Serve Out of Your Position with God As His Child

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When it comes to serving, what is your mindset? How do you approach it? Where does your motivation come from?

When you think about what the Bible has to say on serving, what story pops into your mind first? Could it be where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet in John 13? We often use this chapter to say that Jesus set us an example of serving others, and because He did that, it is important for us to follow that example and serve those around us as well.

One of the verses we often overlook or dismiss as inconsequential in John 13 verse 3, which says that Jesus knew three things – that God had given Him authority and power, that He had come from God, and that He was returning to God. It was with that knowledge that He got up from the meal and washed the feet of His disciples. In other words, He wasn’t serving to earn a position with God. He knew that He already belonged to God, who was pleased with Him, and He served out of the position that He had with God.

Sometimes, we have the mindset towards serving that it’s one of the things God demands that we do if we want Him to be pleased with us. We do it in an attempt to earn His approval. If this is our reason for serving – to try to gain a position with God – we will get frustrated and burned out very quickly. On the other hand, if we realize that God already approves of and is pleased with us because of what Jesus did at the cross, we will be motivated to serve and minister to others out of a desire to share the amazing love and grace He has shown to us. This kind of motivation will be far more lasting, because His love and grace are without limit, and He desires to be constantly giving us a greater revelation of just how great they really are!

Why do you serve? To gain a position with God and His approval, out of the position you know you already have with Him as His child? Realize that God already accepts and cares about you, and begin to serve out of a desire to share the One who has shown you amazing goodness, mercy, grace, and love!

The Spotlight

Spotlight

It shines upon you every day –
The spotlight of His love and grace.
Do you see it? Don’t you know
That it surrounds you everywhere you go?
The Lord Most High – He is your light
Repelling the pitch black darkness of night.
His loving favor is your strong shield
To which the darkness always must yield.

Against you the darkness cannot advance,
And it’s due to more than happenstance,
For against the light, it can’t contend.
When light shines forth brightly, darkness must end.
It’s reign is over, it simply cannot go on
In the radiance of His affection that’s sure and strong.
His spotlight protects you from all harm.
At nothing need you be alarmed.

His spotlight upon you draws the ones
Who need to hear of His marvelous Son.
They see His reflection whenever they turn towards
You, His child, made in the image of the Lord.
They want what makes you who you are,
What makes you shine brighter than all the stars.
You’re the one that they’re drawn to,
Because of His spotlight shining on you.

It makes you different, it sets you apart
From those who are lost within the dark.
You’re a child of light, a child of day,
Attracting others, lighting the way.
His unmerited favor is your defense
Against the snares of the darkness.
His spotlight shines on you every day –
His spotlight of love, His spotlight of grace.

Experience True Change

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Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, as Elizabeth begins to pray, we see change take place in more than just her marriage and the life of her husband. Elizabeth herself begins to change, as well! At the beginning of the movie, she is angry and frustrated, gets into arguments with her husband when provoked, and doesn’t make the time to spend with her daughter that the little girl longs for. As the movie progresses, she begins to invest more time in her relationship with her daughter and respond to her husband in a gracious and loving manner, showing him respect even when he doesn’t deserve it. Her husband takes note of the difference, and wonders what’s going on. Here’s what happened – as she began spending time with God, she started to become more like Him!

As believers, we are to follow God’s example (Ephesians 5:1). The problem? No matter how hard we try to do this, we end up failing. Why? Because God is perfect and in and of ourselves, we aren’t. Even if we’re doing the best we possibly can, we will still fall short one way or another. The answer? Spending time with God, allowing His love and grace to transform us!

Have you ever found yourself using your mom or dad’s favorite expression, or thinking something was cool that you had previously disliked because your friends at school were into it? The people we spend most of our time with really do influence us. Spend enough time with someone, and they will rub off on you. In the same way, if you’re spending enough time with God, He will begin to rub off on you. You’ll become more like Him without even having to try hard, just by taking time to hang out with Him. You’ll be transformed effortlessly!

If you’re having a hard time living the way that you know you should, don’t give up! Instead of struggling on your own, focus on spending time with God, getting to know Him better, and experience true change in your life!

