Easter Message 2019: Redux–“By Grace Efficacious (Or How the Meek Inherit the Earth)”

Phyllis Beveridge

Originally posted 5/17/14

HUMBLE POWER

“Every success becomes the force of timid people,” wrote my Chinese student on the topic of self-efficacy, that is, a “person’s estimate or personal judgment of his or her own ability to succeed in reaching a…goal” [1].

The strength of her statement, as translated from her language to English, stays with me, and defines this student, in a way. A soft-spoken, timid, if you will, young lady, she illustrates a stark contrast to our more strident, independent native speakers; however, she is quite strong in the attributes of a superior student faced with the challenge of learning a new language WHILE having to use it in a college study skills course.

Despite her gentle “presentation” in the rough and tumble West, this young lady is the epitome of one who possesses a strong sense of self-efficacy, to be sure. And she has figured out the ticket to her goals: the successful completion of each small step.

In a completely different context and classroom, this kind of surprising strength reminds me of one of my favorite poems, “Mushrooms,” by Sylvia Plath [2]:

Overnight, very

Whitely, discreetly,

Very quietly

Our toes, our noses

Take hold on the loam,

Acquire the air.

 

Nobody sees us,

Stops us, betrays us;

The small grains make room…

So the poet begins, and proceeds to describe the “earless and eyeless” yet prolific little fungi as “asking little or nothing.”

Yet, and here Plath speaks as The Body Mushroom, “We shall by morning/Inherit the earth./Our foot’s in the door.”

“Creepy!” is a common first-read reaction in introductory literature classes.

Political science majors wonder if Plath is nodding to collectivism.

Christians recognize the allusion to the Scriptures.

I, on the other hand, a helpless word-o-phile, relish the almost wicked undertone, the tingling sense of amassing strength one discerns with each stanza as Plath reveals the humble eukaryote spreading out, spore by spore, inch by inch—foot by yard by continent.

Though mushrooms are voiceless I can imagine the soft, insistent, if ever so faint, “muahahahahah” emitting from the bland, spongy crowd underfoot—and everywhere else—as in a kind of stealth takeover they acquire the globe...

So what do my persevering Chinese student and the ubiquitous mushroom have in common?

Power.

In the most unlikely.


MEEK MIGHT

Of course I can’t help but think of a spiritual application concerning the term, in this case “meekness–” often thought a synonym of timid, but not always so. I’m referencing meek, definition B: a kind of strength like the force of the timid but persevering student, the bland but persistent fungi. This definition connotes power not dependent on beauty, bucks, or brawn, rather, an inner strength. Here are a few illustrations of this kind of meekness from the “classroom” of the Scriptures:

“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15, NIV).

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

“A gentle answer turns away wrath…” (Proverbs 15:1).

Sound familiar? Here is the same thought, expanded, in the New Testament: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

No shock and awe employed here to disarm and control, but the wisdom to know when to speak and when not to, when to act and when not to, when to stay and when to leave. And when to wait as seed by bud by bloom by fruit good, at length (or at once), overcomes bad.

It is the power of meekness that understands precisely if and when and why and how to “turn the other cheek”—or not—in the realm of the spirit.

But the most potent form of meekness is the kind demonstrated by One…

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Why?

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. 
(Philippians 2:6-11).

That One, Jesus, lowliest in the world’s eye, indeed, Who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2), is the One Who gave all, for all, to receive all—to the ultimate and complete glory of God and the ultimate and complete redemption of His people.

However, back to that day at Calvary, evil no doubt howled in triumph as He Who yielded to whip, thorns, nails and cross seemed finally destroyed, a soldier’s spear into His side revealing the last drop of His blood.

But the story wasn’t finished; the power of Christ’s humiliation on the cross was not yet fully revealed.

Still hidden from comprehension were both the satisfaction for evil and the entrance to God’s presence hewn at Golgotha. There, where Jesus’ blood pooled, where He took those things meant, for justice’s sake, for us, in an act of vicarious propitiation, was a demonstration of the purest love: the most potent force of all. He, the sinless, suffered and died where we, the sinners, should have but by faith need not.

And to seal the deal, Jesus rose three days later from the ignominy of Good Friday to the glory of Easter Sunday in a display of the power of love that continues today and against which the power of evil is moot and will at length be no more.

Who knew?

Certainly not Satan or he would not so grossly have underestimated Jesus’ choice of the cross at the crossroads of time. He would not have made the fatal mistake of confusing Jesus’ willing submission with permission to destroy Him. Indeed, if Satan had understood Calvary, played out exactly as it was, he would have known it was really the seed of his own destruction.

But we can know fully the power of God’s plan for our redemption now–with help from our own “translator,” the Holy Spirit, as minute by day by year by lifetime He transforms us into the image of the Same Who made it all possible. And the end result, even here on this darkling plain? Not just the ability to overcome evil, but, by grace efficacious, in Christ, to conquer it, too [3].

Who knew!

***

[1] http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Self-efficacy

[2] http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/sylviaplath/1415

[3] See Romans chapter 8.

