Grace Greater Than Any Sin

In 1911, Julia H. Johnston wrote the text of the hymn Marvelous Grace (Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin).

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

The emphasis of grace is taken from the text of Romans 5:20b.


but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”

The apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Rome, compares the sin of man (which we inherited from the first man, Adam) to the grace of God (which is His means for our salvation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ (the second Adam).

Grace exceeds but is not excessive; no more than is needed. None is wasted. Grace wins over any sin of His children, overcoming sin and revealing His grace through us to others.

As I have sung this hymn through my childhood and into my adult life, in relation to Paul’s letter, God has revealed the power of His grace as paramount to the power of sin in my life. The truth of His grace to related to our own sins, and the sins of all believers (vs. 4).

This past week, He has shown me something even greater.

Grace Greater Thank Any Sin or Circumstance

What place does grace play in our relationships to other people, believers and unbelievers?

If His grace exceeds our sin and our guilt; if the blood of the Lamb was spilled; if His grace pardons and cleanses us within, what happens to this grace when someone sins against us, hurts or disappoints us?

Do we forfeit His grace when someone offends us?

Or does this same grace ~ grace that is greater than all our sin ~  remain strong and prove to be greater than anything man can do to us?

If a wealthy man meets a poor man, does the poor man, through his status, take away his wealth?

A wealthy man does not change. He may, in generosity, offer the poor man money, food, or whatever he needs, but the poor man has no power to make him poor.

In the same way, we who are born of the Spirit of God’s grace, made rich in heavenly blessings, do not give up our status as God’s children by allowing the person who offends us to take away our grace. Rather, we respond to those who offend us, or who sin against us, by remembering who we are, in Christ. We, in grace, forgive, pray for them, bless them as we would our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and return good for evil (Romans 12:21). Grace abounds through us, even beyond the sin of unbelievers.

Grace That is Sufficient for All Things

Paul also speaks of grace that is sufficient in weakness and infirmities. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

This is the amazing, marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of our loving Lord living and reigning within us. God’s grace rules and wins over all else.

Gracious, heavenly Father, whose love for us exceeds our expectations, and whose grace is greater than our greatest sins, continue to show the extent of your love and grace through us to others, even when they offend or betray us. Make our relationships and our circumstances the means of revealing your greatness and power in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

The Conclusion of What Matters

How amazing these last three days have been, and how blessed to see how God carries us through what He begins in us to where He wants us to be. When I write it is usually because I need to learn something new, or to confirm and shore up what I have been learning. Such is the case with the last post, What Matters?

The following are quotes from those who responded to the question.

Gail replied, “how we treat each other”

Jean, summing up her answer, which is worthy to be considered by us all, and in the same path that the Lord has been leading me as we have contemplated this question: “Peace with the Lord, this relationship of continuing to learn of His grace and mercy; He is our life as a loving Savior and Father, a faithful God. He is all in all.”

David expressed the desire for his family ~ “the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that he has experienced.”

Andi: “preparing ourselves and others for the second coming of Christ; happiness and protection for children and grandchild.”

Lee: “resting in the finished work of Christ”

Joey: “God and people, in that order”

Kim: “knowing Him”

Gadol: a personal matter for “fulfillment of purpose, vision, call and will of God”

These were all good answers that attest to another thought.
What matters depends on who and where we are at any given time in our lives. It depends on our circumstances and our relationships. From these thoughts let us find a general answer that applies to all children of God, living as joint-heirs with Christ in His kingdom. What matters to us will be different than what matters to those of this world, who do not claim an inheritance in the kingdom of God.
What matters to those outside the kingdom are the things of this world, their possessions, their families, themselves. We will not list those things here, but let’s follow on to a conclusion of what matters to us.

What matters to us as God’s children can be summed up in one word, overall.

GOD matters ~ first, because He is our creator and redeemer, He has given us life twice, and continues to sustain us as His people, preparing us to share His glory, eternally.

God, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in each of their roles matter in every life, in every circumstance, in every relationship, as He becomes our main relationship and unites us in relationship to others of His family.

Prayer matters because this is His gift to us as His children and the means of communion and contentment with Him that carries over into our relationships with others.

God’s Word matters because He teaches from His Word what matters in our relationships. Love might be the first thing that comes to mind, but love alone, in how we perceive love, may not be enough. We see the manifestation of love in humility, commitment, faithfulness, discipline, accountability, patience, kindness, forgiveness and other marks of Christ’s nature and disposition in us. These apply to our relationships with the Lord our God and with others, even if they are not of the “household of faith.”

It matters that we keep the same obedience to the Lordcomposure, confidence, and self-control with those who are of the world.

This brings to mind another matter, that of light. No one can live without light. This light is given for new birth into His kingdom through the gospel, the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel matters to us and to His church for the matter of our salvation.
We need a certain time of physical darkness, for rest and sleep, but spiritual light is needed for the darkness of the mind and spirit. This too is given us by His Spirit in His Word so that we know how to live in this world, holding forth ‘the word of life” that is ours in Christ.

