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Monday
Aug242015

Grace to Love

“The man I’ll marry must be at least as good as my dog.” That is what the bumper sticker in front of me read.

It’s funny that someone would think that a dog could be the model for a good husband. That bumper sticker reveals two ideas: 1) Dogs are great, and 2) dealing with people can be very difficult.

Dogs give us so much love. I experienced this firsthand over the summer. My family and I welcomed Pudge, a black pug, into our home while his family was on vacation. Pudge became a loving and faithful companion. He integrated easily into our lives as we became his world. Maybe that’s why some people feel that dogs are better friends than humans: They give themselves completely to others.

Difficult relationships can make us feel that it’s impossible to truly walk in love, and we may lose hope. Yet Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). This presents us with a problem: We have a commandment to love, but it seems impossible to carry out.

What’s the solution?

First, we need to recognize that loving our neighbor requires faith. Andrew teaches in Living in the Balance between Grace and Faith that “personal relationships are the area of your life that will require the greatest faith.” Let’s think about that. A lot of people are learning to use their faith for finances, healing, salvation, etc. But at the same time, they are trying to love others through the arm of the flesh (their own personal effort). If we try to love through our own efforts, a dog’s love could surpass the love of a lot of people. We need God’s grace to love.

Andrew says,

Grace is something God did for you prior to you having a need for it. It is faith in God’s grace that releases His power in a person. Everything [including the ability to love] is available by the grace of God, but there has to be a faith response on our part to receive what is available by grace. That’s how you enter into God’s rest, then you have ceased from your own efforts. It’s no longer you doing something to make God move. It’s you learning how to trust and rely on the grace God has given you.

This is great news! Realize that when you put your faith in God, it’s no longer you trying to love; it’s you relying on the truth that God has given you the grace to love, and you can receive that grace by faith. First Peter 1:22 says,“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” ( New International Version). Receive God’s grace to love others, and you will be blessed in your relationships—the dog will just be the icing on the cake!

Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching will help you to walk in love like never before. It’s available in many formats: CD seriesDVD seriesbookstudy guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has inspired you, please post a comment below. 

Monday
Aug172015

Whom Shall I Send?

While second-year Charis Bible College students were preparing for their annual missions trip to Europe, Amos Casa—a second-year Charis Colorado student from Italy—heard an instructor say, “If you don’t feel qualified, you’ll be a great leader. God wants you usable—not perfect!”

That little seed of encouragement rooted itself inside Amos’s heart and kept him through the feelings of inadequacy and fear until he boarded a plane heading for Germany and was able to say, “God, this trip is not about me; it’s about You.”

Amos’s first stop was in Cologne and Dusseldorf. There, he and other students from Charis teamed up with European Initiative to share the “new” message of God’s unconditional love with everyone they could. “It was amazing to see hearts open to the Gospel. Almost none of the people we talked to had ever heard about grace,” he said. “But my favorite moment was when we stopped in Berlin.”

In the capital city of Berlin, the team met many people from all over the world. They arrived in this tourist haven completely unaware of the part God’s hand played in the timing of their trip. “In Italy, there is a lot of religion,” Amos explained. “But it’s religion that represents God the wrong way. I spoke with several Italians in Berlin who asked me why I went to America to learn about religion. I got to share the true nature of God with them and tell them about His love and purpose for them individually. I know the Holy Spirit gave me the words to say. By the end of the trip, I’d led eight teens to the Lord, seven of whom were Italians.”

And Amos’s experience wasn’t an isolated event. Each of the students ministered to hundreds of people through dramas, music, and preaching. During their ten days of ministry, the team reached out to an estimated 12,000 people, and 98 Europeans made decisions for Christ! “The Charis team profoundly impacted the spiritual landscape of the three German cities we stopped in,” said a spokesman from EI. “We are immensely grateful to Andrew Wommack Ministries for their partnership with us.”

Matthew 5:14 says that we are the light of the world. How many people are waiting for us to turn on our light? How many do we know who are waiting to hear the true message of the Gospel? “God wants to use me and you to expand His kingdom and give hope to those that are hopeless,” Amos said. “We can play a part in rescuing them from destruction! It’s not about our skills or talents. It’s not about our experience. It’s about our willingness.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8 (New International Version)

Monday
Aug102015

Know Your Role

It has never ceased to amaze me how incredibly breathtaking a pas de deux is…well, can be. If the roles of the danseur and ballerina are not clearly defined, what is meant to be an incredible feat of strength and beauty turns into a huge, potentially painful mess. Our relationship with God is a lot like a pas de deux. If we are not confident in the grace of our partner, Jesus, and that He is going to catch us after a huge leap of faith, our dancing may not be as powerful as it could be.

The struggle with whether to solely trust in the grace of God or solely operate in faith is ultimately an identity issue. As Andrew relates in his teaching Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith—

The body of Christ is basically divided into two groups: those who emphasize grace (God’s part) and those who emphasize faith (our part). One group preaches that everything is totally up to God. The other group teaches that there are many things that we must do. Both contend that the other group is totally wrong (p. v).

In ballet, this is like asking, “What is my role in this dance?” Another way to phrase this question is, “Who am I?”

When a ballerina is cast as a specific character in a ballet, she does not ask the director to make her what her role already is. Instead, her job is to learn how to become who she has been cast to play; she has a whole persona to learn. While dancers know they are roleplaying, Christians aren’t. However, many believers are still petitioning God to help them become something they already are by His grace. They want to be healed, have peace, be favored, be forgiven, and have blessings—when He already died to accomplish that 2,000 years ago. It is now their part to stretch, balance, and leap through faith as they function in their new role, the one they received the moment they accepted Jesus.

As Andrew mentions in the same teaching, “Grace is what God does for us independent of us” (p. 77). Grace is the persona we have been given in this dance. It is the role our Director gave us to operate in. “Faith reaches out and appropriates what God has already provided for us by grace” (p. 115). Faith is learning how to operate in the role God has already put us in—not only as the healed, favored, and prosperous but also as those who bring healing, favor, and prosperity. That is who we are and what we do.

Learn more about the role you’ve been cast in and how to “stay in character.” Check out Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching. It’s available in many formats: CD series, DVD series, book, study guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has encouraged you, please share below. You have an amazing role to play in this dance!