Click on this link to listen to the Coffee Stain: https://soundcloud.com/david-porter-965485963/haunted-by-his-grace
I used to not believe in ghosts. But, I was afraid of them anyway.
I mean, how can you get back to sleep when you hear your family’s old house goes, “creak, creak, creak” at midnight? Chill bumps scramble up your spine, and you’re sure you hear a supernatural being walking from room to room.
How could your parents be snoring at a time like this? Don’t they know that they’re supposed to be protecting you? Someone call child welfare.
Of course that Alfred Hitchcock ghost movie you watched after school might have something to do with the things you’re hearing.
Ghosts used to be serious business. And let me be honest with you, no self-respecting girl back then would have made out with a vampire. Those monsters scared you instead of inspiring kissing scenes in movies.
According to some, ghosts even haunted certain houses. That thought was deliciously scary.
How would you like to be haunted? You wake up in the night and you find yourself staring into the hollows of ghostly eyes. You hear his footsteps following you when you’re home alone. Things float in the air and strange voices whisper in your ear while the wind howls outside and lightning flashes illuminate the darkness.
I’ll tell you something if you promise not to tell anyone else, because they might think I’ crazy. You know what ? …
Hang on now. Before you telephone the funny farm let me be a bit more specific. I’m haunted by God’s grace, by His love, by his goodness. His favor haunts me constantly and won’t let me go.
His favor/grace–we can’t get away from it. “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. “Ps. 5:12, NIV) The word translated “favor” here is translated as “grace” in French.
His blessings haunt me.
“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.” (Deut. 28:2, 3 NKJV)
So that means we won’t have tough times? If you believe that your mother rocked you too close to the wall (rock, bonk, rock, bonk). Can you imagine a football team that doesn’t play tough games—or that doesn’t lose one at times?
The patsies and walk-overs don’t stick in our memory. Even a heroic defeat brings more pride than running over a weak team. We’re warriors, not prima donnas and if we don’t have any battles we’re probably not doing much for the Lord.
But, even in the hard, hard times, His grace and his favor still haunt us.
Some time ago, I was facing a situation that scared me. I didn’t want to do what I was supposed to do, but I had to. I started waking up in the middle of the night, night after night, with just a line from a song that I didn’t even know running through my mind.
“You are faithful, God you are faithful.” I heard that snatch of song in the night, in the daytime, over and over until I finally went onto Internet to see if I could sniff it out.
I found out it was a song by Matt Redman called “Never Once.” (See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=722zPX1npcA) Part of the words to the song say this:
“Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say.
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful…”
Sunday, I was at a church that I preached at for the first time 30 years ago. Since then, I’ve probably preached there 40-50 times. Over the years I’ve seen God’s grace on that church—though there have been some ups and some nasty downs.
I see God’s grace which has followed them–and me–all that time. And we rejoiced together at God’s goodness. There might have been times when people wondered if the church would make it, but there they were, meeting hall nearly full, in the beautiful building God has given them.
They want to impact their area for the Lord. God’s grace is haunting them.
Hey, my friend. You may think that God has left you, but don’t kid yourself. If you love the Lord, you’re haunted—by his favor. Here’s what I want you to know:
His grace is sufficient for any battle we face.
His grace is persistent; He will stick with us to the end.
His grace is powerful; we will be victorious in what we’re doing.
His grace leads us in the way we must go.
His grace gives us hope for eternity and the present.
His grace lets us into His presence. His presence is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Admit it. You’re haunted, too. “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps. 23:6 New Living Translation).
Give it up. You’re not getting away from Him.
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Real thanksgiving validates our faith in God. We’re not just grateful for an ininimate force that happened to work in our favor, or a concordance of circumstance that was favorable to us.
We thank a Person—He’s alive and working for us.
We’re not just thankful about something, but we’re thankful to Someone who made it happen. It’s not just something that happened to work in our behalf. It’s God who is working for us—Spiritual thanksgiving flows towards a Person, not a happy accident, or happenstance.
Thanksgiving reaffirms our faith in God, not in luck.