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Age: 58 Years

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Signup Date: 07/07/2013

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7:22 AM   [27 Oct 2013 | Sunday]

Understanding Grace (Part Four)

Grace enables us to focus on our relationship with God instead of dead works.  It gives us to room to grow in it, as forgiveness is part of grace and connected to mercy.  It allows us to walk as a toddler who in turn grows to maturity.  Grace gives us room to make mistakes while helping us maintain our position in Christ Jesus.  Just as a small child will make mistakes growing up, he still maintains his identity as a family member.  When he is learning to walk, he is not ridiculed for falling down; rather, he is encouraged to keep trying.  The child is not concerned about displeasing his parents; he is focused on walking.  What happens when a toddler trips over his own feet?  The parents pick him up, comfort him, and encourage him to walk again.  Where do you think parents get that?  It comes from our Father Who has given us the grace to walk.  Parents often hold their young child’s hand to guide and keep him steady.  That is what the Father does with us.  Focus on the walk; not the fall.  Focus on the relationship; not trying to earn it.  Your importance is not based on performance; it is based on His love for you.

Grace maintains peace in our heart.  As long as we walk by grace through faith, we have peace with God.  That means our works are the result of the relationship (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  If we try to earn or maintain the relationship through our works, we fall from grace.  Galatians 5:1-4 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (KJV).  Scripture makes it clear that if we keep one part of the Law, we must keep all of it.  Peace is supposed to rule in our hearts (see Colossians 3:15).  If we do not allow the Spirit to lead us instead of the flesh, peace will not rule.  Peace is part of the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-25).  Therefore, if you lack peace, examine your heart by the Holy Spirit’s leading.  Are you taking things on you are not so supposed to?  Are you trying to do things in your own strength?  Remember, faith pleases God (see Hebrews 11:6), and “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).  Because of His grace we can walk by faith.

www.perfectfaith.org

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1:33 AM   [20 Oct 2013 | Sunday]

Understanding Grace (Part Three)

2Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (KJV).

Grace does not invite us to live in failure or weakness, but to live in the strength of the Lord.  Grace is not some coping tool whereby we white-knuckle our way through life, it empowers us to endure hardship and enjoy the victory that God gives us in the process.  Its design was never to excuse away our failings or to be used as some sort of explanation as to why some people do not get healed, which is a different subject matter of itself.  Grace is not some crutch to hobble through life with; it is filled with power.  Anytime we have need of something greater than our selves, whether it is ability or supply, grace provides.  Since grace comes from God, He is the One Who determines how it is to function in our lives.  Therefore, grace invites us to humble ourselves before Him, as it is written, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6, KJV).

In 2Corinthians 12 we discover that Paul was given a thorn in his flesh which he sought the Lord to take it away from him three times.  Instead of removing the thorn or providing a means of escape, the Lord empowered Paul to endure.  So often, people spend time trying to figure out what the thorn in Paul’s flesh was, which is not the point of the passage.  In fact, if you focus on the thorn, you will miss the message of grace. If you try to define the thorn, you miss the victory.  “Thorn” has different applications in the Bible; however, this is not an attempt to explain the thorn.  However, Paul does give us a clue in verse10, which also helps us understand grace: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (KJV).  How often have we asked the Lord to remove a difficult situation or provide some means of escape, but He did not?  Often what He does is walk through the circumstances with us, while giving us, the grace we need to endure.  If we recall, Jesus also sought the Father three times concerning the Cross, and in all three instances Jesus said, “Thy will be done.”  It was necessary for us that Jesus endured what He did; otherwise, we would still be lost in our sins.  Often what we endure is for the sake of others who are watching us.  Sometimes those things we endure are for the crucifixion of our old nature.  Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (KJV).  If Jesus did not decide what method of death He would endure for us, what makes us think we should do any different in relation to our own crucifixion?

