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Grace

My two brothers and I bow our heads and clasp our
hands as we sit around the table.  The
day is done, chores are complete and it is time for supper.  Dad begins the prayer for the evening meal as
we listen to his words, in German, that he learned in his childhood.  We didn’t understand the meaning, but
understood “In Jesus’ Name. Amen”.
Komm, Herr Jesu; sei du unser Gast;  (Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest;) und segne, was du uns bescheret hast.
(And bless what you have bestowed.) 
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Much later I learned that prayer can be
called grace.  I didn’t wonder why prayer
was called grace or what grace had to do with Jesus.  I did not find prayer in any reference to the
word grace in the noun definition from the dictionary.  Grace is defined as elegance or beauty of
form, manner or action.  The word Grace,
used as a verb, is adorn, lend grace to, to honor or favor. 
What is Grace, really?  Grace is a free gift from God. Free means
free, no strings.  It cannot be
earned.  Grace is sufficient. The Grace
in Jesus gives us strength. 
You
then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what
you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to
faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
 
I Timothy 2.1-2
Many books have been
written about the Grace we find in Jesus Christ.  Recently I found Lee Strobel’s book, Case for Grace.  In this book I found the essence of Grace – it is change – change in the purpose
of life and the way we choose live.  Lee
Strobel has an extraordinary way of seeing beyond the surface and finding the
story of change in each person he interviews. 
It is a compelling book which introduces every facet of the change that
comes through the Grace, God gives us. 
Even through my eyes,
eyes that are often clouded with superficial judgments of those I meet.  Each person, that God gives breath, is a
story – and a part of God’s story.  I
have missed God’s Grace by the assumptions I make, the labels I attach and misunderstanding
the very purpose of Grace. 
Where are we in this brief pathway called life?  We are searching for the saving grace of
Jesus to satisfy our souls.  Nothing in
this world satisfies our hearts as much as the assurance of the love of Jesus.  Though we are at the pinnacle of life in
earnings and position, nothing can take the place of that state of grace, the
gift of God, through Jesus Christ.
When I was a girl, my job was to skim the cream off of
a gallon jar of whole milk. I used the gravy ladle-shaped spoon to skim the
best part of the milk to put away.  This
is often what we do in life, skim off the cream, the best part of life, and put
it away to save.  We have skimmed, and
the blue milk of life is left.  There is
almost a gallon of milk, and we think this is enough.  We often skim the cream, God’s love, away
from our lives.
God is love. 
Love is God.  We cannot separate
the two.  Where God is, is Love, and
where Love is, there is God.  Not the
‘lips only’ kind of love, but the deep unconditional love –  that is Grace. 
We come to God, reeking of sin, condemning others, arrogant.
God says, Come.  When we repent, and become truly His, we are
adopted into His Kingdom.  We belong to
Him.  I learned the verse, John 3:16, as
a child.  I liked the verse, Jesus wept.  It was easier to remember.  Finally I mastered saying of John 3:16.  Each day, each year it means more and more to
me.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This
is the Gift of Grace.
How can God love the
world, love us, so much, He gave his ONLY Son. 
Whoever believes, trusts, has faith in Jesus, will have eternal
life.    If God can love us this much,
how can we not love our brothers and sisters, strangers on the street, and care
for them?  If God can forgive us of sins,
wipe them away, how can we not forgive those we know and do not know?
And verses 17 – 21 of John 3 For God did not send
his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world
might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but
whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed
in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the
light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than
the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked
things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works
should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the
light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in
God.”
This, then is God’s Grace. Let the words seep into
your heart, nuance by nuance, even as they become mine, too.  This is real. 
This has a guarantee through the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us and
give us hope.  It isn’t a limited time,
but for an eternity.
Lee Strobel wrote, All we needed when we
first came to Jesus was his grace, and grace is all we need to grow in Christ.
Grace liberates us. Our tendency toward performance imprisons us.” 
  Genuine faith and belief in Jesus begins a
walk to grow in Christ for us.  A
fruitful life is not a stage of performance, but a genuine walk with Jesus
Christ through this life.

Grace is but Glory begun, and Glory is but Grace perfected. ~ Jonathan Edward.  The second verse of Amazing Grace as John Newton penned them:  ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my
fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed
.



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