“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” Erasmus of Rotterdam, contemporary of Martin Luther.
Nail marks in His hands…”unless I put my finger where the nails were … I will not believe.”
A nail-habit of unbelief can only be driven out by the iron-sharper nail of perfect love. It takes practice, believing does, to hit the nail on the head, but practice makes perfect, so they say.
So we practice hammering in nails of belief to pound out nails of unbelief; and in the doing, we learn the secret of Perfect Love: the love of a carpenter’s son and Savior of the world; a love that drives out fear, the quintessence of all unbelief.
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“She considers a field and buys it”—weeks go by, it won’t leave me. Go deeper, He smiles.
Buys, in Hebrew, it literally means “to take”; considers, it connotes to devise, purpose, resolve and plot; used here, a good wife is clever to plan what is best for her family; she takes the field—seeing it through to harvest time.
Has God placed before you a field to consider? A creative thought, an idea, a plan? A field that can produce a harvest: a planted vineyard that yields fruit for your household, those placed at your table—those you get to love?
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Consider the field before you. Consider heaven’s eternal purpose in your present season moment. Then take it—it’s yours, clever you. The fruit of your hands, that is. And smile, knowing all is well.
As parents, our job is to shepherd our sons and daughters on the path of life, prodding them forward with biblical truth, yet giving them the grace … dare I say it … yes, to fail.
Instead of learning to manage sin in the context of a religious structure, our children learn to manage their freedom wherever they are—wherever they go. It can get messy, and it can make us look bad, but this is the pathway that leads to God’s saving grace through faith in His son, Jesus Christ.
In the words of the Prophet, “… a little child shall lead them.” The word “lead” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “panting induced by effort”.
It takes child-like faith to lead by love instead of managing behavior. Allow those you are influencing to watch you–a soul longing after God. And when they do, they will be inspired to follow your lead–right into the arms of a loving Father, who is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love.
Albert Einstein said, “Love is a better teacher than duty.” I agree. The love of God is the greatest of all life coaches.
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When faced with the proverbial “fork in the road”, keep moving to keep faith from atrophying. Even if later you realize the wrong path was chosen, better to back track than to be frozen in your tracks for fear of making a mistake. Just keep moving, stay humble, and your faith will see you through.
They name their fifth child—yes, that would be me—Lois Ann. Lois, it means “battle maiden”. Ann, it means “full of grace”. A Warrior of Grace: a name I carry with me for the next 21 years, 6 months and 7 days, when, in an act of feminism, I drop Ann at the wedding altar, and retain my surname along with my husband’s. Walking out the church doors that cold winter night, I leave grace behind.
For the next several years, I search. What am I to do? What is my purpose? Who exactly am I, anyway? Pursuing the other half of myself—the original version of me who God created in my mother’s well-broken-in womb. I was her fifth, after all—there was plenty of room to stretch out and move and breathe…pure grace.
Grace: the unmerited favor of God; the unforced rhythm of life that we get to live when we keep company with Jesus.
So here I am, a half century later, and I am finding my way back to grace, back to living freely and lightly with Jesus. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Yet it does happen every time we return to the altar, that place of covenant communion with God, and take up grace where it awaits.
A Warrior of Grace, amazing you. God’s amazing grace.
I’ve heard it said that hard questions can drive us hard to distractions. Yet, if I’m really honest, some of my greatest distractions in life have become my greatest teachers. God’s grace really does work every detail of our lives of love for God into something good.
I want to extend this same grace to others—to love them right where they are, trusting God to work out the details as they search out the answers to the hard questions of life. The path they are taking may look like a distraction to me, but just maybe it is their “road less traveled” that provides the teachable moment that makes all the difference.
This season of breakthrough is a season of grace—the greater grace of greater love when one willingly lays down his life (his opinions, his reputation, and yes, even his personal rights) for another.
Yet, you must first have a life before you can lay it down; you must first have an ego—a sense of personal identity—before you can let go of it. God never meant for you to be a carbon copy of someone else, but to be the original, one-of-a-kind, best version of you that He spoke into being out of a heart of love.
So, being true to yourself and to God’s original plan for your life opens the way for the God-designed freedom to choose to lay down your life—or not. When you make the choice to lay down your life for another, you will experience breakthrough into the realm of the greater grace of greater love.
You will find that the greater grace of greater love becomes your greatest weapon against the greatest evil that comes to steal, kill and destroy your dreams, your relationships, your life.