Grace…

When we drive on any interstate in Atlanta, We all see the lottery signs and think……”what if…..” What if we had more money than we could spend? What if we had enough money? so that we didn’t have to work and didn’t have to worry. We wouldn’t have to have health insurance. We would have enough money to pay our own medical bills. We could all say it wouldn’t change us, but  would it? We can all say we would keep working but would we?

What about time? What if we had enough time in our day to get everything done. If I just had more time then I could do more. If I more time then I could help others more, I could spend more time with family, I could read my bible more, I could have that quiet time. If I had just a few more hours in each day then I could ____________ fill in the blank.

What if we had everything, time, money, resources, people, that we think that we need to make it in this world? What if we realized that what we think we need to make it and what we truly need in this world are two different things all together?

What if we realized what it really is that we need and how easy it is……to receive it?

So what is it that we need to make it through this life?

Grace

You are probably sitting there thinking “Grace, that’s one of those church words, you know grace, faith, and that big church word, salvation, that we don’t talk a lot about. We don’t hear it used a lot except in closing prayers just before we head for the buffet after church.

Question is do we really have a clue about what “Grace” is?

Grace is God showing His love to us even though we don’t deserve it. We can’t earn God’s grace. It is one of the greatest gifts that we will ever receive. We don’t deserve to be saved from sin and to have eternal life. But God showed His grace by saving us from the punishment for our sins when we trusted in Jesus as our Savior. God also shows His grace by giving us strength and guidance, and by taking care of us every day. God, by His grace, gives us strength to handle the difficult problems and seemingly impossible situations in our lives.

Ephesians 2:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.

So what is Grace? How can we truly understand what Grace is? Thankfully, Jesus had the insight to know that some of his teachings would not be understood easily. Some of the things that He taught we have all scratched our heads and wondered what he meant or why He said what he said. That’s why Christ often taught through parables. One of  those parables, the prodigal son, really hits close to home for a lot of us. We have all had our rebellious moments against our parents, our boss at work, and others in our lives.

If you have been in church, you have probably heard this story in Luke 15 many times. The younger son decides he has had enough of living under his parent’s authority and decides he wants to take what is his and move on. He obviously thought he was smarter than his father and knew what was best for him so he took his share of his inheritance and headed out.

Funny thing about life, just when you think you have it made and know all that there is to know about it, life will throw you a curve here and there and get your attention. The son, who had it made, living it up having a good time until….the money ran out. Just like many of today’s lottery winners. Look it up sometime, Google lottery winners years later. Many are desolate. Many have lost or spent it all. Some are even living on unemployment.

Really?

So what happens when the money runs out? What happens when we don’t have a clue where to turn?

“Daaaaaaaaaadddd!!!!!”

Just like the prodigal son, just like I have had to do so many times in my own life, we run for dad. The prodigal son had spent and lost everything that he had. He had even taken a job that was so degrading, feeding the pigs in the field in the hopes that he could eat some of the food meant for the pigs but even that fell through as no one would give him anything.

Then he realized how well his father’s servants were treated? They had food to eat. They had better lives than he had. “I’ll go back to my dad and work as a servant for him”

Faith……

The son had faith in his father. He knew that those who served his father were provided for. He knew that his father took care of them, but he also knew that if he couldn’t continued to live the life he had chosen for himself instead of the life he could have as a servant of the father. He stepped out in the faith in his father and went home.

As the son nears his father’s home, the father runs to meet him, puts on him his best robe, kills the fatted calf, and has a feast upon his return. The son, probably still covered in the mud from feeding pigs and dust from the road, deserved none of this but because the father loved him……

Grace…….

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”

Even though the son was covered in his filth, because he had faith in his father, his father extended grace to him. His father didn’t give the son what he deserved. He covered the worst in his son, with the best that he had.

Because we have faith in God, regardless of how bad our sins are that we have committed, God extends us grace. He covers us with His very best, Jesus Christ who bled and died as payment for our sins. God extends us grace daily because we are not perfect. I fail daily. We fail daily. We need grace extended to us daily. Think about some of the greatest men of the bible and how even they, needed……Grace. Moses, led the children of Israel out of Egypt, parted the red sea, delivered the 10 commandments even though he broke all 10 of them at once when he smashed the tablets. Moses was a murderer.

David had killed Goliath and went on to become one of the greatest kings of the old testament. He also committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed on the battlefield. The apostle Paul, one of the greatest men of the new testament times who wrote a large portion of the New Testament, before his Damascus road enlightenment, persecuted Christians and took part in the stoning of Stephen. All of these men, these sinners, were extended the Grace that only God can give and they went on to become great men of the bible.

But what if that one thing that we need daily more than air……didn’t exist? What if God took a day off? For one day WE had full control of our lives? What if for one day, God’s protection and provision…….didn’t exist? What if for one day, God’s grace in our lives, wasn’t there and we had to pay for all the wrong that we did on that one day. The sins in our lives, big and small, we would have to pay for. Even the not so obvious sins….that thought you have about the person who cuts you off on the interstate, that thought you have that pops in your head when the attractive woman OR man for you lades, and yes women can have those thoughts too they are just better at hidding it. What about when that thought comes to the front of your mind. What about that hateful thought you have about your boss when he asks you to do something that you don’t want to do.

What if for one day God’s forgiveness doesn’t exist? What if God…..called in sick?

We get a little siffle and we call in sick. Here in the south just the hint of a snowflake shuts down the world and we stay at home taking a day off. Because of the love that God has for us, because of the gift of grace He extends to us many times throughout every day, that doesn’t happen. God doesn’t take a day off. God doesn’t use sick days. God’s love and God’s grace are never ending.

Grace is the one thing that we need daily and it’s the easiest thing in the world to receive. It is a GIFT. You can’t go to the mall and buy it. You can’t find it on craigslist or eBay. It’s not shared on facebook, twitter or pinterest.

It’s yours for the taking. All you have to do….is ask. Regardless of your age, regardless of who you are or what you have done, all that you have to do is ask.