Grace greater than all my sin!

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm

Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Isaiah 1:18 (MSG)
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.”
*********************************************************
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be like wool.” -AMPLIFIED

The Lord was speaking through Isaiah to the people of Israel sharing these words of encouragement and comfort. “Come now”, and invitation from Him, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, to His wayward children. Come, let us reason together; let us work this out. Words of welcome, not words of condemnation. The Almighty One was not screaming words of damnation, “Depart from me”….but words of acceptance and comfort.

Yes, we were in sin. Yes, we are a sinful people, but though our sins were like unto scarlet He can make us white as snow. Notice it is not we ourselves who are doing the cleaning up part, but God.

Something to note; scarlet was the name of a worm in Hebrew. This particular worm was used in creating a dye that was of an intense scarlet red. Which brings to mind the words from Isaac Watts hymn “At the Cross”, where he states, ”Alas! and did my Savior bleed, And did my Sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred Head, For such a worm as I?”

“Bible commentators say that scarlet portrays sin, not only to denote its dreadful character, but also to emphasize its indelible nature. They tell us that you can immerse a cloth in any other color and the stain can be removed. Once red dye has been thoroughly set in a piece of goods, however, no scientific method is know that can successfully eliminate it without damaging the fabric. Even if the material is rubbed and scrubbed until threadbare, the fibers that are left will still retain their crimson hue. Sin is thus pictured as being indelible as far as human efforts to remove it are concerned. There is nothing man himself can do to change his evil nature and turn it into the white purity of holiness. God alone has the power to erase the terrible stain of our sin.” -(NET Bible Sermon Illustrations)

God stays the execution and grants pardon to the guilty sinner, for another has paid the price to set the sinner free and allow the granting of “amnesty”. The word amnesty is from the word from which we get amnesia which means to forget. What a beautiful picture this presents, for when the holy God washes away our unholy sins, they are completely forgotten. We’re left whiter than snow, purer than wool.

The Apostle Paul sets us straight with these words he wrote to the Romans, “God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.” -Romans 3:25-26 (MSG)

No matter how terrible our lives were or are we can never be so awful that God cannot save us, clean us up and make us right with Him. There is no such thing as falling too far from God that His grace will not cover our sins. His grace is greater than all of our sin. His love is so overwhelming that He it reaches to the lowest sinner in the darkest places and whispers, “Child, I love you. I will forgive you if you will but ask me to. I will wash away your sin that is like scarlet if you will let me. I can wash you white as snow and give you a fresh start; please let me. I love you.”

My Prayer:

Father God in Heaven, your grace is astounding! The fact that you pursue the worthless, unrepentant sinner in order to love them and give them meaning in this life is mind-boggling. Yet, this is exactly what you do; you take the broken ones, the insignificant ones, the ones who have run from you and change them into shining servants that do works of love for You. God, your hand in my life has changed me forever and I will never go back to the way things were before you came into my life. I am forever Yours. Thank you for taking the initiative to change me and make me a productive part of your Creation and Kingdom. Though my sins were scarlet, You made me as white as snow.

 

Advertisements

Grace greater!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51LGsPMKeAE

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 (MSG)
So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
**********************************************************

“Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].” -AMPLIFIED

The writer of Hebrews has been filling them in on the good news; the believer can find rest in Christ. This is made possible through the Ultimate High Priest, Jesus Christ; who has ascended to Heaven to represent us and make intersession for us. The writer reminds us, ” For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.” -Hebrews 4:15 (AMP)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, walked this Earth as a man, lived as we lived, experienced what we experienced, was tempted, tried, betrayed, denied, and all the while He did not sin. He was tempted in every way that we are, but sinned not. “Therefore”…let us approach God’s throne with confidence; knowing that we have an “Advocate” who is representing us there at that throne of grace.

