How To Live In A World That’s Shaking, Cracking and Crumbling

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Do you ever feel like the world is cracking and beginning to crumble?  ISIS, Ebola, changing sexual morals, disintegrating families, escalating crime, drugs, suicides….I don’t need to elaborate.  The world is shaking.  It’s passing away.  But believers in Jesus need not fear or be depressed, for God has given us an unshakeable kingdom.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12.28-29 NIV)

Live for the unshakeable kingdom

This world and everything in it is going to pass away. But we are receiving a kingdom that is permanent. It will last forever. It can’t be destroyed, let alone shaken. This means that everything we do for that kingdom will last. All we invest in that kingdom is secure. It won’t devalue; no one can steal it; it’s there and it will be there when we get to heaven. Every act of kindness we do in the name of Jesus, every glass of water we give a thirsty person, every dollar we give to the church or the poor, every meal we make for a family in need, every time we babysit for a friend – Safe. Permanent. Every prayer we offer, every song we sing, every time we praise Jesus, every act of obedience – stored away in the unshakeable kingdom.  In light of the unshakeable kingdom, why would we live for this world? Why would we give ourselves to sin and selfishness? Why would we spend all our time pursuing things that are fading, aging, crumbling and passing away?

Be thankful

The author of Hebrews says that since we are receiving a permanent kingdom “let us be thankful.” How can we not be thankful that Jesus rescued us from lives of futility and gave us eternal life in his kingdom? How can we not be thankful for an unimaginable glorious future? Let’s make thankfulness one of the main habits in our lives. Yes, we should thank God for all our material blessings, but let us thank him for the incredible blessings of the kingdom – the righteousness of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, God’s love in Christ, God’s protection from evil, his strength to conquer sin…innumerable spiritual blessings.

Ask God for grace

The phrase “let us be thankful” is often translated from the Greek “let us have grace.” Hebrews 4 tells us that in our weakness when we face temptations we should boldly approach the throne of grace for “grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is waiting to give us his mighty power to overcome temptation.

Have a healthy fear

Since we are receiving an unshakeable kingdom, we should “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” This isn’t just talking about our “corporate worship” when we gather with the church to sing and celebrate, but our lives. We are to offer God holy lives. We should live “with reverence and awe” or with a healthy fear of the Lord. We don’t want to take God’s holiness and majesty for granted. We don’t want to presume that we can sin and God won’t discipline us. We don’t want to give in to sin.  Remember “God is a consuming fire.” The author of Hebrews is referring to DT 4:23-24:

Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

God warned Israel, that though they were his chosen people and he would bring them into the promised land, they must be careful not to fall into idolatry, because he would punish them. God doesn’t take sin lightly. Nadab and Abihu didn’t fear God, and offered different incense than God had commanded:

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. (LV 10:1-2)

This doesn’t say that Nadab and Abihu went to hell. It says that fire came out from the Lord and consumed them. They ruined their lives in this world by their disobedience. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira, who it would appear were believers, lied to Peter about money and God struck them down. The result was that “great fear came upon the whole church” (v11).  Obviously, God doesn’t always consume us when we sin. He is patient, long-suffering and merciful. But we shouldn’t presume on that mercy. A healthy fear of the Lord will help us live holy lives that are pleasing worship to God.

We who have believed in Jesus are receiving an unshakeable kingdom. Let us be practice being thankful, let us seek his grace to overcome sin, and let us cultivate a healthy fear of God. That’s a recipe for joy!

Eat Your Heart Out Indiana Jones

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We’ve all seen movies where the hero discovers a cave filled with treasure – Aladdin, Indiana Jones, National Treasure, etc.

There’s always the scene where the hero first walks into the cave or lights a torch that suddenly illuminates the interior of the cave, revealing piles and piles of treasures, gold and jewels and golden urns and crowns and cups. The room is usually vast and the golden piles reach back as far as the eye can see. It would take years and years for the hero to explore the marvels and the riches in the cave, to even begin to fathom the treasures and wealth that is now his.

