Has Grace Got You?

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. –Proverbs 29:6, KJV

When we get in trouble for doing something we should not have been doing, we sure do feel bad.

When we get away with something wrong, we are relieved, but the snare of guilt refuses to let us relax completely.

When we are forgiven, golly gee, are we happy!

It is just like MercyMe’s song, Grace Got You.

It combines these last two points and explains them very poetically, and it is how Christians should feel!

Sing,
So the back row hears you.
Glide,
‘Cause walking just won’t do.
Dance,
You don’t have to know how to,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

Laugh,
‘Till your whole side’s hurting.
Smile,
Like you just got away with something,
Why?
‘Cause you just got away with something,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

We essentially get away with all of the times we rubbed our sin in God’s face, all because He sent His Son to die on a cross in our place of punishment.

The question then becomes, how do we respond when others wrong us?

Just as God forgave us, we ought to forgive others. This is one of the greatest works we can do in Christ’s name. The hope is that they will see this (and other good works) and turn to Christ.

Then, we can all sing together the praise of the One who created and forgives us, rejoicing in His grace and love.

May we sing God’s praises continually. (Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18)

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Playing dress up

wolf-2920469_1920There have a few times connected with my job as a school nurse in which I’ve had the pleasure to don a costume in skits for the lower elementary.  Several years in a row I was the Big Bad Wolf for the Great American Smokeout (smoking prevention), and once a friend of mine was the Grape Ape while I hid behind a homemade stage as the puppeteer, (for what I don’t exactly remember…)

And you thought school nurses just sat around putting on bandaids!!

One thing I noticed about being “incognito” is the emotional freedom to act out of character.  Regardless of how hot or uncomfortable the suits were, I had so much fun, which probably makes it more enjoyable for the kids. Continue reading


REPENT!

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. –Proverbs 29:1, KJV

Do you know that person who is always right, has an excuse, and/or just ignores those who confront them?

(Is that you?)

Most of us do not like being around such people too long (sorry, if you are one.) Living this way can therefore lead to loneliness.

But it does get worse.

Consider the following:

  • Pharoah was told enslaving the Hebrews was wrong, and he refused to let them leave Egypt. He ended up in the bottom of the Red Sea while in pursuit of them.
  • The Israelites were told not to worship other gods, or they would be overrun by their enemies. They were.
  • The Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) kings were told to repent and reform their countries or be taken into captivity. They were.

Ultimately, though, (you may already know where this is going) if we refuse to accept the gospel, repent of our sin, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us to Christ’s image, we end up “without remedy” in the torment of the lake of fire.

Listen, then, to Peter: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38) and eternal life.


Am I disabled by the fear of what you think of me?

Image result for fear disables

There is a fear that paralyzes me. It is the concern about what you think of me. It can be very disabling.

Will I post this on Facebook and Twitter?

Will I speak out at work?

Why am I afraid?

The answer is staggering. I don’t trust God is why. If I did trust God, I wouldn’t care what others thought of me. The only opinion that would matter would be God’s.

God has promised to be with me. If God is with me, who can be against me?

The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.

Source: Proverbs 29:25 MSG – The fear of human opinion disables; – Bible Gateway

Jesus the Messiah, by his atoning death, resurrection, and heavenly intercession for believers, is the unique liberator from fear. The apostle Paul encouraged the Romans by informing them that in their conversion to the Messiah, they received the Holy Spirit, not as a spirit of fear and bondage, but as the spirit of adoption, whereby they could address God as “Abba”.

This is the word by which our Master Jesus addressed his heavenly Father and which Christians, by virtue of their adoption into the family of God, may also use in speaking to God. Recipients of God’s love have received a dynamic force for casting out their anxieties. A sense of God’s intimate love inspired Paul to say, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).

Unwarranted fear may harm the efforts of the people of God. Jeremiah was warned by God not to fear the faces of his opponents lest God allow calamity to befall him. Similar calls to courage were given to Jeremiah’s contemporary, Ezekiel, and to a great many others. We realize that even godly people are tempted to fear and may be temporarily overwhelmed.

