Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts


Death, Guilt, Sin & The Saviour's Grace - A Dose of Encouragement

EASTER is just one of the items on the Church Calendar each year.

Or is it?

When we are young Easter may centre around those chocolate eggs and everything that seems to depict cuddly little yellow chicks.

When we are young Easter may centre around a family roast and little egg hunts.

When we are young Easter may centre around one of those twice a year visits to church.

When we are young and actively involved in church Easter may centre around pictures of an empty cross and tomb.

But what about now that we are older?

Are the chocolate eggs and yellow chicks forgotten?

Do we still get together as a family for that big meal?

Do we still go to church on Easter Sunday?

To some of those the answer may well be - YES?


Do we still focus our thoughts on the cross & the tomb?

Most of us will not have been able to grow up without hearing about the cross and the tomb but did we really pay attention to the  WHY?

The first "Why" I want to look at is the DEATH.

We know he died and his body was put into the tomb and then we know that the tomb was found empty but often our thoughts of Easter stop right there at the empty tomb and we forget to go on and see what it means for us.  What it has meant right from that resurrection day until now and will continue to mean for all of us for the rest of our lives and for eternity.

Jesus through His DEATH and RESURRECTION defeated DEATH forevermore.
He defeated DEATH for us the ones who deserved death as the punishment for our sins.
He defeated DEATH so that the fear of it would not have to hover over us and taint our lives.
He defeated DEATH so that the devil would not have that to use to control us.

The second "Why" I want to look at is the GUILT.

We know Christ died because people hated Him and would rather He be killed than someone who had already been found guilty of terrible crimes.  Jesus was the one who took Barabbas' guilt there and then that day as the people watched the truly guilty person walk away.  

Jesus through His death and resurrection also took our GUILT that day and we need to remember this.  We the guilty were replaced by the true innocent one, Jesus was and is the true, perfect sacrifice once and for ever for our sins. 

Jesus stepped into our place for us the GUILTY ones who deserve death as the punishment for our sins.
He wiped away our GUILT so that it would not have power over our minds. 
He took our GUILT on himself so that anguish, worry and stress would not destroy us.

The third "Why" I want to look at is the SIN.

We know Jesus was "without sin" from the following verses  

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
2 Corinthians 5:21
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hebrews 9:28
"Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"
1 Peter 2:22 
"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."
1 John 3:5
Do we really believe that we are sinners?
Do we really believe that Jesus died for us?
Do we really believe that Jesus was a willing sacrifice?
Do we really believe that Jesus took on our sin?


If we really understand & believe that we are sinners.
If we really understand & believe that Jesus died for us.
If we really understand & believe that Jesus was a willing sacrifice.
If we really understand & believe that Jesus took on our sin.

We can trust that Jesus did this all to bring us into God's family.
We can trust that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world.

We can trust that the Saviour's grace to us is real.

So what is the grace of God?

people often say it is "undeserved favour" from God

but I would like to add a quote from John Piper here 

“Well, it appears that the word grace in Paul’s use not only refers to God’s character trait or disposition or inclination to treat people better than we deserve, but the word grace also refers to the action or the power or the influence or the force of this disposition, which produces real, practical outcomes in people’s lives, like being sufficient for good deeds or enduring the thorn in the flesh or working harder than everybody else, which Paul says about his own apostolic work.”

which directs us to the fact that the Grace of God is an active effect on our lives to change us.

We can understand the reason for cross, the punishment, and the Grace.


Remember the Death
Remember the Guilt
Remember the Sin

Remember the 

What a wonderful time is the celebration of Easter regardless of who we are, where we are, who we can see and what we can do.

To dwell in the knowledge that Jesus was the sacrifice for us and had the power to overcome death so that we do not have to carry the sin and guilt but instead we have experienced our Saviour’s Grace when we trusted in Him.


Pondering the Psalms - Psalm 25

Each Sunday I am going to choose a Psalm and write down some brief thoughts on it.

Today I'm looking at Psalm 25 

This is another one of the Psalms of David

I'm looking at this Psalm in several parts:

V. 1-2
Where is our Trust?

V. 3
What is the Difference?

V. 4-5
Which Way should we go?

V. 6-7
Whose Grace?

V. 8-10
Who is the teacher?

V. 11-15
Who needs to have respect?

V. 16-22
What should we pray?

Where is our Trust?
It is in God because we know that He will not let us down.

