Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Taste of Grace - Lesson 4


What Grace is NOT!


The lives of these ducklings did not come without a price.
What was the price?
The mother's sacrifice of giving up her own life for awhile!
God's gift of righteousness to me also came with a price!


When I first started studying about grace and asking God to teach me about this subject, I had no idea what it would involve.  As I studied all the various meanings of grace, I didn't realize how much or in what ways God would teach me.  I guess I thought He would just call my attention to things in the Bible about grace, and I would automatically grow in knowledge.    I certainly didn't realize that if I "grew in grace and knowledge" as Peter says,  (2 Peter 3:18), that much of this knowledge would come from having to learn through experience how to show grace!

The more I study and pray "Lord, teach me", the more opportunities He seems to put in my path to show grace.  I find myself thrust into these "opportunities to show grace" to family, to friends, to strangers, to circumstances, and surprisingly - even to myself!

This was certainly not what I expected!  But I should have known --- after all, have you not heard that you should never pray for patience because as James says, "It is the testing of your faith that produces patience"!  (James 1:3)  The same must surely apply about praying to know grace!

This subject of grace is SO HUGE, that we are barely scratching the surface!  We are truly only having a little "TASTE OF GRACE"!

So are you ready?   Let's find out "What Grace is NOT"!

1. Grace is not CHEAP!

2 Corinthians 8:9  says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."

   Remember that acrostic for the word G R A C E?  
God's
 Riches
  At 
   Christ's
    Expense

   It could also be said:
God's
 Righteousness
  At 
   Christ's 
    Expense!

  Costly!  It cost God the Father a price beyond measure to give His Son Jesus as a sacrifice so that we might receive and even BECOME RIGHTEOUS!  And Jesus willingly offered Himself up for this. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  The holy, sinless Son of God became sin so that I could stand clothed in His righteousness...  So that God could look at me, see me perfect!!!  So that I could have a relationship, even a friendship with the God of the universe!



2.  Grace is not CONDEMNATION!

Romans 8:1-2 says "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."


3.  Grace is not obtained by WORKS or by PERFORMANCE!

Titus 3:4-8 says, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 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."

To me this says, IT'S NOT WHAT WE DO, BUT WHAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY DONE!
Don't you imagine that's why as He gave up His life's blood for us on the cross that He said, "It is finished!"


4.  Grace is not a LICENSE to sin!

Paul makes this very clear in Romans 6:1-2 where he says, "What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!"


5.  Grace does not mean that we will not have TRIALS!

Our friend Peter says in 1 Peter 5:10  that suffering and trials are experienced by all Christians, and then he says "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."


6.  Grace is not given before it is NEEDED!

1 Corinthians 10:13 in the New Living Translation says "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."


7.  Grace is not TOLERANCE of evil or ABSENCE  of emotions!

Jesus Himself is a good example of this in John 2:13-22 when He expressed His anger and intolerance of the merchants who were making His "Father's house a house of merchandise".  He certainly showed emotion as He made a whip of cords and drove them and their animals out of the temple area after overturning their tables where they did business!


8. Grace is not being in BONDAGE but experiencing FREEDOM!

Galatians 5:1 says "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."


9.  Grace is not having God to do for you something He wants you to do for YOURSELF, by exercising SELF CONTROL and WALKING in the Spirit!

Paul talks about this a lot in the book of Galatians.
"Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh," he says. Galatians 5:1 
Then he goes on to say, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, SELF-CONTROL." Galatians 5:22-23


10.  Grace does not mean we never FALL!

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says in Proverbs 24:16 that although a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up again.  And don't forget, if we have trusted Christ to be our Savior, WE ARE RIGHTEOUS!  We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:17-21




Well, I think that's enough to chew on for this time!
Below you will find the fill in the blanks for this lesson.
Please feel free to copy them off for a Bible Study on your own,
....or with a group.
And don't forget to check out my Names of God on Rocks!
Click HERE to do that!



*******************************************************************************



1. Grace is not _______________________!

2 Corinthians 8:9  says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."

   Remember that acrostic for the word G R A C E?  
God's
 Riches
  At 
   Christ's
    Expense

   It could also be said:
God's
 Righteousness
  At 
   Christ's 
    Expense!

