But before more warnings, let’s think about what Spring and the real New Year mean. They are a time of rebirth and new beginnings; and a time of resolve. Without worrying about what the future will hold, think about the present. If New Years are about resolutions, then we must examine how to become better spiritual Beings now; and how to put on spiritual armor now – so that when the future happens, we can move through it with grace and mercy from God.
Grace is favor from God, as sung in “Amazing Grace”. How sweet the sound of God’s Grace is when He touches us; and we discover how lost and blind we were; yet still have so far to go. Grace is also about a disciplined way of behaving. And through the skill of being graceful, we learn more and more how to obtain God’s precious Grace and Mercy. And we learn to hear His voice clearer in our minds, which is going to be imperative as the future unfolds. We learn to recognize His very gentle nudging, then proceed accordingly. His voice and guidance will be ones to depend on as prophetic events unfold in minute detail.
Perhaps the best way to look at Grace is to study “The Different Effects of Nature and Grace” which compares being graceful and being natural. One might be surprised at how much he or she acts like his or her natural self, more than a graceful Being; however, not surprisingly, he or she will easily be able to recognize the two behaviors in others. And at the present moment, any one can resolve to be a graceful Being; it’s just a matter of keeping oneself in check moment by moment.
“THE DIFFERENT EFFECTS OF NATURE AND GRACE”
THE VOICE OF THE LORD: My son, you must carefully observe the effects of nature and of grace, because they operate very differently, and the subtle distinction between them can only be marked by an enlightened man.
Everyone aims at what is good and makes some pretension to it in his words and action. That is why many people are deceived by an imitation of goodness.
Nature is cunning; it misleads people and tricks and deceives them, and always has its own interest at heart. But grace walks honestly and openly; it avoids all that has a look of evil about it, and it lays no traps; it does everything solely for the sake of God, in Whom it finds its ultimate rest.
Nature is not prepared to be put to death, or to be subdued and overcome. It does not want to be under control or to submit of its own free-will. But grace aims at putting the old nature to death, and it resists the desires of the body.
It is eager to submit, and longs to be ruled.
It does not want to be independent, but loves to be ruled.
It does not want to be independent, but loves to be under discipline.
It has no wish to lord-it over anyone, but is prepared to live its whole life and spend its whole existence subject to the Will of God; and for love of the Lord to accept, face humbly and overcome every kind of human temptation.
Nature labours for its own good and looks to see what advantage it can get from somebody else; but grace does not consider its personal convenience and advantage, but rather what will do most good to others.
Nature is afraid of humiliation and contempt, but grace rejoices when it suffers indignity for the sake of Truth, Justice and Freedom.
Nature likes idleness and physical ease, but grace cannot endure to be unoccupied, and gladly undertakes all kinds of toil.
Nature is eager to possess rare and beautiful things, and loathes common and coarse ones. But grace finds its delight in what is simple and humble; it is not repulsed by the repulsive, and it does not refuse to put on worn-out clothes.
Nature has his own temporal things, and is pleased by worldly advantage. It is unhappy when it suffers loss, and any slighting word can make it angry. But grace is concerned with Eternal things, and has no interest in anything temporal. In material loss it feels no distress, and when hard things are said it feels no resentment, for its treasure and its joy are laid up in Heaven where nothing ever is lost.
Nature is greedy, and is more ready to receive than give. It loves exclusive, unshared things. Grace is loving and generous; it rejects private advantage, and is content with little, thinking it more to give than to receive.
Nature inclines to material things and gratification of self, towards useless pastimes and travelling about. Grace gravitates towards God and goodness; it renounces material things, and tries to avoid the world. It loathes the longing of the body; it curbs the desire to wander abroad, and hates the thought of appearing in public.
Nature likes to experience outside comforts which brings satisfaction to the senses; but grace seeks its comfort in God alone, and beyond all visible things it looks to Supreme Good for its delight.
Nature does everything for its own gain and advantage. It cannot do anything for nothing, but is always hoping for something as good or better, some praise or favour, in return for its good deeds. It wants anything it does or gives to be appreciated. Grace does not look for anything in this world, and it asks for no reward except God. It only wants the necessities of this life in so far as they help it to win Eternal Life.
Nature is pleased when it has many friends and associates. It glories in high place and noble birth; it smiles on the powerful, flatters the rich, and applauds those like itself. But grace loves even its enemies, and is not pleased with itself when it has a crowd of friends. It thinks nothing of position or high-birth unless there is goodness there as well. It favours the poor rather than the rich, and feels more sympathy with the innocent than with the powerful. It rejoices at the victory of truth, not falsehood; and it is always urging men to “prize the best gifts of Heaven” and to grow more like the Son of God in goodness.
