Tag Archives: grace

THE ARCHER

‘For sin shall have no dominion over you, for you are not under the Law but under Grace.’
ROMANS 6:14

Lately my mind has been on archery and the movement of an arrow. For the arrow to go far, the archer must pull its tail and the bowstring in a direction directly opposite to its projected trajectory (just follow, I’m unto something here, don’t worry). With his/her target set on the bullseye, the archer releases the arrow and lets it sail through the air. Its path is influenced by prevailing air currents, physical laws such as the downward pull of gravity, and the material the arrow is made of. All of these forces active, the archer’s attention and input is in that initial pull on the arrow. And he/she fires. If it misses it’s intended target, he/she misses a few points. In ancient Hebrew parlance, this scenario is a ‘sin’ (not in the ‘religious’ sense, just as a term, for now), meaning ‘to miss the mark’.

Our lives can be like that arrow. The Ultimate perfect good life is everyone’s target. But our getting there is influenced by conditions within, conditions around, and the downward pull of the Law of Sin and Death (like gravity), which makes man miss the target. That’s what sin is. But you know what, sometimes we don’t even know the right target. God does.
His intended bullseye for us all is much better than the targets we all want to achieve. It’s called ‘The Glory of God’. It’s a life that’s so awesome, it’s victorious over all spheres of life. It’s the Life of God, Eternal Life, and that’s His target for us all, His Plan for us all. So not only do our arrows fall short of that target (Romans 3:23: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God), sometimes the life of man may be focused on the wrong target altogether.
That’s a life under the Law of Sin and Death. With an arrow pointed away from the target, it has no choice but to result in ‘sin’ over and over again.

But then God’s Grace…oh, how Amazing this is!
God’s Grace is God’s energy directed towards us, working through us, helping us, making us reach His bullseye! And you know how He exercised it? He did it, like the Archer, by focusing on the initial pull of the arrow in a direction directly opposite to its projected path: to give us Life, He died.
His Death and Resurrection dealt with every single thing that could have held us bound to sin. He made us free from the Law of Sin and Death and gave us a Life that operates under a new law: the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, i.e. Grace.
So He pulled the arrow (died) and when He released it (resurrected), He rose with us, now we’re in Christ. Identified with Him, we’ve been released with a force so great, no physical laws can stop it. It’s the Power that raised Christ from the dead and set Him far above all principalities and power (Ephesians 1:19-23). And with all those laws silenced, we’re given a Life that reaches God’s intended target for us at all times!
I pray you see and comprehend the depth in this.
This is a Life where sin (missing the mark, and all that could make you miss the mark) has no dominion over you, for you are living a life under the Grace (enablement) of God. It’s His strength, His power, His Life at work in you (Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me).
Whenever, if ever, you feel weak and these things don’t seem true, if it seems your career or family or academics or any other sphere of life seems not to exhibit this life, look again into what God has done for you in Christ. That’s where your victory lies through all eternity. It’s through His death that we have life.
And your faith in His work is what gives you access into this Life of Grace (Romans 5:2: By [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God). It’s established in Scripture that when you recieve this Gospel message, it comes with faith, and you have the faith required to gain access. (Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God…Romans 10:17)

So don’t live life as if it’s one hustle to another that helps you survive. Acknowledge and thank Him for His grace at work in you, assured that He’s the one that taking you forward, closer to Him, closer to where He wants you to be.
Let all you do and all you are be identified in this, and you will see His Grace at work.

🙂

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9/11: The Day the World Changed

I remember where I was on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

No, I wasn’t in New York. I was in my house here in Ibadan, Nigeria. My older siblings had just started a new session at their school, and were on their way home. Galaxy Television used to show some amazing cartoons (Ghostbusters and Godzilla, among others) at around 3pm, and we never missed them. But when we turned on the TV, there were no cartoons that day. Galaxy was showing a live feed from CNN. That red band with the words ‘BREAKING NEWS’ was at the bottom of the screen. Something really bad had just happened in New York City, and thousands of people were running and screaming on screen, with thick clouds of smoke and dirt rising in the background. As horror overtook the globe in those moments, I later got to understand the terrible things that had happened that day. A couple of bad guys –real ones, not like the ones in the movies– had hijacked aeroplanes and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. Another had crashed into the Pentagon, while yet another which had probably been headed for the Capitol or the White House, crashed into a field, thanks to the heroic efforts of the passengers and crew. It would be years before the enormity of it all made sense to me.
Thousands of unsuspecting civilians died that day. The United States was in shock, as it appeared their intelligence community had been blindsided. It was a terrible day for everyone all over the world. It was as though an erstwhile peace had just been destroyed. I can never forget the footage of the second plane crashing into the Tower.
There was grief and terror. There were questions all around. Why? How did this happen? Even here in Nigeria, the talking heads on television all tried to make sense of it all.