Well, there’s something better in store for believers in Jesus. A treasure that cannot even be measured. A treasure so vast it will take all eternity for us to explore it. God has given us so much grace and kindness in Jesus that he will be revealing it to us for the coming ages.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. EPH 2:4-7

Did you catch that? in the coming AGES God will show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. How long is an age? Galatians 1:4 tells us that Jesus gave himself to deliver us from “the present evil age.” In Luke 18:30 Jesus says those who follow him will receive eternal life in “the age to come.” So how long is an age? 1000 years? 10,000 years? When we enter heaven God will begin to take us on a tour of the riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ.

After one age of say, 10,000 years of God showing us the immeasurable riches of his grace to us in Jesus, he’ll say, “Well, that’s one age. Time for another one. Here are even more riches of my grace and kindness to you in Jesus. One age won’t be long enough to take in the immeasurable blessings we’ve received in his Son. It will take age after age after age…exploring one heavenly storehouse after another. Eat your heart out, Indiana Jones.

Don’t live for this world. Don’t try to amass a few paltry possessions that are going to rust and decay. Live for the next world. Live for the coming ages. Store up treasure in heaven. Do as much good as you can now. Be zealous for good deeds. Send your treasures ahead. And thank God constantly for the treasures in Christ he has already heaped up for us there.

Emancipated! No Longer Slaves Of Sin

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Sinoftencomes on strong, and we feel like we have to give in toit.

That temptation to lust is just too strong. We just cant stop worrying. If we dont give vent to our anger we feel well explode. Were born slaves of sin and do its bidding all our lives – UNTIL Jesus saves us. And he saves us not only from the GUILTof sin, but from the ENSLAVING POWER of sin. We can conquer sin. We can put it to death. I’m NOT saying it is easy, or that we don’t have to fight, that we won’t fail and struggle at times, but I believe the Bible says we CAN overcome it and make progress in becoming more like Christ. We are not hopeless, powerless slaves any more.

In Romans 6, Paul tells us:

WE DIED

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (1-2)

We must stop sinning because weve died to it. A dead person doesnt get angry or covet or lust. Hes dead to those things. Were spiritually dead to those things. Done with them, even if we FEEL like we have to give in to them. We died to sin when we were joined to Jesus:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (3)

When we believe in Jesus God baptizes us into Christ. Plunges us into him, makes us one with him. One with his death and burial. Were dead and buried to our old life of sin. And…

WE HAVE NEW LIFE

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (4-5)

One withJesus’ resurrection, we can now walk in newness of life. We have a new power to conquer sin. The old life is gone. As a result,

WE’RENO LONGER SLAVES

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (6)

Imagine a slave in the days of Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation. As he leaveshis old life walking away from the plantation where he was a slave his master sees him and yells, Get back here! At first the former slave feels all the old fears come rushing in. His first instinct is I have to do what he says. Then he remembers, Wait a minute! Im no longer a slave! I dont have to do what you say.

WE’RE FREE

For one who has died has been set free from sin. (7)

This is the truth whether we feel like it or not. Weve died. We dont have to sin. We have been set free from its enslaving power. But when were tempted we still FEEL like we have to sin. What do we do?

CONSIDER

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (8-11)

In his earthly life, Jesus was subject to temptation. But when he died he died to sin. He was finished with all temptation. So, since we are one with him, we are to CONSIDER ourselves dead to sin. No matter how strong theurge, we can say, Im dead to that.

DETHRONE

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (12)

Dont let sin rule you. Dethrone it. Dont obey those passions and feelings. You dont have to. And especially…

DONTPRESENT

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness. (13)

Flee temptation. Dont drink if youre tempted to get drunk. Put the computer where everyone can see the screen if youre tempted to impurity. Heres the principle: Stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as you can. Dont offer your eyes, ears, hands or any part of your body to sin.

DO PRESENT

…but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (13)

Present yourself to God in prayer. Use your body for righteousness. Use your hands to serve someone. Use your tongue to encourage someone.

SIN DOESNT HAVE TO DOMINATEUS

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (14)

Youre in a new place – under grace-not under the dominion of sin. Grace will transform you.

