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A fresh perspective

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:9)

I almost glossed over this verse today, but a seed thought sparked as I read it a second time. Have you ever given grace to someone BEFORE they even knew they would need that extension of grace? I daresay many of us have given grace in the moment, but have we really just extended it without any strings attached long before we even know what the individual will require grace for or way in advance of the individual realizing they stand in the need of our grace. God extended grace from the beginning of time - before we were even walking this earth. In advance of our many mess ups - way before we even took our first breath. No 'mess up' makes his grace any less available - it was already provided way in advance of us ever taking that first step toward sin!

The verse just before this one encourages us to 'never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord'. We don't need to be ashamed of God's grace - embarrassed by our feelings of guilt because we have acted in foolish ways. When we are ashamed of his grace, we are saying we are afraid of disapproval - we aren't confident in that which we stand upon. If you stand upon a foundation of grace you can be assured there is no firmer foundation from which to live life! The verse just after this one reminds us the power of death has been broken in our lives - all because of the death of Christ. In fact, Jesus 'illuminated the way of life and immortality' for each of us - another pretty 'solid' foundation upon which we stand. I don't know about you, but when I consider all I have received in this action of 'extended grace', I am brought to my knees.

As this passage goes on, the Apostle Paul says he will not be ashamed of the fate he has endured by being imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Christ. He knows 'the one in whom he trusts, and he is sure that he is able to guard what he has entrusted to him.' That is what grace does within our lives - it gives us the hope and peace that exceeds the expectations of others. Most would expect prison to break a man. Paul stood strong, continued to share the gospel message, and trusted his Lord for both the strength and wisdom to endure this season of captivity. He knew the grace he had received outweighed any worries of his presence circumstances. Maybe when we feel a little overcome by life what we need is not more of this or that, but a fresh perspective on God's grace already given to help us overcome those things that seek to overcome us. Just sayin!

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