  Costly!  It cost God the Father a price beyond measure to give His Son Jesus as a sacrifice so that we might receive and even BECOME RIGHTEOUS!  And Jesus willingly offered Himself up for this. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 



2.  Grace is not____________________________!

Romans 8:1-2 says "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

3.  Grace is not obtained by _________________ or by_____________________________!

Titus 3:4-8 says, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 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."

To me this says, IT'S NOT WHAT WE DO, BUT WHAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY DONE!

4.  Grace is not a ______________________ to sin!

Paul makes this very clear in Romans 6:1-2 where he says, "What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!"

5.  Grace does not mean that we will not have ________________!

Our friend Peter says in 1 Peter 5:10  says that suffering and trials are experienced by all Christians, and says "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."

6.  Grace is not given before it is _______________________!

1 Corinthians 10:13 in the New Living Translation says "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."

7.  Grace is not ________________________ of evil or ____________________________ of emotions!

Jesus Himself is a good example of this in John 2:13-22 when He expressed His anger and intolerance of the merchants who were making His "Father's house a house of merchandise".  He certainly showed emotion as He made a whip of cords and drove them and their animals out of the temple area after overturning their tables where they did business!

8. Grace is not being in _______________________ but experiencing _____________________________!

Galatians 5:1 says "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

9.  Grace is not having God do for you something He wants you to do for _____________________,  
 by exercising ___________________________
and _________________________________________ in the Spirit!

Paul talks about this a lot in the book of Galatians.
"Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh," he says. Galatians 5:1 
Then he goes on to say, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, SELF-CONTROL." Galatians 5:22-23

10.  Grace does not mean we never ______________________!

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says in Proverbs 24:16 that although a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up again.  And don't forget, if we have trusted Christ to be our Savior, WE ARE RIGHTEOUS!









Monday, March 23, 2015

A Taste of Grace - Lesson 3



Why Do I Need Grace?


Because I Fail!


Like my daughter's little dog trying to jump through the glass door,
...no matter how hard we try,

we can't make it on our own...
can't jump through all the hoops...
can't jump through the glass to the other side of victory...
just can't measure up to God's holy standards...

A Taste of Grace

 Why do I Need It?

In our last lesson we saw how the sinful woman received grace.
We looked at Peter; saw he didn't
deserve grace after denying Jesus,
.....and not just once, but THREE times!
We marveled how Jesus extended grace and reaffirmed His love to him...

Then we saw how Saul the persecutor, became Paul the preacher.
The grace of God pursued him, and his encounter with Jesus changed him…
Changed him from a religious Pharisee to a preacher of GRACE.

So, what about me? ... And...  What about you?
Maybe I’m not as bad as the sinful woman?
I’m the preacher’s kid.  Have I ever denied Jesus?
Well, maybe not with my lips, but often with my actions.
I think I was more like Paul with an outward form of religion;
often my heart did not practice the Scriptures that my mind had been filled with through out my life.

The main reason I need grace is
because I fail!
I fail to meet God’s standards.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23

Why do I need grace?
Because I am guilty!
“the entire world is guilty before God”
Romans 3:19


Why do I Need Grace?
No matter how good I try to be, I can’t be good enough!
“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands.
 The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
Romans 3:19-20 NLT



Okay, so I when I was very young,
I knew that I couldn’t be good enough to get to heaven.
Night after night before I went to bed, I kneeled by my bedside
and I prayed again and again for God to save me.
I knew that the only way I could be “made right with Him
without keeping the requirements of the law”,
was “by placing my faith in Jesus Christ”  
Romans 3:21-22 NLT

It was not until I was 8 years old, and at a summer Bible camp
that God showed me through His word
how to have assurance of my salvation.
Although it may sound a bit awkward,
I’m sharing it from the old King James Version,
because that’s how I read it and learned it back then:
“These things I have written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
1 John 5:13 KJV

By faith I received God's grace and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I know I’m a Christian because I believed on the name of Jesus, the Son of God just like the Scripture verse above says.


So what does this have to do with why I need grace?


