The Life That is Far Above

 

“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come”

(

Eph_1:21).

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. When He died on the cross, He took our place. We died in Him, and were raised with Him to a new life. A life that is abundant – one that is far above the life we knew before.

We were enemies of God, now we are friends. We were slaves to sin; now we are sons and daughters of righteousness. We were under the Law; now we are under Grace. The old life condemned us; the new life empowers us!

Now that we are pardoned, why do we insist on continually bringing our failures before the Lord. Is it that we do not really believe He has forgiven us?

“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (

Mic_7:18-19)

Or, dare we suppose that our penitent prayers somehow move God to show us more of His kindness and mercy. Wouldn’t it be far more pleasing to God if we took Him at His word – embracing the unmerited favor of His mercy, and experiencing the prevailing power of His Grace?

Perhaps now Paul’s own words will provide the final push we need to change our way of thinking….so Christ can change our way of living.

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

“All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (

Eph_2:1-6)

It is His Mercy that pardons us and blesses us with unmerited favor. It is His Grace that empowers us to live a life that is far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.

Isn’t it time we each began living that life?

If we will – then we will surely see a Grace Awakening in our world!

What Were You Thinking?!

 

What Were You Thinking?!

 

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

(

1Co_1:20)

We saw yesterday how scholars working on the Contemporary English Version edited the Bible by axing every single use of the word “grace” and replacing it with the notion of “God’s kindness.”

Let me tell you a bit about these scholars, and their reasoning.

The Contemporary English Version (CEV) was produced by employees of the American Bible Society (ABS) working under the direction of one of the Society’s officers, Dr. Barclay M. Newman.

Newman explained in an interview that he and his assistants “did a lot of research with children.” They wanted to create a text that was equivalent to a fourth grade reading level. “We also did a lot of research with persons who were not familiar with traditional biblical jargon, persons who are almost street people as a matter of fact, and then we tried to simply listen to the way that people speak … We got it by their language, the way they speak, and did our translating accordingly.”

In other words, let’s publish a Bible that small children, and those who are biblically illiterate can easily understand. Hey, a good idea is not necessarily a GOD idea.

For the record, I do not fault these scholars for their efforts, and at times I find their spin on certain verses of Scripture to be helpful; but in this matter regarding God’s grace, they missed the mark by miles.

Friends, there are some things you just don’t tamper with; things that need no editing, no face-lift, no help from modern man. We do not take God’s words and translate them into the way biblically illiterate people think and speak. Are we out of our minds!

Paul said it best: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (

1Co_2:4-5).

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (

1Co_2:13-14).

In other words, there are some things we will never know apart from God opening our hearts and giving us understanding. That’s just the way it is – and God is pleased to have it that way.

 

their good intentions the collaborators who worked on the CEV have presented a product that falls far below the mark of truth; there is nothing at all mysterious nor majestic about their treatment of one of the single greatest revelations ever given by God to man — GRACE.

Instead, Grace is diminished into little more than sentimental mush. The emphasis in not upon God’s greatness, it is upon our worthlessness. We – poor, pitiable, and pathetic sinners – incapable of good, and undeserving of kindness, cower before God in weak and plaintive cries. And because He is so kind, loving, merciful and good — He forgives us and lets us in anyway.

Words have meaning, and their meanings have consequence. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

By watering down the message of grace to make it fit more readily into our contemporary mindset, we deprive ourselves and others of one of the single most empowering truths in the Bible. No wonder so much of what passes for “Christianity” today is so utterly void of God’s presence and power.

Oh, I know; I know — your church is different. But I’m talking about all those other “dead zones.” You know, places where you can’t even get a signal? What are we to do about them? Whether we realize it or not, their weakness impacts our strength; their floundering calls into doubt our faithfulness; their limitations ultimately hold us back from our higher aspirations. For the Watching World sees us all as one Body – fragmented, powerless and offering no real message for their lives.

“Lord, Help us!”

OK. I’ll step off my soapbox now, and first thing in the morning we’ll head on our way to a place named Grace.

The Word of His Grace

 

The Word of His Grace

 

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

(

Act_20:32)

Let me set the scene for you. There was a gathering of some of Paul’s dearest friends on the docks of the Ephesian harbor, shortly before was to board the vessel that would take him to Jerusalem – and ultimately to a Roman prison. This would be the last time Paul would ever see these dear friends, and he knew it.

They feared it, and sought earnestly to persuade him to change his mind; to cancel his traveling plans and stay on with them. But, as we saw yesterday, their tender appeals held no power over the greater influence of the Word of the Lord placed upon his heart by the Holy Spirit.

