Skip to main content

Thoughts From Barnabas Piper

Dear Friends,

Today's "thought" is one man's reflection on the topic of grace. And not just grace, but things we should do to make ourselves more aware of all the ways we have been the recipients of it. It comes to you from Barnabas Piper (who lives in the Nashville area with his wife and two daughters, and works as the brand manager for Ministry Grid. You can follow Barnabas on Twitter @BarnabasPiper ).

His words are simply a reminder that we should never let grace stop amazing us. Never let grace become too commonplace. Never allow ourselves to stop being awed by it or grateful for it. In fact, he offers ways we can train ourselves to recognize it, so as to make use we never stop being overwhelmed by the fact that we receive it. Enjoy.

Over-the-Top Grace 
God is over the top. Really. He goes too far, in every direction, including dimensions we can’t even fathom. His grace is just too much. By definition we don’t deserve it and by nature we can’t get our heads around it. We can define it. We can describe it in part. We can see it here and there. But think on this for a moment:

Nothing we have - was not given to us.
Nothing we are - we were not made into.
Nothing in our sphere - is actually in our control.

We came from a family in a place with a race, none of which we chose. We meet people daily we did not choose to meet. We have jobs we “earned,” but how many “connections” and fortuitous happenings got us there? These are the signposts of common grace, the kindness God pours out on the world day in and day out and without which no one could survive. Do we see it?

Often when we think of grace we think of God’s specific grace, the kindness of saving us by sending his Son to live a perfect life and die a sinless death in the place of sinners like you and I. Indeed, that is grace, and even that, for all of the tomes and volumes written about it, is scarcely understood.

The reality of God’s grace is the same as the reality of God: if we could truly understand it then it would not be worthy of our wonder and thanks. It is so much more than that. It shows itself in shocking places and when we think we’ve reached its limits, we crest a hill and see it stretching beyond the horizon.

So, take notice of it. Look high and low and listen closely. It will appear where you never saw it previously. Record it. Write it down in a journal or an iPhone or make a voice memo or something, anything. Just make a note you can revisit at those times grace seems to have disappeared. Reflect on it. It is hard to be thankful for those things we barely notice. When you record something, come back to it, mull it over, see its aspects and angles and connections. There are no simple graces; let your mind be blown and your heart grown. Then share it. Tell a friend, tell your small group, write a blog, tweet a tweet, not every time, but when you are overwhelmed or struck.

In taking these steps the expanse of God’s grace will become more real to us and to those we share it with. What is more, God’s grace will show itself through us and impact others. More than anything, as we see the prevalence and necessity of grace in every part of life, we will find ourselves overwhelmed by gratefulness for it."

One of the signs that we are not where we should be spiritually is that we are underwhelmed by grace, or we begin to think we deserve the things we have and get, or we start believing there is some degree of personal worthiness in us that acts as the lightning rod which calls God's grace down upon us. When such persuasions gain a foothold within our thought patterns, they show we have forgotten who we are, and especially what grace is - the undeserved favor of God.

May we always remember that though we have worth before God, no one (save Jesus, per Rev. 5:1-10) is worthy. Jesus is clear: "So you also, after you have done everything you were told to do, should say to yourself, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty'" (Luke 17:10). In the economy of grace, we come to understand that all that comes our way is a gift.

In the Bonds of God's Amazing Grace, Pastor Jeff


Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts From Rick Hamlin

Dear Friends, This "thought" will likely seem more relevant to those who are past the child-rearing stage -- though it can surely offer hope to those who are in the midst of it! It was the March 1st reading from my 2018 edition of the Daily Guideposts devotional which I quoted from a few weeks back. The author of this particular entry is Rick Hamlin. It struck me as an entry that offers hope to the burdened conscience, and for that reason I pass it along to any parents who may need the encouragement it offers. Enjoy. "You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:19 "It's interesting what we can remember and what we regret. When I think about the kind of dad I was when my kids were younger, I hate to recall the times when the two of them tested my patience. Two boys, three years apart, roughhousing indoors, the playful tussling that turned into wrestling matches threatening to destroy

Thoughts About the History of Lent

Dear Friends, As today is “Shrove Tuesday” and Lent begins tomorrow, I thought I would pass along some interesting facts about the history of Lent. Sometimes we know about it, but don’t really know about it! So, for today, I have put together some background information about Lent. Information varies depending on the source, but I tried to weave together an accurate, historically reliable, and generally accepted summary of the basic facts! Enjoy. Lent is the approximate 40-day season between Ash Wednesday and Easter, during which Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant believers prepare themselves spiritually for Easter through prayer, Bible reading, and a focus on spiritual disciplines like fasting, self-denial, and a commitment to acts of generosity. The word “lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten” meaning “length” and was used to refer to the springtime season in the Northern Hemisphere when the days were lengthening as the sun rose earlier and set later. Lent is

Thoughts From Tim Challies

Dear Friends, I know it's Holy Week and most of you were probably expecting an Easter "thought." But it will not be. Not this year anyway! Instead, I wanted to send out a thought that has to do with prayer. Expectant prayer. Believing prayer. Earnest prayer. Prayer that actually anticipates that it will receive what is asked for. Prayer that is offered not only believing God is able, but also willing. Not simply that God can (which we all know), but that He will (which some often doubt). I know (since some have told me) that some believers consider the second part -- the conviction that He will -- as being a bit presumptuous, or contrary to a humble posture before God. But if I read the words of Jesus correctly, it seems to be an attitude He wants us as God's children to have when praying to Him who is our Father. Today's selection happens to be from Tim Challies, and is entitled "Expecting Results." Enjoy. "When you pray, petitionin