June 26, 2017

Your Grace Finds Me

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvIt’s there in the newborn cry
It’s there in the light of every sunrise
It’s there in the shadows of this light
Your great grace

It’s there on the mountaintop
It’s there in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the Creation to the Cross
Then from the Cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

It’s there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Your great grace; oh, such grace
Your great grace; oh, such grace

So I’m breathing in Your grace
And I’m breathing out Your praise
I’m breathing in Your grace
Forever I’ll be

Yes, Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Matt Redman
written along with Jonas Myrin

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Aren’t you glad to have God’s grace and mercy?!?  When Jesus came to Earth, He became a living example of God’s goodness.  Jesus came to show us how to live, how to love, and how to care for each other.

Jesus lived among the people.  He did not keep to Himself unless He needed to be refreshed.  Then he would go to a secluded place to be with his Father.  Jesus knew the importance of keeping a relationship with God.  People did not always honor Jesus’ need to be alone; and He would graciously spend time with the people who were so hungry for His guidance.

In so doing, Jesus showed us how to love. He had (and still has!) compassion for those who are lost and hurting.  He healed the sick and lame…He cast out demons…He raised the dead to life…and He fed the hungry. Jesus taught His disciples how to care, and show mercy, and give grace.

By caring for his disciples, Jesus was able to give us examples of how hard- hearted we can be. How many times have we made the same mistake, and then had the area of wrong revealed in such a way it broke our hearts to realize it?  The is the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives to bring us closer to Jesus.  We do not need to be ashamed of what we have done. Rather we need to praise Him, Jesus, for caring and loving us enough to show us our error.

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Let’s pray:  Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy.  Thank You for loving us despite our pride…our need to be first.  I pray You will continue to find me in my weakness and break me until I see You just as You are…not as I make You out to be.  Thank You for humbling me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Greater

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Bring your tired
Bring your shame
Bring your guilt
Bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s all right

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous, and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that’s ok

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the Cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

MercyMe ~ Bart Millard, Nathan Cochran, Barry Graul, Mike Scheuchzer, Robby Shaffer,  along with David Garcia, Ben Glover

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Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated
and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 AMP

This is another of my favorite songs.  As I was researching it, I came across the story behind the song.  I LOVE the story behind this song…. In a nutshell, Bart Miller’s son has a stuttering problem.  Some of the kids at church were making fun of him.  Bart told his son, “You know what I’ve told you.  That’s not them.  The enemy may be using them, but these kids are good kids.  They’re not coming after you, it’s just the enemy is taking shots at you.  He’s taking shots at you because you’re something special and he’s afraid of something you may do.”

We have all been there, right?  Satan loves taking potshots at all of us, hoping to make us feel less than acceptable.  He distracts us from our purpose by making us feel unlovable and unworthy. atan throws the past in our face, points out our shortcomings and tells us we will never be enough.  But 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) states, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” And Romans 8:1 (HCSB) tells us,

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus….

We have been given our freedom. We are redeemed.

The enemy loves it when we try to earn grace.  However, we don’t need to do anything for Christ to get right with God.  It has already been done for us.

It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor).
Romans 1:5a AMP

It is all about God’s grace.  We don’t have to try harder or be better to make Christ love us more.  Christ’s love for us is more than we can fathom and it will never change. We have something greater within us already and we need to understand just how He sees us—holy, worthy, redeemed!

So, the next time the devil starts taking potshots at you, remember…

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the Cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

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Father, I am so thankful that You are greater than the enemy and that You see me as lovable and worthy.  When satan takes shots at me, remind me there is no condemnation in You—that Your grace is all I need.  In Jesus’ name – Amen, it is so!

Eve: The Life-Giver

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As Eve opens her eyes, she hears a voice echoing an elated response. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.”  Her strong husband took hold of her and their laughter could be heard all throughout the garden. (Can’t you just hear it?)

They took walks together and had many long talks and they were naked and unashamed. They were in paradise and they were in fellowship with the Creator, their God. There were no shadows in Eden, no disorder and no discord or fear. Until the day that changed it all.

Enters the serpent, the enemy.  He said to Eve,”Did God really say that you can’t eat from any tree in the garden?”  He goes on to say,”You won’t die. God knows that your eyes will be opened and you will be like Him, knowing good and evil.” Eve listened closely. She remembered how God’s voice brought her joy. Could she possibly be like Him? It didn’t take her long to challenge what the serpent said. She took a bite of the apple and then shared with her husband. Darkness filled their souls and order was now disorder and trust was now fear. This was not what she expected.

Then they hear the voice of their Creator. They ran and hid. “Where are you?” God called. “I heard You and I was afraid, and so I hid from you because I was naked.” Sin had formed a separation between them and God.  And God, with a heavy heart, had to banish them from the garden.

But God is still a loving God and, even in the punishment, He promises Eve children! I can only imagine that Eve was at her lowest point…the life she had known was totally gone—they were now having to toil land and look for food instead of the fresh fruits of the garden. But God is a God of grace. He is now and He was then. He never stopped loving them. Yes He judged them but His grace was abundant.

