GRACE

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The words grace and peace are used together numerous times in the Bible. A lot of the New Testament writers began and ended their letters with the words “grace and peace to you”. Paul started the book of Romans with: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”. Peter started his second book with: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

In Acts 4:33 we are told “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.” The apostles were able to perform great miracles of healing and deliverance because God’s grace was resting upon their lives.

How wonderful to know that when we are in right standing with God His grace rests upon us to do what we otherwise couldn’t accomplish.

Extract from “God’s Promise for Families”

Image courtesy of Google

RELEASING OUR BURDENS WITH JOY!

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One weekend, our family attended a church camp.  During one of the morning sessions the speaker handed out a sheet of paper to everyone on which we were to write down our burdens.  In the last session of the day, we were to take these sheets of paper and put them into a bowl.  These sheets were later burned in a fire, symbolic of releasing our burdens to Jesus.  In Matthew 11:28 Jesus urges us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  I wrote down my burdens, folded the paper and put it in my notebook, which I then left on a table.  At the end of the last session, people started placing their papers into the bowl.  My notebook was not where I had left it and I frantically searched for ‘my burdens’.

“What are you looking for?” a friend whispered.
“My burdens!”
“I’ll help you look”, she offered.

We scrambled around looking for my lost burdens.  All of a sudden, we started to giggle uncontrollably.  Our laughter was magnified because everyone around us was so solemn and quiet. Here we were, desperately trying to find my lost burdens so I could take them up again only to lay them down again before God.  As our laughter continued, it struck me how gracious our God is.  As I had written my burdens, He had, in that very moment, taken them and they were effectively lost forever.

Also, the laying down of our burdens need not always be serious and solemn.  It can also be joyous and freeing.  Galatians 5:1 explains: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again.”

It also saddened me to realise how often we, as God’s children needlessly scramble around looking for the burdens God is already carrying for us.  As I lay in bed that night, reflecting on the day, I felt the laughter rise up again inside of me and Nehemiah 8:10 took on a whole new meaning:  “For the joy of the lord is your strength”.  Additionally, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is like good medicine”.

(From God’s Promise for Families by Noelene Curry)

DO LIBERTY AND GOD GO TOGETHER?

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Liberty is the “state of being free”.

In Isaiah 30:18 we are advised that “the Lord longs to be gracious to you”. The biblical definitions of grace are “the attitude of God toward men” and “the liberty that God gives men”.

If we bear in mind that liberty is the state of being free it stands to reason then, that if we accept God’s grace in our lives, that grace causes us to be free from the chains that have us bound – alcoholism, addiction to pornography or drugs, jealousy, anger, self-pity, pride, eating disorders, poor self-image. The list is endless. Graciousness is defined as being “courteous, kind, and pleasant”

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6)

“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate…..” (Nehemiah 9:17)

What an amazing thought: God longs to be kind, generous and courteous to us.

I pray as the psalmist prayed: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us….” (Psalm 67:1)

(photo courtesy of the internet)