When Daddy Comin?

For the past two weeks, I have been home with my family celebrating our new arrival! Since there is only so much I can do for our new baby, most of my time was spent playing with and taking Read more

Angel Tree

When I was a child, my family fully embraced the traditions of Christmas. We decorated our home with the most cherished ornaments, lights, and bows. We handmade or purchased gifts with much thought about the receiver. We made plans Read more

Begin with Jesus

The autobiography of G. Stanley Jones is titled A Song of Ascent, and it’s considered to be a spiritual classic. Jones was a great man: a missionary to India, a friend to Gandhi, a tireless world traveler, and a Read more

Weeds

Have you ever been responsible for a task you didn’t particularly enjoy? Perhaps you can relate to one homemaker who developed a unique perspective on some of her less enjoyable household duties. She said: I don't do windows because I Read more

New Each Day

Patrick Henry, whose primary contribution to the history books is the phrase "Give me liberty or give me death," made another memorable statement. He said, "I know of no way of judging the future but by the past." Repeat this before Read more

A Hippie Reborn

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Abandoned by his parents, Shawn McDonald was lost in a world of endless raves and dealing drugs. See how God gave this singer a spiritual high.

Learn more about Shawn: http://www.shawnmcdonaldmusic.com

Why Grace is So Hard to Believe

Posted on by GODencounters in Articles | 2 Comments

It is really a simple problem in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I think it’s pretty hard to believe in many other denominations as well, but it may just be a little extra hard with our heritage.

For decades we have held public evangelistic meetings. Members have been encouraged to bring friends to these meetings and some do, but many only have friends who are already part of the denomination which reduces the opportunity to have “friends” to invite. In addition, the community is blanketed with mailers inviting people to attend the series (crusade, effort, lectures, etc.).

Attendees of these meetings are presented a carefully crafted series of messages to present truth in a seemingly irrefutable way. Those who begin buying into the speaker’s worldview and understanding of scripture are subtly, or not so subtly, led to see their new understandings not just as truth, but as a teaching which affords them a superior status in spiritual knowledge.

The novice in prophecy, hermeneutics, and maybe spirituality in general, gets this rush of moving rapidly toward expert as compared with the general population. Finally, agreeing to become part of the “remnant church” of Bible prophecy. the new member senses they are on the inside track and part of a favored group, those who are “right”.

We challenge new believers to leave family, friends, churches, workplaces (when Sabbath is an issue), to step out and be separate – to walk by faith in this new light that has come to them. So it isn’t hard to imagine that, over time, they may be tempted to believe they deserve God’s favor. After all, look at all the things they sacrificed: from alcohol, caffeine, sugar, meat, maybe even cheese, etc. in their diet, to their old wardrobe, jewelry and overly expensive clothes, to friends, family and workmates, to hobbies and Sabbath activities, and of course the burden of knowing all the “right” answers to all the end time events. Not that any of these choices aren’t necessarily “good” but there is a risk.

Having behaved, obeyed, believed, and chosen all of the above and more, there is a damning temptation to which we may succumb. We may block the freedom that God’s grace brings. Why? Because grace, in order to be grace, must be undeserved by the recipient, and when a person is tempted and then begins to believe that they deserve grace, it is no longer grace they receive but rather something they imagine they are owed. And to not receive grace is to not receive life.

Whether you are the worst person, literally the most diabolical person who ever lived, or whether people would wish to confer sainthood on you because you seem so holy, in either case you deserve nothing but death eternal, and you get life eternal only as an act of God’s grace which you do not deserve.

Maybe, just maybe, sometimes we Christians aren’t very gracious dispensers of grace because we have fooled ourselves, with the devil’s assistance, into believing we somehow deserve grace and that there are others around us who do not deserve it, so we don’t deliver it.

Getting grace right is acknowledgement that we don’t deserve it, and giving grace right is to acknowledge that to whomever we extend it, the only qualification for receiving it is not deserving it. That’s what makes it grace. And that’s pretty amazing.

He Rose

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