Remember, you dont HAVE to sin. You died to it and rose to a new life in Jesus. It’s a fight. You will fail at times. When youdo, simply confess your sins to Jesus our advocate in heaven and he will forgive and cleanse you. But no matter how many times youfail don’t forget the reality of your new life in Christ. Sin will have no dominion over you!

Why Does God Let Me Stay So Weak?

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I hate weakness. I don’t likebeing weak. And I have so many weaknesses as a husband, father, and pastor. I want to have it all together. I want to be a strong leader, a loving husband, a wise father. But Im so weak. I fail so often. Why?

Why does God let us stay so weak at times? Why is it so hard to put sin to death? Why do we struggle and fail so much? Why are we so often weak in our faith?

The apostle Paul knew about weakness. And he didnt like weakness in himself – at least not initially. Paul had some kind of “thorn given him in the flesh, a messenger of Satan” that harassed him. Some believe the thorn was Jewish persecution; many believe it was a physical ailment or disease that affected his eyesight. They believe this since he dictated his letters, and he said it was because of a bodily ailment” he had originally preached the gospel to the Galatians (GA 4.13). He also said the Galatians would have plucked out their eyes and given them to him (4:15). Also when he was rebuked for calling the high priest a white-washed wall Paul said he didnt know he was the high priest. Yet Paul was a Pharisee who would certainly have recognized the high priest if he could see him.

Whatever his affliction, Paul struggled with it. He didnt like being weak. He sought the Lord on three occasions about it and finally God gave him some insight into why he didnt remove Pauls weakness.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 CO 12:7-10

As Paul sought the Lord about his thorn God showed him some things.

First, it was to keep Paul from conceit and pride, having received great revelations from God. Knowledge puffs up. When we have strong gifts or incredible talent its easy to become proud. When we have some serious success its easy to forget that all our gifts and success is from God. How many gifted teachers of Gods word have succumbed to pride and fallen into sin. How easy it is for us to judge others out of our strengths. How easy it is for parents whose children are doing well to look down on those whose children are struggling or rebelling. So weakness humbles us. Failure keeps us from becoming conceited. And since pride comes before a fall, weakness can keep us from stumbling.

The second reason God let Paul stay weak was to make Paul rely on Christs grace – My grace is sufficient for you.” Pride leads us to rely on ourselves; weakness drives us to our knees to seek Gods grace. Strength can lead to self-sufficiency. Weakness makes us depend on Christ. Weakness sends us to the throne of grace for mercy and grace in time of need.

The third reason God kept Paul weak was to reveal Christs power through him – “my power is made perfect in weakness. The more we realize our weakness, then when anything good happens through us, we know it is the power of Christ, not us. When we have tried again and again to conquer a sin, become aware of our own weakness in the battle, then finally conquer it, we know it was by Jesus grace and power. Then Jesus receives the glory. We wont think we did it by our own willpower but by Jesus grace.

Paul got to the place where he was content with weakness! He could be content with insults, hardships and persecutions. And even with calamities! Because he knew that all these things would reveal how weak he was, and the power of Christ would shine through him.

To be content with weakness doesnt mean we give up trying to put sin to death. It doesnt mean we quit trying to bear fruit for God. But it means that when we fail, when we realize how weak we are, we wont despair but turn to Christ and ask him to give us HIS power. HIS strength. HIS wisdom. HIS grace.

Do you feelweak? Confess your weakness to Jesus. (He wont be surprised). Confess your sins. Confess your failures as mom or dad. Tell him how much you need his grace not to get angry. Tell him you need his grace to love that brother who its so hard to love. Ask him to give you the grace to rejoice in your pain and be content in your trial.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 PE 5:6-7

Grace: Give Where You Are Lacking

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We are perpetually in need of grace. All the time and in every way. Our need isnt just extensive, its pervasive. We have need in every area of life because every area is marked by sin. Most Christians acknowledge this, ascent to it. But somehow, some way we still think were good. Or at least we think were good in certain parts of life. If not good we are perfectly willing to think of ourselves as better than others.

