Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Happy Boxing Day!  Traditionally, the day after Christmas was when the lord of the manor  let his staff have the day off, and  gave them year-end presents to share with their families as a thank you for the year of service to his family.  Today, Christmas Day is reserved for immediate family, but Boxing Day is a day for gifting to friends, co-workers, employees, and neighbors. It’s a time of sharing and saying thank you.

Here in the U.S., we think of it more as Return Day.  Gather what you got for Christmas and can’t wear, don’t like or would never use, and box it up to go back to the store. If you are lucky, you can get what you really wanted on sale and have a few dollars left over.

December 26th is also St. Stephen’s Day – the day named after the first Christian martyr. He was brought into the band of believers to replace Judas, and was stoned to death for proclaiming the Gospel. You might say he gave the ultimate gift, and in giving it away, received an even greater one.   While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

What do you do with the gift of mercy and grace that Jesus gives? Do you use it, shelf it, or re-gift it? Do you return it unopened, or share it with others?  Do you hold it tightly to your heart, or share it to someone who needs it?

Because His mercies are new every morning, each day is Boxing Day for the believer. And the cool thing is this: the more you give it away the more you receive to give.

What will you do with the gift of Life today?

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Jesus commanded us to Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a)

Two things are required in order to “go” and spread the gospel.

Grace and Obedience.

The first is God’s gift, and the second is our response to that gift. Grace is the giving of something we could never earn. Through God’s grace, by the death of Jesus for our sins, we are made “worthy” to be his disciples. We obediently step out, believing God will bless our efforts in His perfect plan and timing.

The focus then shifts from our abilities to His capability.

So, go, my friend. It’s all right.  Whether it is next door or halfway around the world, the Holy Spirit goes with you.  Jesus promised that.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)

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Today I read a prayer that asks for God’s grace to precede and follow us.

sandwich baord-page-001I had a visual image of the old way of advertising – the sandwich board. People used to wear them and walk the streets so people saw the message coming and going. People noticed the message, not the bearer of it.
Perhaps if I sandwich God’s grace around me, people will see Him first and last while I will be in the middle–shielded and covered.

Lord make me your visible message that points to You and not myself. Amen.

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Note: this was an article I received in an email from Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders – Julie

By Amanda Scott

Our priest years ago told a story about his time in seminary school in Virginia. He and a friend from up north decided to travel to Georgia, his home state.  Along the way they stopped at a Waffle House.  They placed their orders and continued chatting.  When the waitress brought their orders, the friend was surprised to find a mess of grits on his plate.  “Excuse me, I didn’t order these grits,” he said. “That’s okay,” the waitress replied. “Well, I’m not paying for them.” The waitress looked puzzled.

It turned out that every meal came with a free side of grits.  Finally, the mystery was solved and the seminarians realized that Grace is like grits.  You don’t have to ask for it and you get it for free!

A recent article by LifeWay Research revealed that 71% agree that people first seek God then He responds with grace, meaning a majority of people don’t know grace is like grits!

graceisgrits2If I ever forget that, I have Jasmine to remind me.  She shared her story with our most recent team. As a child, Jasmine was sexually abused by her father.  Eventually, she escaped the continued abuse, drugs, beatings, and prostitution that engulfed her life.  Today she is almost two years drug free, she is working for the LAMB Institute, and is volunteering for our Alonzo Movement.  “I always believed God loved me,” Jasmine says.  No one had ever told her that, so how could she know God loved her?  Pure grace.  This grace, a free and unasked for gift carried her through her worst times, and it lifts her up today.  Jasmine’s unconditional love shines through and impacts others around her.  She passes God’s grace to her son, Lester.

I urge you to be among the 29% who know that grace is like grits.  Give thanks to God that we don’t have to ask or pay for his grace in order to receive it.  God makes the first move.  He offers His grace first and always. And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:16-17


Amanda Scott is a SAMS missionary serving in Children’s Ministry at the LAMB Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.


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Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your
well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that
the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and
brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen


If you ever watched one of the Three Musketeer movies, you’d see them all with swords raised high and points touching as they cried, “All for one and one for all.”  Another saying, often used for the United States, is “united we stand, divided we fall.”

Satan wishes to divide. God wants to re-unite us back to the right relationship before sin entered the human heart. That is the story from Genesis through Revelation, and on into today. But why does sin divide and enslave?

Sin divides because it causes each person to put him or herself as the center of focus. I once heard a speaker on a retreat say both sin and pride have “i” in the middle. But the other deadly sins focus on the “me want” factor as well-  gluttony, envy, greed, wrath, slothfulness. Lying has “i” in the middle as well, doesn’t it? People lie to try to get out of messes they have caused, or to look more important out of envy and low self-worth. The more people do it, the stronger the chains of sin wrap around them, making it harder to break free.

Yet, through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, He comes to restore each of us back to a state of grace- free from sin. He frees us from the guilt, the anger, the isolation, the misguided pride that so often rule our thoughts and actions. Of course, this is still a daily battle  because our human nature wants to crawl back into those chains. Why? It is the norm. Change takes effort. But God knows that- that is why He sent His Spirit to guide, correct and comfort us in this effort.

With Christ as our center, our focus is now off ourselves. It is on loving God and our neighbor (the two greatest commandments onto which all else is hinged). Some call it servitude attitude. Since all find worth in Him- all have a common bond, so there is no more envy or greed, pride or a need to lie.Low self esteem won’t lead to gluttony or slothfulness.

As Chris Tomlin sings in his version of Amazing Grace from the movie by the same name- “these chains are gone, we have been set free.”

Click on it. Listen, and then pray. Be released.

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A good read from DiAne Gates- PUDDLES OF JOY.

DiAne looks at the bird’s splashing in a puddle on a hot August day, and it reminds her of God’s blessings.

“Did you know God provides puddles of refreshment for His kids too? Puddles of encouragement. Puddles of invigoration. Puddles of comfort. These oasis moments appear like the spontaneity of a summer shower…”

Today – Where will you find your puddles of joy to splash in God’s grace?

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