Irresistible Grace

Good morning. It is Friday, January 30, 2015. Only one more day in January! Followed by my least favorite month of the year. Also, 66 days until Opening Day, and 21 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Today’s Word of the Day is multum in parvo. More of a phrase, really, than a word. However, it is a noun, meaning, “A great deal in a small space.” Example: “This is the kitchen: is it not admirably arranged? What a multum in parvo!” (F. Marryat, Three Cutters, 1836)

Today is International Fun At Work Day. I hope you can participate in that event. We don’t really have what I would call “fun” where I work. As I said the other day, we pretty much just get yelled at when we mess up. On the other hand, the receiving department might be getting free lunch today. On the other hand, TANSTAAFL. (Look it up if you don’t know.)

Yesterday was a much better day for me, as I had previously realized what happened the day before. This helped me focus better on what really matters, and my mental state was 100% better for most of yesterday. In fact, I don’t recall ever getting terribly negative during the day. I am fully prepared to work late this evening, depending on how the queue looks later in the day.

Christi wound up not going to Huddle last night. She was experiencing some serious stress pain, probably from work, as they appear to be dumping another project in her lap today. This project is one of those that seems hopeless. I’ll definitely be praying for her.

We have no big plans for this weekend. So far, no one has offered up a Super Bowl watching party. But then, I don’t think anyone around here is a huge fan of either team. If the Packers had held on, we might have been watching at Rob’s house. It’s the Seattle Seahawks v. the New England Patrios, in case you don’t know. Katy Perry is supposed to do the halftime show.

Also, I’m not feeling great this morning. I seem to be developing a chest cold. Currently, I’m fighting it with peppermint oil and peppermint tea, along with some “germ fighter” oil. I’ll probably take a Dayquil before going to work.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalm 14:7

Today’s reading from Solid Joys is “Prevailing Grace.”

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners . . .
Isaiah 57:18

Piper tells us that we should learn doctrine from biblical texts. “It stands up better that way, and fees the soul.”

His example today is the doctrine of “irresistible grace.” This does not mean “grace cannot be resisted; it means that when God chooses, he can and will overcome resistance.”

He takes the test from Isaiah 57:17-19. In verse 17, God is angry at man’s iniquity and unjust gain. “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry . . .” But man did not respond with repentance. “but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.”

So we see from this that grace can, in fact, be resisted. Stephen said as much to the Jewish leaders in Acts 7:51 when he said, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.”

So what does God do? Look at the next verse, the verse quoted at the beginning of the reading. “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners . . . ”

“So, in the face of recalcitrant, grace-resisting backsliding, God says, ‘I will heal him.'” The word for “restore” is “make whole or complete,” related to the word “shalom.” In fact, that word is used in the next verse as God explains how he is going to turn round this “grace-resisting backslider.”

This is pretty amazing. God says he will do it by, “‘creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will heal him.'” God “creates what is not there. This is how we are saved. And this is how we are brought back from backsliding.”

God’s grace triumphs over my resistance by “creating praise where it does not exist.” God brings shalom, shalom to people near and far, that they might be healed. In doing this, he restores, he makes complete and whole, “replacing the disease of resistance with the soundness of submission.”

Yes, we can resist grace. We do it frequently. But when God chooses, he is able to overcome that resistance. He does it, as he began everything that has ever existed. He creates something that was previously not there. “He heals. He leads. He restores. He comforts.”

“Therefore, we never boast that we have returned from backsliding. We fall on our faces before the Lord and with trembling joy thank him for his irresistible grace.”

Father, time is short as I finish up this morning. Quickly, I pray for this grace to prevail in my life today, as it did yesterday. Wednesday was full of resistance. May I be submissive to your grace today, and, in doing so, glorify you. Create praise where there is no praise. Loosen my lips to praise your holy name. Provide healing for all who resist you, my Lord.

May this day be full of you and your grace for both Christi and me. May our drive to work and home be smooth and safe. I pray that Christi’s stress level will not be to the point of pain. I pray that my chest will loosen up and that I will not wind up having a cold. I pray for Stephanie to have wisdom and understanding and to know your great love.

If you have experienced this irresistible grace, perhaps a time of thanksgiving is in order. I know I have, and I will give thanks to him.

Grace and peace, friends.

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