Archive for Grace

Please… Noah Found God’s Grace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2018 by paulthepoke

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor/grace in the eyes of the LORD.

This is the first mention of the word “grace” in the Bible. This is the Hebrew word chen. Sounds like “Cain”. Simply put, it is grace or favor. The word is found 69 times in the Old Testament.

Kentucky 2016 002

God told Noah rain and a flood were coming. Noah was graced with the knowledge of rain and the idea of a flood. The earth had not seen rain prior to Noah.

Genesis 2:5-6 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground…

God gave Noah instructions on how to build a boat.

Genesis 6:14-16 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.

A flood is coming…

Genesis 6:17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.

God’s grace preserved humanity and life through the rain and the flood. Noah and his family lived to tell about it.

Genesis 8:16-17 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”

 

If God was not gracious to Noah, we would not be here. Today, in the 21st century, we are benefiting from God’s grace in countless ways.

God has been, is, and always will be gracious. The idea that God was not gracious in the Old Testament is absolute nonsense. If God was interested in crushing us like a bug the very moment we sinned, none of us would be here. The population of planet Earth would be zero. The fact we are drawing breath of air is an act of grace.

 

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Please… Please Listen to Grace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2018 by paulthepoke

Grace is the operating principle of how God interacts with believers in and through His Son. For those who have not accepted the gracious gift of Jesus Christ, they are still under God’s Law regardless of what they believe. Prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, humanity was under the Mosaic Law. We are not saved under the Law. The Law points out the fact we are flawed sinners. The standard of the Law defines the fact we are in sin.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

With the cross work of Jesus Christ, things changed. He paid the price for sin. With the cross, there was a new program. And that program is grace. The undeserved gift is eternal life. We don’t deserve it. We cannot earn it. The grace of Jesus Christ is a free offering to anyone who will take it. The free gift is grace. Grace and free gift are synonymous.

Romans 5:21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?

Grace is an interesting and intriguing concept. Grace makes no logical sense. The more one accepts and uses grace, the more grace multiplies and increases. The sting of sin pales in comparison to the power of grace. Sin is no match. Grace wins in a land slide. Accept grace…

Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…

1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

In 1 Timothy 1, grace is described as overflowing or ὑπερπλεονάζω/huperpleonazó. The prefix “hyper” is used to describe the amount of the number of grace. One cannot measure grace. It is so plentiful, grace cannot be counted. Grace is super, exceedingly abundant. Grace is hyper “cannot be counted”. Definition provided by Strong’s Concordance.

Grace wins…

 

Grace is the difference maker, not the individual. We are granted grace by God. It is not about us. Don’t get cocky.

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Don’t forget, grace is a gift. There is no amount of good deeds or work anyone can do to earn grace. One can not work for an eternity to earn grace. God is not impressed with your effort. Humble yourself. Get over it because you are not that good. And you are not going to be good enough not matter what you do. Spare God your pride and arrogance. You did not die on a cross to pay for all the sins and transgressions (past, present, and future) of all humanity.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

 

Please… We Are All Broken

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2018 by paulthepoke

Please respond to grace…

2 Corinthians 12:9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The Greek word for grace is χάρις/charis. A form of grace is used 157 times in the New Testament texts. Strong’s Concordance defines the word as: as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ; favor; gratitude, thanks; a favor, kindness. HELPS Word-studies views the term as the Lord’s favor, freely extended to give Himself away to people because He is “always leaning toward them”.

darts off target

Grace is receiving an undeserved gift. None of us truly deserve God’s favor. As human beings, we were born in a state of sin. These bodies know nothing but a state of sin. We are not a blank, moral slate born as pure and clean as the wind driven snow. Our sin is not the fault of environmental surroundings. In this life, we are sinners. We should stop blaming others for our short comings. Own it. From our conception, we are ALL under the curse of sin. Always have been, always will be…

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Genesis 8:21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

 

None of us are perfect and we all have issues. Some of us out there may think they are flawless or pretty close to it. At the least, they see themselves as better than others. Sorry, there is no sliding scale with sin. The idea that we are all sinners is not a concept noted only in the book of Romans. The idea of being sinful humans is noted across the Bible, even in the Old Testament.

Romans 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one…”

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Psalm 143:2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

In this current state of humanity, we are fallen, imperfect people. Get over your bad self. If we are truly honest with ourselves, deep down, we know we don’t cut it with a holy and just God. So… deal with it, we are sinners.

 

Broken… But the Grace of Jesus Christ

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture, Gospel with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine “Clarity” McDonald

I had heard of a God who was condemning. I knew I was going to burn in hell for all my wickedness. I was full of shame and guilt. I was homeless. I was addicted. I was a prostitute. I was lost in darkness, wandering in my own wilderness. I was well aware of my brokenness. For real, I had heard this message before.

I felt shameful and dirty, things I already felt on my own. I didn’t need to hear these things from “those people” – the people who had a shower, who had shoes, who had a home. I didn’t need to hear it from those who did their good deed of scooping food on our trays, leaving them feeling a bit better about themselves. While these things were free, they still cost so much for us; the burden of the shame was bags of gold full.

The last thing any of us needed was confirmation of how messed up our lives were. Believe it or not, we were all well aware of our brokenness, our bondage, our chains that gripped so cripplingly tight. I often went many days without food solely because I could not handle the damnation preached so hard and heavy at the soup kitchen mere blocks from where I existed.

soup kitchen

The preaching required in order to receive the food which was needed to sustain life, human life, were binding strings. I left feeling judged and condemned. The last thing I wanted was a relationship with a God who was so grand that He judged harshly. Frequently we would leave talking about how painful it was to just get food. Food was successful to physically bring us in, but the price – judgment – pushed us away in spirit. Many times, the prayers spoken over us were to remove the demons from us, rather than prayers for safety or hope or peace.