To the lost, to the sinner, to those who have denied Christ, to those who have turned their backs on God, God’s throne is a place of judgement and a place to fear, but to the child of God it is a throne of grace. To the believer it is somewhere we go for help in our time of need. There is no fear or trepidation for the child of God; for God’s grace is greater than all our sin. God’s extends grace to His children; His unmerited favor covers a multitude of sin.

We can approach that throne with confidence knowing that mercy and grace will be extended to us. Never forget this amazing, overwhelming truth; God loves us. Even in the worst of our sins He was wooing us and calling us to “Come Home”. He loved us despite what we had done. He loves us despite what we so often allow ourselves to do; fall back into sin.

How many times have we fallen down? Many, I am sure; for I too have fallen time and time again. The important thing to remember is how many times has God picked us up? Every time, if we will allow Him to do so. His grace is greater than all our sins. He extends to each of us a fresh portion of mercy and grace.

“Lest the glow and brilliance of the word “throne” should be too much for mortal vision, our text now presents us with the soft, gentle radiance of that delightful word—“grace.” We are called to the throne of grace, not to the throne of law. It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace; a throne from which every utterance is an utterance of grace; the scepter that is stretched out from it is the silver scepter of grace; the decrees proclaimed from it are purposes of grace; the gifts that are scattered down its golden steps are gifts of grace; and He that sits upon the throne is grace itself. It is the throne of grace to which we approach when we pray. That word “grace” is one of the choicest in the whole description of our great resort for prayer. We might well have trembled if we had been bidden to come to a throne of justice; we might have been afraid to come to a throne of power alone; but we need not hesitate to come to the throne of grace, where God sits on purpose to dispense grace. It would be terrible if we had to pray to a just God if He was not also a Savior; if we could only see the awful glare of Sinai without the blessed attractions of the atonement made on Calvary.” -Charles Spurgeon

Grace-God’s riches at Christ’s expense; God becoming available to me, with all the privileges as a son or daughter, because Christ Jesus paid the price for my sin. God’s grace, not an excuse to do what I want; intentionally sinning, but a reason to love Him with all of my heart and serve Him with everything that is within me. With confidence I will approach the throne of grace.

My Prayer:

Almighty One, Loving Father, your grace is amazing. Your love has drawn me to you, but it was that grace and mercy that covered over the multitude of my sins. Thank you for my Advocate that stands by your side making intersession for me. Your love amazes me; the fact that you went through so much to make a relationship with me possible with you. God, with confidence I come before your throne; knowing that as your child I have this blessed privilege. You are totally amazing God!

God’s gift of grace.

 

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15 (MSG)
Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!
********************************************************************

Growing with God; a daily devotional by Tonia Slimm
“Now thanks be to God for His indescribable gift [which is precious beyond words]!” -AMPLIFIED

The Corinthian church was taking an offering which would be given to Paul as a gift to the people of Jerusalem in their time of great need. Paul acknowledged their eagerness to help and let them know that he was proud of them. He also reminded them, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” -2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

Paul reminds the Corinthians of this indescribable gift that God has extended to them. It was not a monetary gift; as they were giving, but it was of the greatest value. It was the gift of God’s love and His grace; covered with forgiveness and filled with salvation. There are no words available to give God’s gift the proper praise. It is beyond any language that we have; yet this does not mean that we should not try, in our limited vocabulary, to give thanks for all He has done for us.

“Thankful we should be for it; and our thankfulness should be shown by highly prizing and valuing this gift; by laying the whole stress of our salvation on Christ; by ascribing all the glory of it to him; by giving up ourselves to him, and to his interest; by walking worthy of him in all well pleasing, and by communicating to the support of his cause, and the supply of his poor ministers and members. And thus the apostle tacitly suggests one of the strongest arguments that can be used, to stir up the saints to generosity and liberality, taken from the wonderful grace of God in the gift of his Son; for if he of his free grace, and unmerited love, has given his Son to, and for his people, and with him all things freely, both the riches of grace and glory, then they ought freely and bountifully to communicate temporal good things to the poor members of Christ, for whom God and Christ have an equal love, as for themselves.” -John Gill (Exposition of the Bible)

God’s gift to us that is beyond description was mentioned by Jesus in John 3:16. “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” -(AMP)

Over and over again Paul mentions in his letters this great gift that God has extended to people:

To the Ephesians he wrote, “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;” -Ephesians 2:8 (AMP)

To the Romans Paul reminded: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23 (AMP)

To the Galatians Paul stresses, “I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (AMP)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever!”

