Friday, October 12, 2012


What is Grace?

Let’s first define grace so that we are sure to be talking about the same thing. The Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines grace as follows.
“Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what the person deserves.”
Grace therefore could be thought of as unmerited or unearned favor. Grace in the Old Testament is translated from a Hebrew word that means “favor.”
The important thing to remember about grace is that it manifests in activity that is not deserved or earned.
Grace is an attribute of God. Consider the following scripture.

Exodus 34:6 (NKJV) -- {6}And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
  1. God is merciful
  2. God is gracious
  3. God is longsuffering
  4. God is abounding in goodness and truth

Illustrations of Grace

Let’s now look at some illustrations of grace from the scriptures.
Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (NKJV) -- {6}“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. {7}The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; {8}but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. {9}“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
  1. Holy people (they were chosen)
  2. A special treasure (because they were chosen)
  3. Their state was not due to their numbers, but to God’s love
It is true that the Israelites were God’s chosen people. However, it was nothing that they did to establish this. They did not earn God’s love. They did nothing to be a treasure to God. It was purely because of God that they were chosen and became special.
We shouldn’t think that we did anything to earn or deserve the blessings of God that come to us. We should not begin to have a puffed up head and think that we are so great because we are blessed. We are nothing without the Lord. All that we have is because of the grace and mercy of God. We should never think that we are so good or so faithful that we have received this or that. It is all because of God’s grace that we have anything.
What about those people that suffer or experience a great catastrophe? Why have they not received God’s grace?
  1. If they are still alive then they have experienced God’s grace through sparing their life and hope.
  2. I mentioned earlier that there are more forces operating in the earth. We cannot equate experiencing a catastrophe with the absence of God’s grace. I believe all that happens on the earth is not God’s will. I cannot believe that it’s God’s will for someone to lose all of their possessions in a hurricane or some other natural disaster. It is hard for me to believe that it is God’s will that multitudes are killed in an earthquake or the like. However, our own sin (collectively) brings about many misfortunes that we have. This indeed is a topic for another discussion and I will refrain from commenting further. Suffice it for me to say that the presence of misfortune is not necessarily the absence of God’s grace.
Let’s look at another illustration of grace in the Bible.
Deuteronomy 9:4-6 (NKJV) -- {4}“Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. {5} It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. {6}Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
The Hebrews were not to think that their fortune was somehow due to merit. The fact that their enemies were driven from them did not mean that they were so righteous. Their enemies were driven from them because of the wickedness of their enemies and not because of their own righteousness.
We should realize that sometimes we may indeed be the benefactor of the misfortune of someone else according to the will of God. If God displaces someone and we move in then we should not think that we moved in because we were so good. We were simply the benefactor of God’s judgment on someone else.
Another illustration of God’s grace is the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. We should consider that they did nothing to deserve that deliverance and yet they received it. The only thing that they did was to cry out to God (Exodus 3:7-8). They weren’t very righteous and therefore deserved to be saved. They did nothing to receive God’s salvation. It was through God’s grace that they were saved.

Jesus Christ

The greatest illustration of all of God’s grace is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came and died for our sins. We did not deserve this salvation. We did not earn the deliverance from our sins and yet God provided it. Consider this scripture.
Romans 5:6-8 (NKJV) -- {6}For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. {7}For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. {8}But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We were wallowing in the mud and yet someone came to pull us out and clean us off. We didn’t deserve it. We were too busy “enjoying” life. We weren’t concerned about God. However, God loved us and provided salvation for us.
We cannot boast because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Above all that happens to us in life we have the confidence and hope of salvation, which we have not earned and that we were freely given. We have access to the grace of God (salvation) through faith. Therefore all we have to do is believe and we will experience the grace of God, which is salvation through Jesus Christ.

Practical Grace

The grace of God is manifested in many ways and we should not take it for granted. The grace of God is manifested in the fact that you have a job, is receiving income, needs being met, acquired funding for school or a project, growth of your business, prosperity of your home, etc. God’s grace is evident in all aspects of our lives.
We should not think that we could afford anything. It is the grace of God that provides us with the means to afford anything and therefore it is the grace of God that we have anything.

