The Place of Grace

I was able to attend the weekly prayer time for our community leaders. It is great to be able to connect with some other pastors and leaders in our community who believe in the power of prayer.

Today, I had another session with my fitness trainer. I believe the program and techniques that I am learning will help me as I move forward in my recovery. Once again it is interesting to discover which muscles are weaker than some of the others. For example it is not just one side or the other but tends to fall in a crisscross pattern which my trainer says is something that he has found to be common. I believe we have my program set for over the next few weeks, so it will be interesting to evaluate it 3-4 weeks out and see where I am.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6,7

Christians for generations have taken comfort in the simple declaration of 1 Peter 5:7 “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” I am thankful that we can have assurance of God’s care for our lives. Jesus reassured his disciples with these words,  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father….Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29,31)

God sees our pain and He is near to those of a broken spirit and those buffeted by all kinds of troubles. However, Peter in writing to these persecuted Christians is encouraging them to stand strong in the midst of the test of their faith. It is interesting that Peter equates trials and persecution as a test of faith. I am reminded of Jesus’ words to Peter, “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:31,32)

Once again we find Peter speaking from the experience of his own life and even his denial of Christ to encourage these believers. He endeavors to give perspective and guidance as he writes, “you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6,7)  “…do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you.” (1 Peter 4:12)

It is important for Christians to understand that persecution whether small or severe is a test of our faith; and our humility before the Lord is a key to making it through. Peter learned this when he told Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33)  Peter admonishes believers  “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5) I’m surprised we don’t read, “believe me I know!”

Peter then says, “humble yourselves…casting all your anxieties on the Him…” Humility is the place of grace. When God’s grace is upon us we have favor with others, we have strength for each new day. If we exalt ourselves we will be humbled, but if we humble ourselves trusting the Lord at all times and in all ways, He will exalt us in due time.