Planted by Jesus himself …

June 22, 2017

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, ” Ephesians 3:14-16 New American Standard

You can’t be rushed and pray like this. You can’t pray these words casually. You can’t pray these words without love. If you’re going to pray like this .. you’ll find yourself changing. You will if you keep praying like this. Because Jesus is going to break those little places in you that have crusted over .. become calloused .. and put hastily on some back shelf in your heart. He’ll take the time to soften your heart .. restore tenderness .. and make the broken places whole. It might be one of the most complete prayers in the Bible. Your life is before the Father. Your heart is wide open to what He may do. And you’re asking Jesus and His Spirit to completely and totally saturate a life with His love. To do that He has to move in. And somewhere in this process you find Him setting up His home in you. He can’t hold back. He’s going to reach into those places in your life where only He can bring grace. You’ve tried but you can’t clean out your own heart. The truth is you don’t have the heart for it. But Jesus does. He knows what it feels like to feel abandoned. He knows how it feels to be all alone. And He knows what it feels like to die. Beyond all that and more Jesus knows what it is to be filled with all the fullness of God. Because He is .. all this for you. So close your eyes and pray a few words .. a sentence .. then another .. out loud .. into your own heart. May you find yourself rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. It only takes a moment …

 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 New American Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent with the love of Christ (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in changed life, Ephesians, Identity, ignite, in Christ, Inside and out, intended shape, life-changing, Life-words, love of Christ, prayer, the Father's love | Leave a comment

Loaves and Fish Living …

June 21, 2017

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter in the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message

You were that thought of … before earth’s foundations were laid out. God was already thinking about you. Nothing was held back even though you stole your freedom-to-prison life. No matter how good life was, you were always living orphaned-traced-lives until Jesus led you home. It’s still hard to imagine that God had prepared everything pleasing to him about your life. The everyday interruptions .. schedules and deadlines all figure into the life of Jesus making you whole and holy. It’s all very personal with God and He hopes it becomes as personal. Jesus really does want everything that goes into running and managing your life. He’s bought up any orphan claims  by adopting you. You have all the rights of being a true son and daughter through Christ. You believed and became a believer .. thus changing your life into a “believing” way of life. It doesn’t happen all at once .. although the Father already sees you whole and holy in His love. You’re becoming what you believed and believing is the only way or path you can walk today .. or tomorrow onward. Anything else will leave you wanting more .. half-hearted celebrations around this Full-Hearted-Son. It’s the same heart He wants to grow inside of you. Jesus already knows you cannot sustain this life without Him. You’ll break down. Nowhere does the Lord leave you to figure life out on your own : chosen .. adopted .. whole and holy are more than descriptions. They are the result of Jesus never turning his back on you while you ran from Him or acted nonchalantly over His offer. Today is yours to live out this miraculous gift of knowing Christ. If there’s anything in the way .. He gladly accepts broken things. It only takes a moment …

“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” 2 Peter1:3 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Lavishly-loved followers of Jesus (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in Being yourself, believe, Believing, changed life, Ephesians, Holy, whole | Leave a comment

Is that it … believe?

June 20, 2017

“What can we do to perform the works of God? They asked. Jesus replied, This is the work of God — that you believe in the One He has sent.” John 6:28-29 Holman Christian Standard

It’s the hardest work you do everyday: believing. You do it unconsciously over the smallest details: walking by faith. Then something unexpected or even expected happens and “believing” evaporates and “walking by faith” turns your feet into granite blocks. Jesus doesn’t hesitate to call us to real trust. He makes it quite plain. Whoever sees the Son … that is you begin to see and envision Jesus in the moment or the situation. He’s there as support .. alongside .. not going away. He’s not going anywhere. You’re faced with that moment to believe … to trust who Jesus is. It doesn’t mean all your theology is worked out or you can put all the pieces together. It’s just that at this moment you place what is both fragile and unbreakable before Him. You trust Him. Behind that trust is a definition of what He has done … sacrificed His life for you. You meant that much to Him. He exchanged all of who He is for all of who you are. And then you find yourself doing something you never imagined … you begin aligning the way you live with His life. Of course you’ve tried to live a little better over time, but this is completely different and you know it. You know it because you’ve turned over everything to this Loaves-and-Fish-Maker. If He can do that bread and fish … then what will He do in you? It’s the easiest work on earth: believing what God the Father has done. It’s so easy that you’re willing to put everything that matters about your life on the line. Some never look back. Others try to sneak away a little piece of the past just in case. They discover that it is worthless after awhile. The real work really is the hardest easiest thing you will do the rest of your life. And it only takes a moment …

“This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” John 6:39-40 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Bakers and Fisherman following Jesus(kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in believe, Believing, Jesus words, John, trust, walking in Christ | Leave a comment

