Grow in Grace

… but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2Peter 3:18,

God wants us to grow in grace. Have you considered that? You can grow in more and more grace! God’s grace may be one of the least understood and most underutilized benefits the Lord has given us! Let’s dig a little deeper. It was God’s grace through faith, which allowed you to receive salvation, mercy, forgiveness, righteousness, favor, goodness and acquittal from sin. God’s grace is a free gift given to you completely apart from your works, efforts or good deeds. Grace is God’s love demonstrated exceedingly and abundantly above and beyond anything you could ask, pray or think of! Can you see that God’s grace is multi-faceted? It’s huge. It’s tangible. It’s a kiss from heaven! According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, God’s grace is in part, “…the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” His divine influence on your heart gives you His strength, His favor and His ability. When you are weak, by His grace you are made strong. When you feel inept, by His grace you can do all things through Christ. When you are rough around the edges, by His grace you are polished. God’s grace endows you with His ability to know, do, believe and say. Do you need more of His divine influence in your life? If so, you need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today, let’s ask the Lord for more grace and let’s ask Him to help us know Jesus more personally and intimately.

“Father, help me to grow in the grace and in the personal knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Don’t Have an Exaggerated Opinion of Yourself

The Bible repeatedly warns us against pride. And I cannot emphasize enough the danger of pride. See, when we give in to pride, we give the enemy a place of great influence over us.

When we think too highly of ourselves, it causes us to value others less, forget to trust God, and ignore the truth that we’re really nothing without God.

This type of attitude or thinking is detestable to the Lord. We must have a holy fear of pride and remember that we’re special and valuable because God loves us and has forgiven us, not because we can accomplish great things on our own. It’s important to understand that whenever we excel in any area, it is only because God has given us the gift of grace to do it.

The moment we think we’ve accomplished great things in our own strength, we’re getting in to pride. Remember, we belong to God. Instead of having exaggerated opinions of ourselves, let’s focus on God’s greatness and His love for us. It’s by His grace alone that we can succeed in doing whatever He’s calling us to do.

Prayer Starter: Lord, only through You am I worth anything and able to accomplish anything. I release any pride I may be holding on to, knowing that when I succeed and excel, it’s because of Your grace and goodness.

How To Fail a Grace Test

“For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you….” 1 Peter 5:5-6, AMP

God gives grace to the humble, but He opposes and frustrates the proud. Don’t flunk or fail the grace test by being lifted up in pride. If God resists, sets Himself against, opposes, frustrates and defeats the proud, then you want to run from any scent of pride in your life. You want to pass the grace test and receive more grace!

A grace test is a test of our humility! If we will simply trust God and humble ourselves, we will pass the grace test and receive more grace—and God’s promotion! If we yield to pride, we will fail the grace test—and God will resist us. Here are some signs you are taking—and flunking(failing) —a grace test: Your ego is hurt because you want more attention from someone or anyone. You weren’t recognized or you feel underutilized. You constantly reflect upon and inform listeners of your accomplishments, your skills, your degrees, your trophies, your brilliance and amazing prowess. You pout because you didn’t get credit for a project you led or an idea you implemented. You get mad when you’re corrected. You have a rebellious attitude towards those in authority. You justify self-pity and on it goes.

Failing the grace test is a real bummer because it means you’ll have to take it again! Today, why not pass the grace test and receive more grace?

“Father, I don’t want to fail the grace test. I don’t want to continually retake the grace test. I want to pass this test, so I choose to humble myself under the authority of Your Word and I thank You for more grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Strong in Grace

“Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1, NLT

God wants us to be strong in grace. When God’s grace is shifting in our lives it can be challenging and exhilarating at the same time.

When you’re in the midst of a God-ordained grace change—you may experience a fresh anticipation or a bit of internal unrest. When God’s grace is changing in our lives, He’s lifting old graces so that the new graces of His ability and empowerment for a given task, season or assignment can take hold in our lives. In a grace change—when the Lord is at work kicking you out of your comfort zone, you often experience a divine dissatisfaction, boredom or frustration with your current situation. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it, but you don’t love the job, ministry or role you are in the way you once did. You may sense there is more for you to do. There are two big challenges during a grace change: Obey—One big challenge is to obey God when you’d rather do your own thing.

