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

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

[bctt tweet=”Grace. Something we don’t earn. Something we don’t deserve. Something Jesus freely gives out of the fullness of his love.” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

God is love. Love keeps no record of wrongs. So, since God is love, he keeps no record of our wrongs; our sins.

That’s similar to the if/then statements mathematicians sometimes use to prove a point. If a+b=c then b+a=c.

I’ve found that although God is love and does not keep a record of our wrongs, we do. And so do others around us. Have you noticed that?

We hang onto the list we keep of moments when we mess up.courtesy pixabay

We forget the fact if we come to God in repentance, the power of Christ’s sacrificial blood takes away those sins.

We forget about mercy.

We forget about grace.

We forget about love.

Instead we hold onto a running list of our failures, and allow that list to torment us and wound our hearts.

God has forgiven us. Why can’t we forgive us?

There are several reasons, I believe, but besides the fact the deceiver, Satan, father of lies, doesn’t want us to remember we’re forgiven, we sometimes have trouble accepting God’s grace; something we didn’t work for or earn or merit.

courtesy pixabayDo you think by holding onto our list of failures we’re saying we don’t trust God to do what he said he’d do? To actually forgive us?

I don’t know why we hold onto our list of failures, but I do know since God is love, he keeps no record of our wrongs, so let’s throw away our list, and rest in God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

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.

 

Love keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Jesus Paid Our Debt

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness.

Not receiving the punishment we deserve. Receiving favor we don’t deserve. Someone else paying the debt we owe, but could never pay.

‘Tis a puzzlement to our way of thinking, wouldn’t you say?

Because God is Holy and can’t be in the presence of sin, our sin demands justice. Payment. Things made right.

Jesus did that on Calvary. He paid the debt we owed but could never pay. His blood covers our sin and makes us right with God. When God looks at us, he sees Christ’s blood covering all the things we’ve done that break God’s law, and he accepts Christ’s sacrifice in our place.

grace2

Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness.

Thank you, Jesus.

Satan tries to condemn us. He works hard to make us feel worthless. His lies tell us God has abandoned us. They say we are unforgiven, so why even try?

But we have a Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, who paid the price for our sin, and in his great mercy and grace tells the devil he can’t have us.

We’ve been bought with a price. Christ’s precious blood. We belong to him and he isn’t about to let us go.

forgiven much

Glory Hallelujah. Amen?

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.

God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. John 3:16 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Betrayal and Grace

National Archives and Records AdministrationEver been betrayed? If you’re a member of the human race, I would assume your answer to be, yes. While I’ve been betrayed multiple times before, this latest betrayal irks me. Especially since I had spoken specifically with said betrayer about the issue beforehand, and asked them not to mention it.

I’m sure if one studied the psychology of betrayal, there would be deep, profound reasons it exists. I’d imagine there would be an equal number of rather superficial reasons, as well. While this latest incidence is of little consequence, when compared with the grand scheme of things, and the devastating betrayals others have suffered, I’m irritated.

So, what to do about it? Pray. I pray for God to soften my heart towards this other person. I Bing Photospray for the other person. And I keep praying. Because I know I’m not at a place where I should be.

While I pray, I think about Jesus. I think about Judas. I think about the grace and forgiveness Jesus extended to the betrayer. And the grace and forgiveness He daily extends to me. I think about how Judas’ kiss must have stung Jesus, even though He knew it was coming.

As I pray, God whispers, This too, shall pass. I’ll get over this minor breach of trust. I’ll survive this annoyance. I have a choice. Move on, or stay stuck in irritation. I choose to move on.

Why? Because of grace. Unmerited favor. Something I do not deserve, but which God freely pours down on me, and you. Grace comes to us through the gift of God’s son, Jesus Christ. The Messiah who paid our debt on the cruel cross of Calvary. We’re called to be like Jesus, and that means we’re called to extend forgiveness and grace, even if we don’t feel like it. Especially when we don’t feel like it. Because greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world.

Anyone you need to extend grace and forgiveness to? Need grace and forgiveness extended to you? Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, that makes it all possible.

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (TLB)

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please subscribe to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions May 5, 2014. Please stop by.

Do-Over

I’ve sat through plenty of discussions on Adam and Eve, and the fall of the human race. The way I see it, if it hadn’t been Adam and Eve, it would have been someone else. We’re all sinners. The only one to walk this earth and not sin, was Jesus.

When we visited with my mom during one of her nursing home activities — Bible Trivia — the question was asked…Who sinned in the Garden of Eden? Not missing a beat, Mom said, “Eve. Women get blamed for everything.”

She’s right. Eve did sin in the Garden. And she is blamed for it.

In The Story, the second song is “Good”. It speaks of Adam and Eve’s desire to have a do-over, of sorts. It speaks of changing history, if they could, and choosing differently. The song says Adam and Eve would leave out the part where they broke God’s heart. They long to turn back time, and walk in the sunset with their LORD again. But then they ask God how he could look at them, and what they’d done, and still call them good.

