We’re in times when we don’t know what’s going to happen next, times of uncertainty. This can make people feel anxious and depressed because we lack interaction with others. What are we doing to keep and receive the grace of God?
We’re in a relationship with God and he gives grace to prosper in our time. Our job is to turn to him and his grace, not away from him. Relationships fail if we don’t interact. We can do things to help relationships prosper with others and God. We can worship, be glad, rejoice, love the Lord, hate evil, and give thanks. When we’re quietly by ourselves, we can rejoice and give thanks to the Lord. Look at the action words in Psalms 97 and 100 for ways to increase grace and service to God.
Psalm 97:6-12 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images…worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and…rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord. For thou, Lord, art high above all…exalted far above all gods. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
The ways we serve the Lord may be different from one person to another. Our job is to stay connected to the Lord and to help others to do so. Sending cards and flowers to the sick and lonely can help them stay connected. God does his part in the relationship and has abundant grace. We can turn to him to lift anxiety and depression. Make a joyful noise, serve him with gladness and come to him singing. We can sing and make a joyful noise at home or in our car without a mask.
Psalm 100:1-5 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God…Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful…bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
We can wait on the Lord. Waiting and being still are hard things but they are things we can do to turn to him.
Isaiah 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
Worship the Lord in Bible study, song, meditation, delight in the Lord, love him, strengthen your faith. It will lift anxiety and reduce sadness the enemy gives. We don’t have to listen to the enemy but listen to strength and grace God wants to give.
Psalm 96:9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Psalm 119:47-48 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
Grace in the Bible is usually preceded by words like find, found, or obtain. We have to find or obtain grace. It’s not usually given automatically. God’s part is that he gives us grace. He’s there to supply every need but won’t force in on us, or force us to serve him. He wants his children to be willing and obedient. Jesus was full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,(and we beheld his glory…full of grace and truth.
We have to continue in the grace of God. What can we do to stay in the grace of God?
Acts 13:43…many…followed Paul and Barnabas: who…persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Paul said he wasn’t going to be moved but would testify of the grace of God. What are things that move you? When things are stressful or you’re tired and hungry, think about what you can do to keep God’s grace. Paul received grace to testify of the gospel of the grace of God. He didn’t count his life dear so he could finish his race. He was willing to be used and presented himself to be a servant to do what God wanted. He didn’t have his own agenda but was in Jesus’ service. We can all present ourselves to God’s service – not counting our life dear but just being servants. What Paul was doing was much more important than his own life.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
We glory in tribulations or difficulties – knowing they can actually strengthen us. The enemy is in the midst of tribulation and difficult times. He will present negative thoughts and say, “you’re not worth it, don’t even try.” That’s why our relationship with God and turning to him is so important. God gave us the gift of his Son and abundant grace. We don’t have to stay twisted by anxiety or beat down in depression. We can do something! Grace is a gift but we must want it.
Romans 5:2-15 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost…given unto us…God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more…now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath…For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God …we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus…Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world…so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression…the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace…by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
The enemy doesn’t want you to know that where sin is abounding, grace is abounding more. If we turn away from God or have our own agenda, we won’t have the grace of God. We have to choose God’s grace. He won’t force us.
Romans 5:20…the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Building on the foundation involves action – making choices to do, to increase, and to develop a relationship with God. Paul was talking about building and taking heed how we build. As we receive and understand, we have to act upon it.
I Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Paul wanted them to abound in faith, in speaking, knowledge, diligence, and love. It takes effort to get into God’s word. Grace is an important part of what helps us relieve anxiety and depression – to smooth the way through difficulties.
II Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
Finding strength with God in our weakness doesn’t make sense to the world. When we tap into his abundant grace and strength, it’s by our relationship with him – not by accident. It takes effort to love and honor him, then he supplies abundantly.
II Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
It won’t make sense to glory in infirmities but we understand by our relationship with him. We won’t learn it out of a book but by our actions. Our job is to love him sincerely with our whole heart.
Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity…
When people in relationships are proud, we don’t see them having grace. If we’re truly humble and seek God, we have grace that’s hard to explain. We know being humble is where we have grace – not our own ideas or by insisting on our way.
James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
We have to come to God and seek him daily in prayer. We have to come boldly, not meekly, to find grace in time of need. Our country is in a time of needing help. People are hurting – African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and others who grieve about what’s going on. We need to pray for our country, even if we don’t know what’s going on and can’t make sense of the pain. We can come to God as Christians to pray for our leaders and ask boldly for God to help us.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Helene Goble)