• ABOUT
    Did you know?
    All of our earnings go to Christian charities.
    Click to learn more about us!
  • SHOP
    View the latest sales and promotions going on now!
    When you shop, you give.
  • GIVE
    See our latest Giving Challenge.
  • GROW
    Our blog shares devotionals, interviews, contests & more—all to help you grow in your faith.

  • Books of the Month

Tag Archives: Grace

  • Embrace Grace from Liz Curtis Higgs

    Posted on January 31, 2014 by Family Christian

    Liz

    I’ve been waiting for you. Holding this good news close to my heart, longing to share it. And now here you are, standing on the threshold. To say that I’m glad to see you is a major understatement. Thrilled is more like it.

    Curb my enthusiasm? No way. Not when it’s you. There are a few things about you that I don’t know: your age, your appearance, your occupation. Facts that describe you but don’t define you and have little bearing here. There are also things about you that I do know because we share them: the need to be loved unconditionally, the desire to live a life that truly matters, the longing to shed a tightly woven mantle of guilt.

    Or am I the only woman who wears past failures and present mistakes like an old wool coat, scratchy and uncomfortable, chafing the skin around my neck? Ah. You too.

    Sadly, heavy overcoats get in the way of a good hug. Our arms are too stiff, our bodies too padded. No one can sense our warmth through the thick fabric. In the same way, remorse and shame insulate us. And isolate us.

    If only we could toss those miserable garments into some dark closet and tiptoe away. If only the ratty things didn’t feel so cozy and familiar. If only we could shake off the conviction that we need to wear our guilt—deserve to wear it, must wear it—whatever the season.

    Maybe it’s time to release that burden and lift our arms toward the One who loves us most. That’s what this visit is all about: slipping off the old and putting on the new. Letting go of the past and embracing freedom with our whole hearts. Come inside where it’s warm, beloved. Let me help you with your coat.

    “Take hold of the life that is truly life.” - 1 Timothy 6:19

    The forgiven life. The grace-filled life. It begins with an embrace, which is more than an elegant word for hug. Hugs are short-lived and friendly, handed out like after- dinner mints to acquaintances and strangers alike. Here, have one.

    An embrace is more intentional. Longer. Warmer. Far more personal. We gather someone close—a spouse, a child, a friend, a sibling—and murmur words of comfort and affection. Or we simply let the strength of our embrace express the depth of our thoughts and feelings. I believe in you. I support you. I treasure you. I love you.

    Wherever you are spiritually, whatever you have been through emotionally, you are already wrapped in the Lord’s embrace. Held close by nail-scarred hands. Enfolded in the arms of One who believes in you, supports you, treasures you, and loves you.

    He is waiting for you to embrace him in return. To accept the gift he’s offering you. To listen for the whispered words you’ve longed a lifetime to hear: You are loved. All is forgiven.

    “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” - Titus 3:4–5 6

    “Mercy.” An old-fashioned word, fraught with meaning.

    “Mercy!” my friend Sara says, her hand pressed to her heart. Mercy, God says, yet it’s our hearts he touches.

    “And God is able to make all grace abound to you.” - 2 Corinthians 9:8

    A single syllable, grace is God’s word for love, expressed through divine forgiveness. Sometimes we respond with an even shorter word. No. We persuade ourselves we have good reason to shrug off the Lord’s touch and refuse his gift of grace. Consider the heartfelt words of one of my readers: “I don’t feel I am worthy of having God forgive me of my sins and weaknesses. I feel like a failure.” How poignantly she states what we often feel! Unworthy? Me too. A failure? Oh yes. We get it.

    “I feel like I have let God down, and I can’t seem to find the forgiveness I seek. Even on Sundays I don’t feel his presence or direction, and I long for it.” We understand that longing: to sense the realness of God, to know that he is with us, no matter what we’ve done. For all our good days, we’ve stumbled through bad ones too.

    “I am struggling not to lead two separate lives—the Good Girl versus the Bad Girl.” We’re with you, sis. The battle is genuine, yet the grace of God prevails. I cherish such words from our sisters because they remind us we’re not alone. You’ll hear dozens of women’s voices echoing throughout Embrace Grace.

    Honest women. Hurting women. Hopeful women. I carefully omitted any identifying details—no names or initials, no locations or occupations—and included only brief comments that speak to our shared experience of yearning for freedom, yet feeling encumbered by previous mistakes and current challenges.

    “Even though I belong to God, I sometimes feel so unworthy because of my past.”

    “I still get that heavy feeling in my chest over who I used to be.”

    We feel it too—that woolly overcoat sensation—making our shoulders sag in defeat. Whether our “past” refers to some crucial mistake we made a decade ago or a poor decision last week, regret can weigh us down.

    “I often carry the guilt of ‘if only they knew who I used to be, they would not like me as much as they do.’ ” I cannot speak for what “they” think, but I am certain of what God thinks. He does know who you used to be. And he not only likes you, he loves you. Completely. Always has. Always will.

    “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” - Psalm 100:5

    Incredible, isn’t it? To imagine God’s love reaching across the boundaries of time, encircling us in his ceaseless embrace. Do you yearn to feel his heavenly arms around you? Holding you, comforting you, cherishing you?

    “I want to want a relationship with God. I also want somebody to tell me that they love me and to know they mean it.” Be assured, no one—man, woman, or child—says “I love you” with more certainty than the Lord. His regard for us goes far beyond kind words and warm feelings; his is a show-and- tell love, held up for the whole world to see.