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A Tale of Two Cathedrals, April 15, 2019

Phyllis Beveridge

The Notre Dame Cathedral

Incendie Notre Dame de Paris Created: 15 April 2019

Today will long be remembered as the day an 800 year-old icon of western civilization was either accidentally or purposefully set ablaze. When the embers fade, perhaps Notre Dame Cathedral will be completely lost; perhaps not.

But whatever the cause, or the case, what is known even now, today, as it still burns, is that a magnificent monument to architectural and artistic brilliance and beauty may be irretrievably gone. Continue reading

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On Intersectionality and “The Code”: Did AOC “Switch” or Pander Using the “Plain Folks” Fallacy?

Phyllis Beveridge

In the last year or so I’ve occasionally heard the comeback “Learn to code” in the context of advice given to millennials regarding how to get on in the social and/or political world.

At first I thought this referred to learning computer technology, if I gave it much thought at all. But recently, I learned that “code” is a shortened version of what linguists call “code-switching,” which means to speak the language (the vernacular, including accent and cadence) of the audience one is addressing if it is not one’s normal way of speaking. In the context of code-switching for business or political gain, it is known as pandering. Continue reading

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Part 4: “Then they came (for my ancestors)”–College Propaganda Mills

Phyllis Beveridge

Introduction and Parts 1 and 2     Part 3

Section 1: Article Review, “Terrifying video on antisemitic conference at the University of North Carolina”

“Ami Horowitz, the investigatory filmmaker who often exposes campus madness, has produced a video that ought to terrify anyone familiar with the history of Weimar Germany.  Then, as now, universities were among the leaders in whipping up Jew-hatred and actually persecuting Jews.”

Thus begins the brief essay and video review featured in Part 4 of my series, written by Thomas Lifson in today’s (4/13/19) online edition of American Thinker. Continue reading

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Review: “Unplanned,” the Movie, and Abby Johnson’s Story

Phyllis Beveridge

My friend and I saw the pro-life movie Unplanned a few days ago. It is the true bio-pic of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson who had a life-changing reversal of mind and heart after helping with an abortion.

What she saw on the ultra sound she was asked to monitor during a “vacuum aspiration abortion” caused a painful epiphany. It reduced her to tears and grief. She left the industry within a few days and is now an outspoken pro-life advocate. Continue reading

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Tired of Bad News Lacking Solutions? 5 Ways to Stay On the High Road Amid Today’s Turmoil

Phyllis Beveridge

Everywhere one turns these days for (real) news and (objective) analysis more and more of the tactics of totalitarianism and on a global scale are being exposed.

Anybody paying attention gets it, already!

It’s time to know how to rise above the fray–and remain there as much as possible–because angst is exhausting; anger, infectious; and anarchy looms not far behind when it all breaks apart because civilization breaks down.

And it seems many are getting close to the break-down point globally and some, personally. Continue reading

Posted in encouragement in hard times, end times spiritual survival, most recent posts, Psalm 91 devotionals, spiritual survival, survival tools | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Extremists, Falling Skies, Revolutions, and Resistance

Phyllis Beveridge

With the extreme left, these days, it seems that whatever the topic being discussed, there are only two views allowed: good or bad, us or them, saviors or Nazis, perfect and fart-free weather or climate catastrophe dooming everybody AND the planet to TOTAL annihilation in 12 years.

No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Continue reading

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Part 2: “On the Red Flags of Global (Political) Psychopathy”–an Inside Assault, an Inside Solution

Phyllis Beveridge

In two previous posts, here and another cited in its entirety below,* I discussed what I believe are key components of political psychopathy and how to resist it so as to maintain a clear mind and strong spirit.

The first post discusses what I believe to be our “original enemy’s” asymmetric forms of warfare used to destroy us if we are unaware and unprepared, as well as spiritual and practical strategies on how to be aware and prepared.

The second, below, reviews the basics of psychopathy. See how many of them have become more and more apparent on the global political scene as time has elapsed. Continue reading

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On the U.S. and the U.K. Slouching Towards the Shores of Totalitarianism and Why We Need Grown-Ups

Phyllis Beveridge

I rarely wander un-chaperoned into the mine-field of British politics because I am not an historian per se and not a Brit. But on occasion a blog reader from the U.K.* will enlighten me as to what is happening in the struggling Brexit Movement by sending over articles from those who are British historians and political analysts and by sharing his “on the scene” observations.

The news from the other side of the Atlantic is complex, to say the least, involving the various leaders and political entities who comprise the British Parliament with its  varying views on the Movement. However, there are certain similarities between our disparate political systems. This post reflects on one that I would put this way:

Where are the grown-ups when we desperately need them?

Continue reading

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Part 3: “Then they came (for my ancestors)”–Danger! Same Old Same NEW Socialism

Phyllis Beveridge

Introduction, Part 1 and Part 2

Section 1: Article Review, “The God that Failed…Over and Over Again,”

The article featured in this first section of Part 3 is an essay from American Thinker, online edition, March 15, 2019, written by Lee Edwards. The author’s premise is that Socialism (and variations thereof), for all its political power, resembles a religion, a god, if you will.

While some may disagree with the analogy, Edwards makes the compelling point that Socialism’s adherents resemble religious zealots.

Why?

He explains in his own question/answer format: Continue reading

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