Tag Archives: Grace

Christian Leadership Development #6

Communicating Grace

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            Once we have given our due diligence to skillful listening we enter the arena of communicating grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and can be easily defined as,

“The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”

            Grace is God’s influence, not necessarily ours. Keeping in mind that God’s influence, should be palpable in our speech will keep us humble, gentle, and conscious of what is being imparted in our conversations.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

            The word corrupt in the previous passage simply means, “Worthless and of no value.” If our words are not ministering grace to the hearer it shouldn’t be coming out of our mouths. We should constantly be judging our words before we speak, asking ourselves, “Is this going to edify, help, and bless? Am I truly speaking from the Lord’s perspective, or just mine? Is my tone right, are my motives pure?

grace05            As leaders, we must understand that God uses us as a mouthpiece to speak to others. God does not take this lightly and neither should we. The Bible is replete with scriptures about the power and significance of words and the effect they have on our lives. What we say and how we say it can literally be ministering death or life into a person’s life or situation.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

            This reinforces the importance of being a skilled listener, but even more so, the importance of our own intimate relationship with God. Our spiritual condition has a profound effect on our ability to communicate the heart of God.

Love is the license to speak truth

            An area I see young leaders often miss it is in their delivery of truth. Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Let me explain:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            Many times this scripture is used to justify the Bible bashing, finger pointing, and judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. Usually it is a self-centered, self-righteous assault on people that comes from not understanding their identity in Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits.

            Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8. So we can conclude that if the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

nausia.03            Let’s say you love a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak. It may be your favorite food in the world, but if I serve it to you wrapped in a dirty diaper you aren’t going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

            If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot we may need to stop and reschedule a time to finish the conversation giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader. Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

silence speaks

“When we speak, be sure it’s an improvement on silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

            Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently so as to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill, it is a discipline.”

Question: What is the definition of grace as it pertains to communication?

Question: What defines a “corrupt” word as stated in Ephesians 4:29?

Question: What are 3 things to keep in mind before we speak?

Question: Before we speak, what should our words be an improvement on?

Question: What license must you have before you can speak on God’s behalf?

Where does the Supply Of The Spirit come from? (you may be surprised)

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The supply of the Spirit is largely governed by the relationships with other Christians in our local assembly. 

Ephesians 4:16 talks about the body being knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working of every part.

           Take note that it is the joint that brings the supply, not the body part. Think about a joint in a physical body. The joint is the relationship between the parts. The place where two or more body parts meet. When the joint is healthy, and the adjoining parts are healthy (doing their part) it dramatically increases the overall abilities of every part. 

          When Christians give themselves completely to the betterment of  the other parts. It enables the Holy Spirit to come alongside and make you exceedingly more than the sum of all the parts.

Colossians 2:18-19  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

          The level of supply, nourishment and unity experienced through horizontal relationships, is a reflection of our vertical relationship. If we don’t have a healthy growing relationship with our Father, we won’t have healthy relationships with others. It is imperative we spend time with our Father, beholding Him so we can be more like Him.

are2          We are instructed in the Bible how to behave toward others so that spiritual empowerment would be available to all parties. We know from scripture that natural things must come before spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior.

          Imagine all the body parts are sharing their strengths and abilities with all the adjoining parts, bringing their supply if you will. There is something in that exchange that honors God and invites the Holy Spirit’s involvement.

          When the parts share in the work of ministry, something supernatural occurs in the relationships between the parts, inviting the Holy Spirit to provide what is needed for growth and edification. Sounds a lot like Grace doesn’t it?

          Think about an knee joint. If the joint is healthy it helps the entire body walk, run, carry heavy loads, etc. But if that joint is hurt or strained, it hinders the mobility, progress, and overall function of the rest of the body. Relationships in our Church are the very same way.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

This passage describes the Christian’s model for existence: LOVE! A life free of selfish behavior toward others. All Human behavior is either an act of love, or a cry of need for love.(selfishness)

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior. So….. behave

What is Grace?

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

 We really need to stretch our understanding to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

          We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in 

         When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love.”

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 

 Grace is the manifestation of the influence of God in you, with the intention that the influence is reflected in your life.

Gifts vs. Graces

This brings us to Romans 12 that most Christians interpret as “motivational gifts”. Paul is not talking about gifts, He is talking about “graces”.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are 7 GRACES mentioned here: Prophecy, Servant (ministry), Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Leader, and Mercy Giver.

 Look at Ephesians 4, where Paul starts talking about the 5-fold ministry gifts to the church.

Ephesians 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

You see how the order of grace and gifts are flipped in these passages?

Romans 12:6 says: gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Ephesians 4;7 says: grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

It is clear that Paul is talking about ministry gifts in Ephesians 4, and graces in Romans 12. Many have called them motivational “gifts” having a limited understanding of how they work. But when we understand that they are graces we begin to better understand who we are, and why we do what we do.

What I believe Paul is talking about in Romans 12 is the differences in our gifts produced by the grace (divine influence) that is on our life. In other words, our gifting looks different because the divine influence in our heart is different. Look again at the text, and pay close attention to the wording.

To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

For instance, if you have the GRACE of SERVANT, you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your GRACE is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

If your GRACE is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.”

If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in the life.

Grace is a big subject, and these are just a few small observations. However, grace is one of the most important words to us in the New Testament. We should endeavor to get as much understanding on it as possible. I hope this helps.

JC

 

~ Walking in the F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have the F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

~ Walking in heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

Psalm 5:12 ~ For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have heavy F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

Defining Grace and Graces

111grc          The gospel of grace is a core message of the New Testament. In fact, grace is a thread that can be traced through the entire Bible. But what exactly is grace? How would you define it? The New Testament has much to say about the topic so it’s important to know exactly what is being said when grace is mentioned.

