Tag Archives: Grace

Soaking In

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
[Romans 3:23-24]

Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?

My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.

GIFT!

GRACE!

No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch

Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.

Wow, I mean, WOW!

Soak that in.

A sinner saved by God.

Justified.

Wow!

The Pastor -|—

Understanding Repentance Rightly

I am working through a devotional series in my YouVersion Bible app called Acts of Repentance. The first two days were great, but day three really bothered me and thus I wrote a correction for them.

Day 1 focused on Psalm 51 where David is writing following his affair with Bathsheba and subsequently being called out on it. The devotion gave a list of four things we should do: (1) Acknowledge our sin, (2) Ask for forgiveness, (3) Ask for renewal, and finally, (4) Ask God for help to use your sin to teach those who are engaged in sin and are in need of repentance. I thought that list was helpful.

Day 2 focused on Luke 13:1-8…
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.

The take away from this devotion was: (1) What fruit are you bearing in your life currently? (2) What sins do you need to repent of in order to start bearing the kind of fruit God desires. Once again, helpful.

But now, day 3…

From 1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Here’s the beginning of the devotion that followed this text:
Repentance results in forgiveness. We repent and God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Repentance is our action and forgiveness is God’s reaction to us out of His perfect love for us.

NO, NO, NO!!!

What this is saying is that forgiveness is dependent on our action. True, we need to make a confession of our sin but repentance is not something we do in order to curry favor with God so that we can be forgiven, but rather repentance is something we do BECAUSE we are forgiven. Repentance is something we do to honor God because God is worthy. When we make repentance a work, then God’s grace is taken out of the picture. Remember the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees wanted to stone her for her offense but after Jesus silenced the crowd he turned to the woman and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” The forgiveness came first and the call to repent came next. True, there was no confession on the woman’s part (at least nothing that was recorded) but the point is that Jesus didn’t wait for her to clean up her life first.

God acts first. We respond.

Thus the devotional should have read:
Forgiveness results in repentance. We repent because God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Forgiveness is God’s action and repentance is our reaction to God because of His perfect love for us through Jesus Christ.

There, that works. I wonder of the author of this devotion will humbly accept my correction 🙂

The Pastor -|— 

Turn Me Back

Father God,
I am ever mindful
that You are holy
and I am not.
I go our own way
and chase after other gods.
I am a sinful creature;
seeking my own glory.

Oh God,
heal my heart and turn me back to You,
in the name of Jesus,
for I am a miserable sinner.

And as I seek after You
may I always find a rich mercy
and an abundant grace
to fill my heart and heal my soul;
overflowing to Your glory.
May the joy of Your forgiveness ooze from my being
and infest the lives of others.

Through Jesus Christ I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Think of You

To think of You,
oh God,
is to be reminded of my sinful estate;
my fallen nature;
and my constant disobedience.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to run to You in confession;
to seek Your mercy;
and to fall at Your feet.

[Enter Jesus]

To think of You,
oh God,
is to hear forgiveness;
to know grace;
and to feel Your love.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know peace in chaos;
hope in despair;
and tranquility in upheaval.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know everything will be alright;
to be reminded that You are in control;
and to be filled with joy.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know that I am Your child,
wrapped in Your arms,
and keep safe for all eternity.

To think of You…
🙂

The Pastor -|—

Beneath

image

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I am humbled by your love.
It’s for sinners that you died;
through grace coming from above.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I’m convicted of my sin.
But sacrificed as the lamb;
My Savior was slain for me.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I am captured by your grace.
Undeserving as I am
but life’s given by your hand.

Beneath the cross of Jesus;
reflecting on Your mercy,
Your precious Son died for me
to heal me forever more.

The Pastor -|—

Grace and Mercy ~ A Prayer

Father God,

Your grace and mercy is something that doesn’t make sense.
I mean, sinners, us, receiving mercy and forgiveness.
Sinners receiving chance after chance to change our ways and be obedient.
Sinners who constantly turn on You.
Sinners who would much rather be their own god
or acquiesce to weak worldly gods.

To reflect on such depravity sends chills up and down my spine.
But it is because of such depravity
that Jesus comes.
It is because of such darkness within
that Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
It is because of such self-glorification
that Jesus dies and rises,
FOR US.

Oh God,
may Your Spirit continue to shine the light of Truth in our hearts
that we may always run to You.
And once in Your arms
may all worship and thanksgiving be given to You
for Your incredible grace and mercy.
Oh God, there is no god like You
and therefore You are worthy of all praise.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

What is Acceptable to God? (Psalm 19:14)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

The words of my mouth.
The meditations of my heart.

Have you ever thought about those two things? Have you ever given any consideration about not only what comes out of your mouth but also what you are meditating on in your heart?

You see…

These two things are intimately tied together; for what you are meditating on in your heart is going to eventually come out in your words and/or actions. So it only makes sense that we ask God to let that which is in our heart be acceptable to God. What comes out of our mouth can be judged by others but only God can judge what is in your heart. But then again, if what is in your heart eventually comes out in your words and actions then eventually people are going to judge your heart as well. Right or wrong, they (and you) will judge the heart.

So do a preemptive strike and commit your heart to God.

Ask that your meditations be acceptable to God.
Ask that your words glorify God.
Ask that your actions point to our Rock and Redeemer.

Begin with your heart because that will direct your words and actions. When you don’t know what to say or what to do, what you truly believe in your heart will come out. When you are in moments that demand words then what you are meditating and dwelling on will be the first to emerge.

If you are dwelling on a hurt
If you are dwelling on a sin
If you are dwelling on hate
If you are dwelling on someone else’s mistake(s)

These things will eventually show its ugly head in your words/deeds.

So…

Meditate and dwell on God and His wonderful mercy and grace and compassion and love and forgiveness. If you are meditating on this then that which Satan would rather you meditate on will be pushed to the back burner and squashed.

May your heart be found acceptable to God.

Father God, heal my heart that it may meditate on that which is good and acceptable to You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—