My Prayer:
Father God, I give you thanks for the indescribable gift of your precious Son; given so that I might have life eternal, given so that I might have forgiveness of all my sins and salvation. Without your love and grace I would be lost forever. I am forever grateful for the fact that you took the initiative to make it possible for me to have a personal relationship with you. God, you are so good. I give you praise. Thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for the gift that I will never ever be able to repay.

His mercies are new every morning!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (MSG)
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
*****************************************************************
“It is because of the Lord’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.” -AMPLIFIED

Jeremiah reminds us that God’s tender mercies are renewed every single morning. Hallelujah! This fact proves that His compassions will never fail. His love will never run out, nor will it ever dry up.

The book of Jeremiah can be a tad bit depressing at times. We find at this point that Jeremiah is sitting looking over Jerusalem, weeping over the destruction and desecration of the city he loved. Starving people are everywhere, as well as decaying dead bodies; all because the people refused to humble themselves before God, Almighty.

Jeremiah must have been thinking, “If only…” If only the people had listened. If only they had repented. If only they had sought God. Instead, they had mocked Jeremiah, laughed at him and even imprisoned him. The once proud and haughty ones were now broken. Jeremiah, himself, felt a broken, depressed man; for what he had set out to do had not been accomplished.

It appears that all is hopeless. Yet…yet, Jeremiah is reminded of God’s great love and His tender mercies that are NEW every morning. Praise God for new mercies, new beginnings, and new opportunities to start fresh with Him. Nothing is truly hopeless when you walk with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. God always gives us new opportunities to start fresh with Him.

“They are new every morning,…. That is, the tender mercies or compassions of God are, which prove that they fail not; there are instances of them every day, not only in a temporal, but in a spiritual sense; they are ever new, always fresh and vigorous, constant and perpetual; such are the love, grace, and mercy of God, though of old, yet daily renewed in the manifestations thereof; and which make a morning of spiritual light, joy, and comfort; and whenever it is morning with the saints, they have new discoveries of the love of God to them; and these indeed are a bright morning to them, a morning without clouds..” -Gill’s Exposition

Jeremiah, once he begins to focus on those mercies and compassions. He starts to remember God’s great love, begins to come out of his funk and is able to say, “I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” -Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)

“It is true that God’s people are a tried people, but it is equally true that God’s Grace is equal to their trials!” -Charles Spurgeon

Though we may have wandered far from God and broken His heart; His tender mercies are always available if we are willing to humble ourselves and accept them. Even in the midst of the great storms of our lives He is always accessible; there to hold us and help us. “How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.” (Voice)

Give thanks to God for mercies that are new every morning!

My Prayer:
Lord, how great is your faithfulness to your children. How fantastic and wonderful that your mercies are new every morning; giving me hope and security that you are always there for me. God, you are my Rock; the One that I can always count on. Thank you for new beginnings and new chances. Thank you for the opportunity of starting fresh; no matter how many times I mess up. Lord, you are amazing!

It’s not about me.

Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Psalm 115:1 (MSG)
Not for our sake, God, no, not for our sake,but for your name’s sake, show your glory. Do it on account of your merciful love, do it on account of your faithful ways.
*******************************************************
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your loving-kindness, because of Your truth and faithfulness.” -AMPLIFIED

Lest we think too highly of ourselves; it is important for each of us from time-to-time to remind ourselves that this life is not about us, but about bringing glory to God. It is called humility and it can be a rare commodity to find these days.