...And what does this have to do with New Year’s Resolutions?!!
(Photo from First Place for Health)

Did you do your "homework assignment" after the last lesson?
Have you been reading Romans chapters 5-8?
Somehow, I feel that I am often like Paul, the one who wrote these chapters,
and I find myself stuck in Roman7:21 NLT where Paul says,
“I have discovered this principle of life---
I inevitably do what is wrong”!
And he also says, "I want to do what is good, but I don't!"
Romans 7:19 NLT

Why do I Need Grace?

Because I struggle!

In Romans 7:24 NLT Paul says “Oh, what a miserable person I am!
Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?”

It gives me comfort to know that Paul struggled.
Does it make you feel better when you know that you’re
not the only one who is struggling with an issue?
It does me!

It also makes me feel better that Peter struggled with Paul’s teachings,
saying that they are “hard to understand”, and that we need to be careful
not to twist them to say what we want them to say,
 but to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ“!
 (2 Peter 3:14-18)

So Why do I Need Grace?
So YOU will be encouraged by the things that I struggle with!
2 Corinthians 1:4 says that God comforts us in our struggles,
so that we can extend that same grace and comfort to others.

So what have I struggled with
that might comfort and encourage you?

I need God’s grace to fill that God-shaped hole that is in me.
Too often I look for comfort in other areas rather than turning to God.
Food is one thing. That’s a big issue with me!
When I first started studying how grace triumphs over law,
I got a picture in my head...
I imagined that food rules were like the law.
Like Paul said in Romans 7:6, I felt that maybe I was released from them,
and did not have to feel bound by them in order to lose weight.

I’m still feeling my way around in this.
 I prayed and asked God to help me to “Walk in the Spirit so that I would not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”  (Galatians 5:16), and asked God to help me control my appetite,
but it seemed that the food just tasted better!
I wondered what God was trying to teach me.

One thing I’ve been learning is that the taste buds are never satisfied…
They always want more, even when the stomach is full!
I am learning that only God can truly satisfy me.
Maybe that’s why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that
“we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Why do I Need Grace?
Because learning to walk in grace is a process!
Remember what Peter said in 2 Peter 3:18?
He closed his book saying "But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

I’m teaching something that I’m learning to apply.
Paul said, “Not that I have already attained,
or am already perfected;
but I press on,
that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”
Philippians 3:12


I’m not sure what issues you struggle with,
and what areas you are trying to get victory…
maybe it’s controlling your temper,
maybe it’s learning to persevere under difficult circumstances,
maybe it’s finding time to read your Bible every day,
maybe it’s pulling yourself away from the TV or computer,
maybe it’s uncontrollable spending and shopping habits,
maybe it’s to quit smoking or drinking.
There’s hundreds of things that we need God’s grace to achieve,
and one of those for me is to exercise self-control in my eating.

I love the way it says Philippians 3:12 in The Message translation:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.
But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ,
who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Friends, don’t get me wrong:
By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this,
but I’ve got my eye on the goal,
where God is beckoning us onward --- to Jesus.
I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

Okay, let’s not get depressed about it!
As long as we live in this life and in this body,
we are going to have struggles!
But one day in a single victorious stroke, God will give us new bodies!
Sin, death, and GUILT will all be gone!
(1 Corinthians 15:51-57)

Until we get that new body,
Journey with me!
Let’s see if we can find our way out to grace and victory and
“Lay aside every weight,
and the sin that so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us!”
Hebrews 12:1

*********************************************************************************

If you're using this as a Bible study, below are some fill in the blanks to help group participation and stimulate the memory to recall these truths later!

Next week "What Grace is NOT!"

*********************************************************************************

"Taste of Grace - Fill in the Blanks to go with above lesson.
             Why Do I Need Grace?


The main reason I need grace is
because ____________________________________.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23


Why do I need grace?
Because _________________________
“the entire world is guilty before God”
Romans 3:19


Why do I Need Grace?
No matter how good I try to be, ___________________________________________
“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands.  The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
Romans 3:19-20 NLT


So what does this have to do with why I need grace?
____________________________________
In Romans 7:24  Paul says “Oh, what a miserable person I am!
Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?”


