“For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” _1 Corinthians 15:9-11 (RSV)
The Apostle Paul understood that grace is God’s undeserved favor. He knew it was mercy when he did not deserve it. He wrote about the grace God extended to him on the road to Damascus—eternal life, in Christ—and that not of himself but by grace.
As you grow in journaling God’s Word, and learn the joys of practicing his presence it will become clear, as it became clear to Paul, you don’t have to do anything to earn God’s grace. In fact, grace can not be earned or purchased. Grace must simply be accepted. You begin by believing in Jesus Christ, who purchased life for you at the cross.
God’s Son died for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. God’s ultimate act of grace is an example of how to extend grace to others. On the cross Jesus was quick to forgive, extending life to the thief beside him. Jesus showed kindness and gracious love, even when others deserved exactly the opposite.
Receive His Grace
Grace begins with Christ and is given freely by God. His graciousness to believers is our example for extending grace and mercy to others. It was by God’s grace that you were saved.
Grace cannot be earned. It is freely given. You simply receive it with faith and thanksgiving. [Psalm 84:11, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:16-17, Hebrews 4:16]
Grow in Grace
God will never stop working in you to bring you to maturity.
“And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” _ Philippians 1:6
“…you should grow in grace and in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—to him be glory now and until the dawning of the day of eternity!” _2 Peter 3:10-18 (PHILLIPS)
Because God is not visibly present to the eye, it is sometimes difficult to feel your communication with him is real.
Your personal Journal will, over time, become a very real representation of the exchange with your Heavenly Father, God; your personal Savior, Jesus; and your Comforter, Counselor and Friend, The Holy Spirit.
The record of your prayers and promises will have the same binding power of a spoken promise to an earthly friend. God’s Word will prove to be a certain and sure testimony to his presence with you at all times.
As you grow in the knowledge of God’s grace every thought of your soul can be laid before him in prayer as if your eyes could see him across the table from you. As you continue to journal and meditate on his Word you will cease to have vague conceptions of a relationship with God Almighty and feel the force of every word you write in his presence. God IS real!
Grow in Knowledge
“As we know Jesus better, his divine power give us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.” _2 Peter 1:5-9 (NLT)
Godliness (growing in knowledge of God) is not developed when you work to become more like God but when God works in you. You develop godliness when you allow God to have his way in your life instead of insisting on your own way, even though your way may seem pious and good. As you give yourself to God in a trusting relationship, you come to know God and God is able to fashion you to be more like Christ.
Journaling about the steps of your personal journey along the way builds a timeline of your growth and God’s mercy and grace in your life.
Grow IN Christ
Believers can’t experience fellowship with Christ when he is on the outside. And that’s where he is, before salvation, outside the door of our heart, knocking, wanting to come in and have a relationship with us.
Have you opened that door?
If not, open it now. Everything you will ever need is waiting on the other side.
In Christ there is companionship, devotion, faithfulness, provision, protection and guidance. God wants to be your very best friend. [Exodus 33:11-23, Psalm 25:14, Proverbs 17:17]
Growing IN Christ means sharing your deepest secrets with the Lord. When God shares his promises with you, you know that he considers you his child.
“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” _2 Corinthians 5:17 (RSV)
“ But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” _Galatians 3:25-29 (RSV)
“… it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...”_Romans 8:16-18 (RSV)
As a child of God, a new creation, and a fellow heir with Christ according to God’s promise, you may safely and boldly enjoy companionship, devotion, and communication with God on a very personal level, right here and right now. Every day is a blank page.
Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Journal God's Word - copyright Ellen Lebsock