Category Archives: Honesty

Counterfeit Grace

Just felt I should share what I posted on Twitter today.

It needs to be said.

@Pasturescott: Be wary of those who are all about grace and not accountability. They haven’t received a revelation of God’s brand, only a cheap knock-off.

This addresses one of the more subtle deceptions snaking through the church in these last days. Shamefully, multitudes are drinking the purple kool-aid because it goes down smoothly and appeals to old Adam’s proclivities.

If we believers are not still accountable to God, then we’re right back in the Garden, fruit in hand, feeling good about ourselves and our chances.

Hashtag: “God have mercy!”

This has happened because, for generations now, the Gospel has been tampered with, tweaked, muddied and dumbed down. It’s been reduced to a formulaic cover-all prayer and a me-centered narrative rather than a lifelong grace-empowered surrender that forsakes all – even our own self – but Jesus.

On a related note, when I fail to forsake my own way and know that I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, I take to heart the blessed truth of 1 John 1:9 – which is graciously for me! – and repent to Him, find mercy even for my egregious oversights, and fall ever more deeply in love with God who saves, keeps and covers me. And changes me. With genuine grace.

Now I can get into and embrace that brand of grace!

Asked. And Answered.

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree –
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
– John Mark Macmillan

If you seek Me, you will find Me
If you search with your heart…
– Jesus, via Jeremiah

Draw near to Me. I will draw near to you.
– Jesus, via James

I will never forget sitting at an outside table of an Atlanta coffee shop on a gorgeous Spring day – or was if Fall? – that part I don’t remember. What is planted into the gray matter is what I was feeling on that day.

That I had let God down.

That He might be – no, had to be – perturbed with me.

How could I have gone all these days not in the Word? Time enough for movies (I was across the avenue from my favorite theater) and reading novels of suspense, but for Him?

Let’s just say it had been awhile.

I got out my journal, pens and highlighters and carefully laid them beside my open Bible. Before I jumped in with haste and the gusto to “make up for lost time” I felt impressed to ask:

What do you think about me, Lord?

You see, I was shrinking inside, like someone who has no business approaching God but dares try. I tell you, it was all pretty tentative. But I did have the distinct sense I was to approach Him straight-on, minus any wussiness. I was getting the impression He was delighted I came. And asked such an open-ended question.

I didn’t have long to wait. Didn’t have to grovel. Just asked -

- and was answered:

“I am protective of you.”

A few beats. Then:

“I am jealous for you.”

Maybe you’re thinking I had listened to “How He Loves” on my iPod and that lyric was playing in my head. I tell you no. This was a year or two before I had ever heard the song.

I heard…Him. And He had me dead-to-rights.

The message was…healing. Empowering. Cleansing.

I had laid out the wares of devotion but had little expectation I would be meeting with the King over His creation that day. (now I remember…it was early Spring) I assumed He would be distant. Non-communicative. I fully anticipated a futile, feeble exercise, but I came because I wanted to close the gap.

Been a long time for you?

I can’t promise the exact same payback, but I tell you: He’s waiting. He’s near.

And He has something to tell you. Just ask. And listen.

Double-Take

ME: “Hey Mom, Dad, I met this girl…”

THEY: “The girl you’ve been dating. We know.”

ME: “No, not her. Another girl. This one I’m sure is the one. I really want you to meet her…”

And so my course was plotted. With heart completely ravished and smitten, I had declared my intent. With hand to the plow, I made it my soul’s mission to make a life with the same girl I had nearly written off when our paths first crossed. Remind me to tell you about that another time. I can only tell you I had sorely and poorly misjudged her.

She sure had me pegged, though.

I got a comment from a friend on another social networking site I use questioning a statement I made about contemporary church. While I am most certainly right and they are wrong–he mocked–it did get me thinking.

In my vast inventory of posts, I have said an awful lot about what is wrong with the church.* I make no apology for that since it has been my burden to carry for the Lord, but I never want to become so jaded that I fail to see the grandness of her highness, the Bride of Jesus.

No, not in the sweet by and by.

Now.

Here.

It’s a dangerous thing to curse whatever He has called holy. What I hope and pray I have addressed is not the genuine but to differentiate it from the mixture that is with His people. May it never be my horrid crime to refer to His bride as ugly.

I have a friend who is a master of the metaphor and one of my favorites is his picture of scaffolding around a building that is being renovated. If we focus on the pipes and boards, buckets and bricks, mortar and trowels, we would be disillusioned, but when the work is finished and all of that is dismantled and cleared away, we stand in awe of the final product.

I admit, sometimes I swear I’m looking at a condemned building when I might just be seeing the scaffolding. Lord, let me see her…

I asked the Lord two nights ago: “how am I to see Your Church, Lord?” The answer came so quickly, I knew I hadn’t the time to tick off the qualities that sprang into my conscious thoughts. I had a fairly good sense I was discovering the King’s heart on the subject.

Here is what I jotted down.

(As an aside, whenever you ask the Lord for His thoughts on a matter, it is often to your advantage to have writing implements close by. That’s free. You’re welcome.)

So what did I hear in my spirit?

  • She is Robed in Beauty and getting more beautiful all the time, as My coming draws nearer (Isa 54:11-17)

Seven things. Seven.

Am I to take anything from that I wonder?

Nah. Has to be a coincidence.

While there’s a whole host of things that need to be addressed with regard to contemporary church, especially in prosperous, non-persecuted regions of the world, there is SO MUCH MORE that is right with her.

You just have to take a second look.

________________________________________________________

*Not THE Church, but what passes itself off as church; I have differentiated between the professing church (outward show and lip-service) and the Confessing Church of Christ (the Bride being prepared and adorned for glory)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 971 other followers