Archive for May, 2012


Hebrews 13:8-10 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow… the way He works in the heart of man today is the same way He worked 2000 years ago. I want to talk about your heart this morning…

  • Hebrews 13:8 says “it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…”

The KJV translates bebaióō as ‘established’, but a better way might be ‘strengthened’ like the NASB and ESV do. For the Greek word actually means:

To make firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence, to strengthen, make true[1]

1.    How is Your Heart today?

Not the organ but your heart of hearts, your vitality, that which gives you passion for living.

Sometimes we can get beat down. We feel like we’ve been run over by a bus. Sometimes family does a number on us, or maybe a close friend. We start to lose heart, we start to feel overwhelmed. It can even affect our health. The Bible (Luke 21:26) says that in the last days, things will get so bad, that many men will have heart attacks because of the fear of what will happen. Ever heard someone say “You scared me to death”?

Things can get bad. They can get so bad that you do stupid things, like give up, take your own life. I’ve known people who have taken their own life. They lost hope, they lost heart.

God never wants us to lose heart. In fact, He has something much better:

Ephesians 3:16-17 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Now, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t ever lose heart and give up. What happens is that you think your problems are greater than God. But God wants us to realize that it is a good thing that our heart can be strengthened by Grace.

2. Strengthened by Grace, not Food.

For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

This world tries to tell you that your heart health is influenced by what you eat. Healthy food is a healthy heart. I won’t deny that. What I will say is that if you think food is the answer to your depression, your discouragement, your loss of love for life, you are badly mistaken. What strengthens your heart is not food, but Grace!

Some of you are thinking, man, what have I gotten into. They are going to bring out an empty plate and tell me they are serving Grace, and that it is better for me. Cheap people!

No, we will serve you some great food! A full stomach may help you to feel better, but it will not help with problems of depression and discouragement, broken families, lack of employment, bills…No, you need something supernatural, something available only from God, and that is Grace!

3. How do you eat Grace?

We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

We need to see that there is a special altar. This is not the altar in the Temple of the Old Testament. That altar the Priests and the needy could eat from. The fat and select portions of meat were given to the priests for food. Other was set aside for the hungry and poor. But that is not the altar we have in view. There is another altar we must see, an altar where Grace flowed down, an altar where we can feast on Grace, an altar where our hearts can be strengthened.

  • Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
  • Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;

This is the altar where Jesus the Son of God gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice. There, outside the gates, He offered Himself once and for all.

There on the altar He prepared a forever breakfast for us to feast on every day, a forever breakfast of Grace. Don’t they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well so is the breakfast of Grace if you want a strong heart to face the trials of this life.

4. Breakfast of Grace

Once a year the High Priest would offer a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. This was a very solemn day. The people were forbidden to work. The High Priest did not where his normal robe, but appeared as a common man, with dull linen garments. There were special sacrifices, offered in a specific order. The sacrifices were to be totally consumed by the fire. There was to be nothing left over to eat. The Day of Atonement was all for God. Man was not to work or assume any office of importance. Everything was in God’s hands.

The result of the waiting people was that their sins of the past year were forgiven, and now they began the New Year with the Hope of God’s blessing and favor.

“For it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Lev. 16:30).

5. We Feast at the Altar of Grace

We have great news from our Creator God. It is written in this Bible, it was put on display for the entire world to see when His only begotten son died on the upraised cross of cursing. Jesus became the cursed goat, the cursed man, the curse for us, when He took our sins upon Himself. There He satisfied the righteous demands of God, and split the veil in two, so that you and I can experience the love and Grace of our Righteous and Holy God. With the Blood of Jesus, mercy and grace came flowing down the Cross and saturated this whole earth.

At the altar of the Cross we have something greater than food to feast on. It is Grace, grace that means that no matter how badly we have messed up our lives, no matter how bad a day you had yesterday, every morning you can wake up to a breakfast of grace and tender mercies. Every day you can know that your sins, your ugly mistakes are wiped clean and forgiven, and instead of despair, depression and discouragement, you can feast on the Hope of Jesus Christ.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What good is grace and peace when I’ve lost everything? When I’m so deep in debt that I can’t see bottom? I can’t answer that for you. I can only testify that I have been that deep in debt. I can testify that things looked so bad that my thoughts were constantly on running away, and even taking my life. But God kept reminding me that I had given my life to Him, that I was His. He challenged me to trust Him with my needs. He challenged me to give Him my desires. He challenged me with Hebrews 13:5

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

I listed everything that I needed, and something’s I desired. I drew a circle, a circle of trust & hope, and gave the entire list to Him. Then I hoped and waited upon Him.

Psalm 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

It takes a lot of faith to come to the altar and feed on grace. No matter how badly you have failed, the altar is for you. There forgiveness flows from Calvary. There is the hope that we have in our risen Savior. That hope says that no matter how bad this life is, if your trust in Christ as your Savior, He will make all things good, even if it isn’t until heaven.

My prayer for you echoes Paul’s prayer in 2 Thess 3:5

2 Thessalonians 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

We yearn so much for physical comforts that we miss out on that which really strengthens us, really gives us a strong heart. We miss out on the Grace that Jesus can give us.

May you listen as the Lord directs your heart unto the Love of God, the Love that Calvary revealed. May He then direct you into the patient waiting for Christ.


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “bebaióō”.

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Charles Ryrie opens his work, The Grace of God, with the following thought. “Christianity is distinct from all other religions because it is a message of grace. Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God’s grace; salvation is by grace; and grace governs and empowers Christian living. Without grace Christianity is nothing.”[1]

GraceLife is all about living in this wonderful grace of Jesus. I believe most churches make the Christian Life about rules and appearances, rather than about this wonderful relationship with Jesus.

We have the 11th Commandment at work in most churches. You haven’t heard of the 11th Commandment? It goes like this…”If you were a Christian you wouldn’t do that.”  Go to any church for very long, and you will discover what “that” is. It differs from church to church. You hear it most often when someone strange visits, or when people are gossiping about the trouble Deacon Jones is having with his son or daughter. Or it could be anything else that people whisper about. “Well I can’t believe he did that! How could he be a Christian!? “That” covers anything you want. So we go through our Christian life, going from valley to summit, always in the back of our mind trying to live by some man-made rule…”if I am a Christian, I shouldn’t do that.” A good day is when we meet that commandment. A bad day is when we fail. You can live that kind of Christian life without Jesus. You don’t need Jesus filling your life. You don’t need his grace. You are trying to live up to a man-made standard. That is not grace. That is law. That is following a man-made god. No wonder so many people are turned off by traditional churches. Traditional churches are all about standards and being a certain way. People don’t want that anymore. What they want is the reality of a real relationship with a real God, a God who has real power for their lives. People need a place of GraceLife.

But mudpreacher, the Bible is full of rules. Isn’t God all about rules & commands? I will be in trouble here, but NO! God is all about life with Him. God is all about abiding in the fullness of the vine which is Jesus. God is all about falling in love with all that He is and has done for us.