Receive Grace, and Show It Towards Others

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Photo Credit – David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, Miss Clara asked Elizabeth, who was struggling in her marriage, if God still loved her husband after all he’d done, and if she still loved him. Elizabeth has to admit that God still loved him, and she said that she had love for him, but that it was buried under tons of frustration. Miss Clara said that in that case, what was needed was for her to show grace towards her husband. Elizabeth wasn’t so sure she wanted to show grace to him – after all, he didn’t deserve it! Miss Clara pointed out how we all desire grace and forgiveness, yet at the same time, we don’t always want them extended to others. She told Elizabeth that God not only gives us grace, but will also help us to give it to others.

When others treat you wrongly, what is your response? Is it difficult for you to forgive them? Do you feel like they aren’t deserving of grace, and a second chance?

Do you know what the amazing thing about grace is? We DON’T deserve it, yet God gives it to us anyways! That’s what grace is – being given the blessings you don’t deserve (if you deserved it, it would be payment you’ve earned, not grace). Grace is what God’s given us, and it is what He desires for us to give to others.

How can you give grace to others – particularly when it is the last thing you want to do? Usually, when we have a hard time showing grace to others, it’s because we don’t really understand or haven’t received it ourselves. You see, God offers grace (undeserved forgiveness, relationship with Him, and blessings) to each one of us, but not everyone accepts it. There are even many believers who are trying to earn God’s love and acceptance instead of just receiving His grace. You can’t give grace to others if you haven’t received it yourself!

The answer? Understand this – you don’t need to try to be good enough to please God. He isn’t counting your mistakes against you! He wants to give you His forgiveness, love, acceptance, goodness, and blessings as free gifts, regardless of anything good or bad that you’ve done. Embrace His grace! The more you begin to do so, the easier it will become to give grace to others!

Embrace God’s Grace

Embrace God's Grace

Sometimes, in the body of Christ, we get this idea that grace is good and all, but we need to start focusing more on living right, and getting rid of the sin in our lives. In so doing, we can end up pushing off to the side the very news that makes the gospel so good – the fact that we are made right with God not because of the good or bad things we do, but because of what Jesus did for us at the cross.

In Galatians 2:21 Paul says that he does NOT set aside God’s grace, because if we could become righteous through the law, then Jesus died for nothing. Think about it – we often do the very thing that Paul spoke against. We shift all of the focus onto our own actions, and forget all about God’s amazing grace. We think that it’s up to us to keep God’s commands the best that we can, and that His grace us just there to make up for the rest. In so doing, we rob the revelation of grace of much of its amazingness.

If we choose to believe our standing with God is based on what we do, then according to Scripture, Jesus may as well never have given His life for us. The truth, however, is that we NEED God’s grace – every moment of every day. We aren’t perfect. We mess up in more ways than we even realize, and we can never be right with God by trying to do it on our own. When we place our trust in Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf, however, something wonderful happens – we receive right standing before our Heavenly Father than can never be taken away from us, or in any way debased by anything we do, because it is based not on us, but on our Savior.

Sin is wrong. It shouldn’t be something we want to live in, but the answer isn’t trying harder. The answer is to accept God’s grace, and allow it to transform us, causing us to become more like Him. Will you do so? Instead of setting God’s grace aside, will you embrace it, and let it change you from the inside out?

The Old Covenant of the Law, and the New Covenant of Grace

Covenants

Under the old covenant of the law . . .

  • Everything’s based on you and what you do.
  • You get what your actions deserve.
  • Your standing with God is determined by your own merit.
  • Mistakes and failures are met with condemnation and punishment.
  • God’s blessing on your life is contingent upon your obedience.

Under the new covenant of grace . . .

  • Everything’s based on Christ, and what He’s done for you.
  • You are freely given what you could never deserve.
  • Your standing with God is determined by Christ’s merit accredited to you.
  • Mistakes and failures are met with God’s abounding forgiveness and mercy.
  • God’s blessing on your life is permanent, apart from any good or bad that you do.

Which covenant are you living under – the new covenant of grace that Christ came to establish, or are you still trying to live under the law? Receive God’s amazing grace today, and place your focus on your Savior’s finished work at the cross!

