Saved By Grace -Ephesians 2:8

Saved By Grace Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

                                      Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace is the free gift of God given to us because we believe in His Son. As Christians, we know that faith in Jesus is the only thing that saves.

But sometimes we get caught up in doing the work of the church. It seems that there are an unlimited number of opportunities to serve. Bible studies, potluck dinners, children’s church, choir, clothing giveaways, the list goes on and on. It’s enough to make your head spin! With all of that work, it’s easy to feel that we are earning our salvation. But no matter what we do, we can never earn our salvation and we most definitely cannot out work what Jesus did for us on the cross!

Even though good works don’t save us, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them. This verse in Ephesians says that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” and James 2:17 states that “faith without works is dead”. So if we can’t work our way to salvation, what does that mean? Faith and works go together. You can’t have one and not the other. If we have the Holy Spirit within us, then good works should come naturally for us. Faith in Jesus Christ is what gives us salvation, but works are the fruit of our faith.

Faith in #JesusChrist is what gives us salvation, but works are the fruit of our faith. #Grace #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

Because of what Jesus has done for us, we should have a desire in our hearts to do good works. We have an opportunity every day to make a huge impact on someone’s life through our faith and our works. When they see us, they should see the Holy Spirit in us. Our good works should be a light so bright that they can’t help but see Jesus!

James goes on to speak of Abraham’s willingness to follow God’s instruction to sacrifice Isaac. “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:22) The footnote in my New King James Study Bible says “Faith produces works; and works makes faith perfect.” Just like Abraham, our faith will be made perfect by our willingness to follow God’s instructions in our lives and through our good works.

Honestly, knowing that I can’t work my way into heaven takes a lot of pressure off. I don’t have to push myself to exhaustion working until I drop or pretend that I’m perfect, knowing that I’m not. I can just be still and know that God is in control, listen for His instructions and follow His will. And I can rest assured that God has given me the free gift of grace and salvation because I have faith in His Son.

We will never be able to live up to the selfless example that Jesus set for us on the cross. But we can show God’s grace to an unsaved world through our faith in Jesus and our love of doing good works in His name. So when we get caught up in the busy day to day work of the church, let’s remember where our salvation truly comes from and give credit to the Savior of our souls! Let’s thank God that we have been saved by grace.

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By | 2018-07-10T14:03:01+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Grace|5 Comments

Powerful Bible Verses about Grace

Powerful Bible Verses about Grace

When I think of grace, I see in my mind a beautiful ballerina taking the stage. Her hair is pulled up in the perfect ballet bun, her organza and tulle tutu frames her body just right and her pirouette is on pointe, y’all. The way she turns and spins and jumps through the air, oh, what grace!

Grace, it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in Christian circles. Theologians and other “smart people” spend countless hours debating the concept of grace. But grace is not just for theologians to debate. It’s something for each one of us, not only to understand but to possess.

So, what exactly is grace? Hint… it’s not the prayer we say before dinner. Although, it’s always a good idea to thank God for everything He has given us. Instead, grace is God’s favor bestowed on those who believe in His Son, Jesus. It is the power of God to freely forgive our sin even though we don’t deserve it. That seems simple enough, and really it is. So together, let’s dive deep into the scriptures with these powerful Bible verses about grace.

 

God’s grace gives us salvation.

There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. We just don’t have the power to save ourselves. But that’s okay because God has given us a way to be saved. His grace and mercy was poured out through His Son, our Savior on the cross. And these verses attest to the fact that faith in Jesus and the free gift of grace are the only thing that has the power to give us salvation. Grace is yours if you choose to accept Jesus as your Savior. He is the One and only way to grace and forgiveness of sin.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

                                               Ephesians 2:8-9

 

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

                                              2 Timothy 1:9

 

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

                                              John 1:17

 

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

                                             Ephesians 1:7

 

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

                                             Titus 3:3-7

 

God gives us more and more grace as we need it.

Thankfully, grace, God’s favor, is not a one and done proposition. We receive His grace continually, daily in fact. The more we need grace, the more God gives it to us.