But, surely he could effectively serve the Lord by staying there with them, for Ephesus was an epicenter city – having great influence near and far. Paul could live out his days in peace and prosperity, carried by the love and support of so many to whom he meant so much. Surely his ministry there would thrive!

Yet, Paul was unpersuaded. He leaves them, but he does not leave them empty-handed.

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Paul is not pontificating here; he is testifying. There is a difference. One means saying things that are right because they have been studied and learned from books. The other means saying things that are true because they have been lived and proven on the road of life.

Paul knew from firsthand experience the power of God’s grace, and he also knew it would be the only means whereby the leaders and the church in Ephesus would prevail.

 

the empowering presence of God enabling them to be who God created them to be, and to do what God had called them to do – they surely would fall victim to the “grievous wolves” who were poised to enter among them to ravage the flock.

And there were a few even among Paul’s dearest friends who, like Judas at the Last Supper, were waiting for him to leave so that they in his absence could “arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them’ (

Act_20:29-30).

Therefore, knowing these things, Paul gave them the one thing they needed most – a blessing of the Grace of God.

He tells them of its power “to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” And those who took his words to heart found everything he said to be true.

Those who did not heed his apostolic words did indeed fall away. They fell from grace to such degree that the Lord Jesus personally chided them years later in John’s apocalyptic message — “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!” (

Rev_2:4-5).

What about you and me? Will we stay the course empowered by the grace of God? Will we be all that God wants us to be, and do all that He has purposed for us to do?

Will we let the Word of His grace build us up, and give us our inheritance among all those who have been set apart for God?

Yes! By the grace of God!

The Ancient Library

The Ancient Library

“Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law”

(

Psa_119:18)

Entering the great door of the Ancient Library we read these words inscribed in the archway – “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

Psa_119:18

It is thus understood that we enter these doors with a prayer upon our lips. And right it is that we make such an appeal, for the matters written herein cannot be known or understood apart from that gift of sight and faith which the Lord of the Library alone can give.

There is a timeless beauty inside this ancient place. No cobwebs, nor dust; no musty odor of worn leather or parched paper; for the Caretaker tends to these volumes daily, breathing upon them a perpetual stroke of divinity.

The place is not dark, but full of light; and pulsates with a quietness that seems to carry in its embrace the harmony of a thousand voices which whisper through the ages in all these sacred pages.

“Be still and know that I am God.” It is an inescapable Presence that bids us enter and read.

“Let’s look in the volume of The Book of the Acts of the Apostles,” I say. And no one seems to be in disagreement, for this place has hushed us all into a unified compliance unto something far greater than ourselves.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles

— the man through whom these words were given us is a Greek doctor named Luke, who served as a Historian of those epic events that marked the beginning of the Christian Era. And he writes to a man named Theophilus. His name means “a friend of God.” Is that not you and I? Then may we know at the very outset of our reading that these words penned so long ago, were written with this moment in mind.

“Let’s see what Luke has to tell us about the grace of God,” I say, turning through the pages of his book. And the first reference we find speaks volumes in a single sentence. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (

Act_4:33).

Great events have transpired in the past few weeks. Jesus of Nazareth had been executed on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem, and three days later rose from the dead! The band of followers rallied in an Upper Room, where the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them and unleashed them into the streets. Those who killed the Savior, were now insisting that His followers stop preaching in His name. Their threats were unpersuasive.

There is mysterious power connected with lives that are utterly dedicated to the Lord. Luke captures this and says, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (

Act_4:33).

Grace, which we know to be the power of Christ to do God’s will, was in full display as the apostles made their case for Christ in the open forum of public discourse. And those who heard them experienced this power upon themselves as well.

“So, What’s the Funnel All About?”

“So, What’s the Funnel All About?”

“For by grace are you saved through faith”

(

Eph_2:8)

We had traveled about a half day and were making good progress when someone asked, “Hey, so what’s that funnel all about in the Tour Guide?”

Yea, I was wondering when somebody was going to notice that. So, let’s talk about it.

Remember that Paul told us that we are saved by grace through faith. In our visual Tour Guide drawing, we can see “grace” entering the “funnel of faith” at the top. When grace passes through faith, what comes out of the funnel, and floods our lives is — salvation.

Salvation. That’s a word we need to examine closer. Most of us assume that it means “being born again.” No, it is much more than that. Being born again is but one part of the great salvation we have in Jesus.

By definition, salvation is the complete reordering of our entire lives in keeping with the will of God. Faith, another word we need to redefine, means something much more than merely “believing” – it means “knowing.”