Where are you today? Maybe you are at your lowest. You’re in a great position to get on your knees before God and soak in His love for you. Maybe you are in the garden with Him right now. Your relationship with Him has never been better and you are walking so close with the Creator. Relish this time. Listen to Him. You’re in a great position to hear from His heart. Maybe you don’t know Him and He is not Lord of your life. Would you like to? If so, then I invite you to pray with me at the end.  I want to close with His Word.

From the fullness of grace we have all received one blessing after another.

John 1:16

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21

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And now, if you are one of those who do not know this Lord and Savior, I invite you to pray this prayer with me:  Dear God, I know that my life isn’t what it should be and I know it is because You are not in it. I know I am a sinner and I need Jesus. I believe Jesus is Your son and He died to save me from my sins. I ask forgiveness. I want to know You more. Come into my heart and be my Savior. Thank You for what You are about to do in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Grace Covers Imperfections

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I don’t think there is any area of life where women, who want to live “right,” strive for perfection more than in their moral and spiritual life. Working to follow God’s commandments, trying to do more, and comparing our spiritual maturity or gifts can be an internal battle—if we allow it. Can I let you in on a secret I had to discover for myself?  Moral and spiritual perfection is impossible! Yet we try to “be good” through our own strength and will instead of allowing God’s grace to cover imperfections.

What a glorious day when we acknowledge that we are sinners, but have God’s redeeming love, acceptance, and forgiveness.  Do you allow God’s grace to cover your imperfections and relish in His love and mercy?  I have discovered that when He is my focus, I desire to follow His commandments, love, serve, and avoid comparing myself to others.

Deciding to be obedient to God out of love and devotion, can release you from the struggle of trying to be perfect within your own strength. The focus has to be turned from self and toward the heart of Jesus.

For me, when I focus on the following Scriptures, I realize that spiritual perfection is not God’s plan for me and I won’t always get it right.

  • Ephesians 1:4
    For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world
    to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Guess what? God knew we were not going to be perfect, yet He still loved and accepted us and said He would not hold blame.  Isn’t that amazing?

  • John 14:15
    Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Instead of trying to be “good or perfect,” focus on Ephesians 1 and how much God loves you. You can’t help then, but to want to love Him more and more because of what He has given. When our love for Him becomes the focus, we change. We no longer look at a set of rules to follow or care about how perfect we look. We follow His heart and commandments out of love for Him.

  • Philippians 1:6 (My life verse)
    Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you
    will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

God knew we were not going to be perfect. He created each of us for a special purpose, different from anyone else.  Our life and spiritual walk is a journey, not intended to be perfected until the day we see Him. His desire is that we grow in His love and seek Him more each day.

Today, stop trying to get it all right; stop trying to be perfect or like someone else. Fall in love with Jesus and seek Him more. Give up trying to be “good” within your own strength and allow God’s grace to cover your imperfections.

Selah

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God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us—Selah.
Psalm 67:1
A beautiful blessing, yes?  Do you remember when God told Moses to speak this blessing over the Israelites?
And the Lord said to Moses, Say to Aaron and his sons, This is the way you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them, The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  And they shall put My name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.
Numbers 6:22-27
This blessing had particular meaning because Moses and Aaron had been giving many ‘rules and regulations’ to the people from God.  Some of the instruction they received also included ‘cursings’ (consequences that would come due to sinful behavior).  And so, God gave  grace to them and had Aaron speak this blessing over them.
Note the seemingly odd word at the end of Psalm 67:1—selah.  This Hebrew word, selah, has no absolute and definitive meaning.  Most Biblical scholars understand it to connote something that is valued, or can be measured against (such as in a comparison).  One Scripture that immediately jumps to mind talking about value and comparison is Proverbs 31:10.
A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her?
She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
See, her worth (value) is being shown by comparison, i.e., ‘she is far more precious than jewels,’ and ‘her value is far above rubies or pearls.  We should consider her of much value because she is being compared to these costly gems.
There are quite a few—seventy plus—uses of this word selah in the Scriptures…and almost every one of them is in the Book of Psalms.  We are told to ‘consider the value’ of these things.    Here are but a few:
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.  Selah.  Psalm 32:7
In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever.  Selah.  Psalm 44:8
He will send from heaven and save me;… Selah.  God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.  Psalm 57:3
Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  Selah.  Psalm 62:8
How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!  They are ever praising You.  Selah.  Psalm 84:4
In our selected verse for today, Psalm 67:1, we are ‘considering the value’ of God graciousness…His blessing.  The value of God’s grace…oh my!  It would seem to me to be un-measureable!  It would have great and incredible ‘value,’ don’t you think?  But we are told to consider the value of it…so let us do just that!
  • Grace saves us by faith.  (Ephesians 2:8)
  • In our weakness, grace is sufficient.  (2nd Corinthians 12:9)
  • Esther found grace and favor in the king’s eyes.  (Esther 2:16-17)
  • Jesus came and brought grace and truth.  (John 1:15-17)

 

These are just a very few examples…the Scriptures are filled with examples of God’s grace being given in many, many, many different ways.  What verse comes to your mind that communicates about God’s grace?  Would you share it with us?

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Dear Lord, may we always be aware of Your blessings!   May the magnitude and the vastness of Your amazing grace always fill our hearts with praise and thankfulness!  Please help us to recognize Your grace and blessings; and tell others, Lord,  about the blessing of our great God!   We love You, Lord!
Amen.