So Why do I Need Grace?
So __________________________________________
by the things that I struggle with!
2 Corinthians 1:4 says that God comforts us in our struggles,
so that we can extend that same grace and comfort to others.


Why do I Need Grace?
Because _____________________________________________
Remember what Peter said,
“But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
2 Peter 3:18


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Grace Answers to Lesson 2 of "The Face of Grace"



Only God can change an "Ugly Duckling" into a Swan!



What is Grace?
(Lesson 2)

Are you ready for a little “Taste of Grace“?
(Hint - to save yourself time in looking up the verses, 
click on any of the highlighted Scripture references to take you to BLUE LETTER BIBLE,
 For the sake of uniformity I've done this study using the New King James Version.)


What does the Face of Grace Look Like?

To know what grace looks like, I think it might help
 if we looked at what people looked like before they met grace.

John 1:16 says, “The law was given through Moses,
but grace and truth
came through Jesus Christ.

Joseph Prince says, “Grace is a person,
and that person is Jesus Christ.”

So let’s look at a few people whose lives were changed
because of the grace they found when they came to know Jesus.

The first one we’ll look at is the woman who was known as a sinner.
Her story is found in Luke 7:36-50.
(Click on the highlighted link to read her story.)
She is probably not the kind of woman that most people would want to hang around with
 for fear it would ruin their reputation.
However, Jesus did not hide from her when she literally
“let down her hair”
and used it to wipe the oil that she had put on his feet.  
When He was asked why He would even let this woman touch Him,
Jesus used the hosts own words to answer the him;
the one who was forgiven the most
 would love the most.  (verses 41-43)
Maybe that’s why Peter loved Jesus so much,
because he was forgiven much,
and shown much grace by Jesus.

In doing this study, I found it very interesting that all four of the gospels
 included Jesus‘ prediction that Peter would deny him. 
 All four gospels also include the story of Peter’s actual denial of Jesus, 
with all of them telling about the
incriminating crowing of the rooster.

But did you know that only short moments before this happened,
 that Peter had been bragging that he would
lay down his life for Jesus’ sake?

Before Peter even knew his own heart was capable of denying Jesus,
 Jesus showed him grace in telling him
“Simon, Simon…  I have prayed for you
that your faith should not fail;
and when you have returned to Me,
strengthen your brethren.”

Luke tells us that after the rooster crowed,
“the Lord turned and looked at Peter,
then Peter remembered the word of the Lord…
‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’
So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

After the resurrection Jesus asked Peter three times,
“Do you love me?”
 It seems to me that Jesus used that principle of grace to restore Peter by having Peter affirm his love for him three times just as Peter had denied him three times.

No wonder Peter became a picture of grace!
Let’s look at one more face that became a face of grace.
That would be the Apostle Paul.
But let’s first look at him when he was known as Saul.

What a bad dude!
The first time we hear of Saul was shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, 
when the church was in its infancy.
The Jewish leaders who prided themselves on keeping all the law 
were most upset with the preachers of grace.
Stephen was a deacon in the early church
whose testimony greatly upset some of the Jewish leaders.
These leaders stirred up the people and accused Stephen of
blaspheming Moses, the Law, and God.

The people became so upset with Stephen,
that they cast him out of the city and stoned him,
“laying their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

The next chapter says Saul was in agreement with this act of murder,
and “made havoc of the church, entering every house,
 and dragging off men and women,
committing them to prison.” 

Jesus did not let Saul continue to threaten the church.
He staged an intervention with him, and
Saul was changed from a persecutor
to a preacher of grace.
His interesting conversion experience is found in Acts 9,
with verse 15 saying Saul was "a chosen vessel."

Saul becomes known as Paul (Acts 13:9),
and tells us how to receive an abundance of grace
so that we can reign in life! (Romans 5:17)

Buckle your seat belt!
Let’s learn the secrets of grace from Paul together!
If you have time to read the book of Galatians, or Romans chapters 5-8 over the next few weeks, 
it might help prepare you for the ride!




(Sorry....   I've been so busy working on this GRACE series,
that Rock4Today is getting a bit behind on new posts!)