What is the Difference?
The difference lies in the lives of God's people and the lives of those who do not believe and none of God's people need be ashamed about it.

He will not let us down!

Which way should we Go?
God should be the of the utmost importance to us because of our Salvation so we should want to go His way exactly and wait on Him long enough to know His way.

Whose Grace?
Because of His Salvation given to us, we can rely on Him to look on us as we are now and not as we were before.  His Grace covers us now even though we are not perfect.

Who is the Teacher?
The only good and upright being, the Lord God who looks on the humble and keeps His Promise with us.

He keeps His Promises!

Who needs to have Respect?
The one who desires to be taught by God, to prosper in God's way, to be the friend of God, to be under the protection of God and to know that great bound with God.

What should we Pray?
We should bare all to the Redeemer of our souls.
The troubles on our hearts, our need of His Forgiveness, the protection we desire, the Grace that only He can give.

So who do we thrust and why?

We trust God
 He keeps His promises
 will not let us down.

Oh that we would be humble and walk in His way.

Learning from Him and His Word and not from the words of others.


The Discipline of Grace - 3

If you have not read my notes on the first two Chapters of

"The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges 

then you may wish to go visit those before continuing here.



Chapter 3

Again I thoroughly enjoyed reading this chapter and to me the emphasis was on justification and grace.

Bridges seems to be excited by what he is writing as he talks of our sin, the atonement by the blood of Jesus, justification through the death and punishment suffered by Jesus on our behalf and the grace of God in the forgiveness we receive.

None of this is subject to us but freely given by God and Jesus.

Several times Bridges writes "Preach the Gospel to yourself" which he admits will seem to be a strange instruction; but he goes on to clearly explain that this is the way to truly know and remember what Jesus has done for us and will help us not to be overcome with guilt (covered in first chapter) about our sin and the imperfect people we are.

While I was reading this I couldn't help but think on the sad comments that Steve Chalke has made about the death of Jesus and how mistreated he claims Jesus was by His Father God; 

so I must say here that

I am very thankful for a book like this one which clearly states the true reason for our Saviour's death and the goodness of our Heavenly Father.

I do agree with Bridges when he says you should "preach the Gospel to yourself"

Do you?

Do we preach the gospel to ourselves?

If this encourages you to read the book you'll find it on amazon for kindle or in paperback.

For other posts on this book see Links below:

Grace 1
Grace 2


The Discipline of Grace - 2

Click here to read  Grace 1 which covered the first chapter of the book

  The Discipline of Grace 
by Jerry Bridges

 Now let's take a look chapter 2  this time.

 Chapter 2

This surprised me at first because it was so different to the first chapter.

Here he takes a look at the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican going to pray.

I loved the way he explained what this parable is all about.

What it boils down to I think is the fact that when the Publican says

                         "Lord be merciful to me a sinner" 

he is able to say this because he is sure of the grace of God.

Isn't that so ironic that he understands grace but the Pharisee doesn't.

If the Pharisee truly knew what the grace of God was, he could not have been so confident in himself.

The Publican did understand but still he was not confident in himself instead he was confident in God because of grace.

Of course the author has a lot more to say than just this and again this chapter is full of truth and I found it so encouraging.

If this encourages you to read the book you'll find it on amazon for kindle or in paperback.

I promise that later posts on this book will contain shorter notes on each chapter.  

For other posts on this book see Links below:

Grace 1
Grace 3


The Day my Best Friend Bit Me! - A Dose of Encouragement

When I was young and at primary school I was a "Tom-Boy", wanting to be active, out and about as much as possible and looking for company to play with.

My only sibling is my sister who is 10 years older than me so I didn't have her to play with and sometimes there were not too many other kids around.

I really loved the opportunity to play with the boy who would come to visit his grandparents across the street and the girls from the surrounding streets and stay out as long as possible.

But there were often times when there was no-one around to play with so I found a friend next door.

This friend was often around at the front of the house and he was very easy to chat to so I could go see him a few times a day.

His name was Tim and he was a black, scotty dog.

I used to go and sit on the front step of the house next door and pet him and cuddle him and chat.

He was so familiar with our family that there was never any barking at us just the tail wagging and little jumps of excitement when he thought any of us were going to have time to play with him.

photo credit - Pixabay

My parents were fine with me playing with Tim and knew that I was often on that front step.

I liked dogs and had wanted our family to have a dog as a pet but my sister did not like dogs so I had to be content with Tim next door.

