September 29, 2009

Got Grace?

There are a lot of "buzz words" in the Christian venacular. One is "grace." We use it a lot. But do we really know what it means?

I have often heard it defined as: "unmerited favor." In other words kindness from God which we don't deserve. An acronym often used for GRACE is God's riches at Christ's expense. Both of these accurately describe grace. Here's another definition that I like: the exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.

At times I don't think we realize the lavish amounts of grace which are poured out upon us. We think of grace as a one-stop at the cross. Yet God is extending grace to us every moment of every day. He is constantly loving, kind, and merciful. Why? Because He of His divine nature. Because of Who He is He has made us fit to have a relationship with Him by allowing His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.
Here is what The Message has to say about it:

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!
Romans 5:1-11 The Message

Set right with God by means of Christ's sacrifical death, no longer at odds in any way, in an amazing friendship with God, unable to round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives---now that is amazing grace.

I believe there is a flip-side to grace. When we really "get grace" we want others to get it too. We find ourselves on the look out much like a personality affixed to a billboard sign "GOT GRACE"? And when we see someone in need of it we can't help but extend it. Afterall, we have been given so much having deserved so little. Got Grace? If you have I believe you cannot help but give it to others. It is a mark of a life forever changed by God's love.

As I travel the highways and byways of the internet I read stories of hurts and stories of healing. I read messages of misery and messages of hope. I meet people who are talking about making a difference and I meet people who are making a difference. They are extending the kind of grace that they themselves received.

Today I learned about a place called The Sarah Home for Women. Part of was The Well Ministry of Rescue in Chico, California this residential facility, which was founded by Janet Bennett, is making a difference in the lives of dealing with drug or substance abuse issues. These women are recovering from from tragedies, abuse, and the loss of loved ones. Many are religious outcasts. All are deeply hurting and in need of grace.

Serena Woods, author of "Grace is For Sinners", knows more than a little about the subject. After visiting her blog today I was left totally speechless. I want to know her story. She is partnering with The Sarah Home by offering a special discount on a case of her books for the women in recovery. Jesus Christ has the power to transform and heal lives. Serena Woods' testimony is living proof and even though I have not yet read her book (though I would like to read and review it) I believe it will have a powerful impact on the women at The Sarah Home for Women.

My heart goes out to people who are hurting. Jesus' heart did the very same thing. Perhaps yours does also and you would like to help the Sarah Home in their ministry. If so you can purchase books or donate funds to purchase books by going here.

SisterLisa, a new internet friend of mine, has asked us to help spread the word about this fundraiser. She is having a drawing for a $20 Starbucks gift card and a copy of Serena Woods book, Grace is for Sinners to those who help spread the word. You can find more details about that by visiting her blog.

Serena Woods' book title is what the great commission is all about. Grace Is For Sinners. God's message of grace is something we should be shouting from the rooftops and sharing with the whole world!

If you are interested in "Grace is For Sinners" please visit this site.

For more information on this fundraiser stop by AG Ministries blog.


sarah said...

I defnitely 'got grace.' He did for me what nothing else could. He reached so low, to the depth of darkness to free me from the drugs, the streets, the pain....

Grace. Without it I wouldn't be alive. Sarah

Melinda Lancaster said...

Amen, Sarah. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wonderful testimony.

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