The Face of Grace - Part 2 of "A Taste of Grace"



Only God can change an "Ugly Duckling" into a Swan!

What is Grace?
(Lesson 2)

Are you ready for a little “Taste of Grace“?
(Hint - to save yourself time in looking up the verses,
click on any of the highlighted Scripture references to take you to BLUE LETTER BIBLE,
 For the sake of uniformity I've done this study using the New King James Version.)


What does the Face of Grace Look Like?

To know what grace looks like, I think it might help
 if we looked at what people looked like before they met grace.

John 1:16 says, “The________ was given through Moses,
but _____________ and ___________
came through Jesus Christ.

Joseph Prince says, “Grace is a person,
and that person is Jesus Christ.”

So let’s look at a few people whose lives were changed
because of the grace they found when they came to know ______________.

The first one we’ll look at is the ____________
 who was known as a ___________.
Her story is found in Luke 7:36-50.

She is probably not the kind of woman that most people
 would want to hang around with
 for fear it would ruin their ________________.
However, Jesus did not hide from her when she literally
“___________________________”
and used it to wipe the oil that she had put on his feet.
When He was asked why He would even let this woman
_________________ Him,
Jesus used the hosts own words to answer him;
the one who was______________ the most
 would_____________ the most.  (verses 41-43)
Maybe that’s why Peter loved Jesus so much,
because he was forgiven much,
and shown much grace by Jesus.

In doing this study, I found it very interesting that all four of the gospels
 included Jesus‘ prediction that Peter would deny him.
 All four gospels also include the story of Peter’s actual denial of Jesus,
with all of them telling about the
incriminating crowing of the rooster.

But did you know that only short moments before this happened,
 that Peter had been____________ that he would
lay down his __________ for Jesus’ sake?
 John 13:36-38

Before Peter even knew his own heart was capable of denying Jesus,
 Jesus showed him grace in telling him
“Simon, Simon…  I have _____________________
that your faith should not fail;
and when you have returned to Me,
__________________ your brethren.”
 Luke 22:31-32

Luke tells us that after the rooster crowed,
“the Lord turned and_____________ at Peter,
then Peter remembered the word of the Lord…
‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’
So Peter went out and _______________________.”
Luke 22:60-62

After the resurrection Jesus asked Peter ____________ times,
“Do you love me?”
John 21:15-17
 It seems to me that Jesus used that principle of grace to restore Peter by having Peter___________ his love for him ______________ times just as Peter had denied him three times.

No wonder Peter became a picture of grace!
Let’s look at one more face that became a face of grace.
That would be the Apostle Paul.
But let’s first look at him when he was known as Saul.

What a bad dude!
The first time we hear of Saul was shortly after Jesus’ resurrection,
when the church was in its infancy.
The Jewish leaders who prided themselves on keeping all the law
were most upset with the preachers of grace.
Stephen was a deacon in the early church
whose testimony greatly upset some of the Jewish leaders.
These leaders stirred up the people and accused Stephen of
blaspheming ____________, the ____________, and _______.
 Acts 6:8-15

The people became so upset with Stephen,
that they cast him out of the city and _____________ him,
“laying their clothes at the feet of a young man named ______________.”
  Acts 7:57-60

The next chapter says Saul was in agreement with this act of murder and "made ____________________ of the church, entering every house,
 and dragging off men and women,
committing them to ______________.”
 Acts 8:1-3

Jesus did not let Saul continue to threaten the church.
He staged an intervention with him, and
Saul was changed from a ________________
to a ________________ of grace.
His interesting conversion experience is found in Acts 9,
with verse 15 saying Saul was "a chosen vessel."

Saul becomes known as___________________ (Acts 13:9),
and tells us how to receive an abundance of grace
so that we can_________________ in life! (Romans 5:17)

Buckle your seat belt!
Let’s learn the secrets of grace from Paul together!
If God can change the people we studied in this lesson,
He can change us, too!
If you have time to read the book of Galatians, or Romans chapters 5-8 over the next few weeks,
it might help prepare you for the ride!

Did you have any trouble filling in the blanks?
In case you haven't figured out how to work your way around
in my blog, the answers can be found HERE!


