Posts Tagged ‘Wonderful grace of Jesus’


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.

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A mommy was out walking with her 4 year old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. The cautious Mom took the item away from her and asked her not to do that.
“Why?” her daughter asked.
“Because it’s been on the ground, you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty and probably has germs”
Her daughter looked up at her Mom with total admiration and asked, “Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.”
The Mom quickly replied: “All moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mommy.”
They walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, and the little girl seemed deep in thought.
“OH…I get it!” she beamed, “So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the daddy.”
“Exactly” the mommy replied back with a big smile on my face.

Actually, there is no test to become a Mom, but even brief rundown of some of the job descriptions of a Mom are overwhelming:

Dentist, Taxi driver, Doctor/Surgeon (stuffed animals), Lawyer, Policewoman, Coroner- (for pets), Coach, Teacher, Cook (apple jacks)/Chef (macaroni and cheese), Laundress, Dishwasher, Maid, Nurse – until we get our MD which happens after kid #2, Personal dresser, Personal shopper, Personal assistant, Secretary, Rocking chair, Singer, Artist, Diaper changer, Seamstress, Groomer, Cheerleader, Plumber, Counselor, Tissue (Mom’s clothes work better) Food taster, Tickler and Pudding lid licker.

With all these responsibilities, is it any wonder that Mom’s mess up from time to time? Sometimes Mom’s flunk the Mommy Test!

Lydia and I were in Archie last year playing golf at Blackberry Trails. We were on the fourth hole when we get a frantic call from our fifth child, Lindsey. She was headed out to the garage to go shopping with our 8th grandchild, Laila. Laila was just seven months old. She had her in her seat that snaps into the pedestal in the car. She forgot to get something, so she sets the seat on the counter top, and goes up to her bedroom. She hears a horrid sounding “crash” and Laila lets out this blood-curdling scream. She runs downstairs to see Laila lying face down on their hard tile flor, with the baby-seat on top of her. She picks her up and sees a huge bruise and knot forming on her forehead.

When Lydia got the call, she was frantic as well. She immediately left and met Lindsey at the hospital.

Lindsey had one of those Mommy Mess-Up moments. She just didn’t think that a seven month old could wiggle and kick that much. Lindsey had her first experience with “mommy guilt’, but praise God, Laila was fine. It seems that God designed little babies with “mess-up’s” in mind. Their little head bones are still forming and can take an accidental fall very well.

An important aspect of being a Mom is learning how to deal with “Mommy Mess-up’s!

Ali Landry is an actress, model, ABC’s Superstars celebrity participant, and founder of children’s clothing line Belle Parish, and became mom to Estela in 2007.

“As a mom, I almost always feel guilty.  I think it’s just part of being a mom, never feeling like you have enough time for the kids, your husband, yourself!  It’s a daily struggle to be the best wife, mother, daughter etc. I can be.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Now that my daughter’s a little older (2-1/2), I’m no longer so germ phobic.  I no longer feel like I need to clean off everything that falls on the ground before she sticks it back in her mouth.  A few germs are good for kids!”

If a few germs are good for kid’s are “mess-ups” good for Moms?

Wiktionary defines “mess up” as:

  • To make a mess of; to untidy, disorder, soil, or muss. “The afternoon breeze messed up my hair.”
  • To cause a problem with; to introduce an error or mistake in; to make muddled or confused; spoil; ruin. “The change messed something up, and it’s not working anymore.”
  • To botch, bungle; to perform poorly on. “Well, I messed up my solo, but otherwise it was a good concert.”
  • To make a mistake; to do something incorrectly; to perform poorly. “He has a hard time getting started because he’s afraid he’ll mess up.”
  • To cause (another person) to make unwanted mistakes in a given task, usually through distraction or obnoxious behavior. “Stop bumping me! You keep messing me up!”
  • To damage; injure. “He messed up his elbow at the track meet.”
  • To discombobulate, utterly confuse, or confound psychologically; to throw into a state of mental disarray. “That girl totally messed me up, man. I’m not sure who I am anymore.”

Mom’s learn that messes are a fact of Motherhood:

As one Mom writes:
The morning starts off with spilled milk and sticky crumbs on the kitchen floor, progresses to tomato juice dumped on the carpet, includes a stopped-up sink and a visit to the emergency room, and finishes up with the dog meeting a skunk.  Throw in a call from your husband telling you he’s bringing company home for dinner — “just something casual, hon.”
Sometimes we really mess up.
Sometimes — for a lot of different reasons — we are reckless, or clueless, or just plain mean.  We’re spoiling for a fight.  We indulge our sarcastic streak.
Our families suffer for our thoughtlessness and mistakes.  Sometimes, for a little while, we just don’t care.
We blame the kids or we blame our husband.  We blame our mothers, the neighbors, or the girl at the check-out counter.  We blame just about anyone or anything else that  allows us not to take responsibility for our own actions and failures.  We justify our own behaviour, even if only to ourselves.
After all, we’re the mom, right?

And that is why we feel so bad, later on, when we realize just how much we messed up.

Whether it was an honest mistake, or something we did purposefully, messing up has consequences to our families, our friends, and to ourselves.
Sometimes our carelessness causes harm or serious pain to someone we love.  Or our mistakes disappoint them.  Perhaps our bad attitude causes someone we love to try on a bad attitude for themselves.
What do we do then?
What do we do when we’ve run over the cat with the car because we were in a hurry?
How do we handle it when we forget our daughter’s kindergarten Thanksgiving feast?
How do we respond when we hear our sarcastic attitude coming out of our son’s mouth?
These are the moments we are glad our families cannot fire us.  Because we supervise our own work, it is up to us to fix the mess.  We must come up with our own remediation plan.

The truth is, Mom’s can try to fix the messes, come up with your own remediation plan, but you will continue to suffer from “Mommy Guilt”. God has a better way to deal with mess-up’s. God can even deal with Mom’s who are totally messed up!

How Does God deal with Mommy Mess-Up’s?

1.  Moms that Mess Up are the Rule

Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…

The very first Mom messed up. In fact, she and her husband are the reason all mom’s mess up.

Genesis 3:1-7 (NLT) 1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.  “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Everything is under the Curse of Sin

Because of Adam and Eve’s collosal mess-up, sin (mess-up’s) entered this world. This world and everything in it is under the curse of sin. Mom’s are going to mess up, and they will continue to feel guilt over their mess-ups.

On the website “True Mom Confessions”, Mom’s can post there mess-up’s anonymously. There are literally thousands of anonymous confessions. I have picked some of the “tamer” ones, posted this past week:

From True Mom Confessions

  • every time my two year old eats she does it with her mouth open..i want to kick her across the room anytime she eats within my hearing range.ive told her to close her mouth time and time again and now she does it on purpose
  • if i could have a do-over, id take it in a heartbeat. i hate my kids, my husband and life.
  • My sister is not bathing her 2 yr old or brushing his teeth because he doesn’t like it. She gives him a sponge-down and lets him chew on his brush for a minute instead. Am I overreacting when I say I think that’s just plain old bad parenting, JUST because he doesn’t like it they don’t do it?? He still has cradle cap coz they never wash his hair!
  • So mad at the boys yesterday. So mad. Damian (age 3) pooped his underwear (as if this isnt bad enough) and then proceeded to wipe it on the living room window. Then (yep, theres more!) Brayden (age 22 months) put his hands in it and smeared it on the window. And it wasn’t like they were being unsupervised either! Grant was in the same room with them and I was walking back and forth doing laundry, just didn’t realize what they were doing. Disgusting!
  • I failed. I did not protect my little boy from a savage dog attack. I did not keep my promise of me always keeping my babies safe. I lied to them; because it is NOT safe here .. I hear sirens and dogs barking everywhere in the air. I failed to Keep my young beings’ safe and innocent. I hate that bull mastiff so much I wish I knew where he was..
  • I’m the mom with the 17 year old pregnant daughter. I told her to get and job and be out of the house in a month tonight. How did I ever raise such a spoiled brat? And yes this pregnancy is a mistake and this baby is a mistake. I told her if she chooses adoption then I would pay for college like I promised. If she chooses to continue this charade of adulthood then she’s on her own. I know some people don’t agree but this isn’t how I raised my daughter. I’ve never understood parents that pay for their adult children. It’s not going to be me.
  • WISH MOTHERS DAY WAS OVER ALREADY, MINE HAS PASSED AWAY, AND I CAN’T HAVE A BABY. UGH. THIS IS THE HARDEST WEEK OF THE YEAR FOR ME. SORRY MOMS!

Yes, Mom’s and women mess up, deal with guilt, deal with frustration, and yes, even hate their lives. This is the sad state of mankind. That is what Paul wrote in Romans 5:

Romans 5:12-14 (ESV) 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given…and death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam…

Mom’s all all under the curse of sin, and so death reigns over our lives. That little baby you bring into this world, that brings you so much joy, will also bring you sadness, heartache, and there is nothing you can do about it, except to see things God’s way!

We Need Someone who can “Reverse the Curse”

So Mom’s, and Dad’s, we need something to reverse this curse, and turn life into a Blessing! We need something else to reign over death! Glory be to God, there is an answer to our messes, even when our lives are totally messed up! That answer is Jesus!

2.  Moms that Mess Up can receive the Wonderful Grace of Jesus!

  • Romans 5:15 (ESV) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
  • Romans 5:20 (ESV) Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…

“Trespass or offense” is paraptōma, “a falling alongside, a deviation from the right path.” A “Mess-up”

The glorious truth about “Mommy Mess-ups” is they show you your need for a Savior! Your mess-ups can open your heart to see your need for Jesus Christ! And when Jesus becomes your Savior and Lord, He gives a wonderful gift to you-the wonderful Grace of God.

