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Gratitude and Grace

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

Grace can be generally defined as “God’s favor toward the unworthy”.

In His grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us, despite the fact that we fall short of living righteously.

Our response to God’s grace is gratitude and love.

The second element in prayer is thanksgiving, which is the glad and appreciative acknowledgment of the benefits and blessings God gives, either to ourselves or to others. It is an integral part of prayer, not an addendum to it.

Thankfulness can be taught in fun, positive ways. (No fair scolding children for their ignorance, especially of something which you have not yet taught them!) Remarkably, kids are usually thrilled with “gratitude lessons” like these.

One might think that receiving God’s blessings would naturally cause our hearts to turn to him in gratitude. But Scripture and experience demonstrate that such is not the case. Indeed, living with the abundance of blessings and pleasures that are ours in America breeds certain dangers that require us to exercise special vigilance over our souls.

God is a loving Father who delights to pour out blessings upon his children and “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim. 6.17). All of his blessings are good, and cover the spectrum of human experience, ranging from simple pleasures in this life to endless life in the world to come.

Throughout the world, Christians are gathering virtually to sing a song of blessing over their country, state or region.  If you haven’t heard this beautiful song titled, “The Blessing,” written by Elevation Worship, you can find versions of it recorded in Hawaii, South Africa, the UK and other countries on YouTube.

Josh Moody, is the senior pastor of the historic College Church in Wheaton, IL. He is an author, conference speaker (Moody Founders Week, Basics Conference), and college campus speaker (Yale University, University of Illinois, Durham University, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Southern Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, Gordon Conwell Seminary, Union University, Criswell University)

Dane Ortlund helps us understand the extent and nature of God's grace and how we can receive it. This is part one of a two-part lecture on "Receiving God's Grace."

Dane Ortlund continues his message on Receiving God's Grace. In this resource developed for the C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program, Dr. Ortlund explains how God's grace enters our lives. This is part two of a two-part lecture on "Receiving God's Grace". An additional question and answer session follows.

Would you like to experience the fullness and blessing of life in Christ? Would you like your life to fulfill God’s purposes for you in the world? If your answer is yes, keep reading.

"I think our acquisition gives us the risk of becoming proud. That is the more we look at what we acquire we are at a risk of becoming proud, but if we focus on what we do not have we become humble," says Jerry Root in Part One of his message on Growing in Humility.

"Pride alienates us from God and others. Humility is the path to better fellowship with God and others as well to true Christ likeness an to true ministry. Forsaking pride is essential in order to embrace humility and servanthood," says Jerry Root as he continues his message on Growing in Humility.

What makes Christianity special? What makes it unique? Joel Woodruff explores the concept of grace. More importantly, he helps us understand that grace is what makes our faith different from any other worldview.

As a parish priest serving at Olney, England, John Newton made a practice of writing hymns to accompany his sermons.1 The Scripture text for the New Year’s service on January 1, 1773, was 1 Chronicles 17:16–17, a prayer of King David’s in which he asks, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”2 As Newton reflected on these words, he thought of how God’s grace had found him in his sin and brought him to a place of honor as a minister of the gospel.

If you want to know what a new acquaintance is like, it is wise to pay attention to what he or she tells you and to observe that person’s actions. This is what we have in the Bible: God’s self-revelation in which He speaks about Himself and provides a record over generations and ages about how He acts.

As I watched my son and the other actors sing the final notes of the chorus, the audience rose as one in thunderous applause. Men and women alike wiped away tears of deep emotion. It was one of those rare moments when everyone in the room knew that we had witnessed something exceptional.

Christians can quite easily become subject to a kind of spiritual schizophrenia. On the one hand, we are told that the gospel is a message of grace. God sent his Son into the world to die for our sin so that we might be forgiven. In response we must renounce all efforts at self-justification and put our faith solely in Jesus Christ as our Savior, resting completely in what he has done for us in his finished work on the cross. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone.

Living a life of contentment depends in part upon one’s expectations, and there’s a disturbing trend among Christians to embrace expectations that are anything but biblical. Set foot in a Christian bookstore, and you’ll see lots of titles about living a life of total enjoyment, staying young, and keeping healthy.

The greatest need of every true believer (and nonbeliever) today is the recovery of a right view of God. From this flows everything else. As A. W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”1 This is so, says Tozer, because, “We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.

There’s a story told about C.S. Lewis attending a conference on comparative religions. Several people were debating what was unique about Christianity. After numerous suggestions were rejected, Lewis interjected. “What’s unique about Christianity? Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

Jesus is surprising. His coming fulfilled ancient prophecies, but not expectations. He shattered expectations. Each of the four Gospel accounts in the Bible uniquely gives us a Jesus who turns upside down our intuitive anticipations of who He is and how following Him works.

As Jesus’s words show, true conversion is necessary, difficult, and rare. In light of this very sobering fact, have you ever seriously explored what is required to enter the kingdom of God, that is, to become a true child of God? Of all the important questions in life, this is the most important. It is the one question we must get right, for our eternal destiny hangs on it. Because there is much confusion today about conversion, it is important that we look carefully at what the New Testament teaches about this vital subject.

Recommended Reading

Do Christians choose to have faith, or is faith a supernatural work of God? Far from an abstract intellectual exercise, this question has vast implications for the hope, joy, and assurance of the Christian life. When the truth of God’s sovereign grace breaks into our minds and hearts, it changes everything.

Two respected pastors make a compelling case for the need to recover the five fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. We live in an age of weak theology and casual Christianity. And this situation will continue as long as God's people insist on substituting intuition for truth, feeling for belief, and immediate gratification for enduring hope.

Two respected pastors make a compelling case for the need to recover the five fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. We live in an age of weak theology and casual Christianity. And this situation will continue as long as God's people insist on substituting intuition for truth, feeling for belief, and immediate gratification for enduring hope.

All of Grace: An Exhortation to Look to Christ and Live is about the free, saving grace of God in Christ and answers the eternal, overriding question "How can I get right with God?" Originally penned by Spurgeon in 1886, this book is dedicated to the lovers of the gospel of free grace and seeking assurance of faith. All of Grace reminds us that because of God's saving grace, we can rejoice, regardless of present circumstances and an unknown future; we have One who is seated on the throne of eternity who works all things for our good and for his glory.

Too many of us embrace grace for our salvation but then leave it behind in our everyday lives. We base our relationship with God on our performance rather than on His love for us. But our performance can never earn us the love we so desperately crave. Renowned author Jerry Bridges’s Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God’s grace really is.

True gratitude is not an incidental ingredient in the Christian’s life. It’s a crucial one. It’s a grace-infused commitment each of us chooses—and it’s totally worth it! Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth explores the biblical and practical aspects of what makes gratitude truly Christian. Discover how gratitude turns life, even with all its bumps and bruises, into a joy to behold.

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