The grace solution…

June 16, 2017

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1

You have to learn a whole new language when you follow Jesus. You learn it as you step into everyday .. ordinary .. unknown possibilities. Who would have thought that a once-promising-rabbi-turned-Jesus-follower would write letters from prison that are still fresh today? Who would imagine a personal letter to a disciple would be used two thousand years later to help you follow Christ? Who would imagine that the words you need everyday for every situation would stand the test of time as being “God-breathed”? To be strong in grace is to turn everything over to Christ in your life. That’s not easy to do. You’ve been influenced by all kinds of influencers to shape your own life .. find strength in yourself .. and guard your weaknesses. Grace is not part of “this” world’s formula for living or shaping the world you live in. That one word: grace .. is not an excuse .. is not a free pass .. and is the most life-changing foundation for living your life in Jesus. You’ll find a strength you never knew existed which doesn’t require you to do something or carry your share. It can’t be that easy? Well .. it isn’t. Grace is so eternally complex that the only way to sum up it’s parts is a cross. And out of that cross is a love that is free for the taking .. or receiving .. or just plain surrendering. All three yield a strength you never knew existed. You’ll find yourself being put together and shaped up for exactly what God had in mind all along. It only takes a moment ..

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another — showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 2 Timothy 3:16 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Grace-grippers following Jesus (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in 2 Timothy, grace, grace-filled, life in Christ, life-changing | Leave a comment

B-rated lives …

June 15, 2017

“He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,  but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right. He won’t tire out and quit. He won’t be stopped until he’s finished his work—to set things right on earth. Far-flung ocean islands wait expectantly for his teaching.” Isaiah 42:3-4 The Message

He seems to do his best work with the battered .. bruised .. and broken. Maybe it’s because you don’t expect Jesus to notice you. There are so many others who are worse or even more important. Why would He notice you? And if you’re wondering if this Nail-Scarred King has time for you? He spent the day walking with two Messiah-hopers who were crushed and defeated. They had heard a wild tale about His grave being empty … but what could that mean? Time? Jesus steadily and firmly set things right within them. But it was when He blessed and broke the bread that they recognized the Grave-Riser. It’s the same in us. Jesus has to steadily and firmly set things right inside us. He’s not in a hurry because He knows how easily you bruise and break. And He also knows what will happen to you when you hear and trust His blessing over your life: battered .. bruised .. and broken. There is nothing too small or insignifcant for Jesus regarding your life. It can take a long time … but He won’t tire out and quit. The work He’s finished is complete and forever. The time it takes to heal and make you whole is His specialty.  He has the scars. That’s what makes Him so approachable. You begin to realize that He knows exactly what you are going through. You begin to realize that it’s Jesus life that meets you at that place inside your heart or mind. You begin to realize for the first time or the thousandth time that you matter to this Deliverer.  And you’re left with a story about what happened with you and Jesus. Maybe you share the story or not. Maybe you just become that person who walks beside another who is battered .. bruised .. and broken. Because you know Who really has time for their life. It only takes a moment …

“Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.” Luke 24:35 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Others walking down the road with Jesus. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in battered, broken, changed life, healing, His finished work, Inside and out, life-together, Life-words, Living available, nail-scarred, Never quits, never-give-up, trust | Leave a comment

Gratefulness … all because

June 14, 2017

 I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14 The Message

Gratefulness is how everyday begins in Christ’s presence. You start this day upon the accumulation of all other days behind you. If you follow Jesus, you know this means another day of being “treated mercifully”. He didn’t take into account your credentials. Except .. God isn’t going to waste anything related to your life. It’s his library to use. What a different life you live today “all because of Jesus”. Did He go out on a limb for you?  He gave His life for you so you would know the endless patience and unsearchable depths of  His patience. You can be sure that if Christ really lives in you .. someone is standing at the verge of entering into this same life .. because of you. And what did you bring but a life of accusations? Now the Lord knows exactly how He made you and loves to show your life off.  Jesus came to save sinners and the line stretches farther than you know. But He’s there to enlist your help. Gratefulness is your daily life on display. It only takes a moment …

“Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Public Sinners Number One lined up around Jesus. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in 1 Timothy, Totally himself | Leave a comment

Letting it happen …

June 13, 2017

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message

Have you ever asked God for help. If He would only lift “this” burden ..  shield “that” struggle .. or better yet “take away” the obstacles? If He would do any of those things you know you would be a more effective servant for Christ. How many times do we get in the way trying to help the Lord? The only thing He wants from you today is “all” of you. All your mind .. all your heart .. and all your strength available for His plans and purposes. There is a lot of competition for you. We never really imagine on the front end how God values our weaknesses. He knows that’s where we really need His help. If only Jesus would just remove them. He hasn’t changed much in two thousand years. His grace .. the same grace two thousand years ago .. is still enough. It’s enough for your day. It’s enough that you can just let Christ take over. You’re free to walk in the gift .. not focus on your faults. Brokenness .. faith .. and freedom are great gifts in Christ’s hands. All He is asking from you today is all .. of you. It only takes a moment.