Some use this 2Corinthians 12 as some sort of doctrine to continue in weakness.  Again, they miss the point.  Nowhere in this passage does the Lord say, “Paul, you are going to have to live with this thorn for the rest of your life.”   Nevertheless, if he did live with it, it served a higher purpose.  God’s purpose includes our victory in life as well.  Grace supplies strength in our weakness; it does not bring us to a stalemate, but it brings us to a win.  It turns failure into triumph.  Without conflict, there is no conquest.  Conflicts take up different shapes and sizes.  Grace fits the need of each one, regardless of the form they take on.  With conflict comes experience, and God uses experience in a variety of ways.  It may be to allow patience to work in us so we come to maturity (see Romans 5:1-6; James 1:2-5), conform us to the image of Jesus, or help us discover how much God really does love us, to name a few.  Regardless of the purpose, grace is there to bring us through with flying colors.  That is why we, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (KJV).  Whatever type of help we need from grace, that is what we are going to get.  It may be patience with people, longsuffering in difficult situations, or power to extend mercy which includes healing.  It can remove obstacles or cause us to go through them.  The list of needs may be endless, but His grace is eternal.  Grace does not leave us in our current condition; it raises us above.  It gives us a new position in Christ Jesus.

www.perfectfaith.org

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10:30 AM   [13 Oct 2013 | Sunday]

Understanding Grace (Part Two)

Grace is filled with God’s favor and reveals His intentionality toward us.  We did not ask for His grace, He extended it to us.  In fact, when people began to ask to be saved by His grace, it was because the Holy Spirit moved in their heart to ask.  It was totally His idea to begin with.  If the Father did not look favorably on you first, you would have never thought to call on the Name of Jesus.  He gives us the right questions to ask in order for us to find the right answers.

God’s grace is very personal and it should be received as such.  Without it, we could not have a relationship with Him, which is one reason He saves people.  God is a Father Who desires children and loves His children dearly beyond measure.  If you received His grace, then be sure to receive His Love because the Father intended you to have it.  It is time to stop questioning His love for you, if you are one who questions God!

Grace is pregnant with the Father’s will.  It is designed to fulfill His desires and the things pertaining to His Kingdom.  By saving people, God reveals His desire for hell to be empty and heaven to be full.  Therefore, part of grace is the saving us from the wrath to come.  Because of His favor, He draws us to repentance, which also means that every human being on the planet has been given space to repent.  As along as a person is alive, he or she will be given the opportunity to call on the Name of the Lord and be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (KJV).

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (KJV).  Grace plays an intricate role in the born again process.  The phrase “born again” means to be born from above: it does not mean repetition.  Being born again ties in with Ephesians 2:5-6, “Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (KJV).  Just as we need physical endowments to function on the earth, we need spiritual endowments to function in the Kingdom.  Grace is the vehicle in which the Holy Spirit imparts these endowments. 1Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (KJV). “Gifts” is the Greek word “CHARISMA,” which comes from grace (CHARIS).  By grace, the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through the believer.  In order to think and act like Jesus we need grace.

www.perfectfaith.org

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7:49 AM   [06 Oct 2013 | Sunday]

Understanding Grace (Part One)

Grace does not sanction or sanctify sin; it sanctifies people.  It empowers believers to live holy lives and do the things of God they cannot possibly do in their own power.  It is not some sort of “Get Out of Hell Free” card; nevertheless, we are saved by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:2-9).  Grace was never designed to enable us to get away with doing ungodly acts that we desire to do without consequences.  It enables us to do what God wants us to do.  When you consider the price Jesus paid, why would anyone consider using grace to satisfy an unlawful lust?  There are some misconceptions about grace people have that need correction.  What then is grace and what is its function?

The Greek word for “grace” is CHARIS (pronounced khar’-ece), which on a basic level can be defined as unmerited or unearned favor.  However, it does not express its full meaning or the heart behind it.  It is a gift given by God because of His great love for us, which bestows acceptance that cannot be earned by works.  The root word for grace is CHAIRO (pronounced khah’ee-ro), to rejoice or be glad, to be full of cheer or calmly happy.  It reveals that it is God’s good pleasure to extend grace to us because He takes great joy in us.  That means we can stop struggling with the concept of God accepting us, and quit trying to earn is His love.  All we have to do is humbly receive His grace through faith.  As a result, it will influence us to be grateful and be holy as He is holy. It causes us to be gracious toward others, as it also teaches us to be merciful.  The other renderings of the word “grace” in the Bible also help bring definition to its meaning.  They are “acceptable”, “benefit”, “favor”, “gift”, “joy”, “liberality”, “pleasure”, and “thank” (“thanks” or “thankworthy”).  While a textbook definition is a good place to start, Scriptural context is imperative in grasping its fuller meaning and what it does in our lives.

Ephesians 2:1-10 is a good place to start: And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses 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 lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (KJV).  Take time to read this over again, and meditate on it.  Grace is personal; therefore, receive grace as a personal gift from the Father.

www.perfectfaith.org

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