Thursday, August 30, 2012

Abounding in Grace

Good Morning to you all! Another day of repentance, humbling, joy, strength, and GRACE!

Lots of twists and turns on the roller coaster ride that is my world; family, medical, finances, work, etc...If God allowed me to have the orderly life that others enjoy, would I have the humility, reliance on God, prayerfulness, and heart, to stand during the tribulation? It's a Catch-22: To prepare for the end-times, we must learn to endure hard-ship now, but does that mean those are not suffering hardship, will not endure? Or, will they automatically spring into overcoming mode, if they've kept their hearts pure?  Will God's Grace enable them to stand? Did I require more work (and Grace) because of the state of my Adamic nature or is my unique American life due to my call?

Yesterday, I received an email from a friend regarding some recent prophecies about the end-times. The people who gave the prophecies have only experienced limited and common discomforts. I discerned that God will take them before things get too messy, but I battled irritation that God chose them to prophecy anything about the intensifying tribulation. They lack for nothing. Living in a constant state of repentance, especially about comparing my life with others, I never want to disappoint the Lord by having an ungrateful heart. The greatest gift we can have while on this earth is living each moment by the Will of God, of which I would never want to lose. Not to mention, what God is doing in other's lives is none of my bees-wax.

When listening to those who have been tried in the fire, such as Brother Wurmbrand, I receive incredible encouragement. While I can't imagine that kind of suffering, the fact that he came out of it, refined as pure gold, is such a testimony! Brother Wurmbrand believes, like all Folders, that now is the time of preparation. He spoke of  going into a grocery store, looking at all the bounty, and leaving without buying a thing, cautiously guarding against American materialism. The two who gave the prophecies are polar opposites. So, I will continue to pray about suffering, pray for the grace to stand during any situation that God brings my way, and not judge the faith God has distributed to each of us (Romans 12:3).

I reread all my posts in one sitting, and there is definitely a theme that threads them together. If a young Christian were to stop by, I don't think he or she would read past the first post.  My blog is clearly intended for the more mature in Christ, but it prompted me to think about God's Grace. Every day, God's Grace enables me to recognize my sins, grants me the ability to repent, and simply - to stand! We Folders, who are beyond the elementary teachings of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3), are cloaked in Grace, but, when looking at the young in Christ (regardless of physical years), become impatient with their sinful struggles, slow progression, and we become nearsighted or blind, forgetting our own beginnings (2 Peter 1:9).

It's an occupational hazard, but not acceptable.

My caution to myself and those reading this post is that before judging all the baby Christians, those we consider lukewarm, or those embracing a mixed bag of spiritual philosophies, and deciding their eternal end (as if we are even allowed to do such a thing) let's first pray. Remember, Jesus, the Chief of Overcomers, ministered to the unbelievers, worldy, religious, and new converts. Disclaimer: I am not speaking about spending copious amounts of time with "Christians" who are immoral, wolves in sheep's clothing, or "spiritual" apart from the Holy Spirit. The Bible warns against this lest they drag us down with them.

I believe a trap has been set and the enemy will attempt to deceive us one way or another. God's Grace and Love has been so distorted, misused, abused, and twisted, that we must guard against becoming unloving and ungracious. The "Saved By Grace and Not Works" followers, using a select few scriptures, have signed up for God's Grace and Love, but have decided that the whole "obey God's commandments" is a works' thing, so it's hard to tell them apart from the most grievous of sinners. Or there is the "Spiritual" crowd, who want all the benefits of the Spirit but not much to do with Christ. So, we see a struggling baby Christian, and assume he/she is "One of Them," take out our judge-o-meter, and decide, "Hmmm, your tree has little fruit, it's not very sweet, and I found a 'Listens to rap music' branch - You're out." The Bible says we'll know them by their fruit, but as we become more knowledgable and "deep," so should our love (Philippians 1:9).

I'm mentoring a girl right now who knows nothing about the Lord or the Bible. A. has been married before, lived with another man, and then recently became engaged. She reluctantly told me she moved in with her boyfriend. I said, "Well, you know what I believe, but since you've already done this, let's take it from here." We talked, and in no way did I condemn her or shy away from God's truths.  We discussed why she thought this was a good decision and her brokenness. The following week, she came to pick out paint from my department. She had moved back into her brother's rental, and he said he would help pay for paint. It was ALL God and nothing I said, because I am swimming in unfamiliar waters. I have always considered my ministry to those who are already walking in a deeper relationship with the Lord.

As mentioned in other posts, we are in a constant state of motion with the Lord: Either we are moving forward (or deeper) in Him, or backwards into sin; there is no standing still. My friend, A., is moving very slowly, as I'm sure some of your friends are, that if not in prayer, I might have written her off. While we don't hide who we are or what the Bible teaches, let's not get caught up in fighting physical battles that are in truth, spiritual ones. The enemy doesn't care how we get off track; whether it's remaining unsaved or being so "deeper life" that we forget whence we come.

Here's a thought: I wonder where I would be today, if 30 years ago, the two ladies from my church, who saw me smash my cigarette butt on the ground (in front of the Christian bookstore - seriously :), would have decided I wasn't worthy of God's Grace or Love?


  1. I've asked myself the same questions that are in your first paragraph before... only from the opposite side. Hardships? Other than one particularly difficult relationship, what hardships do I experience? Yet I still find plenty to whine about, and any progress I seem to make feels like a guy with his hands plunged into pockets, shuffling forward, kicking rocks as he strolls...

    Am I beyond help, so He is letting me enjoy a few small blessings while I wait to be swept away with the chaff when the winds come? Or am I learning what I need to so well that I don't need the swift kicks to the teeth that others seem to routinely get? Or do my kicks lay in my immediate future? I don't know. I feel like I'd be a fool to ask for more tribulation... but maybe I'm just proving to be one of those slippery folk that squeak out from under His thumb whenever He applies enough pressure.

    Anyway, thanks for the food for thought. More to chew on as I stare at the ceiling, trying to go to sleep...


  2. DW,
    After praying and researching end time Bible verses, this is what I would have to say to you:

    The word of God doesn't ask us to pray for extra suffering, God simply gives us direction on how to handle the suffering that comes our way: Be alert & self-controlled; love the truth; pray for strengthening for every good deed and word; pray for protection; make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him; be on guard against the lawless; grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior; perform good deeds, hard work, perseverance, endure hardship, repent from sin, don't tolerate wicked men and false prophets; do not fear future suffering and slander, be faithful unto death; reject false teaching, sexual immorality, and do God's will to the end; be earnest and repent.

    If you are truly not called to the sufferings of Christ, Revelations 3 simply admonishes you to keep His word (obey), not deny His name, and see that no one takes your crown.

    You are younger, and none of us knows what the future holds. Give God your best, continue in repentance, Bible reading, and prayer, making your calling and election sure. Be faithful in the little (Luke 16:10). Even seasoned veterans will only make it because the horror will be cut short out of God's mercy (Mark 13:20).

    Hope this offers you some encouragement.

    The above is taken from the following verses: I Thes 5:6; 2 Thes 10; 2 Thes 2:15; 2 Thes 3:3; 2 Peter 3:14; Rev 2:2-3: Rev 2:9-10; Rev 2- entire chapter; Rev 3 - entire chapter