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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Dear Colleagues,

14_10_22
ON EXTENDING GRACE…

QUESTION : Are you and I extending to ourselves, and to the people whom we are seeking to influence toward spiritual maturity the same grace that God extends to us in our failings? Consider:

· Lot offered to throw his daughters to the perverse men of Sodom and Gomorrah who demand homosexual relations with Lot’s angelic visitors. (Gen. 19:1-17; 20:31-38) Lot, who loved living in the decadent city, was delivered along with his family from its destruction by an angel of God. Thereafter, Lot was seduced by his daughters to insure the continuation of the family line. Imagine that Lot with all his failings is referred to in Scripture as a “righteous man.” That is the grace of God! (2 Pet. 2:7)

· Abraham gave his wife over to a pagan king to insure his safety. Yet God mercifully delivered Sarah through a dream that warned the monarch not touch her. When God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, they both laughed in disbelief. Yet, even in their vacillating faith, God graciously granted them Isaac. That is the grace of God! (Gen. 20; 21:1-7)

In spite of Abraham’s gross failings, he grew in spiritual maturity to the point where God severely tested him by ordering him to offer up his beloved Isaac on an altar. Clearly Abraham believed God would spare Isaac in stating to his servants, We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Gen. 17:15-22; 18:10-15; 21) Abraham’s spiritual growth over his many years is clear evidence of the grace of God!

We see this same quality of grace in Jesus as he sought to develop the Twelve:

· In Luke 9 Jesus referred to the present generation as “faithless and corrupt” – which included the weak faith of the disciples as they failed in their effort to cast out an evil spirit.

· Jesus then corrected the Twelve when they began to jockey for the position of leader, having just learned of his imminent death on the cross.

· Later in the narrative Jesus rebuked James and John when they heartlessly asked him if they should call down fire on a village of disbelievers. (Lk. 9:37-55)

Yet for three years Jesus patiently and lovingly continued to shape this ragtag group of rather mediocre men, ultimately entrusting them with the responsibility of spreading the Gospel to the world. That is the grace of God! (See Matt. 28:18-20)

“... Where sin increased, grace increased all the more…Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? ” (Rom. 5:20b; 6:1b, 2).

PRAYER : Lord, grant me compassion toward those in my charge who are failing. In truth, I am one of them. Grant me the ability to extend to them…and to myself the same grace you exhibited in your dealings with the disciples.

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill







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