Days of Grace-Day 32

Our stop along the grace walk today will give some glimpses into God’s love and His kindness toward us following up on our look at Psalm 139. In Ephesians 2:10, we are told “For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.”(Ephesians 2:10 NET)  This goes right along with the psalm. We each have been specially designed by the Creator of the universe on purpose and for a purpose. It is no coincidence when, where, how and why we come into the world, yet because we have freedom of choice, we may or may not fulfill our originally intended destiny.  The Message puts it this way…

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesians 2:1-10 MSG)

What a great message. In Ephesians 1 we were told in verse three that we were blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We have seen that we have been designed masterfully for a purpose and that God has gone to great lengths to do all that is necessary for us to have right standing with Him. Our job is to trust Him. One of the best gift’s we can give ourselves is to get to know this God we believe in. How? Studying His character throughout the Word, looking at how He interacts with His people. Looking at His character by how He interacts with the patriarchs, Israelites and people in the New Testament can be very eye-opening! Throughout history, God has used ordinary, normal, common, and flawed people to accomplish extraordinary feats. Timid Gideon becomes a mighty warrior. Young David becomes a giant killer, then a mighty warrior and King. Orphan Hadassah becomes the courageous Queen Esther and sabotages evil Haman’s plot. Rejected, Joseph enters as a slave into Egypt and in time becomes second in command and is able to take in the brothers who rejected him during the famine in their homeland. Moses who fled to the desert, goes back to Egypt 40 years later to lead around two million of his people to freedom. The list could go on. When we take a deeper look at the stories, we see they were all flawed people who messed up at times just as we do. Many of them questioned God, asked for signs; some lied. God knows better than anyone that we’re human and we fail. In fact that is why He made provision through Jesus. If we look carefully, we will see God is not just a just God waiting to dole out punishment; but we will see He is holy, extraordinarily patient, kind, merciful, forgiving, impartial, generous, compassionate and so much more. Psalm 113:13-15 says:

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.”

God knows our weaknesses, strengths, and our humanity. Nothing about us is a surprise and not only that; no circumstance we ever find ourselves a part of takes Him by surprise. He has an answer for every question and a solution for every problem. Because He loves us immensely, He wants us to trust Him, seek Him, surrender our lives in exchange for the best life we could imagine. He has done all the work for us; now, He asks for our trust. Our problem is we shy away from trusting someone we do know.  We have to choose to get to know Him through His Word and then for some of us, one baby step at a time. For others, one giant leap of faith. Either way, it is worth more than we can ever imagine!

 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]– To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). (Ephesians 3:20, 21 AMP)

Days of Grace-Day 31

     Greetings, we have made it to day thirty-one. When I first heard that “Still small voice” say focus on grace for the next forty-five days until Resurrection Sunday, my first response was okay. My next thought was forty-five days focused on such a small word, can this be done? The word seems small at first glance, but the topic is huge. It flows like an enormous river from cover to cover throughout the Bible. I am beginning to view this word grace like a diamond. I am finding it expensive, rare, priceless, multifaceted and quite exquisitely beautiful.  I am finding that true grace, like a diamond is formed in us when we are under pressure, subjected to high temperatures, and finally are shaped and faceted by the precision and work of the Master.

     Psalm 139 tells us that God knit us together in our mother’s womb.  It continues by saying that He made all of the delicate and inner workings of our body. In all of our complexity, He masterfully designed each of us.  He was witness to the uniting and dividing of each cell as our lives came together in that secluded place.  This same Psalm tells us He knew us before we were born and that each and every day of our life was recorded before we breathed a single one.  Precious are Your thoughts toward me it says; more than the grains of sand! (Psalms 139:13-18) I find that incredible!! The Creator of the Universe and everything in it knows me that personally…He knew everything I would ever do, think or say before I lived the first day. He saw my humanity, knew that I would mess-up, make mistakes; sometimes big ones. Still in His love, mercy, grace and sovereignty; He gave me life. God did this for everyone of us from the greatest to the least. He did this for you! God has a plan and purpose for every human and yet He loved us enough allow us to have free-will to choose. How He longs for us to choose Him.

