Chapter 1: The Grace-Shaped Life
“GOD’S GRACE HAS A DRENCHING ABOUT IT. A WILDNESS ABOUT IT. A WHITE-WATER, RIPTIDE, TURN-YOU UPSIDE-DOWNNESS ABOUT IT. GRACE COMES AFTER YOU.”
“The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: grace.”
“Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.”
“Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart—poisoned as it is with pride and pain—and replacing it with his own. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change.”
“Grace hugged the stink out of the prodigal and scared the hate out of Paul and pledges to do the same in us.”
“If you fear you’ve written too many checks on God’s kindness account, drag regrets around like a broken bumper, huff and puff more than you delight and rest, and, most of all, if you wonder whether God can do something with the mess of your life, then grace is what you need.”
– Grace is everything we have been, that we are and will be.
– Grace is Jesus saying “come to me all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus is not asking whether or not you deserve to be tired or that it’s your fault… He simply wants to give YOU rest
He points no finger… Grace points no fingers…
Jesus allowed Mary to pour a very expensive oil on his feet then wipe it with her hair. (John 12:3)
Grace is extravagant
…Jesus is Grace
…Grace is Jesus
…Grace calls us
…Runs after us.
– Grace dimishes worries and baggages… It says ‘come as you are’
– BUT Grace turns you upside down, it shakes you… You lose yourself in Christ.
You forget priorities
So be prepared for the ride
Chapter 2: The God Who Stoops
(re: woman caught in the act of adultery John 8:2-5)
“The accusers looked down on her. To see Jesus, they had to look down even farther.”
“Jesus wasn’t finished. He stood one final time and asked the woman, “Where are your accusers?” (v. 10 NLT)
Voices of condemnation awaken us as well.
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You’ll never improve.”
…the voices in our heads!”
“The Accuser makes a career out of accusing. Unlike the conviction of the Holy Spirit, Satan’s condemnation brings no repentance or resolve, just regret. He has one aim: “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10)”
“In the presence of God, in defiance of Satan, Jesus Christ rises to your defense. He takes on the role of a priest.”
“Not all guilt is bad. God uses appropriate doses of guilt to awaken us to sin.”
“We know guilt is God-given when it causes “indignation . . . alarm . . . longing . . . concern . . . readiness to see justice done” (2 Cor. 7:11 NIV)
God’s guilt brings enough regret to change us.”
“Give no heed to Satan’s voice. You “have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) As your Advocate, he defends you and says on your behalf, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Take that, Satan!”
It boils down to this choice:
Do you trust your Advocate or your Accuser?”
– re: the woman caught in adultery
Whether you are the accuser or the accused
Grace happens to us all.
– Grace is an alone-journey.
…you cease to see
…you cease to mock
…you cease to run your mouth
…you stop pointing fingers
…you stop seeking people’s approval
…it helps you love God intimately.
GRACE makes you cling to Jesus… Grace makes you lose it all but you don’t feel the loss because you are full.
– Check the story of Valjean in Les Misérables
– Check again… The adulterous woman’s story…
Imagine the silence that followed…
We can’t run this Christian race and the world’s… It’ll be too much
God help us.
Chapter 3: O Sweet Exchange
¬ “Barabbas: a rebel and a murderer. Anger in his heart and blood on his hands. Defiant. Violent. A troublemaker. A life taker. He is guilty and proud of it.”
¬ “Jesus “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21)”
¬ “With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Luke 23:14–19 NIV)
¬ “We are rebels. We are Barabbas”
¬ “Sin shouts, “I want to run my own life, thank you very much!” Sin tells God to get out, get lost, and not come back.”
¬ “Jesus was God’s model of a human being. Ever honest in the midst of hypocrisy. Relentlessly kind in a world of cruelty. Heavenfocused in spite of countless distractions. When it came to sin, Jesus never did.”
– Grace calls us to do one thing: to…
‘hand over the reins’
‘not be in control’
‘believe in Jesus’
– “…let your kingdom come” (the Lord’s Prayer)
Who’s the king in your kingdom?
Don’t be swift to answer.
…judging from your past and present decisions…who is the king in your kingdom…who’s leading who?
Think about it…
Chapter 4: You Can Rest Now
¬ “We are tired. A tired people. A tired generation. A tired society. We race. We run. Workweeks drag like Arctic winters. Monday mornings show up on Sunday night.”
¬ “Every time we catch our breath, someone else needs something else.”
¬ “But then God intervened. “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (Ex. 6:6)”
¬ “Most people embrace the assumption that God saves good people. So be good! Be moral. Be honest. Be decent. Pray the rosary. Keep the Sabbath. Keep your promises. Pray five times a day facing east.”
¬ “God has a better idea: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). We contribute nothing. Zilch.”
¬ “It wasn’t that the people didn’t believe in grace at all. They did. They believed in grace a lot. They just didn’t believe in grace alone. They wanted to add to the work of Christ.”
Max Lucado is a great author! He’s such a brilliant wordsmith. Man! he had me chuckling almost all through
– what we have is a gift from God… The whole idea of Christianity is based on faith and only faith opens up grace.
