Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

The Grip of Grace

 

 

Death once held us in its grip, and by the blunder of one man, death reigned as king over humanity. But now, how much more are we held in the grip of grace and continue reigning as kings in life, enjoying our regal freedom through the gift of perfect righteousness in the one and only Jesus, the Messiah!

Romans 5:17 (TPT)

 

The Book of Romans has me completely enthralled—again! Each time I read this book, I am left in awe and amazement. And, each time I learn something new and exciting. Do you know of any other book such as this?

In chapter five, Paul really wants us to understand that the magnitude of the gift far outweighs the crime!  How many times have you been caught up in guilt, shame, condemnation, hopelessness, depression, etc all because you did something you shouldn’t have done? Let me be the first to raise my hand!

A couple weeks ago I went on a road trip with some girlfriends. One evening we sat together in the cozy living room and played “never have I ever”  For the most part, everyone in the group was able to say “never have I ever”  but, there were a few times that I was the one sheepishly raising my hand, and also laughing! There are a lot of things that I feel marked my past, but now as I have learned to know Jesus as my friend and to trust His redeeming resurrection in my life, I can be open about those things and even laugh over the journey. Never have I ever felt so in love with Jesus!

Sin is gripping without the grace of Jesus. Sin pushes us down into a miserable state of mind and insists that we live with death hanging over us. Sin wants to control our thoughts, actions, and motives. 

Thank God for His ever- giving gift of grace. Thank God that never did He ever consider leaving us in the claws of death! 

Now, there is no comparison between Adam’s transgression and the gracious gift that we experience. For the magnitude of the gift far outweighs the crime. It’s true that many died because of one man’s transgression, but how much greater will God’s grace and his gracious gift of acceptance overflow to many because of what one Man, Jesus, the Messiah, did for us! (Verse 15, TPT)

NOW is the perfect time to say: “Never have I ever seen such an amazing gift!” For the gift God has given us is much greater that the grip of sin. We don’t have to allow death to reign over us, for when Jesus died on the Cross he died to eliminate that sin from its power over you.

As the song says “If the stars were made to worship so will I. I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made, every burning star a signal fire of grace. If creation sings your praises so will I.”

Today is a great day to tell yourself that because the gift is so much greater than the crime you will never ever stop praising the God that gives it continually!

You've Been Given a Gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus-all because he sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts.

Ephesians 1:3 (TPT)

The letter to the Ephesians was written around AD60 by Paul while in a prison in Rome. It is packed full of life speaking words, which that in itself is amazing to me as I picture Paul in prison, yet still writing words of hope and encouragement to others.  The book of Ephesians has five major themes: Salvation by Grace through Faith, Power of God over All Others, Christian Unity, Christian Conduct, and Christian Identity.  It is most definately one of my favorite books in the Bible!

Paul jumps right in, too. In the first chapter, His prayer is that Jesus Christ will release grace over us and impart total well-being  into our lives. Who doesn't want that? We immediately are reminded that every single spiritual blessing belongs to us-we are lavished with this incredible love gift from God. Why? Because of the way He sees us, wrapped up like a bug in rug in Christ Jesus! Chosen long before the foundation of the universe. His love for us being so immense that we are seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence. 

Unstained innocence!  

I love this. After all my years of failures, mistakes, sin...He sees me with an unstained innocence! He has adopted us as his delightful children. You are delightful to him. Delightful means: giving great pleasure or delight. Highly pleasing. 

Even on your bad days, you are delightful to him. The very same love God has for his Beloved Son, Jesus, he has for you!

"For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his trememdous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace-for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!" verses 5-6

This grace gift is the best gift you will ever receive. It really is a gift that feels too good to be true. It's so big, immersurable, that I'm not sure we can actually wrap our heads around it. It's the kind of gift that takes faith to accept. We have been given this treasure of redemption by the blood of Jesus, and this treasure totally cancels your sin! We are totally saved! Like I said, it feels too good to be true, and yet it is a truth we cannot live without!

This gift just keeps on giving too. Grace is always working deep within us and releasing wisdom and understanding in such a way that we learn to understand his secret desires, his hidden mystery. We are clued in on God's long term plan for our lives, the supreme plan through all of time. We are able to understand that we belong to God alone, we are his inheritance and we have his stamp of approval. His seal of Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our engagement ring, a promise of all that is to come. So, so much!

I don't know about you, but as I think of all the stuff packed into the first chapter of Ephesians I am overwhelmed with gratitude, lifted with hope, and grounded in faith. Paul wrote these words so very long ago, yet they speak deeply to my heart and my life. It taps into a power that is only available through Christ Jesus, the power to live in his riches even when my circumstances feel otherwise. It supercedes my condition and confirms my position.

This is grace!

"I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God's power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to the place of highest honor and supreme authority in the heavenly realm!" verses 19-29.

God Unleashed

 

You are truly the poetry of God-his very handiwork.

