Monday, October 15, 2018

Sabbath Sanctuary: Resting In His Grace

Fall has officially arrived here in Colorado. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, but I do not readily welcome the winter which follows—which appeared today in 22-degree weather and snowfall. I have written about the tension between me and winter for the last couple of years and it seems to reflect where I am spiritually as well. If I am honest, I feel as though I have been stuck in winter for several years, regardless of what season the calendar reads and no matter how hot the sun blazes. I am in winter. I am tired and weary and long for a change of season in my walk with my Savior.

This season has been particularly hard. Many times, it is all I can do to awake from my slumber to face the challenges of the day. The Lord has been so good to me this week as He gently reminded me of His grace.

We know grace to be that attribute that is part of the manifold of God’s love. God deals with us not on our merit or worthiness, or on what we deserve—our lives consistently displaying our fallenness. He deals with us on the basis of His goodness and generosity. God’s grace supplies us with undeserved favor—grace is a precious, beautiful gift. We cannot earn it and we do not deserve it.

Grace, however, goes beyond undeserved favor. The New Testament book of Luke describes Jesus as having “the grace of God upon Him” {Luke 2:40} and as “growing in grace with God and man” {Luke 2:52}. Many more references to grace are found in the Book of Acts. The good Doctor Luke makes a strong association between grace and power. Grace is often linked with the power of God to create spiritual life and to sustain Christians. Grace, in the New Testament, “God’s unmerited favor,” has a new aspect added to mean power in the Spirit.[1] In many of Paul’s writings; {Rom. 1:5; 12:6; 15:15; I Cor. 3:10; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 2:2,7} it means the power and equipment for ministry.[2] Grace is the power to do what you cannot do for yourself.

I have worked so hard at trying to make things change and happen in my own strength—which explains my weariness. Working in our own strength will drain us and deplete us of any life. We must rest in Him and allow Him to do the work for us. This does mean that we become complacent waiting for Him to do something, we must abide in His presence through the Word and prayer and allow Him to fill us with His grace; remembering always to cultivate a heart of worship. Through His grace this week I have been able to face the challenges and the hard times knowing that He is my strength and is working everything according to His purpose.

Rest in His grace this sabbath weekend. He is waiting to fill you with grace to empower you to run the race. Oh, and when you rest in Him, He will refresh you to overflowing and bring you to a place of rest from the storm. 

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings {Psalm 84:6}.

Read all about Grace in the 11th edition of SHINE Magazine and you can order one here 

[1] Walter A. Elwell ed., Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. “grace,” (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 314.
[2] W.E. Vine, ed., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old And New Testament Words, s.v. “grace,” (Nashville: Thomas Nelson), 500.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sabbath Sanctuary: God Grant You Peace

The week has been long and filled with many trials. It has had its chaotic moments and its enjoyable moments. In the midst of the trials, I am so grateful to the Lord, for He proved Himself faithful yet again. He is a good God. He is a faithful God. He is a loving God. There are many things screaming at me—warning that I am going to fail or be taken by the waves of the storm.

The enemy of our soul makes these plans against you and I so that we will lose heart and faint in the way. He seeks to cause us to take our eyes of the Lord so that we will sink. Many trials and circumstances come to trample on our peace—he comes to steal our peace. But we need not succumb to his devices.  

Tucked away in the Old Testament, in the book of Numbers, is found a priestly blessing given to the priest from the Lord to speak over the people of Israel. It is included in the duties of the Levites in chapters 1-8.

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them” {Num. 6:22-27 NASB}.

I love this blessing. In the midst of all the chaos and fighting to enter the promised land, the Lord bestows a blessing on the people. He commands Aaron to speak these words over the people to put His glorious, holy Name on them. How magnificent is He. When their enemies come against them, they shall fear God and know that they are messing with the Lord’s people:

“So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him” {Isaiah 59:19 NKJV}.

When the enemy of our soul comes against us, the Lord is the standard over our lives to fight him off and give us the victory. The Lord is the only safe place to run. What astonishes me is that only the priest could recite this blessing over the people and they had to say exactly what the Lord commanded. It was not the words of men but of God. To fight the enemy, we must not rely on the words of men, but be equipped with the sword of the Spirit—the precious and powerful Word of God. The Word was the weapon Jesus used to battle Satan in the wilderness, and He has equipped us for battle with that same Word.

The priestly blessing includes three promises that we can rest in on this Sabbath; meditate on this promise: The Lord will bless and keep us; He will provide us with everything we need. He will go before us in battling the evil one and keep us from harm. The most kind and loving God will make His face shine on us and be gracious to us. Imagine the Great I AM’s very face will shine for our benefit and joy because of His everlasting love. The Lord will lift His countenance upon us and give us peace; God remembers His people—and He always will. In the last part of the blessing He promises peace—shalom. This doesn’t only mean that there will one day be an end to our warfare; it is also His promise that day by day we are being renewed and refreshed:

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” {2 Cor. 4:16 NASB}.

He will take us from brokenness to wholeness. No matter where we have been, He is leading us where we need to go, and He will give us shalom so that we can rest. Rest in His blessing this Sabbath. God will provide everything you need; and bring you into His rest.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

School of The Bible

Preparing to teach my first class tomorrow night for the School of the Bible. I will be teaching on Women of the Bible, a survey of the lives of some spectacular women in the Bible and their personal stories. These women felt unworthy, rejected, and abused yet experienced God’s grace in miraculous ways and became witnesses to God’s restorative power.

Everyone is welcome to come out to the School of the Bible! Classes start Monday September 17, @6: 30 PM and continues every Monday through October 29th, @Word of Life Christian Center on Park Meadows Dr. In Lone Tree.

If you are interested in other classes, this is what the schedule looks like:

Session 1 6:30-7:20

Piper Green Women of the Bible
Kevin Goos The Gospel of John: The Word Made Flesh
Cynthia Jean Getting A Grip on the Basics

Session 2 7:30-8:20
Lisa Dragan: Psalm 91: Living in the Shadow of the Almighty
Pastor Mike Dragan Colossians: The Preeminence of Jesus Christ

All these teachers are amazing! This is a great way to join a community of believers and study God's Word together! See you there!