Wednesday, November 11, 2015

lessons in grace

Tonight as I was driving home from church by myself in the truck Dave Crowder's song "I Am" began to play. I was immediately taken back to the time Blake and I were led in worship by none other than Dave Crowder himself alongside thousands upon thousands of young adults in a packed Toyota Center at the Passion Conference. My heart smiled and then I heard the phrase, "there's no end to amazing grace". Suddenly all the lessons of grace I've been learning this year clicked and I broke out in full worship mode. I was thankful to be at a red light because my eyes were shut and my hands were waving in the air. My fingers were itching to write- I couldn't wait to get Kate to bed so I could put together my thoughts and share my lessons on grace.

In case you don't know, I've been focusing on the word "grace" for the year 2015. This word came to me because I had just been horribly offended by someone whom I care greatly for. I felt so much hurt and I didn't want to turn bitter and cold over a grudge for the rest of my life. I was also adjusting to life as a mom who had yet to accomplish her dreams and every day had become a constant battle. I ached with jealousy and the need for more. I needed grace.

And here is what grace is all about:

"There's no end to amazing grace."

Let me put this phrase into context a little bit more:

"There's no space that His love can't reach.
There's no place that we can't find peace.
There's no end to amazing grace. 

Take me in with your arms spread wide.
Take me in like an orphan child.
Never let go, never leave my side.

I am holding on to you
I am holding on to you
In the middle of the storm,
I am holding on, I am.

Love like this, Oh my God to find!
I am overwhelmed, what a joy Devine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire."

Praise Jesus! There is no end to His grace! It's why we turn to Him. He takes us time and time again no matter the faults we carry. From pride, hypocrisy, lust, selfishness, and so much more- He forgives and offers grace. Radical grace. And you know what? He calls us to do the same.

1 John 2:6- Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 

This idea of radical grace is so contrary to the message from society. I'm a little addicted to Pinterest. I see quote after quote that talk about how we need to let go of the people who wrong us and bring us down. If by chance we do forgive someone, we are to take pride in ourselves as "the better person". This is just false my friends. Just. So. Wrong. It sounds good, and if we think this way it seems like it will make us feel good, but it goes against the truth.

Jesus gave radical grace. A grace that knew no bounds, that has no ends. Grace we can hold on to. Grace that overwhelms me and sets my heart on fire.

Grace that inspires me to step down from my initial reactions, analyze the entire situation, and realize who my true enemy is- Satan. Then I'm able to have compassion, offer mercy, and if needed, forgive.

And grace is not just to be offered to those who apologize or only bring minor grievances to our lives.  We have the spirit of Jesus Christ in us which means we are a part of amazing grace that has no end.

People don't like to say this type of thing but I think Christians need to hear this is 2015. The radical grace we are called to live can overcome much. It can restore friendships that have been manipulated and stepped on, and marriages that have been haunted with infidelity. It offers a compassion that passes through all of the circumstances. It offers a love that is overwhelming.

Tonight in the elementary Bible class I'm teaching we talked about peacemakers vs peace breakers. All of the characteristics of peace breakers involve pride and not getting along with others. Peacemakers on the other hand, are humble and strive to work together. Peacemakers offer grace.

It's not easy to live this way because the devil prowls about and our world is filled with sin. Oh, but I love what James 2:13 says- "Mercy triumphs over judgment!" This is how we win, my friends. We win by offering mercy and grace to even the worst grievences. It works. It's how our Father God wins the battle- by extending mercy and grace.

So I'm offering more grace.

More grace to myself
More grace to my loved ones
More grace to the people in my life
More grace to the hurting

It's not my natural way to react, but it's becoming more natural. I can't take credit for it. For I have the Holy Spirit living in me and it's His amazing grace that is beginning to pour through me.

That offense that I talked about earlier- a couple of weeks ago I finally felt like I had fully let go of the grudge! I extended grace. It wasn't my grace I'd offered though, it was God's grace. The grace that runs through my veins because I need so much of it. That is the grace I can offer to others.


There's no space that His love can't reach
There's no place that we can't find peace
There's no end to amazing grace.

Thanks for sticking with me! Love you all. :)

PS: Here is a video of this amazing worship song just in case you feel like having a mini worship session right now! ;)

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