Tag Archives: Grace

Grace & Humility

Grace to the Humble

Judean Wilderness near Jericho

With the advent of June, the DaySpring calendar with quotes and Scriptures that lives in our bathroom is speaking about humility.

June 1: “We have the perfect example of humility in Jesus. If He could bow to His Fathers will, and consider others as Himself, then it is our honor to do the same.”

June 2: “Lord, I ask for Your help to truly humble myself, seek Your face, turn from my wicked ways and pray more fervently.”

June 3: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Stone Mosaic Sea of Galilee

As someone has wisely said, when you see a “therefore” in the Scripture, you need to stop and ask yourself, “What’s it there for?” Then go back and read above it, or the context. I’ve included those verses below, and the context is humility.

We really can’t make too big a deal about humility, in our life and in our relationship with God.

In Psalm 34:2b we find the phrase, “The humble shall hear …” Evidently, not being prideful or boastful or trusting in oneself, but being humble is integral to hearing the voice or whisper of God.

Magdala

We know that satan’s biggest issue was pride and boasting that led to self deception. That’s true of secular humanist too, those who disregard God and make themselves out to be their own gods, and masters of their own fates.

But to all this boastfulness and pride the Scripture would say, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV

In fact the Scripture and prophets remind us in many places of a proper posture before God, “Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20b NKJV

Nazareth

Christ Jesus

To Whom did this magnificent, all powerful, all knowing God — the Creator and Sustainer of all, exalt to the highest place? And give the highest name?

His most humble and obedient Son.

Could this be the trait about God Himself He admires most? In Himself, the Trinity — the triune One God?

And in His creation? Especially His sons and daughters? Think about it.


Caesarea

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

“My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.”
Psalm 34:2 NKJV

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:6 NKJV


Neighborhood Bicycle Ride

“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20

“The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” Psalm 11:4

“Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD, for the Day of the LORD is near. Indeed, the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has consecrated His guests.” Zephaniah 1:7

“Be silent before the LORD, all people, for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:13


“I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn.” Psalm 75:4

“Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.” I Samuel 2:3

A Christian Easter

A Christian Easter

“So you don’t care about one billion Catholics?” That’s what I heard in the spirit recently — a thought that wasn’t my thought — which I’ve learned to believe is from the Lord. I couldn’t even tell you what I was thinking at the time, but I will never forget what I heard.

I have a high view of Catholics, I think, and I’ve always found common ground in Christ when relating to them as friends, in monasteries and retreat centers, and I had a good friend for a time who was the priest at Christ the King Catholic Church in the neighborhood where I lived.

But I didn’t question the thought. I know that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” [I Sam 16:7]. The inference, strong but gentle, was,”I do, and you should too.” That became easier and almost a mandate and passion Easter Sunday 2020 with what I heard from Andrea Bocelli. It peaked my spiritual senses, and I believe it reverberated in the heavens. A prayer birthed in the heart of God, to be answered soon. Mercy for our world.

Protestants & Catholics

There may be something just below the surface in protestant thinking that goes something like this, “Most Catholics don’t read the Bible for themselves, and have at times been discouraged from doing so, so how could they believe? Do they even know what they believe?” Something like that or along those lines. Then some superiority illusions or pride creeps in, because we protestants study the Bible, know the Bible and what we believe it teaches. Pride blinds one to truth and reality.

Protestants beware of blinding pride. Or as Jesus told the Pharisees (the most religious Jews of His day), “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” [John 5:39] That is, they couldn’t see that God in the flesh was standing right in front of them, even though they studied Scripture and its prophecies.

But Bocelli’s simple act of faith, prayer, and worship on the world stage demonstrated simple, childlike faith in doing what he had been invited to do. Child like faith may be a trademark of Catholics? Something akin to the thief on the cross, who sensed his own miserable condition, getting what he deserved, but also sensed that Jesus was the Son of God, asked for mercy, and received the grace of salvation — without much Bible knowledge, as far as we know, like a little child.

That kind of faith may be a Catholic strength?! Yet beware of being somewhat familiar with Jesus, and like the five foolish virgins, not being known by Him, [Matt 25:1-13] putting your faith in saying, “I’m a Catholic or I’m a Christian.” Jesus had something to say to the Pharisees about that too, “And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” [Matt 3:9] Or said another way, “You think you’re fine because you’re Jews, but that’s not enough.” Grace received by faith is required, and the resulting relationship.

Christians

I think this pandemic, isolation, and solitude has caused Christ followers around the world to reexamine what they believe. Who and how much they trust? Something along the lines of “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” [Phil 2:12b] And it’s caused Christ followers to minimize their differences and pull together in faith, solidarity, and obedience to Christ.

I’m not talking about universalism here, the teaching or belief that everyone will go to heaven and have eternal life. The Bible doesn’t teach that. And Jesus Himself certainly didn’t. Remember He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.” [Matt 7:13-14] And, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.” [Luke 13:24] He also said it wasn’t His will that any should perish, but that all would come to eternal life.” [2 Peter 3:9] So our wills, wants, desires, actions, and words play a pivotal part in knowing Him.

