He has the grace you need …

February 13, 2018

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 Christian Standard

It is recorded with just a few lines. It’s never used to beat you over the head or cause you to shrink into a corner. It is so underwhelming: Jesus experienced everything you have faced in your life … except He didn’t give in .. didn’t override His own will .. and doesn’t hold back anything helping you when you need it .. want it dearly .. and ask without conditions attached. He’s there with mercy and grace … all you need. You can’t believe He would give something so valuable in exchange for what you’ve done. But He does … because it is who He is. He was pierced and crushed and we were healed. One translation says “he knew pain firsthand”. That is the Jesus who found you .. who calls you to follow Him .. who washes away all your sin and guilt .. and who lives in you so fully and freely that you are no longer the man or woman you used to be. Grace is a game changer. There is nothing like it. There never will be. There’s just more grace than you can ever imagine! So if you need grace today .. need help in anyway .. need Jesus to carry your burdens and blunders …… then ask .. ask with a grace-filled boldness .. ask with a thankful and grateful heart. But don’t hang back thinking you’ve blown it … used up your grace .. beyond His reach. Run .. walk .. crawl .. cry out .. sigh with surrender .. close your eyes and fall into His hands. It’s that easy. It only takes a moment….

Grace-Gripped is undergoing a complete web redesign. This will be the last GG on email delivery until this redesign is complete. Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers going forward. Yours in Christ …. Ken

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When You offer You…

February 5, 2108

Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me. Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14 Christian Standard

How many you’s exist inside of you.?There is the one-you  that longs for the Lord in all the places of your life. You’re aware of flaws .. failings .. and fears. You know just how stubborn you can be. You know that trusting yourself to guard yourself is a broken way to live … no matter how successful it may appear.  There is another-you that carries things that are long passed and powerless. You still carry them even  though they make you weary at times. There is One who can free you from carrying unneeded baggage. Then there is the other-you that wrestles with old things and new things that promise what only God can give you and do in you. You know the battles are real. You’ve got the scars to prove it. That’s a lot of “you’s”.  The real-you can only make one offer: complete surrender. You don’t have to worry if you covered everything because you know that Jesus has covered every-you in you. That’s where you’ve placed your trust. That’s how you’re going to live. That’s who you know will search .. cleanse .. know .. test .. and lead the real-you in the only way that way lasts forever. That’s who will lead you today. That’s who will work in the deepest unseen places of your heart. That’s who will supply you with real hope .. real grace .. and real faith to live in Christ.  And knowing you are alive in Christ and He will not let go is only way to start the day .. walk in it .. and end the way you started … in Christ. It only takes a moment …

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.  See if there is any offensive  way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24 Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Christ-in-you .. Christ-for-you .. Christ-through-you followers of Jesus. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

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Following in His Steps

January 31, 2018

“But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities, punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. …. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth … He was assigned a grave with the wicked, but he was with a rich man at his death, because he had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.” Isaiah 53:4-5, 7, 9 Christian Standard

He was accused of being too dangerous to leave alive. Isaiah described exactly what kind of Messiah he would be: An Accused One. His healing was demonic. His compassion was lawless. His teaching was blasphemy. His life was too inclusive of unwanted and unworthy people. Every victim in this fallen world finds him at the bottom of their pain .. brokenness .. and sorrow. He alone has the power to wash away shame and bitterness and replace it with indescribable joy. He pays for the abusers crimes and suffers for the abused. He can identify with any background. He doesn’t condemn because he knows just how condemning sin truly is in your heart.  He’s found wherever pain, despair, addiction, loneliness, shame, fear, and brokenness imprison men and women. He could easily keep his distance but instead moves toward hurting lives with hope. He has never overlooked your sin or excused  your flaws and struggles. He doesn’t take into account your background, where you’ve come from, or whether you acted with good intentions. Once you see his nail-scarred hands extended on your behalf, there are no more excuses available. The only thing he has to offer you is all of who he is. The only thing he wants is all that you have been. The one title mockingly written above his head is the One Title that you will worship forever. You are Christ’s ambassador. Wherever you go today, you represent Him and all that He has done. It only takes a moment …

