One of the most dramatic expressions of Grace is Forgiveness. When I am forgiven, the rain of Grace quenches the depths of my inadequacies and fills me with immeasurable hope. 

But when it is I that should forgive another, help another who has deeply wronged me to feel that same grace and hope, I simply don't know how. I often feel that the wound is too deep, to important. I desire to forgive but I have problems forgetting and trusting.

So what is forgiveness ? How do I dispense Grace when I forgive ? Should I pretend as if nothing ever happened ? If so, how do I protect myself from it happening again ?

That's why this video speaks volumes to me. It is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer series by Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington on September 19, 2010. It lists 10 things that forgiveness is NOT.

Here they are in order. Forgiveness is NOT:
1. Approving or diminishing
2. Enabling sin
3. Denying a wrongdoing
4. Waiting for an apology
5. Forgetting
6. Ceasing to feel the pain
7. A one time event
8. Neglecting justice
9. Trusting
10. Reconciliation

This has helped me apply Grace, as well as Truth, in understanding how I am forgiven, as well as how I should forgive others.
 
 
I believe transmitting God's Grace to the next generation is the most important priority a parent can have. It is also the most difficult. How do I teach them about God's amazing gift to us ? How do I remain consistent in balancing Truth and Grace in my kids' education ? 

Enter Deuteronomy 6:20-27. God tells Moses how to address His sacred legacy, Grace and Truth. From the paraphrased version The Message (in italics):

The next time your child asks you, "What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?" 
GG: When my kids ask why I believe what I believe, why I want to obey God...

tell your child, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. 
GG: I remind them of my initial state and what God's Grace did for me...

We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. 
GG: I did nothing to earn His miraculous and wonderful Grace. God did it all, and it was beautiful...

He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. 
GG: I remind myself where I was and to where I have been led, as wel as how He is faithful to His promises...

That's why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come. "It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do."
GG: And because of the inexplicable Grace God has given me, I will obey Him, live reverently before Him, thankful of the good life He has provided for me.

It's Grace. And that, kids, is why I obey God's Truth.
 
 
We have needs... deep-seeded needs that motivate us to seek out, create, think, act, and respond. They are the reasons we do what we do.

4 end-games nourish our fleshly motivations. 
1. We seek to be recognized and admired : Glory
2. We seek to be in control : Power
3. We seek to have the means to acquire what we want : Riches
4. We seek to have fun in what we do : Pleasure

Nothing is inherently wrong with seeking these things, but far too often, these needs become our main drive and focus. We then forget what the source of ultimate satisfaction is - which ultimately leads to bad choices.

It's fascinating for me to see how Grace is the source of  all of those needs.

How Grace is the source of our glory: Pr 21:21, 2Cor 1:12, 2Thess 1:12, Jer 9:23-24
How Grace is the source of our power and strength: Ps 86:15-16, 89:17, Heb 13:9, 2Tim 2:1, 2Cor 12:8-9, 1Pet 5:10
How Grace is the source of our riches: Pr 22:1, 1Cor 1:4-5
How Grace is the source of our pleasure: Acts 11:23, 2Cor 9:8, (Comfort 2Thess 2:16-17, Heb 4:16)

Paul actually defines himself by that one simple thing. After living a full life of ministry, having much to boast about, he tells us what he wants on his proverbial tombstone: 1Cor 15:10

I seek approval from who ? Grace gives it
I seek pleasure from where ? Grace supplies it
I want to accomplish what on my own ? Grace provides what I need to do it 
I want to brag about what ? Grace did it all
I want to get out of my funk how ? Grace is the way

Grace. It's all I need.
 
 
When Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, a church ridden with problems, he started out by 'giving thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus'. (1 Cor 1:4)
It was important to him, before going into the moral and theological issues of the church, to establish an important foundation:

Grace is the source of my thanksgiving. 

When I have nothing to give thanks for, there will always be Grace. When there is no reason for me to look up, there will always be Grace. When all I can see are my problems, my failures, my needs, my wants, there will always be Grace. 

And so I am reminded of Mary Fairchild's Thanksgiving poem. May it make me more appreciative of Grace.

--
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day 
We bow our hearts to You and pray. 
We give You thanks for all You've done 
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son. 
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see 
For joy and health, friends and family, 
For daily provision, Your mercy and care 
These are the blessings You graciously share. 
So today we offer this response of praise 
With a promise to follow You all of our days.
-- Mary Fairchild
 
 
Grace is all about God. It's His gift to us, with nothing we can do to merit the gift. And like all gifts, it is given to those willing to receive it, in this case, through faith.

