Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

ENABLING GRACE

Monday, December 20th, 2010

DAY 279

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9

We are familiar that grace is God’s unmerited favor to us. Some call it saving grace because we have been saved by the gift of God, not of ourselves. In addition to this grace, there is another grace called enabling grace.

God does much more than save us. He fully equips us with everything we need in this life. He gives us the ability and power to live our lives in righteousness and holiness. And added to this is enabling grace to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God as seen in Stephen; “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power …” (Acts 6:8).

Another definition of grace is help. God’s enabling grace is to help us desire extraordinary and excellence in running the race. Grace cannot function in us when we live in our own strength, ways and thinking. The old has to die and every day we must find God’s provision in our weakness – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

HIS GRACE

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Day 259

“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Many Christians wonder about besetting sins in their lives. In addition to besetting sins, Christians face character flaws, poor judgement with important issues (getting themselves into bad situations like financial or job loss, hurting relationships, etc.), and other maladies that beset them. They believe that God cannot use them, they are defeated and surely will not see eternal salvation.

There is a power greater than sin and failures. When you consider God’s people, it is very evident that many of them struggled with sin throughout their lives. Moses murdered a man, was a coward, and expressed great anger. David was adulterous, murdered a man, and never invested in his children leading to rebellious and wickedness in some of them. Peter attempted to hinder the Lord and denied Him three times. Martin Luther expressed anger continually, was anti-Semitic, filled with resentment and quit preaching for a while and didn’t want to be pastoring. Recent famous saints in the past hundred plus years suffered from constant depression, had massive business failures, were cold towards their wives, etc. The list is endless.

Francis Fenelon, a French mystic, wrote, “I have found God leaves, even in the most spiritual people, certain weaknesses which seem entirely out of place.” We do not understand this except to know that God has a long history of redeeming our sinful failures and most terrible and botched messes and turning them into opportunities for His kingdom. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not
be disqualified for the prize”
1 Corinthians 9:27

THE GOD OF MUCH MORE – PART 2

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Day 245

“For, if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life”
Romans 5:6-10

Our Father not only takes (saves) us out of the world He brings us into the kingdom, just as He took the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to the promised land. It does not stop there. His love is a love of commitment. He not only had compassion on us in our captivity and bondage, realizing our weakness and powerlessness to do anything for ourselves, but He died for us to make the way for reconciliation. And, after bringing us in, He gives us “much more.”

Salvation is not a one-time act, but a continuation of “much more”, a daily saving through His resurrected life. Paul declares, “I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ—right up to the time of His return—developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you” [Philippians 1:6, Amplified].

We who were God’s enemies are now His friends. God, and God alone, did this for us. We are objects of His love, “Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us . . .” [Ephesians 2:4]. He not only looks upon as friends, but as His children, partakers of the divine nature.

Oh, glorious Father, how we thank You for Your love that we barely understand. Help us to know You more and more each day and the immense love with which You have loved us. We declare Your glory and goodness for Your grace and mercy has redeemed us. Amen.

THE HEALER

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Day 240

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him”
Isaiah 57:14-19; Romans 11:28-29

Our Father is a healer and restorer. In the midst of the people’s rebellion, He clearly states He will not always be angry with them. In fact, He notes the frailty of man and how, under His chastisement, they could grow faint – lose faith and hope in Him. Even more important is the greatness of His grace and mercy in the face of sin.

There is no reformation of sinful man without God’s grace. Where sin has abounded, grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20). It is God’s answer to sin. When He says He has seen his [the sinner] ways, and will heal him, our Father is stating that the sinner will never turn to Him of himself, so He will turn him. He will first love him. He will heal and make straight his corrupt ways, and He will lead him.

We move to a later period when Jesus Christ comes and is rejected by God’s own people. Israel refuses to recognize Him as the Messiah and murders Him on a cross. His own Son—killed by His own people! And with this grievous sin they become enemies of the gospel, but because of election, He will once again extend grace and mercy to them. He will turn and heal them.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! . . . to Him be the glory forever! Amen.”      Romans 11: 33-36

HIS HELP AND CARE

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Day 224

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
Isaiah 41:10

Our Father is faithful to us, and knowing our frailties He comforts us. More than an earthly father, He walks with us, holds us up, giving us assurance of His help. When life’s circumstances throw us into turmoil, He says, “do not be dismayed, I am your God.” Even though you may not sense His presence, He is saying He is there, He hasn’t let go, He is with you.

Our Father strengthens us. The Amplified Bible says, “I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties.” There is a progression where He builds strength in us through trials and tribulations. He didn’t promise we would free of difficulties, but He would help us and assist in our needs. Further, He will hold us up and retain us with His victorious right hand of rightness and justice. When Paul was ministering in the midst of great trial, the Lord spoke to him in a vision and gave the same promise, “for I am with you, and no man shall assault you to harm you…” [Acts 18:10].

Our Father is an encourager. His divine presence and care continually encourages us as we walk before Him. In our weakness, His strength prevails, giving us His companionship in trials. His overshadowing care of us is so prevailing that we are unaware of the many ways He assists us. Ask the Lord to make you aware of His care.

“And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”
Matthew 10:30-31

FULL OF GRACE

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Day 212

“We have received grace upon grace”
John 1:16

John says, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. He is the glorious one, who from the very beginning was with God and through Him all things were made. He is the Son of God by nature and from eternity and exalted high above angels and prophets. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased and He is full of grace and truth.