In a certain ironic twist, one of the greatest indications of our need of grace is our perpetual self-justification. Our own claim to not need it in certain areas shows how much we do. We put ourselves up and others down. We are willing to dole out some grace here and there, but really only in areas we have knowingly received it in. Thats about the only way we ever show grace the way we perceive ourselves to have received it.

But most of the time our perception of grace is segmented to a single area of life where God has done a noticeable work. In that area we are generous with grace. In all the other areas we are put ourselves above others.

I am lustful; you are mean. I judge you for being a jerk.

I am cynical; you are arrogant. I judge you for being a snob.

I am dishonest; you play favorites. I judge you for being cliquish.

I am lazy; you are a workaholic. I judge you for being absent from your family

When we give grace to those who struggle with what we have overcome, we are giving from an abundance. We have received much and are passing it along.

When we refuse to give grace to those who struggle in areas we cannot relate to we fail to recognize the real abundance. We look at them and say I would never . . . or How could they . . . and miss the fact that it is only grace that kept us from being the exact same as they. The call to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a call to show them the grace you show yourself.

You over look your own sins and weaknesses, knowing you need grace. Do they not need the same? You think of yourself as good in so many areas and look for weaknesses in others. But where are their strengths, those areas in which they think of themselves as good? Can you see those in spite of, or instead of, their failures?

To whom much has been given, much will be expected. You and I, we have received much grace. More even than we recognize. And we can not be stingy with our sharing of it.

Jesus Is Not Only Sympathetic; He Can Change Things

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Jesus is not only sympathetic; he can do something about it.

Before hesaved me, I didnt picture Jesusas having much empathy toward me. I thought of him as distantor indifferent. After all, he had a universe to run. I didnt know he cared about me personally, much less loved me. But after he opened my blind eyes, one day I found out he was deeply sympathetic to my struggles.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (HEB 4:15)

When someone’s been through the same thing we have, its much more meaningful when they give us their sympathy than someone whos never experiencedit. My wife has endureddepression and anxiety in varying degrees, sometimes extreme, for many years, so she’s deeply sympathetic to those who suffer in the same ways. I’ve never suffered that particular way. I believe people are suffering terribly, and I seek to empathize, but I cant comfort them the way Kristi can. The Bible says we are to put on compassion, so I try to imagine their pain, I try to weep with those who weep, but I have to say at times, I cant even imagine how horrible this must be for you. But Kristi can say, I know what its like. Ive been there.

Jesus can sympathize with us completely because no matter what were experiencing, hes been there. First, he is able to sympathize with our WEAKNESSES, for he was weak in his human nature. He got hungry, tiredand thirsty. He neededsleep and rest. He knew loneliness. He suffered unbelievable physical pain.

Jesuscan also sympathize with us when we are TEMPTED – he is one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. He was tempted in EVERY RESPECTby Satanhimself, who threw his worst at him. None of us have probably ever knownSatan’s worst temptations. Jesus was tempted to pride, envy, lust, to love the world, to fear man. He was tempted to anger, to laziness, to be impatient with people – you name it. He was tempted to feel sorry for himself when he was lonely. He was tempted to unbelief. He was tempted to give up. Can you imagine how Jesus was tempted when he toldhis disciples he wasgoing to be betrayed, tortured, mocked, and crucified and they started arguing about who wasthe greatest?

Jesus not only sympathizes, but he can do something about our situation.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (16)

So often somebody tells me about a hard time they are going through and I may be sympathetic but often I cant do anything about it. I can pray for them, but I cant change their situation. I cant lift their burden or heal them or take their sadness or provide all they need. I might be able to help a little, but I cant change their whole situation. If I found someone under a massive tree that had fallen in the forest, I’d feel horrible for them, but couldn’t lift it off. This is why Jesus is a GREAT high priest. He’s not only sympathetic, but he can DO SOMETHING about our situation – he can save, heal, provide and strengthen.

First, look where Jesus is. He is on the throne of grace. Charles Spurgeon says:

“It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace; a throne from which every utterance is an utterance of grace; the scepter that is stretched out from it is the scepter of grace; the decrees proclaimed from it our purposes of grace; the gifts that are scattered down it’s golden steps are gifts of grace; and he that sits upon the throne is grace itself.”

