GRACE PLACE: Grow in God’s Grace

“God wants us to grow up..like Christ in everything”. Eph. 4:15 (Msg.) Every infant has to become a toddler, that toddler will develop to become a full grown man. Even a butterfly meta morphed from a larvae, that is because no living creature stayed in just one stage for a lifetime..It is a process called growth. God himself wants us to mature in our faith, and eventually develop in us the very character of His son Jesus. This is our 3rd value in life – to become like Jesus, or simply called Discipleship. God doesn’t want us to be stuck in spiritual infancy, so He guides us, and in the process He uses 3 unexpected tools for our growth.

1. Troubles . Trials are things designed by God to build our character and to draw us closer to Him. It is when we are in pain that we truly cry out to God; it is when we are broken that we can say our most honest prayer. He allows these things to happen because He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to depend on Him alone. In life, learning about Jesus is easy, but only in suffering that we really get to know Jesus.

2. Temptation. These are situations designed by Satan to harm us. It is everywhere, even Jesus was tempted by the devil, not just once but three times. God uses temptations to allow us to mature in our choice because every temptation we encounter is an opportunity for us to grow in God’s grace . For every time we turn our heads away from sin, we look straight into God’s face instead, embracing Him more. We were given the gift of free will, and in exercising patience and self control over self gratification and preservation, we grow to become more like Jesus. The devil was lying when he claimed that it is too much for us to overcome. God has promised to be with us always, and that includes during every temptations.

3. Trespasses are situations designed by other people, intentionally or unintentionally, to hurt us. The Lord use this because He wants us to learn how to forgive. He wants us to return good for every evil hurled at us. God gave us the perfect example when Jesus was hurt, insulted by the people on His way to Golgotha. Jesus could easily call on His great army of angels who are always ready for His orders. Instead, He gave them mercy and called on His father to forgive them. God wants us to go through this because it is when we’re truly hurt that we can really forgive. Getting even is easier, but when we fully understand what was done on the cross,how much it cost, we will learn to endure anything for His name.

Our journey through life alongside troubles,temptations and trespasses is hard. But remembering that God is always in control is enough to sustain us until we reach the end of the road where God is waiting for us, arms open wide and with the sweetest smile you would ever see.

Summary by Joyce Gamboa
Grace Place celebrates every Sunday, 10:30 am at Tiara Oriental Hotel, Makati City. For inquiries, questions and directions to the location, please text MSG GRACEPLACE <your name> <your message> to 2948 for GLOBE and SUN. (SMART to follow)

Experience Life Together

Hebrews 2:10 (NCV) says, “ God is the one who made all things, and all things are for His glory. He wanted to have many children share His glory…” We were all created to share God’s love, grace, kindness, and His glory. Share here means belonging to one of a number owning something together. In a family, siblings share their parent’s name, love, possessions and everything else around them because they love each other. For there can be no sharing if there’s no relationship, trust, and if there’s no love. If the first value of our life is Worship, Fellowship is the second. Fellowship means loving God’s family. If there are 2 things that God wants us to do in heaven, that’ll be loving Him – worship, and loving our fellow believers as well – fellowship. And for us to be able to do it God wants us to start practicing now, with His family, the church.

There are four stages of Fellowship:

Level 1- Membership. It is when we choose to belong. For a baby to grow, he needs to have a family who would love and take care of him. Same is true with us, we need the help of our brothers in Christ who would love and nurture us toward spiritual growth.

Level 2- Friendship. It is when we learn to share our experiences, our homes, our problems, with our fellow believers. It is when we practice to open our hearts for others to enter. For when we share our joys with each other our happiness is doubled, and when we share our troubles it is divided.

Level 3- Partnership. It is good to love with all our hearts, but it pays to do our part. In a family all members have some chores to do, because each one of us has to function. “The whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole Body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Eph.4:16 (NLT) The Lord wants us to discover our talents and gifts and use it. With these gifts He very wants to see us grow, enjoy life, and use it for His glory.

Level 4- Kinship. Loving believers like family. KOINONIA, it is a greek word which means dedicated to each other as Christ is dedicated to the church. While it is divine to offer one’s life for another, small sacrifices for a brother can go a long way. When we give up little comforts in life for a friend, we build relationship. Relationship, that’s what life is all about, it is never about accomplishments. In the family of God, we will learn how to love not the ideal people, but real people.

by Joycelyne Gamboa
Grace Place celebrates every Sunday, 10:30 at Tiara Oriental Hotel, Makati City.