Ed Melick: Strands of Grace, Guest Blog

Ed MelickEd Melick is the co-producer and co-host of the Grace in 30 radio program on WERA-LP, 96.7 FM transmitting out of Arlington, VA.  He has recently written two books that are scheduled for release at the end of summer 2019. The first book, Monumental Hug—Divorce, Cancer, Healing & Grace, is the story of how God’s grace healed his relationship with his ex-wife, and how they walked together through her battle with pancreatic cancer.  The second book, Healing Plunge—An in-depth look at healing in the Bible, is a summary of his recent plunge into the topic of healing in the scriptures.

Strands of Grace

What does God’s grace mean to you?

For me, a deep understanding of grace began with a painful divorce.

In April 2008, my wife of over twenty-two years informed me that she wanted to end our marriage. I was devastated. Two days after receiving the news, though, I felt led by God to lay down my life for her no matter what she or her attorney did to me—and He began giving me compelling glimpses of the realness, power, and beauty of His grace.  Over the ten years that followed, I experienced the astonishing power of loving my enemy and committed my life to sharing the Good News of God’s grace with everyone I could.

Faithful Witness

During much of the first three-and-a-half years of my separation and divorce, I shared an office with the Director of Sales at my company, Sal D’Itri. I often tell people that Sal had a front row seat to my divorce and everything that was happening in my life and family. At times I felt like he should have pulled out a soft drink and a giant tub of popcorn while listening to me as I regaled him with stories of grief, struggle, and especially grace.

Seed Planted

Toward the end of my tenure at the company, Sal would occasionally say, “We should do a radio show together,” while we were joking around about various topics. My answer was always the same. “No way,” I would say. “I’ll wind up getting on the air and saying something stupid that I’ll regret, or cursing, or whatever.”

Grace in 30

When I was released by the company in the Fall of 2011, we kept in touch, but the topic of a radio show didn’t come up again until the Fall of 2015. Sal called me one day and told me that a local community media organization had just launched a new low-power radio station and that they were looking for content. He wanted to team up and produce and host a program.

My initial reaction was disinterest. Something like a radio program was the furthest thing from my mind. Sal kept pushing, though, and I suggested that we both go off and pray about it for a week, and then come back together and see how we felt.

A week later we were on the phone again and Sal was as pumped as ever. I didn’t really feel any strong urgings one way or another, so I decided to lateral the ball to him. I asked him to take a first cut at the application and then send it to me.

Not long after that I received the completed form from him. It’s at this point that I realized that the radio program could be an excellent channel for sharing what I had learned about the radical power of God’s grace. There seemed to be no doubt that such a message was needed to counter all the negativity, extremism, and un-grace in our culture and media. I decided to dive in and the Grace in 30 radio program was born.

Three Years Later

At the time of this writing, Sal and I have been doing the weekly radio program for over three years and have aired 166 programs. The reason our show exists is to, “See to it that no one misses out on God’s grace” (Hebrews 12:15, CJB). How we do that is by providing compelling examples of grace in action and a spark to get more people expressing it. We host individuals and organizations that are living by grace, so to speak, and we have them issue calls-to-action for listeners to join in and make our families, workplaces, communities, and world better.  

We have talked to over one-hundred-and-thirty people. As we hosted more people, we noticed certain themes repeating themselves. I also noticed how these themes overlapped with my experiences expressing grace to my ex-wife. I call these “strands of grace.”


One strand that really resonates with me in our culture of division is closeness. Many of our guests talk of the importance of getting close to people who are different than you—especially your enemies—and building lasting relationships with them.

I can’t think of a better example of this than Daryl Davis, an African American musician and author who is on a mission to tear down some of the most extreme barriers between whites and blacks in our country. Daryl has been befriending KKK members and attending their rallies for nearly forty years. As these Klansmen and Daryl get to know each other, the hatreds and prejudices of the Klansmen melt away to such an extent that many of them have renounced their beliefs, and about forty of them have given Daryl their robes and hoods for display in a museum he’s planning to open. Some of the people who left the Klan were very senior in the organization, including former Grand Dragons and Imperial Wizards.

Daryl challenged our audience to take the time to get to know people who are not only different from us, but radically opposed to us. He challenged everyone to walk across the cafeteria and sit down with them, learn about them, and keep that going.

We have heard many stories like Daryl’s about people crossing the lines that divide them from others, like when a Christian lawyer successfully defended a Somali Muslim accused by the U.S. Government of piracy and when a university president slept in a metro station on a frigid February night in order to get a better understanding of what the homeless experience.