One day Jesus was in the Temple, looking at all the Pharisees putting on a display of how much they loved the Word of God. They would make a big to-do about standing in front of everyone and reading the Scrolls of the Old Testament. They would do this for hours. In John 5:39 he remarked:

John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

People are so stressed out today. Most people realize our government, our lives are just on the edge of chaos. Families are hurting, children are hurting, but the church of the 11th commandment offers no hope for them. Only a GraceLife Church can offer hope, because a GraceLife Church offers the reality of Jesus Christ for their broken and hurting lives.

Grace thrives in the arena of need and inability. Grace does not thrive in the church of the 11th commandment, for they have no needs, they have no deficiencies. Self-Righteousness robs a church of Grace. The church of the 11th commandment fills itself with rules and programs instead of Jesus Christ.

John 1:14-16 KJV – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. (ESV “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”)

Charin anti charitos – grace  over against grace.

We received, not New Testament grace instead of Old Testament grace; nor simply, grace added to grace; but new grace imparted as the former measure of grace has been received and improved. “To have realized and used one measure of grace, was to have gained a larger measure (as it were) in exchange for it.” Consequently, continuous, unintermitted grace. The idea of the development of one grace from another is elaborated by Peter (2 Peter 1:5)[2],

The term “grace for grace” means that He gives grace upon grace, grace enough to meet all our needs, no matter the circumstances. It is one blessing leading to another blessing; new wonders dawning upon one’s consciousness every day; fresh experiences constantly springing into one’s life.

This world received the fullness of Jesus Christ. That fullness meant that we have available to us a storehouse of grace that will never run dry, for it is grace upon grace. Grace upon grace is GraceLife. GraceLife is life in Jesus Christ. GraceLife exists only where there is need and inability.

I don’t deserve to stand before you and preach the Holy Word of God. You don’t deserve to be in a Holy House of Worship. Yet here we are, not because we deserve to be here, but because Jesus Christ in us has made us acceptable in the sight of God. We can preach, we can teach, we can sing praises all because of the wonderful grace poured out upon us in Jesus Christ!

Even if you lived a perfect life this week, you don’t deserve to stand before God. None of us is righteous, no not one. Our only standing before God is in His Son, Jesus Christ. Christian or heathen, if you think you can be good enough to stand before God, to have a relationship with God, you are sadly mistaken. The only righteousness that God accepts is that of His Son.

Do you want to experience GraceLife?

But mudpreacher, I have experienced grace, because I came to Jesus and asked Him to be my Savior. Yes, that may be true, but are your living GraceLife? Peter wrote:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

You have to grow in Grace and your knowledge of Jesus. Regeneration is just the beginning point of Grace.

In the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians, he could not believe how quickly they had turned away from grace, and turned to the 11th commandment. They thought pleasing God depended upon their behavior.

GraceLife is a life covered in the grace of Jesus. GraceLife is abundant and overcoming, even when you are being kicked in the ribs. GraceLife is not conquered by trials and hardships. GraceLife is a Reigning Life! GraceLife Rules! GraceLife triumphs in the midst of our needs and inabilities.

Last week I mentioned a couple ways that guarantee you will not experience GraceLife.

1. If you insist on getting your way.
2. When you make plans without God in view.

If you put yourself first, forget God’s grace. When you put yourself first, watch out, because if you are truly God’s child, there is a whipping coming. Sometimes it comes quick, sometimes God waits awhile. But if you are His child, He will get your attention. He will move you to a place where you realize you have been putting yourself first, and it’s time to repent and humble yourself to Him.

(Beware: Sometimes we clean our self off, put on a new suit, and try our best to look and act ‘good’. We try to skip that repentance and humbling stuff. I’ll explain in point #3 in a moment)

GraceLife is not a regular life with grace added. It is not fairy dust sprinkled over your life. Fairy dust, good luck charm, or a magical incantation will not take a broken life and make it useful and profitable to God.

GraceLife is grace upon grace flowing from the fullness of Jesus Christ. He must be Lord. He must be the Vine. He must be the one we rely on for our fullness, for our life.

Before we do our behavioral analysis of GraceLife, I want to mention a third way you will not experience GraceLife.

3. When you blame others for where you are in life.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18 1.But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sufferings will happen in this life. We will make mistakes, we will face injustice. Our natural reaction is to blame someone else for where we are, or for what we are going through. And you always will as long as your focus is upon yourself. This is how bitterness enters our soul. And bitterness (or as I put it-blamedness) will cause you to fail to obtain GraceLife.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

We Must Commit to “Long-Suffering”

Suffering happens. We do not have a choice. You will suffer from time to time. But one thing we do not accept is “long-suffering”. We leave our spouse; we want a pill from the Doctor. We do not accept continual ill-treatment. Long-suffering requires an active choice. This is what Paul wanted his readers to see. Paul had made an active choice to long-suffering on their behalf. No matter how he was treated or wronged, he endured it for the sake of the lost, for the sake of other Christians. He endured it because he saw the power of GraceLife.

Long-suffering has been defined as “not having how you have been wronged or treated affect you”.

If you do not have an active commitment to long-suffering, you will live a life in a prison, continually tortured by your circumstances, continually blaming others for where you are.

Many of us have a problem with forgiveness. There are things that have happened in our life that even years later scratch at us, give us proverbial ‘indigestion’. Many Christians live in the state of “Regret, USA”. There are things that have happened in the past that they regret, and whether it was your dumb mistake or not, you usually end up blaming someone for where you are at.

Deep in every human soul is a deep desire to justify yourself. We want to see ourselves as OK, as desirable. That is why there are so many workaholics and racists. When something bad happens, it couldn’t be our fault, so we naturally blame someone else, or something else. That carries on to someone who wrongs us. We make a caricature of the one who wrongs us so that their faults will be magnified, and ours minimized. We need to feel superior, need to feel better.

That desire to justify yourself comes from putting yourself first. It will always keep you from GraceLife. When you blame someone, or when you do not forgive someone, you are putting yourself first and you will miss out on GraceLife.

When you are hurt and try to strike out, whether physically, or by simple gossip, but your intention is to get someone back, you will never experience grace, and you will never experience justice.

To seek vengeance is selfish. To resign yourself to the hurt is selfish.

  • Vengeance is selfish, you’re not concerned with truth, and it’s all about you.
  • Resignation is selfish; you are allowing sin to reign. You are not seeking the power of grace.

In order to transform hurts and misfortunes and sufferings into Grace, you must do as Paul did, focus on the commonality we have as humans. We are all vessels, vessels that break, vessels that are fallible. We are all weak and make mistakes. But the mistakes can be transformed by the Grace of God into GraceLife if we focus on the unseen. We can even grow into thanksgiving if we see how our suffering can benefit the body of Christ.

Your forgiveness of another who has wronged you will be a witness to Life in Christ for a lost man, or a manifestation of Christ’s love to a backslidden man.

Paul directs our hearts to understand the importance of longsuffering and forgiveness. They will always manifest Christ, and they will work to benefit others.

that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 

To experience GraceLife, a commitment to long-suffering and forgiveness must be done as Paul said in verse 15: For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant (pleonázō super abounding) grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound (perisseúō = super abound, fullness to the point of excess) to the glory of God.

In this context then, the word pleonázō, to have much, is used in contradistinction to the word perisseúō, to have left over after needs have been met because of the utilization of the abilities God has given someone (2 Cor. 8:2, 7; the subst. perísseuma in 8:14). Thus pleonázō here means to recognize that one has more than he needs as a result of God’s direct gift, and not to allow it to go to waste but to share it with others so that they may not face a problem in their lack.[3]

This passage hearkens back to the Manna which God gave the Israelites in the wilderness.

2 Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (He who pleonázō will never have lack, for God will always provide)

These same two Greek words are used in 2 Cor 8:2 &7

2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance pleonázō of their joy and their deep poverty abounded perisseúō unto the riches of their liberality.

2 Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound perisseúō in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound perisseúō in this grace also.

A Commitment to Longsuffering in your Christian walk means that you realize there is an abundance of Grace available to you, and as you ‘bear up’ in Christ, this superabundance will provide for others who are weak, hurting and disillusioned, so that they will have all the Grace they need, with plenty left over.

Such a commitment is to magnify Grace and thanksgiving to the glory of God. Therefore, forgiveness and long-suffering are an integral part of GraceLife.

Take away forgiveness and long-suffering from God and you have no Grace. So why should we hope to enjoy Grace if our heart denies forgiveness to someone?

Let’s point out some key points from this text:

  1. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so the power is of God and not us.
  2. We face troubles on every side.
  3. Suffering manifests the life of Jesus in our flesh
  4. Sufferings of a few bring life to many
  5. Everything happens, (suffering, life) so that abundant grace will bring thanksgiving from many to redound to the glory of God.
  6. So we faint not, because our inward man is renewed day by day.
  7. Suffering produces eternal benefit.
  8. Suffering opens our eyes to see the invisible.
  • Grace is the power of God that brings purpose to sufferings, hurts, troubles and trials.
  • Grace is the power of God that brings life to the dead, and manifest the Life of Christ in sinful flesh.
  • Grace is the power of God revealed in our thanksgiving to God
  • Grace is the power of God which allows us to see that which is invisible.
  • Grace is power for Life. That is GraceLife

Would you love to see God in the midst of your sufferings? Would you love to have Jesus manifest Himself to you when you are stressing over a broken relationship, or experiencing hateful attitudes, or despiteful treatment from former friends? Would you love to have an overflowing supply of Grace, so much so that you can impart Grace to others?

Here is what you need to do…Realize you are a broken vessel.

Broken vessels will always have an overabundance of Grace, and that Grace will flow from your cracks to meet the needs of needy people around you. If you try to glue yourself together without God’s Grace, you may have a respectable looking vessel, but it will be devoid of Grace. You may think you are a good Christian, others may think you are a good Christian, but you are devoid of the Grace of God. You have made yourself into what you think a Christian should be.

Listen to what Jeremiah said about the Jews, who thought they were “good Jews”:

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:21-22 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

With God, there are two kinds of vessels. One that He can use, and one He cannot use. God can use a broken vessel, because such a vessel requires His grace. God cannot use a vessel that has been crafted by man’s standards and man’s rules, no matter how beautiful that vessel looks. Such a vessel is really full of holes, devoid of the Living Water!

God uses broken vessels. He fills them with His Grace. But we like to make our own vessels. We like to fix the cracks, make the most of them. But God says, no matter what you do to look good, you are broken, and you will have no Grace, because you are not depending upon me.

We Are All Broken Vessels

We can’t fix ourselves. We can’t put on our Sunday best and say God, now use me. We must admit our sins and our brokenness to God and to each other. God cannot multiply His Grace on pretenders. There is nothing there for His Grace to fill. Pride has overtaken your soul and pride makes no room for Grace.

  • David shared his experience of realizing he was a broken vessel:

Psalm 31:9-13 have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength failed because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

Only God’s Grace can take a broken and marred vessel and use it for His glory.

Jeremiah 18:4 and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

The important thing is to realize the Potter is in control! He decides how to use broken vessels! We do not have a say!

Romans 9:20-21 Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

So, how does GraceLife apply to broken vessels?

Profile of GRACELIFE

Let’s begin to build a profile of a GraceLife Church. First we will look at the “what” of Grace. What does it do for us, and so how will a GraceLife Church appear to an outside observer?

What is Grace and What does it do?

1. Grace Accomplishes God’s Mercy and Steadfast Love (Hesed)

  • Brings Men to repentance

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

  • Imparts Faith to Believe

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

  • Brings Salvation to Sinful Man

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

  • Gives us all Christ’s riches and full acceptance.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

  • Gives Good Things

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

  • Increases Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

  • Brings Abundance of faith and love

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2. Grace Accomplishes God’s Design of Justice in our Lives (mishpat).

  • Made a Partaker of Christ

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

  • Justify

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

  • Overcomes Sin

Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Gives strength

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

  • Help in times of need

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Provides Stability

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

  • Inspires Singing

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

3.  Grace Accomplishes the Righteousness of Christ in Us. (tsedaqah)

  • Changes Lives

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  • Gives Power

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

  • Gives Endurance

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  • Seasons our speech

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

  • Means of Acceptable Behavior in the World

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

  • Teaches

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

  • Gives aid in suffering

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

  • Renders true service

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

  • Brings Hope

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

  • Visible

Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

  • Has nothing to do with works of the flesh

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

  • Gives power to witness

Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

  • Gives us the Reigning Righteousness of Jesus

Romans 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

When the mercy, justice and righteousness of God and Jesus Christ is actively working in a body of believer’s, you have GraceLife!

[1] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Grace of God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963), 9.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “John 1:16”.

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1169.


On May 1, 1992, after four police officers were acquitted of the savage beating of Rodney King, Rodney uttered this now famous line: “Can we all get along? Can we get along? . . .

That phrase instantly became a joke, yet as we view the world in conflict and turmoil, as we view Christians in conflict and turmoil, is it possible for us to all get along? No, not unless we commit to following the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Only at the Cross is there Peace

Colossians 1: 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting (moving or falling away) from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul addressed a fleshly church in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 12:20-21 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity(uncleanness of soul), sexual immorality (porneia-idolatry like Israel), and sensuality (seeking your own pleasure) that they have practiced.

Paul said two things that are pretty amazing in their importance.

  1. When the church is overtaken with “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder”, it should not make us quit or get angry, it should humble us, and bring us low before the Lord.
  2. The only way to cleanse such a church is to repent of uncleanness. We have been made morally and spiritually ‘dirty’. We need to repent and ask for God to cleanse us.

This is why I have been saying since 2007 that you cannot allow yourself to listen to gossip, bad reports, or ‘whispers’ that are negative about someone or something. When you do, it taints your soul, it brings uncleanness to your heart. If you listen to such reports, in order to be clean, you must go to that person and check things out.

I made a covenant with my Dad and all the employees of Tompkins Industries in 1983 that I would always give a good report. If I could not say anything good about a person, I would simply be quiet, or if able, go to that person and tell them why I could not give a good report about them. This is a wonderful way to live your life.

The Lesson of 1945 Germany Churches

If you could imagine being a pastor in Germany in 1945, you could get a glimpse of pastoring a church that has gone through a war.

Churches were torn apart, suffering and discouragement were throughout the land. God directed the pastors of the Evangelical Church in Germany to gather and issue what has been called the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. It was issued by unanimous proclamation on October 19,

The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, was issued on October 19, 1945 by the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland or EKD), in which it confessed guilt for its inadequacies in opposition to the Nazis and the Third Reich.[1]

The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt

by the Council of the Protestant Church of Germany, October 19, 1945

“we not only know that we are with our people in a large community of suffering, but also in a solidarity of guilt. With great pain we say: By us infinite wrong was brought over many peoples and countries. That which we often testified to in our communities, we express now in the name of the whole church: We did fight for long years in the name of Jesus Christ against the mentality that found its awful expression in the National Socialist regime of violence; but we accuse ourselves for not standing to our beliefs more courageously, for not praying more faithfully, for not believing more joyously, and for not loving more ardently. Now a new beginning is to be made in our churches. Based on the Holy Scripture, with complete seriousness directed to the lord of the church, they start to cleanse themselves of the influences of beliefs foreign to the faith and to reorganize themselves. We hope to the God of grace and mercy that He will use our churches as His tools and give them license to proclaim His word and to obtain obedience for His will, amongst ourselves and among our whole people[2].”

There are three elements of the Stuttgart Confession that bear noting:

1. It was an expression of solidarity with the nation in its sin and suffering.

The confessors were not standing in judgment against a guilty nation that had been brought to its knees. They were experiencing the pain of the nation and acknowledging their part in its guilt. They did not make excuses.

2. They did not give a false sense of guilt.

They stated that they opposed the Nazi regime and suffered as a consequence. But this did not take away from their share of the guilt of the nation.

3. Their sense of guilt did not drive them to despair but to fresh commitment.

They committed themselves to a new beginning. Repentance should lead to real change and a commitment to action[3].

As Germany sought to rebuild and re-unify their nation, they chose to work toward a goal rather than stagnate in blame and despair.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians church, and encouraged them to walk worthy, walk in humility, bear with one another and maintain the unity of the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:1-3 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Unity is never maintained when people resort to blaming others. Now is the time to humble our hearts before the Cross of Jesus Christ and seek His forgiveness and righteousness. Now is the time to cry out for God’s Justice to reign in our church, for His Word to have free course in our midst, and for His Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come.

Hebrews 12 is the “Keep on Pressing On” Chapter

Keep pressing on for Jesus, pressing on for His Body, pressing on for His Kingdom

Hosea 6:1-3 1 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

A. Keep on Pressing on for Jesus

  • Jesus is the head!

1. Consider the Cost

a. The Cost to Jesus

b. The Cost to all those witnesses.

Hebrews 12: 1,2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1) He began the work

2) He will finish the work

c. The Cost to Us

1) We must lay aside every sin and every weight

2) We must endure, regardless of the cost.

2. Consider our Coach (and a great host of witnesses)

a. Jesus endured hostility

12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

b. We must struggle with Him against sin

12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

3. Consider our Character

a. Value Discipline

12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

b. Discipline is Sonship.

12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

12:9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

c. Discipline allows us to Share His Holiness

12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

B. Keep on Pressing for a Healthy Body

We all want healthy bodies. That usually involves exercise, training, strengthening. But as in all things, we get weary, we get tired, we may not feel like going on. Especially if we don’t lay aside those things that distract us.

12:12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

1.  Following Jesus Requires Effort.

a. Arms and Hand droop
b. Knees get wobbly
c. Feet wander, grow hesitant, even halting.
d. If there is no effort, our joints become affected and even infected. (we can even get out of joint)

Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.[4]

A little weakness can affect the whole body. Just one arthritic joint can affect your health and well-being.

2. Hold Fast to Jesus and find Healing & Growth

a. “rather be healed”

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

See the rest of the story in Isaiah:

Isaiah 35:3-6 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;The lame will leap like a deer. Blind will see, deaf will hear, mute will sing. There will be life springing up in the desert because water will break forth, there will be “streams in the desert.”

b. Strive for Peace and Holiness

12: 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

3. Hold Fast to Grace

12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

12:16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.

12:17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

a. Danger of Losing God’s Favor.

b. Lost through Bitterness

1)  Causes Trouble

2) The many are defiled
(made common, tainted)

Absalom (close to sister Tamar, who was violated by Amnon, and he became bitter)

c. Lost through uncleanness

1) Esau had “REJECT” stamped across his forehead

2) He chose his satisfaction rather than God’s.

d. Literally cross a threshold and lose your inheritance.

C.    Keep on Pressing for the Kingdom

1.  We look for an Invisible, Eternal Kingdom

18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest

19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.

20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”

21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”

2. We Look for the City of the Living God

a. Consider the Prize

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

b. Always Heed His Word

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.

26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”

c. Things get shaken

12: 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

d. What remains are the true worshippers

28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Who is Mitsuo Fuchida? He Cried TORA TORA TORA! As he led the Japanese atack on Pearl Harbor!

Mitsuo Fuchida fought the United States throughout WWII and was intimately involved in the planning and leadership of the Japanese war effort as flight commander and later as a senior operations officer. After the war, Fuchida was a defeated warrior in occupied Japan, farming to meet the needs of his family. In 1950, Fuchida miraculously came to know Jesus Christ as Saviour through a tract handed to him while exiting a train in Tokyo. The tract was entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan,” written by Jacob DeShazer who was one of the famous Doolittle Raiders. DeShazer trusted Christ as his Saviour while held captive by Japan for 40 months. DeShazer went to Japan in 1948 as a missionary and preached to the nation who held him captive. Fuchida faithfully served Jesus Christ as an evangelist until his death in 1976. “From Pearl Harbor to Calvary” is Fuchida’s testimony of salvation.[5


[3] De Gruchy, John, Reconciliation: Restoring Justice, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2002, p. 109

[5] http://www.biblebelievers.com/fuchida1.html

You were first introduced to him on December 7, 1941, at 7:49 A.M. on a cloudless Sunday, the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor. In two hours:

* 2,403 Americans were killed
* 1,178 were wounded
* 169 U.S. aircraft were totally destroyed
* 5 battleships were mauled
* the Arizona was scrapped for good
* the Oklahoma, California and West Virginia were sunk
* the Nevada was beached in a sinking condition
* 18 other battleships were damaged
* nearby the airfields, barracks and dry docks were also crippled

This incredible attack was led by a 39-year-old Japanese top gun pilot, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida. whose life hero was Adolf Hitler. Fuchida led 360 Japanese airplanes into the harbor at Honolulu and devastated a whole nation and triggered, as you know, the massive death that came about through American atomic retaliation as well as conventional weaponry. Mitsuo Fuchida, a name that you read over and over and over and over in anything you ever read about World War II. His plane was hit numerous times as he came and went from Pearl Harbor, but he survived.


