Fast Wednesdays, October 2, 2013 – Draw Near to God — Part III (Grace)

Greetings Beloved!

I am leading a Life Group Study based on Max Lucado’s “Grace: More than we Deserve: Greater than we Imagine.” Last week’s lesson was “You can Rest Now.” As we continue Drawing Near to God, let us be reminded that we can rest now, those of us in a relationship with God. If you are not yet, call me, email me, call a friend, go to your local church, google sinner’s prayer, say it and meant it from the heart and you will be saved, the first step is just that easy!

In the meantime, what are some of the burdens we carry that keep us from resting? 1) SIN 2) Excessive demands from family, friends, job, church 3) Oppression and Persecution 4) Weariness in the search for God. What’s the rest that God gives us: 1) Love 2) Healing 3) Peace.

Phillip Yancey has a chapter called “The Last Best Word” in his book “What’s so Amazing About Grace?” He says, as a writer, he “plays all day with words” and “so many words have spoiled like old meat, their meaning rotting away” over the years. Every English usage he can find retains some of the glory of the original word: Many people say grace before a meal, acknowledging daily bread as a gift from God, We are grateful for kindness shown, gratified by good news, congratulated when successful, gracious in hosting friends, leave a gratuity when pleased with someone’s service, royalty in England are called “your Grace,” there are acts of grace, some schools offer a “grace” exemption in academia, publishers may send you “grace” copies when a subscription ends, we receive a “grace” period from credit cards, rental car agencies and mortgage companies, and so on.

And, most priceless about the gift of grace, is that it is undeserved and unexpected. I ask you, would you agree the world is starving for grace? Grace is one of the very few things that sets us apart from the world as believers. Would you agree? How do we nurture grace? I believe one of the ways is by giving it, GRACE, away. So, I’m getting ready now to go give some away…you do the same and let me know what happens.

On a different note, but with grace in mind, my family was blessed on Saturday, September 28, 2013, with a new little one…a grand niece, HARMONY GRACE, daughter of Dustin and Sade Fuller Tinsley…thanking GOD for this most precious gift! Congratulations to my brother Fred and his wife Carol on their first grandchild designed by God. Actually, our parents celebrated their first grandchild just 41 years ago on the same day…

Scripture:

Matthew 11:28 (NASB) Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Romans 4:16 (MSG) God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it.

Quote(s): A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift. – C. S. Lewis

Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers. – John Stott

Ask:

What makes you tired? What needs your attention right now? How is this related to your spiritual life?

What aspect of our culture propels us toward an “earned salvation” mentality? Do you believe that God grades according to a merit system whereby we earn his favor much as a Boy Scout earns badges?

Is it hard for you to trust God’s grace? Why or why not?

What does rest mean in the context of this study?

Prayer: God, thank you for the immeasurable free gift of your grace. You gave your Son in my place so I wouldn’t have to work to erase my sin. You’ve already done that for me. Your grace is all I need, and all you want from me is acceptance. I know I can never be good enough to merit your gift. Forgive those foolish thoughts that discount your sacrifice, and remind me that you alone can save me. You are my hope and my salvation. In your Son’s name I pray, amen.

Application: Think about situations in which you have experienced the joy of serving others without expecting acknowledgment or reward. Make a list (only for yourself) of occasions when someone called for you or helped you without telling anyone else. Consider other examples of living a grace-shaped life, not out of a desire to earn God’s approval, but rather because his gift of grace motivates people to be grace givers. This week plan to be a grace giver, silently, secretly. And then thank God for the opportunity.

SONG: Lyrics are amazing; “Your Grace Finds Me”

http://www.worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=2005684

Love, Joy and Peace, 

Debra J. Ellis

Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters (and some brothers) in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us, for various reasons, participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the blog continues to grow!

The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord, both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”  Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (djf52055@gmail.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog in Word Press:  https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com/

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