Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 3 August 2017

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  Hebrews 11, verses 13.

Today’s verse is a powerful conviction of the human race and an even more powerful demonstration of the grace of God.   It’s kryptonite to the world thinking of itself as Superman.  It’s a grace bomb.

Up until now, the writer of Hebrews has mentioned Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham as paragons of faith.   They were men who lived out what God asked them to do.   They weren’t better than anyone else in their day; they weren’t better than you or me.   They simply did a better job at putting all their faith in God.  He said then they believed.  They had faith that, if God said so, it would be so no matter what.  No matter what it cost them (even their lives), no matter what had to happen in the world, no matter anything, if God promised something, it would be so.   His word is more reliable than anything else.  I’ll ask you to back up a bit and consider the unspoken implications of what the verse is really saying.

Faith in God is worth dying for because when you have faith in God you’re a stranger in this strange land.

God created this place to be perfect.   It was perfect for a time, though we don’t really know how long Adam and Eve lived in Eden.  God created Adam and Eve to be perfect and they were for a time, existing in harmony with God and the nature He created.   In the Garden there was perfection and there was even evil.   Yet Adam and Eve lived perfectly with evil present until they accepted evil’s lying proposition.  After that, they (and we) embraced evil in corrupting the perfection of what God had created.   As a result, they (and we) fell out of harmony with God and the perfection He intended for us.

Sin, evil, corruption, sickness, deterioration, death:   those weren’t what the world was created for.   They are the abnormalities that have overtaken the world and made the normal perfection for which it was created abnormal.  We have become abnormal in a world that considers things truly abnormal to be normal.  The way around all this dysfunction, this frustration of God’s good plan, is faith in Him.   Putting our faith in God, in His Son, Jesus, changes the equation of abnormality back into one of true normality.   Disharmony becomes harmony again.

And to have that harmony in full again, unless Jesus returns, we have to die for it.   Loving Jesus fully means being willing to die for Him.  After all, He died for us.

The world of hate that we inherited from Adam and Eve’s idolatrous rebellion thinks itself to be above God.   The men cited here in Hebrews saw past that.   They didn’t have the benefit of the knowledge of Jesus for Jesus wouldn’t be incarnate for thousands of years.   Yet they still put their faith in this unseen God, trusting that He would redeem them from the hatred of sin.  They put their faith in Him doing what they couldn’t.   They hoped He would redeem them in this life, but trusted He would keep His promise whether in this life or the next.

My friend, Bill Brimer, likes to talk about ‘grace bombs.’   This is a big one.   It dropped right in front of you and exploded in your face.   Blew you away, in fact, with it’s power of love.  The ‘you’ that revels in the sensuality of our world is paled by the ‘you’ who is better than all that.   You’re better than all that because God re-made you to be better.   He remade you by redeeming you even when you and I distrusted Him.  His grace overcame our grudges.  He exploded his grace in your face by being His Word, by giving His word, by keeping His word, by being Himself for us.   All we have to do is believe because He does everything else and He does it because of love.   He proved it to these biblical forbearers.   He does it still.   BOOM.   Take that, wannabe Superman.

For further reading:  Matthew 13:17, Genesis 23:4, Leviticus 25:23, Philippians 3:20, 1 Peter 1:17.

Lord, thank You for exploding Your grace in my face, for all You have done and do today.

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Daily Proverbial, from James, 6 December 2013

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4, verse 6.

Jesus longs for us and wants to hold us with Him forever. But we set ourselves up as enemies of Him when we bask in our selfish pride.

That sucks.

Grace doesn’t.

A friend of mine was reading through the book of Ephesians and said that the message exploded in his understanding like a huge grace bomb. If you want to know more, check out gracebomb.com to see the music cooperative that he started for Christian artists to share their music. But before you go there, consider Bill Brimer’s point: grace explodes in our life like a huge love bomb.

If you woke up this morning, you’re in God’s grace. If you have clothes to wear, a bed, anything to eat, sense from your senses, and if you’re able to read this, you’re swimming in God’s grace. He dropped it on your life, onto your soul, like a huge bomb that exploded away the wreckage of your sins. Everything that you had ever done to pry yourself away from Jesus or His perfect love stained you. God blew all of that up with His grace.

He did it when we least expected it, namely when we didn’t deserve it. He did it when you were contemplating how much you hate your teacher. He did it when I refused to back out of the fight even though I realized long ago that it was going nowhere. He did it when you walked into the strip club. He did it when I flipped the bird to the guy in the next lane. He did it on Christmas morning when the present you wanted wasn’t under the tree and you sulked. He did it when I was too proud.

The thing is, we least deserve it during every breath we take. Every breath is a gift given in God’s grace. All we need to do is humbly acknowledge it. All we need to do is lay down our pride and submit ourselves to Jesus. Once we do that, things begin to change. He changes things for us, around us, in us, about us. Maybe we don’t become rich or maybe we do; wealth is irrelevant. Maybe we have health or maybe we don’t; it doesn’t matter. Maybe our dreams come true or maybe they don’t; Jesus is better.

The cure for the common sin is Jesus. Jesus longs for us, longing to share His love with us. He loves us through His grace. And Jesus pours His grace on us like a waterfall. Like a bomb. It explodes in our lives like a bomb, like a giant grace bomb.

Graceful Lord, explode in my life, wreck my sins of old, and pour Your holy, wonderful grace into my heart.

How has Jesus exploded in your life?

How do you still want Him to?

What does grace mean to you?