Paul concluded his doctrinal masterpiece to the Romans with this simple prayer,  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 16:24).  To me, it states the obvious, that all the right doctrine in the world is worthless without the grace of Jesus Christ in our life. It also tells me that it is possible for Christians to miss out on the grace of Jesus Christ.

Over the next few weeks we will be discovering what I believe is the missing ingredient in most Christians, and thus, most churches. That missing ingredient is “GraceLife”. Too many Christians are trying to live their lives just close enough to Jesus to be “alright”. If we could really understand “GraceLife”, we would see how those ‘followers’ of Jesus are missing out on what Jesus is all about.

This writing will consider the following:

  1. Grace Preconceptions
  2. Experiencing GraceLife
  3. Obstacles to Experiencing GraceLife
  4. Who Can Experience GraceLife?
  5. Who Cannot Experience GraceLife?

Next week we will function as FBI behavioral profilers, building a profile of what “GraceLife” is all about, and how we can become GraceLife Christians and a GraceLife Church.

1.  Grace Preconceptions

Most of us think of an acronym when we consider grace, “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense”. Perhaps you think along the ideas of the Preachers Outline and Study Bible:

Grace; God’s special favor; a special expression of God’s divine presence. Grace (charis) means the undeserved favor and blessings of God[1].

As a result, we associate grace with salvation, as Ephesians 2: 8,9 indicate: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

While these are all great beginnings for understanding “grace”, we need to see the depth of grace in order to understand “GraceLife.”

Let’s lay our preconceptions at the cross. Lay them before the Lord and confess that you do not really understand His grace. Confess that you have been lazy in seeking to know His grace. Ask God to reveal the reality and power of His grace to your hearts. Ask Him to open your eyes to the reality of GraceLife!

2.  Experiencing GraceLife

GraceLife is an Abundant Life because Jesus supplies from His riches.
  • John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
  • John 1:16 (Phillips) Indeed, every one of us has shared in his riches – there is a grace in our lives because of his grace.
  • John 1:16 (ESV) And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
GraceLife is a Reigning Life, because Jesus reigns.
  • Romans 5:17 Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 2:4 But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ – it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved – and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens.
Paul Paints a Portrait of a troubled church being a GraceLife Church

1 Corinthians 1:4 I am always thankful to God for what the gift of his grace in Jesus Christ has meant to you – how, as the Christian message has become established among you, he has enriched your whole lives, from the words on your lips to the understanding in your hearts. And you have been eager to receive his gifts during this time of waiting for his final appearance. He will keep you steadfast in the faith to the end, so that when his day comes you need fear no condemnation. God is utterly dependable, and it is he who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Phillips)

GraceLife is an Overcoming Life, because Jesus is our Overcomer!
  • John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

So the obvious question is why don’t most Christians “Overcome” and experience an “Abundant Life” of “Reigning with Christ”? Because they fail to clear four obstacles to GraceLife.

3.  Obstacles to Experiencing GraceLife

From George Barna and “Maximum Faith

There are four major OBSTACLES to most Christians experiencing the “Overcoming Life” or as I describe it “GraceLife.”

Obstacle #1: Fear of Commitment
  1. Only 18% of Christians claim to be totally committed to following Jesus Christ.
  2. Only 22% claim to be “completely dependent upon God.”
Obstacle #2: Lack of Godly Repentance
  1. 64% of Christians state they have confessed their sins to God and asked for His forgiveness.
  2. Only 12% state they are serious about abandoning the lure of sin and handing total control of their life to God.
  3. Only 12% admitted that recognizing and grasping the significance of their sins had been so personally devastating that it caused them to crash emotionally.
  4. Only about 3% of Christians in America have come to the place where they have surrendered control of their life to God, submitted to His will for their life, and devoted themselves to loving and serving God and other people.
Obstacle #3: Substituting Activity for Deeper Spirituality

Christians confuse religious activity with spiritual significance and depth.

  1. 39% participate in a combination of three “normal” religious activities in the past week (i.e., attending church services, praying, reading the Bible).
  2. Only 8% engaged in another trio of deeper faith expressions: talked about their faith with a non-Christian, fasted for religious purposes, scriptural meditation or had an extended time of spiritual reflection during the past week.
Obstacle #4: Lack of True Spiritual Community

A majority said they feel comfortable and connected within their church. However, most do not consider their church as a place where they can be open and held to biblical principles.

  1. Only 21% of Christians believe that spiritual maturity requires a vital connection to a community of faith.
  2. Only 35% claim to have confessed their sins verbally to another believer at some point during the past year.
Church life can be an obstacle to GraceLife!

Instead of churches encouraging people to engage in increasing religious activity along the lines of “programs” such as worship, evangelism, discipleship, stewardship, service, and community, we need to focus on our living relationship with the Grace of Jesus Christ.

Emphasize the Need for continuous Life-Changing Relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. When activities are emphasized, people tend to focus on worldly accomplishments rather than developing the Character of Christ. God does not need us to achieve things on His behalf in order for us to become more acceptable or valuable to Him.
  2. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in finishing church programs or producing specific religious results that we lose sight of the purpose of our faith, which is to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
  3. It becomes easy to substitute significant religious activity for an intentional and simple relationship with Jesus Christ.

Recognize that sacrifice and suffering are essential for a Life-Changing Relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. Believers must realize there is beauty and power in brokenness. Surrender and submission only happen after a struggle with the flesh.
  2. Brokenness is unappealing in a society based upon ego and bravado.
  3. Until such brokenness occurs, though, people’s transformation is hindered.
  4. The Church should raise those people up as champions, positioning such selflessness as victory rather than loss.
  5. If broken individuals are not found in a congregation, then it is time to rethink the disciple-making process relied upon in our church.

Provide the experience of a vital support system in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

  1. Studies show that most small groups and Sunday Schools produce a combination of knowledge and comfort more than commitment and application.
  2. While knowledge is important, without transparency and accountability, the information rarely gets converted into personal, congregational, or cultural transformation.