We learn about other things that matter from God’s Word, such as Philippians 4:8: “that which is true, honest, just and pure, that which is lovely, of good report, of virtue (excellence) that which is worthy of praise

What matters to God?
If we continue to think and write about it, we could go on and on, but hopefully we have posed a question that our hearts will consider as long as we live in this world, so that our Lord will continue to teach us what matters in His kingdom, in our lives, and our calling to serve Him in His kingdom. You and I matter to God. At one point this week we had considered that God is over all and that everything matters to Him. How then should we look at everything? Whatever we know and wherever we go, we should consider how God wants us to relate to the people and circumstances in which He places us. As Gadol pointed to the call and will of God, it matters to God how we respond as His people to those around us, in obedience and acceptance to where He wants us to be to fulfill His plan in us.

When looking in His Word for the word “matter” or “matters” we found one reference from the book of Ecclesiastes. Before we end with this, we will add one more to our list, that of wisdom. How does wisdom tie in with Ecclesiastes 12:13?

Since we are in the area of what matters to God, what other things from His Word would you add? What other things matter to God? We have but to read and glean these things that matter to God, our Father and to us.

Gracious heavenly Father, thank you leading us to consider what matters, and bringing us to see that the answers come from you. Thank you for being all that matters and that everything and everyone matter to you. Bring us to understand more and to find our contentment in you and your kingdom alone through the salvation that is ours in Christ. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

image

image

Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 5

“In the fifth petition we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins, which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by His grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.” Shorter Catechismunknown-1

Forgiveness is a revolving grace that begins with God, working His love and forgiveness in us, and through us to others. Subsequently, we can confidently ask for forgiveness for our own indebtedness to Him, which is more than anyone could owe us. This grace is characteristic of God’s people, those who share space in His kingdom. How can we not love and forgive, when our Father has forgiven us?

Is there bitterness in your heart toward God or another person? Resentment is the spirit of oppression, and the enemy’s greatest weapon, working from within to destroy.

The condition of any single life, family, or nation, can be summed up in the total of our grievances and vengeance against others.

Where is Our Freedom?

We are concerned about our freedom here in America. We are already in bonds to the oppressive spirit that rules in the hearts and minds of men. What we see from those who desire to govern this nation is the same spirit of this nation. We are in need of God’s intervention by His Spirit to bring us to repentance, to lead us in truth and righteousness; to overcome this spirit within us.

Our nation and the world will remain under threat until we learn to live in love and care for our heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and each other. Let us consider and examine our own hearts to know for sure that we have trusted the heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness for us.

Gracious Father,  forgive us of our rebellion, our pride, and covetousness; forgive us our anxieties and unbelief. Forgive us our discontent and impatience; forgive us our neglect and slothfulness. We need you to examine our hearts, to try our thoughts, to know if there is any bitterness that we hold against you or any other person. Reveal your love and forgiveness to us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Bring us to repentance, that we may trust you in all things, to live in peace with you and our fellowman. Heal hearts in this nation and other nations by the peace of your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.

“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God.” Daniel 9:19

Image

A World in Crisis

Was the whole world in crisis when God sent Jonah to Nineveh? It might have been, had God not saved that city.  In this year of 2016, all nations are experiencing some kind of crisis, but especially here in the USA.  At no other time in history have we seen such a lack of hope for a sensible government to rule this nation.  Where is our hope as we near the time of an election for a new president?635174824587222334sad-child-divorce
Are we to sit around and wring our hands? Are we to be concerned about the condition of our nation and the world? Certainly, we should be. But how are we to respond to the reality of the crisis and uncertainty that we now face?

It does not help to send emails about the character and the secrets of candidates that are running for office. This seems to stir up more anxiety and chaos.

What are we to do? Is there anything we can do?

As Jerry and I are watching the scenario from our little corner of the world we continue to pray.

We believe that there is hope, for with or without it, the whole world is affected.

Without hope, the chaos will continue and with continued crisis comes destruction.

When God sent Jonah to Nineveh, Jonah, at first, refused to go. Personally, it seems that a boat to Tarsus would be easier for me, than launching out into the deep to share this article. I am not a prophetess, nor is my intent to preach, but to share a simple message of wisdom and grace from our heavenly Father.

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, they had no idea that the prayer He gave them would fit every occasion, especially for times of crisis. I believe that God, our Father wants us to listen to Him and perhaps for the first time stop whatever we are doing and take a fresh look at our Lord’s Prayer.

Wherever you are, in the USA or another country, please put aside whatever seems important to you right now, and consider that God is listening and desiring us to come to Him at this time of crisis. In the days ahead please take time with your family and church to consider the importance of this prayer.

What does He want to hear?

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

Take some time to meditate on this first petition. Is He your Father? Are you honoring your heavenly Father in your heart and life? Does your life witness to others that you are a child of God?  Would your character qualify you to govern others?  Do you desire His rule in your life and this world? Do you trust Him to rule over all things, according to His will? Are you encouraging others to trust Him instead of putting their trust in men and our circumstances?

