Extending Grace

We live in a time when humanity is so needing hope. Many people are experiencing the weight of a heavy sadness, broken-heartedness, disillusionment, disappointment, and hopelessness. Real joy is hard to find; just observe your social media feed.

I know there are countless people who are in a great season, where their reality is not heaviness, and they are joyful.  For these I am certainly thankful and rejoice with them.

For those who are not in that state, let me remind you that you are deeply loved by God and treasured by others, even when you are not feeling it and your mind is searching for reasons to embrace more self-pity. You are worthy of being loved and you are!

There is Good News today:

  • You are seen! Your fears, cares, sorrow are in clear sight of your heavenly Father. Hold steady, help has already been dispatched because you are loved!
  • Your Father has heard the deep and anguishing cry of your heart and you’re begging for forgiveness. Forgiveness has been granted. The forgiveness papers are signed. Your debt has been paid with an eternal promise. There are no invisible liens on your soul. You are loved!
  • The sins you have confessed to Him have opened the door for a brand-new day. This new day cannot be enjoyed if you do not wake up, shake off the darkness and enjoy the sunshine. You are loved!
  • When you have done your best, grace covers the rest!
  • If you will keep your eyes set on Him and follow, He will bring back what you have lost and in abundance, Because God is good, and you are loved!

This Good News is delivered through extending grace. “The Greek definition of this word is “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection seen in the life, which includes gratitude, being acceptable, having benefit, receiving unmerited favor, a gift, joyfulness, liberality, pleasure and thankfulness.”

Grace is designed to include joy and pleasure. When a gift is given to someone it is done with joy. It is a celebration! “Celebration is the action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable activity.”

Jesus highlighted this truth three times in Luke 15:1-32. Please make time to read this encouraging chapter.

The Lost Sheep – The shepherd loved the lost sheep so much that he left the ninety-nine to go and find it. That one sheep mattered to him.  He searched until he found it. Your shepherd, Jesus, is not going to suspend the search for you. When he found the lost sheep, he carried it on his shoulders home. Then he called his friends and neighbors together and said, “rejoice with me.”  Vs.7 “In the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous person who do not need to repent.”

The Lost Coin – A woman has ten silver coins and loses one. She searches carefully until she finds it. The search is never called off. When she finds it, not if, but when. She calls together her friends and neighbors and says, “rejoice with me.”

The Lost Son – The son takes his inheritance from his father. He left his family and proceeded to waste all the inheritance on worldly pleasures hoping to satisfy his soul, but those pleasures could not. A famine takes place in the land that he ran to for pleasure and abundance. Now he is feeding pigs and eating the same slop as they are.  When he came to his senses and realized where he was valued and where he belonged, he humbly journeyed home. While he was a long distance away from home, the father who had been waiting for him, saw him, and with compassion not condemnation, ran to meet him. He held him in his arms. How emotional this meeting must have been.

Instead of rebuking the son for his poor choices, the Father planned a party. He called the servants and said, “bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So, they began to celebrate. That was love!

Let me point out the five parable commonalities:

1. A search took place until something was found.
2. Whatever was lost was treasured and valued.
3. Sadness was experienced at the loss by those who valued it/him.
4. What was lost was pursued, not ignored or exiled.
5. When found or returned a party was planned. There was great joy!

YOU MATTER! If you have taken a journey away from home, you are still loved! You are loved by Father God and people in your life. Grace is extended to you; you are not a disgrace. God’s grace is present for you to embrace. Included in that grace is JOY.  Grace is Good News!

If someone you know and love is lost or disconnected in relationship, THEY MATTER! They need to know that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are wanted by you and not just welcomed but wanted! Extend grace, the undeserved and unmerited favor and watch what happens. If you need to forgive, please do so. Not just for their sake but yours.

Gal.6:1 – “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Grace extended is GOOD NEWS!

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