So, God repeatedly counsels his people not to succumb to that temptation. He tells them to heap their anxieties upon the God of their redemption, whose care for his sheep is infinitely great. Faith, then, is the indispensable antecedent of fearlessness as seen in the words of Isaiah: “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Is 26:3). The psalmist repeatedly stresses the role of faith in conquering fear (37:1; 46:2; 112:7).


A True Prophetic Vision

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. -Proverbs 29:18, ESV

A prophet declares the word of the Lord. In that sense, pastors and evangelists are prophets!

But we tend to hear the word “prophetic” and think “telling the future.” There certainly is an element of this, but we must remember the the other part of prophecy: revealing what is hidden … not just the future, but in our lives.

Most importantly, prophecy reveals God’s expectations.

Therefore, a good pastor and evangelist remind people that God has set His expectation for how we are to live (summed up in the Ten Commandments, which are summed up as “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”), and that we will one day be judged by how we have done. More specifically, we will be judged by whether or not we followed God’s Son, Jesus.

The prophetic vision we have is that God has a standard, as modeled in Jssus, and He will be coming back to the earth in judgment.

If we neglect to teach and remind this world of this, people will throw off restraint and wantonly sin, either because they see no need for a Savior (“We’re basically good!”), or because they see grace giving them license (“We can do whatever we want, because God forgives!”)

We are either going to be judged guilty by how we rejected Christ or how we defiled Christ.

Only by believing in and emulating Christ’s sacrificial work – allowing His cleansing blood to cover us with forgiveness and grace to live a life of forgiveness, grace, and love – will we be ready for His imminent return.


The Untouchable One

The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it. –Proverbs 29:4, KJV

Eliot Ness and his team of Untouchables were FBI agents during the American age of Prohibition, known as the Untouchables for being unwilling to accept bribes or cutbacks on the illegal sale of alcohol.

Looking back on history, how many leaders can truly be called untouchable, untarnished by the dealings of our corrupt world?

Kings took unethical steps to get or maintain power. Popes bribed their way into the position. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Governors, and other figureheads bought, bribed, and weaseled their way into power or to maintain their seat.

How great is it to know that our Lord, Jesus, was and is untouchable by the ways of this world?

He cannot be bought or bribed, nor will He cheat or turn away from us.

He paid the price that needed to be paid for our own corruption, but He is without corruption and will one day judge the world.

The Untouchable One touched us with His cleansing blood to establish His everlasting, perfect Kingdom.


More Boldness Needed

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. – Proverbs 28:1

One of the most impressive scenes in the New Testament is found in the second chapter of Acts, beginning with verse 14. There we see Peter and the others – but mainly Peter – boldly standing in front of the very crowd that had previously crucified Jesus saying:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” – Acts 2:36 CSB

If that wasn’t boldness, I don’t know what is!

Think about it! At a time when the Church was barely more than 200 strong (yes, just 200), and not long after they were hiding out in fear, the disciples of Jesus were now throwing caution to the wind as they openly declared Jesus to be the risen Lord.

Nowadays we have multiple millions who claim the name of Christ, many of them with no fear of ever getting a slap on the wrist for expressing their faith – if and when they ever decided to show it. Yet, when the ENTIRE WORLD was in a position to obliterate all the followers of “the Way” in one strike, they came out with a message that was anything but “seeker-friendly” or Joel Osteen-ish.

They essentially said, “You did it. You were wrong. He lives. Repent.”

Where are Christians like that, today? What would happen … if only 200 did what they did … a hundred thousand followers of Christ would stand boldly in the public square and tell the truth about sin and salvation?

Powerless, lukewarm, sin-flirting, self-centered kittens may find it easy to endure the needles that inject woke platitudes and creatively-vague Christian symbols under their skin, but they cower in the dark rooms of expediency and tolerance flee from the fiery darts of the Enemy.

The righteous, on the other hand, stand boldly in the power of the Holy Ghost, raise their shields of faith, and unsheathe a Weapon that “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

We need more boldness! More lions…fewer kittens.