Barbara Higby

Eternity Unfathomed

Let’s Talk about Grace, #5

The greatest measure of grace can’t be measured. From, and for, all eternity grace is generously, freely, lovingly poured over us and into us. His grace fought for our lives, bought our freedom, and brought us into His family.

God’s grace gives us a name, worth, and purpose. His grace declares we are His, we belong, we have eternal security. It proclaims we are beneficiaries of His abundant grace and have become grace-gleaners.

God’s unfathomable grace is ours for an unfathomable eternity. It is not temporary or sporadic, not generated by mood or inclination, not dependent on merit or behavior—and it will never stop. It has no expiration date—it is eternal. There are no outlying areas it can’t reach, no depth it can’t delve, no deficit it can’t satisfy.

There is no limit on how generously it will behave. God’s grace is lavished on us—glorious, freely given, redeeming, forgiving, and rich. (Eph. 1:4-9)

We cannot comprehend the never-ending, ever-present, liberally-given grace of God. But we can imitate it. As grace-gleaners we are called to be grace-givers with gracious attitudes and actions, speaking words seasoned with grace and offering kindness from a heart that’s been shown grace.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph. 5:1-2

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Rom. 13:8

Compassion Undeserved

Let’s Talk about Grace, #4

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust (Ps. 103:13-14).

God’s compassion recognizes our humanity. He knows we falter and fail, we make promises we don’t keep, and we wander where we shouldn’t. He also knows how we are formed—and still, He shows us compassion.

Compassion is not only being conscious of others’ distress and being sympathetic, but includes a desire to alleviate their suffering. Jesus showed us how:

♦  He saw a large crowd and “had compassion” on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He healed their sick and then fed more than 5000 people (Mark 6:34, Matt. 14:14).

♦  He “had compassion” on two blind men and touched their eyes, giving them sight (Matt. 20:34).

♦  “Filled with compassion,” Jesus reached out his hand and touched a leper to heal him (Mark 1:41-42).

He sees us—lost, sick, tired, hungry—and moves with compassion to find, heal, restore, and satisfy us.

In perhaps His best-known parable, Jesus tells of a father spotting his prodigal son coming home. The father was “filled with compassion” and ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him (Luke 15:20). What a poignant picture of our Heavenly Father’s compassion for us!

Thankfully, God’s kindness doesn’t dependent on our merit but comes from His heart, which is “full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning… (Lam. 3:22-23)

Every morning. Compassion. Again.

How then, shall we live?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion (Col. 3:12).

 

Please note, my web site will be dormant for a few days so I’m not sure it will be up next week. I will post the “E” of grace as soon as I’m able.
Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

Acceptance Unearned

Let’s Talk about Grace, #3

It’s a joy to be accepted—into a program, onto a team, as an organizational member, in a new job position, as a friend in a new environment. We bring our best to the table—our merits, our experience, our strengths, our personal value.

When we came to Jesus, we brought nothing to be proud of and we still bring nothing. Yet, He completely accepts us without reserve. There’s no weighing pros and cons, no application forms, no best foot forward. His love compels Him and His grace seals the deal.

Such acceptance, such grace is humbling. We even resist receiving it, unnecessarily trying to prove ourselves. How great is the Father’s love that He accepts us as His children!

Will we stretch to show the same grace? Will we “accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment?” (Rom. 14:1) Will we “bear with the failings of the weak” to please our “neighbor for his good, to build him up?” (Rom. 15:1-2)

Or we will wait until it’s deserved, when our demands are met, and the boxes are checked? As recipients of unearned acceptance and generous grace, let’s make Paul’s words part of our lives:

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rom. 15:7).

Rescue Unmerited

Let’s Talk about the “R” of Grace

Saved by grace—familiar words, that are important to acknowledge. I’ve been rescued from eternal death and I’m saved, but there’s more. I’ve also been (and continue to be) rescued from self, rescued in spite of self, and rescued to be a better self.

Rescued from Self

I’m not a multi-talented, innately wonderful, powerfully strong woman. Left to myself, I would tend to my needs, become reflective, turn reclusive, overeat, and drink a lot of coffee. Thank God, He rescues me from myself. He forces me out and faces me forward. I am ever thankful for the Holy Spirit’s prodding, directing, and correcting.

Lord, do not leave me to my own wiles, good ideas, or futile efforts. Rescue me again and again until your kingdom comes.

Rescued in Spite of Self

I suffer from failing to appreciate my blessings, from recurring sanctification setbacks, and from an attention-to-God-deficit. In spite of my resistance to surrender and self-protective tendencies, God rescues me. He sees my potential, not my inadequacies; He sees His plan, not my lack of initiative.

Lord, thank you for seeing me with eyes of love and not as I see myself. Thank you for ignoring my resistance. Please continue to rescue me with your persistent patience and faithful presence.

Rescued to be a Better Self

God clips my wings to fly better, prunes my leaves to produce better, and closes doors to show me a better way—always to make me better, more, greater—to make me more fruitful and more generous—to set me on good paths that lead to fullness and joy. What grace!

Lord, you are amazing! You never fail to rescue me and never tire of working in my heart. Keep at it, Lord—keep clipping and pruning and shutting doors. Sanctify my stubborn self and make me like Jesus.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (Ps 91:14)

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Ps 18:19)

Goodness Unmatched

Let’s Talk about Grace

I can’t comprehend grace. The truth and beauty of it is too great for me, so I’ve created five bite-sized nuggets and they are still more than I can digest. I’m aware of the inadequacy of my words, of my stretch to pen wonder on a page, but I think it’s worth the effort. I think the more we meditate on grace, the greater our marvel and appreciation will be. These bite-sized nuggets are in an anagram (of course) so let’s begin with Goodness of Grace.

The absolute, pure goodness of God’s grace is not comparable to human goodness, even at its best. The goodness God gives from and by His grace is unmatched because of its extravagance and undeservedness. It’s unearned, unmerited, unfathomed—words we will use as we grapple with the richness of grace.

God has so much goodness for us He has it stored up, waiting to be distributed. Really! Look at Psalm 31:19: “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” As much as we enjoy the goodness of others, no one stores it up for us.

We dispense goodness to those we love or to those who have been good to us. God pours out His goodness—elaborate, unmatched goodness—even when we ignore, shun, or turn a deaf ear to Him.

And His goodness is relentless—it follows us around: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”(Psalm 23:5). Every time we turn around, there it is, God’s goodness and love pursuing us. This extravagant goodness comes from His extravagant generosity—given from the abundance of His parental love.

No wonder the psalmist asked, “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12) Peter offers an answer:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness” (2 Peter 1: 5).

Today, share God’s goodness.

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay