Posts Tagged With: grace

Judgment or Love and Grace?


Do you judge others or do you show them the love and grace of the Lord? It is something we all struggle with and it is always a choice. We choose to judge or we choose to lavish others with the love and grace we have received from the Lord.

We had a wonderful book club discussion this week at Grace Anglican Community based on the book “Dropping Your Rock” by Nicole Johnson. The book is based on the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and what Jesus had to say about it.

John 8:3-11

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midstthey said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” 

If we found ourselves in Jesus’ position, how would we have responded? We find ourselves in similar positions each day when we hear that someone has done something they shouldn’t have done. How do we choose to respond? Are we more inclined to feel the need ‘to put people in their places’ or to ‘teach them a lesson’ than we are to show them love and grace?

We tend to be more judgmental of others whose sin is different than our sin. We may judge someone who has been caught in adultery harsher than we would someone who gossips or is very prideful – things we are all guilty of doing. The consequences of sin are different, but in the eyes of the Lord, sin is sin.

We also tend to judge others more harshly than we would want to be judged and more harshly than we would want one of our loved ones to be judged. What if the woman at the well was our son, daughter, brother or sister? Would we want compassion to be shown to them by others? Those who are in the body of Christ are our brothers and sisters and we need to show them compassion. Those who are not in the body of Christ need our compassion even more. If we, who are in the body of Christ, don’t show love and grace to those outside the body, how will they see the love and grace of God in the world?

Matthew 7:2

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

We are not to judge others because we will be judged by the same measuring stick we use to judge them. Jesus was the only one who was without sin and the only one who was able to judge the adulterous woman. He was the only one who could have chosen to throw the rock, but He didn’t. Instead He choose to show her love and grace.

“Our rocks will never change the world, only pockmark it with hate and fear.”1 We always leave a mark when we interact with others. Are you leaving a pockmark of hate and fear or are you leaving the beautiful mark of love and grace behind? Remember, it is always a choice. Choose to show others love and grace today!

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Where Does Your Hope Come From?


I love this picture. I took it while I was in Kansas and it just screams hope to me. In the midst of some of the coldest weather of the year where everything was freezing, a small plant is thriving and breaking through the ice. How often do we find ourselves in circumstances that seem overwhelming and never ending? When in those situations, where does your hope come from?

Just as the cold weather isn’t something we have the power to change, often our situations are our of our control. However, just as this one plant could spring up, we can find peace, comfort and hope in situations that are anything but peaceful, comfortable or hopeful.

Psalm 42:11

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

Placing our hope in God may not instantly change our circumstances, but it will help us gain perspective. Nothing we face is permanent because our lives here on earth are temporary and our eternity with Christ is in heaven.

Lamentations 3:23-24

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.

The Lord is our provider and we can place our hope in Him. He is good to us and never leaves us. Regardless of what we are dealing with, we can put our hope in the Lord and wait to see what He is going to do in the midst of our crisis. Often, we don’t have to wait long because we experience His peace and comfort. Then our attitude changes and we are able to see where He is already at work in our circumstances.

Romans 5:2

2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Jesus gave us access to our amazing faith by putting our faith in Him. His grace is sufficient for whatever is going on in our lives. He will empower us and minister to us and give us hope for the future if we seek Him. How do you need to seek the Lord today to have your hope restored? Do you need to spend some time in prayer or perhaps in the Word? Seek Him and you will find Him today!

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Is your Prayer Constant, Intense and Unselfish?


Today we will wrap up our study of Ephesians and look at Paul’s final words on prayer.

Ephesians 6:18-20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

These verses immediately follow the passage on the armor of God and it is connected by the word ‘and’. William Barclay gives the best description of this passage. “Finally, Paul comes to the greatest weapon of all – and that is prayer. We must note three things that he says about prayer. (a) It must be constant. Our tendency is so often to pray only in the great crises of life; but it is from daily prayer that the Christian will find daily strength. (b) It must be intense. Limp prayer never got a man anywhere. Prayer demands the concentration of every faculty upon God. (c) It must be unselfish. The Jews had a saying, “Let a man unite himself with the community in his prayers.’ I think that often our prayers are too much for ourselves and too little for others. We must learn to pray as much for others and with others as for ourselves.”

“Finally, Paul asks for the prayers of his friends for himself. And he asks not for comfort or for peace but that he may yet be allowed to proclaim God’s secret, that his love is for all men. We do well to remember that every Christian leader and every Christian preacher needs his people to uphold his hands in prayer.”

Ephesians 6:21-24

21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Paul tells the people He is sending someone else who will encourage them in their faith. He leaves them with the peace, love and undying love of Christ.

Which area do you need to bolster your prayer – its constancy, intensity or selflessness? Are you upholding you church leaders and pastors in prayer? As we approach the weekend, spend some time in prayer for your church community and its leaders. As we leave our study of Ephesians, I pray you have grown in your faith and pray you experience God’s peace, grace and undying love in your life and show it to those around you!


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Live Wisely

How wisely do you live? Where does your wisdom come from? Paul explains how we are to live wisely and where our wisdom comes from in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:15-16

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The Greek word for ‘wise’ in this verse is ‘sophos’. It “differs from the classical meaning of wisdom in at least two ways. First of all, the biblical concept of wisdom is God-centered rather than man-centered. It denotes a fear of God and an understanding of His Ways. It indicates the ability to apply skillfully what one knows (especially religious truths).” So when Paul tells the people to live wisely, he is asking them to apply what they know about how Christ wants them to live to their daily lives. It is how we are to live our lives today.

Ephesians 5:17-20

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul reinforces the need for us to know what God’s will is. In order to know what His will is, we need to read and study His Word. This reading and studying isn’t an merely academic task, but rather one that requires us to truly understand what we read so we can apply it to our lives. We need to internalize His Word and walk it out in our life. Think about the words used in psalms and hymns. They are uplifting and reinforce what we know about the Lord. What a different our world would be if those were the words we used.

Finally Paul reminds us of the importance of thanking the Lord for everything. All we are and all we have are because of the grace of God. When we truly grasp that concept, we can’t help but thank the Lord. Are you living wisely? Do you live your life in a way that reveals God’s love and grace to those around you? Do your words build up or tear down? What do you need to thank the Lord for today?

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Gifts of Grace


The verses from the previous two posts focused on the church body and today’s verses focus on the individual believer.

Ephesians 4:7-8

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

As individuals, we are given gifts by God through His grace. In verse 8, Paul is quoting from Psalm 68:18 with one difference. “The Psalm speaks about the conquerer receiving gifts. Paul changes it to read, ‘gave gifts to his people’. In the Old Testament the conquering king demanded and received gifts from men: in the New Testament the conquerer Christ offers and gives gifts to men.”1 What a difference in perspective. Jesus wants to give us gives rather than demanding them from us.

We are so blessed by the gifts God has given us. What gifts has the Lord blessed you with? We need to take the time to acknowledge the ways the Lord has blessed us and then thank Him for those blessings. Take some time today to think about all the ways the Lord has blessed you, thank Him and give Him praise.

  • Scripture from
  • Quote from “The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians”, The Daily Study Bible Series, William Barclay, The Westminster Press

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