Faith is the conscious awareness of what meets with God’s approval (as revealed to us by the Spirit of God through the Word), and the courageous decision to live within that conviction.

“Faith comes by hearing,” the Bible says. And note; it does not say, faith comes by reading. There are many who read the Bible and never hear what God is saying. They see the golden leaves on the surface of the river, but do not see the true gold beneath the surface on the river bed.

We hear when the Spirit of God opens our hearts to God’s voice. Faith comes when the gift of hearing occurs, and in that moment we not only know God’s will, but we are also filled with the desire to do God’s will.

Putting this all together here is what we learn.

When we hear (i.e., experience the gift of faith that causes us to know) what God is saying to us, and we agree with Him (i.e., humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord), then God gives us grace (i.e., the power of Christ to do God’s will) and we experience salvation (i.e., the complete reordering of our entire lives in keeping with God’s will).

And that’s what the “funnel” is all about.

So, if there are no other questions, let’s pick up the pace. Having made this journey before, I can tell you that we are in for a special treat first thing tomorrow. The Ancient Library (where I received my credentials for this Tour) is but a half day’s distance ahead.

We’ll stop there for an extended visit before we make our final push to the place named Grace.

Life Outside the Measure…a Real Bad Deal

Life Outside the Measure…a Real Bad Deal

“The goodness of God leads you to repentance”

(

Rom_2:4).

Now that our Tour Chart is completed we can see that life outside the measure is a bad deal; a real bad deal.

When an individual refuses God’s offer and opts to do life on their own terms – pride sets in and destruction follows. Yet, because of God’s mercy, the proud man is spared considerable sorrow. However, being headstrong can doom a man even when God’s mercy is afforded him.

Yes, there is a place, we know not where; and a time, we know not when; that marks the boundary of even God’s mercy. We know this because there is a place outside God’s mercy called Hell.

You don’t want to go there.

There, in that place, is no mercy. None. There is no grace, no faith, no good. There is no peace and blessing, no joy; no hope.

C S Lewis said, “In the end there will be two kinds of people. Those who say unto God, ‘Thy will be done’ as they enter into heaven. And, those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done’ as they enter into hell.”

Why tarry in a place of darkness when the Lord’s hand of Mercy is extended to you freely? Don’t disregard His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; for He is wanting to change your mind and help you accept His will.

He will bring you up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. He will set your feet upon a rock and establish your goings. He will put a new song in your mouth; a song of praise to God. Many will see what the Lord has done for you, and will stand in awe of His goodness and mercy!

Yes, you can change, even now; because God’s hand is extended to you, and He will lift you up. Humble yourself before Him, call upon His name, and He will give you mercy (His unmerited favor), and He will give you GRACE (the power of Christ to do God’s will).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in our time of need” (

Heb_4:16).

Perhaps the Psalmist said it best – “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (

Psa_84:11).

Why not prove this true in your own life today?

last devotions

The Moment When Everything Changed

“My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness”

(

2Co_12:9 NIV).

We arrive at the Tavern and enter to find the Apostle Paul seated at a table, working on a new book.

 

Greetings, Paul! My friends and I are on a journey to the place called Grace, and I am so glad to find you here once again. If it’s not a bother, would you take a moment and tell us what the Lord Jesus showed you?

 

“I would be delighted!” Paul answered, “for I have no greater desire than to finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (

Act_20:24).

Listen up everybody; we are in for a real treat!

“As you know, Paul said, I was zealously devout in seeking to please God; so much so that I even persecuted those who were followers of The Way. For I truly believed at the time that they were a dangerous threat to the Truth.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, stopped me in my tracks on the Damascus Road. That singular encounter with the risen Lord changed my life forever! I carried my proven zeal into my new found Faith and labored more earnestly to excel as a follower of Jesus.

Yet I continued running into challenges, which I could not overcome.

“The good that I would, I do not,” I wrote, “but the evil that I would not do – that’s what I do!” My vexation rose to such a level it felt as though thorns were piercing my soul. I cried out to the Lord to remove this from me, and this is what He said:

“My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

“I did not understand what He meant at first, but after three times of hearing Him repeat these words, suddenly the truth shot into my spirit like a bolt of lightning.

“I had always believed that His grace was a kindness shown toward an undeserving inferior, but in that moment I understood that His grace was His power made available to me so that I could be who He created me to be, and do what He was calling me to do.

“Most gladly will I glory in my infirmity that the power of Christ may rest upon me!” I said in great exuberance. And, while the Damascus Road experience changed my life – this revelation of His grace changed my living!

