Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Vast Reaches of Grace

I have been mulling something over and over in my mind ever since our small group met together this last Sunday night. We were discussing the 6th chapter of Hebrews. And as you might expect, there was some energetic discussion around verses 4, 5 and 6. So, let me say quickly to my friends from the Reformed Theology tradition that I am not going to debate the doctrine of Eternal Security in this post.

Rather, I want to look at the issue of Grace.

As I mentioned, the group was pondering this passage and someone in the group began to wonder about the potential relationship to what is known by many as the Unpardonable Sin in the Gospel of Mark chapter 3 and verse 29. Again, I am not going to debate that theological point either.

So, what am I going to write about?

I am going to write about a song by one of my favorite gospel quartets, Greater Vision. The song that I listened to on Monday and has echoed through my head ever since is "God's Grace Reaches Farther". Click on this link and listen to track 12 and tell me what you think about it.

I don't know a lot. But this one thing I know. God's grace reaches farther than sin could ever go. No matter where we find ourselves and no matter what depths of sin we find ourselves in, if we reach out to God in true repentance, surely He will reach out to us and lift us up from where we are.

How far will grace stretch? I don't know. And I don't want to find out. I just know that I have never gone so far that grace could not reach me.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

You Are Never Too Old

I am in the process of reading through the Bible this year in a chronological order. I have never read through the Bible from the beginning of the “story” to the end.  I just started on January 2nd, so I am still in Genesis as you might imagine.

Yesterday's reading had a passage that struck me and made me look at it from the perspective of age and opportunity. Here is the passage:
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”
Genesis 17:1 NIV

Here is the age perspective. Abraham was 99 years old. I know they lived longer in those days. But Abram was still well advanced in age.

And here is the opportunity perspective. Abram was given a command that seems hard to comply with. But he was given the opportunity to obey through the power of the Almighty God. First, God told Abram who He is. God referred to Himself as El Shaddai. He revealed His Person and character to Abram as the One who is ALL sufficient.

God goes on to tell Abram what was expected of him. You and I can only do what God expects of us when we know who He is and only when we know that in a full, intimate, personal, and real way.

The word blameless literally means “whole.” God wanted all of Abram. He wanted a total commitment. God wants the same thing of you and me. So, as we still are in the opening days of this new year, consider offering yourself completely to the One who is All Sufficient.

It is never too late.

And you are never too old!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Toes and Hearts

This past week-end I had the privilege of spending some time with a very fascinating woman.  Her name is Inez and she is my aunt by marriage.  So, I guess that makes me her nephew-in-law, if that is even a real familial relationship.  She told me a story about her grandmother.  In that story she talked about raising children and quoted her grandmother as saying the following:

When our children are young, they step on your toes.  But when they are grown, they walk on your heart.

What a great quote!

Perhaps up until this time in my life, I was too young to get the full meaning of that quote.  But, I get it now.

How well I remember the days when our kids were little.  I am not that tall, but I was taller than they were and they always seemed to be at my feet.  Now, my kids are full grown and my son towers over me.  And today, it is my heart that feels the impact and not my feet.

I am a very fortunate man and these days my heart swells with pride.  So, maybe the slight pain in my heart is more like the tightness in my waistline after the holidays.  Too much is stuffed inside.