GOOD NEWS- JESUS FINISHED IT ALL ~by Paul Gray
Just before Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” (Greek: “Tetelestai” - John 19:30).
Hebrews 4:10 (MIRROR) God’s rest celebrates His finished work; whoever enters into God’s rest immediately abandons his own efforts to compliment what God has already perfected. (The language of the law is “do;” the language of grace is “done.”)
Jesus, Papa and the Holy Spirit working together, actually finished everything necessary for all people in our relationship with God! Just because very few people are aware of that great Truth of all Truths, doesn’t mean it’s not true!
Many people have believed religion’s lie that those are potential truths that are conditionally available only after they do some required thing. That, of course, leads to great uncertainty and much confusion. People wonder, “Have I done enough? Did I do it right? Was I sincere? Have I done something to negate what I previously did? Did I miss anything?” However, Jesus seems to think He did it all for us in His Finished Work at the Cross!
There is literally nothing left, nothing necessary, nothing that we can or must do to get right with God. They didn’t leave anything up to chance… they took care of it all.
I know this is different, contrary to what you probably have been taught and believed. It was certainly news to me, even after I’d been a “Christian” for almost 20 years!
Think of how your life can change if you know and are confident that God loved you so much that He took no chances and proactively did everything (at great cost!) to ensure your inclusion not only into His family, but into their divine Triune circle dance of love and everything good that flows from their love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith, self-control, compassion, mercy, grace and so much more!
Human failure in every tense and sense of the word was dealt with in Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection!
Jesus wants you to have complete and total assurance…so He did it all. We call that Good News!
JESUS VOTED FOR YOU ~by Paul Gray
Remember the last presidential election season in the United States. Supporters of each of the candidates were trying to convince other people, undecided people, to vote for their candidate. They try to give new information about their person – good stuff that people maybe weren’t aware of. They do this by touting the selling points of their candidate. They state what he or she is for and what they are against.
They paint the picture that the country is in dire trouble and only their candidate can fix the trouble and make things right. They tout their accomplishments and background and make a case that they can get the job done.
We’re not in an election for God or for Jesus. We’re not trying to get people to vote for Jesus. Jesus already voted for us and that’s the only vote that counts!
However, the situation is that Jesus is the only one who can ultimately make a difference in people’s lives both right now and in the future in the next life… and forever! The situation also is that most people, even Christians, have no idea what Jesus, God, is like. They have vague, usually incorrect ideas about His nature, His glory.
Here’s where we come in. What if you and I let Jesus live His life of love and grace not only in us, but as us and through us, so that Jesus can give grace to everyone in our lives everyday as we go about our lives? And what if we intentionally make it a point to tell other people that Jesus is GRACE and explain a little bit of what that means to us.
Jesus will actually do the talking. That’s when it gets to be really fun and really helpful to other people. Here’s how Paul put it when he encouraged some people to do just that:
"Philemon 6 (NKJV) The sharing of your faith will become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:17 (MIRROR) I desire that you will draw directly from the Source, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of Glory, ignites the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in you in the unveiling of His master plan.
I desire that you know by revelation what He has known about you all along!
GOD GIVES GRACE THROUGH YOU ~by Paul Gray
When you’re at your lowest and you don’t know how you can go on… when you hurt so bad and you’ve cried so much that your tear ducts are dry… you can’t even cry any more… when that one relationship that was more important to you than any other is no more…when you used to be vibrant and healthy…and that’s gone…when you are so sad that words can’t describe it…
Jesus says, “I know. I’m here. I hurt with you. I’m sad too. And I’m with you. I’m in you and I’ll never leave you or forsake you. My grace is sufficient. You can’t see it right now, but I promise you that it is. My glory is my compassion and grace nurturing you, comforting you and empowering you right now.
“You can do this through Me, and I will be your strength. I am The Rock and I will be your Rock. I am your Rock.
“And most importantly…as bad as this is, there is coming a day when I will make it right. You will be whole and healthy and so will all your loved ones. I am making all things right for everyone. Every wrong will be made right. There will be no more pain, no more sickness, no more grief, no more sin, no more inequality, no more injustice… there will be true justice- Me making everything right for everyone.”
That’s what you can expect to hear from Jesus in the worst moments of your life. He wants you to get to know Him now and learn to hear His voice now and learn what He’s like now and experience His grace and glory now… so that you can more easily recognize and experience it in your time of deepest need.
Jesus is Grace. God’s glory is His Grace.
You know when we meet new people, the question inevitably gets around to, “So what do you do?” I think if someone were to meet Jesus for the first time and asked Him what does He do, He might say “I give grace.”
Christ/Grace is in you, the Hope of Glory!
As you get to know Him more, you most likely will also hear Him say, “Now I’d like to start giving grace AS you and through you to everyone you’re with!”
CHRIST IN YOU- THE HOPE OF GLORY ~by Paul Gray
I want you to see why learning that God’s glory is actually His grace is way more than just a theology lesson.
Stuff happens in our lives. Bad stuff. Doesn’t it? We get taken advantage of, we get lied to. People offend us. They hurt us. They abuse us. Unfair things happen. Our loved ones aren’t faithful.
Now be honest, when someone hurts you, what do we want to happen to them? While we might not admit it out loud, most of us want them to get caught, to be embarrassed and ashamed. We want them to pay for their wrong. We want them to be punished.
Take that a step further. When people do bad things to us or others… we want God to get them. We want Him to make them pay. We want Him to smite them, curse them, cause them financial or physical ruin.
We want God to vindicate us, announce that we are right and we are the victims, thus they are in the wrong.
We want other people to get what they deserve… from God.
We want God to bless us… and curse them.
And how you and I want God to treat other people is usually going to be how we treat them.
I used to talk about people from other religions or about atheists or about people who said that God was different than I thought He was, and I used to say to my friends, “They’re going to get a rude awakening when they die and see God face to face…they’re going to get what they deserve!” Of course, that’s what I wanted to happen.
I thought, “Hell is the ultimate punishment. They deserve it. I hope they’ll burn in hell.” Have you ever said or thought that about someone?
We know that God is all powerful. We believe in Him. We’re “Christians.” So how do we want Him to use His power in regard to those who hurt us… those who are different from us… those whose lifestyle disgusts us? These are questions we really should be asking.
The Holy Spirit has revealed to me that God, Christ in me, wants to treat other people just like He treats me and you. He wants to do that AS you and me, and through you and me… so that other people can experience the glory of God!
Christ in you, the hope of glory!
JESUS CONSIDERS HIS GLORY TO BE HIS GRACE ~by Paul Gray
You can sing about God’s glory and you can use the word glory to praise Him, but you can’t grasp or understand God’s glory – His love and compassion and goodness and grace- except as it reaches out to and touches you personally and those you are with.
The glory of God is understood in the truth that He totally gives Himself away! At the heart of the glory of God…is Grace!
God is the original definer of “give” and it’s not just that He gives to us – He actually is “giving-ness.” Giving is who He is.
Everything God does is good. Jesus Himself is a gift to us … He is both the giver and the gift!
God, the creator of everything, pours His glory into you and me…all of us. He is kind, gentle, patient, good, faithful, joyful and peaceful to you, me and everyone. He loves us all unconditionally. That is glory, His Glory. He is glorious!
John 1:14 And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John said that they beheld – they first-hand witnessed Jesus’s glory – and it was His grace and truth! We’re Christians and we’re told the goal is to be like Jesus. My understanding is that we’re to be full of (which we are!) and give Grace!
Being like Jesus is not having perfect church attendance. It’s not memorizing the bible. It’s not serving at the soup kitchen. It’s not tithing. It’s not being morally perfect.
Being like Jesus is letting Christ Jesus, in you, live His life as you and through you. When you do, it looks like unconditionally loving and forgiving people in your life no matter if they deserve it or not. It’s having His joy and having His attitude.
Being like Jesus is having His peace, maintaining peace. It’s having His patience, having His kindness. That’s being glorious. That’s Jesus’s glory… His Grace!
GOD CONSIDERS HIS GLORY TO BE HIS GRACE ~by Paul Gray
When you search the entire Bible, in addition to Exodus 33, you will find only one other place in the Bible that specifically describes God’s glory. The Apostle Paul, who had been taken by Jesus up to “The Third Heaven,” wrote the following:
Ephesians 1:2-6 (Parenthesis mine) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (remember God told Moses that He would be gracious to whomever He wanted. Because of God’s love for us, He chose us all before creation, blessed us with every spiritual blessing there is, put us in Christ, made us holy and without blame before him, adopted us into His family – this was His will and it gave Him good pleasure!) “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
God did all of this and made us accepted in Christ… to the praise of the glory of His grace. God Himself considers His glory to be His GRACE!
Glory (Opinion.) God’s opinion of Himself is His Grace!
Of all the things God could talk about… all of His power and knowledge and ability, what God considers most important in His opinion of Himself is His Grace!
If you love someone unconditionally… even when they are unlovable… what do you call that? Grace! If you forgive someone over and over again, no matter how many times they hurt you or offend you, what do you call that? Grace! If you are good to someone who doesn’t deserve for you to be good to them, what is that called? Grace! If you are patient with someone who is slow and not catching on and can’t seem to get it right, what is that called? Grace! If you are peaceful even when those around you are full of strife, bitterness and are loud, complaining and obnoxious, what’s that called? Grace!
You know what it takes to give grace in all those situations? Supernatural power.
God is all powerful. And instead of using His power to strike back, to be harsh, to punish… He demonstrates His power by giving grace instead of what we would expect. That is His Glory!
GOD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS “GRACE”
If you were to ask God how He would describe Himself – what exactly is His glory…what would He say? We don’t have to wonder: Moses asked Him!
God had Moses set up a tent (a mobile tabernacle) where God would meet with Moses in the desert where they were after crossing the Red Sea.
Exodus 33:11-19 (Italics mine) The LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses said to the LORD: “You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then the Lord said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Be sure that get the main points of this: Moses found grace in God’s sight; God knew him personally; Moses asked to see God’s glory and God said, OK, I will show you my goodness. I will be gracious, I will give grace and compassion on whoever I want!
