Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound!

Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound!

“Let us come boldly to the throne of Grace.” Heb_4:12-16

John spoke to the vast crowd once more from the Pavilion, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need; you will abound to every good work. Doing good, and being good; bearing fruit and increasing in the knowledge of God as you stand under the covering of His amazing grace!”

Then Daniel and the Three Hebrew Children began to play a familiar chorus, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.”

The band picked up on it and joined in with the instruments. And like a prairie fire swept by a mighty wind, the melody spread throughout the vast crowd gathered in Monumental Park. We lifted our voices together and sang the song of the Ages.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see!
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved!precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Though many danger, toils and snares I have already come,
‘twas grace that brought me safe thus far; and grace will lead me home!we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shinning as the sun!’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun!
John lifted his voice above the crowd and said, “A great battle was fought as the powers of darkness sought to seize the Throne of Heaven. The Lord girded Himself in battle array and led His Saints and Angels into the conflict. The full arsenal of Hell was unleashed in one desperate attempt to topple the King and take control of all things. There was loss on both sides as the War unfolded all around, reaching a terrifying and chaotic pitch.

And then, suddenly, there was silence. The last shot had been fired, the final blow had been landed. We who survived stood in the fog of war waiting to learn of its outcome. A breeze began to blow across the vast battlefield, and slowly the smoke and dust started to clear. We stood on tiptoe looking about for some sign that would signal what would happen next.

A ray of golden sunshine pierced through the lingering clouds and we saw it. First, a sparkle from a jewel in the Royal Crown. Then, the golden glow of its untarnished splendor. It was but a moment longer until someone closer to the epicenter shouted out in exuberant triumph – “Hallelujah! Jesus Reigns!!”

That word of triumph swept through the battlefield and we raised our voices to heaven as one, “Hallelujah! Jesus reigns!!”

And then King David shouted, “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah (Psa_24:7-10)

At that we all joined together and shouted, “Hallelujah! Jesus reigns!!” And once again we began to sing, “Amazing Grace!” After some time we slowly began to disperse. Our group headed toward the west end of Monumental Park to plan our next move.

That No One Fail

That No One Fail

“Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison.” (Heb_12:15, GNB)

It was obvious that many in our tour group were disturbed by what they experienced in the Dark Corner of Disgrace. They needed a word of encouragement, and so I said, “Praise and Prayer always go together, and ascend as a sweet aroma of faith and love before the God of Heaven and Earth.”

And then I prayed, “O Lord Jesus, we, Your ransomed people whose lives are being rebuilt from the ruins of selfishness and sin, yield our humbled hearts to become the habitation of the Lord.”

As I spoke, God began to fill us with His Spirit!

King David stepped down from the stage and said to us, “God takes no pleasure in the fall of His children, nor in the shame that scars their lives. He is great in mercy and abounding in grace. Ever ready to receive and to restore, He waits with open arms to embrace freely and fully all who turn to Him and call upon His name.”

Solomon, his son, joined him and said, “We learn from those who have fallen, as well as from those who have stood faithful to the end. We have received grace and mercy; therefore we extend grace and mercy to others. For our single desire is to be like the Lord.”

“Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look after one another,” Paul then added, “to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace. This will prevent any root of bitterness from shooting forth and causing trouble for many.”

In light of this, may I ask you a question? Where are you, dear friend, in your life? Where has the road taken you thus far? Are you tossed about with uncertainties? Halting in your devotions, and flagging in your zeal? Are you hot one day, and cold the next? Has your affection faded and your commitment softened? Does your heart hunger for something more?

Perhaps in these following words of an anonymous poet, you might find a voice for your own feelings…and deeper longings.

O the shame and bitter sorrow that a time could ever be,I let my Savior’s mercy plead in vain, and proudly answered,
“All of self, and none of Thee!”
He found me. I beheld Him dying on the cursed tree.heard Him pray, ‘Forgive him Father.’ And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of Self, and some of Thee.”
by day His tender mercy; healing, helping, guiding me;and strong, and O so patient, brought me lower till I whispered,
“Less of Self and more of Thee!”
higher than the highest heavens! Deeper than the deepest seas!, at last Thy Love has conquered! Grant me now my soul’s desire:
“None of Self, and all of Thee!”
the grace of God empower you to live in the full measure of His will for your life! May you be a source of joy and encouragement to others around you, inspiring them to forsake lesser things and pursue the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Monumental Park

Monumental Park

“Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations” (Psa_135:13).

In this place called Grace there is a City Park; Eden-like in it’s beauty, and magnificent in its significance. It is called Monumental Park. And in the center of this Park stands a large marble replica of The Tablets, upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments.

The park architect designed the topographical layout in such a way that from one unique vantage on a high mound called Faith Point one can actually look down The Corridor of Time and see, in perfect alignment with The Law, an Old Rugged Cross on a Hill Far Away. And just beyond the Cross, an Empty Tomb. And off in the far distance beyond the Tomb, a Great White Throne. It is a breathtaking view.

Throughout the Park is an variety of other notable sculptures, each marking some epic moment in the unfolding story of Redemption. There is The Lamb of the Garden, whose skin was used to cover the Guilty Pair. There is a replica of Noah’s Ark, celebrating God’s power to save in a time of great judgment. And there is also a Burning Bush; actually burning in the Park, yet not being consumed. You have to see it to believe it.

And there is a brilliant sculpture of The Ark of the Covenant, and though carved in stone it still seems to pulsate with a Holy Presence that silences all who stand near it.

While quiet and reflective, the Park is always filled with people walking about. On this particular day, word has spread quite rapidly that Moses himself is strolling the grounds. Someone said he was seen walking toward the Pavilion of Praise, near the Waters of Life.

Let’s go there and see if we can speak with him.

His eyes were bright and almost piercing as he smiled at us and said, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and behold, all things are become new.”

I said, “Amen.” The tattooed guy in our tour group said, “Rock on, Dude!” Both remarks made perfect sense to Moses.

“Mr. Moses, May I please ask a question?” a young southern girl inquired, in that genteel manner most common among those from the South.

“You may indeed,” Moses replied.

“Can you help us understand what it means for us to no longer be under the Law, but under Grace? There seems to be real confusion over this.”

“It will be my pleasure,” Moses said.

And we all drew in close to hear what he had to say.

“Look Who I’ve Become”

“Look Who I’ve Become”

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (Mat_4:18-19).

A rush of excitement shot through our tour group when we discovered that the Apostle Peter had been walking with us for awhile – and we didn’t even know it!

“When did you…how did….where…” — I couldn’t find the right question.

Peter flashed a big smile and put me at ease. “I’ve been walking with you for about three miles now. James and John bet me I couldn’t blend into the group; but I guess I won the bet,” he said.

“So, you are on journey to a place called Grace, are you?” Peter asked, even though it was obvious he knew we were. “You will never regret having made this journey.”

“Peter, tell us about your Journey,” a young lady said.

“What would you like to know?” he asked.

“Tell me about the Day of Pentecost,” she exclaimed. “What was that like for you?”

“Astounding in every way,” Peter replied. “The day itself was truly historical, but it was what happened later that night that moved me most.”

“What happened? There was no mention of anything in The Library.”

“No, this was not written down; for nobody knew about this but me. After the Day had ended and we each settled down to sleep, I was still so full of God’s Spirit I could hardly stop trembling. My mind kept racing back through the day’s events, reliving each moment over and over.

“The mighty, rushing wind; the flames of fire, and dynamic power; the sermon – are you serious? Me, a fisherman with no formal education in such matters – yet there I stood on the Temple porch and preached to thousands. There was such clarity in my thoughts and power in my words. I was more amazed than anybody!

And then the moment came, when over three thousand souls were at once born again, and became followers of our risen Lord. Late into the evening, when everybody else was sleeping, I still could not get it out of my mind.

And as I thought upon it, my mind raced back over the years to when I first met Jesus.

“My brother, Andrew, and I were fishermen, like our father before us. One day this Jesus fellow came passing by and called out to us. “Follow Me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And that’s what we did.

“What could a Rabbi possibly know about fishing?” I thought to myself. “But on one occasion He showed me what He could do. We had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Calling it quits we headed in, and He called out to us from the shore.

“Let down your nets for a catch,” He said. And that’s what we did. We caught so many fish that our boat began to sink!

“Jesus told me He would make me a fisher of men. And as I lay upon my bed that night after Pentecost I could only shake my head in speechless wonder over how exactly true the Lord’s promise had proven to be. For on that Day that is what I did – I became a fisher of men!

“Me, a nobody. Born in a no-place town, working in a nowhere job, living an ordinary, no-point life. And now Jesus had brought me from that to this!

“O Lord,” I whispered quietly; “Look who I’ve become.”
all stood there in silence, watching Peter stare off into the distant sky; we could tell it all was as real to him in this moment as when it first occurred.

“Yes,” he softly said again, “Look who I’ve become.”

And then, turning his piercing gaze upon us, he spoke up with Pentecostal fire and said, “Stay on this journey, friends, and one day you’ll be saying the same thing about yourselves!”

And that’s what we are going to do.

Reigning in Life

Reigning in Life

“They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ”

(

Rom_5:17).

Take out your visual Tour Guide; I want to show you something that will help you tremendously. Also, grab a pen – because now you get to doodle.

 

First, draw a crown on the head and put a scepter in the hand. Next, put a glow around the person in the picture. Then, in the margin to the right, put “Reigning in Life” – with an arrow pointing to the drawing.

 

This illustrates the great truth of Grace in the clearest of terms, and helps us see one of the dominant teachings of the New Testament – which is, our unsurpassed victory in Jesus over the power of Sin and Death.

 

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace” (

Rom_6:14).

Jesus not only forgives us, He frees us from the power of sin and death. He not only redeems us, He raises us to reign in life. The one distinguishing mark common to all those who follow Jesus is they are “over-comers.”

Jesus said, “I have overcome the world” (

Joh_16:33). And now, because we are in Him and He is in us, we also overcome. John the Beloved, one of Jesus’ closest friends, said, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1Jn_4:4).

In a world of whiners, Christ makes us winners. However, some settle for being wieners. That is not the way of grace!

Yes, in Jesus we can reign in life. Mark well these words, for they speak of a noble calling; a high and happy placement in life; a triumph and a glory that gives no place for self-pity and belittling doubts; for second-guessing, or second-class living.

The Apostle Peter, who we will meet in a short while just up the road, put it this way – “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (

1Pe_2:9).

John the Revelator wrote, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen” (

Rev_1:5-6).

Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they might have life – abundant life” (

Joh_10:10). It is a life above the common. That’s an overcoming life!

faced unbelievable difficulties, but withstood the assault in kingly grace. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” he wrote. “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

And then, he answers his own question, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (

Rom_8:35-39).

More than conquerors? One translation puts it this way, “Overwhelming victory is ours.” (The Living Bible) In simple terms – we don’t just overcome the powers of darkness; we overwhelm them!

The Lord Jesus supplies us with all the provision God has for His people. Grace – the empowering presence of God enabling you to be who God created you to be, and to do what He has called you to do…right where you are.

Therefore, those who receive the gift of righteousness, being made right with God through Jesus; and who receive the gift of grace, the power of Christ to do God’s will, shall reign in life by Jesus.

But, hold on – there’s more!

?

 

The Life That is Far Above

 

“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”

(

Eph_1:21).

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. When He died on the cross, He took our place. We died in Him, and were raised with Him to a new life. A life that is abundant – one that is far above the life we knew before.

We were enemies of God, now we are friends. We were slaves to sin; now we are sons and daughters of righteousness. We were under the Law; now we are under Grace. The old life condemned us; the new life empowers us!

Now that we are pardoned, why do we insist on continually bringing our failures before the Lord. Is it that we do not really believe He has forgiven us?

“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (

Mic_7:18-19)

Or, dare we suppose that our penitent prayers somehow move God to show us more of His kindness and mercy. Wouldn’t it be far more pleasing to God if we took Him at His word – embracing the unmerited favor of His mercy, and experiencing the prevailing power of His Grace?

Perhaps now Paul’s own words will provide the final push we need to change our way of thinking….so Christ can change our way of living.

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

“All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (

Eph_2:1-6)

It is His Mercy that pardons us and blesses us with unmerited favor. It is His Grace that empowers us to live a life that is far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.

Isn’t it time we each began living that life?

If we will – then we will surely see a Grace Awakening in our world!

What Were You Thinking?!

 

What Were You Thinking?!

 

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

(

1Co_1:20)

We saw yesterday how scholars working on the Contemporary English Version edited the Bible by axing every single use of the word “grace” and replacing it with the notion of “God’s kindness.”

Let me tell you a bit about these scholars, and their reasoning.

The Contemporary English Version (CEV) was produced by employees of the American Bible Society (ABS) working under the direction of one of the Society’s officers, Dr. Barclay M. Newman.

Newman explained in an interview that he and his assistants “did a lot of research with children.” They wanted to create a text that was equivalent to a fourth grade reading level. “We also did a lot of research with persons who were not familiar with traditional biblical jargon, persons who are almost street people as a matter of fact, and then we tried to simply listen to the way that people speak … We got it by their language, the way they speak, and did our translating accordingly.”

In other words, let’s publish a Bible that small children, and those who are biblically illiterate can easily understand. Hey, a good idea is not necessarily a GOD idea.

For the record, I do not fault these scholars for their efforts, and at times I find their spin on certain verses of Scripture to be helpful; but in this matter regarding God’s grace, they missed the mark by miles.

Friends, there are some things you just don’t tamper with; things that need no editing, no face-lift, no help from modern man. We do not take God’s words and translate them into the way biblically illiterate people think and speak. Are we out of our minds!

Paul said it best: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (

1Co_2:4-5).

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (

1Co_2:13-14).

In other words, there are some things we will never know apart from God opening our hearts and giving us understanding. That’s just the way it is – and God is pleased to have it that way.

 

their good intentions the collaborators who worked on the CEV have presented a product that falls far below the mark of truth; there is nothing at all mysterious nor majestic about their treatment of one of the single greatest revelations ever given by God to man — GRACE.

Instead, Grace is diminished into little more than sentimental mush. The emphasis in not upon God’s greatness, it is upon our worthlessness. We – poor, pitiable, and pathetic sinners – incapable of good, and undeserving of kindness, cower before God in weak and plaintive cries. And because He is so kind, loving, merciful and good — He forgives us and lets us in anyway.

Words have meaning, and their meanings have consequence. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

By watering down the message of grace to make it fit more readily into our contemporary mindset, we deprive ourselves and others of one of the single most empowering truths in the Bible. No wonder so much of what passes for “Christianity” today is so utterly void of God’s presence and power.

Oh, I know; I know — your church is different. But I’m talking about all those other “dead zones.” You know, places where you can’t even get a signal? What are we to do about them? Whether we realize it or not, their weakness impacts our strength; their floundering calls into doubt our faithfulness; their limitations ultimately hold us back from our higher aspirations. For the Watching World sees us all as one Body – fragmented, powerless and offering no real message for their lives.

“Lord, Help us!”

OK. I’ll step off my soapbox now, and first thing in the morning we’ll head on our way to a place named Grace.

The Word of His Grace

 

The Word of His Grace

 

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

(

Act_20:32)

Let me set the scene for you. There was a gathering of some of Paul’s dearest friends on the docks of the Ephesian harbor, shortly before was to board the vessel that would take him to Jerusalem – and ultimately to a Roman prison. This would be the last time Paul would ever see these dear friends, and he knew it.

They feared it, and sought earnestly to persuade him to change his mind; to cancel his traveling plans and stay on with them. But, as we saw yesterday, their tender appeals held no power over the greater influence of the Word of the Lord placed upon his heart by the Holy Spirit.

But, surely he could effectively serve the Lord by staying there with them, for Ephesus was an epicenter city – having great influence near and far. Paul could live out his days in peace and prosperity, carried by the love and support of so many to whom he meant so much. Surely his ministry there would thrive!

Yet, Paul was unpersuaded. He leaves them, but he does not leave them empty-handed.

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Paul is not pontificating here; he is testifying. There is a difference. One means saying things that are right because they have been studied and learned from books. The other means saying things that are true because they have been lived and proven on the road of life.

Paul knew from firsthand experience the power of God’s grace, and he also knew it would be the only means whereby the leaders and the church in Ephesus would prevail.

 

the empowering presence of God enabling them to be who God created them to be, and to do what God had called them to do – they surely would fall victim to the “grievous wolves” who were poised to enter among them to ravage the flock.

And there were a few even among Paul’s dearest friends who, like Judas at the Last Supper, were waiting for him to leave so that they in his absence could “arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them’ (

Act_20:29-30).

Therefore, knowing these things, Paul gave them the one thing they needed most – a blessing of the Grace of God.

He tells them of its power “to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” And those who took his words to heart found everything he said to be true.

Those who did not heed his apostolic words did indeed fall away. They fell from grace to such degree that the Lord Jesus personally chided them years later in John’s apocalyptic message — “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!” (

Rev_2:4-5).