Obtaining Grace

How can we obtain the grace of God if it is not earned? We simply pray to God. This doesn’t mean that God will give us everything that we pray for. However, we can trust in his mercy (Ps. 52:8). There are many gimmicks as to how we can receive this and that. There are many teachings on how we might receive favor from God. However, I have come to learn that the only thing we can do is ask God for what we want and expect it to happen. Note that expecting favor does not mean that it will be there. That is just a way to have confidence in God. However, we should always be aware of God moving in our lives (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I tend to go into a store to purchase something and expect favor. I expect things to go well so that I could get what I want. Well sometimes things don’t go well and I have to abandon my desire to have such and such. However, sometimes things go very well and I am blessed with what I asked for. Sometimes God brings about a gift by surprise. In any case, the best we can do is to ask God for what we want. He works out the details and orchestrates events. We can only pray and obey.
I like that! Pray and obey. That is the best we could ever do. I recall David praying for his dying son only to say that he didn’t know what God would do so he continued to pray until something happened (See 2 Samuel 12:19-23). Ask God that he might grant you favor.

Favor does not Preclude Righteous Living

We should still pursue righteous living even though we do not earn the grace of God. As a matter of fact, those who truly have a heart for God do not need this instruction. They are always trying to please God even after falling sometimes. In any case, we should still pursue the Kingdom of God even though we have the grace of God operating in our lives. Grace does not negate the fact that we should live a righteous life.
We also should not allow guilt to diminish the grace of God operating in our lives. We don’t deserve God’s favor so we shouldn’t think that our actions could cause him not to extend it. If our heart is indeed right with God then we can ask forgiveness and move on with out life as we strive to live according to his way.

Activities and Favor

Things that happen to us are not always an indication of God’s favor or lack of it. We can’t say that this or that happens because of God’s favor in the strictest sense. We can say such a thing with certain degrees of confidence once we recognize God moving in our lives. This of course implies experience with God and therefore a godly walk.
Just because something good happens does not mean that it was God’s favor. Just because something bad happens doesn’t meant that it was God’s judgment. Things happen to all people on the earth both good and bad. We have to weigh everything to God’s word and more precisely to the path that God has directed for us.
It could be very dangerous to equate activities with God’s favor. Preachers tell you that you are blessed or that you walk in favor if you get a new car, a new house, or more money. What about those people in poor countries or families? Can they therefore ever experience the favor or grace of God? Of course they can, but it won’t necessarily be measured in dollars and cents the way we westerners have come to think. The grace of God could manifest itself in any number of ways in a person’s life according to the will of God.
This fact will help protect us from two things. It will help protect us from pride and justification of sins. On the one hand we could come to believe that we are more blessed than someone else and therefore better than someone else because we have received great blessings such as a new car, a raise, etc. We get the “holier than thou” attitude, which is nothing but pride based on self. However, if we realize that we deserve nothing and that activities do not necessarily show God’s approval or disapproval, then we will realize that we are better than no one else. Consider that there are many criminals who have great things, which we would at first glance say they are blessed. Things happen on planet earth. We should always remember that. The fact that someone has a lot of money doesn’t mean that he is blessed of God as he could have acquired that money by deceit.


Grace is unmerited favor from God and it is manifested in many ways including the death of Jesus Christ. We cannot earn God’s grace and we do not deserve what He does for us. However, God’s love for us manifests itself by grace towards us. We can experience this grace by simply praying to God for things in our lives. We should always expect God’s grace as you never know when it will actually be extended in terms of daily living.
Live according to God’s way and strive to please him. Don’t go on a guilt trip when you sin because you didn’t earn God’s love anyway. We haven’t even earned forgiveness and yet God freely expends it to us through the blood of Christ.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Lord Is Our Refuge

I love you fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I will call upon t- PSALM 18:1

A rock is a type of a sure foundation. When the waters of trial threaten to rise up and overwhelm us, we need to do as David did and climb up on the rock that is higher than we are. David also called the Lord his fortress. A fortress is a castle, a fort, a defense, a place into which we go when we are being hunted or attacked. It is not a hiding place in which our enemy cannot find us. It is a place of protection in which we can see and but cannot be reached because we are safe in God’s protection. David also called the Lord his high tower- another lofty and inaccessible place- and his Shield and Buckler- which are part of the protective armor that surrounds the believer( EPHESIANS 6:10-17). God is not just above us and around us, he is even underneath us, because the psalmist tell us; the Lord upholds the [consistently] righteous (PSALM 37:17). God is holding us up by his powerful right and is surrounding us as the mountains surround the holy city of Jerusalem. The devil is against us; but God is for us, and over us, and with us, and in us. Because He cares for us, He watches over us and keeps us so we can find rest and peace under the shadow of his wings as we cast all our care up on him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


