Hello again, my dear friends.
This past week was my spring break, so I took a week off from blogging about God’s grace in my life…thank God (literally) that He didn’t take a week off from showing me grace 🙂
The week was pretty busy, but I want to share something that happened right at the start of it.
Last Saturday was one of the busiest days I’d had in quite a while. I had to be on campus by 8am to judge a science fair. I remember entering science fairs, so it’s fun for me to be on the judging side now! The kids were great and the team I was assigned to judge with were really cool–two students and two profs from another local university. As you must know by now, I love meeting new people.
As I was leaving the science fair, I found a stray puppy in the far parking lot. Don’t try this at home, but I pulled in and got out of my car, kneeling down and calling to the puppy. The poor thing came running and sat right at my feet, straining her head towards me to be pet. I picked her up and a friend helped me take her inside to the police.
Long story short, they basically told us we could either take the dog home with us or leave her on the streets because animal control was off duty for the weekend (which made no sense to me, but whatever…). I looked at the puppy in my arms and knew instantly that there wasn’t a chance I was going to leave her where I found her. My friend felt the same way, so we decided to stick it out and find the puppy a place to go.
Finally found an animal adoption shelter that would take her in, so we drove out there, filled out some forms, and dropped her off. They let us name her (we decided on “Savannah” b/c that’s the name of the building she was in front of when I found her) and told us that she would be adopted in no time because of her sweet temperament (one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met) and adorable looks (she looked like Benji…from the movie Benji). Shout out to my friend who held the puppy while I was trying to find a place to take her and then while I drove us to the shelter. Savannah was adorable, but you could tell by her STRONG odor that she had probably been a stray her whole life (the shelter told us she was 1-2 years old), hence the lack of a collar and abundance of leaves in her overgrown coat.
Why did I just relay that long story to you? Because God used that encounter to remind me of two things, and maybe He will use this to help you too.
1) I was the stray
Sure, it’s nice that my friend and I rescued a stray. But it’s only a glimpse into how God rescued me. I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly without a home…I was on the broad road to hell. I earned hell. I deserved hell. I didn’t see my need for a Savior. I wasn’t a good person who messed up here and there. I was dead in my sin.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Christian, don’t ever forget that. We did nothing to deserve His grace and mercy…to deserve HIM. We deserve hell and we get God. NOTHING compares to Him. No matter what is going on in your life or mine, what Jesus did on our behalf at the cross is enough to praise Him for eternity. Worship is the only proper response to His unmerited grace. I just learned a song this morning with lyrics that sum it up perfectly: “Every step we are breathing in your grace. Evermore we’ll be breathing out your praise.”
2) We were rescued for a purpose
God didn’t *just* rescue us and leave it at that. Check out the rest of that passage:
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (vs. 6-9)
Our rescue isn’t meant to be kept a secret. Our rescue proves that a Rescuer exists. Our rescue gives hope to a lost world. Our rescue displays His undeserved mercy and grace.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
-1 Tim. 1:15-17
So we, as the rescued, have a responsibility. We’ve got to make an effort to spend time with people who need to see the hope and life and mercy and grace that Jesus brings. I’m not talking about dragging people to church to hear a sermon on God’s grace. I mean letting people see God’s grace on display through us while we work with them, sit in class with them, live next to them. It’s easy not to care about people you don’t know. Nameless people don’t often invoke love in us. But the minute you have a name to match that face, a story to go with that person, you start to care. So learn and remember names. Get curious about people’s stories. And be eager to tell them the greatest story of all.
“The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.” -John Piper
“Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching – where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.” – C.H. Spurgeon
And those of you who are reading this blog that haven’t experienced salvation, I love you too much not to keep telling you this good news over and over again even if it seems repetitive. Without Christ, there is only eternal condemnation: that’s what we’ve earned and deserve. But Christ changes everything:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” -Rom. 8:1-2
Nothing you can do will earn His grace. No amount of good deeds, good grades, or “religious” acts will earn His favor or will secure your salvation. There is no other name by which you can be saved:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” -Acts 4:12
But by believing in that one Name-JESUS CHRIST- you are saved completely and eternally. No matter what your past looks like, no matter your present looks like right now: Jesus’ blood shed on the cross on our behalf covers it all. You can be saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, just like I have been saved. So please talk to me or read the Bible and see the truth for yourself–I’d suggest starting in the book of John. Don’t let another moment go by without grasping the truth of the gospel.
God’s grace in my life today:
Church was such a blessing today. Talked about the change in Mary Magdalene after she met Jesus and our personal BC and AC (before Christ and after Christ). We did cardboard testimonies after the message. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a video of the last time we did them.
I love seeing God’s grace in such a tangible way! The song played during today’s testimonies is a new-ish one called “Never Once” by Matt Redman. That’s the song with the lyrics I mentioned above. Check it out!