A word of grace
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The prophet Isaiah had been allowed to peer seven centuries into the future. There he saw in metaphorical pictures the great drama of salvation played out before him. There was the great Suffering Servant of the Lord, represented as a sheep, helpless and about to be slaughtered. And silent. Jesus had very little to say at the three “judicial” hearings that condemned him and nothing at all to the guards and soldiers who abused him. They beat him, pounded a... Read More
Your time of grace
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When the wicked witch wanted to terrify Dorothy into giving up the ruby slippers, she took an hourglass and turned it upside down. “That’s how much longer you’ve got to be alive, and it isn’t long, my pretty!” Dorothy watched in horror as the grains of red sand rushed into the lower glass. All of us have an invisible hourglass, marking off the minutes until there are no more. Our lifetime is slipping away. Does that thought terrify you? Solomon... Read More
What do you mean “grace”?
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The Bible has some powerful and important words that have their own unique divine meanings within the biblical narrative that are different from everyday English usages: covenant and faith and testament, for instance. Another is grace. In secular talk, grace means fluidity of movement, poetry in motion. It means skill in manners and social behaviors, knowing the right thing to say or do in a social situation. The core meaning of grace in the Bible, however, is an attitude of... Read More
Unnatural grace
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To those who explain that Mary gave birth to Jesus naturally, I say: the virgin birth of Jesus is as unnatural of a birth as you can find, as the very grace of God itself is unnatural. That’s something to contemplate at Christmastime. “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew... Read More
Grace really is amazing
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John Newton had a hard life—born in 1725, his mother died when he was 6, a sailor at age 11, press-ganged into the British Navy at 18, and flogged with 96 lashes when he was caught trying to desert. He sailed on a slave ship, and then became a captain who led three voyages that brought kidnapped Africans to the New World for sale. Even after he quit sailing he continued to invest in slave enterprises. His slowly growing Christian... Read More