Now, because of grace, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

People often ask me, “What was the thorn in the flesh?” I never tell them, because that’s not the point. No, what I want them to see is that from that moment forward the thorn, nor any other thing the devil threw at me, had any power to thwart my journey!

“And from that day I lived, preached, and wrote with a new and deeper passion than ever before about the Grace of God! For I now know that grace is ‘the power of Christ to do God’s will’ no matter what obstacles we may encounter along the way.

“This changed everything! Now, if you will read my letters and, with my permission, replace the word ‘grace’ with the phrase, ‘the power of Christ to do God’s will’ – it will change everything for you, too!”

“And, if you are willing to stay with me a while longer before continuing on your journey,” Paul concluded, “Tomorrow, I will show you a few of my favorite writings and you will see for yourself what I mean.”

What do you say, fellow travelers; shall we stay an extra day here?

A Conversation with the Apostle of Grace

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

(

Eph_3:8)

Good morning, Paul. Our group stayed up late into the evening around the fire, buzzing with excitement about what you had to say to us yesterday. And we are filled with anticipation for what today will bring forth.

 

Several asked me if I would ask you to start this morning by explaining what you meant when you wrote the phrase “fallen from grace.” (

Gal_5:4)

“Ah, yes,” Paul replied, smiling as though he knew all along that one would mess with a lot of us down through the ages.

“You do understand, don’t you, that it comes down to the difference between Pride and Humility?”

Yes, we have discussed that already on our journey.

“Very well,” Paul continued, “then you know that a proud man is determined to live in the power of his own self will, to decide his own way, on his own terms – even if he is attempting to serve and please God.

“But a humble man places no confidence in the flesh; for he knows that Jesus is the true Vine and that we, apart from Him, can do nothing.

“Anyone who seeks to justify themselves with God on any terms other than those provided by God exclusively in and through our Lord Jesus is a man, or woman, who by necessity is “fallen from grace.” That is to say, they are outside the provision of Christ’s power. For Jesus will not empower anybody to succeed apart from God’s will.

“If you are determined to do your own thing, then the Lord will oblige you by stepping aside and leaving you to do it on your own. The expression, fallen from grace, does not mean “losing your salvation” (as some have erroneously concluded); rather, it means, quite frankly, “losing your sanity!”

“I have shown you that Grace is the power of Christ to do God’s will. If you are not interested in doing God’s will, then don’t expect the Lord to give you His grace to do your own thing. Are you crazy?! You must be!

“Consider what I wrote elsewhere, “For by grace (i.e., the power of Christ to do God’s will) are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, lest any man should boast.” (

Eph_2:8).

“Or this, one of my favorites, ‘For where sin did abound, grace (i.e., the power of Christ to do God’s will) did abound much more!’ (

Rom_5:20). You see? You and I are no longer slaves to sin, because a power greater than sin is now at work in and through us. It is the power of Christ – God’s Grace!

“Perhaps now you can see why I said, “I am what I am by the grace of God; and His grace (i.e., the power of Christ to do God’s will) given unto me was not in vain, for I labored more abundantly than they all. Yet it was not me, but the grace of God in me!”

“When I left my dear friends from Ephesus on the shores of the Aegean Sea, I said, “Brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace (i.e., the truth about the power of Christ to do God’s will), which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (

Act_20:32).

“I knew that the only way they would ever make it was by the grace of God. And, friends, that’s the only way you will ever make it also.

“Forgive me for going on like this,” Paul said, “but talking about Grace brings out the preacher in me! But let me leave you with this — God has given every humble man and woman a measure of grace, the exact proportion of Christ’s power necessary for them to be who God created them to be, and to do whatever He has called them to do. Take time each day to make sure you are living in your measure.

“This was even true of our Lord Jesus in the days of His Incarnation. The grace of God was upon Him, empowering Him fully to live each day in the freedom and power of His Father’s presence and purpose. And He never once stepped outside that place of blessing.

“And now it’s your turn. You can do it, and God will do the same for you!

“May the grace of God be with you as you travel onward to that Great City you are seeking! For, but in a little while, you will enter its gates, never to leave! And I will see you there!”

And with these words Paul sends us on our way. We continue first thing in the morning.

?

?

On the Road Again…with New Provisions

On the Road Again…with New Provisions

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”

(

Php_4:19).

Note to Reader: if you missed the last two devotions, you need to pause a moment and read them before proceeding.

