Generous Grace

As I thought more about the massive furor over the issue of grace (or what some people are calling hyper-grace), I began to wonder why some people are so resistant to the idea.  Of course control is a major issue, which I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Dis-graceful Conduct.  But as I thought about it more, I began to wonder why some people—good people, godly people, including friends of mine—were so rabidly and viciously coming out against the idea of the full grace of God.  I asked myself why they couldn’t accept God’s generosity.

That’s when it dawned on me: they have trouble accepting God’s generosity because true generosity is so very rare these days.  They don’t trust generosity in their fellow humans because it rarely comes without a price-tag of some sort.  So along comes God into their lives, and His generosity is so immense that they simply cannot bring themselves to believe it.

Think about it: God offers us eternal life with Him in Heaven, a place that is so wonderful and beautiful that it defies description (1 Corinthians 2:9).   And all we have to do is to repent and believe.

But the sweet by-and-by is not all that we get.  We also get real and practical help throughout our life here on earth (Matthew 7:7-8).  And all we have to do is to ask, believing.

But that’s not all we get.  Every day as we live in the continual outpouring of God’s love, we become more and more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).  And all we have to do is follow Him, believing.

And that’s not all we get.  The Holy Spirit gives us gifts for ministering to our fellow humans so that we can live together in harmony as the Body of Christ here on earth (1 Corinthians 12 & 13).  And all we have to do is follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, believing.

But that’s still not all we get.  Someday—and it’s going to be soon!—Jesus will come rapture away His church to escape the Tribulation and instead enjoy a 7 year wedding feast: ours to Jesus! (Matthew 25:1-13 & Revelation 21).  And all we have to do is keep doing the work He has given us to do, believing.

So it’s not all a control issue.  Plus, I think that it’s not only a matter of looking for the hidden price-tag on God’s Generous Grace.  As I dug a little deeper, I realized that some people have trouble accepting even a compliment from a friend.  Compliments don’t often come with a price-tag, so why would people have trouble accepting compliments?  Because they don’t feel like they deserve it.  Likewise, they have trouble with the full generosity of God’s Grace because they know that they don’t deserve it.  Of course they don’t!  None of us do!  The definition of grace is unmerited favor.  When we are born-again, we are given what we don’t deserve because Jesus took the punishment that He didn’t deserve.  And all in the name of Love.

Grace is powerful.  It can transform lives by the power of love.  His love for us transforms us from strangers into daughters and sons of the Most High God.  And our love for Him transforms us into victorious overcomers as we live to please our Generous God.

Grace is generous—mind-blowingly generous.  Man’s generosity comes with a price-tag.  God’s generosity also comes with a price-tag: come and die.  But then He promises that if we lose our life for Him, we gain it (Matthew 10:39; John 12:25), so that in the end, the cost of enjoying God’s generosity has been paid for us, and all we have to do is live it out, believing.  Trust God!  Why?  Because God is good!

He is Risen!

Day Fifteen

Jesus is risen, Oh praise His holy Name!  Um, make that Names!

Elohim – means God, and refers to His power and might, Genesis 1:1

Yahweh – (spellings differ) means The Lord, the proper name of God, Genesis 2:4

El Elyon – means God Most High because He is above all gods; nothing and no one is more holy, Genesis 14:17-20

El Roi – means God Who Sees because God oversees all creation, and the affairs of people, Genesis 16:13

El Shaddai – means God Almighty because God is all-powerful, Genesis 17:1

Yahweh Yireh – means The Lord will Provide because God will provide all our needs, Genesis 22:13-14

Yahweh Nissi – means The Lord is my Banner because God helps us, He is our standard in battle, Exodus 17:15

Adonai – means Lord because He alone is head over all, Deuteronomy 6:4

Yahweh Elohe Yisrael – means Lord God of Israel because God made the nation and people of Israel, Judges 5:3

Yahweh Shalom – means the Lord is Peace because God gives us peace, so we need not fear, Judges 6:24

Qedosh Yisrael – means Holy One of Israel because God is perfect and holy, Isaiah 1:4

Yahweh Sabaoth – means Lord of Hosts, and refers to His leadership of the Heavenly armies protecting us, 1 Samuel 1:3

