Posts Tagged ‘grace’
1 John 3:1a See how very much our Heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children — think of it — and we really are! (LB)
When you become a believer or a follower of Christ, you’re not just a servant of God, you’re a child of God! You’re much more than a servant, you’re a child of the king. You’re part of God’s royal family!
Here’s the difference. A servant is accepted and appreciated on the basis of what he does. A child is accepted and appreciated on the basis of who he is. A servant starts the day worried if his work will please his master. A child rests in the secure love of his family. A servant is accepted because of his productivity and performance. But a child is accepted because of his position in the family.
At the end of the day a servant has peace of mind only if he’s proven his worth by his performance. While a child can be secure all day long knowing that tomorrow won’t change his position. When a servant fails he could lose his job. But when a child fails, he might hurt his parents, but he will always be part of the family. That means God loves you no matter what.
Do you have any children? Are they perfect? No! Do you still love them? Of course you do! You love them in spite of their imperfections. You love them at every stage of their growth. Not just when they reach maturity.
Some of you think God’s waiting for you to be perfect before He’s ever going to approve of you, or give you a thumbs up and say, “You’re ok! I love you.” God loves you at every stage of your growth because His love is unconditional. You don’t have to be perfect for God to love you. In fact, He knows everything about you and still loves you!
Romans 8:31b If God is for us, who can be against us? (NIV)
God isn’t just with us. The Bible says God is for us. That’s the essence of grace. Grace can be summed up in four words – “God is for us.” God’s on your side. God’s not sitting in heaven waiting for you to mess up so he can punish you. God is for you!
That’s hard for some people to accept because they’ve been programmed on conditional love. All their life they’ve felt like they couldn’t measure up. The only antidote for that is to experience God’s grace.
Life can sometimes be exhausting. It requires a lot of strength and energy to live your life for God especially when you’re trying to do the right thing. That’s because doing the right thing is very seldom the easy thing to do. In fact, most of the time it’s very hard. A lot of people, including Christians just want to do the easy thing. They want to coast through life. But the problem with coasting is that you’re always going downhill. You can’t coast on level ground or while going uphill. You can only coast when you’re headed downhill.
Life is sometimes like a stream and we’re all fish. The world or culture is like the current trying to push you in one direction. But as Christians, if you’re going to do what’s right you sometimes have to swim against the current. And that can be tiring because it requires energy, effort and strength. So, where do you get the power to do the right thing even when you’re tempted to do the wrong thing or when you’re too tired to even care?
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 It is God who enables us …to stand firm for Christ… 22 He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts… (NLT)
The key to not giving up when you get tired is having the Holy Spirit in your heart. He’s the one who energizes you. The reason why some of you are tired all the time is because you’re trying to live the Christian life in your own power and that doesn’t work. The key to the Christian life isn’t trying harder, it’s trusting more. That’s how God gives you the sustaining grace to be able to stand when you’re tempted or tired.
Faith is the key that unlocks the door to heaven. Salvation is a gift, but you still have to receive it by faith. If I say, “Here’s is a gift for you.” It will just sit there unless you have faith that I’m going to really give it to you and come and get it.
Because salvation is a gift, it’s not something you can’t brag about. Imagine how miserable heaven would be if you could work your way to heaven. You’d get there and everyone would be bragging about what they did to get there. Everyone would be trying to “one up” each other with bigger and better stories of what they did to get into heaven. That wouldn’t be heaven, that would be hell! God says, “Salvation is a gift” It’s free. But the way to receive God’s gift is by having faith.
Romans 4:16a People receive God’s promise by having faith. This happens so the promise can be a free gift. (NCV)
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Welcome back to our Christmas devotional. Yesterday we started taking a look at the decorations of Calvary by learning how Jesus died for us because of his love. Today we’re going to look at the decoration of GRACE.
The grace of God that decorates the cross of Calvary is an amazing grace.
When I first saw the twisted Christmas tree, I wished my grandpa were alive to fix it. He could make any tree beautiful. No matter how bad it looked when we gave it to him, it was beautiful when he gave it back.
He would get out his saws and clippers and begin cutting and shaping. When he was done, the tree looked as if it had been grown in a greenhouse where a caring gardener had watered, pruned, and protected it from storms, drought, and nasty bugs.
Then grandpa would turn the tree over to the rest of the family to finish the job. We added lights, ornaments, and garland, and the imperfect tree was ready for a perfect celebration. What a transformation!
Life is like that crooked conifer. Each of us comes to God bent and misshaped from the effects of sin. But when we put our faith in Christ as Savior, God lovingly begins His work in us, transforming us from the inside out. Then He puts us into the care of His family, the church, and they continue His work by adding the lights of truth, the ornaments of patient rebuke, and the garland of love.
The message of Grandpa’s tree is this: Under God’s loving care, a life marred by sin can become beautiful!
God sees in us a masterpiece
That one day will be done;
His Spirit works in all our lives
To make us like His Son. —Sper
What sin has twisted, God’s grace can straighten. Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward man. It is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
God’s grace is so great that it’s able to reach the best as well as the worst of us. From the thief on the cross who was a criminal to the Apostle Paul who was a religious zealot.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
The grace of God that decorates the cross is an abounding grace.
John 1:14-17 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is available to the sinner.
Romans 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
God’s grace is available to each one of us in every situation or circumstance we may go through.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
God’s love and grace are two of the most beautiful decorations on that tree that stood on top of Mount Calvary.