Bad Advice

 When my wife filed for divorce and moved out, I was offered a lot of mean-spirited advice. People told me I needed to get mean, stop talking to her, and cut off communications between her and my family members. I decided to act counter to that advice and express grace, and I went out of my way to cross, as often as possible, the barrier of separation that my ex-wife had set up between us. I determined that every time I had the opportunity to interact with her I would do so—even when she was only using me to get something done. The results of this were breathtaking and I write about my experiences in my soon-to-be-released book entitled Monumental Hug—Divorce, Cancer, Grace & Healing.

 Ultimate Grace

 Of course, the greatest example of crossing a boundary occurred when God gave up His divine privileges, took on human form, and eventually died a horrible criminal’s death so that we might receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life in His coming Kingdom. This should be the gold standard by which we measure our efforts.

I encourage you to consider all of these examples of getting close to those who are different than us, make the effort to get to know your foes (political, professional, etc.), and watch the grace of Jesus Christ dissolve prejudices, build bonds of love, and dramatically heal relationships. Our world desperately needs more people who are doing this.

Also See:

Live Radio Interview Today on Life Issues Show with Lloyd Rosen

Top 10 Book Reviews Over the Past 12 Months

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HotWeather_2019

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Prayer for Congruity

Winter Trees by Sharron Beg
Winter Trees by Sharron Beg (www.threadpaintersart.blogspot.com)

Merciful father,

How long must I wait to see your face more clearly?

To feel your hand on my shoulder and know that I have served you well?

My soul longs to hear your voice over the chaos of life

and to sense your passion over creation.

Be especially present in this time and place.

Open hearts and minds in this dismal land.

Save us from the stupor of a life lived poorly and out of harmony with your will for us.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant me strength for the day;  grace for those I meet; and peace,

the peace that passes all understanding.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer for Congruity

Also see:

Tennant Highlights Five Gifts

Giving Thanks 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/Transcendence_2018

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28. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webFather of Creation, Beloved Son, Spirit of Truth,
Bind our wayward hearts with your law; sing to us of your love. Gather our confused thoughts in your grace; center them on your truth. Separate us from evil influences, harsh temptations, and trials we cannot bear. Walk with us when the sun fails to shine, the rain draws near, and our paths become unclear.Sit with us while storms rage, our strength weakens, and our health flees. Guide us when our friends are distant and our troubles are ever near. Grant us strength for the day; grace for those we meet; and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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27. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webHoly and Eternal Father,
We praise you for your mercy and grace through Jesus Christ who died for our sins before we were even born. We confess that you and you alone are holy. From our mother’s womb we have tried your patience and even now come to you with blood stained hands. Forgive us in our rebellion against your covenant and against your son. In the power of your Holy Spirit, cleanse our hearts and minds that we might become fit stewards of your mercy and grace to those among us who have not heard the good news or have rejected it on account of our sin and folly. Draw us to yourself today across the gaps that separate us that we might have new life in you, this day, and forever more. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

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25. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webMerciful Father, Beloved Son, Ever-present Spirit,
We praise you, Lord, for your mercy, grace, patience, love, and faithfulness, for healing us of our afflictions, forgiving our sin, and your presence in our life, for in you is faith, hope, and love that we find nowhere else. We confess that you and you alone are God, yet we have made idols of machines, institutions, and our own pet theories. We have not followed the example of your son, Jesus Christ,
and have set our own desires above our families, friends, and even your church. Forgive our sin; overlook our transgressions; and heal us of our iniquity—that we might be whole again and restored to your presence. We give thanks for the many blessings that you have freely given us: our families, our health, our work, and even life itself. We ask you now to bless us that we might bless others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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24. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webMerciful God,
I praise you for the gift of your law and your provision of grace through Jesus Christ that we might approach you in prayer through the Holy Spirit and know who you are through the revelation of scripture and the life of Jesus Christ. You are the God of mercy and grace, who is slow to anger, abounding in love, and faithful. There is none like you; may I ever model myself on your immutable character remembering your law, ever-mindful of your grace, and with the support of your church. May I be quick to share your mercy, grace, and love with those around me in thought, word, and deed through the power of your Holy Spirit, and in Jesus’s name, Amen.

