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January 23, 2005

No soul left behind…!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:2

Paul, the Jewish Pharisee—who promoted the killing of Christians—later wrote these words to Christians!!! What an amazing transformation.

Paul was breathing murder on the road to Damascus. His goal?—Bring Christians back to Jerusalem with him, to have them tried and killed.

Yet, in the middle of the road, a light blinded him and a voice said:

“Saul, Saul [Paul’s name before he converted to Christ], why are you persecuting Me?”

Saul said: “Who are You, Lord? Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’” (Acts 9:1-5)

You could say that Jesus stopped Saul in his tracks!

Paul went physically blind for three days. Then, God sent Ananias, a Christian from Damascus, to go and pray for Paul to get back his sight. Ananias, naturally, was very scared. The Christians knew all about Saul.

But Ananias obeyed the Lord. God had told him: “Go, for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) Ananias went and prayed for Saul and he could see again! Then God used him to turn the world upside down!

Paul says: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This was written to the Ephesians, as well as to all Christians, everywhere. What does Paul mean by “grace to you”? What is God’s grace?

A simple definition of grace is: G-God’s R-Riches A-At C-Christ’s E-Expense.  Grace is God’s unmerited favor. You could call it “God’s favor”. Basically, it’s getting good things that we do not deserve, like getting a gift for no special occasion…”just because!”

Grace is positively amazing. Yes, the song “Amazing Grace” is true.  It demonstrates the abundant, rich, awesome greatness of God, and His Son, Jesus.

The writer of the song, “Amazing Grace”, was John Newton. He was amazed by God’s grace. He was such a reprobate that even criminals were repulsed by him! He felt he had no need of God. However, through prayer and God’s grace, he eventually turned to Christ for forgiveness of his sins.

But he was still trafficking in slavery. It was his life, and he didn’t know what else to do. Again, through prayer and God’s grace, he left that life and went on in his walk with God. And, eventually, through even more of God’s grace, he penned one of the most famous songs of all time: “Amazing Grace”. He, a hardened, depraved, ruthless man became filled with Christ’s love and the grace of God. He became one of God’s trophies...and, by God’s grace, so can we.

Remember this, my friend: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Don’t let pride stand between you and the grace God wants to pour out in your life.

Also, be encouraged. No situation is beyond God’s grace: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) As we walk with Christ, we can depend on God’s endless supply of grace for all our needs.

May God’s endless grace and peace be yours.

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