What’s the first picture that pops into your head when you hear the word “grace”? Aunt Bethany from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation came to mine. You know, when they ask her to say grace before eating and her reply is: “Grace! She’s been dead for 30 years!”
Once we are born again, grace now accompanies us as though we are married.
Many within the church believe just like poor little confused Bethany that “Grace” is dead.
God’s grace covers more than our plate at dinner time. Grace is the blessing of a lifetime. It is the grace of God that saves, forgives, sustains, heals, liberates, restores, and transforms us!
Grace should cause us to give God glory because it’s because of grace that we are saved, forgiven, sustained, healed, liberated, restored, and transformed. The grace of God gives us whatever is required of us. We rejoice because that grace justifies us and fills us with peace. That same grace so many think is a “little thing” gives us an all-access past to our God. Grace isn’t dead. If you feel as though grace is dead, it is because it’s been too long since you’ve seen God move incredibly. Grace isn’t dead and God’s not either.
God’s grace is as strong today as it has ever been. He hasn’t changed nor will He ever change.
Not only is she dead she’s been dead for 30 years. Let me say it like this…it’s been dead to you since the last time you saw God move incredibly. However, long that has been, it’s been too long. Grace isn’t dead, because God’s not dead. He’s alive. God is alive and stronger today than He has ever been.
God’s grace is what lifted us up out of the deep pit that we were in. It was His grace at the midnight hour when it seemed like everything was against you, that God turned it around in your favor. It was the grace of God that changed your life. You were headed in the wrong direction and God’s grace interrupted that! Just one encounter with God’s grace bestows the blessing of a lifetime.
God gives us something we can then give away. He never runs out of grace and we shouldn’t either. Grace is the gift that keeps on giving.
For your further study…
2 Corinthians 8:9
2 Corinthians 9:8
Isaiah 9:67 6
Read Psalm 124:1-8. Then ponder, where would you be “if it had not been for the Lord on your side?”
David said: If it had not been the Lord on my side, when men rose up against, they’d overtaken me. When my enemies rose up against me, if it had not been for the Lord on my side, they would’ve defeated me. If the Lord wasn’t on my side, then when men rose up against us, not only would they’ve defeated me, but they’d defeated me quickly. They’d swallowed us up quickly. If it had not been for the Lord on my side when the waters began to rise, when the floods began to come against us, we would’ve failed! If the Lord hadn’t been on our side the waters would’ve overwhelmed us. It is because the Lord was on our side that we were not overwhelmed and we weren’t defeated.
Every one of us could’ve written this psalm because if it hadn’t been for the Lord, we too would have been overwhelmed, washed up, and wiped out.
Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed and because of Him that we are not defeated.
The Lord is on your side, and if the Lord is on your side, then you will not fail. You will not be overwhelmed. You will not be swept away. You will not be consumed. The Lord is always by your side and He is with you wherever you go.
Just like David…when people rise up against you, you’ll not be defeated.
Just like David…when calamity, trial or tribulation comes, you will not be overcome.
Just like David…the Lord is on your side!
Here are a few reminders of what that means for you!
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. (Psalm 91:7 NLT)
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (1 John 4:4)
I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17 NKJV)
I dream of a day that you’ll live like the Lord is on your side! I dream, of a day, that you’ll pray, believe, and dream like the Lord is on your side.
Tell me what would you believe for if you knew you couldn’t fail?
As Gideon “bravely” tiptoed to the enemy’s camp, passing more camels than he could count, he listened to the two armed guards recounting a dream in which he was said to be a loaf of bread, barley bread to be more specific, the lowliest of the breads. This dream caused Gideon to realize who God truly is and this “lowly” man conquered the Midianites. There was no choice for Gideon but to face the enemy, his stronghold, head on. If the enemy had not been confronted, the Midianites would have continued to destroy the Israelites’ harvest.
A faulty thinking pattern is based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil. It is the building block for creating a stronghold. Strongholds cause us to think in ways that block us from God’s best.
