I will find grace when I need it most

Every day that passes convinces me more that this life is not easy (perhaps not meant to be easy), and then I read a beautiful blog post that puts it all into perspective. Check out this post by Beth Vogt for a dose of fresh insight today. It really blessed me. And stay tuned next week for a guest post by Beth. Can’t wait for that!

Today I want to propel myself – and everyone else – into the weekend with one more powerful thought on God’s grace. It comes at an especially challenging time for me, which makes it all the sweeter. My dear husband continues to fight the battle in repairing his knee, and my littles fight battles against each other and me. For an overly sensitive girl, it can be difficult to push past their emotions and remember my place in the kingdom. That’s one reason I’m so thankful for my Bible. It reminds me of God’s grace.

I’m starting to equate grace with strength. Yes, it means free and unmerited favor, but if God’s favor doesn’t give me strength then nothing will. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to the very throne of God, not with heads hung low and fearful. What greatness is it that allows the created to approach with assurance and confidence the Creator? Only our God. I read this and realize that He hears my prayers. He sees my situation. He offers grace and strength to continue serving Him in spite of appearances.

I will find grace when I need it most.

With prayer, my husband will heal. By God’s grace, my littles will outgrow this stage of defiance and sibling rivalry. And by His grace, I will be strong and continue serving them in His name.

Whatever your situation looks like today, approach the throne boldly, with reverence and belief in His love for you. Ask for the things you need. Trust that He hears you. Then go share His grace with someone else in need.

What does grace look like to you?

 

God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace

I love this grace thing so much I’m going to do another post or two about it. It just takes that much hitting me over the head to get it to sink in. 😉

If you haven’t already looked through your Bible for the frequency of the word ‘grace’, I encourage you to do it. I like to use BibleGateway.com because I can look through any translation and it gives the verses as well as surrounding text. Pretty handy when I don’t have a concordance laying around. Click here for a keyword search on grace in the New Living Translation.

What I find when I look for grace is the incredible number of times it’s there:

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace (Romans 1:7).

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you (Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 16:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:28).

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace (Galatians 1:15).

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless (Galatians 2:21).

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16).

Choose any of these to confess daily, but today I choose Galatians 1:15.

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.

Remember the first post this week on grace? It broke down the meaning of the word. If I want to know that my life has value and meaning, if I want to live empowered and free of fear, I need only to realize how much the God of the universe loves me and how He desires to see me live in Him. Even before I was born, He chose me and called me by His marvelous unmerited, unearned, unconditional favor. Pair that with yesterday’s truth: His grace, or His favor, is all I need. It’s beginning to take hold, this idea that I don’t need to fear all these things. That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Say it with me today, and let it take hold in your mind: God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.

Is it sinking in for you? Do you believe that God’s grace is the sweetest, most powerful force in your life?

His grace is all I need

God is not the most powerful force in my life. Fear is.

Did you know many (if not most) people fear public speaking more than they fear death? More than they fear spiders? NO WAY. But it’s true, according to this very interesting fact sheet. It seems the root of this fear is related to self-presentation and can begin manifesting as shyness in childhood.

I’ve never considered myself afraid of public speaking. I’d much rather face a packed stadium than one lone, crazy-fast, skittering, deadly spider. (Aren’t they all deadly??) I can stand in front of a group and give a presentation if necessary, but I am absolutely terrified to dwell on how the audience received me. This goes back to my last post on grace and doing everything perfectly. I have a big fear of not being good enough.

Phew! I won’t ask how you received that… The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit.

Now that it’s out there, it’s time to deal with it. Time to face my fear. It’s time to book a speaking engagement. Enter hyperventilation and numbness in the tongue. And enter today’s confession from 2 Corinthians 12:9.

His grace is all I need.

Paul is describing his plea with God to remove the thorn in his side in this section of 2 Corinthians. We never find out what that thorn is, but we don’t need to. God’s answer made it irrelevant. “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

I like the way Paul thinks. He can boast about HIS weaknesses because that’s not his focus. The success he’s gained is fully credited to God. But there’s more to the story.

