Grace


Grace. Generous, free, totally unexpected, and undeserved. John Piper says we are to “suck it up through our roots and grow by it; that we might soak it up like sunshine through our leaves and grow by it.”

For many, myself included, it is hard comprehend that God desires for us to receive love and mercy just because–not because we have done anything to earn it, but because he is good.

“Grow in grace…” 2 Peter 3:18

Great Faith & Grit

The thing about dead-looking things (or the absence/opposite of thriving or a very bare thread of hope) is that it really does take great faith to believe that it can be otherwise. It takes grit to press through the manna of every day, every sink full of dishes, every dirty bathroom, every broken relationship, and every severely disturbing reality we find as we walk through the wilderness.We must fix our eyes on every good thing we’ve received that we can possibly find and “re-member” (literally — put together) those good things for the future.

Remember every sign of life, every evidence of grace, and every mark of growth.

As much as we may want to look forward to what lies ahead, we need strength to live in the present. We can lean in to the future, but the present rests on the foundation of the past and what has come before. The only way to have the Hebrews 11:1 faith that is confident in things hoped for and assured of what is unseen is to receive the gifts we have received and are receiving today.

“You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.” (Nehemiah 9:20-21)

Set a Fire

Taos 24
On the whole, we are both desperate for and fearful of God’s holy, transforming presence. Oh, may we walk out in faith inviting him and trusting that he is good! It is the only way forward in alignment with God’s purposes in and through us.

Set a fire down in my soul
that I can’t contain
and I can’t control 
I want more of you, God
– Jesus Culture

I want more of your Spirit’s ways in every nook and cranny and pathway and habit of my life — individually and communally. Come, Lord. Come.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Come in the small, everyday sustaining ways, grounding me in love and peace and forgiveness and compassion. Come in power when and how you desire, Lord. Let me not be an obstacle to your life-giving presence, which is evident wherever you are welcomed. You are welcome here. You are welcome. Come.

The offer of the Holy Spirit comes with nothing less than the kingdom of God….

Mark Labberton in his book Called: the crisis and promise of following Christ today highlights the fact that Jesus delegated nothing less than kingdom authority to the “believer-doubters”.

For all the church’s failures and struggles, its deceit and its brokenness, its tedium and its distractions, Jesus has used the church in the world to accomplish many great ends by the Spirit. As far short as the church has often fallen, and that is very far indeed, God’s willingness and faithfulness to use the few and vulnerable to change the world remains.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.

Speed Signs

car

Speeding usually seems like the best option, when I am pressed for time. Yet I am struck by the man-God who lovingly engages the woman and offers her living water. This is not a man in a hurry.

David Whyte writes: “The great tragedy of speed as an answer to the complexities and responsibilities of existence is that very soon we cannot recognize anything or anyone who is not traveling at the same velocity as we are. We only see those moving in the same whirling orbit and only those moving with with same urgency.”

I may speed through the hours and days, but this pace will make it harder to keep in step with the Spirit and heed the signs. It will make it harder to receive the gift of living water, too, for in this meeting at the well the woman had to pause to receive.