The Gift

When I get a gift, it feels like Christmas. My insides jump up and down. Seeing a wrapped package handed to me, or even just getting a letter in the mail makes me excited.

Why? Because even if it’s small, someone took time and energy to extend favor and blessing to me. They didn’t have to. But they did.

Because they wanted to.

Who gives a gift begrudgingly? It’s no gift if it’s given out of obligation. A paycheck is an obligation. You get what you work for, and usually only that.

A gift is a favor. It is nothing you earn. A paycheck is earned…worked for with sweat and grit. A gift is something given, free of charge for your benefit and enjoyment.

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Wouldn’t it be silly to return a gift because you felt unworthy? You wouldn’t even let it set on the shelf, admiring it’s beautiful wrapping, but never untying the bow.

To return or not open a gift must feel like an insult to the giver.

God gives us gifts. In fact, every good thing in our lives is a gift from Him.

What does grace mean to you?

We talk about the amazing grace of God at church. Grace is the result of His suffering on the cross. We talk of that much. We commemorate His suffering in services and rituals.

But grace isnt just salvation.

What is grace today? What is grace tomorrow? In this very second, what is grace to me? Do I receive grace for my finances? My healing? My relationships? My future?

I am a “victim”of grace in a sense. Quite the scandal to the world.

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In a society where you work your way to the top of the ladder for the most prominent, successful position, the idea of grace seems distant. We work for nearly everything. Even Christians seem to have adopted this mentality.

Working is good. Working to provide for our families is good. But what if we stopped putting the responsibility of success on ourselves and instead let God impart His unmerited favor on behalf of our success.

God wants you to be successful. But if we don’t realize that we have His favor without our work, how will our work ever glorify Him?

When every thing we do flows out of the revelation that we are favored by God, we release rivers of blessing to flow freely in our lives.

To the world, it makes no sense. It seems too easy. But it’s reality. To walk by faith doesn’t just mean trusting Him for salvation or for the conversion of our friend. It means EVERYTHING. Your car, your relationships, your purity your church, your dreams. The same reality we receive for salvation…If we could adopt that same mentality for every area of our lives, miracles would happen in our lives 24/7.

Salvation is a miracle. Healing is a miracle. It happens the same way. Ask. Receive. Believe. It is nothing we concoct of ourselves…no big words, or proper methods.

Somewhere, in the theology of it all, we lose the simplicity of Jesus.

We have a hard time receiving.

Christ has forgettten our past. But we hold it up in God’s face, bemoaning our wretchedness. We work to earn God’s trust again, so we can perhaps someday have His favor and smile upon on our lives again.

We feel God can’t use us until we have crossed over the grand abyss of righteousness that the saints before have attained. We study martyers lives, analyzing the works they performed. crying and weeping over the great suffering and their incredible faithfulness to Christ. We pray diligently that we too could be like them.

Why do we try to recreate the past? Why not walk into the future and ask God what He has for MY story…for such a time as this? It’s scary.

But think of the belivers who plodded those first footsteps before us. It was new to them. They didn’t know what they were doing. But that’s precisely the point! It’s a key! Ok, so maybe it’s not the key, but it’s the reason we have the key.

We are lost. But God DOES know what He’s doing. That is the key.

The greatest believers we “idolize” today didn’t have a plan. They had “blind faith.” Moment by moment, they stepped out, listening for God to speak and to direct their way.

Sometimes we return God’s gifts because we don’t know how to use it. It’s too “big.” Too much to handle.

If He gives you a gift, He will also provide a way in you to use it.

He gives wisdom as a gift. Have enough courage to ask. Ask for discernment.

All the learned knowledge in the world can’t outdo discernment from the Spirit of God.

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We are wretched. We have nothing. We don’t even have faith.

But I know that everything I lack, Christ provides. Everything I lack, Christ is.

You can not wait until you are perfect to let God use you. You can not wait until you have no sin to let God use you. You will waste your life working to become what you already are.

You have favor that is imparted by grace, not earned by works.

Christ saves our souls from hell when we accept salvation. Christ imparts His righteousness to you when you receive it as well. He gives healing to you when you believe and receive just as you did for salvation.

We are nothing.

If I am not existing in grace, I am dead in religion. If I am living in guilt over the things Christ has already dismissed and forgotten, I am being a victim of the law. If I do not respond in grace to those around me, I am extending to them deadness of religion.

The law kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The law is good. But it can not make YOU good.

The law is good, but it can’t make your husband good.

The law is good, but it can’t change your wife or your child or your boss. It can’t.

If you operate out of the law in your relationships, you will kill the life that God is imparting through the Spirit. Try extending grace. Try responding in grace to the people in your life.

Don’t hold a banner of expectation over their heads. They can not achieve your expectations.

Marriage and any other successful relationship is made up of two people who make forgiveness a lifestyle. I know I’m not married yet, but in my relationship with my fiance and all my other relationships, I have realized that nothing will prosper unless there is grace and forgiveness. All the time.

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It’s ok to have expectancy for what God is going to do. Expectancy waters a flower.

Expectation kills it at the root. Expectation breeds unworthiness.

Treat people as they already are in Heaven. Perfect. Blameless. Pure. Successful. Treat them as if you already see the results. Plant a seed, and treat them as if you already see the tree.Tell them of the tree.

Your faith opens a door for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In your life. In the lives of those around you.

You are good when you receive grace. You can’t live without it.

Part of realizing grace is knowing the Giver of grace. You can’t receive from a man you feel is distant and harsh. This is a core truth that sets me free constantly. God is not mad at me. Read it again.

God is not mad at you. He s not mad at you, Justin. Melissa. Amber, or Amy. Or Josh, or Rachel.

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Don’t defend your fear.

Yes, he is mad at the Enemy and every work of evil. But He is not mad at you. His eye has been on you since the day you were born, and He’s never stopped smiling at your worth. Nothing you have done or could do will make Him love you any less.

When you realize that your Daddy is GOOD, then let Him love you. It’s safe. He isn’t out to harm you. He is wanting to give you hope and a future!

I was immensely bless by this clip by Pastor Prince. Check it out!! It’s incredible. He’s great. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BUhzrhHFh-w

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