I’m just saying I’m not the gate keeper. None of us are. Only One is — He Who rose from the dead that first Easter, once for all time, and for all who believe.

So know Him! More importantly, be known by Him.

Amazing Grace — Blind or Seeing

The Bocelli event ended with Amazing Grace, something every believer in Christ can identify with immediately and intensely. A humble acknowledgement we once were blind. And only by His Grace, now we see — the Risen Savior, for Who He Is. The Christ. The King. The Messiah. God’s Son. A loving, powerful One Who hears prayer.

How striking and strong it was to have a blind man with perhaps the best voice in the world standing there singing and seeing in the spiritual realm, while many sighted people watched who were perhaps spiritually blind. Grace was all around, and is there to be found.

Something Changed

I think something changed with that proclamation and prayer Easter Sunday 2020. Many prayers were ascending to God to have mercy and extend grace in our time of global need. More than 2.5 million people watched the powerful event live. As of this post, 38,629,568 have viewed it! Certainly it must have been the largest Christian meeting or spiritual meeting ever experienced at one time. That it included people of all faiths and many nonbelievers is remarkable as well, in the privacy of their own homes, listening in a world quietened by plague. People looking for answers witnessed a global spiritual gathering and event around Christ — facilitated by YouTube, the world wide web, and a humble man with a great voice and sincere faith, moved by compassion for his city, his country, and the world.

So there you have it. There are an estimated 2.3 billion Christians in the world, 1.2 billion Catholics and 1.1 billion protestants — about 30% of the world population. Because of Jesus, we care about each other and our world. Our prayer is that He show us more of His Amazing Grace in this crisis as we love, serve, and worship Him, Who Is Worthy — He is rich in Mercy and abundant in Grace. Amen.

Amazing Grace

Easter Sunday 2020

Trailer for Easter Sunday

Easter 2020

I knew it could be special! I’ve heard some of Andrea Bocelli’s songs before. A voice, and seemingly a heart, that turns heads whenever one hears almost any note he sings.

My wife had seen a message on line announcing that Bocelli would be bringing a free concert to the world from Milan Italy at noon our time, live streamed to the world via YouTube. And it happened just like that!

Two and one half million viewers watched it live. During the next forty-eight hours, more than thirty-three million people had watched it. Amazing!

I’ll comment on it later, with the English translations of the songs sung in Italian, but you can watch it here now, and experience it for yourself.

The music, the back story, the architecture , the videography, the choreography, the history, the understated nature of this world-wide communication and prayer to the Almighty will speak to your heart in ways words cannot. Just enjoy it for now, and listen with your heart, to something deeply spiritual, and very special. Music for hope.

Prophets of Grace

Prophets of Grace

“… even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, … but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you ….” I Peter 1

“Prophets of Grace” is a concept and calling that has been ringing in my ears for a couple months now, since Honduras 2020. My eyes just fell on this phrase in Peter, “prophets who prophesied of the grace….”

I was trying to articulate to a good friend at a Tacos-4-Life lunch yesterday, in our COVID-19-plague and fear-struck world, that I feel I’ve just discovered GRACE for the first time! It’s so new, fresh, big — pervasive in the Word and in my thoughts and experience now. I wonder how I could have missed its centrality and importance in God’s plan and Word all these years?

He kindly and gently replied, “I think we will never understand it all. We are always learning about grace.”

Well I can accept that, but it’s still amazes me….

Grace Attack

“Grace Attack” is a funny way to convey that God sometimes comes in ways to help and be gracious to us that looks more like an attack! But the outcome is good and the test will in time show its benefit, usually getting us out of a rut and on a better path. So whether God caused the virus or allowed it, the only two options I can think of since He’s so powerful and working in His creation every day, the outcome will be good.

Couple that with how good, loving, kind, magnanimous really — I’ll sum those attributes and call them “gracious” — God is, and we know we can and should “trust” Him completely in this world-wide crisis.

If you really know Him, you trust Him. You believe His plan for you is better than even your plan for you. And you will have the same response in all this that Eli, the ancient Israeli judge had on a day when he received some very bad news from a young prophet, “Let the Lord do what seems good to Him.” [I Samuel 3:1-18.]

Stay in Community as you Journey — Start Now

A men’s friendship group I started recently called the 2020 Book Club, meets in our home the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. To start our discussion and interaction we read a book in the interim and then share our notes or insights.

We often interject a book of the Bible in the mix and are now reading I & II Peter. I just started and look what I’ve already stumbled across! Coincidence? Providence? Synchronicity?


I invite you to put on GRACE glasses with me, and look for the word and concept as you read Scripture. I think you’ll be shocked and pleased — amazed at what you begin to see. And you may become a “Prophet of Grace!”

You should start a men’s (or women’s) group! And let grace start flowing through you! And your friends. :):) Godspeed. Your group will prove inspiring, empowering, life giving. He will see to it.

Stay tuned for more, on GRACE ….