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5. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webAlmighty Father, Beloved Son, Holy Spirit,
We praise you for being willfully present in our lives—present when we are paying attention and present when we are not. We confess our need for holiness—let your example shine through us. We confess the need to be reconciled with those that pain us and those we pain. We confess that we are too often attracted more to culture and less to you. We thank you for the witness of your son, Jesus Christ, and many spiritual gifts showered on us by your Holy Spirit. Grant us strength for the day, grace for those we meet along the way, and peace when peace seems distant.  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

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Prayer Day 38: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Espera verano 2015
Espera verano 2015

Gracious God. Thank you for lavishing your love and generosity on us. Grant us generous hearts and helping hands that we might reflect your image. May our security be in You, not our possessions. In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Dios misericordioso, gracias por prodigar Tu amor y generosidad sobre nosotros. Concédenos corazones generosos y las manos que ayuden para que podamos reflejar Tu imagen. Permite que nuestra seguridad esté en ti, no en nuestras posesiones. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.

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God’s Core Values

Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra“The LORD passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exod. 34:6-7 ESV)

God’s Core Values

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What exactly are God’s core values?

God’s core values are given in Exodus 34:6 immediately following the giving of the Ten Commandments. We know that these values are fundamental for God because they are repeated all most word for word in Psalm 86:15 and 103:8, Joel 2:13, and Jonah 4:2. Interestingly, in the second giving of the law in Deuteronomy 4:31, only mercy is mentioned.

Focus on Mercy

The emphasis in most of these passages on mercy and the de-emphasis in some passages on faithfulness (or truth) suggests that God is soft-hearted. Exodus 34:6 mentions mercy (רַחוּם), gracious (חַנּ֑וּן), slow to anger (אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם) or patient, abounding in love (חֶ֥סֶד) and faithfulness (truth) (אֱמֶֽת). Psalm 86:15 repeats all five words in the Hebrew in the same order. Psalm 103 repeats the first four values [1], but drops faithfulness. Joel 2:13 repeats the first five words, but substitutes “relents over disaster” for faithfulness. Jonah 4:2 likewise substitutes “relents over disaster” for faithfulness and swaps grace and mercy.

Interpreting the Ten Commandments

The giving of the core values right after the giving of the law is not an accident. Core values provide guidance on how to interpret law especially when conflicts arise. Law has the benefit of being concrete and establishes specific principles—this is the field of theology (the study of the nature of God). But in application circumstances are often messy and bring these principles into conflict—this is the field of ethics (the study of right and wrong action). As Christians, because we know God through the Bible and His Holy Spirit, we know the mind of God—we know his character.  Exodus 34:6 speaks directly to this question of God’s character.

Story of Jonah

The classic story of the mind of God is found in the Book of Jonah. God called on Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. But Jonah hated the Ninevites and caught the next boat out of town going the opposite direction (Jonah. 1:2-3). Why? Because he knew God’s character. When he finally went to Nineveh and preached as God had called him, the people of Nineveh turned from their sin and begged God to forgive them (Jonah 3:9-10). Jonah responded in anger:

“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” (Jonah 4:1-2 ESV)

What did Jonah say? In prayer he cited God’s core values as a reason for running away from his assignment to preach to the Ninevites. Why? Because he hated the Ninevites so much that he did not want God to forgive them.

Jonah’s Bad Example

God’s mercy is first among his core values. When we refuse to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our neighbors, we become like Jonah selfishly trying to keep God’s mercy to ourselves. This refusal puts us in tension both with God and with our neighbors. We are in tension with God because, in effect, we deny God’s mercy and our own identity as ones created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). We are in tension with our neighbors because we have denied them God’s mercy and, potentially, their eternal salvation.  Who are the Ninevites in your life?

Jesus reminds us with a promise: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt. 5:7 ESV)

Aren’t you glad that God’s core values are actually immutable character traits—part of his identity and not of a New Year’s resolution?


[1] Slow to anger is expressed with another expression—long nostriled (אֶ֖רֶךְ אַפַּ֣יִם)—implying the same thing—patient.

Also see:

Bothersome Gaps: Life in Tension 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2vfisNa

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Prayer Day 26: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Gracious God. Give us the humility to pray for our daily needs. Walk with us during every step we take. Help us to be satisfied in all circumstances and to recognize your presence also in abundance. May we follow your example and be generous with those around us. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Dios Misericordioso. Danos la humildad para orar por nuestras necesidades diarias. Camina con nosotros durante cada paso que tomamos. Ayudanos a estar satisfechos en cada circunstancia y a reconocer tu presencia también en abundancia. Que sigamos tu ejemplo y semos generosos con los que nos rodean. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo, Amén.

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