 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

                                            James 4:6

 

  And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

                                            John 1:16

 

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

                                          2 Corinthians 9:8

 

Grace helps us in time of need.

Hard times will surely come our way and we may feel weak and powerless in the face of them. But the grace of God gives us strength and power to continue on. As the children’s hymn, Jesus Loves Me, says, “They are weak, but He is strong.”

 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

                                            2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

                                          Hebrews 4:16

 

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

                                        1 Peter 5:10

 

We can grow in grace and watch it blossom in our lives.

God’s grace is given to us the minute we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. And there’s nothing that can take grace away from us. But each day that we live with Jesus, we learn more about Him and His character. We go deeper into grace, grow in it, and learn more from it. Grace takes root in our hearts and we see it blossom in our lives. It simply becomes a part of who we are as Believers.

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

                                           2 Peter 3:18

 

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

                                           Titus 2:11-14

 

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord…

                                          2 Peter 1:2

I hope that these powerful Bible verses about grace have given you a place to start thinking about grace and it’s meaning in your life. God has so much He wants to give to you. I pray that you will accept it and grow in grace and knowledge. To Him be the glory! Blessings to you!

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By | 2018-06-26T22:53:44+00:00 June 27th, 2018|Grace|7 Comments

Finding God’s Favor – Psalm 5:12

Finding God's Favor Psalm 5:12

It seems that lately I’ve been praying a lot and asking God to show me His favor. At times maybe even begging Him for it. But the response I got back was silence, crickets, nothing.

Then suddenly, I did get an answer. God gently told me that I already have His favor. How could this be?

You see, I’ve always thought of God’s favor as something to strive for and work towards, an elusive object just out of my reach. Finding God’s favor seemed impossible. So how is it possible that I could already have it when I didn’t try so hard to get it?

I delved deep into the scriptures and discovered a shining diamond of truth that I would love to share with you.

We all know that God’s grace and our salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift given to those of us who believe. And we know that no matter what we do or how bad we mess up our salvation can’t be lost. But here’s the truth that God in His infinite wisdom shared with me… If we are saved by the blood of Jesus, then we already have God’s favor. Maybe this isn’t news to you, but it was to me. Maybe you already know all about God’s favor in your life and I hope that you do. But for me, this is a lesson that God wants to teach me right now.

If we are saved by the blood of Jesus, then we already have God’s favor. #GodsFavor #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

As I began to realize just how wrong I had been about God’s favor and how to obtain it, I wanted to look at exactly what His favor is and how can we find it in our lives.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

                                                            Ephesians 2:8-9

Of course, I knew that grace was a free gift from God and that I can’t work to get it. But somehow I thought of grace and favor as different and separate, but they are not. In fact, grace and favor are the same!

It is the blood that Jesus shed for us on Calvary that cloaks us in His righteousness. And our faith in Jesus makes us righteous in the eyes of the Father. When God looks at us He sees this righteousness covering us.

God’s favor is a gift He gives to all Christians just as His grace is. There is no amount of work that we can ever do to earn His favor. We can only graciously accept this free gift of God’s favor.

For you O Lord, will bless the righteous;

With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

                                         Psalm 5:12

This is the verse that the Lord gave to me as I prayed to understand what He meant when He said that I already have His favor. It paints a vivid picture of a warrior in battle surrounded by the protection of his shield. No arrow could find him and no man could knock him down while his shield defended him from the opposing forces.

God’s favor is like this shield in the battle of life. It surrounds us, protects us and keeps us covered by His loving embrace. Whenever we go and whatever we face God’s favor is there with us and for us.

If we want to find God’s favor in our lives, all we have to do is reach out and take it. It is not the elusive object that I once thought it was. God is there with open arms, waiting for us to grab hold of His favor. He wants to give it to us because He loves us.

This realization has changed my faith. It has renewed my heart and mind. I no longer feel like I working toward an unattainable goal. I can see clearly now that God has given me everything I need for my faith to flourish. He will bless me and surround me with His favor. And He will do the same for you! Will you reach out and find God’s favor? I truly hope so. I pray that you will be blessed by God’s grace and favor!

