God’s Gift Called Grace

Ephesians 2a.pngBut 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.                                                 Ephesians 2:4-9

John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement, grace was the powerful process by which believes came to experience God and know God’s salvation. Wesley believed grace was ever present and influential in believers coming to repentance. He believed grace could lead believers to love God with all their being and to love neighbors and the world as they loved themselves. Mr. Wesley understood God’s grace as a unified piece, but teaching he defined grace as having three aspects; prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

Prevenient Grace: Is the grace that comes to us even before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go.

Justifying Grace: Brings a big change to the relationship we have with God. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgiven by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, (right or left-justified) justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. This is when “God reaches out to a person with accepting and pardoning love.” This change includes feelings of peace, hope, and joy. Such as experience “may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process.”

Sanctifying Grace: Prevenient grace is God meeting you at every corner. Justifying grace is God reaching out to you with love. When you say yes to the invitation of justifying grace, you turn a corner in your faith journey. One of the most controversial teachings of the early Methodist movement was that it is possible for us to realize Christian perfection in this life, perfect love, loving perfectly. Wesley called this process “going on to Christian perfection,” or sanctifying grace. This part of grace challengers believers to go deeper in faith, to love the world more energetically, and to keep growing in the knowledge and love of God. For Wesley, God’s sanctifying grace led believers to have their hearts “habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor. For you, this might mean coming to understand your life as more and more focused on living by faith. Faith becomes the center out of which you live. Little by little, God’s sanctifying grace uncovers more and more of God’s image in you. As one who has been forgiven, you become more forgiving. As one who is loved, you become more loving. Wesley emphasized that we are continually filled with God’s love, we are led more fully to acts of mercy and works of justice.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends npoty

Advertisements

Blue Christmas

Romans 15.pngTragedies unfold each year pausing for nothing. Heartless shootings that result in lives lost with no cause. The Las Vegas Massacre. The Texas Church shooting. Those left behind consumed with grief which feels as if their hearts are being ripped out, no words can describe its depth.
Natural disasters destroying countless people. Leaving communities once thriving fighting to stay alive. Desperately trying to rebuild. Each natural disaster claiming lives. Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Wildfires in California.
Then the issue of human sin within the truth of Hashtag Me Too. Ugly, heartless sin which begs to be hidden. Revealing the horror humans are capable of. Of course, these few things are only the surface of the devastation surrounding us. Financial difficulties, abuse, and relationship issues add to the impact. Additionally, much devastation consumes us. Heartbreak, depression, anxiety, panic attack, grief, and personality disorders.   The hardships are unending. The news reminds us of this often. Is there meaning in life? Any purpose in all the pain? One can even question if there is anywhere safe anymore. It is draining; sucking the joy from us. At times, we feel dead inside, nearly falling apart as the world caves in burying us.                                                                                 As we all think of these things within our own lives it does not mean that there is no hope for any of us. As I read these words today in the book of Romans 15:13 written by the Apostle Paul “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We humans try day in and day out to find things that can fill the void we are feeling and have been feeling for a long time. Through difficulties around in this world. Rejoice that Jesus is always present with us. Knowing Jesus can enable us to cope with any and all circumstances, strengthening us as we all look to trust the baby in the manger. No matter how hopeless your situation may seen, Jesus assure you that all things are possible with God. Jesus is the Truth and therefore he is true to all of his promises. They provide a rock-solid foundation on which you can live and move and have your being. Since he is the living word, affirming your trust in his promises is an excellent way to draw near him. As any or all of us bask in the beauty of His Presence, you may find yourself wanting to praise Jesus, the Christ, The “Great I Am” Do not restrain that holy impulse, instead, give it a voice. While you are worshipping Jesus, new hope will grow within you. Hope is in Jesus this Christ Season may the Christ Child give you the joy, love and peace that you long to have.

Merry Christmas

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Love Is Indispensable!

1 Corthians 13If I speak in the tongues of men or of angles, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease, where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (woman) I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall known fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1:13

Nothing can separate you from God’s love. When you trust him as your Savior, he unites himself to you in eternal matrimony. Many things threaten to rip apart this holy bound, principalities and powers, controlling people, dire circumstances, but nothing can succeed, not even death. In fact, dying opens the way to ecstatic enjoyment of God, exponentially better than your best enjoyment here on earth! I embody not only perfect love but all the fullness of the Deity as well. In Christ you have everything you can ever want. Feelings of emptiness can serve as signals, reminding you to turn back towards him. No matter what you are doing, I can be a co-participant with you. As you invite Christ into more and more aspects of your life, you will discover a growing contentment within you. In times of adversity you can lean on him for support: in joyous times you can celebrate with him. Jesus is as near to you as a whispered prayer, even nearer. His banner over you is Love.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Let Everything That Breathes Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150.pngPraise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise his with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.                                         Psalm 150