“So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.” 2 Timothy 1:13-14 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Grace-custodians following Jesus(kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in 2 Corinthians, 2 Timothy, All, brokeness, grace, grace-filled | Leave a comment

5 plus 2

June 12, 2017

Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.” They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?” But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.” That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.” Mark 6:37-38 The Message

When Jesus asks THE QUESTION our response finds its roots all the way back to an impossible moment two thousand years ago. He asks the impossible and we respond with “Are you serious?”. It’s the same question He asks you everyday: What do you have of your life that I can multiply into others? All He asks you today is what do you have? A long since homeward bound South African pastor called it “absolute surrender”. It became his life’s message.  It’s what happens when the only thing you have to give Jesus is your life with no strings attached. He never tires of asking “the question” either. And then He does impossible: He takes what you bring Him and He lifts it to the Father and gives thanks. He doesn’t critique or condemn your offering. He gives thanks .. pure and perfectly. Then He does what only Jesus can do in perfect love: He breaks those parts of your life so that you can be multiplied in His Name. It’s never what you expect. And really, you can’t believe He can take so little and transform it into something so incredible. But He does. It’s all He asks of your life today: Will you just offer Him your life .. just show up .. just offer you? What Jesus does next … only takes a moment.

“Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.” Mark 6:39-44 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to 5&2 Followers of Jesus. And Jesus lifted Andrew Murray’s life to the Father and gave thanks: absolute surrender. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in absolute surrender, bless, Expectations, life in Christ, life-changing, lifted, Living available, Mark, resurrection living | Leave a comment

The Grace flow …

June 8, 2017

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” Ephesians 2:7-8 The Message

What an amazing secret about God: He knows exactly where to shower your life with kindness and grace. You may have walked through a downpour and missed it. But He didn’t. Because He knew just where He could drench your life and you would not run from it .. fight it .. but finally just surrender and let it wash over all you. The word “extravagant” barely covers what grace is. There really isn’t one word or phrase that can capture and contain what this gift is and does in you. It’s Jesus wanting to meet you on your ground just as you are  and just as He is. And at that moment just lets grace be the path where you walk upright without shame .. fear .. or indelible guilt. But God … goes even further: He seals your life with His Spirit.. literally. His guarantee is stamped upon your heart. He knows you’ll test Him on his promise. He knows you’ll try to redefine grace to fit your plans and intentions. Grace isn’t a free permission slip to do anything and use His gift to cover it. But grace is there when you do cross the boundary lines .. desire to sin  .. and afterwards regret it and try to bury it. Grace lets you bring it into the light of Christ. You don’t have to hide or pretend. Jesus doesn’t dispense grace proportionally to your need. It’s unsearchable .. unfathomable .. extravagant .. immeasurable. Why? Because you’ve been signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. Grace doesn’t let you slide or hide. It calls you to be real and that’s where Jesus longs to meet you everyday: the real you. It only takes a moment …

“It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.” Ephesians 1:13-14 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent M-F to Infectionally-Graced Jesus Followers (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in Ephesians, extravagant, generous, grace, grace-filled, Holy Spirit, unfathomable, walking in Christ | Leave a comment

Walking with Jesus …

June 7, 2017

“God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 The Message

It’s amazing really! God has called you into fellowship with his Son. There wasn’t a list of questions you had to answer correctly. He didn’t examine your life-resume to see if you qualified. All your correct answers were wrong anyway. And your life disqualified you on so many levels … and yet God wanted you walking with His Son. What gets added in the small print is a new raised up life .. Holy Spirit sealing .. and the promise that your life would take on the image of Christ. And God backs it all up by promising his faithfulness .. or .. He’s not going to give up on you. There’s going to be bumps .. bruises .. broken days .. sometimes even longer. You may find yourself wondering if God has indeed given up on you … Has He walked away? No .. He hasn’t.  He’s letting you walk into this everyday broken-into-pieces world and experience it all .. and slowly realize  that He is faithful and is making life new on the inside. It’s not always fun. There are real lows along the way. This world has a way of making itself look better than it is. And if given a real choice: would you want what this world offers against what Christ has already done for you? You have God’s promise that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. He’s called you to walk in the steps of Jesus .. or rather Jesus will walk in your steps. He’s there in the hard times .. the lonely times .. and the tempting times. He’s been through it all. And when you do slip or give in .. He’s there to help you up. Because He wants to walk in fellowship and share a life of grace. He’s betting you want that too. You just don’t know how to ask. So, God’s asking you to walk with His Son. It only takes a moment ..

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by with our his unfolding grace.” 2 Corinthians 4:15-16 The Message

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to you as you walk with Jesus today.(kchesterp1@gmail.com)

Posted in 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, fellowship, walking in Christ | 1 Comment