Many people are scared of God, unable to feel Who He is. They view Him as a cruel taskmaster, not as the God Who is always there for them. These individuals build walls, making it difficult for them to receive God’s love and presence, or to draw close in their relationship with Him. Think about this: If you saw your spouse as a rude, cruel dictator, you probably wouldn’t be as apt to snuggle up to him, loving him, as you would if you saw him as a kind, caring person, knowing the object of his affection was you. If you perceive someone as mean, it’s hard to receive their love, right? Our perception affects our reception. That’s how our idea of God can hinder us from feeling His love and presence in our lives. It is crucial to have the correct perception of God if we want to live victorious lives through Christ Jesus!
One of the most widespread and devastating strongholds is an incorrect image of not only our Creator, but also an inaccurate image of how He views His creation, us!
People who see themselves incorrectly and suffer from low self-esteem have difficulty seeing themselves as the new creation they are now in Christ Jesus. These individuals also have a stronghold. They don’t understand what Christ did for them, and how it applies to their own life. Common symptoms of this stronghold are:
*guilt feelings (questioning if you’ve really been forgiven of your sin(s))
*low spiritual esteem (they feel like sinners, not saints)
*lack of spiritual confidence (we are supposed to have this in Christ Jesus)
*constantly struggling with sin (Jesus said that if we keep in His Word, which tears down strongholds, we will be free from the power sin has over us. John 8:31-34)
*overall feeling of unworthiness spiritually
*lacking the joy of the Lord in life.
Those who see God as cruel live lives with an unhealthy fear of God. A healthy fear of God looks more like a holy respect for Him. There’s another kind of fear, however, an unhealthy one. The enemy hopes to develop this one within us; it’s a kind of fear where we see God as a taskmaster: cruel, cold, distant, uncaring, snapping a whip at us the moment we step out of line. People who are afraid they’ve committed the unpardonable sin, or find it difficult to feel God’s love and presence, often have this stronghold. If you question God’s love for you, this stronghold must be demolished.
At some point, the stronghold has to be broken or there would have been certain destruction, just as in the case of Gideon.What strongholds do you need to conquer? Do you fit in one of the categories described above? Decide to be set free today. It’s easier than you think.
It’s hard to fathom a people that would settle for receiving only a part of what God promised, right? When God gave Israel the Promised Land, the boundaries made it to about 300,000 square miles. Under David and Solomon, the people of Israel occupied 30,000 square miles. So when Israel was at its greatest point in its history, it was only 1/10 of what God had promised them. (Joshua 1:4) Presently 7,000 square miles make up Israel.
God told them through the Prophet Isaiah the same thing He’s telling us this very day:
Why would we live beneath the promise?
May you sieze this great opportunity to enlarge your span of influence and live a life that exceeds your expectations!
Do you have that innate ability to look in the natural and see what seems to be beyond repair? Whatever “it” may be, it’s neglected and/or left for dead, and in that view, you don’t see the ruins? You see the rising of a dream home, the training of a star athlete, an incredible singer, a car awarded, First Prize in a show, or a champion dog who just happens to be sitting in a shelter? Are you able to see the fruition of a well-laid plan instead of a nightmare?
Many of us, if you pulled us aside and asked what we thought of an investment, we’d inform you of how you just threw your money away. Many see broken marriages, financial struggles, fragmented relationships, addictions, and abuse and say, “What a nightmare! What a shame! I don’t see how that will ever change.” As believers, we should see possibilities, messes that God can turn into messages. For every test that is overcome stands a testimony.
You may be in the middle of that mess, looking at a wreck of a home, a wreck of a marriage, a wreck of your finances, a wreck in your relationships? God is asking you the questions… Well, what do you think? Can I help? God has a plan for you: a dream house, a dream relationship, a dream bank account and blessings beyond measure. Just look at Malachi 3.
God doesn’t look at your situation and see ruins. God sees the ability to create, to provide, to heal, and to deliver. In other words, God sees an opportunity to be God.
When God gets involved in things, He doesn’t simply fix the leaking roof. He makes all things new. When God sees chaos, He speaks order. When God sees darkness, He can’t help Himself but to send light.
