Tag Archives: God’s grace and forgiveness

It really is ‘Amazing Grace’

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

grace

It is has been said that grace is getting something good that you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve.  In Ephesians 1:8 it says that God lavished the riches of His grace on us.  He didn’t just give us a little bit of His riches, but He piled it on generously.  Grace is  how we come to God and grace is how we keep following God.  It’s all God.

We try to make it about us and our works somehow, whether it is coming to God, or serving Him once coming to Him.  In Genesis 4 there is the account of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s sons.    Cain brought a fruit offering and it wasn’t accepted by God.  Abel brought some sheep as an offering to God.  Back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves, God made a covering for them of animal skins.  This begins the theme of blood needing to be shed to cover our sins.  Hebrews 9:22 states it, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.”

I think Cain and Abel knew that.  But Cain brought his own offering, not what God wanted or would accept.  He’s like Frank Sinatra singing, “I did it my way,” the people that try to be good in their own way, whether it is through occasional church attendance, getting baptized or confirmed, or giving money to charities.  But our “goodness” isn’t acceptable to God, because even at our best we’re still flawed.  If you’re like Cain, then you get mad if you don’t feel accepted by God, or because He doesn’t accept your terms.  Turn it around.

Jesus died as our sin covering, once and for all.  He paid the price for our sins that we can’t pay for on our own, or earn by our good works.  When we try to do things our way to placate our conscience, God isn’t pleased.  Religion is coming to God our way.  People say they don’t want religion, and neither does God.  He wants a personal relationship with us because that’s why He made us.  Sin messed it up, Jesus fixed it.

We need this Jesus fix not just when we become a Christian, but throughout our Christian lives.  It is grace that is at work that changes us from being a rebel, bent on serving ourselves and finding our own ways to get through life.  Titus 2:11-12 tells us that God’s grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live godly lives.  It is God’s grace that changes me, which is way better than my own striving and pathetic attempts to be good or acceptable to God.

Take a bath in God’s grace.  Let Him change you and speak to you about having a resting relationship with Him because of Jesus.  It really is amazing grace.


A Holiday at the Sea

how-receive-holy-spirit1

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!  Luke 11:13

This verse is at the end of a section that begins with the disciples saying, “Lord teach us to pray.”  They didn’t say, “Teach us HOW to pray,” but rather “Teach us TO pray.”  Do you get the difference?  They had watched Jesus withdraw very early in the morning over and over to some lonely place.  They knew He had been praying, but their thoughts probably were like ours:  “What can He be praying about all of this time?”

To answer, Jesus told a story illustrating how, when we pray, we should be persistent and keep knocking until we get what it is that we need.  He used the word “impudence” which is like cheekiness, or rash boldness–audacity.   That’s what we need when we come to Jesus with our requests.

We should pray and not just fret or go without.  And when we pray, we need  boldness and persistence that makes us keep asking.  That’s when Jesus said that good fathers would give a good gift, so how much more would He give His Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.  Jesus announced that God is even better than a father of the year, so we are asking someone who loves us and wants good things for us.  The best thing we can get when we pray is God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit.  

We not only get the answer we are looking for, or the help that we need, we get the Holy Spirit’s assistance to be with us, to direct our steps and to give us the wisdom we need.  In John 14 and 16,  Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as our helper, the Spirit of truth, a teacher and a guide.  

So, instead of just asking for peace, ask for the Holy Spirit to assist you in every way that He can. Ask Him to join you and to give you everything you need for the day–His enabling power and wisdom, peace and confidence.  We need the Spirit’s work in order to effectively live out the Christian life.  Without Him, we’re trying to make it on our own.  

C.S. Lewis said that “We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.”

Put into the context of Luke 11, that means to ask for all of God via His Holy Spirit.  Don’t stop short of getting all of Him.  Go for the holiday at the sea!


Favorite Corrie Ten Boom quotes

If you are not familiar with Corrie Ten Boom, she was a Dutch Christian interned in a Nazi concentration camp, where her family died but she survived. She then  traveled around the world telling others of God’s grace and forgiveness in the darkest of times.  She died in the 80’s and is best known for the book and movie “The Hiding Place,” and her book “Tramp For the Lord.”

“There is no panic in Heaven!  God has no problems, only plans.”

“Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.”

“This is what the past is for!  Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is His perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength–carrying two loads at once.  It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time.  Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

 

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work.  But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

“If God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them.  That’s why He sometimes shows us things to tell us that this too is in His hands.”

“Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.”

 

“Dear Jesus…how foolish of me to have called for human help when You are here.”