– we have to blindly accept grace without seeking to know the ‘why’
– plus we cannot add anything to the finished work of Christ. Whether you are pious or not. Our good deeds are simply what they are. Good deeds… No strings attached (to being heaven-bound)
God bless you.
Chapter 5: Wet Feet
(this is the funniest & most profound chapter so far)
¬ “Do you ever wonder what God does with promise breakers? He washes their feet.”
¬ “If he washes the feet of his Judas, you will have to wash the feet of yours. Your betrayer. Your turkey-throwing misfit and miscreant. That ne’er-do-well, that good-for-nothing villain. Jesus’ Judas walked away with thirty pieces of silver. Your Judas walked away with your virginity, security, spouse, job, childhood, retirement, investments.”
Grace has happened to you. Look at your feet._They are wet, grace soaked. Your toes and arches and heels have felt the cool basin of God’s grace.*
Jesus has washed the grimiest parts of your life. He didn’t bypass you and carry the basin toward someone else.
Can’t you share your grace with others?”
¬ “Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15 NLT)
¬ “Forgiveness may not happen all at once. But it can happen with you.”
¬ (check the story of Victoria Ruvolo)
– the most interesting thing about grace is that it runs after everyone even your enemies
It extends to the people who has hurt you
It extends to your mockers
Grace extends to the world
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. (John 3:16)
– surely God knows you’ve been hurt.
He saw your tears.
He heard your heart ache.
Surely, he will punish your haters…?
Jesus took off his robe and washed ALL his disciples’ feet.
Surely he’d exclude Judas!
Surely he’d leave Peter out…
No, he didn’t.
He did the lowliest job of a servant and loved up on ALL his disciples… Faults and all.
– You would only appreciate grace if you’ve needed some for yourself.
– Yes, people are devious.
Your hurts are real.
Yes, you have hurt others.
GRACE doesn’t say turn a blind eye to injustice but choose to forgive
It asks you to do as Jesus did… Wash your Judas’ feet.
Because “if you do not transform your pain, you will surely transmit it.
Chapter 6: Grace on the Fringe
¬ “Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in his eye and an offer that’s hard to resist.
“Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.”
¬ “Believe this promise.
Cling like a barnacle to every hope and covenant.
Imitate Ruth and get busy. Go to your version of the grain field, and get to work.
This is no time for inactivity or despair.
Off with the mourning clothes.
Take some chances; take the initiative.
You never know what might happen. You might have a part in bringing Christ to the world. Ruth did.”
– dance dance dance!
Dance with unadulterated joy… 💃
God is handling the mess/issue. So yay!
– but then, trust him…
Yield to the instructions of the HolySpirit and do as you have been told.
No doubts… No reasoning… Simply do as he has asked.
It’s our year of rejoicing!
Chapter 7: Coming Clean with God
¬ “Confession is not telling God what he doesn’t know. Impossible.
Confession is not complaining.
If I merely recite my problems and rehash my woes, I’m whining.
Confession is not blaming. Pointing fingers at others without pointing any at me feels good, but it doesn’t promote healing.”
¬ ” Confession is so much more.
Confession is a radical reliance on grace.
A proclamation of our trust in God’s goodness.
“What I did was bad,” we acknowledge, “but your grace is greater than my sin, so I confess it.”
¬ “Bury misbehavior and expect pain, period
Unconfessed sin is a knife blade lodged in the soul. You cannot escape the misery it creates.”
¬ “The power of confession lies not with the person who makes it but the God who hears it.
…trust his ability to receive your confession more than your ability to make it.”
– confession reduces tension and rebuilds relationships… Whether it is to God or someone.
We, most times, find it hard to say ‘I am sorry’ to the people we’ve offended.
We secretly hope the matter will resolve itself and until it does, we pretend nothing has happened or try to playfully speak with the person.
That’s the same way David approached his sin with Bathsheba.
He knew what he has done but chose to simply freestyle until he got a change of heart and proclaimed
“God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. I know about my wrongs, and I can’t forget my sin. You are the only one I have sinned against; I have done what you say is wrong. You are right when you speak and fair when you judge” (Ps. 51:1–4 NCV).
You don’t have to wait a year like David did.
Scroll through your phone and send a simple ‘I’m sorry’ to the person you have offended.
Don’t give excuses…
Awash yourself with grace.
We are the Jesus people see.
Chapter 8: Fear Dethroned
¬ “My grace is sufficient for you.”
¬ “Sustaining grace promises not the absence of struggle but the presence of God.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32 NIV)
¬ “Let God’s grace dethrone your fears.
Anxiety still comes, for certain.
The globe still heats up; wars still flare up; the economy acts up.
Disease, calamity, and trouble populate your world. But they don’t control it! Grace does.
God has embedded your plane with a fleet of angels to meet your needs in his way at the right time”
¬ “We dare to hang our hat and stake our hope on the gladdest news of all: if God permits the challenge, he will provide the grace to meet it.”
(this gave me a lot to think about)
– God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through trials.
Like he’s in the trial with us… The trial may not go away but he will be with us IN IT.