4.  Who Can Experience GraceLife?

(FICTIONAL, but based on actual families I know) – Before us is a man and woman in their late 30’s to early 40’s. They look succesful by all the worldly measures. Nice cars, nice house, good jobs. Nice vacations. They both grew up in conservative Baptist churches. They were active in the youth group, even going to youth camp where they both dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ. College happened, with all of the associated drinking and ‘hooking up’. Married in their later 20’s, they never found a church to connect with, going occasionally when a friend would ask. Now after 15 years of marriage, and three children, they are having discipline problems with their teenager. Their tweens are indifferent toward school, and one has gotten in trouble for stealing from another student. All the children nurse hurts from broken promises from parents who put their careers before their children. The wife feels no emotional connection with her husband, and because of past hurts, regards her husband with not so hidden contempt. She no longer respects her husband, and the children reflect that attitude. She barely manages to tolerate him. The husband feels unappreciated and longs for intimacy. He seeks the gratitude of women at work. In fact, he is in an emotional relationship with a grateful co-worker, and has toyed with the idea of taking their relationship to the “next step”.

Here is a family on the brink of disaster. Why? because they are nursing “wounded spirits”. They may have made a profession of faith in Christ, but never really experienced the power of Jesus. If they are Christians, they are defeated soldiers living behind enemy lines.

Is there any hope for this family? Is this the kind of family we want at our church? Would this family feel welcome in our church?

They would if we were a GraceLife church! GraceLife invites people and families with problems. GraceLife invites people who are wounded, hurt and even held captive by darkness and sin. GraceLife churches want broken people! GraceLife wants sinners! GraceLife grows and abounds in the face of hurt and brokenness! GraceLife overcomes impossible circumstances! GraceLife restores defeated soldiers and fallen saints.

Why is it our Responsibility to Reach out to the Wounded?

Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

Because this is the foundation of Christ’s earthly ministry. As he quoted in Luke 4:

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

If Christians are not focusing on the wounded and sick and hurting around us, we will not be on guard when our brothers and sisters are stricken with a wounded spirit.

Just as a wounded spirit can destroy any family, ruin any marriage, lead to an affair, or even result in juvenile delinquency, a wounded spirit can destroy or greatly diminish a Christians’ love for Jesus Christ. A wounded spirit can cause someone to stop going to church. A wounded spirit is infectious, and destruction is in its path. We must constantly be ministering to the wounded spirits around us, whether they are believers or not.

The only solution for a wounded spirit is to embrace “GraceLife”

Q: Why is a wounded spirit destructive to our relationship with Jesus Christ?

A: Grace (Jesus) grows from our spirit! If our spirit is wounded, grace will not be allowed to grow and empower us!

  • Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
  • Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
  • 2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
  • Philemon 1:25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Consider the child Jesus. The Bible says the Grace of God was upon him because he grew strong in spirit! A wounded spirit is weak, and grace is blocked from having any effect!

  • Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

The Grace of Jesus Christ is administered to our spirit, the same spirit that has been regenerated and ‘born again’ by God’s Holy Spirit! Grace isn’t for our brain, it isn’t for our emotions, it isn’t for our muscles, it is for our spirit. It originates there and then desires to flow over our mind, will, emotions and strength. It does not bypass our spirit, for it is from the Holy Spirit of Grace. If we are wounded in our spirit, if we are weak in our spirit, if we are walking in the flesh, we will miss out on the full benefit of the grace of Jesus Christ. Grace is applied to broken and hurting spirits that are given to Jesus in humility, not in pride.

I had one son who really like to test me. He was the one who after I disciplined him corporally, had a tendency to look at me as if he was saying, is that all you got? I had to spend extra time with him until I could sense he was broken over his disobedience. Once I sensed a brokenness, I could wrap my arms around him and tell him I loved him. But until that pride was laid aside, I wasn’t inclined to show him grace. On the other hand, I had a daughter with a soft heart. When she disobeyed, only one spanking was sufficient, sometimes all it took was a stern look.

God pours out His grace upon those who need help with their wounds, not upon those who look at him and say, “is that all you got?”

1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

Our walk with Jesus Christ begins clothed in Grace! His grace consumes our spirit, and desires to encompass our life. However, in so many Christians, something happens that wounds our spirit, and grace is thwarted or dwarfed. The grace of God is applied in vain to one with a wounded spirit.

GraceLife can heal the lost, the broken, the wounded, because the Grace of Christ is healing, transformational and empowering. The Grace of Christ brings much more than salvation, it brings LIFE – overcoming life for everyday circumstances!

5.  Who Cannot Experience GraceLife?

Sadly, there is one major obstacle to experiencing GraceLife. As I have already alluded, Grace is for the broken, for the hurting, for those who realize their need before God. Grace is never poured out on the proud, upon those who think they can handle their problems, or who think they are OK, or a ‘good Christian.’ Self-righteousness, pride, false sense of righteousness, contentment with who you are, are all things which will shut your spirit off from the Grace of God. They will keep you from walking in GRACELIFE. Gracelife is not for those who think they are ‘good people’. GraceLife is not for the judgmental, GRACELIFE is not for Christians who can’t get along with other people. GRACELIFE is all inclusive, for it is for the sinful, the hurting, the broken.

One way to tell if you are missing out on GRACELIFE can be found in a little sermon that Jerry Falwell preached. He called the sermon “Feudin’, Fussin’ and Frettin”. He preached it one stormy Sunday morning in 1972. The mood of the nearly 3,000 people that morning was sour. You could smell the pickle juice. Concern was written on every face. Normally the people shouted rousing “AMEN’s” & “Hallelujah’s” when Doug Oldham sang “The King is Coming”, but that morning there was silence. Jerry reflected,  “I didn’t know if it was the weather, Vietnam, or if everyone had a lot of problems, but no one smiled.”

Something was blocking the Grace of God in the church that morning. So Jerry read from Psalm 37:1-9

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither, as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:1-9).

He began his sermon by saying:

“Life can be an adventure. Life can be a thrilling experience. Life can be one joy after another—or it can be a total and miserable failure.”

I believe the difference between life being a thrilling experience or a miserable failure is whether you are experiencing “GRACELIFE”

Whether you grow in Grace or Stumble Around in the Flesh is entirely up to you!

Everyone has problems. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has messed up, some of us more than others. Whether you grow or shrink in the face of your circumstances is entirely dependent upon whether or not you allow the Grace of God to abound in your life. Whether you grow in Grace or Stumble Around in the Flesh is entirely up to you! The Grace is there for all Christians, yet our decision and attitude determines whether it has any power in our life. (We will see this more fully when we build our profile).

We don’t like problems. In fact, we try to hide them, or pass them off as no big deal. Christians think problems are a sign of sin or weakness, but really, they are an opportunity for God’s Grace.

Christian,  admit your, admit your weaknesses, admit your failings, and turn to God’s Grace. The problems are not the problem, our attitude toward our problems is!