For many Christians believing (faith) is sometimes still a very difficult matter. It is mostly difficult because some important truths taught in the Word of God regarding believing are either not known, are not being adhered to in a sufficient manner or are perhaps even being neglected completely.
Even believers who have been Christians and have believed on Christ for many years, who are born of God and who belong to the church of God, the church of the body of Christ, still experience at times situations in their lives where they find that believing and trusting God is not an easy matter for them. I would like to bring to remembrance some basic truths from the Bible which should help us to believe God in a more effective way and to a greater degree than before and then to receive His promises in our lives.
Faith (believing) – [pistis] in the Greek – for one is an inner attitude of heart of trust, conviction, a "holding to be true" of a certain reality; in various situations then it is shown forth and manifested by acting upon such inner conviction and trust.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where we do not act with conviction and trust, and we even may then try by various means to carry out our actions with more conviction. But, we do not get much further that way because the problem of our lack of conviction is not in our action and how we carry it out, but rather at a different place.
One can only be of a firm conviction and unwavering faith when one has put off any indifference and unsurety regarding the will of God in a matter. We can only have faith and trust to the degree that we know the revealed will of God. In order to know God's will we need to know what the Scriptures teach regarding a certain matter, we must know what the Scriptures declare about it. When we know for sure that God has promised what we need then we can approach the matter with firm conviction and act in faith and all doubts and unsurety will be removed. Only when we know God's will do we have that on which to base our believing, our trust, our faith. Believing becomes possible by the Word of God – believing to receive what God has promised in terms of blessing is the result of our knowing God's Word and then acting accordingly.
Romans 10:17:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Here the context is speaking of having faith with a view toward salvation; however, the principle – that faith rests on that which God's Word promises and which we can hear because of the preaching of that Word of God – is the same also when it comes to receiving other blessings from God. A renewed mind is the key to a walk in God's power; an attitude of heart which absolutely says, "Yes!" to that which God has revealed in His Word.
Jesus Christ called the Word of God "the seed" in one of the parables he spoke. It is the seed to life from God, to eternal life; it is also the seed to any other blessing of God in our lives. The Word of God declares to us the will of God. If someone is not sure from God's Word that the desired blessing is the will of God for him, he will sort of try to bring in a harvest where nothing has been sown. A farmer can have no conviction and faith in reference to a harvest if he is not sure that the seed has been sown into the ground.
God's working is according to the same principle, because He can't grant a harvest where no seed has been sown before – where His Word has not been recognized and where His Word is not known and acted upon. God works via His Word, and that is true in every regard. Heaven and earth were made by the Word of God. God's Word must therefore first be sown into our hearts, then it must be faithfully watered and cultivated. The seed must remain in the ground, or harvest can not come of it.
If we want to receive the promised blessings of God, we must first determine from God's Word that it is God's will that we should have these blessings. If we have recognized this and if we receive this into our hearts as truth and keep it there, then we have sown or planted the seed. Then we can turn to God in our prayers with a trusting heart, because we are sure what God's will is for us. When we pray for something and then we add perhaps an "IF it be thy will", we actually are ripping the seed out of the ground and we really are putting an immediate stop to receiving what we are praying for.
When we know the Word of God and when we are familiar with it, we can believe God regarding His promises with absolute confidence. Then we can see each time how the God given promise will be fulfilled in our lives as we believe that our prayer has been heard and are sure that God has done so even before we actually experience in our life the answer to our prayer.
Mark 11:24:
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Furthermore, it is necessary that we do not give up in the process, but that with patience we endure and wait for the fulfillment of God's promise.
Hebrews 10:35 and 36:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
God's promise, His Word, works the miracle as we look on the eternal realities (His promise, His faithfulness, etc.) and as we act in accordance with those, and as we do not allow ourselves to be influenced to the contrary by temporal things. God Himself has absolutely no problems to do what He has promised, as long as we do not step in His way but rather work together with Him.
Proverbs 4:20–22:
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
God's Words are life unto those that "find" them! We must take the time and put forth the effort it takes "to find" the words of God. Only then can His words be life for us and be health to all our flesh.