El Olam – means the Everlasting God, God is eternal, and He exists outside the confines of time, Isaiah 40:28-31

Yahweh Tsidkenu – means the Lord is our Righteousness because God is our standard and only He can make us righteous, Jeremiah 23:6

Yahweh Shammah – means the Lord is There because God is omnipresent, Ezekiel 48:35

Attiq Yomin – means Ancient of Days because God has always been from the foundation of the earth and before, so He alone can judge the nations, Daniel 7:9

More Names for God/Jesus

My Witness – Job 16:19

Bread of Life – John 6:35

Comforter in Sorrow – Jeremiah 8:18

My Hope – Psalm 71:5

Wonderful Counselor – Isaiah 9:6

Defender of Widows – Psalm 68:5

The Strength of my Salvation – Psalm 140:7

Faithful and True – Revelation 19:11

Our Father – Isaiah 64:8

A Sure Foundation – Isaiah 28:16

My Friend – Job 16:20

God of All Comfort – 2 Corinthians 1:3

God My Avenger – Psalm 18:47

God My Savior – Psalm 51:14

Our Guide – Psalm 48:14

Our Head – 2 Chronicles 13:12

Head of the Church – Ephesians 5:23

Our Help – Psalm 33:20

My Hiding Place – Psalm 32:7

Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14

Holy One in our Midst – Hosea 11:9

Righteous Judge – 2 Timothy 4:8

King of Kings – 1 Timothy 6:15

Our Life – Colossians 3:4

Light of Life – John 8:12

Lord of Lords – 1 Timothy 6:15

Lord of the Harvest – Matthew 9:38

Our Mediator – 1 Timothy 2:5

Our Peace – Ephesians 2:14

Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

My Redeemer – Psalm 19:14

Refuge and Strength – Psalm 46:1

My Salvation – Exodus 15:2

My Help – Psalm 42:5

The Good Shepherd – John 10:11

My Stronghold – Psalm 18:2

My Support – 2 Samuel 22:19

Good Teacher – Mark 10:17

Son of Man – John 6:27

Light of the World – John 8:12

Gate for the Sheep – John 10:7

The Way The Truth and The Life – John 14:6

The Vine – John 15:1

The Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25

By which of these Names has God made Himself known to you?  God is good!

Speaking to the Foundation

Usually an essential means of changing the spiritual atmosphere of a city (especially an ancient city like Sofia) is to speak to the foundation of the city.  This is one thing we did today.  We went to the place in the subway where the ancient foundation of the city had been exposed when the subway was excavated.  There were 12 in our group, 3 of whom are Bulgarians.  The number 12 is important because it means government.  Three of course is the number of the Trinity, so signifies God’s presence in the government.  Half of us were men and the other half women.

First we prayed above at the place of the statue of the goddess of wisdom, Sofia, and then we formed a line, the men facing the statue and the women each with a man at her back, facing the Parliament building.  Then we switched places and the women prayed facing the statue and the men facing the Parliament building.  Thus an important demonic powerline was broken.  And that was important for what came next.

Then we prayed at the foundation of the Eastern Gate and then spoke to the foundation and to the gate.  Speaking to the foundation involved proclaiming that the city, originally founded on human wisdom, is now founded on the true cornerstone, Jesus Christ.  We also made proclamations that the people of Sofia and of Bulgaria are now free in Jesus Christ.  We proclaimed:

Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  Psalm 24:7-8

These kinds of prayers and proclamations may seem strange, but they are Scriptural.  In fact, any time that you use Bible forms, and especially words and phrases from the Bible to speak to a troubled place or situation, it brings all the power of Heaven into that place or situation.  This is why memorizing Bible verses is so important: they will be there when you need them, like money in your pocket or arrows in your quiver.

Tonight the pastor told us that because of past deceptions, he is not at all trusting of new people who come into his church.  But he said that because the government resigned on the day we arrived, it was a message to him that we had come in the power and authority of God Almighty.

Tomorrow we will go to the mountains just outside of town to speak to the mountains.  For this Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you,” (Matthew 17:20, emphasis mine).  You don’t merely pray about a mountain, but you’ve got to speak to it before it will move.

God is good!