The Greatness of Grace

I recently read a quote by my first pastor and Father in Christ, Dick Benjamin. “God hits mighty licks with crooked sticks”.  A truer statement has never been spoken! Maybe because I am more aware than ever of my need for the grace of God. If we can all be honest, it fits every believer very well.  The chances are,”Hitting mighty licks” in our life, up to now, was not because we were so good with our swing or because of the quality of our equipment. It was because of God’s great grace.  

In the Book of Acts we read about a rag tag group of the new followers of Christ.  Chapter four captures the story of Peter and John preaching. Vs.3 – “But many who heard the message believed; so, the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand”.   These results were not because these fishermen were trained in public speaking.  It was God’s grace.

In fact, Peter was the same guy who denied Jesus three times and was in trouble many more times because of his presumptuous statements and acts.  The whole group of Christ followers “had issues!”  They needed grace and they experienced this undeserved favor from God. Now, five thousand people were new converts and counted in the ranks.  Think about it… these were the men Jesus chose to build his church on.  Twelve men who brought hope to this world, all because of grace.

Acts 4:32-35 – Grace was clearly seen:
All the believers were one in heart and mind.
It is miraculous when people can simply get along, let alone work together as one.  
They shared everything they had.  
I am sure there were selfish people in the group just like today.
With power they testified.
Including giving the timid courage and boldness to share their faith.
There were no needy people among them.
They sold land and houses and gave generously to those in need.  

Vs 33 “And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all”.

Grace is the supernatural influence upon the heart and its reflection seen in life.  Grace enables us to be and do what we cannot in the natural because it is supernatural!  God takes our natural and puts the “super” on it. ☺ I love that line!  

The Apostle Paul used the word grace more than any other Bible author.  He used it because he understood it, experienced it, and practiced it.  He began and often ended his letters to the New Testament church with the words grace and peace.

When God’s grace is in play, peace is experienced.  There is no fussing, fighting or trying to make something work.  The absence of grace is evidenced by fear and anxiety. When grace is at work, peace is a byproduct.  The definition of peace is simply “to set at one, quietness, and rest”.  In other words, God will take care of this. It is settled, and its well with my soul.  

Grace enables us to be and to do his will.  1 Cor.15:9-10 – “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me”. Grace enables and activates God’s purposes.  When God’s grace operates there is anointing.  The word anointing basically means to smear on something.  In other words, when God is present, his works are witnessed.

Grace enables us to embrace new beginnings in life.  Grace screams there is hope for you! God loves you beyond your imagination and he has not changed his mind to work on your behalf. Paul understood this.

Phil.3:13 – But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The word “forgetting” means to put out of your mind. We cannot move forward if we are stuck in the past.  There is no hope in our past. Hope is only found in the present and future.  Whatever is in your past, good or bad, it is behind you. You cannot change it now.  Moving forward with your life means embracing God’s purpose and plan for your future.  To press towards, means to strain or to reach hard after what is being pursued. “If you do not go into your future, your past will become your future.”

You are not a “has been.”  You have hope because of God’s grace that enables you to move forward. His grace makes salvation or deliverance possible. His grace is also what sustains you.  Grace is all about Him and not about us. No matter what you may have done or what has happened to you. God’s great grace is at the door and it’s waiting for you to put your hand on the knob and turn it. Move forward. His plan and purpose have not changed for you. He simply requests your surrender to His grace, purpose, and will.  

Experiencing grace does not mean we step back, fold our hands, and do nothing.  It means: 1. Recognizing we are desperate and that we cannot do anything without His empowerment. 2. Be humble, yield, and allow Him control of our mind and heart.
3. Do only what He has given you grace to do.

Paul said, “I worked harder than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God that was with me”. Don’t try to be what you want to be, be what God built you to be.  Surrendering to His plan is where you find grace and peace. When God’s grace is evident, there is no question where ability comes from, and the all the glory belongs to Him.

When we have done our best, God’s grace does the rest.  2 Tim.2:1“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

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