Sunday, February 15, 2009

grace (and some photos)

I mentioned in an earlier post that lately I've been reading a lot about grace. Not because I'm a super diligent student of the Bible but because God's been revealing to me the utter lack of grace in my heart.

Utter. Lack.

Yes, I have a nice little Compassion button on my sidebar, and I post about helping those in need, but we are talking about my heart...not my blog. I may write some posts sharing some of the stuff I've read about but, before I do, I thought it best to start with this basic post about grace.

Before I was a Christian, I had no clue that grace was a term even somewhat related to God. Oh, yeah, I had heard the song "Amazing Grace" a time or two but, at the time, I just thought it was a lame song and didn't really listen to the words.

I know that of the many hits this blog gets daily, not everyone who reads is a follower of Christ. So I don't want to just plow forward speaking in "Christianese"...I want to share what I didn't know before I knew Christ.

Grace is unmerited favor.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

For those who follow Christ, the Bible says that our salvation is by God's grace, His unmerited favor, alone. This means that good deeds do not equal a golden ticket to Heaven. Not how much money you give to charity. Not how many prayers you pray every Sunday. Not how many little old ladies you help cross the street.

If you do a Bible search on the words "grace" and "peace", you will find that, when used together, the words are always in that order...grace first, peace second. Grace comes before peace in the Bible AND in our lives. If salvation was attained by works, then people would never know when and if they had done enough good things. If "getting into Heaven" was by deeds, just how many old ladies would you have to help across the street? What if you were one shy of the required number...whatever that number might be? I'd probably be so anxious that I'd bust into a nursing home, grab some unsuspecting blue-hair, sling her over my shoulder and run like the wind across the nearest 6 lane highway. Twice.

In regards to eternity, God's grace brings peace.

The grace is shown in this:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God doesn't say that Jesus died for the "good people" of humanity or the ones who have gotten their act together. Nope, he died for us while we were sinners...we didn't earn it, we weren't worthy of was unmerited favor. Because our salvation is a gift of His grace and is secure in His righteousness (not our own), we live in confidence knowing we are at peace with our Creator. And He's not hanging a good-deed checklist over our heads.

But God's grace does not end there. We need His grace to daily live as a follower of Christ. Actually, that "daily" really means "every moment of the day." And sometimes for me it's even "twice every moment of the day" if that moment seems particularly when M is throwing down in the middle of the canned vegetable aisle.

God encourages us to come to Him...even when we find ourselves in the canned vegetable aisle staring in disbelief that such ear-piercing, eyeball popping, blood-curdling screams could emit from such a tiny mouth. God is the Giver of grace, and He will lavish His infinite supply of grace (and therefore His strength, compassion, love, patience, etc. for all issues of life) on His children when asked:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Here are a few pics I took of the A girls last Friday. They are as cute as can be, but I was a little bummed with the quality of my work, so I have asked for a DO-OVER!


Jenna said...

Great post....and the pictures are great too! :)

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

I don't know that my heart really gets grace. Thanks for this post.

Love the pictures, especially the one with the pink shoes. :-)

Rebecca of "China, Baby!" said...

Tish, this was a wonderful reminder for me today. God seems to speak right through you, straight to my heart. :) Thank you for being that kind of friend!! I've been struggling lately with some things, and realizing my need for grace is greater than it ever has been. I need it so much in my own heart!

Praying for you & for myself this way...


PS I'm surprised you wanted a do-over, those pictures are beautiful!

Tish said...

@rebecca...yeah, this started with God revealing how little grace I have with & show to others...UGLY!!!! But then as I studied, so many aspects of grace came up.

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

Tish~Another beautiful post. I love how you really write with such transparency.

I think when I truly stop and reflect on how I am in a constant state of grace it is easier to bestow grace to others. It is when I don't think about God's grace that I am not much of a giver...

Thank you and thank God!


Yvonne Crawford said...

Oh I so needed to hear that and I need to remember it!!!

I thought those pictures were great, BTW

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Tish.

And I can't stand how much I love that first shot of the baby. (The B&W one.)Can't. Stand. IT!!!

kris said...

with Lent approaching, I needed these words today...

thank you.

Andrea said...

Think they are great. My favsare the Black & white and the ballet shoes.
I love the grace posts.
I love Grace..I love the word and everything it is...where it is hard it is to good it feels to receive it.
It is the single thing that we strive to help our children understand.
In my opinion cures all ills.