it. So, to suggest that this sort of discomfort or worse is something to consider as worthy of acceptance is just a bit off center to the way that most people process life. Yet, God deliberately brought extraordinary and overwhelming pain upon Himself in order to bring each of us back into His full and eternal presence. Jesus, the one person in all of history who did not deserve to suffer as He was in all ways without sin, took on our states of lostness so that this restoration could be truly accomplished.


Now, we are invited to join with Christ in suffering a small portion of the agony of His cross so that we can put to death the lingering effects of our sinful state of deviation from God’s will and enter more fully into His path of righteousness in our lives. It does seem to be necessary to willingly take on a form of pain in order for some of the aspects of our former lives to be removed from us. There are ways of thinking and forms of action that are deeply ingrained within us so that they have become a too comfortable part of our sense of being. When these vestiges of our former, pre-redemption, selves cling to us, they often do so with a fierce sort of tenacity that makes their removal somewhat like what undergoing dental work must have been like in ancient times. Yet, there is one very real and absolutely significant difference between our human experiences of painful events and this one of entering into Christ’s call to holiness.


Christ has gone there before us, and now He travels these hard paths of transformative life with us. When we turn these various aspects and areas of life over to Christ by placing them on His cross of sacrificial pain and death, we are giving up control over a part of ourselves and allowing the Lord to take over this same internal territory. In doing this there can be an excruciating tearing of our spiritual and emotional flesh; yet, God is faithful to provide the sort of healing that brings about a greater form of strength as He moves us closer to His calling for our lives. This way of Christ’s cross is seldom an easy road to travel, but it is the direction through the remaining days of our lives wherein we leave behind ever more of the sinful passions and rebellious disobedience to God that is behind them in order to live in the fuller experience and expression of Christ’s glorious will for our lives.

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