Grace Upon Grace

Grace Upon Grace

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[a] 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[b] who is at the Father’s side,[c] he has made him known.                                                                              John 1:14, 16-18

I remember as a child one of the things that I enjoyed about Christmas was getting gifts. There would be many gifts wrapped under the tree and often we would try to figure out who had the most or the best gifts. When I was a child we would spend Christmas Eve at one set of grandparent’s and the children would receive gifts. Then Christmas morning at our house, late Christmas morning at the other grandparent’s house for more gifts and breakfast, then back home to rest for adults/play for us kids, and later to our great-grandmother’s house for more gifts and food. It was a great time to be a kid and it was so much fun. I look back feeling blessed to have had family nearby and to have them bless me so.

God too has richly blessed us. He has sent us his Son, Jesus Christ as a gift to us. He is God’s Word become flesh and is living among us. It means that God is nearby us to bless us. The very name Immanuel means God with us. It is in Jesus we get to see God’s glory, not the bright lights of Christmas but the Glory of God.

Jesus was full of grace and truth. It is out of that fullness that we all have received, grace upon grace. I don’t know if you have thought before about the greatest gifts or blessings that you have received but none are greater than Jesus. In him there is grace on top of grace, like the piling up of gift up gift.

Grace is the greatest gift but to receive it in heaping proportions defines for us God’s intentions and his desire for us. It is life-changing! In receiving this grace upon grace verse twelve tells us that those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. We are children not because of who our earthly father is, but because God is our Heavenly Father. It is by his will and desire that we are his children and receive as a gift grace upon grace. We receive it through his Son who has reconciled us to him through the gift of his own very life.

Many will shop, celebrate, give gifts, spend time with family, and feast, but without Christ we have missed the greatest gift given in all of human history. The gifts we give and receive whether few or many will never compare to the gift of life given through Jesus Christ. That grace upon grace takes us where we are and makes us sons and daughters of God. It is life-changing and life blessing to know we are loved by the Father and we are his.

Monday, November 30, 2105

Monday, November 30, 2015

Background: Psalm 40:1-5

Focal: Psalm 40:1-3

We are a culture of instant gratification. Look at the money spent on advertising for Black Friday. We are being told how we need the newest, latest, and greatest things to be somebody or to feel good about ourselves. Instant world…emails, Facebook, twitter, even Instagram. Many of these gadgets have in some ways made life easier or busier but they may only serve to distract from deeper longings.

The Psalmist reminds us to ‘wait patiently on the Lord, and he inclined to me and heard my cry.’ In hearing, God acted. Acting to bring up from the pit of destruction and from that which is bogging down, and placed then on solid, sure footing.

God’s movement in our lives changes us. It demonstrates that we should wait for God to move (lead) and we follow. The change too is in our words. He hears our cries, but doesn’t leave us there. Instead, ‘he put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise for our God.’

The circumstances we may find ourselves in may have left us with only one option but to cry out. We may be in a pit or bogged down with life, but God hears, knows, and is at work. The very thing that caused us pain or struggle may have been a place where we see God at work in the world and our world. It is our ‘new song of praise’ that will be the reason many will see and trust in the Lord. Be patient God is only a prayer away.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Background: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Focal: 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, 11

You are not in darkness for that day to surprise you. In Advent we are looking expectantly for the coming of Christ. We celebrate the coming of Christ at his birth. We are also to remain watchful as those who are children of light for Christ’s return. Do you look with expectation to the day when Christ will return?

It won’t surprise those who have been waiting for Christ. Scripture says, you are all children of light (his), children of the day. It was what we were born again for, to be his children of light in places of darkness and hopelessness. We are to serve as a reminder of the hope, light, and live we have in Christ Jesus.

Many times we mistakenly believe that waiting is the same thing as doing nothing. This could not be further from the truth. We are to be actively waiting, preparing for his arrival, spreading light his light that we may not fall into darkness. Also we are to encourage one another and build one another up.

There are many discouraging things in the world, but our brothers and sisters should not be one of them. Encourage and build one another up. Jesus in on his way, don’t lose hope, ‘for you are all children of light.’