Max Lucado, in his 365 day devotion “God Is With You Every Day”, shares these thoughts about the power of Grace in this selection for September 22 entitled, “Grace for the Mess”.
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 (NLT)
The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: grace.
We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. At church grace graces the songs we sing and the Bible verses we read. Grace shares the church parsonage with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. Preachers explain it. Hymns proclaim it. Seminaries teach it.
But do we really understand it?
Here’s my hunch: we’ve settled for wimpy grace. It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, “Do you believe in grace?” who could say no?
Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Softened by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret-riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.
“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found. Was blind but now I see!” Where would we be without God’s grace? What would we do without it? Everything we have is due to His grace.
John Newton, the author of that glorious hymn, once remarked, “When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see. The second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see. And the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there.”
Newton also declared: “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I used to be: a slave to sin and to Satan. I can heartily join with the apostle (cf 1 Corinthians 15:10) and acknowledge that by the grace of God I am what I am!”
This Sunday, September 26, we will begin a new series, “Freely Give!” Jesus declared, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). What we receive from Him, we pass on to others. This Sunday will start with Grace and, over the next weeks, we will consider Mercy, Forgiveness, Compassion, Restoration and more. Please join us in-person in the building at 10:35am for worship. If you cannot join us in person, please join us online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted later to our website (honoluluag.org).
What a Powerful service we had last Sunday! Pastor Ron Peer plus David and Lisa Stewart from the River of Life Mission shared amazing stories of God’s intervention, direction, mercy and grace. If you missed it, I encourage you to go to one of the above sites to watch the video and be blessed. Plus a young man attended on Sunday for the 1st time and surrendered his life to the Lord. There is joy in heaven, friends, over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7). The angels were having a heavenly party in celebration of a new name written in the Book of Life!
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!