He is full of grace, unmerited favor for us. Out of this fullness we have all received grace upon grace. His grace for us is infinite, boundless and without limit. It is a continual supply coming out of His fullness. When grace is used, more replaces it. There is no end to it. Paul says in Romans, “…where sin abounded grace abounded much more” [5:20]. Grace is greater than sin. Jeremiah says in Lamentations that His mercies and compassions “are new every morning” [3:23].

The law served to show our sinfulness and God’s holiness. Jesus Christ revealed God’s grace, mercy and compassion. Through His grace we find forgiveness and are able to live holy lives. Through His mercy the effects of our sins are covered. Through His fullness we come to know God our Father.

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way . . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”
Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:13

THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Day 204

‘And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”
Romans 1:4

The cross demonstrates the love of God for us.

The resurrection demonstrates the power of God for us.

The Holy Spirit was at work in the humanity of Christ starting from the incarnation, through His earthy life and in the resurrection. He lived in Him experiencing the fullness of humanity. And He dwelled with Him in His sufferings and death and rose with Him in the resurrection. The Holy Spirit experienced the fullness of Christ in every aspect and when Christ entered the gates of heaven in exaltation to sit at the right hand of God the Father, that same Holy Spirit came to indwell every believer.

Now, through the resurrected Christ “. . .we have received grace …” [verse 5]. Christ is our only mediator with God. This grace is a gift from God, based upon what Jesus Christ has done. We neither deserve nor can we earn His grace. He has chosen us and it is His decision to give us grace. And what God gives cannot be taken away, for He is immutable, never changing in His character. So, we have a reservoir of grace that is ours to use and it is new every morning [Lamentations 3:23]. This is His faithfulness.

Today you have a new reservoir of grace from God. You are equipped with everything you need to live in Christ. The Holy Spirit that experienced humanity in Christ and resurrection power now dwells in you. With Paul, we can say, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection …” [Philippians 3:10].

“Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel
and the proclamation of Jesus Christ . . . be glory
forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
Romans 16:25-27

HIS SPECIAL FAVOR

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Day 195

“I will extol Thee, my God, O King;
and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:1

The greatness of God’s favor towards us is unsearchable. We do not know the depth of all His works on our behalf. These are of such a magnitude that it would be hard to contain the knowledge of it all. Who is a God like our God who first loved us? Where in all this earth and throughout our lifetime has such a profound and deep love ever been seen? There is nothing in our humanity that is able to come close to expressing this greatness of our God.

This greatness is magnified by His special favor to His children. He first loved us when we were unlovable. His goodness brought graciousness, compassion and mercy to us. These came to us in gentleness and because of it He has made us great in Him. Yet, even as His children, we sometimes are unaware of how He keeps us. We easily live within ourselves. But, His goodness is to all and His tender mercies surround us in our life. He upholds all that fall and raises up those bowed down.

The Israelites in the wilderness forsake Him, but He continued to give them provision. He satisfies the desire of every living thing. Even in our sins, He is kind to us, patiently waiting for us to see the error of our ways. He even seems reluctant to chastise until there are no other options. This is His greatness and His glory towards us. His love is beyond understanding.

“My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless His Holy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:21

DIVINE SCHEME

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Day 177

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,
My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine”
Isaiah 55:8

We like to have everything tied up neatly. Our doctrine, beliefs, liturgy, time, etc. Most of all, we like our understanding of God all wrapped up and packaged so as not to disturb us. Peter, James and John ran into this problem. He was transfigured before them by His face shining and His clothes becoming white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Jesus.

Peter immediately spoke to Jesus about putting up three tabernacles (shrines), one for each of them. Here they were witnessing a miraculous manifestation of Christ and the heavenlies and Peter wanted to capture it. But, God had another plan – and His voice came out of the cloud surrounding them saying, “This is My son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” They were scared and fell facedown, but tender Jesus came to them saying, “Get up, don’t be afraid.”

Isn’t this the way we are? We like everything packaged, but God will always break out and move in a way we don’t think or know about. Why, He even reaches right down into our wicked, sinful lives and takes us unworthy people and suddenly sets us free! He comes suddenly and unexpected. He overcomes us with His love. He delivers us. Who is this God? He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world that pursues us with love.

“God will rejoice over you”
Isaiah 62:5

FOOLISHNESS AND THE IMPOSSIBLE

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Day 175

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than
man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God
is stronger than man’s strength”
1 Corinthians 1:25

Peter was a fisherman, Matthew a tax collector, Paul an eloquent statesman. Moses murdered a soldier in anger. David was a very young teenager, Gideon was farmer, Ruth a foreigner whose husband died, Rahab a prostitute. The list goes on, but each person was chosen and called of God and the end result was He used each one in a way that was opposite of who they were at the time He called them.

We are always trying to put God in a box. He will escape every time. We become victims of our own nature by believing we know everything. Our doctrine is perfect, theology correct and practice consistent, but in the end we know only in part and all of our wisdom is foolishness. We believe ourselves invincible and self-sufficient, but in the end all our strength is weakness.

No man has seen God. No man knows God wholly. We know in part. He has given us His wisdom and His strength. We will walk in righteousness if we lean on this. And more than all, He has revealed His grace and mercy to us through love. What more could we ask? His glory is our resting in Him, living our lives through Him, knowing and relying upon His love.

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”
Galatians 2:20