“Above his head they put the charge against him in writing: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Matthew 27:37 Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Christ’s Ambassadors following in His steps. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

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2000 years of perfect imperfections…

January 30, 2018

“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.” Hebrews 10:14 The Message

How have we held together for over 2000 years? Our history is littered with endless trails of brokenness, betrayal, and bitterness. And we are God’s church. He’s staked his Name upon us .. upon you .. to be a living witness of what the resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes in an imperfect person. And the great mystery is that the Father sees you in all his Son’s perfection. Yes, he sees all the flaws and imperfections. But he sees something so great in grace that he loves it when we display this life-changing love with abandon. What if you believed this day that your very life is being held together by Jesus? Everything that you do becomes an opportunity or moment for Christ to be first place in your life. You’re not worried or anxious because you heard him say: “Do not be anxious .. Do not fear .. I will be with you always.” You heard it .. read it .. believed it .. and His Spirit empowers you to live it in everything connected to your life. You’re not worried if you fail or travel down a the wrong path. You’re not worried because you know that Christ is your Advocate. The enemy cannot make his accusation stick because Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. He’s covered your life and fills you with His presence and peace. His Church has fought battles on every front. God has not lifted his promise for one second. You are part of God’s kingdom outpost*. What kind of people do you attract? Imperfect people just like you were once. You don’t boast of perfection. You live with an infectious thankfulness of “incalculable” grace. And just like that an imperfect person believes such a perfect gift is available for them. You don’t take credit because you know with such freedom that Christ has done all the work. You’re on assignment for Christ today. It only takes a moment…

“He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1:17-18 Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to God’s Outpost following Jesus. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)*Thanks to EP for defining who we are on this earth.

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Blessed indeed …

January 29, 2018

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. ” 1 Peter 1:3-4 Christian Standard

What a description of a follower of Jesus: new birth .. living hope .. an inheritance imperishable .. undefiled .. and unfading! It’s not burdensome. It’s not probationary. It’s not threatened. And just to make sure, Peter tells you that your life in Christ is being guarded by Gods power. Can you imagine what your life would look like and feel like if you had to find your own strength to guard what has been given to you through Christ? Your new life is founded upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It defines who you are. You are a follower of One who walked out of a grave after dying. His death covers everything about your old life that was perishable .. defiled .. and fading away. His risen life fills you with a life that can never be lost .. taken away .. or defeated. This is the life that begins your day. God’s power guards you as you go out. Christ’s life dwells in you .. an indwelling life of grace and power. That simply means you are living every minute and moment out of His inexhaustible love. And the power? It raised Him out of grave. Why would you think that He will be any less in you?  This is why your response to such a life is to bless your God and Father who has given you an unbelievable gift. Will you let His words and life carry you into this day? It only takes a moment …

 “You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 3:5 Christian Standard

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Priceless space …

January 26, 2018

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. “(“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” 4:7 MSG) Philippians 4:6-7 New American Standard

God really does want to be part of everything in your life. He sees and knows your smallest thought .. He sees and knows your wildest dreams .. and He sees and knows everything that causes you to lose sight of His care. He doesn’t leave you to figure it out on your own. He tells you upfront that His peace will guard your heart and mind. Aren’t those the two places where anxiety-thieves break in to wreck havoc and cause such unrest? And it’s not just your heart and mind … it is your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. God’s work in you is always connected to life in His Son. Jesus wrestled with every form of space-stealing thoughts. He was tempted in every area of His life. He was ridiculed .. He was wearied by all the broken and hurting people who continually wanted His attention and power. He even struggled in his final hours before His life was stolen with nails. If you want to know what battles you will face today .. just create that space where true — honorable — just — pure — lovely — commendable — excellence and praise will fill your heart and mind … and you will encounter the mental battles .. the eyesight battles .. and the heart battles .. and all the subtle temptations that want only one thing: to get you to focus on yourself .. and leave God’s faithful promises on the sidelines in your life. Dwell on these things. It only takes a moment …

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable —  if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Grace-guarded spaces in followers of Jesus (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

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A way of life …

January 25, 2018

Therefore Pilate went out to them and *said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”  They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” John 18:29-30 New American Standard

Just what evil did this Nazarene jewish rebel commit? He touched a leper and made him whole. He let a disreputable woman wash his feet with her tears. He invited a tax collector to join his ministry. He fed 5000. He blessed a wedding without drawing attention to himself. He healed paralyzed .. lame .. blind .. bleeding .. sick .. and spiritually diseased men and women. The broken .. rejected .. lost .. shamed .. fear-filled .. and terrorized all found Him to be a friend. And when He could have shut down all his accusers, He turned instead to His Father in complete trust. This is the One you’ve staked your life upon. His life is to become your way of life. You’ll face some of the same accusers .. whispers .. and false condemnations. He hasn’t left you alone to your own devices. He’s given you His Spirit to guide you .. lead you .. strengthen you .. and assure you as you face a hostile world. It is an illusion to think that the world you live in is peaceful and accepting of this Nazarene troublemaker. He acceptable as long as you make Him equal to everyone else. But let Him be made visible through your life with grace and forgiveness, and you may face the same crowd He faced. The same path is open to you: to trust the Father who sees you in the life of His Son … made whole by His scars. As you go out today … it only takes a moment …

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right.” 1 Peter 2:21-23 The Message

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Wide open spaces…

January 24, 2018

“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. Romans 5:1-2 The Message

Justified: It’s more than just a word. It’s what Christ has done for you. It’s how you are supposed to live and love today. It’s not a word you’re going to hear today. But it declares something about your life that you could never achieve on your own.  The insides and outsides of your life are standing free in the wide open spaces of God’s grace. All your efforts to set things right didn’t set things right. It doesn’t matter how hard you tried .. how sincere you were .. how pure your intentions. Christ’s life was the only way to set you free .. to bring real peace in your life .. and find yourself unbound from sin’s relentless claim upon you. The Spirit of Christ has cleared the air for you to breathe grace .. live in grace .. and freely share this indefatigable gift. You’re set free to live true in everything you do in your life. That’s where you’ll find the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. It’s where He wants to live in you.  It’s how He wants you to live. It only takes a moment …

“A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” … “because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. ” Romans 8:2 The Message/Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to Wide-Open Followers of Jesus (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

 

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First them … now you

January 23, 2018

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us  lay aside every hindrance and the sin the so easily ensnares us. Let run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3 Christian Standard

They’ve always been there .. even when you thought you were all alone .. forgotten .. and invisible. They had no where else to go? Where could they go? Their home was a kingdom, promised and guaranteed. Their lives belonged to Another. The worlds they lived in tried every tactic .. ridicule .. disgrace .. rejection .. and persecution. It didn’t matter. The One they followed had already defeated the only enemy that mattered. They were free .. free from sin’s condemnation  .. free from death’s claim .. free from all the lies that this life is the only life you have to live. They were free to live for the glory of God .. free to live wide open for Christ .. and free to share the grace of Jesus with anyone desperate enough to receive. And now you’re part of these witnesses. That means your life is free to live wide open for Christ .. to live all out for Jesus .. to live with your eyes focused on the source and perfecter of your faith. There will be distractions .. discouragements .. and lies disguised as true. The world you live in still tries ridicule .. rejection .. disgrace .. and persecution. But you already know the story. That cloud of witnesses have left you with the same story they lived and shared. They lived their lives for Jesus. Is there any other race worth running today? It only takes a moment …

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” Romans 12:1 Christian Standard

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

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Overflowing…

January 22, 2018

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.” Psalm 145:13 Christian Standard

God is your Portion .. Provider .. Protection .. and Peace. He is your Freedom .. Strength .. Joy .. and Fortress. The Lord is your Hiding Place .. Rock .. Restorer .. and Shepherd. And because He is faithful, Jesus is the One who comes to you with the scars of grace. He meets you right where you are .. no demands .. no condemnation .. and no lack of all that you need to be made whole in His presence. And in Him you will find help .. mercy .. healing and forgiveness … overflowing. It only takes a moment….

“Now may the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Christian Standard

Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to the Lost and Found following Jesus. (kchesterp1@gmail.com)

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