Our natural tendency is to look out for #1 and to lift ourselves up; that “look at me and what I did” mentality. This, though, is not what the child of God is to do. The Apostle Paul instructs us, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3 (NIV)

The Psalmist understood the importance of Adonai receiving all glory and praise; all on account of His merciful love and faithful ways. The writer of Psalm 106 totally understood the need to sing God’s praise, but the impossibility of declaring ALL the goodness and greatness of our God. He wrote, “Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?” -Psalm 106:1-2 (NIV)

But for the grace of God where would most of us be today? That is quite a sobering thought and should make us realize on whom the glory and honor truly needs to be focused on. The Apostle Paul realized this fact; saying, “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me–and not without results.” 1 Corinthians 15:10a (NLT)

This life that we live was never about “me” or you, it never was meant to be either. This life we live was made possible so that we could bring glory, honor and praise to God our Creator. As with many things in this life we have gotten things out of order. If we look to God’s Word we will find and realize what the order should be. “Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (MSG)

Instead of pointing at ourselves and saying, “Look what I did” we should be pointing up to God; saying, “Look what God did for and through me.” Our successes, our accomplishments, and even our struggles are not about us, but Him. Our message should be about Him and our very salvation comes from Him; we are nothing without Him. It is all HIS-story; not ours. When will we realize that we are not the center of the Universe; He is!

This in no way detracts from who we are, but helps us realize that everything we have and everything we are is because of God and His plans for our lives. It should help us realize the need to have a God-centered life; not a self-centered life. What makes us special is our ability to use the gifts and talents He has given us to point others to Christ. What an honor to serve the Almighty!

Remember this, “t is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:11-12 (NIV) Let us be sure that we remember that this life is not about “me”, but all about HIM!

My Prayer:
Lord, forgive me when I put “self” at the center of my Universe; I know that this is not how you intend for things to be. You, Lord, are the reason that I am here and in you I live and move and have my very being. You have made me who I am so that I can bring glory and honor to You, my God and King. Help me to do what I have been created to do. It is not about me, Lord, but it is all about You!

God’s grace is enough for us.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (MSG)
And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
*******************************************************************
“… but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving-kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].” -(AMPLIFIED)

Paul is telling the Corinthians about how God had given him a thorn in the flesh, a difficulty or physical weakness that kept him from boasting in himself and what he was able to do. Paul told them, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (MSG)

Serving God well has a lot to do with our attitude in serving Him. God will not honor those who try and steal His glory or those who boast in what “they” had done. Paul had learned that he was given this disability to keep from boasting in “self”. Instead, because of the disability, he was able to boast in what God was able to do in and through him despite his “thorn in the flesh”.” “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” -Isaiah 42:8 (NIV)

Even with this “handicap”, God used Paul and made him aware of the fact that His grace would be sufficient for him. No matter what came Paul’s way, God’s grace would be enough to carry him through. In fact, God informed Paul that His (God’s) power was made perfect in his weakness. The Message Version says, “My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Wow!

So why is it that we are embarrassed, appalled, and even hide those “thorns” in the flesh or inabilities that we have? Paul was able to quite focusing on his handicap in a negative way; choosing instead to think of it as a gift from God. “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

God is still reminding us that His grace is enough for us in each and every situation that we face in every one of our days. God’s grace is sufficient. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Whenever the Lord sets His servants to do extraordinary work He always gives them extraordinary strength.”

My Prayer:
Lord, in my weakness may your strength be displayed. In my inabilities may you be glorified. Remind me, that when I am not able to do something that you have called me to do, you will equip me to do it. From time-to-time I do need reminding that I serve a God who is able to do the impossible! I am so thankful that is true. So, even in my weakness I choose to trust that your grace is enough for me. Be glorified in me dear Lord!