          From my own observation and experience, I see that Christians, for the most part, don’t really understand what grace is. They define it as “unmerited favor” or “God’s love and compassion.” While those are certainly true, they are just a few aspects of grace.

Grace, by definition is Divine Influence. Specifically, the Divine Influence upon the heart of man and the expression, or reflection of that influence through the life of man.

          In simple terms, grace is God’s way of influencing your heart, mind and soul so that the decisions you make in life will enable you to become more like Him and accomplish His purposes through you life.

 divine in        Grace is God’s influence. That influence varies, and is unique to each individual. God tailors His grace according to your gifting, your place in society, your influence over other people, etc. Look at what Paul writes in Romans;

Romans 12:6-8 ~ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          The understood topic here is GRACES not gifts. What Paul is talking about here is the differences in our gifts are produced by the graces that are on our life. In other words, our giftings look different because the divine influence (grace) in our heart is unique to the individual. Look again at the above text, and pay close attention to the underlined wording. Then look at Ephesians 4 where it lists the 5-fold ministry gifts. When introducing the idea of ministry gifts, Paul begins with this statement:

Ephesians 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

          Compare that to the Statement in Romans 12:6.

Romans 12:6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 

          In both passages the language is virtually the same, yet the order is changed. Ephesians says “grace according to the gift,” and Romans says “gifts, according to the grace.” If Ephesians is clearly talking about gifts, then Romans is clearly talking about graces. When you put the two together you see this:

          The measure of grace differs according to the measure of the gift, and those gifts will look different because of the grace, or graces in operation in your life. There are 7 GRACES mentioned Romans 12: 6-8

1) Prophecy

2) Servant (ministry)

3) Teacher

4) Exhorter

5) Giver

6) Leader

7) Mercy giver

          To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

          For instance, if you have the grace of SERVANT (ministry), you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

          Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your grace is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

          If your grace is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.” You see the answer as just needing to be encouraged in the Lord.

          If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles so you try to teach them anything and everything you know on divine healing.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 ~ For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as
we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart as a leader and exhorter. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in his life.

          Pay attention when you see the word GRACE used from now on. I think you will see that this may be a key to understanding why we do what we do.

          I don’t expect everyone to grasp this right off. It is something to be contemplated, and meditated on. I pray this helps in understanding who you are and how God is influencing your life.

JC

~ Releasing God’s Grace With Your Words~

In the early 90’s I was just beginning to really get stirred up about confession of God’s Word, mainly because I was beginning to understand the principles behind it, and not just mindlessly reciting something that I had no understanding of.

I had an 8 page list of confessions from God’s Word that I would read out loud and declare over my life almost daily. One morning as I was making these declarations the Lord spoke to me and asked, “What are you doing?” I was quiet for a few seconds and then answered, “well, ummmm… I am confessing your Word Lord.” He replied, “You are applying Truth Pressure.” That was the end of that conversation.

That was a new term for me, a new concept. I knew that particular phrase was not in the bible, but to validate what the Lord had just spoken to me I knew I must find the principle in His Word. Any Word that you hear by the Spirit must line up with the written Word or it is not valid.

I knew that God’s Word had power and I knew there was great power in the spoken word, but it wasn’t until I began to understand the grace of God that I saw what Truth Pressure meant and understood why confession works. So lets take a few moments to make sure we understand grace and how it is connected to what we say.  In the book of Ephesians, we see a wonderful truth concerning our speech.

 Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

This verse is talking about words, that minister grace to the hearer. Since we are always the first one to hear our words, I recommend we take a long look at what is coming from our lips. Is it corrupt or is it grace? Is it faith, or is it fear? Is it blessing or is it cursing? Does it edify or tear down? What kind of influence are we having with our words?

 What exactly is grace? The best definition that I have found is, “The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.” Grace is Gods way of working on you from the inside out. The word of God that is spoken ministers to us on the inside in such a powerful way that it begins to show up in our life.

Everything that God has prepared and provided for you, can be found in His Word. His words are words of truth and grace, filled with divine influence that will change and affect you in such a way that it begins to show up and be reflected in your life. We need to be speaking His words, if we are going to experience the fullness of His grace and be ministers of His grace to the world.

I want you to look at verses 29 again and we will add verse 30 and 31.

 Ephesians 4:29-31 ~ 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

In other words, if you are not speaking words that edify, (God’s WORD) and ministering grace to those who hear them, including yourself, you are grieving the Holy Spirit. I know,………….OUCH!

The most frequent sins are sins of the mouth. How we control our mouth and how we bridle our tongue is a direct reflection on how mature we are spiritually. The truth is, if you sin with your mouth daily, you are but a child, regardless of how long you have been a Christian or how much knowledge of God’s word you have. It is not the word that you know that brings maturity, but the word that you DO.

James 3:2-4 ~ 2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

The word “perfect” in verse two simply means mature, or of full age. maturity is measured, in great part, by your mouth and how you control it.

The bible is very clear that our words have tremendous power, and when it is God’s Word we are speaking, they have the power to minister His grace.

Confession of God’s Word applies “Truth Pressure” to your heart. God’s Word is filled with divine influence (grace) that feeds and strengthens your spirit man until it that truth shows up in your soul and body and is reflected in your life for all to see. Change will always come first in the heart before you see it manifest in the natural.

Proverbs 18:21 ~ Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

 

 

~ Thoughts on God’s Grace ~

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 

If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of grace and the scriptures in general.

 We really need to stretch our understanding and theology to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

 We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4:11

When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love”.

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 Grace is the influence and manifestation of the Love of God toward you and your expression of that love toward God and others.