Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
I need more grace. Apparently, I do not always have enough to extend to other people or so I am being convicted of as we speak. God saved me by His Grace. His Great Grace is sufficient for me, but I am not to keep it for myself but rather allow it to overflow into the life of other people no matter how unworthy they may be. I am not worthy of His Grace but from time to time I forget that altogether. Every time I fail to extend the loving kindness of Jesus Christ including His Graciousness to another person, I am taking credit for this gift that I have been given. Salvation has nothing to do with the “things” I do but the great thing that Jesus has done for me. What is grace? Grace is the unmerited favor and goodwill of God to mankind in a Biblical sense. In practical life, it is every time that we extend the same goodwill and favor to others including, not limited to and ESPECIALLY those who do not deserve it in the slightest. We need grace, grace and more grace today. If we could grab hold of this Gift of Grace and begin re-gifting it to others, what a different world this would be!
Romans 5:20-21 (NLT)
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s Law is impossible for mankind to abide by. It came after the first person disobeyed God so it is after the fact. Put in place as a mirror, the Word of God shows us His Way and allows us to reflect on how much we need our Savior. If this is true, than the more we read God’s Word, study His Way and seek to know His Will the more grace that we will find and the more ways that we will endeavor to extend it to others. God’s Grace is abundant. It just keeps flowing and flowing. God has given us everything that we need to prosper in life beginning with His Grace that gave way to His Mercy and Love. We are set for life. However, grace is a river that runs through us. Otherwise, we become stagnant. If we do not tap in to a fresh supply and allow His Living Water to continue filter through us than grace is not grace anymore. Why? Sin pollutes the tank. There are many sins. Some that we willingly commit and others that are unknowingly perpetrated. The Holy Spirit works inside of us to remove every sin that comes between us and the Love of God so that we can experience just “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (Ephesians 3:18) Sin will always lead to death. Salvation is the given by the grace, goodwill and favor of God to deliver us from our sin so we can live. When we take that gift and use it for something other than it was intended, we are now rebelling against God again and it becomes useless. We must allow God’s Wonderful Grace to rule in our life. It is the very thing that gives us right standing with God resulting in Eternal Life. We need more grace today.
Romans 6:1-4 (NLT)
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is an English proverb that I remember from my childhood. It simply means that anything you want to achieve in life is obtained in our sweetness more so than in aggression. Honey is sweet. Vinegar is acidic. You add nothing to honey to make it palatable but must mix vinegar with other things to get it down. For a while, my oldest daughter and I were drinking a concoction we found on the Internet to supposedly reduce fat. It was vinegar, honey and orange juice. Talk about burn all the way down. I will go on record to say that I did not find any benefit in it other than I now know how disgusting vinegar tastes even apple cider vinegar. People are attracted to sweetness.
Salt is another element used to describe the Christian life. As a believer, we are to be the salt of the earth. Jesus said that believers are the salt of the earth but goes on to ask what good is salt that has lost its flavor. (Matthew 5:13) It becomes worthless. So let’s talk about salt for a minute, salt obviously is used in the kitchen as a spice. But when I was in Africa many years ago, I found that they locals used it for a lot more than just seasoning. While doing laundry, they would take salt and sprinkle it on stains and then take half a lemon and rub it in really well. The soiled and treated fabric would be laid in the sun while they worked on hand washing the other items. Finally, they would wash the salt and lemon combination away to reveal pristine clean beneath it. When I wash clothes here in America, I just dump them in the washing machine pour in detergent, stain remover, bleach and/or fabric softener to get the job done. I cannot see the process and I do not hand wash the clothing so I am not familiar with what actually transpires – it is very impersonal. Welcome to the Body of Christ today! We dump the Blood of Jesus on people, wash them with some Godly Words, and send them right back into the vicious cycle from which they came. Grace was hand delivered to us when they nailed our Lord and Savior to the Cross. It is to be hand delivered from each believer into the lives of another no matter if they are lost, saved or searching. It is our mission. We must learn to do it in His Love. The church is too salty and people have lost their taste from Christians. The Word of God without the Love of God is condemnation which is acidic to the soul. We must spend some time evaluating our salt to be certain it is useful. We must learn to make our life palatable to the watching and waiting world. We will not compromise on quality but definitely learn to make our life flavorful to others. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” becomes a credible statement when His Goodness and Grace overflow in our life. The best way to get people to buy food is to give them a sample.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10(NLT)
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. I have relied heavily on these verses in the last few years. Now that things are slowing down, I find that I am right back here again. Humility is the essential quality in fully accepting the Grace of God and His Power in our life. I have grown frustrated yet again with ordinary things in this life rather than allowing the Grace of God and His Power to see past other people and the circumstances of life. The Grace of God is limited when my selfish sinful nature erects a wall of pride that once was laid flat before Jesus Christ. I become agitated. I cannot get over simple things that do not concern me. I become judgmental. Right now, I am being transparent. I compare my lot in life with other people and cannot see the forest for the trees. The inheritance of others is not my concern, it is my inheritance and portion that I must live on. I had a bad day at work. It coincidentally was a Monday. My frustration level began to grow and grow until I began to lash out at other people. I fussed. I fumed. I vented. By the end of the day, I was just waiting for the person who would push “that button” so I could explode. It was not a stellar day and needless to say I did not win any lost souls to Jesus Christ in my attitude and actions. So on Tuesday, I spent some time with Jesus that morning and knew that I had some work to do. When I lose myself, I find His Grace is all that I ever really needed. The enemy traps us with a sense of entitlement that is clearly not the case. He tries to convince us that we do not “deserve” certain treatment and “don’t have to take it” anymore. He is right. We do not have to take it anymore. The moment that we stop laying down our life for other people is the moment that we take our cross back up in this life and decide to become self-reliant. Fatal error. When I came across those people from the day before, I had to apologize for my behavior. They were quite perplexed. But what I discovered is that as I did this, they took a seat and actually engaged in a conversation in my office. Is it true? Yes, it is that we do attract more people with grace, love and mercy than when we put ourselves first. As the day went on, I humbled myself before many people and what I discovered is that in humility that wrecks self-confidence I felt free again. No longer filled with bitterness and pent up hostility, the events of the day no longer weighed me down. His Grace is all that I need. It always works better in my total weakness, submission, humility and undoing.
2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NLT)
All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[b] being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
The person who rubs you the wrong way is for your benefit. The situation that frustrates you beyond words is for your benefit. The problem that perpetually pops us in your life – yep it’s for your benefit. Why all do we have to endure all these things? Friend, they are temporary. God is using everything including every detail to allow His Goodness to flow through your life. (Romans 8:28) It is all about His Grace making it to you and then through you. This is the state of a believer. This is what defines us as Children of God. In our total weakness and annihilation, we discover His Strength. Perhaps if learned how to tap into God’s Grace, turn on the faucet that is His Word, and seek to become connected to the Source, we would stop facing so many streams, storms and hurricanes as God tries to remove that which is keeping us from His Goodwill and Favor that is all details of His Grace. In Sunday school as a child, I was told that GRACE was God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is indeed free, but it is not useless, worthless or invaluable in our life. Grace has become an excuse in the modern day church. Trampled by those who believe you can just walk in and out of God’s Presence and it will hold your sin for you. Grace is a gift from God for you and I so we can experience His Power in our life. It is our strength. It is our Source for every good thing that He has promised. It must flow to us, in us and through us to be effective. Is God’s Power working in your life today? Stagnant? Stifled? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? All that you need is more grace. God is faithful to give us what we ask for in the Name of His Son – Jesus. Why not ask for more grace today?
2 Peter 1:2-3 (NLT)
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.