The world has changed a lot ever since. The United States, even moreso. The War on Terror took American troops into Afghanistan and later to Iraq, all in an effort to destroy this wave of evil that had just reared its ugly head. More have died, families have been affected. No one has been the same since 9/11.

And the questions lingered. Why? Why did God allow this to happen? Was God punishing America? Had God left them alone?

But God was right there. In the midst of the pain and tragedy, God never left.

He showed his courage and love through the lives of the brave men and women, firefighters and police, who risked life and limb to rescue survivors from the debris. Some even died in this effort.
In the days that followed, it was as if the world slowed down a little, to look at the things that really mattered. Like life … family … hope … and God. People turned to God for answers. The evil one had hoped to rain disaster and tragedy, but God took over and used it as an excuse to draw people to Himself.
You’ve probably heard of the World Trade Centre
Cross. The structures of the towers were supported by these crossbeams, so they were never given any special meaning at that. But, in the midst of the debris of the North Tower, this cross was one of the few remaining structures still found intact. It was like a reminder that in the midst of disaster and tragedy and grief, you’ll still find the Cross! God’s Grace and Mercy, and His Pain too! He weeps with all who grieve, and He comforts them because He’s right there, in it with you.
He never left us. Nor will He.
Ever.
The popular World Trade Centre cross has since been placed on a pedestal, and was a symbol of comfort to many. It is now one of the exhibits in the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. I would’ve put the picture up here, and as soon as I figure out the photo licensing details, I will. You can look it up on Google if you want.

This is why 9/11 has a new meaning to me now. It is an opportunity for the world to just slow down a bit, and look at what was lost, and at Who was with them through it all. Who IS with us.
I am sad, along with the families of the victims, at all the casualties that resulted from that day. I trust the Lord to give comfort to all who grieve. He is always with us, and will never leave us.

‘God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear…’
PSALM 46:1 and part of verse 2
(this passage of Scripture, and the verses that follow, was read by President Obama at Ground Zero, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11)

The Elevator

As they entered the lobby, the woman and her little boy were overwhelmed by the crowd. Here and there, men and women walked back and forth, most definitely with a purpose in mind. Everyone was here for the company’s Grand Dinner at the Top Floor. But this woman had an edge over them:
Her husband was the C.E.O., and he had given her a special invite.
The boy clutched her hand tight. “Mom?”
“It’s OK, dear,” she said reassuringly. She still held her husband’s note in her other hand. “We’ll be fine. Stay close.”
It appeared many were taking the stairs at the other end of the room. But the note in her hand had given specific instructions.
“We’re supposed to look for a man…” she muttered to herself.
Her boy beat her to it. “Could it be that man over there?” He pointed at a man in a suit across the room. He was, apparently, already staring at them.
She shrugged. “Ok, let’s go ask him.” So, making their way through the sea of humanity, they approached the tall fellow, who was beaming.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hello, sir. I’m sorry, I’m looking for a, uh…” she checked the note in her hand. “Mr. J.C.?”
“That would be me,” he said. “And you must be Karen.”
“Why, yes,” she said, taking his hand. She ruffled her son’s hair. “Smart boy. How’d you know it was him?”
“He was the only one smiling,” he said. Karen smiled at that. Her boy was easily attracted to people that smiled.
The man bowed to his level. “And this must be Richie. Your father talks about you all the time. High five!” The boy smiled and gave him the high five.
“He said we should meet you,” Karen explained.
“Why yes,” J.C. said. “He wouldn’t want you to take the stairs. You would be much too tired before you got to the Top Floor. Here.” And with that, he tapped the wall behind him. It suddenly swung open to show what looked like a small room.
“An Elevator!” Richard said in wonder. “COOL!”
J.C. smiled. “You just type in the code in the panel on the right, and it’ll take you there.”
Karen nodded. “Thank you, sir. And the code…is…?”
“Faith,” he said. “F-A-I-T-H.”
Karen smirked as she tapped it out. “My husband has always got a knack for deep passcodes, hasn’t he?”
“Oh, you have no idea!” J.C. replied.
Richard was reading a word on the Elevator’s wall. “G-R-A-C-E? Mom, what’s ‘grace’?” He pronounced it as ‘grass-ay’.
She stared up at it. “It’s pronounced ‘grace’, dear.”
“Grace,” he repeated.
“That’s what we call the Elevator,” J.C. explained.
As Karen pressed ‘Enter’ the lights came on. “Thank you, Mr. J.C. I do hope we’ll meet again.”
“Oh, we will, Karen. You too, Richie.”
“Bye, Mr. J.C.,” Richard said, waving.
“Sir, I’m curious,” she said. “Why don’t the others just take the Elevator?”
Here J.C. looked visibly sad. “They don’t know it exists. But only I can tell them, and, frankly, they don’t want to come to me.”
“Can we tell them? To direct them to you? I can’t imagine leaving them to take the stairs.”
“That would be marvellous. I couldn’t ask for more. Now hurry along. Your husband’s waiting for you.”
So they waved as the Elevator lifted them and carried them towards the Top Floor. All through it all, Richie kept jumping in amazement. “We’re gonna meet Daddy!”
“Yes we are, dear. Yes we are.”