God’s grace can never flow to the proud, arrogant and self-sufficient. God’s grace abounds for the humble, the weak, those that face heartbreak, disappointment and overwhelming burdens. Pressure and trials can be God’s design to keep us depending upon Him.

Too many Christians are guilty of what David called ‘fretting.’

What does it mean to fret?

The dictionary defines the word fret as “To give oneself up to feelings of irritation. Resentful discontent. Regret. Worry.” That pretty well describes many of God’s children, but it ought not to be so.

How to know you have given up to irritation.

We usually disguise our feelings with cute phrases (justifications).

  •  “I got up on the wrong side of the bed.” That means we got up full of the devil, but we say we got up on the wrong side of the bed.
  • “I’m in a bad mood today.” That means the devil has gotten control of our lives and our attitudes.
  • “Things are going bad; nobody has it as bad as I do.” That’s simply saying that instead of being on top of my circumstances, I’m under them.

We are not supposed to be under the circumstances, but on top of them. We are not holding on for dear life, we are reigning with Christ! This is what James 1:2 means when he says to “COUNT”

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

COUNT = hēgéomai: To be a leader, chief [2] We can ‘COUNT” it all joy becasue we are in the King, the Lord, the Leader! We can reign over our circumstances, because He reigns!

When things get tough so many people resort to fretting, fuming, and fussing, and they become typical Baptists. Most Baptists fuss when they shouldn’t. When you fuss and fret over your circumstances, you fail to see the abundance of God’s grace and your Christian walk becomes a flop. The adventure is gone. You are stuck in the mire of circumstance.

Why do Christians fret?

David tells us to quit fretting. Bad attitudes can keep you from enjoying life. They cut us off from God’s Grace. Your irritation can keep the people around you from enjoying life. No one likes to be around a sourpuss all the time. No one likes to be around a person who is always complaining—“nothing is ever right, everything is always wrong.”

Fretting is contagious. Negative attitudes attract positive attitudes and the negativity prevails. We become critical and judgmental in our attitudes. We don’t have to say anything, our expression says it all.

What causes a Christian to fret?
1. When you are determined to get your own way, and something goes wrong.

Christians can get so full of their self, that if we don’t get our way, no one will! Sometimes you’ll even hear “If I don’t get what I want, then I’m not going to do anything.” Ever hear “I’m my own boss, nobody’s going to make me do anything. I’ll do exactly as I please”?

When you start talking like that, the Lord is just about ready to cut you down. The very thing you say you will not do or the very thing you say you will do generally works in reverse, because God wants that old will broken and submissive to His will.

When you find a Christian fretting, you can mark it down, his plans are going wrong. He made some plans, he drew out a little blueprint of what he was going to do—and it did not work that way.

The world tells us to set goals, to “plan your work and work your plan”. But if you think that is the way God works, you don’t know God very well. When our plans come before God’s plans, we can expect problems.

Christian life is not plotting and scheming. It’s not “how to make a million before the age of 30.” The Christian life is surrendering and submitting. If you will learn the secret of surrender, as opposed to the futility of scheming, it will save you a lot of ulcers. It will keep you from being a sourpuss, a Christian weaned on a pickle. Surrendering to Christ will prevent you from being guilty of fretting, fuming, and fussing. When you think you have got to have your way, you are proving how immature you are. You can never experience GraceLife without surrendering and submitting.

  • No one plans to go to the hospital, and yet a lot of good people do.
  • No one plans to lose a loved one, and yet loved ones die.
  • No one plans to have an automobile accident, a financial reverse, or a disappointment.
  • No one plans to have some disastrous tragedy happen in his family.
  • No one plans those things, but they happen.

The Christian who would learn victory over fretting must learn the secret of God’s promise, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). When you surrender to God, you discover the power of Phil 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We have no right to impose our desires on God’s will. God knows best. Some of you have a had a real rough week. Everything has gone against you. You think the world is sitting on your shoulders. You think nobody loves you. That is not true.

God loves you and a lot of Christians would love you if you gave them a chance. But, your problem is that you want your own way and God wants another way. So you are being like Elijah the Prophet, sitting under the juniper tree and pouting. Pout is another good Baptist word. Self centered Baptists are good at pouting. But pouting Baptists cannot experience GraceLife.

God has got to knock that pouting out of you before you can amount to something. When you pout, you cut yourself off from God’s Grace!

I’ve seen a lot of pouting Christians over the last 40 years. I’ve seen pouting wives, pouting husbands, and even pouting preachers. When someone gets to pouting because of their pride, because they didn’t get what they want, it’s hard to get them to stop pouting and look to the Lord. I think it is almost easier to get a drunk converted. You can easier get a drug addict off dope than you can get a pouter to stop pouting, because he enjoys it.

That is part of pride. That is the old selfish nature coming through. “I’m going to have my way. I’m going to do what I please, and if I can’t, I’m not going to do anything.” So we determine to have our way and as a result we fret.

2. When you life your live without God in view.

We make our plans and then we get on our knees and we say, “Lord, I want you to bless my plans.” God has to be taken into view. The Holy Spirit has to be a partner in your plans. God has to do the programming and computing. God has to give the direction. And if He does, you can be sure He will bless your work. God is not going to bless when you make the plan, you plot the course, you chart the way, and then invite Him in as an afterthought. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). But first seek God, seek His wisdom, seek His way, seek His purpose. Making plans without God in view will make us fret.

GraceLife is a Life TOTALLY dependent upon God and His leadership. I wonder how many of you have made some plans in the past week. You have plotted a course, you have made some decisions, but you have never prayed. You have never sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Too often we think the leadership of the Holy Spirit and God’s thoughts are only involved in a local church or soul-winning ministry. We have a false way of dividing the sacred and the secular.

We say, “Now, when it comes to my church work, I pray and I seek the face of God for teaching my class, but when it comes to running my business or working my job, I know what I’m doing.” You cannot be successful that way. God Almighty must be invited into your business, your home, your health, the raising of your family, your trips, your pleasure, your hunting, and your fishing. God Almighty must be invited into every area of your life or you need not expect the Grace of God to be actively at work in your life. God will not be relegated to a corner or a part of your activity. He is going to be Lord of all or He is not going to be Lord at all. GraceLife will bring us to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We fret because we leave God out of our schemes and plans. Faith is living without scheming. If you invite God into the picture, you will not have to scheme. You will not have to throw a fit afterward,  because if your plans do not go through, you were out of His plan and He had a purpose in the failure. When your plans are His plans, you don’t get frustrated if things fall into pieces. Then, the only time you will get frustrated and have your fits is when God had nothing to do with the plans and you failed, because your pride got hurt.

David says: Fret Not, fret not, fret not. Three times he said fret not.

