Written by His Grace,

Kevin K. OíConnor

Oct. 27, 2004

 

Main thought: to examine the joys of Growing in Grace

Growing in Grace

 

2 Peter 3:17&18 17Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

 

Grace, unmerited, underserved favor in the sight of God. Oh to have the grace of God in oneís life. Have you ever seen those who have done something totally thoughtless and careless and should have died and yet it seems as though miraculously they didnít? In the same way, there have been those who have done things just the way they should and yet there lives were taken from them. The mind and the will of God are farther above the heart of man than the heavens above the earth. Oh that we would draw near to His heart and learn how to love Him through those things we do and do not understand. To be rich in the Grace of God, what a wonderful thought. How can one be rich in the favor of God?

 

Listening much and not becoming angry.

 

Praying for those who despitefully use us.

 

Giving a glass of cold water in His name.

 

Considering others more highly than ourselves.

 

Realizing that all things are merely gifts, even our next breath.

 

Living free of anger and resentment.

 

Not being lazy!

 

To have our hearts with these attributes causes us to be available for the Grace of God to fill our lives for His Glory, Honor, and Praise. Godís desire is for a Living, Loving relationship with each soul that will hear and respond to His voice. These characteristics are only developed in a heart that has learned to sit and listen at the feet of Christ our Lord for these attributes are not of our nature but of Him and Him alone. Our clothing in Heaven will be the characteristics of Christ that we have grown into while walking this world of sorrow and suffering.

 

It seems that it is the extremes of life that have the potential of developing in us the characteristics of Christ for itís only in the stretching of our muscles that they will grow and so it is with the nature of Christ in us. So for those who are wondering why they were left behind when a loved one passed away, it is for their own good so that God the Master Potter may teach them how to use the heartache to clothe their hearts with the comfort of Christ. For those who have experienced great wealth and prosperity it is so that they may enjoy the empting of themselves on behalf of others just as Christ emptied Himself of Heavenís riches for us. For those who have been given revelations into the heart of God it is for them to share with those who desire to grow in relationship with Christ. Flowing water is clean water when the headwaters are pure. But, you can have the purest headwaters but if the water is allowed to flow into pools where it just sits, it can stagnate. God is at the headwaters of every person who has heard the voice of His Love and Mercy displayed thru His Son, Jesus Christ. But just as the purest water can stagnate when not flowing so satanís desire is to block the water of Godís Spirit from flowing through our lives. Every time a person hears the grace and mercy of Godís indescribable love, satan tries to recoup his losses. Many times he does this by trying to make the one that was saved to cause countless others to have nothing to do with Christ. He usually does this by causing Christians to live half-hearted, lazy, complacent lives with Christ thus causing their lives to be barren and empty. No wonder God tells us inRevelation 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:14-16) Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarmĖneither hot nor coldĖI am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Whole Chapter: Revelation 3 In context: Revelation 3:15-17) Oh how we love our ruts of comfort and complacency and how God hates them so. Another verse which shows how we are to be as His children; John 15:2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[ 15:2 The Greek for prunes also means cleans.] so that it will be even more fruitful. (Whole Chapter: John 15 In context: John 15:1-3) Learning how to be diligent to press in and take hold of the hem of His garment is a beautiful trait that God admires; Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Whole Chapter: Matthew 5 In context: Matthew 5:5-7) He stands ready to reward each soul with more Grace who has learned to shake off the dust of laziness that tries to wrap itself around the heart of everyone that confesses Christ as Lord.

Oh the joy of moving in harmony with the Holy Spirit. Not ahead of Him and not behind Him but hand in hand with His. It seems that the perfect walk is one in perfect harmony with His. Not one who is so focused on growing in the knowledge of God that they lack the living of it. Nor one who is so focused on the living of His Word that they neglect growing in the knowledge of God. God is well pleased with one who tries, fails, and gets right back up and learns from their mistakes and keeps going. Perfect harmony concerning our bodies is when we eat exactly what we need to function, not any less or any more. In the same way we need to be faithful to use every blessing God brings into our lives unto His Glory, Honor and Praise; Luke 19 16"The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' 17" 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' Instead of focusing on what we donít have, we need to focus on what we do have and learn to use it with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strengths to His Glory. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Whole Chapter: Colossians 3 In context: Colossians 3:16-18) and another good verse is in Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Whole Chapter: Colossians 3 In context: Colossians 3:22-24) and one more good one is here in Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, [ 9:10 Hebrew [ Sheol ] ] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Whole Chapter: Ecclesiastes 9 In context: Ecclesiastes 9:9-11) God Bless our beloved sister Joni Erickson Tada who although found herself in a broken body, realized that God had her heart and with Him she could do and be anything God wanted her to be. Because of this, she has blossomed into a beautiful vessel of Godís beauty and Grace in this sin sick world. Her light of faith, patience, and endurance shines brighter than one who has never experienced the depth of brokenness that she has. Way to go Joni! God bless you our blessed sister! You may learn of Joni and the ministries God has called her into via her web site at; http://www.joniandfriends.org/

Oh that our hearts would focus not on the multitudes of our actions but on the intensity of our hearts for His; Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Whole Chapter: Proverbs 4 In context: Proverbs 4:22-24) We all have knowledge, but until that knowledge enters the heart and affects our will, we will be left without Joy and Life; Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Whole Chapter: Colossians 1 In context: Colossians 1:26-28)

The Riches of Godís grace are free only for those hungry and thirsty enough to press in and receive them. Why must it be for only the hungry and thirsty? Because until we hunger and thirst for His Living waters, we are still living and relying in our own sinful and selfish ways. This doesnít mean that we have to go down barren and dried up paths of our own making so that we may then hunger for Christ. Take children whose hearts have yet to be made hard by pride and arrogance and notice how when they hear the pure water of Godís Word they hear it for what it is, Life. The hearing of His Word makes them hungry and thirsty for His Way. How some of us need to sit for some time under the hearing of His Word so that the hardness of our hearts can be broken up so that the Beauty of God may grow therein; James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing itĖhe will be blessed in what he does. (Whole Chapter: James 1 In context: James 1:24-26)

The only one who limits our riches with Christ is ourselves. Some of the poorest people in this life (by poor I mean in health, wealth, or popularity) will be some of the richest people in Glory because where they could not excel in this life due to their physical limitations, they will have heard the call of Godís heart into the fullness of His rewards for every hungry heart.

 

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not listening more to Your heart and realizing our need to seek you ever more intently so that we may ever grow in the endless riches of Your Love and Grace. In Jesus Glorious, Wonderful Name, Amen.

 

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