It’s something we cannot possibly earn and certainly don’t deserve. If we all got what we deserved, it probably wouldn’t be pretty, at least in my case it wouldn’t. Grace. God’s Grace. His undeserved favor in our lives. Grace is a word that’s thrown around in culture but rarely unpacked. We have a ‘grace’ period in paying our monthly mortgage payment. We say ‘grace’ over our food. When we look into our lives and see what Jesus has done, we start to remember his grace in a whole new way. We fall into a state of thanksgiving and humble thoughts about who and what God has rescued us from. We remember what we used to be, a wretch, who said yes to a God who wants to teach us his grace the rest of our lives. This Holiday season allow God to use you to be a ‘grace giver’. Allow him to use you to be a ‘dispenser’ of his grace. His awesome, powerful, life changing grace. Offer it to those who certainly don’t deserve it, from the world’s viewpoint, and it will glow even brighter. It will take an intentional effort on your part & will more than likely take you by surprise. You will find yourself right in the middle of the moment where you get to be a ‘grace dispenser’. Will you ignore the opportunity or allow the Holy Spirit to work through you? You get to decide in the freewill God gives you. Watch God use you this season to be a ‘grace giver’ and a ‘dispenser’ of his grace. It will bless the person receiving the grace and bless the giver also. His Grace is Amazing……
Have you ever felt far away from God and wonder what in the world happened? As most of us have heard, God has not gone anywhere, its us who have moved. Moved in what way? The one thing that gets in our way that we never see coming. It happens when we least expect it. It happens inside the church and outside the church. In a culture where we are encouraged to stand up and fend for ourselves. What we are talking about is “Pride”. First of all, if you think you have never struggled with this, you are just too proud to admit it. We all struggle with pride in one form or another.
The key verse in James 4:6 says that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Pride is actually one of the things that God hates. I am not just making that up. Check out Proverbs 6:16-19. The Bible shows us here that there are 6 things God hates and 7 that are detestable to him. The first one is “haughty eyes” or pride. Pride says that we are really fine without God. We don’t need him for our life and can fully take care of things ourselves. No thanks God. Pride keeps us away from God.
So, how can we come near to God? I would like to give you 5 ways that the brother of Jesus, James, gives us to bring us closer to God.
1. Submit to God. (NIV) Humble yourselves to God (NLT)
Verse 7 “So humble yourselves before God.”
Whichever version you like its pretty clear what we are to do. By nature, we don’t want to submit to anyone, especially someone we can’t see. So to submit or humble ourselves to God is an active step of action. When we are submitting to Him we are giving up our control over our lives and asking God to take over. Take the reigns Lord, sit in the drivers seat, I will be the passenger.
2. Resist the Devil
Verse 7 “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Notice we are submit to God first, then we are able to resist the devil. There is an order to this for a reason. We don’t have enough strength or power to do this on our own. The devil has been doing this for much longer than we have. He is a master liar and hates us and any plans God has for us. All the more reason we should allow God to fight the battle for us.
3. Wash your hands & purify your hearts
Verse 8 “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
We are to be cleansed from our sin. Ask God to forgive your sins and wash you clean from the guilt and condemnation that can stain your heart. Just as we shower to clean our physical body, we need to cleanse ourselves spiritually come into his presence.
4. Grieve, Mourn & Wail.
Verse 9 “Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.”
Don’t be afraid to go have a good cry. We are allowed to express real grief for the past sins we have committed. In fact, God’s Word wants us to do that with a freedom that your creator gave us.
5. Humble yourselves before the Lord.
Verse 10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
When we take the posture in our heart of humbling ourselves before God, he lifts us up. He brings us to a new place with him. He knows our heart and the true cry of our heart. Either we can humble ourselves or we can wait until our circumstances humble us, pick one.
Remember, we were created by a God who wants us to have a real love affair with him. To put him first in our thoughts, ways, actions and life choices. He wants to spend time with him as a father loves spending time with his children. When we practice these 5 things, we are assured to discover a deeper relationship with Him.
Church should be a exciting, thrilling experience! Anytime we are able to be in the presence of God with other believers and worship Him, all is well. There is something about the anticipation of being with like minded people. Going to church should not be boring, routine or seem weird. It should come as natural as stepping out of your house into Gods house, only with more of expecting to feel and sense his presence. The upbeat music, the raising of hands and voices, the inward look at ourselves, all these sacred things make church a highlight of the week. It should be like icing on the cake of our relationship with our Creator. We practice His presence all week long and then on the weekend we celebrate Him with others. There is nothing more satisfying than watching the life transformation of a persons heart and life. It is why we do what we do. It’s the heart and soul of life!!
I look forward to being a part of a greater work in leading others to Christ. Life is not about ourselves, it’s about others. When we can invest in the lives of others, we can freely give what God has so graciously given to us.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
In Luke 15 ,we have all heard of the familiar parable of the prodigal son. One character we don’t hear enough about is the awesome father. His young son blows all his inheritance, gives his dad the “I am outta here” and takes a voyage into his pleasures. The father in this parable represents our Heavenly Father. He portrays the patience and forgiveness that our Heavenly Father wants us to rejoice in. In fact, he is waiting and looking for the young son to return one day. When he does come home, the Bible tells us that he runs toward his son and gives him a kiss. How indecent of a father to run toward his own kid and then give him a sloppy wet kiss on the cheek. But that’s the heart and emotion of a dad who is beyond thrilled to see his son return! The Father was “filled with love and compassion” when he saw his son. In my humanness, I would not have been filled with any of those emotions. My words would have been, “its about time and I told you so.” But not God, that’s not how he rolls. My prayer is that WE would be “filled with Love and Compassion that would lead us to Action“. Our hearts would overflow so much that we can’t help….but do something. Take some action for God. After all, look at the action that he took out of his love. He sent Jesus to die for us on the cross. That’s a “love and compassion” that led to some serious action. Action that we can be thankful for every breathing moment of our lives.