 

we once again undertake our upward journey to a place named Grace, our hearts are full from a recent visit with the Apostle Paul at the Tavern.

 

Grace is the power of Christ to do God’s will.

 

Our visual Tour Guide now makes perfect sense. By looking at the illustration we can see that God’s will for each of our lives is measured out as a specific sphere of ministry and influence around our lives. And He has matched that measure with a proportionate supply of His grace – the power of Christ to do God’s will.

 

Once we humble ourselves in agreement with God and embrace His will for our lives, His grace begins to fill our sphere of influence with power, purpose, provision, and peace. Like Paul we can now say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

 

When we are standing in the center of God’s will, then we have everything we need to be and do whatever it is that God wants for us. Paul said, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound to every good work” (

2Co_9:8). This says it all!

Remember? Paul told us about this. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (i.e., outside your measure); but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (

Rom_12:3).

The measure of faith which God has dealt to you is in exact proportion to the measure of God’s will for your life, and the measure of God’s grace in your life.

Because God made each of us unique, we all have gifts differing from one another according to the grace that is given to us, and we are to exercise these gifts “according to the proportion of faith” (see

Rom_12:6).

Faith is the conscious awareness of what meets with God’s approval, as revealed to us by the Spirit of God through the Word; and the courageous decision to live within that conviction.

is not merely believing you can do something; it is knowing that you can through the power of Christ – GRACE.

When faith is active in our lives we will not over-extend ourselves into matters that are outside of God’s will. Nor will we through fear and unbelief limit ourselves to doing something less than God’s will.

Presumption

, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought, takes us outside the measure of Grace….and leaves us languishing in a place called Grief.

Here, then, is what we know to be true.

God has given each one of us the grace and the faith that we need to do exactly what He has called us to do – no more; no less. Life takes on its fullest meaning and finds its greatest success when we abide in this blessed place – a place named Grace.

Brace yourself; for tomorrow when we turn the corner up ahead….what you will see is going to blow your minds!

?

The Measure of God’s Will for You

The Measure of God’s Will for You

“I will not boast beyond my measure” (2Co_10:13).
you know that before you were even born, God knew all about you. In fact, He mapped out your life in advance and set you inside the circle of His will.

God clearly wants you to stand in the center of His will, but there are no strings attached. You have full range of motion to come and go as you will. And, of course, by now you know that you have on many occasions stepped outside God’s will for your life. In some case – way outside His will.

Paul challenged us to a better life. “Be not conformed to this world,” he wrote, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind – so that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom_12:1-2).

In another place he said, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph_2:10). I love the way the Amplified Bible puts it, “taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them; living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.”

This was not mere theory to Paul; he lived it himself. Listen to his own words, “We will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you” (2Co_10:13).

Paul understood that his effectiveness in life depended upon him staying within the measure of God’s will for himself, and not over-reaching in some vain effort to prove himself to others.

You will never fully experience nor understand the grace of God apart from embracing God’s will for your life.

There are few things more graceless than an individual attempting to achieve something for which they are unsought, unsuited, and unskilled. The  more they try, the more unsuccessful they will become.

You must find that sweet spot of God’s will, where all your gifts and talents may flourish; where your heart soars with passionate vision, and you labors seem to effortlessly serve others in meaningful and lasting ways.

This is what awaits you in the measure of God’s will for your life.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

“But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” (Mar_4:34).

Note to Reader: If you have not yet read the previous devotions beginning January, please take a moment and do so before proceeding. This will help you join in on an ongoing journey.
as we are seeking to speak about God’s unspeakable gift – perhaps we may be better served by adopting the old notion that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Maybe this drawing can serve as a visual Tour Guide during our next stretch on this journey to a place called Grace.

I realize this picture makes little sense to you right now, but in time it will make all the sense in the world. You can click on the PDF link below and print out a larger size of this drawing for your personal use as we move forward. You can fill in the blanks day by day as I take you through the steps.

Then, once we have finished, you will be able to use this to “go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done!”

By the way, I recently presented a message about Grace at a church in Dallas, and I used this illustration on a whiteboard during my talk. It went well. Afterwards a couple approached me and said with great enthusiasm, “That’s the Gospel on the back of a napkin!”

The phrase stuck.

One of the great lessons we learn as we follow Jesus is that “if you want to keep something, you have to give it away.” This is especialy true about the revelation of GRACE.

So, once we are done with this ambitious journey to a place named Grace, you will be able to share the truth of God’s amazing Grace with your friends and family is such simplicity and clarity – that they, too, will see it and become empowered by it!

And by giving it away to others — you will have it forever!