Give Yourself Permission

AT A BAZAAR IN NORTHERN INDIA, an old farmer brought in a whole covey of quail. He had tied a string around one leg of each bird. The other ends of all the strings were tied to a ring which fit loosely over a central stick. He had taught the quail to walk dolefully in a circle, around and around, like mules at a sugarcane mill. Nobody seemed interested in buying the birds until along came a devout Brahman. He believed in the Hindu idea of respect for all life, so his heart of compassion went out to those poor little creatures walking in monotonous circles.

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Grace to the Saved

Paul’s message emphasized the gospel to the lost and grace to the saved. That is a wonderful paradigm for any minister or ministry to adopt. As I’ve studied the life of Paul, . . . I find two prominent themes.

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Son of Encouragement

The disciples feared Saul. They couldn’t bring themselves to believe he was a disciple. “But Barnabas . . . ” Isn’t that a great opening? Out of nowhere comes Barnabas to encourage Saul and be his personal advocate.

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A Lesser Known

Act two of the drama opens with, “When he came to Jerusalem . . . ” (v. 26). Jerusalem! Saul owned Jerusalem. He went to graduate school in that great town. I mean, the man knew that old city like the back of his hand.

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A New Beginning

Regardless of what you have done, no one is beyond hope. That’s the great hope of the Christian message. No amount or depth of sin in your past can trump the grace of God. If you question that, remember Saul, the brash Pharisee of Tarsus.

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Blessed

Did you read that too quickly? The end of verse 9? Mark it. “The LORD accepted.” And then, “The LORD restored.” End of verse 10, “The LORD increased.” Beginning of verse 12, “The LORD blessed.” Those are words of grace—statements of divine favor.

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A Lot of Grace

You know why I love the Bible? Because it’s so real. There’s a lot of fog rolling into Job’s life, just as in our lives. On this earth nobody “lives happily ever after.” That line is a huge fairy tale. You’re living in a dream world if you’re waiting for things to be “happy ever after.”

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Needed Grace

“That’s it, Job! It’s your arrogance!” Eliphaz backs away and stares at him with that glare, saying, again, “You are getting exactly what you deserve!” The style of communication Eliphaz employs is not that unusual to those who lack grace.

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The Attraction of Gracious Giving

When I consider the magnetic effects of gracious giving, four qualities immediately emerge. First, grace is so attractive: Grace individualizes the gift. When you give by grace, you give individually.

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Free Indeed

My hope has been to create an appetite for grace that is so strong nothing will restrain us from pursuing the freedom and spontaneity it can bring—a longing so deep that a new spiritual dawn, a “grace awakening,” if you will, cannot help but burst through the wall of legalism.

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