Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Thinking more about growing in grace

I read this earlier today and gave me pause to think about “growing in grace” in a way I had never considered before:

“The term growing in grace (2 Peter 3:18) is most often used to indicate growth in Christian character. While I think that usage has merit, a more accurate meaning is to continually grow in our understanding of God’s grace, especially as it applies to us personally, to become progressively more aware of our own continued spiritual bankruptcy and the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor of God. May we all grow in grace in this sense.”–Jerry Bridges. Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey Devotional (p. 140). Kindle Edition.


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David Murray asks:

What do you see when you look at your neighbor? Do you see his dodgy business dealings, his chaotic garage, his overgrown lawn, his marital tiffs, and his bad language?

Is that all you see? Is there nothing good you can think of?

What about the time he helped you start your car that icy morning? What about his devotion to his wife (despite their noisy arguments)? Or his kindness to your children? Or his heroic service in Operation Desert Storm?

Are these qualities not worth pondering and appreciating?

Now let’s get in the SUV and go to your workplace. Right, what do you see there?

A barking boss, cheating colleagues, complaining customers, and unreliable computers?

Is that all you see? I know it’s all you talk about when you come home every night. But are you seeing the whole picture? Is there no one with any skill or talent? Does everyone treat everyone like dirt every day? Are there no kind words or actions in the rest zone or staff room? Think of all that the machines and computers do accomplish each day. Do customers never express appreciation?

David wants us to do something different so he writes,

I don’t want to deny or downplay sin and its terrible impact on our world and its people, on our neighbors and family. However, if all we see in these areas is sin and misery, we’re closing our eyes to God’s work of grace all over the world and all around us. Yes, God’s common grace is really that common; it extends to all places and all people. There’s no inch or milimeter, tribe or people, neighbor or son, where His grace is not found to some degree.

If we do shut out common grace we’re also shutting down worship and joy, because the more we recognize God’s common grace, the more we will worship God and the more joy we will have in our lives. Common grace produces common worship and common joy. It will change the way we look at everyone and everyplace. Instead of just looking for evidence of sin, usually not hard to find, we will also look for evidence of God’s work, and rejoice in it. We will be less suspicious and cynical, more open to beauty, more enthusiastic to praise and appreciate God and His works.

Seriously ask yourself, challenge yourself, are you seeing the whole picture? Or are you overlooking or ignoring a number of benefits and blessings in your workplace?

There’s a lot more in David’s article “God’s Everywhere Grace” in which he explains his reason for wanting to change the way we talk about and look for common grace

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The proportions of grace

The redeemed have all from the grace of God. It was of mere grace that God gave us his only-begotten Son. The grace is great in proportion to the excellency of what is given. The gift was infinitely precious, because it was of a person infinitely worthy, a person of infinite glory; and also because it was of a person infinitely near and dear to God.

The grace is great in proportion to the benefit we have given us in him. The benefit is doubly infinite, in that in him we have deliverance from an infinite, because an eternal, misery, and do also receive eternal joy and glory.

The grace in bestowing this gift is great in proportion to our unworthiness to whom it is given; instead of deserving such a gift, we merited infinitely ill of God’s hands.

The grace is great according to the manner of giving, or in proportion to the humiliation and expense of the method and means by which a way is made for our having the gift. He gave him to dwell amongst us; he gave him to us incarnate, or in our nature; and in the like though sinless infirmities. He gave him to us in a low and afflicted state; and not only so, but as slain, that he might be a feast for oursouls.

— Jonathan Edwards On Knowing Christ (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1993), 36-37.  HT:  FI

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David Murray posts this by an anonymous writer:

“Ive learned a lot about grace since being married – mainly in receiving it. But I’ve never learned so much about grace as I have in parenting teenagers – mainly in giving it.

  • The grace to love them when they don’t want to be loved.
  • The grace to love when they are not very loveable.
  • The grace to keep giving when it seems I can never give enough.
  • The grace to keep giving when there’s no giving in return.
  • The grace to. . . .

keep reading!

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What is grace?

Here’s a pretty awesome answer–click to enlarge

HT: Eddie

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Why? Why? Why? . . .

Jeremy Walker asks, “Why?”  When is the last time you asked this many why questions?

And he shares the answer to all of these questions (see below).

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,

And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

So asked William Cowper. And so might each child of God ask, with a thousand more questions besides.

Why was I chosen to receive life, when many die in their sins? Why did the Lord show mercy to me? Why was I not made a mere beast? Perhaps, why was I born into a Christian home? Or, why did God send a true friend to preach the good news to my needy soul? Why was I even made to feel my need? Why does the Lord bear with me so patiently? Why am I not cast off on account of my continued sins? Why is forgiveness so freely and readily extended? Why does God love me? Why did God ever love me? Why does he love me still? Why did he send his beloved Son to suffer and die in my place? Why was the Lamb of God sacrificed for me? Why is a sinful wretch like me not in hell?