A grace change requires obedience. Don’t allow fear of the unknown or your present security to rob you of the exciting unknown! If you don’t obey the Lord during a grace change, you may miss a divine opportunity and be stuck doing the same-old, same-old, with less grace—for many years to come!

When the grace is changing…obey the Lord! Guard—Another big challenge during a grace change is to guard your heart and mouth. When you don’t feel as graced to fulfill a role you once loved, you can be tempted to allow a critical spirit, disillusionment or your opinion to taint your view. As a result, you may over-exaggerate things, say things that aren’t true, or express yourself in ways that you’ll regret. The best thing to do when you sense a grace change is to seek the Lord, walk in love, talk to those who can guide you, button your lips with others and humble yourself until you know exactly what type of grace change the Lord is working in your life.

Today, be strong in grace to obey the Lord and to guard your heart and mouth. “Father, thank You for grace to be strong. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Who Gets More Grace?

“…But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” James 4:6, NKJV

What’s going on in your life? Are you facing a grace change––a season of change orchestrated by God for your next season or are you facing a grace test––a season of testing designed by God for your future success? When you are undergoing a grace change—you simply need to tap into more of His grace for the changing season and the next assignment in your life.

For example, when you graduate, get married or have a baby, you experience a season change. When your kids go back to school, graduate or head off to college, you experience a season change. If you experience an unexpected loss, painful divorce or heartbreak, you experience a season change. If your company or organization downsizes or restructures, you may experience a season change. If you receive a promotion and added responsibility, you experience a season change. When you retire or come into the empty nest years, you will experience a season change. Thankfully, the Lord will give you more grace to navigate these changes.

When you are undergoing a grace test—you simply need to humble yourself in His sight and receive more grace to stay in the current season and role He has assigned you. For example, when God asks you to stay in a job you don’t love, or in a serving role that is not quite your sweet spot or in a relationship that challenges you to your core or in a city or climate you don’t prefer or in a church you want to leave––you need more grace to stay strong and He’s glad to give it to you! Either way, whether you are going through a grace change or a grace test, as you humble yourself under His mighty hand, He will give you more and more grace to navigate the changes and pass the tests! Let’s ask Him for more grace.

“Father, I need more grace today. Thank You for Your promise to give it to me as I humble myself before You and Your Word. Today, I humble myself before You and I ask You for more grace in this season of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Accessing or Frustrating the Grace?

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21, KJV

Many people know of grace by the well-known acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense—and while this is a great definition, God’s grace is much more than a cliché.

The Bible describes at least three types of grace: saving grace, standing grace and serving grace.

Without saving grace, we cannot have faith to be saved! We need to receive God’s saving grace, in order to have faith to believe in Jesus. (Eph. 2:8)

Without standing grace, we are weak and defeated. We need to access God’s standing grace to be strong and victorious in our Christian life, as well as to endure trials, pressures, challenges, temptations and persecutions. (Rom. 5:2, 2 Cor. 12:9)

Without serving grace we operate in the flesh and become weary. We need to employ God’s serving grace to do our part in fulfilling the callings, tasks, plans, purposes and assignments He has for our lives. (1 Peter 4:10, Rom. 12:6)

God is so kind, generous and favorable, He has made loads of grace available to us. The question we must ask is this: are we accessing or frustrating God’s grace in our lives? Let’s not frustrate the grace; let’s access it!

Don’t Frustrate the Grace: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21, KJV)

It was God’s grace, not our righteous works that gave us right standing with Him. Don’t frustrate that grace! Lean on His saving, standing and serving grace. Do Access the Grace:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2, NKJV)

We access God’s grace by faith. By faith, we can approach His very Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help us! (Hebrews 4:16)

Father, I don’t want to frustrate Your grace; I want to access Your grace by faith. I thank You for Your saving, standing and serving grace in my life. Help me to access it more and more. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Growing in Discernment

Jesus lived His life by discernment. His discernment was not based on the superficial senses of His flesh, it was the result of His intimate communion and relationship with His Father God.

