Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grace Notes

I'm doing something I've never done before but have always thought it could be fun. I have joined with Stacey to study grace. She is doing a year-long study on grace, and has invited anyone who would like, to join her. I thought I would enjoy.

Several years ago, I read a book that should be considered one of those "life-changing" reads. Let's just say I've read it several times since. I need reminders. Often. A lot. The book was called Putting a Face on Grace by Richard Blackaby.
Blackaby says, "If you are truly grateful for God's forgiveness you will be quick to forgive others."
One day, God made me very aware that I was not a grace-giving person.
I have found out that the more I pray for God to make me a "grace-giver", the more opportunities He provides for me to do just that!

 As I said, He has been teaching me.  And is still to this present day, teaching me. And most days, I wonder why in the world I can't "get it"! Because I just continue to fail. But I guess that would be a wonderful example of HIS grace!!!

Some particular "grace lessons" in my own life are:
  • If we grasp what God did for us on the cross, we will gladly give grace to others.
  • If we are truly broken and humbled by our own sin, we will not focus so much on the sin of others.
  • Grace forgives. Whether it is deserved or not. Afterall, isn't that what God did for us?
  • Grace can be costly.
  • Grace eases conflict in all relationships.
  • Grace is a one-way street.
  • Grace offers the freedom to fail.
  • Grace sees others through God's eyes.
  • Grace doesn't insist on always being right.
  • Grace strives to listen and understand.
  • Grace in marriage is vital. (I heard one time...I married a sinner. But so did he!)

I believe at one time I thought that if I extended grace to someone, I was excepting the wrong behavior. Or condoning their actions. Absolutely not true. Blackaby says, "God has a unique way of viewing us. He looks at us through eyes of grace. That doesn't mean He glosses over our transgressions or ignores our sin. Jesus came in grace and truth. (John 1:14). But God does not focus on what is but what could be. Grace is not fixated on the past but looks toward the future. After enjoying the immeasurable benefits of His love toward us, how should we respond? Does it make sense for us to take in so much and not want to share what we have been given with others?"

I think I realized that it was simply not my job to "discipline" them. But that was God's job. It was my job to be obedient to Christ. I will not answer for that person, but I will answer for me.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." I Cor. 15:10

I think Paul is admitting that even though he has worked harder than any of the other apostles, he knows that his power came from God. Therefore it was of no signifigance who had worked the hardest. He was only thankful for God's grace. He was not boasting or complaining. He was grateful that God had extended such amazing grace to him.

I wonder how often we compare. We look at ourselves and all the 'things we've accomplished'. The 'work we've put in'. How much 'better we are than the other'. How much more we 'deserve' than someone else. We can get very 'proud of ourselves' very quickly. But what gives us the 'right' to compare? The 'right' to deserve? (One sweet friend of mine in my Bible Study once said, "we don't deserve anything but death and hell.")

I'm so grateful for God's amazing grace.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe; All who are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, Grace , God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Thanks Stacey!


Stacey said...

" Grace is not fixated on the past but looks toward the future." Oh how I love this Beth!

I am so glad you shared the Blackaby resource - that looks awesome! And I love your heart, and the fact that you are joining the journey with others chasing after grace. Well, maybe, we are just slowing down enough to let capture us - heart and soul!

Ketcham Family said...

love this post!
looking forward to monday

Nan said...

My, my, what an awesome post little girl! Oh the blessings of watching your baby girl grow more and more in her walk with thw Lord.