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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We Shall Sun Ourselves in the Smiles of God

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“Heaven is where the unveiled glories of the Deity shall beat full upon us, and we forever sun ourselves in the smiles of God.”

Ezekiel Hopkins, “A Puritan Golden Treasury”

Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast. (Mark 2:19)

This was Jesus’ idea.  He was bringing correction to the lives of those who were very serious, and therefore most religious.  Our native tendency is to asceticism.  We evaluate ourselves religiously by our prayers and our fasts.

For serious people we have a serious religion, and we focus on doing serious religious activity, for that is what our serious faith demands.

Jesus pointed out that mournful faces are not indicators of a pious life.  How can His disciples mourn when Jesus the bridegroom is nearby? His disciples are going to a wedding, not a funeral!

Without question the New Testament believers are to know repentance and self-examination.  We should grieve over our sin, but that grief is to be based in hope, and in joy.  If you are saddened by sin, that sadness must be tethered to joy and not to despair.  Jesus has revolutionized forever the nature of religious faith.

The disciples could not mourn and fast while Jesus was present.   He does not wish His disciples to go mourning and fasting when they have no occasion for such exercises. His words are a defense of Christian joyfulness. Christ wants His friends to be glad. There is an utter incongruity in a sad and mournful Christian life.  It does not make sense in the light of what Jesus has done.

Our sins have been forgiven.  We have been dipped into the righteousness of the Son of God.  The fierce enemies of our souls have been eradicated by Jesus.  All of this is to bring out a song from a grateful heart.  We revel in the smile of Jesus and walk under the banner of a wonderous love.  We have His forgiveness and been given His favor.  We should be radiant!

 I pray that you’d would rejoice in this wonderful day he has made.

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We Have Nothing, Unless He Gives It

 

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 “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Ephesians 1:6

“We’re all stumbling towards the light with varying degrees of grace at any given moment.”

-Bo Lozoff

We really must come to this point in our discipleship.  Simply we must realize that we can generate nothing at all, unless He gives it to us.  This pretty much strips us of any kind of self-righteousness. His intention is to bring us (screaming if need be) into this place where we are devoid of any self-goodness. It’s taken me almost 40 years of discipleship to realize this.

He alone can transmit goodness. He intends that we come to Him without any extraneous issues.  In the spiritual realm we are always naked, and needing His covering.  But relax, He will never shame or belittle us.  He meets us with an outrageous love that encases us in a holy goodness that we reflect. But make no mistake– it is entirely His!

We have nothing, unless He gives it.

He alone is the deep source of goodness and grace.  If He isn’t there, we will find nothing but a sad desperation.  Without Him, there would be nothing, and a deep darkness that would engulf our souls

His presence makes a deep and solid difference.  He has chosen to enter into our blackness, in order to escort us safely into His light.  He alone, decides everything we need.  And His presence with our souls is all we really need.  He simply surrounds us with a holy kindness. This really isn’t what we expected, but we will take it.

Dear saint, we must make much of His grace.

Dear one, I encourage you to make much of His grace.  No matter your weakness or illness. Your sin is no longer a substantive issue.  He has forgiven you of so much.  You are now His, by the right of sacrifice and a deep love. You should be aware He wants to give you His righteousness, and exchange it for your sin.

Instead of moving away from you, and your sin, He now is moving directly toward you.  His love is waiting for you, and nothing else matters.

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