(Sorry....   I've been so busy working on this GRACE series,
that Rock4Today is getting a bit behind on new posts!)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Grace Answers! (A Taste of Grace - Lesson 1)



ARE YOU READY FOR SOME ANSWERS?


If you did the study, wouldn't you agree that grace is MORE than
"a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward"!

What is Grace?

When I was growing up as a “Preacher’s Kid”,
I remember being shown this acrostic:
God’s  
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense.
Another definition I remember was
“undeserved favor”.

“The Age of Grace” began at the cross of Jesus Christ,
but I had no idea there was so much grace shown in the Old Testament. God wanted to show people His grace.

Most of the time in the Old Testament the word GRACE seems to mean
“to find favor in the eyes of someone,
to be acceptable to him”.
(Blue Letter Bible Tools)
This would apply to Noah in Genesis 6:8, where it says,
“Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Moses also found this kind of grace or favor when he asked of God
“…Show me now your way,
that I may know You
and that I may find grace in Your sight.” 
(Exodus 33:13)
A manifestation of this grace to Moses was His Presence.
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
(Exodus 33:14)

Although Moses asked for God’s favor,
God showed him another side of grace.
“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed,
‘The LORD, the LORD God,
merciful and gracious, longsuffering,
and abounding in goodness and truth.’”
(Exodus 34:6)
Word study in NKJV says that goodness/grace here represents God’s character of mercy, loving kindness   …and a loyal, steadfast, voluntary, faithful and intimate love as in marriage!



One of the words David had for grace was LOVINGKINDNESS.
“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Your wings.”
(Psalm 36:7)

And in Psalm 63:3 he says because God’s LOVINGKINDNESS
“is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”

According to David, God’s grace
RESTORES JOY - Psalm 51:12
HEALS - Psalm 103:3
REDEEMS - Psalm 103:4
RENEWS - Psalm 103:5



There are a couple of Old Testament terms for grace
that really made me smile.
One of them is found in Deuteronomy 1:30-31 where it talks about the LORD carrying or nourishing Israel, carrying them like a son,
but in the New Testament where it refers to this passage, it says God
“PUT UP WITH” their ways in the wilderness.  (Acts 13:18)
I’m glad that God “puts up with” me!


Another one to make you smile is that God’s grace is
SLOW TO ANGER or literally “LONG OF NOSE” !
This comes from Jonah 4:2 where it says,
“I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger,
and abundant in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
Word study from NKJV study Bible says
“The Hebrew idiom for patient or slow to anger is literally
‘long of nose’. “
It says that the nose is symbolic of anger because an angry person breathes heavily or noisily and the nose becomes hot!


And last of all in this session of “What is Grace?”,
GRACE IS LOVE.
No ordinary love.
One commentary said “To love from the womb”,
to LOVE DEEPLY,
to have mercy, to have compassion,
to have tender affection,
to be soft, soothing, gentle…
In other words, LOVE beyond description!

Jeremiah wrote, “Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”  Lamentations 3:32

The prophet Micah said, “Who is a God like You,
pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression…
He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us…”
Micah 7:18-19



******************

Have you memorized  2 Peter 3:18  yet?
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

GRACE - What is it? (Lesson 1 in "A Taste of Grace")



What do you think of when you hear the word "GRACE"?
Is it what Webster says in its first definition...
"a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward"?
Or do we need to scroll a little further down the page...
"unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification,
a virtue coming from God"?

What is Grace?
This is a study sheet that I've prepared for a class 
that I'm leading beginning this Wednesday night to study GRACE.
I don't have all the answers, but I'm learning!
Do you want to come along and learn with me?

I've used the New King James Version to prepare this,
and if you can't figure it out, I will post the answers on a separate post
entitled "GRACE ANSWERS".

When I was growing up as a “Preacher’s Kid”,
I remember being shown this acrostic:
G___________  
R___________
A___________
C___________
E___________.
Another definition I remember was
“_____________    _____________”.

“The Age of Grace” began at the cross of Jesus Christ,
but I had no idea there was so much grace shown in the Old Testament. God wanted to show people His grace.