When I got off the streets and off dope, I learned of this man who had been in the Heavens who chose to be a homeless being, who was judged for His work. He knew how messed up I was. He knew how messed up the world was and would continue to be. Yet, He still chose to face the bondage of this world, to be born and to die. He was murdered in the most humiliating way so that I could have a second chance, a chance to enter the gates of heaven. He could do something no one else could. He could forgive me of my sins, and He offered me grace. He loved me so much that He willingly was born for the sole purpose of dying for me. He even knew me before I was born and loved me.

When I heard this message, I cried. I wept. How could He love me so? Was this the same message I had heard at the soup kitchen that turned me away when I had no shoes my feet, my body battered and bloody with road rash from being pushed out of a moving car, in paper clothes? Was this the same message I heard when I had been turned away because of “no shoes, no shirt, no service”? If I had heard such a loving and compassionate message during the years before, maybe I would have embraced His love sooner.

I am thankful for my journey of brokenness. My experiences shaped me to help others understand the plights of individuals such as myself and empower those trapped in the grips of hopelessness. However, I often wonder how many good and well-meaning believers crust the message and push away broken people away rather than drawing them closer to the arms of the Father. How many lose sight of the calling to love people to Him by meeting them where they are, tending to the human needs first?

Can desperately hungry people hear your message anyway? If they are broken, do they need confirmation of their brokenness? A loving approach with no strings attached is a powerful message. Maybe it should be as simple as the message, truly allowing love to be shared – the love of our God who sent His only begotten Son to die for us.

Somehow we Christians have missed the intersection joining the humanity of our fellow hurting humans with the love of Christ. I do not mean we aren’t preaching at these folks – we are doing that ad nauseam. No, what I mean is that we are not engaging with their basic human needs – such as food, water, and shelter – without attaching strings of judgment and wagging fingers in our interactions with them.

If we are created in God’s image, meant to be His representatives to a broken world, then perhaps we should follow His model. Jesus tended to people’s human needs before presenting a spiritual message. He chose not to condemn when He had every right to. Perhaps we should seek to love with tangible expressions of Christ’s unconditional love. Perhaps then the message can be heard.

 

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Give Thanks to the Lord…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 22, 2017 by paulthepoke

cornicopia

Leviticus 12:7 If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil.

This is the first time the word “thanksgiving” is used in the Bible. “Thanksgiving” is mentioned before “thanks”. Thanksgiving is the Hebrew word todah. The issue is an attitude of the heart.

Psalms 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

This is the Hebrew word yadah. It means to throw or cast. So throw it to the Lord. Laud and praise.

 

1 Timothy 4:3-4 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving

In the New Testament, the Greek word is εὐχαριστία/eucharistia. Translated literally, it is the giving of thanks for God’s grace or good grace. The word means: thankfulness or gratitude.

It is the perfect word for the verses out of 1 Timothy 4. Get the legalism and all the rules out of your life. Invite God’s grace. Be thankful for what God has provided and respond with a heart of gratitude.

The point is…God is the source. And that needs to be recognized.

Romans 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

May this Thanksgiving find you, your family, and friends with many blessings.

 

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Straight Talk…Love Your Enemies, Rodna Epley

Posted in Rodna Epley with tags , , , , on June 6, 2017 by paulthepoke

 

Rodna

Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus said… “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous…

From what I’ve seen most Christians don’t know how to “love their enemies” or “turn the other cheek” nor do we even try to obey that command directly from Jesus. I’m still learning and trying. At first I had to discover what “loving my enemies meant” and then I had to be willing to apply the concept in real life situations. It’s very difficult at first because it feels like injustice and more suffering piling upon ourselves. But eventually it becomes easier the more we do it. And we learn it feels more like honoring God and giving that person (enemy) a chance to be saved. Loving our enemies causes us to see more from God’s perspective. It removes “us” as a barrier to God’s deliverance of that person: and even of us. It doesn’t cause an “enemy” to have more control (maybe for the moment). It causes them to feel unworthy (later) of such grace and kindness that they become sorrowful and repent.

Grace Defined…Featuring Phil Kulis

Posted in Gospel, Phil Kulis with tags , , , , on May 24, 2017 by paulthepoke

PhilKulis Pic

Lots of people talk about grace, yet very few bother to define it.

What is grace? Although there are many terms that define it, the simplest way to understand what grace is, is to recognize what it isn’t.

Grace is the opposite of disgrace.

Everyone knows right away what disgrace is. It’s a state of shame.

The grace of God is something that comes to you because Christ exchanged places with you. Without Christ you are in a state of disgrace. But in Christ the grace of God is upon you.

dove grace

Grace is the state of pleasing or attractive quality or endowment, a manifestation of unmerited favor, mercy, clemency, pardon.

All these are the characteristics of God that God bestows upon us because Christ took our disgrace upon Himself and our disgrace was punished, put to death and buried.

Grace is how God looks at us. Not because of our actions but because of what Christ accomplished.

When we realize the magnitude of our disgrace and the grace that is instead bestowed upon us, then we are humbled. We don’t want to be a disgrace anymore.

Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.

Keep this in mind when you encounter the word grace in the Bible.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

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