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A Thought for the WeekóReceiving Godís Grace

Monday, October 16, 2006

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ)

God created us so that we would know Him, respect Him, and want to serve and worship Him. He created us with a need to receive revelation of His plan and purpose and His very nature into our spirit (our inner being). We were created with the need of His grace; even before man sinned, he needed Godís grace to know His will and to receive wisdom, strength, and understanding from Him. Manís sin only compounded the problem. After he sinned, man not only needed the grace for wisdom and revelation, but now he also needed grace for forgiveness and cleansing, and for restoration to Godís original plans and purposes. The Bible says: "Öwho [God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began..." (2 Timothy 1:9 NKJ).

When man sinned, he lost his ability to understand the things of God. He lost the ability and desire to know and be dependent upon Godís grace. He needed a new nature. One of the roles of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God who became a man, was to model for us a human life that was dependent upon the grace of God. Jesus worked out a new nature for us, showing us how to live by Godís grace. The Bible says: "And the Child [Jesus] grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2:40 NKJ). "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9 NKJ).

Paul knew, received, and lived in and by the grace of God. He says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ). Without Godís mercy and grace, man is eternally prone to running from God, trying to change Godís laws so that his sinful ways seem "OK," hiding his sin, excusing himself, blaming others for his sinful actions, and trying endlessly through his own efforts to make up for his sins. In His mercy, God continues to pursue men, convict them of their sinfulness, and extend His hand of grace to them, enabling them to be forgiven, cleansed, and changed so that they respect, receive, and love the ways of our Holy God.

God is awakening us to His grace. He is awakening His people to understand His grace, to seek more of His grace, to pray for His grace, to know and experience more of His grace, to receive His grace, to rejoice in His grace, to thank Him for His grace, to extend His grace to others, and to worship Him, the God of all grace.

Father, we rejoice that You have grace for us through Jesus. Help us to see our need and to know Your provision so that we can be and do all you have created us to be and do. Amen.

 

A Thought for the WeekóReceiving Godís Grace

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ)

God's grace has been defined as Godís unmerited favor extended to us through Jesus Christ. Godís grace is His acting on our behalf, doing for us what we cannot do, and enabling us to do what we now can do through Him. God has already acted for us by grace; He sent His Son to die for us. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:5: "By grace you are saved..." God has provided the sacrifice for our sins. His Son has died for us, suffering the consequences of our sins--Godís wrath and punishment. We no longer have to hide from God or try to make up for our sins through our "religious actions," or blame others for our wrong behavior.

God's grace is not only His having acted for us, but NOW He is acting for us and in us. His grace can be extended to His acting through us today so we can do supernatural and holy things through His grace. He will continue to extend and increase His grace to us in the future.

In 1 Corinthians 15:10, quoted above, we see that Paul knew the grace of God for salvation-- that he was saved by graceóAND that he also knew the grace of God for him to be the apostle God had called him to be. He testified that the grace extended toward him was not in vain; he knew that many who had grace extended to them did not receive it, and therefore Godís grace was inoperative in their lives; Godís grace extended to them was in vain.

We must understand, receive, and act upon the grace of God. Many have a limited understanding of Godís grace; they only know it as something extended in salvation. They have a deposit of $1 million in their heavenly grace account, but are only living like they have $100 in their account. I thank God for the grace of salvation. This is His greatest and most needed gift, BUT there is more. God has things for me to do. He has called us to heal the sick. He has called us to have supernatural wisdom and revelation so that the world will see the glory and greatness of God in us. He has called us to help all who are troubled, weary and hopeless, by bringing them revelation and life from above, as Jesus did.

God has asked us to do humanly impossible things, as Jesus did. Paul did humanly impossible things. We too are called to do these things, and by the grace of God we will do them. By the grace of God we will be confronted with evil powers and evil desires of people so that we will need the supernatural power of God to move through the days that are coming. But by the grace of God we will be able to do all we need to do, if we will receive and labor in Godís grace.

Jesus lived this way. He relied on the grace of God. Now He reigns in heaven, giving us the grace to know that we need grace! Now He reigns, allowing circumstances to come on the earth for us to be desperately in need of His grace. He has grace for us so we can know of and receive His grace.

Father, we rejoice in Your grace, given to Your Son to enable Him to act for us and now in us.Help us to receive, know, and live in Your grace. Amen.

 

A Thought for the WeekóReceiving Godís Grace

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ)

As new creatures in Christ we have the right and privilege to come to God for direction and strength for each situation. We learn to live by the grace of God. We realize that God asks humanly impossible things of us. He asks us to love our enemies, to be holy as He is holy, and to forgive others. He asks us to subdue the earth and to heal the sick. He asks us to realize and acknowledge our need for His grace in each situation. In short, we quickly realize that it is impossible in our own power to do all that God would teach us and enable us to do. We realize that we cannot even remember to ask for and rely upon His grace. We need His grace to do the things that only He can do in and through us. We must have His grace in order to do the humanly impossible things He desires of us. Yet, we come to realize that the things He asks are "Himpossible" through the grace He makes available to us.

We begin to realize that God has grace for us to know how to help others. He has grace for us to know what to say or do in difficult situations. We will learn to live by His grace, trusting Him to speak and act through us and to encourage us in being vessels of His love and grace to others. The Bible says: "Nevertheless, brethren, I [Paul] have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God..." (Romans 15:15 NKJ). "For I [Paul] say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3 NKJ).

We can trust in God. Just as He extended grace to us when Jesus died for our sins, He extends grace to us for our present-day situations. Just as He gives us grace for all our needs today, we can trust Him to have grace for us for tomorrow. Godís grace is endless. When God imparts His strength to us, He still has the same measure of strength to impart for our future. He is not limited or diminished in any way, nor does He change His ways. He is God, always wanting to extend grace to us from His infinite supply which is always available for all who come to Him. I can have peace, knowing that the God of all grace, Who has given me grace for this present situation, will also extend His grace to me to deal with whatever will come about in the future. I can find comfort and peace in the realization that he has grace for me to deal with tomorrow when the day comes. The Bible says: "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16 NKJ). "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians. 9:8 NKJ).

Father, we rejoice in Your grace, extended to us by having Your Spirit impart Your life in Christ to us. Help us to know Your grace, to receive Your grace, to live in Your grace and to do all You desire us to do and be through Your grace. Amen.

 

A Thought for the WeekóReceiving Godís Grace

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ)

Even before we knew of Godís grace, it had been working for us. As we grow in Him we become more aware of His grace which has always been available for us, and which He has given us on many occasions even when we did not ask.

The self-centeredness and pride in our old life kept us from seeing Godís hand, and has kept us from fully appropriating all God has had for us. However, as we grow in Him we see that on many occasions God sovereignly acted on our behalf-- protecting and preserving us, and preventing us from destroying ourselves and others.

We also become aware of the times He was extending grace to us and we refused it, only to suffer the consequences of our own hardheartedness. God in His mercy is continually awakening us to the grace He has prepared for us so that we can come into the fullness of His plan for us. The Bible says: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 NKJ).

We must learn to walk by grace. We must receive Godís grace so that we learn to continually seek, receive, and live in Godís grace. When we fail to receive Godís grace we easily become overwhelmed or even embittered by the events of life. The Bible says: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16 NKJ), and, "...looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Hebrews 12:15 NKJ).

Father, we rejoice that You have always been extending grace to us. Help us to humble ourselves, continuously acknowledging our need of Your grace, so that we can receive and know all Your grace brings to us. Amen.

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Serving God as He Unites Heaven and Earth in Christ

     
Rich and Kay Fick, Directors, Cyrus Ministries International

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