GraceWaves Articles

The Chain of Faith

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 Faith. It’s a mysterious, wonderful, puzzling word. A stumbling block for some, a laughingstock for others, a lifeline for many. What is faith? Let’s start with an analogy. We have five senses, or faculties. You’re using the sense of sight right now to read this, as I am to type it. My air conditioner is running, and I hear the blower. That is the sense of hearing. I can’t smell anything in particular right now, but a few minutes ago my Schnauzer came in to see me and her breath

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Seeing God

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8 Seeing God sounds like a fantasy of the first order, yet I believe everyone, if offered the opportunity, would deeply want to see God. The Bible records a few scenes where people actually saw God. In the Garden, God communed with Adam and Eve in such a familiar way that we might imagine they actually saw God. Of course, the most memorable passage about seeing God is when Moses asked to see Him and God replied that this was impossible, for to do so would result in

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Remembering Mom

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7 Mom’s nickname at Lexington Federal Savings and Loan was Sunshine. I was in high school at the time and never asked about its origin, but I knew. Dottie Ellis was a 5’ 2” blue-eyed blond (she humbly called it dishwater blonde that by that stage in her life needed a little extra boost from Clairol to get that “natural look”). Combined with her bright and easy smile, “Sunshine” just fit. My favorite picture of my parents is one from near the end of, or just after, World War II. Dad

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Got Contentment?

"I have learned whatever state I am in to be content.” Philippians 4:11 Do you remember your first job? Do you recall what you were paid? My first job was at Rosemont Grocery, a little full-service grocery store, originally on the outskirts of town but long since having been swallowed up by an ever-growing Lexington. The building was old, with white siding, and a few add-ons over the years, but few cosmetic improvements. It still looked like it had been lifted out of the turn of the century next to a dirt road and plopped down in the middle of

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Slow Spiritual Growth (the only kind)

“So that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 Are you where you thought you’d be at this point in life? I’m not talking about geographically, professionally, or financially, but more deeply. Are you handling life better? Do you feel stronger? More settled? More confident? Are you reaping the benefits today of a life-long pursuit of a deeper relationship with God? I don’t recall, frankly, whether it was Leslie or I who said one

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Time to Begin Again

“But go and tell His disciples, and Peter, that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him just as He told you.” Mark 16:7 Once we accept grace as the key to understanding God then we begin to see it everywhere. It’s the light that begins starts at Creation, glows at Eden, comes bursting into full glory on the first Easter, and shines every day. It is the light that sets us free. We need that freedom every day, because that’s about how often we find a way to let fear and doubt imprison us. So

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Pausing for Good Friday

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31 I didn’t grow up with Good Friday. Literally. Part of the backwash in some segments of the Reformation was avoiding the Christian Year, and in my church we didn’t observe Holy Week or even Good Friday. Or Ash Wednesday or Advent or Epiphany, etc. And I didn’t know what a Maundy was. The cross was preached well and sometimes graphically, but

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Need More Grace?

Order Your Copy of GraceWaves today! You already have all the grace you need. The challenge is to be aware. GraceWaves: Reflections of God's Ever-Present Grace can help. You can indicate on the order form if you would like your copy signed. Just click the link below. And thank you! BUY NOW!  

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Golden Scars

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 One of the most puzzling themes in the New Testament is the idea of embracing personal weakness as an opportunity to experience God's power. Jesus taught that being last of all and servant of all leads to exaltation, denial leads to salvation, losing life leads to finding life. Paul wrote of being a broken vessel that demonstrates God's transcendent power. Peter wrote of rejoicing in a fiery ordeal. The Bible itself is a lengthy illustration of this great paradox. Perhaps the most memorable

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Acceptance and The Transformation of Trouble

“Do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in that you share Christ’s sufferings.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 A few brief GraceWaves are not sufficient to address completely the subject of acceptance, but I want to draw this little series to a close this week by focusing on the biggest objection to the idea of acceptance, i.e. suffering. Mention acceptance and the first response is liable to be something along the lines of an objection that we can’t just sit around and accept suffering.

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A Well-Meaning Bull in God's China Shop

“But I trust in You. I say ‘You are my God. My times are in Your hand.’” Psalm 31:14-15 Last week we began our brief exploration of the idea of acceptance by saying that this spiritual key begins with accepting the fact that life is not fair. That’s rather easy pickings for life presents us with multiple illustrations each day of its unfairness. The second key is a lot more slippery. It’s the idea that we have a role in many of the problems we face in life. Personal responsibility is a hard pill to swallow, but it does insulate

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When Your Problems Have Problems

“Do not resist one who is evil.” Matthew 5:39 A woman came to my office and after the initial pleasantries, began with a long sigh and said, “my family has issues.” Though I didn’t say it, my thought was “if you have family you have issues.” The same can be said of any particular problem we bring to a pastor, counselor, or trusted friend. To say we have problems is like admitting we breathe. Problems are an inescapable part of life. The real problem with problems is when they multiply and run into one another and seem to shut out

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Shedding Light on The Shack

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 When it first came out in 2007, I read William P. (Paul) Young’s The Shack. Not surprisingly, this popular Christian book generated a great deal of discussion, and some of it vitriolic. Because the movie is coming out this week, I’m seeing quite a bit of discussion about the story, again some of it rather vitriolic. I want to address some of the major objections I hear and perhaps shed a little light on

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Living the Ordinary Life Extraordinarily Well

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do” and “do everything” clearly covers a lot of ground. As a practical matter though, what did Paul have in mind here? Was he serious? For the average Christian, whoever that may be, what is the “whatever and everything” of life? In religious matters, surely one of the most common mistakes is to limit “whatever and everything” to the realm of “highly spiritual events” in which everything that happens every day

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Saved. Again.

“Therefore let us leave behind the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.” Hebrews 6:1 Spiritually, when I was nine-years old I walked the aisle of my church and made Jesus mine. I became a Christian. Physically, when I was nine-years-old I was probably a little over 4 feet tall, and weighed about 50 pounds. Tomorrow I will turn 59, half a century of living after being that little kid. Physically, I am 5’ 10” and weigh 145. Spiritually, I am ? Measuring spirituality is very hazardous. We usually reduce it to memorizing a catechism or Bible verses.

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