God Himself, when asked to show His glory to us, showed us His goodness – expressed as His grace.
Exactly how He showed Moses His goodness and Grace, we don’t know… but we know that God considers His glory to be His goodness and His grace.
Jesus, who is God and who is Grace, who is glorious in every imaginable way, considers His glory to be His Grace!
WHAT MR WILEY WAS ALL ABOUT ~by Paul Gray
How would you describe yourself? Are there one or two words or phrases that would really capture who you are?
The opinion we have of ourselves… the way we describe ourselves… might not be the way others would describe us. It might not be the way God describes us, either!
My University band director, Russel L. Wiley, served at the University of Kansas for over 40 years. He was a very accomplished musician, top-flight conductor, amazing recruiter, super innovator, highly creative and highly decorated. People used all these and a plethora of other highly complementary ways to describe him.
However, to find out what he was really like, who he really was, what motivated him, you needed to spend time with him – know him personally and observe him in action.
But to really find out who he was at his core… you needed to listen to what he had to say about himself, what was important to him, what he dedicated his life to.
One summer when I was working for Mr. Wiley, he had just dismissed one of his peers from another prestigious university… a man who seemed to “bask in his own glory” as he was appearing as a guest conductor at Mr. Wiley’s summer camp for high school musicians. This other conductor had publicly humiliated a student for the quality of instrument his parents had provided him with. Without making a scene, Mr. Wiley privately paid the man and gave him a one-way plane ticket home.
In explaining the situation to me, he related that what he was all about was building up and encouraging students to be all they could be. He wanted to empower kids and give them confidence and help them reach musical heights they never imagined. His help didn’t stop with the band. He got students like me jobs, he opened doors for non-music major kids to get accepted in other programs, and he used his considerable influence to help students after college.
He described himself as helping people become all they could be. Music just happened to be the tool he had with which to do that.
Once when I was working for him, I really let him down by forgetting about an important responsibility I had. He ended up doing the work for me. Afterwards, he knew that I knew he had personally done my work. Do you know what he said to me about how I let him down and he had to do my work? Nothing. Ever. He gave me grace. For all his accomplishments, awards and acclaim, I realized that his “glory” was his grace.
WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE? ~by Paul Gray
John 3:16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
You may be perishing right now. You may perish tonight. The Greek word that we translate “perish” means “to destroy, render useless, to be lost.”
Who wants to destroy you?
John 10:10 (Jesus) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Jesus said the thief comes to rip you off!
There are two different entities who are extremely interested in you. Jesus, grace, who loves you unconditionally, has forgiven you completely, who is for you, and who IS Grace…and the thief/evil one/liar/deceiver who is totally against you.
The Father gave us Jesus so that we wouldn’t perish but have eternal/everlasting life which is right here and now... and forever!
Every day and every moment, we have the opportunity to believe one of those entities. Do you believe what the Spirit is saying to you… or do you believe the lie of evil that Jesus is too good to be true?
The Truth is that Jesus Christ, God Himself, Pure Grace, The Gift of God…is in you and He is for you! Christ in you, the hope of glory!
And here’s what He wants! He wants to live as you and through you. When He does, grace is multiplied all over the earth.
When you choose Jesus, which means to choose to let Him live as you and through you instead of believing lies, you don’t perish- you thrive, you experience and enjoy abundant eternal everlasting life!
Jesus, who knows everything, who is all powerful and is everywhere present, lives in you and wants to express Himself as you and through you.
Expressing Himself looks like unconditional love for you and everyone you come in contact with, total forgiveness, universal acceptance and inclusion, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith, mercy and grace.
When that happens, you will literally be radiant and overflowing with joy. People will be attracted to you. They will want to know what’s different about you!
NOT A “POTENTIAL GIFT” ~by Paul Gray
Remember that the original definition of grace meant a birthday gift? The Apostle John knew that meaning when he wrote:
John 3:16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
A tremendous amount of thought went into that gift. Remember the concept was that what the gift was worth indicated the value or worth that the giver placed on the person receiving the gift.
God – Jesus, Papa and The Holy Spirit- knew you and chose you before creation. They loved you unconditionally before They created you. They wanted to give you a birthday gift – a grace that showed you how much they valued you.
They could have just given you the gift of life…
They could have just given you freedom from the law…
They could have just given you spiritual gifts… like leadership or speaking in tongues…
They could have just forgiven your sins…
Those are all nice, wonderful, stupendous! But they wanted to give you something that would show exactly how much they valued you. So, they gave you the most valuable entity in the entire universe- they gave you Jesus Himself! Jesus, Grace, is the gift! Grace is in you!
2 Timothy 1:9-10 (Italics mine) God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Because of God’s great love for you, He gave you the greatest gift ever. Not a potential gift. Not something you have to do something to get. God gave Jesus to you before creation and then in time and space, at the cross and put Him in you. The Holy Spirit of Christ is in you right now.
Grace is in you!