Songs of Songs 7:1

This is the last week of Song of Songs. Chapter 7 and 8 end with the Bridegroom-King giving his thougths on the Bride. This is Jesus talking about you!  He begins like this: "How beautiful on the mountains are the sandaled feet of this one bringing such good news. You are true royalty! The way you walk so gracefully in my ways displays such dignity. You are the poetry of God-his very handiwork." When we bring the Good News of who Jesus is to others he says we are beautiful, each of us can tell others about him that is a form of evangelism and reconciliation to his heart.  Deep inside of us the Spirit flows, satisfying the thirst of those seeking relationship with him. He has created us to be pregnant with an abundant harvest. "Your life stands tall as a tower, like a shining light on a hill. Your revelation eyes are pure, like pools of refreshing-sparkling light for a multitude." verse 4

"You stand in victory above the rest, stately and secure as you share with me your vineyard of love." verse 7. As the Bride of Christ we have the joy and privelege to raise up the next generation to know who he is. We get to leave a legacy of love to our children and their children, which in turn they will do the same. We get to build community around us and love each other. For me, having community around me feels like a victory. When I know I have a circle of friends that love me, love each other, love God, I feel stronger.  We can be there for each other, through good and bad. "I will take hold of you with my power, possessing every part of my fruitful Bride. Your love I will drink as wine, and your words will be mine." Wow! His power is within us, His Bride. He entwines us with himself and is with us wherever we go. And, when others see how passionate we are for Jesus; it awakens them and gives them the desire to know him too. 

The Bride then responds: "I am filled with my beloved and all his desires are fullfilled in me." When we live our lives filled with the King, ministry is an automatic overflow of who we are. We know He has brought us to a place of victory and love, inferiority does not have a place inside our hearts! "If only I could show everyone the passionate desire I have for you. If only I could express it fully, no matter who was watching me, without shame or embarrassment. I long to bring you to my innermost chamber-the holy sanctuary you have formed within me." The Lover of our soul is in us and he is our peace and strength. 

And, then the Bridegroom-King says:

"Who is this one? Look at her now! She arises out of her desert clinging to her beloved."

That's right! When we pursue him, when he resides with us, we grow into a place where we arise up out of our place of despair and dryness, ever clinging to our beloved Jesus! He awakens us as we long for more of him. He seals us with a passionate love, a love that is stronger than death and the grave. He consumes us with his fire and nothing will turn us away.  When God is unleased within his Bride the flame will never be extinguished! It will not stop. "Everything will be consumed. It will stop at nothing as you yield everything to this furious fire until it won't even seem to you like a sacrifice anymore." 

We as the Bride of Christ become a tower of passion and contentment for Jesus. We are a firm wall of protection for those around us, guarding them from harm. We bring him joy, bliss, and find favor in his eyes. We give our best, our all, forever.  We take him as our seal of fire, a living consuming flame that burns from the heart of God,  an unrelenting fire. 

Sealed with the flame of God!

 

Our Insides

 

 

"We long to see him too. Where may we find him? We will follow you as you seek after him."

Song of Songs 6:1 (TPT)

I'm so excited to share the next chapter of Song of Songs with you! I think it is lovely. Right away in the first verse the Brides maidens are talking to the Bride. They are inquiring about the Groom, for they too want to find him. They promise to follow her, the Bride, so that they too will find him. Isn't that lovely? The influence that you have as the Bride of Christ, the light that shines within you, is so beautiful that others want to know what it is. They too want that light and they are willing to follow you in hopes that you will lead them to this beauty.

The Bride responds: "My lover has gone down into his garden of delight, the place where spices grow, to feast with those pure in heart. I know we shall find him there. He is within me-I am his garden of delight. I have him fully and now he fully has me!"  verse 2-3

She knows Who she belongs to. She knows that she has become One with the groom, Jesus Christ. She knows He lives inside of her and she has become his Garden of Delight. This is you, my friend! Jesus looks at you and sees a beautiful garden; it brings him such delight!

The Groom responds: "you have ravished my heart, stealing away my strength to resist you."  verse 4

Have you ever considered that the heart of Jesus is completely ravished  by you? Whoa! I looked up the word ravished and this is what I found: 1)" to fill with strong emotion, especially joy."  Did you know that when he is with you he is filled with many emotions, joy being the prominent one?  He says you are "more pleasing than any pleasure, more delightful than any delight, you have ravished my heart..." verse 4

I've known that Jesus loves me, of course! But, the more I discover how completely in love he is with me, the more I love him!  The more I pursue him, the more delighted he is. When the pain overtakes me, he is still there, ravished. 

"For your undying devotion to me is the most yielded sacrifice. The shining of your spirit shows how you have taken my truth to become balanced and complete." verse 5-6

The decision to follow Jesus, and to keep following Jesus no matter what is not always easy. He sees the sacrifice it takes, and he sees the way that sacrifice brings a certain shine to our lives. He turns our sacrifice of pain into joy; it's his speciality. He moves within us, transforms us, and uses us to lead others to him. He grows us up into maturity with the fullness of him deep inside of us. He uses us to bring his glory to places where it is most needed. The deep longings within our hearts moves from the selfishness of this world to the glory of our King. Wow, what a story!

Today, I hope you are able to see the love he has for you, the sheer delight he has in you, and when you do, your life will never be the same. 

 

 

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