Sacrifice thank offering to God. Tell of his works with songs of joy!  Bearing your circumstances bravely even thanking God for them, which is the highest form or praise. God has been training you and I in the discipline of thankfulness for a long time. Yet we at times still find it hard to thank him for our own suffering or for others we know who are suffering. Sometimes we are able to do this, and when we do, we find that we become closer to God our Father. Thanking God for adversity requires a deep level of trust in his goodness, his mercy, and his love. People who are leaning on their own understanding cannot achieve this depth of trust. As you look to the scriptures to Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. We are learning to endure our circumstances bravely with thankfulness and we have experienced personal benefits from this. But there is more–much more! Your grateful acceptance of adversity has major repercussions far beyond ourselves :in heaven as well as on earth. Besides having Power to weaken spiritual stronghold of evil, your sacrifice of thanksgiving rings bells of joy throughout heavenly realms. On earth, our patient endure of suffering seeds out ripples of good tidings in every-widening circles to strengthen and encourage God’s people. So in every and all circumstances in your life or in mine we should always Praise the Lord!

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Record My Misery, Oh My God!

Psalm 56,.pngBe merciful to me, my God for my enemies are in hot pursuit, all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long, in their pride many attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise–in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. Because of their wickedness do not let them escape; in your anger, God bring the nations down. Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, those word I praise–What can man do to me? I am under vows to you my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of my life.                                                 Psalm 56

There are many times in your life I am sure, as well as in my that we cry ourselves to sleep because of some kind of physical or emotional pain deep within our spirit. We begin to wonder God are you out there somewhere, why does my heart cry out in pain, doesn’t anyone understand, and believe me at times we simply don’t understand it all. We are in the grief period of time in our lives and we seek for some compassion and understanding from you, Oh God. If we are still and Know that I am God (Psalm 46:10) we can hear that no matter what trials you or I are enduring, we can count on God’s love and his compassion to get us through. God can bring good out of everything he allows in our life, but much of what he can do is far beyond our understanding. When adversity strikes, we tend to feel as if God displeased with us. We just don’t realize that God most devoted followers are especially targeted in spiritual warfare. The devil and his demonic underlings delight in tormenting those who lives close to the Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we are going through times of suffering and afflictions. and our troubles seem endless, we need to remember that Jesus is tenderly present in our afflictions. Instead of lamenting the way things are search for Jesus in the wreckage of adversity. You or I will not fail to find the Master when we do search for him with our whole hearts.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Tea Time With God!

Psalm 46a

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, through the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, through its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. The word trust is in the scriptures more than one hundred and fifty times, and yet we always have a very difficult time in trusting God with our own lives. We maybe able to tell others to trust in him but we do not take our own advice with the same matter. God is an Awesome God! Who but him could be everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working in our behalf? It does amazes me that one so great as the Almighty would care about all the many little details in our lives but he does. When you ponder these glorious truths, we can feel safe, knowing you are never alone. When you don’t keep these truths before you, you fall back into your default mode; straining and striving as if outcomes were totally up to you and you alone. When you really need to keep God always before you- not just truths about him. It’s so easy for God’s children to confuse knowledge about him with knowing him. The apostle Paul understood this distinction: He wrote needing Power, through God’s Spirit, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is His love for all mankind. Knowing God is so much more than an activity of the mind. It is largely a matter of trusting him. Sometimes you are keenly aware of God’s presence, at other times, this awareness is little or even absent. When you feel alone, you need to rely on your trust in trust The “Great I Am” Continue to live and communicate as if he is with you just like a friend or a love one is with you because truly he is. Jesus as promise us in the book of Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you or never will I forsake you, and that is a promise he has always kept with all of mankind. So take the time to get to know him and truly trust the Savior of the world Jesus Christ!

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Heart

Ezekiel 36.pngI will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.                     Ezekiel 36:26

Therefore if any person is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!                                                     2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Jesus tells us to come just as we are with all of our short comings, and he will give us a new heart and put a new spirit within you and me. He is aware of the many little different things that may changes the beauty of our hearts. He wants us to Trust him to do what we are unable to do, remove the stony bits one by one. Do not expect this work in you or me to be painless. Heart surgery is serious, and it always involves pain. Many of the hard things you have experienced were, unknown to him. Jesus skillful operations on our heart. When we go through those very difficult times we need to look up to him with a smile and thank him for the renewal that he is working within us. This act of faith does not instantly stop you or me from suffering, but it does lend meaning to our pain. Marvel at the wonder of being a new creation grafted into Jesus–the Messiah. You and me are forever set free from the condemning law of sin and death. I can rejoice in this glorious truth even while I am suffering because I am not alone. Since God our Creator of all that is, and has made me in his image, I have a wealth of creative powers within me. I need to strive to look at my situation from a fresh perspective, eager to collaborate with Christ as he is making those necessary changes within me and even you. Through God the Lord of the universe, he desire to work in partnership with us. As we say yes to this sacred adventure, I know that in time I will become the person that God have design me to be as I continue to Praise the “Great I Am”

 

Grace and Peace to you My Friends