“Thy kingdom come.”

Do you desire His kingdom ruling in every area of your life? Do you see Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords in your own heart and over the whole world?

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

If we see where Christ is ruling at the right hand of the Father, with all authority in heaven and earth, all creatures and angels are surrounding and worshiping Him.

Is Christ the center of your life? Does your world revolve around Him? Are you following Him daily, looking to Him for all of life; casting your crowns before Him to glorify Him for His grace and goodness in every area of your life? Are you grateful for Him and His sacrifice for you that you may have eternal life in Him? Do you seek His will in all that do?

“Give us today our daily bread.”

Many do not have daily bread, yet most of us have more than we need. Are you God’s means of answering the prayers of others who are in need by sharing the blessings that God has given you? Are you content with the simple things and letting Him be the fulfillment of your life?

“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Are you withholding forgiveness from anyone?
A nation’s crisis can be summed up in the total of our grievances and vengeance against each other. Resentment is ruled by the spirit of oppression and is our enemy’s greatest weapon. How can we not love and forgive, when our Father has forgiven us? Our nation and the world will remain in crisis without our love and care for our heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and each other.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

We start with ourselves, praying this personally and for our families, the church, and the world. We must each take an account as we consider how we live and lead wherever we are. As we look to Him for His continual leadership, we are the example of His goodness, and His power to keep us from temptation.

Can We Make a Difference?

We could concentrate on one petition each week during the next six weeks; asking the Holy Spirit to search our hearts to reveal His truth to us personally ~ then during the week of the election, praise Him for His kingdom, His power, and His glory.

Can this prayer make a difference in the middle of our crisis? Only as we come to our Father, in repentance, in faith, in love and obedience will we know how He will make the difference, first in our own lives; then, in His timing in this nation and the world.

Please join us here on this blog each week to pray together for God’s will in this next presidential election.
Let’s Pray Together For Our Nation  ~ Week 1
Praying Together For Our Nation  ~ Week 2
Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 3

Two months ago He led me to write a little book, First Things That Last Forever. It is the basis from which I write this article. The eBook is free. Please read it, and pass this article and the link to others. Our Father wants us to come to Him with genuine humility and love; with hope and anticipation of a merciful answer.butterfly-1140x460

Dear Father, hear our prayers; send your Holy Spirit; rend the heavens and come down as the melting fire burneth, and make your name known among the adversaries ~ beginning in our own hearts and lives.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOREVER.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
SEE FOLLOW-UP  ~  A CRUCIAL SEVEN WEEKS

Fran ~ 2016

Image
Image

Jesus Never Had to Say “I’m Sorry”

He came to do the Father’s will.

In humility and obedience He fulfilled all requirements of the law.

He personified the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

He then was crucified, taking our sorriness upon Himself  ~

~ So that He might say, “Father, forgive them.  They know not what they do.”

Father-Forgive-them1-960x250Image

Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

romans5-20_thumb

“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
A few days ago a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as “beginner, intermediate, or advanced.” Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught. This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need, to desire this abounding grace, to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait. We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”


Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

 image

Do You Know Where You Are?

Awareness is a rare gift. Some are born with it. Others receive it at a special time in life. To see beyond our own peripheral vision can be a blessing or a curse. Being aware of others’ faults, mistakes, and weaknesses; judging and condemning them is a curse to others and ourselves. It is the gift that the enemy of our souls uses to work an oppressive spirit within us and toward others. This curse keeps us in a state of oppression and sin. We see in others a reflection of ourselves and continue in this state of oppression until we, like the prodigal son “came to himself.”

images

He realized where he was. The gift of awareness enabled him to see his condition, and his surroundings. He saw himself in reality of his sin and rebellion.

But, beyond himself he saw the blessing of forgiveness and reconciliation; he saw the means of returning to the father that loved him.

Awareness is a blessing when we are able to see and confess that we live in a fallen world. John said in John 5:19 “the world lies in the power of the evil one.” We were born into it, with a death certificate in our hands. We grow up in it. We are an integral part of it. And we will die in this state of oppression; of sin and misery, except as we are brought to ourselves; to see where we are and our own condition.

Every Good and Perfect Gift
The awareness that is a blessing enables us to see beyond our own, and others’ failures, to see the giver of this gift from heaven, which comes down from the “Father of lights.” (James 1:17)   Not only are our eyes opened to see where we are in this wilderness, but we see Almighty God, our heavenly Father, ruling and reigning over all things; our shepherd, our keeper, our shield; our God “who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory.”

desert-streamWe are aware of His presence and power in and through, and over all things. In His covenant with us through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are assured that He will always be with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. These truths lived within us will be a blessing to others.

 “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure:
for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.
2 Samuel 23:5

Dear Father, please open our eyes today, to see where we are; to accept the conditions in which you have placed us.  Let us see Christ as you continue to reveal Him to us, in us, and through us.  Make us aware of your presence and power as we live, love, and rejoice in you.  Be a light, life, and blessings to us all.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Image 1
Image 2