In the beginning (Gen 1:1), God entered into darkness and showed off His power and authority.
He spoke words that turned darkness into light. He spoke words that turned emptiness into fullness. His words took chaos and created order. His words took the dust of the earth and created the majestic birds of the air and the beasts of the field, as well as our ancestors! (Genesis 2:19-22)
From this point on, our enemy, Lucifer, has made it his mission to take the order God created and turn it back into chaos. The words of Jesus tell us of the intent of our enemy. In John 10:10, it states that he comes to steal, kill and destroy. It is the polar opposite of what Jesus came to do, which was and is to heal, find, and restore.
This the battle of the ages: God turns it around and the enemy does all that he can to turn it back around. Satan got man to turn authority back over to him in the Garden of Eden. He thought he had won the battle, but along came a baby born in a manger, the greatest turnaround story in history. This baby restored hope for all mankind and returned authority back to the sons and daughters of God. God gave us power to confront and defeat the enemy each and every time he attacks. God turned it around. What you need to do today is remind Satan exactly who’s in control of the turn-around!
The Opportunity To Be God
No death, no curse, no enemy can prevent God from being God in your life. We cannot allow our circumstances to compromise what we believe and what we have already received. Christ paid the ultimate price for what we have. We don’t dare back down now!
We were headed to eternal damnation but we encountered the blood. We have received eternal life. We were headed for destruction, but now we are reconstructed as the body of Christ. We were without hope and now have hope! We were without joy and now we have joy, joy that is unspeakable and full of glory! Get that in your spirit today as we seek to remind ourselves that we just need to let God be God!
We were at war with God, but now have peace with Him (Romans 5). We were denied access, but now have access through Him. We are changed forever. We simply have to let Him do His work through us. Job could testify that God is Who He says He is. The same with Joshua, Moses, Gideon, Peter, Paul, and Thomas. What about you? Can you testify that God is God?
We’ve tried it our way, right? Let’s give God the opportunity to be God.
God doesn’t exactly approach situations like we would. In Isaiah 54, He tells a distraught, barren woman to sing and shout for joy because more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. Here God required action. He used that action to turn this life around. The action of singing and shouting for joy is the perfect example of this woman lining up with the promise instead of the problem. We can’t sing for joy and complain in misery at the same time.
God knew this woman needed to hear something different in her ears than just the sound of her problems. Can you relate? He wanted her, and He wants us, to hear the sound of victory!
God wants us to sing in the struggle because the struggle is not the end. Our barrenness is not the end but rather the beginning of you allowing God to be Who He is, God, in your life.
Are you struggling with a critical spirit? Even Jesus was criticized for how He responded to people in need.
After all, He rubbed spit and clay into one guy’s eyes. Probably not the way you might have tried to help him.
He took some poor kid’s lunch; yes, to feed a huge, hungry crowd, but still…
Jesus also waited 4 whole days to go see His friend Lazarus’ grave. What in the world took Him so long? What could have possibly been more important?
In the Old Testament, 2 Kings 4, a woman with nothing is told to go find more empty vessels that could be filled. Don’t you wonder if she was thinking, “But my house already has empty vessels. I don’t think you understand the problem here.”
In 2 Kings 5, a man named Naaman is instructed dip himself into a river 7 times. You may not have spent much time in rivers, but you probably know that they’re not considered clean bodies of water. A dirty river cleanses a dirty disease. Huh?
1 Kings 17 tells the story of a starving widow using her last tiny bit of flour and oil to make the prophet of God a meal.
Reckless it would seem, crazy to some, but these are the instances by which God’s power is shown to the whole world.
Isaiah 61:1-3 lets us know that God’s spirit rests upon us for a specific purpose. We have purpose! He has anointed us, you and me, to turn around the desolate circumstances, to bring those who are broken wholeness, and those who are imprisoned freedom. We are called not just visit the captive, but to free the captive! We are not called to simply remove the ashes, but to replace them with a crown of beauty!