! ct rd ra ca te ly In rep e
Volume V, Number 3 - March 2009
The Grace of God By W. Locke Morgan I have been a Christian now for nearly a quarter of a century and I am still learning about the basics of the spiritual life God has provided for me. In many ways, it has been the inward journey towards the central themes of the Spirit that has enabled me to grow at all. Not to say that I have arrived, or anything, but that I am increasingly amazed at the elegance and simplicity of the nature of God to make the elemental factors of the faith to be the most profound. If I were to define the most basic tenant of Christian-
ly, others not so much. Perhaps you are one of my neighbors? If so, you might appreciate my sharing some insight into our living situation. Please feel free to reciprocate. Anyhow, I recently came across a very familiar passage in the Bible which gave new context to the whole equation of grace. Matthew 4:1-11 tells the story of Jesus in the wilderness, fasting, being tempted by Satan and emerging victorious to begin His ministry.
ity, that I know of, it would have to be contained in the word “grace.” I say “contained” because there is an indefinable quality to the concept which we call “grace.”
I had always read that section of scripture from the perspective of Jesus being smarter than Satan, because He quoted better scriptures to counter the “tempter’s” suggestions. However, when I read it again a couple of weeks ago, it suddenly became clear that this was not a battle of the wits, but rather a test of the grace factor in the life of Jesus.
This is where I spiritually live at the moment; studying the concept of grace and living out the lessons God wants to teach me about it. It is not a lonely place to live in, because I see many others moving into the same area; some willing-
The thing that had been niggling me about this exchange was the lack of subtlety on the part of Satan. I mean, come on, who tempts the Son of God with turning stones into bread, or catching big air off the temple roof, or worshiping
the arch enemy of God in return for the world’s pocket change? That’s like trying to convince Barak Obama to take a city council position in Enterprise, Alabama (home of the Boll Weevil Monument). Ridiculous. But I know that Satan is no fool, and I know that Jesus has a lesson to teach with every word. So, a closer inspection is definitely warranted.
I mean, come on, who tempts the Son of God with turning stones into bread, or catching big air off the temple roof... Really what I see going on here was a shot across the bow to determine the nature of the connection between the physical expression of God on Earth and His heavenly expression in...well... Heaven. Essentially, Satan touched on three developmental stages, that we all go through, in order to assess what his next move would be. Even so, he found no weakness in Jesus’ sense of self-preservation, His need for validation or His drive for self-actualization (purpose fulfillment). At no point did the answers Jesus gave betray anything that separated Him from the grace of God. Satan’s take-away here was that this was a fight that could not be settled out of the light. He would have to deal with this threat to his power by more overt means. Which brings me to the question of what is Satan’s take-away from his interaction with myself? Do I present a unified front with God, such that all that is evil sees me as a threat? Does Beelzebub have to go
back to the drawing board to find a way around my defense? Or does the slightest infringement on my rights make me scream for mercy at the hand of darkness? The problem we all face is that in our calculation of the known factors in a situation we leave out the most important one. Peter had the right idea when he went for a walk on the waves, but then he got fixated on other factors and lost his grasp on grace (Matt. 14:2831). I wonder how many of us would have stood up to the that test or to the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness without giving in to our “needs.” I don’t mean to sound condescending here, but the case needs to be made that our life equation is off. If Christians continue to add up their circumstances, multiply by their feelings and divide by their capacity for stress, then they will
I don’t mean to sound condescending here, but the case needs to be made that our life equation is off. always have to borrow from their human nature to make it work. Some of us have been borrowing from our fallen nature for so long that we have forgotten what it was like to find our solution in God in the first place.
Progress Report The past three months have seen some significant progress on our goals for this six month period. As of this writing I have seven speaking engagements booked with several more in the works (check our website for details). I have been making contact with the pastors of our area and getting a surprising number of face-to-face meetings; 15 out of 18 contacts. There seems to be a prevailing move of God in the churches of my area that emphasizes the need to get back to the basics. This is the message of RMW and it is resonating among the pastors with which I meet. From our inception, the theme verse for the ministry has been Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” So, when I talk to these ministers about the need for the body of Christ to get streamlined around the essentials of the faith, they recognize we are on the same wavelength. Better than that, has been the feedback from the ministers and congregations who hear me speak. You know you are doing a mediocre job when the comments are about style and presentation rather than focusing on content and results. My experience has been of people discussing the message, offering additional insight and telling of the change in their life or the life of others as a result of the presentation.
I would encourage you to look to Christ’s example of a grace dependant life. A life that triumphed over the here For instance, one pastor was at a and now by looking to the heavenly and minister’s meeting, and he went on for eternal. A life that saw temptations, sor- about five minutes about the fruit from rows, pain and desires as carrying only a temporary weight designed to present the choice between grace and self-sufficiency. Which will you choose? As far as I am concerned, I am totally amazed by the “Grace” God has given me. :-)
the time that I spoke in his church. My topic there was on forgiveness and he told of people forgiving deep hurts that had plagued their church for some time. He further elaborated that this in turn had impacted one person’s family life and restored relationship. I was incredibly humbled by this experience and whispered a quick prayer of, “God, don’t let me mess this up!” (For more comments on the work I am doing, visit the website under the “Leader’s Resources” section.) This is the most exciting six months of my young life; building infrastructure that will effectively provide a vehicle for ministry for years to come and using it to help hurting believers now. It’s pretty awesome getting a job working for the best boss in the universe: God. Looking ahead, I foresee a steady rise in opportunities to serve congregations in my community and beyond. I am seeing the benefits of devoting my complete focus on calling the Body of Christ to return to the Joy of their Salvation. However, in order to continue this pace beyond Summer, we will need to grow to where RMW can support me ongoing, in a full-time capacity. God’s provision is the most reliable commodity that I have ever known. He has provided help, funding, inspiration, friends, opportunities and resources all with His impeccable timing. He is our source, and no one else can claim the credit.
www.RMWFocus.blogspot.com Restoration Ministries Worldwide, Inc. 41035 Foulweather Bluff Road NE Hansville, Washington 98340-7717 Phone: 360.638.1848 email@example.com www.restoremin.net RMW is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, all gifts are tax deductible.
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A publication of Restoration Ministries Worldwide