Adventurously Expectant of His Grace Gifts

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Inside me there are two natures that wrestle for mastery.  Because of the new life of the Spirit I am capable of rising to heights of faith, inspired to love sacrificially, filled with profound awe for the Eternal God. Because a sinful nature remains latent, there are times when fear comes like a storm, when I am swept up in a tempest of anger, when I become a selfish man.  Paul knew the struggle and prayed, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24, NIV)  Thankfully, I know my Savior, trust His grace, and find both victory and peace through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This struggle is not unique to me, nor is it uncommon. Abram (later known as Abraham) is the ‘father of the faithful. He shows us an astonishing depth of faith; yet, he fails ignominiously. In Genesis 12, we are introduced to him, as he receives the call of God.  “The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2, NIV)  He believed that promise and left an established life, a place of security, to travel hundreds of miles to the ‘promised land.’  In Canaan, he built an altar to the Lord, a public statement of his faith.

Then . . .   in the same chapter, he turns into a selfish, fearful, faithless man! During a time of famine, he took his family to Egypt. Look at what he does to his wife. “As he was approaching the borders of Egypt, Abram said to Sarai, “You are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ But if you say you are my sister, then the Egyptians will treat me well because of their interest in you, and they will spare my life.” And sure enough, when they arrived in Egypt, everyone spoke of her beauty. When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to their king, the pharaoh, and she was taken into his harem. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, cattle, donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.” (Genesis 12:11-16, NLT)  You can excuse his actions explaining that it was a different culture, but the Bible doesn’t! God did not let Abram get away with this. It was a breach of fidelity to Sarai and a sinful lack of faith in the Lord.

My point today is not to condemn or commend Abram. The lesson for us is one of caution about the possibility of failure that is always present, if we take our eyes from Jesus, “the Author and Perfecter” of our faith.  When we start to feel confident in Self, like the Pharisee in Jesus’ story that ‘prayed’ commending himself to God and declaring that he was so thankful he wasn’t like the ordinary sinners that surrounded him, we let go of the hand of the One who saves and keeps us. But, oh what peace, what power we find in communing with Him. The counsel of the Word is this – “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT)

Where does this Monday morning find you?  Are you on the heights, singing “Victory In Jesus” or flat on your face, full of regret?  Whatever, wherever – look up. Our hope is not in our own righteousness, nor can we aspire to save ourselves. We trust His love, hold to His grace – and amazingly – we are changed from sinner to saint.

The word from the Word is a familiar passage. Read it and take the promise with you today, as you pray for Jesus to shine through you. “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.  . . . This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” (Romans 8:1,2,15, The Message)

________

Reckless Love
(worship with this song about His love)

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
You have been so so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed Your life in me
You have been so so kind to me

O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve
Still You give Yourself away
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God

When I was Your foe still Your love fought for me
You have been so so good to me
When I felt no worth You paid it all for me
You have been so so kind to me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Caleb Culver | Cory Asbury | Ran Jackson © Watershed Publishing Group (Admin. by  Watershed Music Group) Bethel Music Publishing Richmond Park Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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