Grace and Joy

Grace is God's unmerited favor freely bestowed upon all of us. Because he has extended grace to me, I try to extend grace to others. Just as he has extended love and mercy to me, I try to do the same to other. As God fills me with his love for ohers, the more I can extend His Grace.

Joy is more than happiness. It is peace, contentment and a sense of God's blessing on one's life. Unlike happiness, Joy is not dependant on one's circumstances either. Joy is like effortlessly walking three feet up in the air.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grace, Grace, God's Grace

Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 NRSV

The whole passage for today is 2 Corinthians 4:13 - 5:10. This passage has two main thoughts - suffering for Jesus and our hope for our heavenly home. The verse above lands in the middle of these two themes.

Grace as defined by the Blue Letter Bible means "the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues." Paul in this verse was saying that all the sufferings that he endured as a Christian, as a witness to the good news of Jesus Christ, as a missionary to those who had never heard about God's grace and mercy where worth it because it meant that more and more people were experiencing God's grace for themselves. Because they were experiencing God's grace, they were experiencing mercy, forgiveness, holy love, kindness, fellowship with God and other believers, wholeness and healing. For their sakes, Paul was willing to do what it takes. 

Besides having the grace & strength to live this life as a faithful follower of Jesus, God's grace will be available for us after death. Verse 14 says "we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. (NRSV)" God's grace goes before us to save us from our sins ['the power of death'], helps us remain faithful and enabled to do the works of God and will bring us into God's presence after death.

This verse caught my eye yesterday as I prayed for someone to know God's grace in a bigger, more powerful way. And as I wrote the above devotional, I remembered a former pastor's spouse who was known for her many hours of praying daily for the salvation of her son. Her dedication paid off and she was able to see her son return to the faith he had as a child. [Although, this is no guarantee that all whom we pray for will turn to God. He gives us free will to choose Christ or reject him. But it does mean that the person or persons for whom we pray will have a greater desire to turn to God for salvation. ]

When praying for the salvation or situation of someone you know who needs to experience God's grace [for the first time or in more abundance], ask God for the grace to pray and with the dedication needed.

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