In fact, wherever “mess-up’s ” abound, the grace of God abounds even more.

My dad moved us up to Prairie Village when I was five years old. He and mom had to leave their family in Ft Worth TX and move to a city where they knew no one. On top of that, Dad’s new job required him to travel 4 and 5 days a week. I was 5, my brother was 4 and we had a new baby brother. My brother John was one of those “impossible” kids. He was born rebellious. Nothing seemed to work. I can remember my mom chasing him all through the house, trying to spank him with a hair brush. One time she spanked him so hard it broke the hair brush, but John just kept laughing at her. It didn’t phase him. Mom’s favorit expression to yell was “Wait till your father get’s home Friday!” Mom and Dad had problems over this change in their life. I remember at about the age of 8 having to go live with a business associate of my dad’s. Mom had to go away. She was gone for a couple months. I learned when I was in my teens that Mom had had a nervous breakdown. She couldn’t cope with all the problems, with dad being gone, with her guilt, with her anger, with all of her “mess-up’s.” The mess-ups had gotten so bad that now her life was “messed-up.”

One thing that happened after Mom came home was we started going to a church down the street. Prairie Baptist Church. I started learning about a man named Jesus. Mom started to pray with us and even read the Bible with us. After Glen Conus and Myrl Scofield made about 15 visits with my Dad, he started going to church.

Things began to be different in our home. Mom was different. Dad was different. John was still John, but Mom could deal with him now. Dad still traveled, but managed to be home more often.

What Happened?

My Mom and Dad had found Jesus! God had showered them with Grace, the power to do what they ought to do! The power to do what they couldn’t do!

God’s Grace Enables Me by Janet Mullaly

I Know it’s the Spirit who is at work within me,
cause I can’t do these things by myself.
I have tried and I’ve tried
but it’s always the same on my own
Everything is a mess.
I give praise to my Lord
I give Praise to my King
I give glory and honor to God
For it is Him and not me
This I clearly  do see
It’s His Grace
That enables me!

God’s grace is far more effective and powerful than any single mess-up or a bunch of mess-ups! God’s Grace can forgive and even transform the worst of “messed-up” Mom’s.

Now I’m not implying that only Mom’s mess up. No, men and women alike all mess up. What I am saying is that even the worst mess-up’s can be covered and forgiven by the grace of God!

In fact, Paul describes himself as the Chief of “Mess-up’s”: 1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Jesus Came to Reverse the Curse!

  • “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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” (Ephes. 2:4-9).
  • “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:14-15).
  • “…His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephes. 1:6).

Mom’s, when you place your life, your “mess-up’s in Jesus hands, you are surrounded by His grace. Your mess-ups may be simply because of the place you are in life-but in Christ, you are totally accepted in the beloved!

Donald Whitney in Simplify Your Spiritual Life.  “Like Jean with three in diapers, you may be in a situation that curtails many of your spiritual activities.  You may be looking at many months or even years of such limitations.  Do what you can.  God does not love us more when we do more, nor less when we do less.  He accepts us, not because of what we do for Him, but because of what He’s done for us in Christ.  The Bible says,”He made us accepted in the Beloved [that is, Jesus}” (Eph. 1:6).  And nothing “shall be able to separate us form the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). Love God, and within the limitations He has sovereignly placed in your life at this time, do what you can.”

No matter your mess-up, no matter how bad it was, or is, in Jesus Christ, you are accepted and beloved by God! His grace gives you the power to overcome the worst of mess-ups.

Does that mean life will be rosy after coming to Jesus? No! Christian Mom’s mess-up just like non-Christian Mom’s.

What’s the difference then? The difference is that now you have the Grace of Jesus to deal with your mess-up’s. You have Grace to carry you through the stress. You have Grace to give you peace when that “mommy-guilt” rears it’s head.

Stress can lead to mess-up’s, mess-up’s can lead to guilt, guilt can lead to regret, regret can lead to depression and despair.

Look at how Jesus handled stress, and a moment when he could have committed an enormous “mess-up!”

For the truth is that if Jesus had to face stress, Mom’s are not exempt. You will continue to face stress, especially because you are a Mom. And when you think you have it licked because they are out of the home on their own, along come the grandkids. The cycle goes on.

So Mom’s need to see how Jesus dealt with stress, stress that could have led to a monumental mess-up. Even Jesus came to experience the grace of His Father.

It was just hours before He was to experience the crucifixion, before He was to experience becoming sin and being separated from His Father. It was the hour when He would experience an infinity of the wrath of God.

His state of psychological stress was so severe that it has since been written about in medical journals: Hematohidrosis is a condition in which the blood vessels around sweat glands dilate to the point of rupture, whereupon the blood flows into the sweat glands – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.

