Tag Archives: grace

Without God, Without Hope

I’m going to share three stories with you from my pre-conversion high school days.

I was at a local punk rock show, throwing my fists aimlessly and thrashing in a blur of spiked bracelets and colored mohawks. It was circulating that someone I didn’t know wanted to fight me because they heard I had a black belt in karate. I found that to be enormously entertaining, so at the break I wandered outside to find this person. When someone pointed me her direction I approached her asking “So I hear you want to fight me?” I didn’t know that she was drunk. Within seconds her and her two friends were on me, dragging me around the parking lot by my hair and kicking me. There was nothing I could do, and I was laughing.
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Just Me and My 2 Year Old

I love my 2 year old to pieces. We laugh, dance, tickle, sing, and read together every single day. We take slow walks, picking up rocks and sticks, sitting on logs and calling them boats, petting puppies and finding a world full of treasure in a puddle (you know like nut shells and dead leaves, that kind of thing). We also have melt downs- or near melt downs- every single day. That’s one of the parts of parenting I could do without. Continue reading

Prayer Answered by Crosses

I read this poem probably five years ago and have come back to it many times.  It’s easy to see the loving care of God when He answers our prayers the way we want them to be answered.  Sometimes we pray “Your will be done” but in our hearts we really mean “but please, please, please do this the way I want.” When things don’t turn out that way we feel like God didn’t hear us.  When times are extremely difficult we may be tempted to ask “Doesn’t He love me?”

This poem helped show me what it means to pray with the Glory of God as the highest aim in mind.  “Lord, whatever it takes- glorify yourself in me.  Ultimately Lord, do what it takes to receive the most glory from this situation.”  Oftentimes that process means God opens our eyes to our own sinfulness and uses trials to reveal areas where we need to grow in faith, love, hope and trust in the Lord.

Prayer Answered by Crosses
By John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.

‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray;
And he, I trust, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that, in some favoured hour,
At once he’d answer my request,
And by his love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea, more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe,
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt thou pursue this worm to death?
This is the way, the Lord replied
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I now employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in me.

Note: This post is 4 years old. God has continued to use this poem in my life and to my great delight I discovered that Indelible Grace has a wonderful rendition of this, which I wanted to share below. There are so many things I could say in reflection on this song, but truly, it speaks for itself.

Part 6: His Call For You

1Corinthians 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

We discussed above that it is salvation that Jesus talked about as being impossible for men, but possible with God.  You may have tried in your own strength and wisdom to comprehend the Bible and even to live like a Christian and found yourself greatly discouraged and frustrated.  Such was the case with me.  You cannot rightly understand the gospel, nor respond to it, in and of your own desire or striving.  It must be spiritually understood, and this can only be granted as a gift from God.  Our lack of capability serves a glorious purpose: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1Cor 1:29),”and “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1Cor 2:5).” Continue reading

Part 4: How Does Jesus Make Entrance Into His Kingdom Possible?

Matthew 19:23-26 “And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

It is common for Christians to make “all things” mean “whatever I want God to do for me.”  What many people miss out on here is a much greater and stunning truth.  With man salvation itself is impossible, and can only be granted as a gift from God. Continue reading

Love Manifested In Dying

“Oh the Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus!  Vast, Unmeasured, Boundless, Free!”

 To look at the love of God poured out through His Son dying on a cross, is an experience beyond human words.  I concur with hymn writer Frederick Lehman who wrote:

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”

The magnificence of God’s love for His own revealed in Christ’s soul-purchasing death, is beyond what our finite minds can even grasp.  I wait for the day when this perishable body will be raised imperishable, “sown in dishonour” and “raised in glory,” sown “a natural body…raised a spiritual body (1Corinthians 15:42-44).”  Then may this dull and tired mind be awakened, and these eyes that see now only “in a mirror dimly” finally see him “face to face (1Corinthians 13:12).” I feel in myself, in my comprehension and in my expression of who I know Christ to be, such a weakness to adequately express how great He is.  In fact, I know that I will fall far short of expressing it, and of knowing it.  This is why I eagerly wait until he appears and “we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is (1John 3:2).”  In light of who he is, and what He has done, I want to express that I fear my affections for Him are not near what they should be!  Maybe you can relate to this part of a poem I wrote one night titled “My Pursuits So Frail, His So Furious.”

Mark me with intensity

That in despair I’d thirst for thee

As if this be my last minute of breath

May I desire Him as though His absence meant death. Continue reading