Grace by June Childers - Retreat 2014
“The Good News About the Wonderful GRACE of God” Acts 20:24
It is indeed “The Good News About the Wonderful GRACE of God” that we read about in Acts chapter 20. What a timely and appropriate theme was selected for this weekend’s California Women’s Retreat. But I’m
wondering how many of us, while reading the theme on the brochure, or
on the printed program, actually stopped to think about God’s Grace. It is precisely because of God’s Grace and His Faithfulness that we are here today.
Having become increasingly more thankful for God’s Grace in these past few months, I would love to share some words of encouragement using God’s Word as a basis for our consideration.
First: WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN:
John 1:12 tells us “To all who received Him (Jesus) to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become Children of God”, and later on in 1st John he continues “See how very much the Father loves us, for He calls us His Children, and that is what we are.” What a privilege is ours. Growing up in church, there was a song we sang often. The words went like this: “I’m a Child of the King, a child of the King, with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.” So, then, is there something I’ve done to deserve to be
a child of the King? The answer is “No”, for in Ephesians 2:8,9 we learn “For it is by GRACE you have been saved through faith…it is the gift of God”. A free gift—a gift which must be received by us. Membership in God’s family is by GRACE alone—we are God’s Children—BY GOD’S GRACE.
Secondly, GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT:
In 2nd Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul recounts his personal testimony. He says, “a thorn was given me in my flesh”. We don’t know precisely what that was, but we know it tormented Paul, and three times he pleaded with God to take it away, but God said to Paul: “My Grace is Sufficient for you—for my power is made perfect in weakness”. God didn’t remove “the thorn”, but He assured Paul that His Grace was sufficient and that He (God) would supply to Paul whatever strength he needed to cope with the thorn. From that we know that God’s GRACE is available for us to draw upon—we can go to the well of GRACE over and over.
Sometimes we need more and more grace—and our Faithful God gives it to us. The words to a favorite hymn say, “He (God) giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength as our labors increase: To added afflictions He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.”
It’s possible that during this last year (2013), you may have experienced some difficulty (some thorns) along the way. If we could speak in person, you could no doubt share something you’ve gone through, or are going through even now, where you had to find out if God’s grace is sufficient. I have had that kind of year, but like Paul, I’m sure you would say with me that we have found that God’s GRACE and God’s power does come through in our weakness. In Max Lucado’s book, In the Grip of Grace, he says “The God who first made you is strong enough to sustain you” Yes, His GRACE is Sufficient, His GRACE is Enough!
Thirdly: One last thought about GRACE:
Since we have received God’s Amazing, Astounding GRACE, and we’ve
established that this Grace is God’s Free Gift to us, there’s something we can do.
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 10:8, “Freely you have received, freely GIVE.” I’m remembering a movie I once saw called “Pay It Forward”. We can apply that to the Free Gift of GRACE we’ve received. We are to pass God’s GRACE on to others! Because God has loved us, we are free to extend love to others. Maybe it will be just a smile to someone who desperately needs it, maybe an encouraging word or a prayer. I know that we’ll have opportunities this weekend to extend God’s GRACE to others here at California Women’s Retreat 2014. Let’s just do it!