Redemptive Grace Freely Given

I am not sure that many of us really think about the wonderful redemptive grace that we receive from our beloved Heavenly Father.  There is something so very powerful about Grace.  It brings healing and restoration instead of condemnation and shame. I have been thinking so much the last few days about grace and how that truly transforms our lives as we walk in relationship with Jesus and the Heavenly Father God.

When you look up the word grace it really refers to so much.  Grace involves forgiveness, mercy, salvation, repentance, regeneration and the love of God.  These are all such powerful descriptions really when you think about God’s Grace.  We are showered in so much grace by the love that is showered upon us when we accept Jesus into our hearts.  When we walk in the freedom of having relationship with Jesus and surrendering our lives to allow the Holy Spirit (Christ in Us) to work on transforming us from the inside out.

None of us deserve the forgiveness that is so freely given when we accept Christ and surrender our lives to the One True God Jehovah.  We are washed clean in that moment and are Holy in the sight of the Father.  We are given a salvation that we can’t earn and we sure don’t deserve it, however as we walk on this journey with Jesus it is freely given.  We are resurrected from the ashes of our broken lives into the more that God has for us.

As we become new in our journey with Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to make internal changes in us.  Our hearts begin to soften as the hardened walls come crumbling down, just like the walls of Jericho.  We are resurrected with Christ from the ashes of death from a life of separation from God to walking in full relationship.  Suddenly we are adopted sons and daughters.  We discover the truth that we were thought of and chosen before the beginning of creation.  We realize that it is God’s breath in our lungs and we feel our spiritual self begin to worship the Lord all the time.  It is not something we are forced to do, but it becomes something that we just have an internal desire to do.

Along with that amazing grace we are also showered with God’s kindness, along with all wisdom and understanding.  Yes that is right we are given wisdom and understanding, we just have to ask Jesus to reveal this to us in its fullness.  God created such a beautiful plan that is unique and yet mysterious to bring us his broken children to redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus.  A sacrifice that was made freely because of a love that is more than we can even imagine.

It can be hard for our human minds to really wrap around all of this kindness and forgiveness so freely given.  It is not something that we are used to, because as humans we tend to expect something from someone when we offer forgiveness.  But I can say that as we become transformed it becomes easier to forgive unconditionally and to shower others in that forgiveness, grace and kindness that has been showered upon us.

Just as Paul prays for the Ephesians I pray that our glorious Father in Heaven of our beloved Lord Jesus will give you spiritual wisdom and insight, so that you will also grow in your knowledge of God.  I pray that your hearts will be flooded with the light of Jesus, that you will discover your true identity in Christ, that you will discover that you are a rich and glorious inheritance, that you will see that you are holy and seated in heavenly places now.  I pray that your hearts will come alive and you will want to share the love of Jesus to let others know of the goodness of God.

BE A PREPARED SOLDIER

I read the words “Be a prepared soldier” this morning as I was doing my bible reading and I can’t stop thinking about what this really means.  In 1 Peter 4:1 It says that since Christ suffered in his flesh for us, now we also must be a prepared soldier, having the same mind-set, for whoever has died in his body is done with sin.

So I have been thinking about what does a prepared soldier look like.  The first thing I thought of was, that they have armor on, so that they can be protected from attacks.  They also need to know who the real enemy is so that they are not caught in friendly fire.  Knowing where the war zone is makes a difference on how you battle.  Also knowing who makes up your squad so that you have confidence when going into battle.

We are to also have the same mindset as Christ, which requires us to dig through the new testament to really discover what that means.  In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you get a really good picture of who Jesus was and the mindset he had at all times.  Even when he was being attacked he stayed calm and peaceful.  He spoke the truth of what God’s word says and spoke with authority.  He did not accuse but spoke with authority, always calm in the midst of storms, trusting and having faith in the Father.  Jesus would pray all the time, many times when he was exhausted from preaching and teaching his followers.  But as you read he was always refreshed after he spent time with the Father.

We have been given the armor of God.  In Ephesians 6:10-20 we are given some of the most powerful words that prepare us for battle.  In the passion translation it says to be supernaturally infused with strength through your life union with the Lord Jesus.  Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.

Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser!  Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.

Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph.  Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.  Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.  In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One!  Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies.  And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God.

We stand strong because we have Christ in us.  By the power of Christ we stand victorious.  When a soldier is prepared for battle knowing that you have a strong force with you gives you the confidence you need.  We have Christ in us and so we have all of the strength that we need for the battle before us.  It also means that we fight from a place of victory not from defeat.  In fact it says that we will rise victorious.  It also means that Jesus has provided us with authority over the principalities that come against us.

Then it continues to tell us to put on the complete set of armor that is provided for us.  That the armor will protect you, as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser.  It is obvious that it is very important to make sure we have our armor on, otherwise it would not be written in the bible so many times.

The next clue of what we are battling is important.  For it says we are in hand-to-hand combat but not with human beings, rather with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.  It tells us that they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  So knowing what the real enemy is lets us know the strategy that must be taken in this battle.

So we are to be prepared to do hand to hand combat, but not with our spouses, family, people around us.  No! it says we battle with evil spirits and demon-gods.  So we have to stop fighting with the people around us and start focusing our battles on the true enemy.  When we shift our focus to the true enemy we will be victorious.  The word of God tells us that and the word of God does not come back void.  But we really need to have all of the armor on us not just some of the armor.  Take authority over the principalities

That all means that the following pieces of armor are very important for us to be prepared soldiers.  The belt of truth to strengthen you to stand in triumph.  The body armor is God’s righteousness or as it says in the Passion translation Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart.  Your feet are wearing shoes of peace.  Yes that is peace!!!  Look at how Jesus walked in peace but he always spoke the truth no matter who he was talking to.  Take up your shield of faith that can extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One.  The shield of faith can extinguish all of those arrows.

Our salvation is the helmet that covers and protects our heads.  This protects us from the thoughts and lies that the enemy uses trying to convince us that we are defeated.  Take up the spirit sword of the spoken word of God.  It is a double edged razor sharp sword.  It can cut deep and when we speak the word of God it pierces the enemy to the heart.

Our battles happen all around us, so we must stand strong, and pray passionately in the spirit.  Pray blessings upon the believers and pray for the revelation of God to be released to the non-believers as the seeds are planted.

Now you have some important keys to help you be prepared for the battle.  But it also tells us in 1 Peter 4:1 it says to have the same mind set as Christ.  That made me think about what the mind set of Christ was.  Jesus was a humble servant that came to serve rather than to be served.  Jesus was always showing grace and mercy to the down trodden.  He had such a loving and passionate heart for the people that he was sharing the good news with.  Jesus always spoke the truth and he was always in prayer, staying in a close and deep relationship with the Father.  Jesus knew the Father’s heart just as we should know the Father’s heart.  Jesus showed us in everything that he did what the Father’s heart is all about.

We win in the battles when we take our eyes off of the people and focus on the real enemy.