Jesus, our great high priest, is waiting and longing to help us.

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you…(Isaiah 30:18 NASB)

What do we receive at his throne? MERCY and GRACE TO HELP in time of need.

Mercy is NOT GETTING what we DO deserve. We should be punished for our sins but at the throne of grace we find mercy. And grace is GETTING what we DONT deserve – Blessings, strength, power, help, joy. We can be confident Jesuswill give us grace to help in time of need.

24 hours a day, we can draw run to our great high priest, knowing he’s infinitelysympathetic and infinitely able to do something about our struggles. Jesushas mercy for our failures and grace for our weaknesses and temptations. And he never tires of our requests. We cant ask too much or too often. So runto your great high priest today. He longs to be gracious to you.

New Spoken Word Piece: Jesus Is For Losers

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the wonderful reality that Jesus isn’t for people who have it all together. He’s for the weak, weary, worn out, burned out, frustrated, and dejected. I’ve been reminded of the wonderful words Jesus spoke in Matthew 9:12 –

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

As a response to this truth, I wrote the following spoken word piece, called “Jesus Is For Losers”. I hope you enjoy it.

You Know You’re Starting To Understand Grace When…

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Most of the time, I don’t get grace. I mean, I understand it in an intellectual, theological way. I could probably give you a well-nuanced, theologically accurate, biblical description of God’s grace. I can sing about “amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.” I can direct you to the grace chapter in Grudem’s Systematic Theology.But I’m learning that there’s a long way between my head and heart. There’s a massive difference between knowing about grace and being transformed by grace.

How do I know when I’m starting to truly, fully grasp grace? Here’s how…

I’M STARTING TO TRULY UNDERSTAND GRACE WHEN GRACE SURPRISES ME

The grace of God runs counter to every impulse in me. The desire to earn, merit, and purchase God’s grace is woven into my DNA. I instinctively try to push my way into God’s presence by law-keeping. Yeah, I’m saved by grace, but after being saved, I go into salvation-maintenance mode, which, according to my thinking, hinges on my good works.

This is why God’s grace is so befuddling to me. God doesn’t give me grace because I’ve earned it; he gives me grace because he is gracious. Here is the brain-busting reality: God’sgrace has absolutely ZERO correlation with earning. I know, I know, this kind of talk seems reckless, even a little dangerous. If this is really true, I might take advantage of God’s grace. I might start backsliding. I might go all apostate on God. Surely a little bit of earning is good, right? WRONG!

If I don’t get pound this fact into my head, I’ll never truly understand grace.

Jesus makes this crystal clear in his parable about the workers in the vineyard. Those who worked from the beginning of the day assumed they would receive higher pay than those who worked only one hour at the end of the day. They assumed that the master operated according to principles of “fairness”. They had worked harder than those who only worked one hour, therefore the “fair” thing to do would be for the master to pay them more.

But the master paid everyone the same amount, which caused a fair amount of grumbling among the workers. The master then said:

Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first, and the first last. (Matthew 20:15-16)

Everyone was surprised by the master’s pay scale. Those who had worked all day were surprised that they had only received one denarius. Those who had only worked one hour were surprised that they had received one denarius.

Grace is wonderfully, surprisingly, delightfully not fair! Fairness has nothing to do with God’s grace! Today, God will give me a lavish, ridiculous, completely unfair, completely surprising amount of grace. Today, God will give me a surprising, unexpected, wonderful amount of grace. Today God will give me way more grace than I’ve “earned” (as if I could ever earn God’s grace). Today, God will surprise me with grace.

If I’m not suprised by grace, there’s a good chance I don’t understand it.

Why We Should Keep Waiting For God

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Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
(Isaiah 30:18)

The ESV Study Bible comments on this passage:

Note the amazing logic of grace: Gods people forsake him for a false salvation (vv. 117); therefore, he is gracious to them (v. 18). But he waits, for the Lord is a God of justice, i.e., he knows the perfect way to achieve his purpose, the perfect time to go into action, and the perfect disciplinary process that will awaken Judah.

