God’s Well-Timed Grace

Good morning. It is Sunday, July 19, 2015.

The Word of the Day, from Dictionary.com, is petrous. Petrous is an adjective, meaning, “noting or pertaining to the hard dense portion of the temporal bone, containing the internal auditory organs; petrosal,” That’s an anatomical reference. It also means, “like stone, especially in hardness; stony; rocky.”

Today is Daiquiri Day (that’s a tough word to remember how to spell). Apparently, this drink was invented in a town by the same name, near Santiago, Cuba. With temperatures hitting triple digits in Texas, it would be a good day for a refreshing Daiquiri.

Our evaluation appointment with Stephanie, yesterday, went very well, we believe. The psychologist with whom we met was very good. I let her know this, too, during the time we spoke to her without Stephanie in the room. She had a very bright, positive, countenance, and was very good at drawing Stephanie out. This was obvious, because, when we talked to her, it seems that Stephanie told her pretty much exactly the same things that we checked off on the form we were given. The psychologist told us that we had given her very good information. It will take about two weeks to get the report, which will let us know if Stephanie is eligible for additional service.

We barely had time to get Stephanie home and get up to church on time, to begin preparations for the evening’s activities. But we made it. The prayer gathering, in my opinion, was extremely good. There were some deep prayers that happened, and I think that there was a strong sense of God’s presence in the room. Our worship gathering was good, as Jacob finished the second part of what I still believe to be the best sermon I have ever heard. He finished talking about Psalm 37:1-7. Last week, the two points were that we need to trust in the Lord and do good, and that we need to delight ourselves in the Lord, which means that we should treasure God above all things. This week’s two points were that we need to commit our way to the Lord, which essentially means wrapping up our entire lives in a bundle and handing it over to him, and don’t take it back. The problem is that tend to be okay with giving everything over, but we frequently take it back when things get iffy. The last point was that we need to be still before the Lord. The passage finished up with the same idea that it began with. “Fret not.”

Today, we have grocery shopping, and then Christi is going to lunch with some friends from Supermedia/Verizon at 1:00, during which time I plan to go see Jurassic World. It also starts at 1:00 at the theater that I currently like to go to.

After all that is done, if we have the energy, we might go bowling. We are also considering joining a bowling league for the fall. We are currently looking at a couple of leagues that are on Sunday evenings, beginning in September.

On this date in 1692, five women (Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, and Rebecca Nurse) were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1879, Doc Holliday killed his first man, after the man shot up his saloon in New Mexico.

Today’s birthdays include Lizzie Borden (took an ax, and so on . . .), Charles Horace Mayo (American surgeon/founder of clinic), A.J. Cronin (Scottish writer), George McGovern (American politician), Vikki Carr (American singer), Brian May (English guitarist/Queen), Beverly Archer (American actress), Lisa Lampanelli (American comedienne), Anthony Edwards (American actor), Benedict Cumberbatch (British actor), Vinessa Shaw (American actress), and Jared Padalecki (American actor/Supernatural).

Brian May, guitar player and co-founding member of Queen, was born on this date in 1647, and turns 68 today. Here is their song “’39,” which, over time, has become my favorite Queen song. Brian May actually sings lead on this song.

Joe Flynn, Lefty Frizzell, and Bill Bright are among those who passed away on July 19.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Psalm 84:6

” . . . those who have true heart religion, and who sincerely serve God, direct their steps to the sanctuary of God, not only when the way is easy and cheerful, under the shade and through delightful paths, but also when they must walk through rugged and barren deserts.” (John Calvin, Heart Aflame, p. 201)

(From Solid Joys)

In the midst of my continued reading about prayer, comes this gem from Solid Joys, called, “His Timing Is Perfect.”

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Any kind of ministry that we do is in the future. It may be a decade away, a month away, or it may be mere moments away. The point is, we always have time to fret about our ability to perform ministry. “When this happens, we must turn to prayer.”

“Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.”

What if the needed grace came too early? Or, even worse, what if it came too late? Piper lets us in on a translation secret. He says that the more traditional translation (cited above) hides a precious promise. He gives us a more literal rendering of the Greek text. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help.” Rather than simply “grace to help in time of need,” it becomes much more urgent “grace for a well-timed help.”

“The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help.” The grace that we need always comes from the “throne of grace,” just in time. Our King, who sits on that “throne of grace,” “sets the times by his own authority.”

As we recognize that God’s timing is perfect, we rarely find that it is the same as our timing. Moses wrote in the Psalms, For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. On a global level, we see in Acts 17:26 that God sets the time periods and boundaries of the nations: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. But on a more personal level, in Psalm 31:15, David says, My times are in your hand.

So when we are concerned about the timing of God’s future grace, we must turn to the throne of grace, in prayer. “Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.”

Father, may we truly understand the truth of this little verse, and know that your grace is always perfectly timed. Let us turn to your throne of grace when we are in need, sending up prayers that we might eagerly receive the future grace, that will always come just in time for the need that we will experience. When we relate this to ministry, whatever ours might be, this is nothing short of phenomenal! If we truly believe the truth of this verse, we would never fret about anything relating to ministry. I pray that Christians the world over would know this truth and understand how it relates to them, from the aspect of world missions all the way down to the smallest detail of their lives. Your grace is “well-timed help,” Lord! Hallelujah!

I pray for this day. I pray for Christi’s safety as she runs errands for us and her parents, as well as for when she drives to Grapevine later for her lunch. I pray that she will have a good time reconnecting with old friends and work associates, many of whom she has not seen in quite some time. I pray for the rest of our day, that we will have some good rest as we prepare for the week ahead.

May your grace rain down on the rest of our family, as well. For Stephanie, as we wait for the results from yesterday’s interviews, for Rachel and Justin, as they go into another new week, and for my mother, as she continues to take care of business in her life. May we all know your well-timed grace each day.

Your grace is sufficient.

Having never seen this particular rendering of this verse before, I am grateful for John Piper’s word today. Even the reading, itself, is “well-timed.”

Hebrews416

Grace and peace, friends.