Tag Archive | grace

A Reputation of Grace

Recently, I’ve been learning from God about grace. Among many things the Lord has taught me is that we have a tendency to restrict grace. In the story of the prodigal son, the words “far country“ and “great way off” are essentially the same in Greek. The father’s loving gaze and grace extended all the way to the place of wrong choices, waste, and ultimately to the pig pen. Our Father’s patience, grace, and loving welcome waits on the worst of us to come to ourselves and come home. How many of us can extend grace for the long wait? How many of us are willing to hang in their with a “prodigal” until the journey leads a friend home?

It’s easy to extend grace to someone we care about, love, and want the absolute best for. But is grace just for those we like and those who like us? Is grace prejudiced? Is grace for those who act like we think they ought to act?

Am I hearing a crucified Savior saying of His executioners, “Father, forgive them”? After all… Jesus scandalized the religious crowd by eating with sinners and being called a friend of sinners. Obviously, He had affection and compassion for those that society did not hold in regard. But to forgive and show grace to hypocritical religious types? What could Jesus have been thinking???

The apostle Paul may have hit the nail on the head when he said, “He made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7).  Jesus wasn’t worried about His reputation, about who He was seen with, or who He socialized with. He wasn’t interested in winning a popularity contest. He was concerned with winning the souls of men through grace, and pointing them to God, regardless of what that did to His reputation with the It crowd.

Wow…

For me, this grace thing is easy to talk about but hard to do.

How about you?

What limits do we put on grace? Sure, I know Romans 5:20 – 6:2a…

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid.

Maybe what Paul is reiterating is that only God has the right to set boundaries on grace. After all, it doesn’t say ”Ron forbid” — it says “God forbid”. Probably good advice for all of us.

Well, just some stuff I am learning at 70… grace to you and me!

All Things New at #AHouseofGrace

As you are reading this, we are in the process of returning from a great trip to Israel with a wonderful group of people. After 27 visits to Israel personally, it never gets old! To walk the places where Jesus walked, to travel in the footsteps of the apostles, to sail across the Sea of Galilee… no words or pictures can adequately describe the feeling of being in this land.

 

While we were there, we had the privilege of taking advantage of modern technology, and a few of us watched the first service of the year at Abba’s House, under the leadership of our new Lead Pastor, Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. I am so grateful for my 38 years as Senior Pastor, but I am so excited to see our congregation moving into the future with the fresh fire and anointing of the next generation! Pastor Ronnie has an exciting vision for Abba’s House, and as I have just spent time traveling through this ancient land, and have traveled paths of old, I am reminded that we can learn from and honor the past, but we live in the present, and we hope for the future. We serve a God who makes all things new…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” ~ Revelation 21:5

I am excited for the future! As I recently said, I’m not retired, I’m RE-FIRED! I’m fired up about what God has put on my horizon, and I’m fired up about the new life and new thing that God is doing in the life of Abba’s House with Pastor Ronnie Jr. and his team!

Watch this…

Check out the first service of 2018 with Pastor Ronnie…

To be a part of what God is doing through the ministry of Abba’s House — this House of Grace — visit… http://abbashouse.com/donate

Grace… A Good Reminder

Through The Looking Glass2The movie A River Runs Through It is narrated by Norman… one of the main characters. He makes this statement:

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.”

While we rightly view grace as a free gift, grace always costs someone something.

As Norman said, grace comes by art… but art costs the artist years of practice and preparation.

Grace releases an indebted person from their debt… but costs the lender the debt forgiven.

Grace sets us free from sin and death… but cost Jesus the pain, humiliation, and death of the Cross.

The grace God offers cost us nothing, but cost Jesus everything.

But, He did it all because He wants to spend eternity with you.

THAT is a priceless grace worth sharing.

The Mercy of the Lionheart

Through the Looking Glass

The story is told that, while walking around the perimeter of a castle wall one evening, King Richard the Lionheart was struck in the shoulder and neck by an archer’s arrow. Days later, as he lay close to death, he asked that the captured archer be brought before him. As the would-be assassin stood before the dying King, expecting to hear the order of execution, he heard these words instead:

1227101031aLive on, and by my bounty behold the light of day”.

King Richard then ordered the young man to be freed, and given 100 shillings.

The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It was our sins that nailed Jesus to the cross.

But…

It was HIS mercy that cried out, “Father, forgive them.”

It was HIS grace that put all of the riches and resources of Heaven at our disposal.

As we enter into a week of Thanksgiving for all of God’s goodness toward us, let us all remember to put His mercy and grace at the top of the list.

The Cost of Grace

Through The Looking Glass2The movie A River Runs Through It is narrated by Norman… one of the main characters. He makes this statement:

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.”

While we rightly view grace as a free gift, grace always costs someone something.

As Norman said, grace comes by art… but art costs the artist years of practice and preparation.

Grace releases an indebted person from their debt… but costs the lender the debt forgiven.

Grace sets us free from sin and death… but cost Jesus the pain, humiliation, and death of the Cross.

The grace God offers cost us nothing, but cost Jesus everything.

But, He did it all because He wants to spend eternity with you.

THAT is a priceless grace worth sharing.