Most of the time in the Old Testament the word GRACE seems to mean
“to find ____________in the eyes of someone,
to be ________________ to him”.
(Blue Letter Bible Tools)
This would apply to Noah in Genesis 6:8, where it says,
“Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Moses also found this kind of grace or favor when he asked of God
“…Show me now your way,
that I may know You
and that I may find grace in Your sight.” 
(Exodus 33:13)
A manifestation of this grace to Moses was _____  ____________________.
“My ______________will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
(Exodus 33:14)

Although Moses asked for God’s favor,
God showed him another side of grace.
“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed,
‘The LORD, the LORD God,
merciful and gracious, longsuffering,
and abounding in _________________and truth.’”
(Exodus 34:6)
Word study in NKJV says that goodness/grace here represents God’s character of mercy, loving kindness   …and a loyal, steadfast, voluntary, faithful and intimate love as in marriage!



One of the words David had for grace was ___________________.
“How precious is Your ___________________, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Your wings.”
(Psalm 36:7)

And in Psalm 63:3 he says because God’s ____________________
“is better than life, my lips shall praise You.”

According to David, God’s grace
_________________________ - Psalm 51:12
__________ _______________- Psalm 103:3
_________________________ - Psalm 103:4
________________________   - Psalm 103:5




There are a couple of Old Testament terms for grace
that really made me smile.
One of them is found in Deuteronomy 1:30-31 where it talks about the LORD carrying or nourishing Israel, carrying them like a son,
but in the New Testament where it refers to this passage, it says God
____________________________their ways in the wilderness.  (Acts 13:18)
I’m glad that God “puts up with” me!

Another one to make you smile is that God’s grace is
____________________ or literally ___________________!
This comes from Jonah 4:2 where it says,
“I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger,
and abundant in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
Word study from NKJV study Bible says
“The Hebrew idiom for ______________or slow to anger is literally
‘long of nose’. “
It says that the nose is symbolic of anger because an angry person breathes heavily or noisily and the nose becomes hot!



And last of all in this session of “What is Grace?”,
___________  ___  ___________.
No ordinary love.
One commentary said “To love from the womb”,
to ___________   ______________,
to have mercy, to have compassion,
to have tender affection,
to be soft, soothing, gentle…
In other words, __________ beyond description!

Jeremiah wrote, “Though He causes grief, 
yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”  Lamentations 3:32

The prophet Micah said, “Who is a God like You,
pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression…
He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us…”
Micah 7:18-19


******************


Next week we’ll look at what GRACE means in the New Testament,
especially looking at Peter and Paul.

Before next class, please try to memorize
2 Peter 3:18
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Also, be aware of how God shows you His grace this week.
(In case you’re worried, sharing this with the group will be optional!)



To view the answers, CLICK HERE!


And if you haven't checked out my Names of God on Rocks for awhile,
CLICK HERE to see Rock4Today!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saying Grace!




...Or "Saving Grace"?


This little squirrel looked like he was saying grace,
thanking God for the abundance of seeds
that had been scattered by the birds from my feeder!


"Saying Grace"

Could it be that when we "Say Grace" over our meals,
thanking God for His provision of food,
(and asking Him to bless it)
that "Saying Grace" actually becomes "Saving Grace"?

“But you—you serve your God
 and He’ll bless your food and your water.
 I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; 
 ...I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives."
(From The Message translation)

"The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on,
 some are going to give up on the faith 
and chase after demonic illusions
 put forth by professional liars. 
These liars have lied so well and for so long 
that they’ve lost their capacity for truth...
 They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food—
perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily 
and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! 
Everything God created is good, 
and to be received with thanks.
 Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. 
God’s Word and our prayers
 make every item in creation holy."
(This is from The Message translation)


I'm not talking here about "saving grace" that saves our souls from eternal punishment.
I'm just wondering if we've gone a bit over-board on touting health foods,
placing too much value on the healing power of the food
instead of on the God in Heaven who made the food?

This is something that I personally have done at times...
but am trying, by God's grace, to have balance and get the right perspective.

What do you think?
I'd love to hear your opinion!