Of course I took Tim for granted and thought he would always be there just when I would feel like going in through the front gate to play with him.

I was sure that he would always be happy to see me, ready to play 
and I would never be "not welcome".

Then there was that one day when I went through that gate and took the two or three steps to the front door to find Tim was lying there quietly not jumping up or wagging his tail at me.  I sat down beside him and put my arm around him but instead of getting the usual happy welcome I felt the pain shoot up my arm as his teeth clamped onto it.

I screamed, jumped up and ran out through that next door gate with Tim hanging from my arm but he let go before I got to our own gate.

I was sore, bleeding (although not too bad because he was an older dog and his teeth apparently weren't too sharp) and so confused that Tim had bitten me.

If I was looking for sympathy I had come to the wrong place because immediately I was questioned by my mother on what had I done to antagonise the poor dog - see how everyone loved him!

Well my arm was bathed and bandaged and I can't remember if I was told to stay inside for a while but I do remember that before long I was back sitting playing with Tim.

The neighbours talked with my parents and were concerned about what had happened and what my parents wanted them to do about Tim.  The result was that none of us wanted anything to happen to him because we all knew the situation had been my own fault.  Who would be so silly as to cuddle a dog that was asleep and wake him suddenly and frighten him especially when in the past few months some teenagers had often been teasing and at times kicking at him through the gate as they walked down our street.

I had not known that Tim, my usually happy friend, had become afraid of these teenagers and hence probably startled by me and reacted out of sudden fear.

Yes it wasn't long before I was back playing with Tim, he was still my friend and I forgave him for biting me but I think there was always just not exactly the same trust there as before.

He was still my friend and I forgave him.

Over the years I have seen friendships ruined over a hasty word, a sudden grumpiness, a searing hurt, a teasing jibe, when people just got so friendly and comfortable that they stopped thinking of situations from the other person's point of view.  Times when people got so careless and thought they could do or say anything just because they thought they were with friends.
Even if the friendships are not ruined they are marred in some way by lack of trust thereafter.

Sometimes we have been the ones to do the hurting and sometimes we are the ones who have been hurt but either way we need to try to consider how the other person felt, what may have been happening to them recently that we did not know about, who had been unkind to them, what had they heard recently, because something had caused a difference on that occasion.

There are two people in a friendship and also two feelings in that friendship and we need to remember to be considerate and kind, honouring the friendship and extending grace to each other in all circumstances.

It may not always come easy but oh it would be great if I could forgive others today as quickly as I forgave Tim.

It is not impossible to do.

As children of God we have the capability of forgiving because we have been forgiven and we have the greatest example of perfect forgiveness in Jesus.

Forgiveness. It is not impossible to do.

What about a letter, a phone call, a little chat?

The practical step needs to be taken to apologise and forgive.

And we can do it!


Grace 1 - The Discipline of Grace

Some time ago I decided to read

        "The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges

and I have been slowly, very slowly doing so because there is just so much to take in from each chapter.

If I waited until I had read the whole book the notes on it would be extremely long judging by the ones thus far so I've decided to put together here just the notes from my reading of the first chapter to give a taste of what this book has to offer.

Chapter 1

The Holy Spirit transforms us spiritually; we cannot do this ourselves. This is sanctification.
The Pursuit of Holiness is our cooperation and involvement in the sanctification process and it is something we need to be fully committed to.  This must be anchored in the Grace of God.

God's blessing does not depend on our performance.
God's grace through Christ is greater than our sin.
If God’s blessings were dependent on our performance, they would be meager indeed.
Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.
And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.
Every day of our Christian experience should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone.
We are saved by grace but also each day of our lives we live by grace because we must look only to Jesus for God's blessings on our lives we cannot earn the blessings ourselves.

God's grace through Christ is greater than our sin.

Grace - God's unmerited favour to those who deserve His wrath.
Although saved we still sin; but we also still receive His grace.
We are neither blessed because we have done good enough to gain His favour or not blessed because we have failed to earn it.
 Our performance rating is not the important thing here.
The Gospel applied to our hearts each day frees us to be honest with ourselves & God.
We can admit we still sin and take responsibility for this instead of blaming our actions on the effects of others.

"So it doesn't matter how I live because God forgives me unconditionally" - no, this is not acceptable as it means that the truth is being abused.

We cannot allow others to lessen the value of the truth for all of us. So they need to be reminded of the Gospel.