‘Through [our Lord Jesus Christ] … we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ Romans 5:2

The Glory of God is like the Top Floor. It’s where God is, and where He wants us to be. But because of our sins, we’ve been brought down to the ground (all have sinned and ‘fall short’ of THE GLORY OF GOD: Romans 3:23). But God still wants us to reach His glorious ideal.
The stairs are like the Law. While it was God that gave the Law, it can’t get us there. It’s based on our own efforts to do what’s right, and we just can’t measure up on our own. That’s what He gave the Law to us for, to show us that we really need God’s help. And He’s willing to give it!
And God sent His help, His Grace. It gets us there. But the only way to recieve His Grace is through faith in Jesus Christ. Then, in whatever situation, we can rejoice because we know that we are getting closer to that glorious ideal.
Not by our own strength, but by His own Strength at work in us.

His Grace.

GRACE LIKE ELECTRICITY

Whenever there is electric power in your house, all you need is to plug your gadget into that socket, turn on the switch, and let the power stream in and bring it to life. The only limitation to the power received is the amount of electric current streaming in your house.

God’s grace is like electricity. It gives us the power and ability to do ALL THINGS, in an amazing way. All you need to do is to plug in to the socket. If you are not a son of God, your life is like a square plug that cannot enter into that round socket. But if you are a son of God, you are plugged in for Christ is the socket, the Door [for the sheep]. When you agree with God and His ability to do amazing things through you, you turn on the switch, and an amazing life powered by the grace of God springs forth.

And don’t worry about low voltage. You see, the Bible tells us that God has made His grace ‘abound’ (or gush out in large amounts) to us, in Ephesians 1. It also tells us that Jesus is the Grace of God to us. He is the One that empowers us to do all things. Jesus described it as ‘living water flowing from your innermost being’. David described it as a cup that overflows in Psalm 23. The supply never ends as long as we keep receiving.

I believe God’s intent is not for us to try to do things in our own strength, but through His. We can’t handle it all by ourselves. We weren’t made to. Just like your average electrical appliance. Say, a television? The television is made for viewing, but it is useless without electricity. Oh well, it could be used to block a hole in the wall or in the ground, to squash a bug, or to even play basketball! But that’ll only ruin your television, BADLY! But plug it in, and you are set up for the most amazing experience of your life … well, as far as televisions are concerned. Televisions work with electricity. You were made to live by the Grace of God, in the strength that He gives, and with the Life that He is.

Eternal Life. Abundant Life. Life to the Full.

And when we receive His Grace and allow it to empower our lives, we see who we really are made to be in Christ Jesus. So like Paul, you can boldly say, “By the Grace of God, I am what I am.”

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

His Grace is free for God’s sons.

Plug in.