Ephesians 1:2-8 says: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give yougrace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”  (New Living Translation)

     When we chose a life with Jesus, God has already made provision by His grace for us. This passage tells us that we already have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We are no longer just God’s creation, we have become His children and heirs. As if that were not enough, it tells us that it gave Him great pleasure to do this! 

     It is very  interesting to me that over the years, I have heard many teachers, preachers, and pastors talk about ancient adoption. One thing they all pointed out has been that in ancient times when a child was adopted it was permanent. It was not something that could be undone, taken back or reversed. A parent could ‘disown’ their blood related child but could never do that with a child they choose to adopt. I have done a little research on it also that seems to confirm its validity. What an amazing gift is ours when we choose to follow God’s plan. We are not only forgiven, redeemed, and placed in right standing. We become sons and daughters. We are heirs. We are showered with kindness, wisdom and understanding. Yet many times we are not even aware of who we have become in Christ.  It is almost like we gain this huge inheritance yet we are completely unaware of what is now ours and continue to settle for living in all our old ways rather that believing that we are who He says we are.  I am certainly not suggesting that we should think more highly of ourselves because of this grace He has given us, rather I am suggesting that we understand how our Father sees us, the value He places on us and with that proper perspective we can live more victorious and fruitful lives serving Him and others.

Days of Grace- Day 4

     In our journey so far we have looked at three examples of grace. First, Noah found grace with God because he and his family stood out above the wickedness that surrounded them. Secondly, Abraham and his family was the benefactor of the grace of God and lastly Moses and God’s chosen people found favor with God as the cord of grace and favor are weaved further through scripture. Our first day we looked at the Strong’s definition of the Hebrew word for grace (Chem). Today, let’s finally look at a working definition of this word grace.  According to Noah Wester 1828 online dictionary, the noun grace is defined “Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace;  appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.” Amazingly, this just covers the first two of twenty definition listings just for grace the noun. It is a very dynamic word!  For more see:

     Now that we have a working definition in our language, let’s look at the next connection in our grace pilgrimage, we will be in Judges six looking at the story of Gideon. The story begins with an explanation of how God’s chosen people find themselves living in caves and mountain strongholds because they have done evil in God’s sight and have been targeted for seven years now by the Midianites. Israel was hurting. After all that God had delivered them from in the past, they still had memory failure and fell into disobedience once again. Now they find themselves in a struggle to get by and crying out to God once again and God answered their cries. His response is located in verse  8-10: “the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but ye have not obeyed my voice.” KJV

     Gideon was hiding out and threshing wheat by the winepress. This is indeed an unusual place to be threshing wheat, normally they would thresh on the hillside where the chafe could blow away and the wheat would fall back to the ground but Gideon was here trying to preserve the little wheat they had from the enemy. An angel of the Lord appeared saying, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” (Judges 6:12b)  Gideon responded,  “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about,saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13)

     Then the Lord responded that Gideon should go in his own strength and deliver Israel from Midian and Gideon, much like Abraham had several excuses why he could not do as he was asked.  Patiently, the Lord responded again with these words from Judges 6: 16-17. “But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

      Gideon then said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. “Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” Gideon found favor with this messenger and He awaited as Gideon prepared a meal and returned. The angel of the Lord then sacrificed the meal as an offering unto the Lord.  Judges 6:22-24 tells us, “When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”  The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace.”

      Once again we see the great grace that God shows one of His chosen. This is  a man clearly hiding and trying to protect his grain and yet God sees his potential and calls him mighty warrior despite him being of the least and the smallest among his people. As the story goes Gideon takes the first step in fulfilling God’s request. We not only observe that God is a God of peace, we also get a glimpse into the great patience God has with Gideon. God goes on to patiently answer Gideon as he asks for signs not once but twice before he continues to fulfill what the Lord has called him to do. How great is the patience and grace of God throughout all the ages and even in our day, Grace to you!