Judah had taken refuge from her enemies by turning to Egypt for protection – a false salvation, rather than turning to God. But God wasnt finished yet. He was waiting for the perfect time to be gracious to them, the perfect time to awaken them, the perfect time to pour out his mercy. And when he did be gracious to them, he would exalt himself – he would display his glory.

Are you waiting on God for something? Praying and praying yet the answer seems to not be coming? God has a perfect timing. He is waiting until the perfect time to be gracious to you. The time that will be best for you and bring the most glory to him. He is a God of justice – he wont fail to answer prayer. He wont fail to treat you justly. He wont fail to be true to his promises. He would be unjust if he told us to trust him and wait for him, then fail to be gracious. But blessed are all those who wait for him.

Why should we keep waiting for God? Because he is waiting for the perfect time to bless us. He has bags and bags of grace stored up for us. Hes just waiting for the absolute best time to heap them upon us. So keep watching for the One who plans to be gracious to you. Keep asking, seeking and knocking. Keep trusting him. Keep your mind stayed on him. Dont go running to Egypt for salvation. Dont go running to the world for relief. Blessed are all those who wait for him. When God does pour out his grace you’ll appreciate it more than ever. Who knows? Today might be the day he answers your prayers.

I Would Say This Verse Pretty Much Covers All Your Bases

It’s so easy to take the Bible for granted. I mean, I’ve got like twelve different physical Bibles around my house, including two children’s Bibles. The illustrator for one of those children’s Bibles must have been fascinated by eyes because all the characters have ginormous eyes with no eyelids. Jonah and John the Baptist and Martha all look like they’ve taken mega doses of amphetamines and haven’t slept for weeks. Kinda weird.

On top of all the physical Bibles I own, I also have many different digital Bibles. I’ve got the Bible on my phone, computer, and iPad. I’ve got friends sharing Bible verses on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. I am awash in God’s word. Maybe that’s what makes it so easy to take it for granted. I forget just how sacred God’s promises are. I forget that in Christ, God, “…has granted to us his precious and very great promises…” (2 Peter 1:4)

And then I read verses like 2 Corinthians 9:8, which says:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

When I read this verse this morning it slapped me out of my Bible sluggitude. The depth and breadth and preciousness of this promise are unbelievable.

If this promise is real (and it is!) it means I have access to the absolute depths of God’s astounding grace.

God is able to make all of his grace abound to me. Not some of his grace. Not crumbles and pieces of his grace. God will make all of his graceabound to me. This means God’s grace will fill every nook and cranny of my life. Both the mundane and the monstrous will be splashing over with God’s grace. The heavenly and the hellish. Just think how much grace is contained in that word “all”.

Because I have all of God’s abundant grace at all times I will also have all sufficiency for all things at all times. God himself will give me empowering grace to obey him, love him, trust him, and thank him at all times. This covers everything! Cankersores and cancer, back aches and bronchitis, child birth and child death, retirement and bankruptcy. God’s grace is deeper than the deepest pit and higher than highest mountain. All thing and all times really does mean all things and all times. I don’t have to worry about coming to the end of God’s grace. He will always have more than enough for me. I can’t predict the future but I can predict that all of God’s grace will be there to meet me in the future.

Because I have all of God’s grace which is sufficient for all things and all times I WILL abound in every good work. This is a beautiful divine daisy chain. Grace leads to grace leads to grace. God will empower me to be generous when I’m poor and when I’m rich. He will strengthen me to give thanks when I healthy and when I’m sick. He will motivate me to serve when I’m strong and when I’m weak. I won’t run out of good works because God won’t run out of grace.

There’s a reason my grandpa is still abounding in good works at age 94. God’s grace has abounded to him every day. It enabled him to care for my grandmother as she disintegrated with Alzheimer’s. It enables him to take a poor man shopping for groceries on a regular basis. It enables him to paint hundreds of birthday cards every year. All of God’s grace for all things at all times for all good works.

God will give me more than enough grace for all things I encounter today. When I get to tomorrow I’ll encounter the same abundant grace. Then the day after that and after that and after that. I’d say this verse just about covers everything.

+original photo by Kevin Dooley