Tag Archives: grace

Week # 21 Ephesians 2: 8-10

Did you have an opportunity to share your story last week?  If not, I’m sure an occasion will be presented soon.  I love the way last weeks verse, Matthew 28: 19-20, compliments  Ephesians 2:8-10(if this is your first time joining us click here to read more).  Both of these scriptures direct the focus in our life to Christ working in us for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  How does your story boast of God’s handiwork?

Sometimes that is an easy question to answer and other times it is difficult depending on the season of life we are in.  When our answer doesn’t come easy we should take time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives in the past.  A purposeful pause might be just what we need right now as we are on the edge of entering the second half of 2017.

A good place to start might be with asking ourselves how has God’s free gift of grace impacted our lives?  Our answer to this question will reveal if we are accepting His grace freely and are living according to what He has created us, in Christ Jesus, to do.  An honest reflection requires us to start by defining God’s grace according to His standards.  Why?  Because, it tends to get muddled up when we try to define it within human parameters.  What do I mean by muddled up?

Well, we tend to want to continuously tie an “if– then” condition to grace.  For example, in my Sunday School Class, an illustration of restaurant tipping is often used to differentiate between God’s grace and an individual’s grace standard.  God’s grace standard is given freely without connection to if the individual deserves His grace.  God graciously provided salvation for us before we did anything to deserve it.  We receive God’s grace through faith, of any size, by accepting His offer and trusting His ability to freely gift us eternal salvation.

The tipping illustration places us in a service providing restaurant.  The person serving our table has a level of faith that their customer will provide a “monetary tip” for services rendered to the best of their ability.  What should our standard for tipping our server be?  As a paying customer we have been conditioned to measure the service provided by various personal standards.  How often are we trapped by our engrained service standards and “tip” based more on what they deserve rather than freely tipping with grace to bless our server?  From the conversations in my class I can tell you grace tipping is more of an acceptation rather than the standard. This topic is met by  some of the following comments:   “If I get bad service how is the person ever going to know they are terrible?”  or “I only give what they deserve, I shouldn’t have to tip, it’s the owners job to pay their staff.” This is meant only as an example— please don’t feel judged if your not a grace tipper.

I hope you didn’t get lost in this illustration.  The point I hope we will all take away is—- grace is given without consideration of merit and in many cases extended when by all measure when not deserved.  God’s free grace is absent of any “if or then” calculations.   But,  if we are focused on living life still trying to “deserve or earn” God’s grace.  Then, our understanding could be compared to believing that God is more like the paying customer who gives grace based on what we have done or are doing.  Does this belief align with scripture?  According to Ephesians 2:8-10 the answer is, no.  Paul states very clearly that we are saved by grace through our faith in God NOT by anything we do beyond freely receiveing it all, because even our faith comes from God.

If our very faith, is the basis of receiving grace, comes from the Lord what is our role?   I propose that it is to act on the faith we are given through belief in Christ and to obey his commands.  Jesus gave us our first step when he revealed the greatest commands of the Lord in Matthew 22:36 -40—  first, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and second to love your neighbor like you love yourself.  When we obey these commands(John 14: 23 -24) it leads us into deep relationship with the Lord, increases our faith, and pours out into our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbors.  When we embrace the faith He has given to us we are able to live out His commands in love through His free grace.

Personally the concept of free grace was not one that I embraced immediately when I first believed Jesus is my Savior.  I spent many years believing that I had to earn God’s grace.  As I held onto this belief I felt like I couldn’t measure up or do enough for God and others.  My feelings of inadequacy became the substance of the walls that I built.  Barriers that separated me from experiencing God’s free grace and who He wanted to be in my life.  I blocked His love because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  I couldn’t forgive myself, so I questioned  how or why the God of the universe would forgive me, love me, or even listen to me?  It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted behind a wall of unbelief, fear, and insecurity.  Maybe you can relate to the walls I built in my life or maybe you have other walls built to keep God at a distance.  If you do and are still struggling with this belief my prayer is that you will chose to believe in His unconditional love for you, as His child.  That you will act on the mustard seed of faith He has given you to receive His free gift of grace today.  It is as simple as us telling Him we believe in Jesus His Son and we receive His gift of grace— the key that brings us freedom from our sin.  After that we are free to continue to act on our faith and seek His help to obey His commands.  Now, let the boasting begin— of how God’s grace has invaded our life and caused us to live as the handiwork God created us to be in Christ!