Paul didn’t rest in his weaknesses. He didn’t hide in a dark corner and cry that the thorn in his side made life and ministry too difficult, too taxing, or too overwhelming. He took action in spite of his hardship and God gave him grace. It reminds me of James 2:26. “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” I say I have faith, but is my faith strong enough to push past my fear of being found lacking?

It’s time to find out, fellow ‘fraidy cats. Before I can book a speaking engagement, I have to prepare. Even that takes faith – and heaps of grace – because my brain tends to freeze when I think about what to say. Still, I will step out in faith and prepare my topic. The next step is to call local organizations and ask about their speakers.

My heart is pounding so hard I think I’m going to pass out. But isn’t this what it’s all about? Doing the things I’m afraid of to show that God’s grace is bigger than my fear? Fear will no longer be the most powerful force. His grace is all I need.

What is your biggest fear?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit

I love words. Originations, definitions, variations. Little wonder I’m a writer, because I could spend hours lost in the depths of a good dictionary. The older the dictionary, the better, and a concordance… Well, I think I might have died and gone to heaven when I get my hands on a good concordance and a few hours to spare.

The word I find myself interested in lately is ‘grace.’ We use it so easily sometimes, but do we really understand what it means? What the Bible says about it? It’s a powerful foundation for our belief, and it carries incredible freedom when we grasp it.

My Bible (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation Second Edition, copyright 2007) says grace is God’s free and unmerited favor toward sinful humanity. Did you get that? Free and unmerited. From the creator of the universe. We can’t earn it. We can’t deserve it. We can’t stop it.

As if that’s not heavy enough, it points me toward the word ‘favor.’ “Gracious kindness, approval from a superior, a special privilege or right granted or conceded.” Another definition says, “to show partiality toward.”

God shows gracious kindness, approval, and partiality toward you and you can’t earn it, deserve it, or stop it. Take a minute to let that soak in. How does it feel?

I’m completely humbled.

The reason I’m so interested in grace right now is that I feel like I’ve ignored it. I’ve trivialized it and made it something I can earn with well-behaved children or a clean home. Healthy dinners, folded laundry, bills paid on time, good books, and a solid marketing plan for those books will surely make me good enough. If I can just fit all that in, plus Bible reading and daily prayer (and don’t forget pleasing everyone in sight while I’m at it), no one can find fault with me. I’ll be a good Christian, worthy of God’s favor.

But that’s ridiculous. I know the Bible says I can’t earn His favor. It’s a gift. Today’s truth, taken from Philippians 4:23, is to simply rest in that gift. To begin believing that God bestows His grace on me and I can accept it and relax in it.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit.

May it be with your spirit, and may we take a few minutes today to recognize its significance and simply accept it as we would a beautiful bouquet from a loved one. This is the best smelling flower we could ever receive.

What is your challenge in accepting God’s grace?

God answers my prayer

Yesterday’s confession was that God hears my voice. Knowing that truth begins to ease my feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Today’s confession takes another step.

It’s a wonderful thing to be heard, isn’t it? To be understood. To be loved so much that someone takes the time to listen and validate me. Warm fuzzies abound. But does it stop there? We’re heard, and then we go on about our business with no outward change? My warm fuzzies are cooling and going flat.

The God of the universe is abundant in love and grace and mercy. He never ‘stops there.’ Psalm 65:5 says, “You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.”

God answers my prayer.

But not only does He answer it, he does so faithfully and with awesome deeds. Who am I that God should hear me? Who am I that He should answer me? And who am I that He should show me faithful and awesome things?

I am His beloved, His creation. Begin your day with the knowledge that you are God’s beloved and His creation. He longs to hear your voice and faithfully answer you with awesome deeds.

What awesome things has He done in your life? I’d love to hear them!