I started this blog back in 2006 as a way to share what God was teaching me with the young women I mentored. Then I took a new job in a new state and started building a program with Christian recording artists and Bible translation, raising support for the nearly 340 million people that are still waiting to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in a language they can understand best – their own. Well, as you can see there was quite a gap in my writing. But, prompted by the Lord, I know I’m supposed to start writing again and I’m so thankful you are here.
I grew up knowing about Jesus and even loving Him, but I didn’t make Him Lord of my life until I was in my 30’s. I had plenty of time to make a mess of my life, and I always say that God just pulled me out of the pit when I wasn’t asking Him to. In fact, I didn’t even know I was in a pit. Since that time I’ve served in full-time vocational ministry in various ways. I’d love to share my testimony with you, but the thing I want you to know most is that in times of victory or failure, His grace has been overwhelming. I truly believe God sees us as a finished work through the cross. He’s used my failures as well as my victories and really does work all things together for good. As I continue to walk with Him, I beg Him to make me more like Himself. As I grow I know more and more that nothing I do can separate me from His love. When I’m in lack, His grace is sufficient for me. When I’m in plenty, I need Him more.
The title of this blog – In His Grace – is the anthem of my life. I will write it in as many ways as I can through this journal to express His heart of favor and arm of power over us. I’m still studying and learning about grace – what it means to be IN His grace. In a “Jill paraphrase,” Grace is joyfully living in and through His power so we may display His glory in the earth as it is in heaven.
I want to focus on a few words: joy, power, glory. Remember those as you read on …
You may have heard that grace is getting what we don’t deserve. I just don’t like that definition much. Getting and deserving is still all about me and not the King. Because grace is so much more than getting and yet not about getting at all. And it’s definitely not about what I deserve or don’t deserve. To be honest, I don’t deserve anything. Christ died on the cross for me; He didn’t deserve that. I didn’t deserve redemption. You may have heard that grace is unmerited favor. That I like more. But, to simplify the definition is so hard because this grace is really amazing. A song should be written about it (just kidding). So, as I talk to God about grace, He doesn’t seem to care much about our definitions. But, He does love to discuss things with us. And since His word will not return empty, I go there to know what He thinks.
Grace in the following verses is the Greek word charis. Charis has its root in chairo, which means to rejoice as it relates to charis (grace) as if joy is a direct result of God’s grace.
Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace, in which we stand and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Oh yeah … that’s what I’m talking about. Joy transpired in my heart when I accepted Jesus by faith. That faith leads me to experience grace daily. That grace led me to Jesus to begin with. That grace gives me hope in God’s glory being displayed in my life and in the earth.
But, when we use the word grace without understanding the fullness of it, we still just use it as a “Christian-eze” word. We can’t define a word by itself so let’s keep searching …
Charis also means joy, favor, kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude; a favor done without expectation of return. God’s grace affects man’s sinfulness. It not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings joy and thankfulness to Him. (Lexical Aids to the New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates)
That kind of grace forgives a sinner, brings joy to the helpless and uses broken folks like us to bring glory to God. It’s not just a character trait of God. As I search out this word charis, I see a more powerful word as if it’s an act of God – empowered, of course, by the Holy Spirit.
This charis grace is really powerful. So powerful that Jesus brought it from heaven to earth …
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth.”
And was on the apostles in abundance when they were witnessing about Jesus …
Acts 4:33 “And with great power, the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”
And filled Stephen to the brim so that he was doing signs and wonders …
Acts 6:8 “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.”
And has a huge part in salvation …
Eph 5:5 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of His grace.”
Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men.”
We were given grace as a gift in different amounts in order to bring glory to God by serving each other through that grace …
1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Eph 3:7 “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
So be encouraged; continue to grow in that grace…
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Finally, in the words of Jesus … charis …
2 Cor 13:14 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Lord Jesus, I cannot separate Your grace (favor) in my life from Your power. I want to be filled in Your grace like You were when You came to earth. I want to have Your grace in abundance like when the apostles spoke in power about Your resurrection and many came to faith in You. I want to be a part of Your manifest presence when You do signs and wonders through me like You did with Stephen. You said it’s a special gift — this grace. You drew me to Yourself with this grace. You saved me through this grace. I want to grow in this grace and know Your grace is sufficient for me. I want to be In Your Grace. Amen.
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