Grace-Trying To Get It Right

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent conversation, a friend and I discussed how things we were once taught and believed about God don’t necessary hold truth anymore. There were huge gaps between what we were taught and who God truly is.

It seems the more we come to know who God is through studying the Bible, the more we see we missed out on the concept of God’s grace. Grace was not taught. Don’t know why. It just wasn’t. But it sure should have been. So, we’re trying to get it right now.

The Bible is full of examples of God’s grace, love, and mercy. What happened to make ministers think they needed to preach condemnation without showing God’s grace is also part of who he is?

Were they stuck in the Old Testament law given to Moses? Did they not know Christ came to set the captives free?

Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus didn’t demand we sinners fulfill an ever-increasingly long list of requirements to be saved. He replaced the fear of guilt with the motivation to follow him simply because we love him because he first loved us and want to obey him because of that love.

Jesus wants us to claim him as LORD because of what he did for us on the cross. Not because of any checklist we might carry in our back pocket, believing we have to earn our salvation. Salvation through Christ is a gift. It’s grace.

Look at the stories in the Bible … start in Genesis.

Adam and Eve. Kicked out of the Garden, but not abandoned.

David. Welcomed back after he repented.

Israel. Forgiven time and again for their idolatry whenever they returned to God.

Jonah. Rescued and set back on God’s path when he tried to run from God.

The woman caught in adultery. The woman at the well. Saul who met Jesus on the road to Damascus and became Paul …

Look at each and every one of us when we try to get it right; repent, turn from our sins, and fall on the grace of God and Christ Jesus’ blood for our forgiveness.

Grace. Something we don’t earn. Something we don’t deserve. Something Jesus freely gives out of the fullness of his love.

Grace. Something I’m extremely grateful for. How about you?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception). John testified [repeatedly] about Him and has cried out [testifying officially for the record, with validity and relevance], “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I and has priority over me, for He existed before me.’”  For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]. For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:14-17 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Wishful Thinking

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In last Thursday’s post, Complain, Complain, Complain I wrote I would refrain from eating dairy for 3 weeks per my doctor’s orders. Actually, I have to be dairy-free for at least 3 MONTHS. Guess I was guilty of wishful thinking.

Webster’s online dictionary defines wishful thinking as an attitude or belief that something you want to happen will happen even though it is not likely or possible.

In 4th grade I prayed, hoped, dreamed I would not come in last place in my backstroke heat during our swim meet.

Wishful thinking.

When I finally hauled myself out of the pool, I was grateful I didn’t drown in the last lap.

In junior high I tried out for cheer leading.

Wishful thinking.

I did end up on the pom pom squad in high school, though.

When I completed my middle grade historical novel…I use the term completed loosely…I knew for a fact the first editor who set eyes on the masterpiece would snap it up in an instant.

Wishful thinking.

I would be embarrassed if it published at that time.

Some people feel it is wishful thinking to believe our sins can be forgiven and the chains of guilt and condemnation Satan throws on us removed.

They can’t or won’t accept the free gift of grace Jesus offers through his sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension into heaven where he sits at God’s right hand pleading our case daily. They falsely believe there has to be more to it than a confession of faith in Jesus as Redeemer, Savior, Lord and King.

Believing we can receive forgiveness and grace is not wishful thinking. It’s the truth. Jesus paid the price for the debt we owed but could never pay. It is by grace we have been saved through Christ, not by works.

I don’t think I’m the only one guilty of wishful thinking, so share the things you’ve thought wishfully about obtaining or achieving during your lifetime.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

But now God has shown us a different way to heaven—not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like. Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal;  yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.  For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath. In this way he was being entirely fair, even though he did not punish those who sinned in former times. For he was looking forward to the time when Christ would come and take away those sins. Romans 3:22-25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts will appear on Inspire a Fire today, July 7, 2015.

Flawless in God’s Eyes

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The cross of Jesus Christ cleaned us up, buffed us to a shine, removed all the dents and made us flawless. Do you believe that? You need to. It’s the truth, after all. His love is unconditional.

In this man-made world of beautiful people, (who are they, anyway?) seems there is always a new definition of how we are supposed to look, act, think, behave …There is always some elusive mark we are supposed to hit. And when it seems we may be zeroing in on it, the mark shifts.

