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Thursday, December 6, 2018 Sixth Day of Advent: The Gift of Grace

Mirriam-Webster defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”

Simply put, God’s grace is His favor towards us. which we do not deserve.  His mercy focuses on our helplessness or our suffering, but His grace focuses on our unworthiness.

God’s grace is completely opposite to works.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph. 2:8-9) We cannot “earn” our way into heaven by doing good works. We cannot “earn” blessings by doing good works. Salvation is given to us freely because of the grace of God.

As with the other wonderful characteristics of God, His grace is boundless and never ends. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and super abounded, (Romans 5:20, Amplified). The amount of God’s grace far exceeds the magnitude of our sin.

God’s grace works in us to help us grow to spiritual completeness and maturity. “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

My grandfather, Papa Evans, set the bar high for his children and grandchildren when it came to living a Christian life. Even though he died when I was ten years old, he was a great influence on my young life. His favorite hymn talked about the “marvelous grace…that exceeds our sin.” Below are the lyrics. May you be blessed with God’s grace as you read these lyrics and may you pay His grace forward to everyone you meet.

Grace Greater Than Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Refrain

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Refrain

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Refrain

*Words: Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: The Bi­ble In­sti­tute Col­port­age As­so­ci­a­tion, 1911), num­ber 2.

Abba Father, Today, I thank you for my Papa Evans who, because of the way he lived his life and the example he set, raised all of his children to live for you. And because of that, his grandchildren know you, too. Thank You for Your grace. Thank you Father that You give us Your grace so that we may have grace towards others. AMEN.

(c) 2018 Edwina E.Cowgill

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Day Eight: The Gift of Forgiveness

                                                  THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS

Psalm 86:5
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Psalm 32:1
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Today’s gift is forgiveness. One of the most precious gifts God has given us, for without forgiveness, there is no relationship with God.

I love the two verses at the top of this blog. The first verse assures us that when we go to God in prayer and repent of the sins we’ve committed, He is waiting and ready to forgive. I can almost see Him in my mind’s eye. He is standing, watching me as I kneel and He is silently encouraging me to come to Him and repent. When I do ask for His forgiveness, I see His face break out into a huge smile as He grants me forgiveness.  Of course, you realize there is nothing really scriptural about what I see in my mind’s eye, but I still like to visualize it. It helps me realize how eager God truly is to forgive me.

I think the main reason God is eager to forgive me because until there is forgiveness, our relationship is not as it should be. We cannot commune together like we normally would.  I am not able to praise and worship as I’d like to and I am not able to receive His ministry until that sin which stands between us is forgiven and wiped away.

There is a condition to forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

That is really a strong statement – God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others who have sinned against us.

I can hear some of you saying, “but you don’t know how deeply wounded I am.” Yes, actually I do, because I’ve been deeply wounded. So deeply wounded that even though I knew I must forgive, it took me a very long time to forgive and mean it. The Bible says that God knows our heart – so he knew that I realized I had to forgive this person, but I wasn’t ready yet. So, He waited until I came to Him, repented of my part in that situation and He forgave me. There is, honestly, no better feeling than to be forgiven and restored to God.

If you have sin in your life today, I encourage you to go to God and ask for forgiveness. He is waiting for you.

Dear Father, I repent today of sins of omission and sins of commission and ask for your forgiveness. Thank you God. Thank you for the freedom found in forgiveness and the restoration of our relationship. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.