Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thankful for Grace

Today = rubber band day - reminder to be "thankful for grace" - to stop and give thanks

Grace = unmerited favor, unearned blessing, undeserved kindness.

But, today we are talking about the grace of God:

General grace - to all people.  examples:  beauty of fall, cool temperatures, color, etc.

Personal grace = specific from God to an individual
1)  By grace you exist (have life by the grace of God - not because we deserved it)  - Psm. 139:13-14
and you exits with purpose!!! - Jer. 1:4-5 - not just apostles and prophets that God has a purpose for.
Paul - "in Him we live and move and have our being"

2)  By grace you live in 21st. Century America
Why not --- 1300's - Europe/Black Plague - 50% of the continent's population died;  80% of local populations died
             ---- 1980's -- Ethiopia - famine, upheaval = 1 million people died
or         ---- 2016 - Mozambique - life expectancy = 39 years (1/2 of yours)

By Grace ---- were born into a nation with 25% of the world's wealth, with extensive resources, beauty, with freedom of religion, speech, opportunity - example:  elections
We have an incredibly blessed time to live in and be in.

These blessings alone = enough ti have us standing in AWE of His graciousness.

At this time of the year, many acknowledge that:
92% of Americans plan "a special family gathering for a meal"
83% offer "a special grace of thanksgiving at that meal"
It is inherent to recognize the blessings of God.

BUT, are many additional reasons to be "thankful for grace".

Personal blessings with spiritual connotation that come when we are a child of Christ (Christian)

3)  By grace you are called, ie:  chosen, selected, summoned - 1 Thess. 2:11-12 - extends the invitation
And, that by grace!!! - Gal. 1:6, 15 - called because He's good!

4)  By grace you are saved - Eph. 2:8-9 - by grace you received all that comes with salvation - forgiveness, cleansing, reconciliation, adoption - AND inheritance!!!  Rom. 8:15-17

By Grace you are saved OR can BE!! - Gospel message

5)  By grace you are kept - Jude 25, Jude 24   John 10:27-29

6)  By grace you are gifted ----
     A.)  with special abilities, talents - have a certain makeup that allows you to manifest Christ to others -
1 Cor. 12:7 - the evidence of God's Presence in your life
And B)  with opportunities to use those talents to manifest Christ, to touch lives, to Make an Eternal Difference for other people

7)  IN GRACE YOU STAND - Rom. 5:1-2 - happens not just once in a while, but are in grace all the time!

Response to Grace??  (general and personal)

#1.  Acknowledge Grace (both the gift and the giver) - contrast Rom.1:21-22 - would not acknowledge God's grace.

#2.  Give thanks - which is more than be thankful!!  (in Scripture, for every one reference to attitude of thanksgiving, we find nearly 50 references to the ACT of thanksgiving.
Attitude is commendable but the action is what is needed.

which leads to -----
#3 - Worship - through words, songs, life style, hand raising, etc.

#4 -  Serve - because we declare His worth" with actions, lifestyle, service - when we serve others.

#5.  Share BOTH - material blessings, and knowledge of Christ -
example:  Jesus to the 12 - Mat. 10:7-8

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