I’d like to submit many of us may feel the exact same way…we’ve sinned. Done what we know we shouldn’t do, but did it any way. We’d like another chance. We miss the closeness we experienced with our God. We want a do-over.

Fortunately, God gives us that chance through his grace. Undeserved favor. Something we didn’t do anything to earn. A gift. The gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, that paid the price for our sins. The Sacrificial Lamb. By his wounds, we are healed.

February. The second month of 2014. Already two months into another new year. No matter. Each day, we have a clean slate in front of us. It’s ours to use as we please. As we desire.

Do we need to choose differently than we did in 2013? Are there areas of sin we need to surrender to Jesus, for his help in overcoming? Are there people we need to reach out to, apologies we need to make, forgiveness we need to extend? A do-over?

Despite all our messes and faults, God still calls us good.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. Genesis 1:27 & 31

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Important Enough

In a time in history when women had very little value in society, and were considered property of their fathers and husbands, the book of Matthew included the names of five woman important enough to be recorded in Jesus’ genealogy.

Tamar. A Gentile, whose desire to be part of God’s people and share in the promise given to Judah, pushed her to resort to trickery to have her father-in-law honor his promise to her. (Genesis 38)

Rahab. A Gentile prostitute living in Jericho, who believed in the God who led his people out of Egypt, was saved when she helped two Israelite spies escape. (Joshua 2)

Ruth. Another Gentile. A woman from Moab who chose to identify herself with God’s people when she accompanied her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem after both were widowed. (Ruth)

Bathsheba. Dead Uriah’s wife. (2 Samuel 11)

Mary. The virgin chosen to carry within her womb the Son of God. Of whom was born Jesus. (Luke 1)

Five women. Five different backgrounds. Five different stories. Different personal lives. Different status. Different nationality. It didn’t matter to God. He used each of them, regardless. God’s grace crossed man-made boundaries. It crossed sins. It crossed loss.

What did each woman have? Faith. Faith in a God bigger than themselves. Faith in a God who took their brokenness and brought something wonderful out of it. Faith in a God who deals in redemption and grace. Faith in a God who is faithful even when we are not. Faith in a God who keeps his promises even when we do not.

God’s still in the business of restoration, redemption, and grace. He still uses broken and battered people to achieve his goals. He still loves unconditionally even when we may not be so lovable at times.

Feeling broken, cracked, rejected, defeated?

Just as God used these five women, he can use us. We can all be redeemed, and put back together through his grace. All we have to do is have faith enough to say yes to God, and his son, Jesus Christ.

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1:3, 5-6, 16

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please subscribe to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

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

Please subscribe to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Plank-eyed

The other morning, as I drove to my weekly Bible Study, two vehicles flew past me in a 40 MPH speed zone.

“I hope you both get tickets!” I said out loud. I figured saying it aloud, might make it happen. I looked at my speedometer. Yep. Right on 40. I wasn’t breaking the law. Good, Sandy.

To my knowledge, those two law-breakers got away without having to pay a penalty.

Imagine.

Hurumph.

Of course, at that moment, I chose not to remember all the times I have exceeded the speed limit, broken the law, and deserved to pay the penalty. Selective memory, I think it’s called.

Whenever I caution my son,  Pie, about his speed, he tells me he drives fast because that is what he learned being a passenger in my car. (We don’t call my 1985 Monte Carlo SS, Zoomer, for nothing, you know.)

So, I’m sitting in my car feeling self-righteous that I wasn’t breaking the law by speeding, and I feel God tap me on the shoulder.

Here is what I believe God wanted me to consider.

In my corner of Texas, the fines for speeding increase the greater your deviation above the set speed limit.

In God’s eyes, all have sinned and fallen short. ALL. We’re all separated from God because of our sin. There are no “big” sins, “little” sins where God’s righteousness is concerned. To God, a gossiper is just as guilty as a murderer. A little white lie is as grievous to him as child molestation. There is no sliding payment scale of punishment deserved. We’re all guilty and deserve to pay the penalty.

A sin, is a sin, is a sin.

But God…

God made a way for our sins to be forgiven through the death of his son, Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary. Jesus’ sacrifice paid the penalty that we deserve. Jesus was given the “ticket” for our speeding. Jesus paid full price for our law-breaking, so we wouldn’t have to. It was a debt we owed, but couldn’t pay. A debt Jesus did not owe, yet willingly paid.

I need to be reminded, even though I may be driving within the proverbial speed limit right now, it isn’t always so. I also need to remember in God’s eyes, going over the limit by one measly mile, is breaking the law, just the same as someone who drives 30 MPH over the limit. Most importantly, I must never forget, I am a law-breaker who escaped having to pay the penalty, because Jesus paid it for me.

Grace.

In their song, Jesus, Friend of Sinners, Casting Crowns calls people like me, who want to give other drivers tickets for speeding, Plank-eyed Saints.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

 

I wish you well.

Sandy