★ Re|Engage – Grace ★

ReEngage - Lesson 03The next two chapters focused on this Principle:  EMBRACE HUMILTY.

Lesson 3 was on Grace…The main idea was:

You are in need of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”  

The definition of Grace as it pertains in Christian belief is:

 “The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” 

47 - Daily Dependence - Grace is the BridgeEphesians 2:8-9 (NLT)

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” 

The lesson made this powerful parallel between this verse and how our interactions with our spouse should be.

“Just as your relationship with God is grounded in grace, so must your relationship with your spouse be grounded in grace.  It’s the foundational pillar to any healthy relationship.”

Have you ever thought about extending grace to your spouse as being critical to a healthy marriage?  It spouses could grasp this concept the “self-help” industry would plummet!

“The bottom line is that we are not good enough and neither is our spouse…That’s why grace is essential to your relationship.”

What my wife and I really love about this class is how practical the counsel is and it’s application.  I love this on What grace in action looks like in action in marriage:

  • Grace does not focus on the faults of your spouse.
  • Grace is choosing to believe the best about their words and actions.
  • Grace is not shocked or angry when your spouse’s actions are not perfect.
  • Grace is not bringing up the ways your spouse has disappointed or hurt you in the past.
  • Grace responds kindly to a harsh word or a cold shoulder.
  • Grace causes you to be an advocate for your spouse rather than build a case against them.
  • Grace is loving your spouse, not because of their actions, but in spite of their actions.

And here is the flip side of What Grace is Not?

“But extending grace doesn’t mean that you grant your spouse permission to continue to hurt you.  And it doesn’t mean that the feelings of pain they have caused you are now invalid.  However, to re-engage with your spouse, you must follow Christ’s example as an initiator.  He initiates again and again because His love for you is perfect, and His love for you perseveres – even when you’re most unlovable.”

A friend of mine told me this and I will close with this…

“God is not looking for a perfect Christian but a persistent one.”  Gene Winterhalter

None of us are perfect but God desires us to chase after Him and be persistent in extending grace to the one that He blessed us with.

 

If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Humility ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Thought for the Day – Opposition Will Come ★

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines opposition as: action that is done to stop or defeat someone or something.”  Have you experienced opposition in your life?  Better question would probably be, has anyone not experience some amount in their life.  Whether that was from a neighborhood bully or student in school or a boss at our job, everyone at some point or another has faced it.  But what I want to talk about is the defiance that comes as a result of being a Christian.  Being associated with Jesus is going to cost you.  If you look at the book of John there are numerous occasions that people were persecuted just for their association with him…

  • The Pharisees expelled a man who was cured of blindness from the synagogue just because Jesus was the one who cured him. (See John 9:1-34)
  • Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”  (See John 11:16 NLT)
  • The Leading Priests decided to kill Lazarus just because Jesus raised him from the dead and they were losing followers.  (See John 12:10-11)

This opposition did not stop in the time of Jesus life…Though it is not widely broadcasted in the nightly news, Christian are being persecuted all over the world today.

“According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population live in areas with severe religious restrictions.  Many of these people are Christians.  Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in the person of Jesus Christ.” (Source www.opendoorsusa.org/persecution/about-persecution)

Following Jesus has great rewards, but hardship will come.  We wonder why we get ridiculed and face animosity for being a Christian, but John 15:18-20 (NLT) is very clear the reason for the World’s Hatred:

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 

Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.  And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”

Mark Driscoll said something that really stuck out for me…

"The Christian life is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life, and sometimes the closer you are to Jesus, the more resistance you receive, just as Jesus did."
“The Christian life is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life, and sometimes the closer you are to Jesus, the more resistance you receive, just as Jesus did.”

Whenever you start serving God in a new way, you are breaking into territory that the enemy wants to keep.  The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 16:9 (NKJV) that:

“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there  are many adversaries.” 

Opposition will always come when we try to do the Lord’s work, just expect it because the enemy does not want you to take away his territory!  Press on through and trust that God is Sovereign!  And most importantly pray!  Prayer changes circumstances and people.  In the book, Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson gives this profound statement that will revolutionize our lives if we can grasp this:

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Opposition is inevitable but the enemy is ineffectual when counteract the attacks with prayer!  I will close with the truth from 1 John 4:4 (NASB)

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He [Jesus] who is in you than he [Satan – our enemy] who is in the world.”

 

★ Thought for the Day – All the Time in the World ★ 

In the 1995 film, “The Usual Suspects,” the protagonist made this statement:

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“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Brilliantly delivered by Kevin Spacey, I have never forgotten the line and profound reality.  If you asked, most people would say that they believe in some sort of higher power or as I do, in an all-powerful and loving God; but ask how many believe in the Devil and the response will be quite different.  The Barna Research Group released findings from its nationwide survey of adults’ spiritual beliefs and found:

“Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” 

From the Article: “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” 4/10/2009

4 out of 10 people believe that the Devil “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”  In the past 10 years, there has been an enormous increase in the amount of Hollywood offerings focusing on the Devil, demons and other evil incarnations.  It is ironic that people will go in droves to watch about the Devil and his unseen activities on the silver screen, but then turn around and say that he does not exist.  Sadly, I would say that the “trick” is working quite effectively.

Much like Kevin Spacey’s deceptive portrayal of an ineffectual and innocent crippled man in “The Usual Suspects,” Satan’s activities are not obvious; he comes in unassuming forms and in unexpected ways.  That is why we need to “Be selfcontrolled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8 NIV84)

18 - Daily Dependence - Too Busy
“Satan’s greatest lie: You have plenty of time to get right with God!”

This haunting picture is a great reminder…People think they have all the time in the world to live their life however they wish, indulging in anything and everything.  Maybe tomorrow or next year or sometime in the future they will change.  In Matthew 24:36 (NLT) Jesus gives some insight about the end times:

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.  Only the Father knows.”

No one knows the hour when the end will come; or to put it plainer, when YOUR END will come, so don’t wait, “get right with God” and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of your soul.

 

 

 

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