In this section of the Scriptures we are told how we are to pay attention and to adhere to God's Word. If we want to receive God's blessings, we cannot be looking to many different things at the same time. We must keep our eyes focused on one thing only – on the promise of the Word of God. Instead of looking at the symptoms of a sickness we must come to the point that we do not let the words of God, the promise of God, depart from our eyes.
The power to bring about the fruit is in the seed itself, not in the farmer who sowed the seed. The power for bringing about the result of the promise of God is in the Word of God, not in us, who are only planting the Word of God. The seed can only unfold its power when it remains in the ground. The Word of God can only unfold its power when we keep it in our hearts, when we leave it in our hearts. When we do not let God's Word depart from our eyes and when we keep it in the midst of our hearts, then we are "good ground" of which Jesus said that it would bear fruit. As a farmer has absolute confidence and absolute trust that the seed which he sowed in the spring time is already working in the ground and will bring forth fruit, so we can actually have even more trust and an even more firm believing that God's Word is already at work in our life and that it will bring forth the promised fruit.
The farmer doesn't run out to his field every morning to dig in the ground and see if the seed has already done something – no, he just knows it, and he is convinced of it! He doesn't doubt the whole time and is not asking himself fearfully if perhaps the seed will maybe bear some fruit. He knows the way in which the seed works, he knows the power resident in the seed, and he knows that he is only sowing and perhaps doing a bit of watering when the seed of itself grows into a plant and then bears fruit. He does not see the fruit at the time when he sows, but he has the full conviction that the seed will bring forth the fruit. This is how it must be with us when we sow God's Word into our hearts – even though we do not immediately and right away see the fruit, we still have all the reason in the world to be absolutely convinced that the Word of God will bear its fruit in our lives.
Hebrews 11:1:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
As long as we keep our eyes firmly fixed on God's Word, as long as our ears are attentively turned to God's Word, as long as we keep God's Word in our heart, we have the right seed in the ground. If other things are distracting our eyes, our ears and our heart, we have the wrong seed. Our harvest will be different from what we really expected. It would be as if we wanted to harvest wheat when and where we sowed tares – that is not possible!
Faith is the firm confidence for that which God's Word promises! It's "the substance of things hoped for", and what the Word of God promises is what we are then hoping for and which we as of yet do not see. The promise in God's Word is the firm basis on which our faith, our believing, can rest and must rest. When we look on what God says then our believing will increase and our trust in our heavenly Father will become stronger. When we practice this in our lives it will be easier for us to believe than to doubt because the foundation on which our faith rests is much more firm and reliable than the one on which the doubts are built.
We should not doubt our faith (believing) but rather doubt our doubts for they are not reliable!
Our God is absolutely reliable – the more we know Him the more we will take Him at His Word with absolute trust and unwavering faith, and we will receive His blessings in our lives in an abundant way.
God is a faithful God who keeps His Word. Even the unfaithfulness of man cannot have any ill effect on God's faithfulness to His Word. God's Word works effectually in those who believe. All of God's promises are "Yeah" and "Amen"!
Our greatest challenge really is to become familiar with God in a more detailed and better manner, to know Him and to know what He can and is willing to do! His ability and His willingness to bless those who fear or reverence Him is communicated to us on almost every page of the Bible in very clear terms. God works via His Word in our lives. We must get to know Him, we must know what and how God works.
We must become absolutely sure of God's Word, His revelation to man. Then we will not have too many difficulties to trust Him and to believe Him. Then it takes confidence and courage to hold fast to what we know! The more sure we are of a matter, the more firm we hold on to it.
Our God is able! Our God is willing! Our God is faithful! Let us receive His Word into our hearts with joyfulness, let us help and support each other in this quest by edifying one another with His Word and by reminding ourselves and each other of the promises God has made. That way we indeed can expect miracles every day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Blood of Jesus was shed to not only forgive, but to remove sin!
In the Old Testament, the priests would sacrifice lambs, goats, etc. to cover the people's sins. However, this sacrifice was not significant to remove the stain of sin. But since Christ shed His blood, our sin can be REMOVED from our account! In Hebrews 10, it paints us this picture very clearly.
Hebrews 10:1-22, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
Jesus tells us in Matthew 26 that His blood is shed for many for the remission of sins. The word remission here is referring to the Greek word aphesis which means:
"Forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty."
With that said, read this verse to yourself and meditate (that is to soak in) it's meaning!
Matthew 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
John the Baptist also confirmed this when He said that Jesus, the Lamb of God, taketh away the sin... not just cover... but taketh away!
John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."