What about those who struggle with the fact that we are still sinners and they think they are not committed enough? They also still need to be reminded of the Gospel because it does not pour on guilt but rather brings freedom from guilt to them.

We cannot allow others to lessen the value of the truth for all of us.

To live no longer for ourselves but for God is the essence of discipleship.
Love is what compels us to live for God.

So it is by the Gospel that we must be motivated to live a holy life and not by guilt or duty because it is through the Gospel that we will be conscious of His great love.

God's grace is greater than all our sins.
Repentance is one of the Christian's greatest privileges. A repentant Christian focuses on God's mercy & God's love.
One who draws on God's mercy & grace is quick to repent but also slow to sin.
Are we willing to rely on God's mercy & grace alone instead of on our performance, to boast in nothing save the cross?

If this encourages you to read the book you'll find it on amazon for kindle or in paperback.

I promise that later posts on this book will contain shorter notes on each chapter.  
See Links below:

Grace 2
Grace 3


No New Year Resolutions? - A Dose of Encouragement

Are we thinking about the end of a year?
Are we thinking about the preparation for a new year?

Yes because let's face it, all of us will have something in our minds about the new year.
It may not be resolutions as such and with me it definitely isn't but I still have some kind of plans and hopes and thoughts going through my mind as to how I want to do certain things during the year but then on the other hand I also have loads of things that I should have thought about more in advance for this coming Year.

However regardless of how organised or unorganised I may be throughout the year to come will that make any significant difference to God's plan for me for this year?


because His plan does not depend on my organised life or even my organised thoughts but I believe He is waiting to see whether or not I will be obedient to His Word and His Spirit prompting me day by day.

Let's see 

Where am I writing this post?   

When am I writing this post?

I am writing this today, New Years Eve in the late afternoon while I wait in Currys Electrical Store in Sprucefield, NI for my husband to pay for a item we have just picked out in the sale.

I will not be able to post this until sometime this evening after I get home, get internet connection and get this finished and edited.

Other things will be more important and need to be done before I get back to this.
I may even have to wait until after we have our dinner although my plan would be to do this earlier.
But will it make a lot of difference whether it is posted before dinner or after?


because again God's plan does not depend on my great organised efforts or plans but solely on whether or not I am obedient to Him even today.

So I do wish everyone a

but I do not have any New Year Resolutions

nor have I made any of those lists that I love to make.

This year I do want to be more organised, I do want to be more prepared in advance for events but I really want to be more open to listening and obeying.

I am writing something I feel is important for me and for others to be encouraged knowing that each year, month, week, day are not governed by how well we organise them or plan for them but by God's Love and Grace and Mercy extended in each one of them.

I am writing so that we can be encouraged that God's plan for the year ahead is not going to succeed or fail because of us but rather that we will be enriched by our participation in His Plan when we are simply obedient to Him.

So this year 

no New Year Resolutions for me!

no Lists and Plans in advance for me!

just a prayer

Maybe you want the same thing in this New Year.


It's God's Love #3

Welcome back to this new Sunday Series.

There will be a simple, short post each week
consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of
God's Love and I would be very pleased if you
would join me each Sunday.

When Paul is writing to the Corinthians he obviously thinks something is important and needs to be said as the finishing note for the end of his letter.

2 Corinthians 13:14

He exhorts them to pay attention to how they should live

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.


he is not finished yet

He then leaves them with a great blessing

Love of God.

Grace of Jesus.

Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Be with us all.

AMEN - So be it.

Why We Worship 19

I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"

Do you know that God loves to give us what we don't deserve?

  •  He loves to pardon our sin.
  •  He loves to be good to us.
  •  He loves to give us His Gifts.
  •  He loves to extend His Mercy to us.

And really we don't deserve any of this.

This is all because 

What does this mean?

It simply means that :

  • Jesus the Son of God took our place.
  • Jesus the Son of God bore our punishment.
  • Jesus the Son of God gave His life for us.

And He did it for our benefit not His.

No wonder we sing and talk about God's Grace being AMAZING.

Of course the verse above is not actually a full sentence.

So let's look at the full sentence here in verses 11 - 14.

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, 
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Because of the Grace God has shown us we then need to react by turning from our ungodly ways to God's Way and look forward to seeing Jesus who has made this all possible.  
We are to be His own special people and ready to do good just as He does.

I am very thankful for God's Grace  -  aren't you?