Following my biblical study on Grace is the Result of my..., I see that after the inital Grace of salvation, the more I do some things, the more Grace I receive. God pays attention to my actions and wants to bless me with even more Grace. The gift remains there after salvation, I need to want to receive it. 

When I obey, pray, love and when I am humble, righteous, wise, good and witnessing, Grace is there. And that's another relationship with Grace and Truth: When I am in the Truth, I receive Grace.

Grace. I can get more of it.
 
 
Grace is the source of God's presence among us (Ge 18:3Ex 33:13-1434:9Ps 23:6Is 54:710Jr 31:3). It is because of Grace that God is near us, in the highs and lows of life. It is because of Grace that we are never abandoned or forsaken. It is because of Grace that we can approach His throne at anytime.

And so, His presence is linked both ways with Grace. He graces us with His Presence while we are here on Earth. And then He graces us by letting us in His Presence when we leave this rock. He is with us, after which we will be with Him.

Grace. It's about His presence with us and then our presence with Him.
 
 
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The 'Grace and Christ' series focuses on the aspects of His ministry on Earth and how He demonstrated Grace.

Grace is linked with Truth, Justice and Righteousness.
- Truth 2Sa 15:20, Ps 61:7, 85:10, 89:14, Pr 3:3, 14:22, 16:6, 20:28, Ho 4:1, Mic 7:20, Jn 1:14,17, Col 1:6
- Righteousness Ps 33:5, 112:4, 116:5, Pr 21:21, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 10:12, Ro 5:17, 21
- Justice Ps 33:5, 101:1, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 12:6, Mic 6:8, Zc 7:9
 
Grace and Truth are two sides to the same coin. Randy Alcorn calls it the 'two wings on a bird'. They may seem contradictory, but they are actually complimentary and demonstrated in Christ's daily ministry. Everything He did had an element of Truth and an element of Grace.
 
Here's how they are complimentary:
- Truth identifies the fault, Grace covers it
- Truth establishes God's holiness, Grace establishes God's love
- Truth declares the absolute, Grace reconciles me with it
- Truth is the road to follow, Grace is the transportation
- Truth gives the need for God, Grace gives the hope and the way to God through Christ
- Truth is the standard, Grace is the relationship
- Truth sends the judgement, Grace provides the shelter
- Truth hates the sin, Grace loves the sinner
- Truth is the 'what i say and live', Grace is the 'how I say and live'
- Truth is the content, Grace is the format
- Truth is the words, Grace is the tone
- Truth demands a sacrifice, Grace provides it
- Truth holds up the mirror and shows one clothed in sin, Grace changes the reflection and shows one clothed on Christ
- Truth shows us the right choice, Grace gives us the freedom to choose, and forgives us when the choice is wrong
- Truth does not shy away from announcing itself with conviction, Grace says it with love
- Truth condemns the sinner because of his sin, Grace saves the repentant sinner despite of his sin 
 
Grace. It's hand in hand with Truth.
 
 
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

The 'Grace and Christ' series focuses on the aspects of His ministry on Earth and how it demonstrated Grace.

Here I look at what my humble reactions should be to to His graceful actions towards me:
  
- Christ's grace teaches me, my humility should make me His student

- Christ's grace forgives me, my humility should make me repent from my sins

- Christ's grace leads me, my humility should make me follow in complete dependence

- Christ's grace serves me, my humility should make me serve Him and others

- Christ's grace hears me, my humility should make me pray about everything

- Christ's grace is with me, my humility should make me worship His presence.

His Grace should stimulate humble actions in me.
 
 
The relationships between Grace, Faith and Works is at the core of understanding the Gospel.

The Bible says:
  • His Grace is the Source
  • Faith in Him is the Means
  • My Good Works is the Result.
Things became complicated for me when I believed the lie that:
  • My Good Works was the Source
  • Faith in Me was the Means
  • His Grace was the Result.
A hard lesson to learn.
 
 
There is a distinct relationship between Grace and humility. Humility is simply the right realization of who God is and who I am. Pride is putting myself in God's place. Simple to understand, almost impossible to apply.

Grace is a direct result of this realization. Pr 3:34Jm 4:61Pt 5:5 demonstrate that God shows His favor to the humble, the meek. It goes one explicit step further and shows what pride gets us: God's resistance towards us.

It is a daily battle to put my ego aside, to put God in His rightful place, to focus on Him. But the battle is a necessary one if Grace is to be given.

Like I said: easy to understand, almost impossible to apply...
 

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