Do you want to Experience GRACELIFE? Then you need to lay your frets at the altar. You need to admit what a sinner you are. You need to admit your are hurting. You need to admit you are wounded. You need to humble all that you are before God, and surrender everything you want, even this church, to Him. Then you need to say God, I submit my will and my wants to you and your will and your wants. Then follow Psalms 37:3-8

  1. Trust  (Be Confident) in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
  2. Delight (be willing to bend) thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
  3. Commit (Roll upon Him) thy way unto the LORD; trust (Continue to be confident) also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
  4. Rest (be silent, motionless) in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:
  5. Cease (stop, desist) from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

What kind of life do you want? Do you want to stumble along, fretting over your circumstances, rolling along out of control? Do you want to be confident in God’s control, in the Healing power of Jesus Christ? Roll your cares, roll your concerns, roll your life upon Him. Let His Grace fill your life!

To open the flood gates of God’s Grace upon your life, you must be willing to surrender and submit to God’s Word and God’s Will. You must be willing to wait upon Him. You must be willing to let Jesus Christ be Lord of all you are, all that you think, say and do.


[1] The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Romans, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “E. Law: The Wrong Way for a Man to be Justified, 4:13-16”.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 707.


How can I be effective in my prayer life?

  • The desire to pray reveals God’s presence in our lives. Our concern for our prayer lives is evidence that God is at work in our lives and that we are (to some extent at least) responsive to him. How many of us were concerned about our prayer lives before we came to Christ? Thank God for this evidence of our regeneration.
  • Expect aversion to prayer due to our sin nature. We should not be surprised or fall under accusation when we feel extreme aversion to prayer. This shows us that our sinful nature is still operative, and is not a reliable indicator of our spiritual health. We should disregard such feelings and choose to communicate with God (Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would).
  • God accepts us fully in spite of our poor prayer lives, and he is committed to patiently teach us how to pray (Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God).
  • In EVERYTHING give thanks. Phil. 4:6,7 connects the peace of God with thanksgiving. As we present our requests to God we must also thank him for his loving sovereignty and faithfulness. Prayer with thanksgiving for God’s loving sovereignty will allow our hearts to rest in Him. Unless we temper our petitions with this, we tend to become self-focused, worried and anxious. Doubts and bitterness can come crawling into our lives.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Understand Why We Should Pray

We pray because we realize we can not live this life on our own. We must see our needs. We must see the needs of our family and friends. We must see the needs of our country, our schools, our government. If we have no needs, we will have no prayer life. If we know we have needs, then we need to know how to pray for those needs. We must see ourselves before the throne of God! Grace should be our daily meal, grace that can only be obtained at the Throne of God!

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Understand What We Should Pray

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

  • Pray for those who have hurt us, or have caused us grief, or have abandoned us, that we will continue to love them and desire God’s grace for their lives.

Matthew 6:9-13 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

  • Pray for the Name of God to be upon our life, our family, our church
  • Pray that God will use us to accomplish His will in our church and our community.
  • Pray that we will forgive all those who have hurt us or have hurt ones we love.
  • Pray that God will deliver us from evil and the evil one.

Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

  • Pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that He will send fellow laborers

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

  • Place our desires at the Cross and trust and believe we will have them!

Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

  • Forgive any and every offence or anyone who has caused your grief.

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

  • Pray that we do not faint or become discouraged and weak.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

  • Pray always, and watch, and desire to always stand before the Lord

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

  • Pray with the Holy Spirit as your guide and even your voice.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

  • Pray for others, that they would be reconciled to God. We all know unsaved and Christians alike who need to be reconciled.

2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

  • Pray that we would receive the gift that empowers us to fellowship with Christ as He ministers to the saints, and that we would undertake that ministry with Him. I believe the greatest need of our jaded USA is reaching the saints that no longer walk in the Grace of God because of the failure of fleshly churches and believers.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

  • Pray with all prayer and pleadings as the Holy Spirit prompts us. Pray for the saints.

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

  • Pray that our love will abound more and more

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

  • Pray that we will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, that our spiritual understanding will be opened to see our circumstances from God’s point of view.

Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

  • Pray that God would open doors for us to bring witness of Jesus Christ to our lost friends and neighbors.

2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

  • Pray that we will be faithful to God’s calling, and that He would use us to fulfill the good pleasure of the good He wants to accomplish, and that our efforts will be clothed in faith and His power!

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

  • Pray that the Word of God would have a smooth highway in our lives (no potholes or roadblocks), and would be glorified through our lives.

1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

  • Pray that our prayers are without any doubts or fleshly desires, but that they are based on the Holiness of God.

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

  • Pray that we will live and speak with honesty

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

  • Pray in the Holy Spirit, that we will be built upon our most holy faith.

Understand Effective Praying:

“Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will on God, or for bending his will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to his. It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it, and align ourselves with it. Every true prayer is a variation on the theme `your will be done.'” (John R. W. Stott, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: The Epistles of John (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1983), p. 185.)

We can be confident that God will grant our requests only when our requests are according to his will (see 1 Jn. 5:14,15). We are free to ask for whatever we wish, but unless scripture explicitly states that our request is God’s will, we cannot be confident that God will answer in the affirmative.

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Don’t get bogged down in trivia

“Most of us . . . get bogged with down with trivia: Jane’s sinus trouble, Ben’s discouragement, Mary’s problem with her mother-in-law . . .  All of these may be important, but prayer, like warfare, calls for strategy. It is said of Napoleon that he would watch the development of his battles from a vantage, quietly analyzing the situation while he watched. His key general would watch with him. ‘That farm,’ he once said to Marshall Ney, ‘that farm that you can see on the ridge there. Take it. Seize. Hold it. For if you can, the battle is won.’

In praying for the Ephesians, Paul was aware that if the key to the whole battle was won, lesser skirmishes would sort themselves out rather easily. Smaller problems are so often symptomatic of larger issues . . . Prayer must be directed to that which is the key. It concerns itself with strategy, not with tactics . . . If therefore one thinks that Paul’s prayer is spiritual and not practical, it is a sign of how blind he is to what life is all about . . . “  (John White, Daring To Draw Near (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1977), p. 137.)

Strategic Prayer Requests:

  • More practical insight into scripture so that you can apply it to your life (Col. 1:9,10).
  • Better understanding of what God has given you in Christ (Eph. 1:16-19) and how much God loves you (Eph. 3:18,19).
  • Greater love for other people (1 Thes. 3:12) and better discernment on how to love them effectively (Phil. 1:9).
  • Opportunities for witness and the courage and wisdom to make the most of those opportunities (Col. 4:2-4*; Eph. 6:19,20).
  • Spiritual empowering and protection for ministry (2 Thes. 2:16-3:3).
  • Exposure of attitudes that are counterproductive to your spiritual growth (Phil. 3:15; Ps. 139:23,24).
  • Wisdom to understand what God wants to teach you through adverse circumstances that are in your life (Jas. 1:5).
  • That God may raise up more workers (Matt. 9:36-38).

You never see Jesus wasting time with anthills. Jesus focused on mountains. Our prayers should focus on great obstacles being cast into the sea, so that the Will of God can be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven!