January 25, 2016
Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.” 1 Thes. 1:2-5 MSG
You could never create the story of Jesus and what He has done through His life. Your imagination could never create a God who created everything .. chose a nation of shepherds and farmers to be His visible messengers of redemption .. over and over again forgives them when they try repeatedly to work around Him or try to reduce Him to just an ordinary god .. and finally appears in the flesh to identify Himself with their irrevocably broken and sin tilted lives. That was then and He .. Jesus .. is still pursuing men and women with the same calling that began in a desert. The desert looks the same from inside your life. And Jesus is still “custom-making” a people who praise Him .. not by force .. not by fear .. but out of a river infused with grace. It’s not something you could ever make up because we are not capable of knowing the utter boundaries of how far grace reaches a broken life .. a sin filled heart .. or when someone has lost all hope. God’s great work in you is to give you a life “steeled” by the Holy Spirit with a real faith .. an authentic faith .. a “custom-made” faith shaped by Jesus Christ. It’s not something you create but it’s created in you when His grace becomes real in your life. Your response .. your work .. your everyday life becomes a story of praise. Yes, you fail at times .. fall short .. and forget. But He doesn’t. His grace won’t let go and won’t stop the work He is shaping out of your life. From the most fashionable to the most forgettable, the grace of Jesus knows only one design: “custom-made to praise me”. It only takes a moment ..
“Because I provided water in the desert, drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.” Isaiah 43:20-21 MSG
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent to followers of Jesus (firstname.lastname@example.org)