Tag Archives: Grace

Grace, Grace, Glorious Grace!

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God’s Grace is immense. It spans the universe. His Grace lends significance to everyday life. Grace plucks the sinner from the mire that is despair and sets him on a wide place, the Rock that is Jesus Christ. Grace asks no favors; it is the favor of God. God’s Grace is deep. God’s Grace is wide. It is also pointed and precise. A blade that cuts to the quick, then heals and quickens. Grace preserves, transforms, destroys and builds up. Grace is the hammer that softens the blow. Grace does not flinch at the truth. It is safe and predictable. It is dangerously wild. God’s Grace reaches to the heavens. It stoops low to illumine the dark hearts of men. Grace is freely given, yet its worth is incalculable. Grace sentences the God Man to a tortured death on a wooden cross. Grace absorbs wrath. Grace gives life. Grace will have its way. Persistent, constant, irresistible Grace!

Oh, to be the recipient of such a Grace as this! And so I am. Herein lies a mystery. How can it possibly be? By Grace the Son is my salvation. By Grace I am the object of the Father’s love. Grace invites me to fellowship with the Spirit. Bound by Grace, I am a willing slave. Utterly dependent, I am set free. Saved by Grace, unto Grace, and for the glory of God. In and of myself, I stand empty-handed save for God’s wondrous, astonishing Grace!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Cor 13:14

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Some Thoughts on Prayer

Tree

Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

I’ve been thinking about this command and what it means, not only with the understanding that we are instructed to pray, but also about what it reveals about the character of God. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us! He stands ever at the ready to hear our prayers and answer them, always for our good and His Glory. The truth of that should shake my soul from its self-absorbed slumber and shine a light on the darkness that is prayerlessness.

I stand convicted of not praying enough.  And I don’t mean a mere checking off of prayer from my “To Do” list, but rather, my lack of an earnest outpouring of heart that flows from true humility and an understanding of who God is and what He has done for me, the sinner. Where once I was lost and hopeless, by God’s Grace upon Grace I now stand forgiven, justified, adopted and in the process of being conformed to the image of His Son.

Prayerlessness is the result of a heart not set on these glories of the Gospel! I often allow the distractions of daily life to interfere. Mere frivolities derail my prayers. The Word says, “Pray without ceasing.” Not, “Check your email without ceasing.” Not, “Worry without ceasing.” And, certainly not, “Complain without ceasing.”

The Lord invites us to approach His Throne of Grace, boldly. For those of us in Christ, the veil that blinded us to our sin and separation from God has been graciously lifted. We can see our need.  We have been given the understanding that each day requires more strength and wisdom than we can muster. In this life, we need help, forgiveness, refreshment and hope. The truth of the Gospel informs us. We do not have the option to pray, we must pray.

Lord, help me to be devoted to prayer, unwavering in my practice of prayer. Remind me to pray each time the opportunity presents itself and to be ever mindful of my dependence upon You. May the realities of Gospel truth compel me to  present myself humbly and often before Your Throne.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


That Summer of 1981

candles

You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead. Romans 7:4

I began that summer as the younger brother in Luke’s telling of the prodigal son. Arrogantly self-indulgent, I thought myself autonomous. But looking back, I see that sin ruled the day and I was enslaved to it. I tried in vain to break the cycle of sin and guilt by constructing my own morality. But that just set the cycle spinning over and over again.

I don’t remember the exact moment or the date in time that God’s love broke through to me. But I do know there dawned a revelation in my heart and mind that I had come to the end of myself.

At first, I was like an unruly child sitting on her father’s lap. I fought against him, alternating between fury and fear at the thought that anyone or anything would dare to hold me down. But, the more I struggled, the tighter he held me, and he did not let me fall.

I barely understood what was happening, but I did know this: a thirst for the goodness of God washed over me, and I began to experience a strange new freedom from the sinful desires that had for so long held me captive. For the first time in my life, I caught a glimpse of the beauty of truth and it was very much unlike the fleeting substitutes and lies I had often entertained.

Who was this ridiculously demonstrative, wildly benevolent King of the Universe who would sacrifice His perfect, beloved and only begotten Son for sinners yet sinning, for the ungodly still reveling in their ungodliness? What outrageously extravagant Love was this? And, how could it possibly be that this God (who is bigger and deeper and wider than I could ever have imagined back then) would have any interest in a rebel like me?

I died that summer, but slowly. My will, once so strong, began to melt and mingle with His. My heart, once so hardened, softened and became more malleable. Little by little, I relaxed into His Grace, surrendered to His mercy and yielded to His Love. I came to realize that I belonged to another and not myself.

He became my Abba Father.

That summer of 1981, the fullness of salvation was finally and fully revealed to me in the person of Jesus Christ. God’s Grace did its work and I ceased from mine.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Some Thoughts on the Gospel

“God is both just and loving. Therefore, his love is willing to meet the demands of his justice.” -John Piper

I have barely scratched the surface of the implications of the Gospel of Christ.

Christ Carrying the Cross

Christ Carrying the Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compared to what there is to know–I know next to nothing. The more I learn about the Gospel, the more I realize how much more there is to learn.

The Gospel lays bare my greatest need and then supplies that need. The Gospel asks my greatest questions, and then answers them.

At Calvary, I experience the crushing weight of my sin against God, and at the same time, the weight is lifted; I am set free.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deut. 6:5)

I have loved others more than God. I have loved things more than God. I have loved myself more than God. Like Peter, I have denied Him. Like His disciples, I have slept while He prayed. Like His tormentors, I have played my part in the murder of God.

Apart from the Gospel, my sin looms, my failures abound and the chasm separating me from God is impassable. I am left to face the Sovereign Judge of the universe alone. The soul that sins shall surely die, the Bible says. The wages of sin is death.

But who can fulfill God’s demands? No human being but one has ever done so.

Jesus.

The God-Man lived it out perfectly. He lived the life that I should have. He died the death that I should have. Jesus both bore the brunt of God’s wrath and exemplified the profundity of God’s mercy. The Gospel neither denies God’s right to justice nor stifles His boundless love. It is the perfect mixture of law and grace. Neither is compromised. Both are vindicated.

…so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom. 3:26b)

How amazing is this Gospel? How deep and wide is it? Eternity may begin to plumb its depths.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Friendship: A Gracious Gift From God

TO MY FRIEND
by Terrie van Baarsel
To while away the hours with a friend
And mark the shadows lengthening again,
‘Tis sweet familiarity that dares
To furtively unveil the mystery there.
Now speak and trust another seeks your best
Or pause and peacefully remain at rest
Where cords of hope hold fast security
And tested true, in time, bear certainty
To find when mist and gray turn into rain
Safe harbor in another’s strength again.
There sheltered, anchor steadfastly and stay
‘Till sun breaks through and steals the clouds away,
And reminisce discovered treasures past,
Reflecting futures clearly seen at last,
That presently reveal God’s plan to be
That He has graciously given to me
My friend.


Internet Mixer–January 25, 2013

Here’s the Mix:

Another good one from Doghouse Diaries: So true! My husband pointed this out to me just the other day.

Christ is Enough: Jessica Thompson (Liberate) reminds us of the vastness of God’s Grace.

Storing Digital Data in DNA: WSJ article relating how scientists have discovered a technique that may provide a way to store the overwhelming data of the digital age.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About “Jane Roe”:  Justin Taylor gives us 5 things we may not know about Norma McCorvey, aka “Jane Roe.”

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Terrie =)


Prayer for My Grandson

On December 24, 2012, our daughter gave birth to a 6 pound 15 inch, healthy baby boy. She named him Kash. I am beyond thrilled to be a grandmother, or as I want to be called, “Oma.” I am awed by the love I already have for this little life. I thought  my days of loving and caring for babies were gone forever, but no, God has blessed me with another opportunity to do so. I am so looking forward to being a part of my grandson’s life as he grows. I’m so excited about teaching him about Jesus! What an amazing grace this is!

Praying Hands (Dürer)

Praying Hands (Dürer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those who come.  Psalm 71:18

Heavenly Father,
You already know everything about this new baby boy who is now a part of our lives. You knew the precise moment he would make his appearance and the exact number of days he will live on this earth. His personality will not come as a surprise to you. You know what his strengths and weaknesses will be, whether he will prefer carrots or peas, Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. This precious boy has been in your mind and heart for all of eternity. You have formed him and knit him together!

If we could count your thoughts toward him, they would number more than every grain of sand on every shore and in every ocean. Every hair on his head is numbered. This little baby is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Father, my prayer above all is that Kash would come to know You at a young age. Please give  him an awareness of your amazing love that stops at nothing for us, a love vast enough to include the sacrifice of Your only Son, that whoever would call upon His name would be saved.

Lavish your grace on my grandson, Lord! Equip him to be a mighty man of faith, loving and serving You for Jesus’ sake all the days of his life. Make evident to Kash the certainty of your care for him in this very uncertain world. Lord, bless Kash with understanding and wisdom beyond his years and with an early appreciation for the truth of Scripture. Let him see beyond temporary pleasures to the everlasting treasure of an inheritance that will never fade away. Let him taste the freedom that comes through a life lived in obedience to your Word. Grant Kash the adventure of walking by faith and not by sight, trusting in Jesus for everything he needs.

Father, it is a misplaced hope that Kash will live out his days free of heartache and difficulties; we know real life is not that way. So, I place my hope for Kash squarely on you. In humble expectation, I trust that whatever trials he may face; he will never face them alone. Thank you for your promise to work all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

I pray that in times of joy or times of trouble, Kash would be found grateful and trusting in his Heavenly Father who loves him more than I could ever imagine and who is able to do far more abundantly than I could even ask or think.

Thank you Father for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus Name, Amen!


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