This same gift of discernment is available to you and me through our relationship with God. So how does it work? Before you do anything, you must quickly check with your spirit to see if the thing you are about to do is OK. If you have peace, then proceed. But if you are uncomfortable, confused or frustrated, remain still.

For instance, at times I’ve been at the mall getting ready to purchase something, but before I reached the checkout counter, I sensed a frustration in my spirit, which was like a nudge from the Holy Spirit not to make the purchase. The exciting thing about moments like these is every time you and I choose to listen to and follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings, our spirits grow stronger in God, and more and more of God’s power is released in our lives to operate in the fruit of the Spirit.

Isaiah 11:2‭-‬3

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord . He shall delight in the fear of the Lord , and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor reprove by what his ears hear;

Yield to the Holy Spirit and follow His promptings, and you will grow in the same discernment that Jesus walked in.

Prayer Starter: God, I don’t want to make decisions based on my own fleshly desires. I want to walk in discernment. As I check with You when I’m making decisions, frustrate the desires I have that are not of You, and give me peace to follow Your way.

Making Tough Decisions

It’s important to make the right choices, especially in the middle of hurt, discouragement, frustration and confusion when the right choice is the tough choice to make.

When things are stressful, we naturally like to take the path of least resistance. But those are the very moments when you need to make the tougher choice. Because to reap right results in life, you have to do right when you don’t feel like it. What’s amazing to me is that Jesus knows what we feel like. When He became a human being, He struggled with all of the frustrations we struggle with. He felt like giving up and taking the easy way, but He overcame and made the tough choices. When we grow weary and falter in our determination, we can know with confidence that we serve a God who knows what we’re going through. And we don’t have to make tough decisions on our own.

When you find yourself stressed-out and beat down, on the verge of giving up, remember that God is with you and He understands. Find the strength to make the tough choices in Him.

Prayer Starter: God, I’m so glad and so thankful that You understand everything I go through and struggle with. When I am tempted to take the path of least resistance, I will find my strength in You to make the tough choices.

Don’t Give in to Self-Pity

Self-pity is a destructive and negative emotion. It blinds us to our blessings and the possibilities before us and it steals our hope for both today and tomorrow. People who pity themselves think, “Why should I try to do anything? I’ll just fail.” Self-pity is actually idolatry because it is self-focus carried to the extreme. When we allow ourselves to fall into self-pity, we are essentially rejecting God’s love and His ability to change things.

I encourage you not to waste one more day of your life in self-pity. When you lose hope and begin to feel sorry for yourself, stop and say: ‘I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I may be in a difficult season of life right now, but I will not stop hoping for better things!’

God has thoughts and plans for your good, to give you hope for your future. If you will hold on to your hope and fight for it when the enemy tries to take it away, you will see amazing things take place in your life.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord , plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Prayer Starter: God, I refuse to feel sorry for myself. Even if things are difficult right now, I know that You are bigger than my problems and that You have a good future planned for me. I want Your plans to come to pass in my life, and I trust in You to change my circumstances according to Your will.

Are You Hopeful?

When you think about the future, are you hopeful? Or do you struggle with a sense of dread?

People who have seen God’s faithfulness in the past tend to be very hopeful about the future. They know a bad situation can turn into a wonderful testimony in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, people who have lost all hope view life from the perspective of dread.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

A close cousin to fear, dread steals the ability to enjoy ordinary life and makes people anxious about the future. Hope is the opposite of dread, and a close relative of faith. When we have faith in God, it leads to hope, and our outlook on life and the future is positive.

Hope allows us to leave our unanswered questions in God’s hands; it empowers us to remain at peace, and it enables us to believe the best about the days to come. You can have hope when you trust in God’s love. He has the power to provide for you and lead you through every situation.

Prayer Starter: God, I choose to put my faith in You, knowing that it will turn into hope. I don’t have to dread, because You have the ability to care for me, so I put my hope in You.