Why did I end up in a church where my soul is cared for and fed, or at least good spiritual food is offered? Why, if there is no church which can care for my soul, am I sustained? Perhaps, why were Christian friends, a Christian spouse, Christian fellowship provided for me? Why am I fed and clothed? Why do I have any measure of physical and spiritual health? Why have pastors and preachers been sent to minister to my heart? Why are they faithful to me when I make it hard for them? Why was I not set in a place where I would never hear God’s saving truth? Why do I have so many resources available as a means to my growth in grace? Why do I receive so many warnings about temptation and sin? Why do I receive so many counsels toward holiness? Why do I hear faithful sermons? Why do they do me good?

Why do so many seeming coincidences work out for my blessing? Why do so many seeming tragedies work a likeness to Christ in me? Why does the medicine, though often bitter, always do me good? Why am I sustained amidst persecutions? Why, though tempted, do I stand? Why, though falling, do I rise again? Why, though sinning, am I restored? Why does the ever-flowing, over-flowing fountain of Christ’s blood remain open to me? Why, though despised, am I not cast down? Why do all things work together for my good?

Why are my prayers heard? Why do I receive what I need when I do not know what to pray, have no appetite to pray, or forget to pray? Why do I have opportunities to serve the God of my salvation? Why do my efforts secure any good? Why does God draw a straight line with such a crooked stick as I am? Why am I never alone? Why does he never leave me or forsake me? Why does the devil not readily devour me? Why do I advance? Why do I even stand?

Why do I not need to fear death? Why do I have comfort when other saints die? Why has the grave lost its ultimate sting? Why do I have any hope in this world or for the world to come? Why do I anticipate full and final likeness to Jesus Christ? Why do I have the promise of eternal bliss? Why shall I inherit an unshakeable kingdom? Why am I an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ? Why do I look forward to heaven?

And the answer is. . . .click here and scroll down to fifth paragraph from the end.

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Trevin Wax has a must-read for “stay-at-home” moms.  An excerpt:

The last thing you consider yourself to be is a “good mom.” And you think to yourself, It’ll be a miracle if my kids turn out okay.

And – surprisingly – that’s right where God wants to meet you. The place where you admit your powerlessness and your need for Him.

It’s only by God’s grace that any kid grows up to be a force for the kingdom.

You see, there are no perfect kids and no perfect mothers. No matter what you read in blogs, see in magazines, and learn in books. There are sinful kids and sinful moms and dads.

And the only thing greater than both is the grace of God. The God who says “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The God who loves to forgive, to transform, and empower.

God loves you – not because you are a good mother but just because you are His precious child.

God loves you – not because you’ve mastered all the skills of parenting but because He has.

It’s divine grace that will transform your parenting – not guilt.

It’s grace that will keep you going and serving and scrubbing when you’re exhausted and worn out.

It’s grace that will conquer your feelings of inadequacy and remind you of God’s love for you in Christ.

It’s grace that goes for the heart of your kids, not just their behavior.

Read more from “Dear Stay-at-home Mom” and pass it on to a mom who may need it today!

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Scotty Smith:

Most holy and gracious Father, today my heart is filled with praise for the hyper-abundance of grace which you’ve given us in your Son, Jesus. Through the failure of the first Adam, we were born spiritually dead—willing subjects, coconspirators, members in good standing in the reign of sin and death. But now, through the work of the second Adam, Jesus, we’ve been made alive and now live as objects of your affection and subjects in Jesus’ kingdom—the reign of righteousness, peace, and joy—the reign of grace. . . .

Keep reading this prayer magnifying God’s grace in His children’s lives!!

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When this Truth of God enters the soul, it breeds zealots, martyrs, confessors, missionaries, saints. If any Christians are in earnest and full of love to God and man, they are those who know what Grace has done for them. If any remain faithful under reproaches, joyful under losses and crosses—they are those who are conscious of their indebtedness to Divine Love. If any delight in God while they live and rest in Him as they die—they are the men who know that they are justified by faith in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly.

All glory be to the Lord who lifts the beggar from the dunghill and sets him among princes, even the princes of His people! He takes the very cast-offs of the world and adopts them into His family and makes them heirs of God by Jesus Christ! The Lord grant us all to know the power of the Gospel upon our sinful selves! The Lord endear to us the name, work and Person of the Sinner’s Friend! May we never forget the hole of the pit from where we were drawn, nor the hand which rescued us, nor the undeserved kindness which moved that hand! From now on let us have more and more to say of Infinite Grace. “Free Grace and dying love.” Well does the old song say, “Ring those charming bells.” Free Grace and dying love—the sinner’s windows of hope! Our hearts exult in the very words! Glory be unto You, O Lord Jesus, ever full of compassion.

~ Charles Spurgeon

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“We need grace for the little things just as much as we need grace for the big things.”

That’s a lesson I need to reminded of constantly.  Pastor Mike Leake shares how he was reminded of this lesson again when he tried to fix a garbage disposal and then applies this lesson to all of life–even our prayer life.

Read “Grace for the Little Things.”

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