Does boasting always mean through words?  Let’s consider how we can boast of God’s grace by extending grace to others through forgiveness, unconditional love, kindness, and maybe even some grace tipping.

How will you express the free grace you have been given this week?

Who needs to hear your story of grace and freedom?

Join the conversation I would love to hear your ideas!

**If you find your mind wondering back to the question of our source of faith being God himself?  I encourage you to answer your questions.   Here are some digging deeper scriptures for personal study. (Acts 3:16, Acts 15:9-11, Acts 26:18, Romans 1:17, Romans 4: 1-8, Romans 4:16-17, Romans 5:1-2, James 2:21-22) **

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Oh Come Let Us ADORE our Savior!

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We are in the season of anticipation and adoration— Christmas and New Years! What is your natural focus around these Holidays? For me, I naturally get caught up in the anticipation. I am easily drawn into the business of preparing and experiencing all the season has to offer– from yummy treats, beautiful displays and programs and lovely music, to decorating, preparing, and the entire gift gathering (making and exchanging)—  in anticipation of Christmas. “The list” could go on for a mile. I’m sure just like me, you just remembered something else to add to your list. Amongst all the “Noise, Noise, Noise” as the Grinch grinch-02calls it; I find my inner soul anticipating sweet moments spent adoring my Savior. But “the list” seems to shout and demand my full attention, creating an unseen struggle to follow through on my desire for sweet moments spent with Jesus. My intention is to stay focused on celebrating his birth and preparing for all the New Year has to offer, without getting distracted by the “Noise, Noise, Noise”!

Can you relate? Would you like help staying focused? I invite you to join me this season in setting aside time for the next five weeks to ADORE our Savior together. Each week we will focus on an aspect of adoring Jesus Christ our Lord for the gifts His birth brought to all mankind. Together we will reflect on scriptures that lead us through the acrostic ADORE.

Amazing Grace
Deep Love
Outrageous Joy
Rejoicing in Hope
Eternal Peace

 

This week’s focus is Amazing Grace:
Read and reflect on the following verses:

Ephesians 2: 4 – 10(NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (bold and italics added by me)christmas-1010749_1280

Titus 2: 11- 14(NIV) “ For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (bold and italics added by me)

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Amazing Grace Reflection:

What do these verses reveal about God’s amazing grace?

What are the purposes of God giving us His amazing grace?

How will you express your adoration to your Savior for His gift of amazing grace?

 

Prayer of Adoration:

Amazing Savior,         We come to you with adoration for the amazing grace you have given to us. Your gift–the intentional atoning sacrifice that brought with it your grace to give our redemption and salvation. At Christmas time we are reminded that your birth was the gift that fulfilled your desire to dwell with your people.

hands-750281_1280This week we invite you to reign in our hearts and minds as we seek to adore you for the incomparable gift of your amazing grace—given to make us alive and raised up and seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. Your grace—was born out of your love for us, expressed in kindness, and given as a gift through faith in you our given Savior. Thank you for creating each of us for your purposes and supplying your grace that teaches us to live self-controlled lives and fills us with eagerness to do the good that you have destined for us to do.   We praise you for your amazing grace extended to all people that none might boast of their righteous acts for only you our Savior and Lord are righteous.

In Jesus Holy name we pray— Amen

 

Want to continue the ADORE series?

Be sure to subscribe to this website so you don’t miss next weeks “Deep Love” reflection.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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