Crane Song and Common Grace

They sing to God

“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.  The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” 

Hebrews 1:2-3, NLT

There is an idea of an existance of a ‘common grace’ that touches every person on this rock called Earth.  What is suggested with this, is that every person has access to grace; at least on a basic level, such as nature, government, medical, education and judicial.  We all are sharing in common grace whether we are saved or not.

Common grace explains a great deal, He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) They both benefit from His care, whether they believe or disbelieve.

On the other pole, lies ‘special grace.’  It is different.  It is grace that is given to those who put their trust in the promises for salvation, deliverance and healing.  These promises can only be enjoyed by a Christian believer.  Special grace is grace that God gives to each one who is in a covenant relationship with Himself.

I got up early the other morning, with a cup of coffee in hand and went to sit out on my steps.  I have to tell you that mornings are truly delightful here in Alaska.  As I sat looking at the trees and watching the clouds,  the sun was caught by the trees and they began to glow.  (I always think of the burning bush of Moses and secretly wonder if trees don’t remember and try to emulate their ancestor so long ago.)  I hear the cranes from the lake.  And all of this touches me.

Just as I physically awoke 20 minutes ago, I now awaken spiritually. Common grace makes this all possible.  When I first became a believing Christian, I was quite amazed at how blue the sky was. The grass seemed greener. I remember feeling amazed that I hadn’t noticed these things before. I guess I was full of joy over the special grace that I had just been given.crane1

Common grace curbs the destructive power of sin, maintains in a measure the moral order of the universe, thus making an orderly life possible, distributes in varying degrees gifts and talents among men, promotes the development of science and art, and showers untold blessings upon the children of men.”

–Louis Berkof, Christian theologian

I love common grace.  It makes it possible to enjoy my coffee in the sunshine on the deck.  Common grace allows me to hear the crane’s special song.  People everywhere are drawing from the common well of common grace. “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” (John 1:4)

 

 

 

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The Intensity of God’s Glory

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it.16 The glory of the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud.17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a fire burning on top of the mountain.18 Then Moses went into the cloud and went higher up the mountain. He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 24:15-18

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When we think real hard about ‘glory’ we end up gravitating to something that is invisible.  We work it out and it becomes something like honor, prestige, fame or respect.  This is a good start for us, and we do benefit from this sort of mental gymnastics.

Moses gets an invite from God to join Him on top of Sinai.  I can see Moses trembling with excitement as he climbs up into the Glory of God.  I’m willing to guess that the concept of just mere ‘invisible’ attributes was about to go through a major overhaul.  Moses entered the glory.  And nothing would ever be the same again.

Glory is a repeated experience that touched the children of Israel. 

  • First of all, during the Exodus they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire.  It protected and provided all that they needed.  All they had to do is look up.
  • Secondly, God’s glory took residence on Mt. Sinai.  There was much to do.  The Israelites commented that this glory altered the mountain top to ‘a consuming fire’.  I have been in a forest fire and it was quite intimidating; frightening is a very good description.
  • Thirdly, we see the glory of God is at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple.  We are told that the presence of God was so powerful that it temporary incapacitated the priests that were present.  It totally undid them and it laid them out on the floor (1 Kings 8:11).
  • The fourth time we see the Glory of God was at the Transfiguration in Luke 9:29-31.  Three disciples were present, and inexplicably Moses and Elijah.  But it was Jesus that took center-stage.  He seems to be the ‘focal point’ of lots and lots of glory.

I’m coming to see that glory is a whole lot more than esteem or honor.  Glory has a bolder and more intense quality about it.  Yes, it is respect and honor.  But it goes beyond this–it seems to be turbocharged with the supernatural.  I have been in revival meetings that were quite glorious. Perhaps we need to seriously look for or anticipate more of these “disturbances of glory.” (I’ve been saving this verse for the end.)

Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Cor. 3:18, NCV

We are simply ‘display cases’ that take in His glory and magnify it through our humanity.  It changes us to become more Christlike, and this verse seems to suggest that this keeps increasing, it doesn’t fizzle out.  And I’m thinking that this is tremendous!

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God of Wonders

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“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

Genesis 1:16

“Wonder is retained by wise pondering.” –Ravi Zacharias

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Unknown

“We wake, if ever at all, to mystery. ”  –Annie Dillard

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It strikes me this morning that we live in a ‘coarse’ age. I meet so many who don’t seem to enjoy life at all. They seem to view things without ‘seeing’ them. There is mystery all around, and yet we seem to lack the faculties to perceive it. We probably would rather play X-box than write a poem, paint a portrait, or gaze through a telescope.

The older I get, the more life astonishes me. There is so much mystery saturating my life: nature, the night sky, a tiny baby, and my hands– all just ‘skimming the surface.’ When I consider the multi-layered complexity of life, I tend to ‘short-out.’

“We wake, if ever at all, to mystery.” –Annie Dillard

God reveals Himself as, ‘the God of wonders.’ When I consider our phenomenal universe with more than a million, billion galaxies I start to lose it. Once I camped on a remote beach in Mexico. There wasn’t any electrical, so at night it really got dark. Lying on my back I saw the ‘Milky Way’ for perhaps the first time. It was magnificent! But I also got somewhat scared as I looked into it’s depths. I actually ran back to my tent terrified. I guess I got ‘overloaded.’

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?”

Psalm 8:3-4, NKJV

For the freshly awakened believer, it is almost beyond belief to see so many people ‘sleepwalking’ through life. The somnambulistic masses move through life with nary an inkling of what it is all about. They are completely oblivious it would seem; they are unable to see the wonders of creation, much less the Creator. The enemy blinds so many to God’s presence and His redemption. The darkness is almost palpable.

“Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.”

Psalm 96:3

“I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.” — Harry Emerson Fosdick

“You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples.”

Psalm 77:14

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