Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grace Provoke us to Reach Higher!

Bobby Conner:

"The Goals of Grace Provoke Us to Reach Higher"

Bobby ConnerAs Believers, we are instructed to live our daily lives with true goals, aims, and divine purpose. We cannot achieve this unless we walk in God's grace (see Ephesians 5:14-18).

God is not looking for strong people to help Him accomplish His work. The truth is that the Lord is looking for people who are weak enough to be used
. We must remember that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). The key to experiencing supernatural liberating strength is personal weakness.

Accomplish the Work of the Spirit

Now, let me make it clear that I am not speaking about weak character or being weak in knowing the Scriptures. I am talking about a people who have come to the place where they have lost confidence in the power of the flesh to accomplish the work of the Spirit. It is at this point we become strong and graced to accomplish things for the true advancing of God's glorious Kingdom. We must never forget it is not by might, nor by power, but only by the Spirit of the Lord that the Kingdom of God is established (see Zechariah 4:6).

This truth is clearly displayed in the story found in Psalm 107:23-28 of the strong, seaworthy sailors who made their living upon the high seas. However, one day the Lord raised up a stormy wind that blew away all their self-confidence. They found themselves at their wits' end. It was at this point that they cried out for the Lord's grace and help. Though they were skilled and experienced, the winds and waves of the sea convinced them of their dependence upon God.

Have you encountered the winds of change in your life? If not, you can be confident they are on their way in order to test your foundation. The winds and floods come to test our lives, making sure we are founded upon the firm foundation of Christ and Him alone.

Christ declares, "...without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This word nothing means: completely, totally nothing. It truly means less than nothing. It is a life of joy when we come to the place where we understand that it must be the work of the Spirit to advance the Kingdom of God.

Absolutely nothing you have ever done, nothing you could ever accomplish, will match the unparalleled joy of letting Jesus live His life through you. God has exactly fitted for each of us a unique walk of grace. As we yield our wills and ways to the control of God's Holy Spirit, we begin to experience the walk of grace. In this arena, you will experience the abundant grace that enables you to accomplish all that God has assigned you to do.

New Believers Burn with Grace

This deposit of grace is what makes the fire of passion burn so brightly in new Believers. One of the great joys of pastoring people for years was the overwhelming joy of watching a new Believer express with excitement the new things God was doing in their life. The joy and excitement of a new Believer are contagious. It is extremely refreshing to be around brand-new Believers; their entire lives are ablaze with the love of God.

As pastor, I was able to teach a new converts class, and my heart was always blessed by the joy that Jesus Christ produced in the life of a new Believer. It is this grace that causes the light of contentment to dance in the eyes of mature Believers who have learned the secret of walking the grace walk. Our life should testify to the ability of God's awesome grace to use us to accomplish great and mighty things for the glory of God.

You cannot separate life's actions from a grace-filled life. We are saved by grace, and we are kept by God's awesome grace. The Body of Christ seems to understand much concerning the grace of God touching an unbeliever's life, and bringing that person into a place of salvation. However, we lack true understanding concerning the ability of God's grace to operate in the daily lives of Believers, thereby bringing them into a place of true effectiveness and fruitfulness.

Grace does not just change your mind. It has a transforming effect upon your life. Grace is a powerful motivator, provoking us to reach higher, and accomplish more for Christ and His Kingdom.

Essential Ingredients For Grace

The Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Paul declared that the grace of God was not wasted upon his life, but he labored more because of the grace active in his life.

Though all we are and all we do are because of God's grace, we are still called to labor abundantly to advance God's Kingdom. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that it is only by and through grace that we accomplish anything, yet God expects us to labor diligently in His service. Charles Spurgeon once said, "Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened."

Just as diligent labor is required to extract out all of the grace that God has given us, humility is required to obtain grace. "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Peter 5:5).