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By | 2018-02-28T13:32:34+00:00 February 28th, 2018|God, Grace|6 Comments

Because of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Because of Grace 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

This past week my faith was put to the test.  And I’m sad to say that I stumbled and fell. In fact, I face-planted. It was an epic fail!

My family has been planning a big renovation on our front porch for a while now. I knew that this project was going to be bigger than some others we have done in the past. And I knew that it would require a lot of time and physical labor. Because we usually do all of the work ourselves, I wanted to have everything else done and be able to concentrate all of my efforts on the porch reno. As the time to start the project grew closer, I began making preparations for it. I managed to get the laundry caught up, the meals planned and groceries bought, my blog post written and anything else I could think of.

But there was one thing I couldn’t foresee coming my way. Right in the middle of the porch reno, I started to get bug bites all over my body. They were small and itchy and more and more of them showed up every day. We had a flea infestation on our hands! I couldn’t understand why this was happening. We don’t have any pets right now and we treated the yard for bugs like we do every summer. But here I was, covered in flea bites from head to toe. It was awful and we’ve never had anything like this happen before. I was at a loss as to what to do.

I really didn’t want to take the time to deal with it. But it reached critical mass about three days into the reno and I realized I had no choice but to stop and deal with this distraction. Since I was waking up with new bites every morning, we thought that the majority of the fleas were coming from my bed. So, after reading online about how to get rid of my unwanted house guests, we bought some flea powder and sprinkled it all over the bed. The instructions on the powder said to let it sit for a while so went back to work on the porch. We spent the next few hours out in the heat, tearing up the front porch and peering up the joist boards.

Honestly, by the time we came in to vacuum up the flea powder, I was hot, sweaty, itchy and tired. I was really spent. But I couldn’t lay down and rest with all of that flea powder on the bed, so I started sweeping it up. My mind began to wonder, and all I could think about was how miserable I felt. It started as a simple thought, “thanks a lot God, I really needed this right now!” Immediately I regretted that thought. And immediately I wanted to take it back. But there it was, for God to hear. That thought took hold of me and filled me with shame and regret.

This one moment of weakness had made me question my faith. Not because of God, but because of me. If I was so weak that I couldn’t get through this little bump in the road, then how could I ever be an effective witness for Christ?

But God reminded me, I’m not saved because of anything that I have ever done or will ever do. I don’t have that kind of power. I am saved because of grace. Period.

God is good, isn’t He? I turned to Him and asked for forgiveness. He took the shame and regret that consumed my mind and replaced it with this verse from 2 Corinthians. I’ve been thinking about this verse last few days.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                     

                                                                                                                          2 Corinthians 12:7-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

The apostle Paul was arguably the greatest Christian to ever live. Yet, he needed God’s grace in his life too. He stumbled and felt weak. But when times were tough, he didn’t give up the faith. He persevered and turned to God for strength. As I prayed, these words Paul wrote so many years ago, became the beacon of hope that helped me get back up and continue on in the faith.

“lest I be exalted above measure”
Maybe I needed to be knocked down so that God could lift me back up. I definitely needed some perspective on the situation. It’s not as bad as I had made it out to be. God has seen me through worse than a few fleas, much worse.

“a messenger of Satan to buffet me”
I knew that Satan was the one tripping me up. He was waiting for a time when he could sneak in and kick me while I was down. I had been on the lookout for him, but he chose his time perfectly. Because in my weakness, I let my guard down. In that moment I felt like he had won. But he did not win. And he will never win. Because I belong to Jesus and no one can ever change that!

“My strength is made perfect in weakness”
My weakness was on display in my heart that day. I let it get the best of me. But as Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” There is so much I can’t do on my own and I need Jesus to give me His strength. In those times, I’m so glad that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you”
My salvation comes from God’s power and the saving grace of Jesus, and nothing else. He has saved me because I can’t save myself. It’s God’s grace that gives me the ability to move past this moment of weakness and find strength to persevere. Because His grace is more than enough to see me through.