God’s perfect law and truth doesn’t shift. It isn’t a moving target. It’s not some elusive thing we’ll never grasp.

In God’s eyes, and recorded in his word, all have sinned and fallen short of his standard. There is no one who is good by his own works, no not one.

So where’s the comfort in that?

The comfort comes from reading further to see we are saved by grace, not by works as men think. We are subject to God’s rules and laws yes, but thanks be to God he made a way for us to be saved through the sacrificial blood of his son.

Thank you, Jesus.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection and eventual return, if we belong to him through the power of his blood, then what man thinks really doesn’t matter. It’s what God thinks that counts. And God thinks we’re pretty special. Even with all our warts, bumps, bruises, mess-ups and failures. Special enough to die for.

Our scratches, dents, mess-ups, missing the mark don’t define us. Those things don’t keep us from Jesus’ love and grace.

Those are things the evil one would like for us to hang around our necks like Jacob Marley’s chains when he visited his friend, “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” Ebenezer Scrooge.

Satan wants to keep us from believing we can be forgiven and washed clean.

This reminds me of a post I wrote awhile back relating how we are not punished as we deserve. Even though we might wallow around in mud holes, God can take out his powerful water hose and wash us clean when we come to him in repentance.

Feeling like a failure? Take heart. Christ has made us flawless.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Doesn’t Punish Us As We Deserve

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Our two-year-old German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, Kirby, was a mess. Absolutely. She’d found a mud hole in the back yard, courtesy of the soaker hose with a pinhole leak. She was covered from muzzle to tail in mud. And she wanted in.

I let Kirby inside the laundry room and assessed the situation. She was filthy. Still … she was my dog and I loved her.

She looked repentant. She looked sorrowful. She looked at me as if she hoped I’d be merciful instead of treating her as she deserved. It was merely a momentarily lapse of good judgement on her part, I’m sure. Besides, I imagine her frolic in the oozy mud brought her pleasure on a hot summer day. Until she saw me, that is.

Although this scenario occurred years ago and Kirby has since died, I still smile when I think about it. And I reflect.

bing photosYou see, I’ve wallowed around in mud holes of my own. And I imagine so have you. You know, it’s a momentarily lapse of reasoning. We forget who we are. We forget whose we are. We forget we belong to a Holy God and are called to a life of righteousness.

Our mud romp seems enjoyable for the moment. Until we face our owner.

Then we realize we messed up. We are sorrowful. We are repentant. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves of our mess on our own. So we fall on the mercy and grace of a God who does not treat us as our sins deserve. A God who does not repay us for our iniquities. A God who casts our sins from us as far as east is from the west.

We stand before a God who does not wait for us to get all the mud off before he will let us bing photosenter his presence. Our God takes out his garden hose and washes us clean through the power of the sacrificial blood of our Risen Savior. Jesus Christ our LORD, Messiah, Redeemer, King. The Lamb who was slain. By His wounds we are healed. Cleansed. Found not guilty.

Next time we face a tempting mud hole, I suggest we pray for the strength to walk around it. Quit lingering near it, and run as far away as possible.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave your comments below.

He (God) does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. Psalm 103:10-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Even Still, God Loves Us

Full disclosure…I am a sinner. But most importantly, I am a sinner, saved by God’s grace.

God sent his son, Jesus, into this world to die for sinners just like me. Even still, God loves us. Amazing grace.

Yep. In a world that can be anything but gracious, grace is a difficult concept for me to understand. Unmerited favor which I don’t deserve. I haven’t done a single thing to deserve the gift Jesus paid the price for me to receive.

Nada. Zilch. Zippo. Nothing.

An illustration which one of my preachers used to explain grace went something like this.

You get pulled over for speeding. Instead of the punishment you rightly deserve for breaking the law, the officer decides not to give you a ticket. That’s mercy. You didn’t get what you deserved.

But, the police officer goes one step further. She pulls out two tickets to the sold out, sought after, event you had your heart set on attending. She gives them to you. Free. That’s grace. Undeserved favor.

We can’t earn it. We can’t bargain for it. We can’t sneak in under the radar and snatch it. It is a free gift to us from Jesus.

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.

Philippians 3:12-14

 

Feeling a little undeserving? Join the club. But thanks be to our Heavenly Father who loves us anyway, for his amazing gift of grace.

Leave your comments below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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