Giving us courage, strength, (sighs) and wisdom to carry through.
– I guess this sufficient grace explains why go through all we go through. So God’s strength will be shown.
– to experience God’s strength we have to face certain weaknesses.
May his grace be so profound that we are encouraged and not disappointed. In Jesus name. Amen.
Chapter 9: Unscrooged Hearts
¬ “He dispenses his goodness not with an eyedropper but a fire hydrant.
Your heart is a Dixie cup, and his grace is the Mediterranean Sea.
You simply can’t contain it all. So let it bubble over. Spill out. Pour forth.
“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8 NIV)”
¬ “Grace walked in the front door, and selfishness scampered out the back. It changed his heart.( Zaccheaus )
Is grace changing yours?”
¬ “How long has it been since your generosity stunned someone?
Since someone objected, “No, really, this is too generous”?
If it has been a while, reconsider God’s extravagant grace.
“Forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity” (Ps. 103:2–3 RSV)”
– going by Zaccheaus’ account. He’s a con man. Con men are extraordinarily wise and street smart.
Jesus did need to ask him to repent but the mere invitation to have lunch at his house preached a thousand message.
Seeing Jesus’s generousity and open heart, the street-smart man proclaimed that he’ll give half of his riches to the poor and pay back anyone he’s cheated 4 times of what he’s taken.
Zaccheaus must have weighed his options and decided that he’s worthy of redemption after all.
– most times, we don’t have to criticise that our friend we think is not doing well.
We don’t have to tell that child he’s not good enough and need to do more.
Simply loving up on them preaches a thousand message.
See a need for change, pray about it, love up on them and let the HolySpirit get to work.
That’s grace… To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48)
We’ve been forgiven much, we shouldn’t let it turn us into finger-pointing justice-now you-should-know-better prudes(Matthew 18:32-33)
Nagging doesn’t solve the problem, it only escalates it.
God bless you.
Chapter 10: Chosen Children
¬ “Like Jacob, we wrestle.
All our wrestlings, I suppose, are merely asking this question: “Do I matter?”
All of grace, I believe, is God’s definitive reply: “Be blessed, my child. I accept you. I have adopted you into my family.”
¬ “But if you were adopted, your parents chose you. Surprise pregnancies happen. But surprise adoptions? Never heard of one.
Your parents could have picked a different gender, color, or ancestry. But they selected you. They wanted you in their family.
You object: “Oh, but if they could have seen the rest of my life, they might have changed their minds.” My point exactly.
God saw our entire lives from beginning to end, birth to hearse, and in spite of what he saw, he was still convinced “to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure” (Eph. 1:5 NLT)”
¬ “Rather than conjure up reasons to feel good about yourself, trust God’s verdict.
If God loves you, you must be worth loving.
If he wants to have you in his kingdom, then you must be worth having.
God’s grace invites you—no, requires you—to change your attitude about yourself and take sides with God against your feelings of rejection.”
– I simply rejoiced in this chapter.
God chose us despite our faults. He saw all that we could ever be and still chose to choose us. Me!
I simply rejoice in this knowledge.
You should too.
Chapter 11: HEAVEN: Guaranteed
¬ How can you rest if you aren’t assured passage on the final flight home?
“Many Christians…live with a deep-seated anxiety about eternity. They think they are saved, hope they are saved, but still they doubt
Am I really saved?”
¬ “Salvation becomes a matter of timing. You just hope you die on an upswing. No security, stability, or confidence”
¬ “Where there is no assurance of salvation, there is no peace. No peace means no joy. No joy results in fear-based lives.
Is this the life God creates No.
Grace creates a confident soul who declares
“I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Tim. 1:12 NIV)”
¬ “Trust God’s hold on you more than your hold on God. His faithfulness does not depend on yours. His performance is not predicated on yours. His love is not contingent on your own. Your candle may flicker, but it will not expire.”
– “God’s kindness stirred Joseph’s holiness.”
Most of us have several reasons we try not to sin.
For some of us, it’s so that we wouldn’t fall on God’s bad side that he’ll stop blessing us.
For others, it’s so that they’d be careful and not miss the trumpet’s call to heaven
But Joseph chose not to sin because God’s kindness stirred his heart.
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man . . . the Lord made all he did to prosper . . . the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had” (Genesis 39:2, 3, 5)
He pursued holiness not to show off or be applauded
He pursued holiness in a foreign land where he knew no one
He pursued holiness because he remembered how God has been faithful to him.
He said, “how can I sin against God” the mere thought of it is even baffling to him!
This is a good example to follow. We should strive to do good because God’s kindness stir our hearts.
God bless you.
¬ “Let him do his work.
Let grace trump your arrest record, critics, and guilty conscience.
See yourself for what you are —God’s personal remodeling project.
#Not a world to yourself but a work in his hands.
#No longer defined by failures but refined by them.
Trusting less in what you do and more in what Christ did.
¬ “God will change you, my friend.
#You are a trophy of his kindness, a partaker of his mission.
#Not perfect by any means but closer to perfection than you’ve ever been.
#Steadily stronger, gradually better, certainly closer.”