Definitions of Words Christians Use

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Maybe you’ve heard these words used over and over by other believers, and used them often enough yourself, but have you ever wondered what they really mean? If asked to explain them, what would you say? Check out these definitions of some of the words Christians often use!

Salvation – Salvation is Jesus saving us from our sins, and the punishment that goes with them. It is a free gift from God that allows us to have a relationship with Him. Because salvation is a free gift, there’s nothing we can do to earn it. All we need to do is receive it!

Redemption – We have been redeemed. In other words, God paid a price for us so that we could be His. That price was the life of His Son, whom He sent to save us.

Righteousness – Jesus took our place of sin so that we could take His place of right standing with God. Jesus lived the perfect life for us that we could never live. If we accept Him as our Savior, God sees us as if we were as perfect as He is. Jesus took care of the things we have done wrong, so that there is no longer anything standing between us and God!

Justification –  Jesus took our place, and gave His life for us, receiving the punishment that should have been ours. Because of this, God, the ultimate Judge, declares that we are blameless!

Grace – Grace means that instead of giving us the punishment we do deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – a relationship with Him, and all of His blessings (such as life, health, provision, peace, and joy)!

God’s Amazing Grace

God's Amazing Grace

How do you view Christianity? What do you think it means to be a Christian?  So often it seems like it’s about following a bunch of rules. Do this. Don’t do that. Try your hardest to be good enough for God to love and accept you. Do your best to earn approval. We try, and we fail. We try, and we fail again. Some of us eventually give up, wondering what’s the point if our greatest efforts are never going to be enough for us to make the cut anyway.

Do you ever feel like this? Be introduced to amazing grace!

For most people, grace is a puzzle that seems impossible to grasp. How could a perfect God want us to come to Him just as we are, when we’re so imperfect? How could He love us in spite of the mistakes we make? How can He accept us when we mess up so often?

That’s where grace comes in. Jesus gave His life to pay for the wrong things we have done. Because of this,our sins have been washed away, and God not only doesn’t give what we do deserve, but gives us His blessings and favor that we don’t deserve. We don’t have to do anything to earn it. We just need to believe in what Jesus did for us, and receive it. No catch. No other qualifications.

Doesn’t this sound better than trying to be good enough for God to approve of you? Stop trying to earn His acceptance, and start receiving His amazing grace!

A Stocking From God

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Imagine a stocking filled to the brim with wonderful gifts – all kinds of things that you need and want the most. It’s from God, and it’s for you!

Maybe things have been going great, or maybe you’ve been facing some tough times. Whatever life’s like for you right now, there are many things God wants to give you this Christmas. He wants to give you hope where it may seem like there is none. He wants to give you joy, and a reason to rejoice. He wants to bring peace to your mind, to replace all worry and anxiety. He wants heal you, and make you whole. He wants to give you freedom from whatever may be holding you back from becoming who He created you to be. He desires to give you prosperity, and provide for your needs. He wants you to experience grace that covers even the worst of your mistakes. He wants to give you His love, which is like nothing you have ever known.

These are just a few of thing things that God wants to give you this Christmas season. These are the things that fill His stocking to you. He wants you to accept your stocking from Him, and to enjoy everything that’s in it. Open up your heart to Him this Christmas, let Him know you want all that He has for you. Watch what He will do in your life when you are willing to receive His stocking for you!

Reposted from Generation Arise.

Praise His Name

praiseThis week’s memory verse from Called and Created’s Bible Reading and Memorization Plan is Psalm 113:3. This verse says that the name of the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun until it sets.

Our God is worthy of our praise! He loves us so much that He sent His own Son to save us. He still cares for us, no matter how many times we mess up. His grace for us is greater outlasts our worst mistakes. He gives us a multitude of blessings we don’t deserve. He wants to have a relationship with us, even though we are far from perfect in and of ourselves. He provides for our needs, even though we don’t always remember to thank Him.

We has so much to praise and give thanks to Him for! This month, I challenge you to develop the habit of thanking God for all that He does for you by making a list of things you are thankful for. Each day, add something new for which you are thankful, and thank God for it as you write it down.

Today, remember to give thanks to God. Praise Him for His goodness towards you!