About 15 years ago, after the suicide of my husband, I additionally found myself unemployed. I knew this shouldn't have been so because the quality of my work had always been very high. I had consistently held the highest student evaluations within the education department of the Catholic college where I taught. But, nonetheless, immediately after the funeral I was told that I was no longer a welcomed faculty member because I could no longer represent the values of the institution. The exact words used to let me go were: No one wants you here anymore. Just leave. After all, we can't allow a faculty member, whose spouse has taken his life, to educate our students. (I think you will agree this was not the Christian response of charity that I had hoped to receive from my employer.) Moreover, I was broke and being turned out of my home. And, as you might rightly expect, I was also suffering from a broken heart, and recovering from the lingering effects of domestic violence and abuse. I think you will also agree that I needed God's grace; and I needed it badly.
Now life has a way of presenting ebbs and flows; ups and downs; good times and bad times; times of prosperity and abundance, and times of need and lack; times of crisis and times of deliverance; and, times of sorrow and times of joy. The challenges of life tend to find us regardless of what we may, or may not, do. Nonetheless, no matter the challenges of life that we may be called to face; one thing, and one thing only, is certain: God's grace will always be more than sufficient for our every need. For that is one of the true things about God, isn't it? When the world throws us away, He is still there--just waiting to pick us up, and to repair all the broken pieces through His grace, love, and mercy. Admittedly, however, sometimes the flow of grace is not as quick as we would like. Yet, God always finds a way for His grace to show up for us, just in the nick of time. (In fact, I have had many eleventh hour deliverances, haven't you?) We can be assured then, even if God tends to only show up in the eleventh hour, that He will, in fact, show up. We can be assured that His grace will always be there for us when we need it. For He has promised: (He) will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5). God has also said: If we call upon Him, He will answer us; He will be with us in trouble; and, He will deliver us and give us honour. (Psalm 91:15). Moreover, in 2 Corinthians 9:8, we are told: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
[And, just so you know how God's grace showed up for me in my hours and days of trouble: By the beginning of the next semester, after my unemployment, I received a job offer from a state university. At the end of my second semester there, I was offered a tenured-tract position as an associate professor of educational studies. And, immediately upon being turned out of my home; my daughter's friend, a real estate developer, offered us a nice home in a nice neighborhood to rent/purchase. So God did His part. He provided, He delivered. He saved. His grace was given. He provided a job and a home. He will provide the same grace for you; wherever and whenever you need it.]
My hope in sharing this 30-day journey in the study of grace with you is to take you beyond the place of merely knowing and hearing about grace; to a place where you are triumphant and victorious through grace. I'll introduce you to ways that you can receive God's grace so that you can overcome whatever life challenges you may face. Admittedly, the time for receiving God's grace and deliverance will vary for each of you. For some of you, it will come quickly. For others, it may take longer. Whether it takes a shorter or longer period of time, it does not matter. What matters is that you do, in fact, receive God's grace when it is needed or desired. Again, you are assured that you will receive God's grace for whatever need or desire you may have for in I John 5: 14-15, we are told: And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
What is Grace?
The Webster's II New Riverside University dictionary defines grace as: (a.) a favor rendered volunatarily; (b.) Divine love and protection bestowed freely on human beings; (c.) an excellence or power granted by God; and (d.) protection or sanctification by the favor of God.
Said differently, but using approximately the same dictionary definition, then, we could say that grace is: Divine love, protection, excellence, power, and favor that is voluntarily and freely bestowed upon us by God, through His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Additionally, a favor is defined as something that is given as a token of love, or of affection, or as a rememberance. Therefore, we could define grace more simply and broadly by saying: grace is a gift from God, freely bestowed upon us to give us all the blessings, love, protection, and power from heaven to meet our every need, to grant our heart's desires; and, to overcome all of life's challenges, through Christ Jesus. Therefore, since grace is a gift freely given, we but only need to accept and receive it. We cannot earn it. All we can do is to receive it--receive it with the love, in return, with which it is given--and, believe, trust, and have faith that all God's promises are sure and true. For we are told in John 1:17: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Moreover, we are reminded of the importance that faith plays in grace to receive our deliverances: But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6).
So, faith and grace are the critical components and the power twins of salvation. Add love to faith and grace and you have all the major components that make up the Good News of the Gospel. That is, faith, grace, and love provide for all the miracles, all the prosperity, and all the material and financial successes we may need or desire. Additionally, faith, grace, and love make a way for us to receive the healing we need for our brokenness and for our diseases. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any many should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9). The gospel says that these are the glad tidings. That the saving acts of God are ours, not because of what we've done; but solely because of the work that Jesus did on the cross. Our salvation and deliverances, then, come through the grace and love of Christ Jesus, and through The Father's love for mankind.
Jesus performs wonders and miracles, and provides blessings to all who call upon His Name. And He does this through grace and love. When we believe that Jesus is Lord and confess this to be so; He grants us unearned favor, blessings, and gifts. He also grants us protection, love, excellence, and a power to achieve what we could not achieve on our own. He give us exceedingly great and precious gifts, not because we are worthy, or because of our works; but, rather, because we believe in Him, and have asked Him to help us, and accepted Him as our Savior and Lord. This is the good news or the gospel. In Romans 10: 9, 10, 12, 13, & 17, we are told: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Remembering that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.)
Ways You Can Receive God's Grace to Overcome Life's Challenges:
- Write a clear and precise statement of the need(s) to be met, the life challenge(s) to be overcome, and/or the desire(s) to be achieved. Use present tense form.
- Read your statement aloud at least twice a day (preferably first thing in the morning when you awake and the last thing at night before you sleep).
- Ask God, in the Name of His Son, to grant your written need(s), challenge(s), or desire(s).
- Give God, In the Name of Jesus, all the praise and the thanksgiving, in advance, for bringing your requests/petitions to pass. In the Name of Jesus, Praise Him aloud at least twice a day for having heard and answered your petitions.
- In your mind's eye, see yourself already in possession of your answered petitions. Remembering that in Mark 11: 24, we are told: Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.