Grace is promised to the humble. A great saint of years by gone, Walter Buettler, made this observation, "The moment humility announces herself she is already on her way out the door." If we would be truly humble, and careful not to touch the glory of God, always giving Him praise for what He is doing, I am sure we would receive more grace. The Lord warned me once that the highest form of treason was to take the gifts and graces He has given leadership to win and woo the Bride to Himself, and then use these gifts and graces to win the Bride to ourselves.

May each heart embrace the promise given in Psalm 84:11, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory." In this passage we see the true key to the advancing of the Kingdom of God. It is by God's gift of grace that we are able to behold the glory. Any good thing ever accomplished by mankind is the direct result of the anointing and impartation of God's grace. May we walk a grace-filled life in order to see the glory of God fill the earth.

Grace is an open door which bids us to draw nearer to God. In Proverbs 8:17 and 21, God declares, "I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me...that I may cause those who love Me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries." Now this is an awesome promise and powerful incentive, finding God and having Him bless us with overflowing treasures.

We must never forget that God has great plans for His people. Hear His promise stated in Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,' saith the Lord, 'thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'" It is time to open our hearts wide to the grace of God. He is a good God and has great plans for each of us.

Waiting Upon God

The Lord desires to change us. He seeks to bring us up into His purpose for us. He waits for us to reach out to Him and knock on the door of His heart. Just as Esther had to approach the throne of her husband, we too must prepare ourselves to approach the throne of God. He, too, has extended His scepter. Now is the time grace has provided an open door in Heaven. It is time to approach the throne of God's grace to find favor and help during these days.

In Psalm 46:10 we are instructed to be still and know that God is God. Spending quiet time in the Lord's presence is tremendous, and carries great importance. It is as we wait upon Him that we are renewed in power and strength (see Isaiah 40:28-31). Each of us must find a special quiet place where we can shut out the cares of this world and get alone with God.

Each day, we should come within our set-apart place to worship, acknowledge His goodness and grace concerning us, and thank Him for His guidance and blessing upon our lives. Great grace is released when we truly enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise by taking the time to praise the Lord and to bless His Holy Name.

As we take time to behold Him with an unveiled face, we are changed into ever-increasing glory. In this place of quiet worship and prayerful reading of His Holy Word, there is a release of grace producing Spirit and life which flows into our being to build our faith and provide the enabling grace for obedience. It is essential that we set apart time each day to be in His presence. Being part of a local church and attending their church services are essential and not to be neglected, but this is no substitute for our devotional times alone with the Lord of Glory.

Being One With The Lord

Notice in Luke 3:2 that the Word of God came to John while he was alone in the wilderness, thus giving him clear direction for the days ahead. The programs of the Church of that day were in full operation, yet John was called apart to be with the Lord alone. So also today, there are those who are spiritually hungry and seeking something more, who likewise are being called apart to be alone with the Lord for a time of preparation. As a result of his being alone with the Lord, John came into a oneness with the Lord that could not have been accomplished in any other way.

When John was asked who he was, his response testifies to this experience. He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said" (John 1:23). Each one of us should come to the place where we also could make this statement, "I am the voice of One." There is an urgent need for this voice to cry out in the midst of the frustrations and perils of our present day. We live in a world that must have the grace and peace of God.

The need today is not newfangled methodology, but rather a turning aside to stand in the manifest presence of the Lord to be prepared as the voice of one crying in the wilderness of our day. May it be stated of us, as it was of the disciples of old, that it is apparent we have been with Jesus. This, and only this, will make the changes that must occur if we are to reach this hurting world with the message of God's redemptive, transforming grace.

Toward the end of his life, a popular minister was asked what he would do if he had his life to live over again. He said he spent seven years in preparation for forty-five years of ministry. Instead, he would spend forty-five years in preparation for seven years of ministry. It is very important how we begin, but it is far more important how we finish.

The Lord is seeking to bring us to the end of our abilities so we can tap into His ability. This requires that we recognize His presence and turn aside to stand before Him. Only then will we be enabled to become the expression of His voice crying in the wilderness of our day.

Bobby Conner

EaglesView Ministries



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