Grace That Changes People

We need to allow God’s truth to be activated in our lives. Spend time with people because they’re people, not because you’re trying to convert them. When God puts somebody on your heart, you won’t forget them.

Luke 19:1-8, 10-9 MSG

Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

Don’t turn relationships with people into religion. Our faith is evident in how we treat people.

Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables you to become the person he sees when he looks at you. Grace is a way of living and thinking.

Spiritual Resolutions

Think of all the resolutions we make. So often, they revolve around our physical lives. But what about spiritual resolutions?

2 Corinthians 4:18

Psalm 90:2

God is first and last, beginning and end. Jesus is king of all ages. This is in contrast to our lives, which have a birth and death, and a limited time in between. The Bible compares our lives to a vapor, which dissipates quickly.

Jesus gave us what He deserved, and took what we deserved.

Romans 12:2

When should this happen?

2 Corinthian 6:1-2

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day!

The word January comes from the Roman word Janus, who was a two-faced statue, believed to close the for to the past and open the door to the future. When Christianity was established as the state religion, the tradition turned to prayer and fasting for the new year.

Let prayer be the beginning of everything this year. Every day, every activity, every decision. The Bible actually says that the Lord can restore wasted years. Do you carry regrets? Bring them to Jesus.

Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” Who wouldn’t want that?

Are you really satisfied with your relationship with God? He never changes, but we must. What is holding you back? Possibilities: laziness, rebellion, excuses, fear, doubt… You must be willing to ask God for help taking the first step, and every step.

Galatians 5:22-23

It’s not about doing more things, more “works.” It’s about abiding in Jesus. Everything we are stems from this relationship, or lack of it. The fruit of the Spirit is eternal – you can give it away! But you can only get it by being a branch grafted into Jesus, the Vine.

Hebrews 2:8

All things have been put under His feet, even though we don’t yet see it. God wants to put things that have been holding you back under your feet. He wants you to have hold of His peace regardless of your circumstances.

As you make spiritual resolutions, you may think in terms of what behaviors you want to change. That’s a start, but now think of what spiritual practices will produce those things. Reading God’s word more often? Praying in all things? Worship? Ask yourself how you can know Him even more closely.