E-votional - God Working
September 16, 2004

Verse:

ďI am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.Ē

1 Timothy 1:4-6 (NRSV)

Thought:

There he was, tied to a fate, his past forever. Knowing full well what he had done throughout his life. The guidance he followed and the mantra he claimed, his own. Convinced he was always in the right and his reason sufficed for any and all action he had taken, we worked with pride and skill. To be sure, he did his homework, but then it all changed. It took one rocky path and one powerful encounter to have Saul know who God really was and what He was really about. Now thatís Grace. But even as such, it was just the beginning.

Hear the Good News, Godís Grace changes people. After all, hasnít Godís grace change you? Werenít you blind? You couldnít see beyond the grave. You couldnít see your purpose in life until he showed you. And you couldnít hear either. Oh, your ears functioned, but your heart didnít understand. Youíd never heard of such love and kindness, and you never would have heard of it, but God spoke in your language. And, most of all, he set you free. You are free! Free to run away. Free to harden your heart. Free to duck down side streets and hide behind trash cans. But you donít. Or if you do, you come back. Why?
Because youíve never known anything like Grace before. When we talk about grace, we mean more than a word before a meal, or how we act in public. When we talk about Grace we mean Godís work in your life. More specifically, when we talk of grace there are a couple of different elements of this gift. What we are not talking about is Cheap Grace. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. God's True Grace is different.
Costly grace...is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. This Grace we are talking about and that Paul is talking about, is the Real Thing. This is the stage is when we become His vessels. This is when we exhibit His nature in what we do and who we are. The catch is, as Isaac Newtonís First Law of Motion reminds us, ďEverything continues in a state of rest unless it is compelled to change by forces impressed upon It.Ē We must submit to His work in our life.
So, here is the deal. First the Grace that is there before our understanding. ďGodís mercy ... goes before the unwilling to make him willing; we must know it is there. It follows the willing to make his will effectual.Ē
Second the Grace that makes us right with God, that bridges the gap, we have to claim it.
Finally the grace that Transforms us into true humans, as God intended, we have to let it transform us.
This is God Working.

Prayer: 

   Gracious God, do something within my life. Help me to recognize Your presence and give me the faith to respond. Strengthen me as I grow, being transformed, regenerated by Your Holy Spirit, into the person I am called to be. Thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Grace & Peace

David Banks
Jewett United Methodist Church
PO Box 254
Jewett, TX 75846
(903) 626-4003

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