Jesus is the only way to heaven. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9
“I don’t deserve it, but Lord I thank You! I didn’t do anything to earn it, but again, Lord I thank You!” That’s the feeling the word grace evokes in me. It’s like walking on the clouds of heaven while here on earth; experiencing release and freedom in all that Christ has secured for me.
Grace is personal. Though Christ died for all, it has to touch each one on an intimate level. It takes hold of and absorbs in the spirit of man, this wonderful gift of God. It allows the one who follows after it to get a glimpse of what it truly may be like in heaven when all the shackles of this earthly bondage are removed. It is ours, personally and individually, to experience for them that are found in Him.
Isn’t it wonderful – this gift of His? Isn’t it magnificent that no matter our status in life or how hard we work it can never be earned? It can never be put in our repertoire of attainments to salvation. It is a gift!
Gifts are meant to be received. On a number of occasions my husband and even my children have tried to give me something out of the blue. While I am very grateful for the consideration that they want to give me something, I often wind up doing a lot of questioning trying to ascertain the reason for them wanting to give it in the first place. I want to know what I did to deserve it. “Oh, you don’t have to go through such lengths. And, yada, yada, yada . . .” In turn, what was a thoughtful expression is now tainted by frustration in the giver. They become frustrated with me for doing so much questioning instead of just receiving; for implying the only reason I am worthy is become of some work I must have done for them.
Human perception of this kind of outpouring of love has been marred by this sinful world. In it dwells the attitude of “if you do for me, then I’ll do for you.” “If you scratch my back, then I’ll scratch yours.” It is hard for one to believe in a motivation of pure love; to believe that one would give just because they love.
Paul laid the truth out for us. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespass and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” (Ephesians 2:1-3). We were “by nature children of wrath.” In other words, we were no good, no goods who deserved absolutely nothing.
Verse 4 steps in and shows the love of God at work. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” He didn’t do it for us because of some great checklist we marked off as job complete, now I deserve this. His love gave us the gift to receive, “Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (vs. 9). “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” (vs. 7).
This is one of those lessons that you really have to let the Word speak for itself, lest mankind try to put their own spin on it. God loves us! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). When we accept that love and are saved through Christ, then we have an opened door to accept the gift of grace along with it. I depend on His grace daily! I choose to “WALK IN GRACE” today. It’s a choice. Read the entire chapter 2 of Ephesians. See what you were and what He has made you now. See where you were, and now where He wants to take you. Compare what you did to what He has done for you. Now, CELEBRATE! AND, WALK IN THE GRACE HE GIVES.
Handle with care I wish I could post,
a stick it note to remind of what matters the most.
Distractions, directions unprofitable and robbing;
relentless in their unfocused pulling and prodding.
But my days are few upon this earth,
to make an impact of valued worth.
The reins have to be taken back;
no longer the less valuable plans to detract.
Focus, you only have one life to live.
Frail, is this only life to give.
Here today, and gone tomorrow;
let me cherish each one without resentment and sorrow.
Life is fragile and can break like a dam.
So, Lord teach me to measure my days, that I may know how frail I am.
To gain the worth of each day given.
This time on earth; this limited edition.
Invest in the works, the love and matters of the soul.
To fulfill His glory is our heavenly goal.
“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am,” (Psalms 39:4).
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Psalm 121:1-2
“Me, myself and I,” a phrase commonly known to us all. It usually comes on the heels of an aggravating event or from dealing with the frustration of a letdown because one depended on someone else to do something for them and they didn’t follow through. Or, how about this one, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself!” Another frustrating sentiment spurned by the letdowns of others.
Here we just see them as phrases, just something we blurt out because of the emotions that stir within us when we feel we can’t get that help we need from someone. The sad part of it all is the reality that this has become the prevailing attitude in the world today. It is a mindset that has become detached from the cares of humanity; not in a good way.
Many people are wandering adrift in the world. Day by day they go through their daily routines really believing that they are in this alone. Wandering and questioning, “From whence comes my help?” More often than not, that questioning person does not know that there is One who stands at the ready to appeal and work on behalf of those who call out to Him. Not realizing this great truth causes them look to their own selves once again, reaffirming that self-sufficient attitude of “Me, myself and I.”
I believe God likes goal-setters. I believe God loves to see His people be filled with the zeal of being a real go-getter. I say that because God has never, ever promoted laziness. God has equipped mankind with a mind to think and gifts to operate in, and He wants to see the fulfilling of all of that to come to pass. But, and here’s where the warning bells go off, when one tries to operate independently of God with an “I don’t need Him” attitude, buddy, that’s when we got a problem!
“Can I get some help around here?” Oh, if that isn’t a familiar cry to us all. When life feels at loose ends and everything just seems to be unraveling before us we often wonder where can we get help from? The writer of this psalm found his help by lifting his eyes up. The human eye tells one where to focus. As I sit here on my couch writing this I keep peeping out of the window. In line of my view are a bunch of beautiful trees that are gently swaying with the occasional breeze. Every time I look out at them I feel a certain little measure of restfulness and peace. Because this is what my eyes see it relaxes me.
How much more for the one who chooses to focus on that Sovereign, Omnipotent Presence and truly realize He’s there? Not only is He there but He is ready to be our help. “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles,” Psalm 34:17. Deliverance is there. Help is here. God loves a “can do” attitude, but not a “can do it without Him” attitude. Especially, since He loves us so much as to be the offering for our much needed help. I have to receive of His help daily. Zeal, and even talent, will only get you so far. I can’t be so high and mighty to think that I can do even the basic things without His help. So, today I want to receive God’s help. What about you?
I remember the night of my big cooking flub. Usually, I am a pretty good cook. But, this night was a major fail and the contents in the pot were really gross. The smell of the food and the thought of it had me gagging for hours. But, it didn’t start out this way.
My oldest daughter told me about a delicious recipe she came across and tried in her own home. The recipe was quick, easy, delicious and very satisfying to her family. Knowing the dish she described had recently become one of my husband’s favorite dishes, I decided to give it a try.
One problem. I don’t like the dish at all. I was cooking something that I would never eat due to the taste of it 😛 .
This posed a problem because when it came time to “test taste” the recipe, of course, no surprise here, I didn’t like the taste of it. Now, since I didn’t like the taste of it I began adding extra “stuff” to the recipe. I mean, I added a lot of extra stuff to it until it became so gross . . .
Let’s just put it this way, my youngest daughter who was 12 at the time and loves this dish also, spit it out and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry I don’t like it 🙂 .” Bless her heart. I told her it was okay that she didn’t like it and made her something else to eat. My husband came in the house and looked in the pot and said no thank you.
I don’t blame them. I’m the one that changed the recipe. I’m the one that messed dinner up. It was fine in its original form until I muddled it with my add-ins.
This had me thinking of how often we don’t like something in God’s Word and we try to change it to suit our needs or circumstances. We don’t like to be told to love our enemies or pray for those who despitefully use us. We don’t like to do this or that, and so we seek to change His recipe or find some way around why don’t have to do what is written to do.
The Bible warns us, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book,” (Revelation 22:18-19). The recipe of GOD’S WORD CANNOT BE CHANGED!
Now, we can often change food recipes with great success. I have done it many times before. It just didn’t work this time 🙂 . But, we will never have great success in trying to change God’s Word. It will never work! God doesn’t need our add-ins. His Word is just fine in its original form.