This is a physical phenomena not frequently experienced, even in the most stressful circumstances. Yet, Jesus found Himself sweating blood on the evening before His crucifixion.

During this period of time, Jesus demonstrated for every Christian how God equips a saint to think about, walk through, and succeed when under necessary STRESS:

S – Scared to death of the
T – Time just ahead, yet
R – Resolving to
E – Exude grace while being willing to
S – Sacrifice our very life, if need be, to
S – Succeed in God’s goals for us.

Jesus was literally “overwhelmed with sorrow”, “full of anguish” and “falling face down” in prayer. But, HE PRAYED!

Moms, when your stressed, when you mess-up, PRAY!

P – Present your fears to God as honestly as you can
R – Relinquish yourself into His hands
A – Agree that He is Sovereign and ask for as much mercy as is possible given His goals
Y – Yield yourself fully to His choices for your future.

Mom’s, Jesus wants you to pray, to come to the THRONE OF GRACE!

  • Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • James 4:6-7 (ESV) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God…

God Gives His Wonderful Grace to the Humble. It’s Ok to Mess-up! As the song so aptly announces:

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Refrain

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost,
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

The Water Bearer

Pay attention to this parable of how God uses our “mess-ups” to bring beauty to the lives around us:

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was perfect for the task for which it was made, and proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without your being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace my house.

God is able to work His GRACE in the lives of every humble Mom who is aware of her mess-ups. In fact, God can keep you singing and rejoicing even in the midst of chaos. There will be flowers of beauty springing up all around your tears!

3.  Moms that Mess Up can become Queens in Jesus!

Remember Queen for a Day?

The show opened with host Jack Bailey asking the audience—mostly women—”Would YOU like to be Queen for a day?” After this, the contestants were introduced and interviewed, one at a time, with commercials and fashion commentary interspersed between each contestant.[3]

Using the classic “applause meter”, as did many game and hit-parade style shows of the time, Queen for a Day had its own special twist: each contestant had to talk publicly about the recent financial and emotional hard times she had been through.

Bailey began each interview gently, asking the contestant first about her life and family, and maintaining a positive and upbeat response no matter what she told him. For instance, when a woman said she had a crippled child, he would ask if her second child was “Okay.” On learning that the second child was not crippled, he might say, “Well, that’s good, you have one healthy child.”

The interview would climax with Bailey asking the contestant what she needed most and why she wanted to win the title of Queen for a Day. Often the request was for medical care or therapeutic equipment to help a chronically ill child, but sometimes it was as simple as the need for a hearing aid, a new washing machine, or a refrigerator. Many women broke down sobbing as they described their plights, and Bailey was always quick to comfort them and offer a clean white handkerchief to dry their eyes.

The more harsh the circumstances under which the contestant labored, the likelier the studio audience was to ring the applause meter’s highest level. The winner, to the musical accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance, would be draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe, given a glittering jeweled crown to wear, placed on a velvet-upholstered throne, and handed a dozen long-stemmed roses to hold as she wept, often uncontrollably, while her list of prizes was announced.

The prizes, many of which were donated by sponsoring companies, began with the necessary help the woman had requested, but built from there. They might include a variety of extras, such as a vacation trip, a fully-paid night on the town with her husband or escort, silver-plated flatware, an array of kitchen appliances, and a selection of fashion clothing. The losing contestants were each given smaller prizes; no one went away from the show without a meaningful gift.

Bailey’s trademark sign-off was “This is Jack Bailey, wishing we could make every woman a queen, for every single day!”

But God’s Word says mommies can be QUEEN for all eternity! In fact, even amidst the chaos of motherhood, mommies reign with Jesus!

  • Romans 5:17 (ESV) 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.
  • Romans 5:21 (ESV) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mom’s, you don’t have to have a sob-story to be selected as Queen for a Day! The fact that you know you mess-up is good enough. Simply humble your heart before Jesus Christ, tell him you have messed up, that you need Him to be your Lord and Savior, and guess what, you become Queen for Life!

Jesus Christ reigns over death, over Satan, over sin! He reigns over the worst mess-up. When you place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you are born again as a daughter of God! You are a Queen, reigning with your new Husband, Jesus Christ!

You reign, not because you are a super Mom, or a saintly Mom, in fact mistakes are OK! Your righteousness and Queenliness is not based on you, it is because you are in your husband, Jesus Christ! You depend upon His righteousness!

Jesus never messes up! But you will always mess-up!

Remember the next time you feel you are messing up, you lose your temper, you are exhausted so you take it out on your husband- You are a Queen, reigning with Jesus Christ!

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a mom,
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of Motherhood!

Today, you are on Queen for a Day, but Jesus is saying:

“This is Jesus Christ, and I can make every woman my queen, for every day of their life!