What about you and me? Will we stay the course empowered by the grace of God? Will we be all that God wants us to be, and do all that He has purposed for us to do?

Will we let the Word of His grace build us up, and give us our inheritance among all those who have been set apart for God?

Yes! By the grace of God!

The Ancient Library

The Ancient Library

“Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law”

(

Psa_119:18)

Entering the great door of the Ancient Library we read these words inscribed in the archway – “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

Psa_119:18

It is thus understood that we enter these doors with a prayer upon our lips. And right it is that we make such an appeal, for the matters written herein cannot be known or understood apart from that gift of sight and faith which the Lord of the Library alone can give.

There is a timeless beauty inside this ancient place. No cobwebs, nor dust; no musty odor of worn leather or parched paper; for the Caretaker tends to these volumes daily, breathing upon them a perpetual stroke of divinity.

The place is not dark, but full of light; and pulsates with a quietness that seems to carry in its embrace the harmony of a thousand voices which whisper through the ages in all these sacred pages.

“Be still and know that I am God.” It is an inescapable Presence that bids us enter and read.

“Let’s look in the volume of The Book of the Acts of the Apostles,” I say. And no one seems to be in disagreement, for this place has hushed us all into a unified compliance unto something far greater than ourselves.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles

— the man through whom these words were given us is a Greek doctor named Luke, who served as a Historian of those epic events that marked the beginning of the Christian Era. And he writes to a man named Theophilus. His name means “a friend of God.” Is that not you and I? Then may we know at the very outset of our reading that these words penned so long ago, were written with this moment in mind.

“Let’s see what Luke has to tell us about the grace of God,” I say, turning through the pages of his book. And the first reference we find speaks volumes in a single sentence. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (

Act_4:33).

Great events have transpired in the past few weeks. Jesus of Nazareth had been executed on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem, and three days later rose from the dead! The band of followers rallied in an Upper Room, where the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them and unleashed them into the streets. Those who killed the Savior, were now insisting that His followers stop preaching in His name. Their threats were unpersuasive.

There is mysterious power connected with lives that are utterly dedicated to the Lord. Luke captures this and says, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (

Act_4:33).

Grace, which we know to be the power of Christ to do God’s will, was in full display as the apostles made their case for Christ in the open forum of public discourse. And those who heard them experienced this power upon themselves as well.

“So, What’s the Funnel All About?”

“So, What’s the Funnel All About?”

“For by grace are you saved through faith”

(

Eph_2:8)

We had traveled about a half day and were making good progress when someone asked, “Hey, so what’s that funnel all about in the Tour Guide?”

Yea, I was wondering when somebody was going to notice that. So, let’s talk about it.

Remember that Paul told us that we are saved by grace through faith. In our visual Tour Guide drawing, we can see “grace” entering the “funnel of faith” at the top. When grace passes through faith, what comes out of the funnel, and floods our lives is — salvation.

Salvation. That’s a word we need to examine closer. Most of us assume that it means “being born again.” No, it is much more than that. Being born again is but one part of the great salvation we have in Jesus.

By definition, salvation is the complete reordering of our entire lives in keeping with the will of God. Faith, another word we need to redefine, means something much more than merely “believing” – it means “knowing.”

Faith is the conscious awareness of what meets with God’s approval (as revealed to us by the Spirit of God through the Word), and the courageous decision to live within that conviction.

“Faith comes by hearing,” the Bible says. And note; it does not say, faith comes by reading. There are many who read the Bible and never hear what God is saying. They see the golden leaves on the surface of the river, but do not see the true gold beneath the surface on the river bed.

We hear when the Spirit of God opens our hearts to God’s voice. Faith comes when the gift of hearing occurs, and in that moment we not only know God’s will, but we are also filled with the desire to do God’s will.

Putting this all together here is what we learn.

When we hear (i.e., experience the gift of faith that causes us to know) what God is saying to us, and we agree with Him (i.e., humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord), then God gives us grace (i.e., the power of Christ to do God’s will) and we experience salvation (i.e., the complete reordering of our entire lives in keeping with God’s will).

And that’s what the “funnel” is all about.

So, if there are no other questions, let’s pick up the pace. Having made this journey before, I can tell you that we are in for a special treat first thing tomorrow. The Ancient Library (where I received my credentials for this Tour) is but a half day’s distance ahead.

We’ll stop there for an extended visit before we make our final push to the place named Grace.