Archive for October, 2013


Great Grace

English: Present Cake with Sugar Bow

Today is a great day to think about grace.  It was on this day, October 31st, in 1517 that Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the door of a church in Germany because he had understood grace and wanted others to also.  And besides that, there’s a new song from Matt Redman that keeps playing on the radio about grace.  But what is grace?  And why is it so great?

I did a word study a long time ago on the word “grace.”  We know that it is by grace that we are saved and not by the things that we do or do not do.  But is there more to it than that?  Ephesians 2:8-9 says this, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast, (NIV).”

The dictionary defines grace as “goodwill, favor; the love and favor of God toward human beings.”  The definition of the original Greek word for grace used here in Ephesians is “the state of kindness and favor toward someone, often with a focus on a benefit given to the object; by extension:  gift, benefit; credit; words of kindness and benefit, thanks, blessing.”

During the Old Testament time people commonly used the word grace to mean God’s favor.  In the New Testament we read that God showed us His grace through the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ.  Throughout the book of Ephesians we see that Paul teaches believers that we have the desire and ability to obey God’s Word because of grace.  In Ephesians 4:22 and 24 Paul encourages us to put off the old self and put on the new self.  In Ephesians 6:11 Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God.  And in Ephesians 6:14 we learn that we are to stand firm.  All of this is not because we can earn God’s favor, but because we already have His favor and we want to live in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Back in the time that Paul wrote his letter to the believers in Ephesus, the people knew that even though a gift is free, to accept that gift meant that they had an obligation to the one who gave them the gift.  The word for grace had a reciprocal meaning in that God had accepted the believers into favor through Jesus and then the believers return that favor by showing thankfulness to God, helping others, and by encouraging and supporting others in a society that is not living God’s way.  The next verse that Paul wrote after “For it is by grace you have been saved…” is Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  That verse makes complete sense here when we fully understand grace.  (By the way, I wrote a post about this verse earlier that you may read here:  https://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/youre-valuable/ .)

I had always understood grace to mean unmerited favor, which it does, but there is more to it than just that.  When we fully understand the magnitude of the gift that God has freely given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, we will be compelled to live our life for Him with a heart of gratitude.

I especially like the line in Matt Redman’s new song “Your Grace Finds Me” that says “I’ll keep breathing in Your grace and breathing out Your praise” because that is what grace is all about.  Accepting God’s free gift of grace through Jesus and breathing out, or living out, His praise because of what He has done and continues to do for us.

So, you don’t have to write a long thesis and post it onto any church doors.  That’s not very common these days.  And you don’t have to write a song.  But as you consider God’s great gift of grace, I know that you will want to do the good works that God has prepared just for you to do as you breathe in His grace and breathe out His praise each day.  In the meantime, you can enjoy the song here as you enjoy living in God’s great grace today.

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Pumpkin Bread

IMG_4551The leaves are changing color and the temperature outside is getting cooler.  Yes, things are changing all around us so today I will write a different kind of post.  I don’t think I’ve ever posted a recipe here on my blog before.  I’ve written a silly poem and posted that, but not a recipe.  But the season is changing so for just one day, so will my blog post.

The fall season at my home means it’s time to bake pumpkin bread.  I’ve even used it for gifts at times.  Usually I simply bake it into regular loaf pans, but in the past I have baked it in small loaf pans.  Then after the bread cooled I wrapped the little loaves in plastic wrap, tied a ribbon bow around each one and then added a tag.  Sometimes the tags simply said “Thank you!” and at other times they said “Merry Christmas” to my children’s teachers.  Whenever I have shared the pumpkin bread with others, people have asked for the recipe.  And you know it has to be good because it is originally from my mom who, by the way, is a very good cook.  So here it is for all of you!

PUMPKIN BREAD

Ingredients:  3 1/2 c. flour; 2 t. baking soda; 1 1/2 t. salt; 1 t. cinnamon; 1 t. nutmeg; 1/4 t. ginger; 3 c. sugar; 1 c. vegetable oil; 2/3 c. water; 4 eggs; 2 c. pumpkin (15 oz can).

Directions:  Mix all ingredients well.  Pour into two loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Leave in pan to cool or cool in pan for 10 minutes and then loosen edges with a knife to remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy your pumpkin bread and the fall season!

Worms

Worms!

So the other day I saw a spider and wrote about that.  Today I saw a worm, so why not write about that?

The worm was on my driveway.  I’m sure that just the other day that worm was probably joyfully exploring the dirt under our grass and discovering exciting things that worms like to discover, but today it was not.  I don’t know what happened, but I found it dried up in the sunshine and kind of curled up on my driveway.  Not really a good thing for a worm.

So what does that worm have to do with anything?  Well, you know, it’s easy to get busy and leave out time for God and His Word.  Or to let all those things that we worry about kind of take over our thoughts and time.  But when we do that, we can become just like that dried up worm on my driveway.  God made us to know Him and have a relationship with Him so it’s important to spend time with Him.  It may sound strange, but when we do spend time with Him even when we know we have a million things to do, somehow we have time for everything.  And when we give our worries to Him, He takes care of us.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like that dried up worm.  I want to be like the joyful worm exploring and discovering the world of whatever worms explore.  Maybe even books!  Like a bookworm!  Haha, the Bible is a book!  We could explore God’s Word, the Bible, and spend time talking with God and also with other believers and then we’ll stay joyful as we discover more amazing things about our God every day.  Even when we’re busy, or worried, or starting to feel like a lonely worm laying in the hot sun on my driveway.

Okay, are you thinking too much about worms now?  Maybe this will help.  Here’s a song for you by Downhere.  It’s “Let Me Rediscover You.”  I didn’t see any worms in this video.  I did see dirt, but no worms.