Nature is quick to complain of want and difficulty, but grace bears hardship without giving way.
Nature diverts everything to its own ends, it struggles and argues on its own account, even against the truth, mentally or verbally. Grace leads everything home to God, the source from Whom it comes. It does not credit itself with anything good or make any arrogant claims; it is not pushing, it does not force its views on others; but whatever it feels, whatever it thinks, it submits itself to the Eternal Wisdom and the scrutiny of God.
Nature is always eager to know secrets and hear news. It wants to go out into the world and have all kinds of experiences. It longs to be recognized and do things that earn praise and admiration. Grace has no interest in hearing new strange things, because all this springs from our age-long corruption, and there can be nothing new or lasting here on this Earth.
Grace teaches a man to keep his senses in check, to avoid empty complacency and attention, and to conceal in humility all that might be praised and admired; and from all that happens and in all he learns, it teaches him to seek the harvest of usefulness and the praise and the glory of God. Grace does not want itself or its doings talked about, but it does want God to be blessed where all His gifts are concerned, for He sends all His gifts purely out of Love.
Grace like this is a supernatural Light, a special gift of God; it is the seal of the “Elect”, and a pledge of Eternal Salvation. It raises a man from Earthly things to love of Heavenly ones, and it makes him Spiritual where he was unspiritual before.
As nature is curbed and subdued, Grace flows in more richly, and the inward man is visited anew, and daily remade in the image of GOD.
TEACHINGS FROM GOD AT EVENTIDE AND GOD CALLING
(YODA – YOur DAily Lessons):
The following are excerpts from daily teachings from God At Eventide and God Calling which seem appropriate to include with this post:
It is in union with Me that you receive strength to carry out your good resolutions.
Contact with Me brings power for the work I wish you to do, that work for which I know you to be most suited and which you only can do, and do so well.
It is in contact with Me that you are endued with the Grace that I alone can give, enabling you to minister acceptably to those to whom I send you, and those whom I bring to you.
Even among the distractions and manifold interests of the world – live in My Presence, yet daily withdraw yourself to be alone with Me. – (January 2, God At Eventide).
Do You Remember
Cultivate the habit of thinking about Me. God is everywhere. My Presence is always with you, but recollection brings consciousness of that Presence and closer friendship.
Deliberately recall some event in My life, some teaching of Mine, some act of love. So will you impress Me upon your character and life.
Your learning and accomplishments are valueless without My Grace, which is sufficient for you. Leave planning to Me. Leave Me to open or close the way.
Prepare yourself for all I am preparing for you. – (June 10, God At Eventide).
The Upward Way
Only with Me, and in My Strength, will you have Grace and Power to conquer the weakness, the evil, in yourself. Your character-garment is spoiled. Only by applying My Salvation can it become a wedding garment, fit robe in which to meet the Bridegroom.
The foundation-cleansing of the garment is belief in Me as your Saviour, your Redeemer. Thereafter to each fault and evil in your nature must be applied that evil-eradicating Power that can only come from relying on My Strength, and from living with Me, from loving Me, and loving to do My Will.
Mere general belief in Me as Redeemer and Saviour is insufficient. Set yourself now to walk steadily The upward Way, strong in Me and in the power of My Might. – (October 7, God At Eventide).
Your Order of Merit
Grace is the distinctive mark I set upon My friends. It is no order of merit. It is the result of living with Me. It is even unobserved by those on whom I bestow it, but to those they meet who have eyes to see, it is apparent just as during My time on earth it was said, “They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.”
It may be the sign of My sustaining Power within a life. It may be the quiet strength of poise, the mark of self-conquest, some faint reflection of My character, or a mystic scent of the soul unfolding to My Love. – (July 12, God At Eventide).
Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear and your soul shall live. – Isa. 55:3
Not only live but grow in grace and power and beauty – the true Beauty, the Beauty of Holiness.
Reach ever forward after the things of My Kingdom.
In the animal world the very form of an animal alters to enable it to reach that upon which it delights to feed.
So, reaching after the treasures of My Kingdom, your whole nature becomes changed, so that you can best enjoy and receive the wonders of that Kingdom.
Dwell on these truths. – (June 7, God Calling).
SOURCE AND INSPIRATION:
The Different Effects of Nature and Grace (posted with permission)
YODA (Your Daily Lessons) from God Calling and God At Eventide