I never would have thought that something as small as a flea could test my faith in such a big way. While the renovation and the fight against the fleas is not over, my faith is still intact. And after taking time to reflect, I realize… I may have had an epic fail, but God’s grace is more powerful than any moment of weakness. He is always faithful to forgive and restore me to His love and grace just as He promises. And He will do the same for you.

If your faith is being testing or, like me, you’ve had an epic fail, I pray that you will be comforted by the words of 2 Corinthians. And that you will know God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will see you through it, because of grace.

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By | 2018-04-24T19:54:15+00:00 August 30th, 2017|Christian Life, God, Grace|0 Comments

A Heart of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:9

A Heart of Grace 2 Corinthians 12:9

Hurt, resentment and bitterness, these are the feelings that I’m struggling with lately.

During my childhood, I tried to have a closer and more meaningful relationship with my grandmother. I wanted to feel loved by her and to spend time with her. She always had time for her friends and her church activities. But when it came to me it seemed that the more effort I put in, the less I got out of it. I remember talking to her during my teenage years about this. I cried and asked her to spend more time with me, but she made it clear that I wasn’t her top priority. It was at this point in my life that I gave up. I realized that I would never have the relationship with her that I desired. I had to learn to accept the fact that she wasn’t capable of having a close relationship with me and move forward.

I want to be clear, I love my grandmother. She has some very admirable qualities. She was always a “prayer warrior” and faithful to her ministry visiting the elderly in nursing homes.

Now, she’s the one in the nursing home and her health is failing. Her memory has suffered greatly and she can’t remember the same things that I do. She’s only able to think of herself and her immediate situation. This past week, all of those past memories and feelings have resurfaced. I thought they were long gone, but there they are, hurt, resentment and bitterness. Hurt that I tried so hard to be close to her, resentment that she rejected me and bitterness that I will never have that relationship I desired.

But I don’t want to be filled with these negative emotions. I want to have love and compassion for my grandma. I want to be an encourager and friend to all of the people God has put in my life.

It’s in these moments that I realize how much I need “a heart of grace”, but that’s not something that comes naturally to me. I have to continually work on it and ask God to give me that heart of grace. I need Him to remind me that He loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me and that I need to show that same love to everyone around me.
So I ask, “How can I obtain a heart of grace?” The answer is simple, yet seems so hard right now.

Seek God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
                                                                        Ephesians 2:8

Grace is the forgiveness of wrongs committed and comes from faith in Jesus. None of us deserves God’s grace, but He willingly gives us this free gift because He loves us and because we believe in His Son. If we are looking for grace, we will only find it in Jesus.

Pray

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
                                                                        Hebrews 4:16

Grace, mercy, peace and love, these are the things that we find when we pray. Because we serve, Jesus, our High Priest, we can boldly go to Him in prayer. We can lay our burdens at His feet knowing that He will provide all of these things to us in our time of need. He is always willing to hear our prayers, and He is the One who will never reject us.

Practice

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
                                                                     2 Corinthians 12:9

When I put into practice seeking God and praying for my needs, then I am learning to have a heart of grace. Every day brings a new opportunity for me to show God’s grace. I don’t have to let hurt, resentment and bitterness control me. When I’m upset I can turn to God and choose to practice His grace because His grace is sufficient for me. With time, maybe it will become second nature to me.

Even though, I may not be able to erase the past or rid myself of those hurtful memories, I can ask for God’s forgiveness for my negativity. And I can extend forgiveness to the people in my life. I can choose to have a heart of grace.

Are you struggling with a past hurt? If so, I pray that you will seek God’s grace, take that hurt to Him, lay it at His feet and accept His love and acceptance for you.

P.S. Hi there! If you would like to read the second part of this post which is about my maternal grandmother, or “Granny” as we all knew her by, you can click on the link titled Joyful here or the picture below. Thanks!

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By | 2018-02-07T15:27:36+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Christian Life, Grace|1 Comment