Everyday Grace

Today I went for a walk in the woods behind our house.  I love to walk in these woods.  Today there was a little squirrel in a tree who caught my eye.  He looked at me and I looked at him, and we were just staring at each other for a  moment.  In that moment the wind blew my hair away from my face.  The world seemed peaceful.  It was a quiet moment, just the squirrel and I enjoying a look at each other.

I think the joy of life is often in those little moments.  I feel those are moments of everyday grace.  Little ways that the loving presence of God just breaks into our world and our little life and just makes us feel special. 
A thought comes to mind - "new every morning."  His grace is new every morning, fresh for that day,  everyday grace to bring us through, to break into our lives, to give us joy, to let us know He is there and He is taking care of us, loving us, smiling at us.

I have a little quote on a card in my kitchen that says, "Thank Him for all the ways He breaks through this world to send you flowers."  God breaks through.  Grace breaks through.  He is always there, grace is always there, love is always there, though we don't always see it, feel it, know it.  He breaks through in everyday grace to let us see and know and feel that we are loved, life is special, He is here.

Thank you Father for those moments of everyday grace!

On Billy Graham..

I heard of Billy Graham's passing into heaven today, and it made me want to share something about the love of God here.

Years ago when our son was born, we gave him the middle name of Graham after Billy Graham.  Only later did we learn that our son's birthday is only two day's from Billy Graham's birthday.  It was special to know that, and I am glad our son has always had such a godly person to be an example for him.

I am thankful for Billy Graham's message of love, grace, forgiveness, kindness and brotherliness.  He was a great example of humility and graciousness.  He was so willing to admit his mistakes and able to share openly about his regrets, such as how he wished he'd spent more time with his children while they were growing up instead of being away so much on crusades.  I love how he admitted his faults and yet was okay with himself for not being perfect, and was gracious with other imperfect people - which includes all of us!

He just exuded peace.  He was so at peace with himself, others, God, and life.  He lived life so simply, just walking with God in simple trust, like a child, knowing his Father would take care of everything.  He was at peace about the future, about death.  He was sure of the beautiful heaven awaiting him, sure of God being there to embrace him. 

He was so simply in way he just lived as a regular old person walking with God.  You could tell how much he loved to just be with God. 

I read that his grandson went to visit him one night in a city where he was meeting some big leaders and wondered if he would find him in his hotel room on the night of the meetings.  When he knocked on the hotel room door, Billy answered in his pajamas, and the grandson caught a glimpse of an open Bible on the bed in the hotel room.  When he could have been out socializing or meeting with big national leaders, Billy Graham chose instead to have a quiet evening with God.  I love that and think it really shows what kind of man he was.

Billy Graham wasn't perfect and wouldn't want to be idolized or even focused on.  And I think that is the whole point and gives hope for all of us.  We are all just regular people that God loves.  We don't have to be great.  We don't have to be perfect.  We are simply loved as we are and our Father loves to just be there with us sharing life together and letting us know He's taking care of everything and will bring us home safely.  He's always shining the beauty of the spiritual realm of His LOVE into our lives, our everyday, common, ordinary lives as regular old people!

I love how Billy said that when he died, he would be more alive than ever!  It makes me glad to think of heaven and how joyful Rev. Graham is now, how well and whole, immersed in love, fully alive and fully in God's presence!  And that is what we all have to look forward to!  I am so thankful for that!

Faith Is Subordinate to Grace

I read a wonderful quote the other day, saying that faith is important, but that faith is subordinate to grace. I love that! The wonderful news is of what God has already accomplished through Christ in saving us, and this wonderful news does bring a personal response from us, of faith. You could even call it our choice to believe, to see the truth. Yet our faith, our choice to believe, our seeing reality is all subordinate to HIS faith (His belief about us!), His choice to save and keep us, HIS reality! 

So in the end, I think that even if we don't have faith, even if we don't see the whole truth of what He did and don't completely experience it on earth, still HIS grace will carry us through. For we are saved by grace, not our faith! Yes, through faith, but it is BY grace! In the end, it's all wrapped up in Him and we are safe and secure, whether we see it right now on this earth or not. 

I think that at death, all will have any last confusion and blinder removed and everyone will see reality, see that they are safely home with Him, and all will naturally believe and trust and love God! Because deep down, that's how we have been made, made to experience His love and be in a trusting love relationship with Him, and that's what our hearts long for and reach out for, and once we truly see the truth of His unconditional love and union closeness with us, we will naturally love and trust Him back and get to really and fully enjoy the union we have with Him, the love He has for us, the joy of His life in us!

I believe the ultimate responsibility in salvation doesn't lie with us but with God. HE is so big and so loving and so smart and so gracious that He is able to work it out so that all will see the truth and willingly, voluntarily come to Him in love and joy and trust! He has rescued, forgiven and saved us all, even from before time began that has been true, set in spiritual concrete, so our ultimate salvation has always been sure and certain. 

We will all eventually wake up and see that. I think God will bring all to see this, as the verse says, 'to make all men see,' and He will bring all to willingly have faith and all will willingly worship and love Him, as it says, 'every eye will see and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God,' and that He will do this without violating anyone's free will, for all will come joyfully and voluntarily, as the verse says, 'they will volunteer freely in the day of Your power!' And this will be true for everyone, I truly believe! As the verse says, 'all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord!' 

God won't lose even one of His sometimes wayward children. He wouldn't be happy or able to really rest till all were safely home, so that is why He brought us all home through Jesus' finished work! We are all just waking up to see where we already are and what's already happened to us - by grace! And it is by grace that all will eventually wake up and see this truth, and willingly enjoy this reality, see that we are all already forgiven and reconciled, rescued and safe, all already sitting on Papa's lap, loved and embraced and HOME, always and forever, no matter what!

May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14