    “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” - 1 John 4:9

    At times living through him seems too daunting; just living is hard enough. “I’ll never be perfect, and God is never going to forgive me for this, so what’s the point?”

    “I have no strength left, and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.”

    You belong right here, dear one. Looking for answers. Seeking encouragement.


    Excerpted from Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs Copyright © 2013 by Liz Curtis Higgs. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • Grace in the Middle

    Posted on January 15, 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort

    Alicia

    "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

    She is slumped on the couch all grumpy and mad, her lips pursed in a dramatic pout. "Why didn't you name ME Elizabeth Grace?" my little girl asks as she punctuates her big sister's name with a hiss of frustration.

    I set down the laundry basket I'm lugging through the living room and turn my head toward my four-year-old.

    Her blue eyes churn indignant like a thundercloud on a hot summer's day, and this girl of mine who is never satisfied with the name I chose crosses her arms in front of her chest with a big harrumph.

    Trying not to laugh at the theatrics, I move to the couch where my daughter sits sulking. I push back the bangs hanging haphazard across her forehead and slump lower on the cushions so we can perch head to head.

    "I didn't name you Elizabeth Grace," I murmur in her ear, "because when you were tucked in my tummy, God gave me the name Magdalene Hope."

    I let my words dangle in the air, the sound of Maggie's sniffled breathing ticking off the silent seconds. I hold my little one's hand and say, "And once God whispered that name to my heart, I knew that's exactly who you were going to be. Our one and only Maggie Hope."

    My dramatic girl raises an eyebrow and sighs, her vexation melting into sadness.

    "But I just want Grace in my middle, Mom. Right between Maggie Moo and Bwuxfort..."

    She adds her nickname to the mix and slaughters our fine Dutch surname, but her gaze is so earnest that now I'm not even tempted to giggle.

    Instead, I pull my fifth-born onto my lap and rock her ever so slightly. And as I rest my chin on her tangle-haired-head, I understand her wish.

    Grace in the middle. Who doesn't need that?

    No matter where life on this earth begins or how it ends, we all need a little grace in the middle. We were made with purpose and our Savior promises joy in the end. But making it through the middle? That's a different story.

    The middle is where hours creep long and the view wanes dim. It's where the starting block feels like a distant memory and the finish line looms like an impossible dream.

    The middle can douse our dreams, derail our zeal, and diminish our faith. It can make us desperate. For mercy. For hope. For grace.

    • When the baby's teething and the toddler's tantrum-ing.

    • When the dishes pile high and the laundry's run wild.

    • When our souls are empty and our calendars are filled, when our dinner tables are noisy and our accolades are quiet.

    • When the bread's burning and our patience has gone up in smoke, when our best isn't good enough and our worst is magnified.

    Right in the middle of that darkness, right in the middle of that mess, we need grace.

    Grace to take one more step, to utter one more prayer, to risk rejection one more time. Grace to trust in His promises and to cling to His hand.

    We linger long there on the couch, me and my girl who wants a new name.

    We just rock and cuddle and listen to the patter of rain on the window, the hum of the washing machine a floor below.

    And instead of offering my mopey Maggie a lecture on the grandeur of her given name, I simply hold her. Hold her with compassion, right in that middle place of wishing for something different and trying to accept what really is.

    And this mom, living somewhere between my beginning and my end, reminds her little girl of one simple truth (Because sometimes we just need to say it aloud for our own road-weary souls):

    There is only one name worthy of our wishing, one name deserving of our dreams. And when we keep that name in the middle of our madness, He offers hope in our beginning, glory in our end, and grace for every moment in-between.

    Jesus.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for being here with me in the middle. May Your grace sustain me in the long days, giving me perspective, courage and hope. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What circumstance are you facing today where you need God to step in with His gracious help?

    Is there someone you know who needs your help? Consider how you can be God's hands and feet to someone this week.

    Power Verses:
    Numbers 6:25-26, "... the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Strengthened By Grace

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    The grace of God strengthens a child of God. Like a B1 vitamin gives energy to the body, so God’s grace energizes the inner being of believers. This is why in the face of human weakness, grace flourishes. Fear weakens, but faith strengthens. Anger weakens, but forgiveness strengthens. Busyness weakens, but prayer strengthens. Noise weakens, but quiet strengthens. Stress weakens, but rest strengthens. Yes, the love of God strengthens His servants by grace!

    Has your patience been tested to your very last nerve? Are you exhausted and depleted by the demands of others? Look for the way of grace to give you what you need in your emotional emptiness. Your heart yearns for what only the Lord can provide through the fullness of His Spirit. So, Christ consoles your soul with His eternal encouragement, the good hope you have in Him. Gladly and gratefully receive God’s grace like at salvation, abandon yourself to His care. Because of the disgrace Jesus experienced on the cross, you enjoy His grace when you bear a cross of pain.

    It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace. Hebrews 13:9

    Furthermore, the inner energy we receive by God’s grace is supplied for our service. This is why it is remarkable when a man or woman on their sickbed become a blessing to those who serve them. Nurses, nutritionists and neurologists go away scratching their heads having been in the presence of heaven’s emissary, a grace filled follower of Jesus. Indeed, our adverse condition is not about us, but about how we can graciously exhibit what we believe for God’s glory. Grace strengthens!

    Grace gives you stamina to serve a needy child or an aging parent. Grace engages your empathetic heart with a friend’s hurting heart. Grace is the fortitude you need to remain steadfast in a relationship that is not life giving right now. So, whether strength of character or mental toughness is required, God’s grace is available as your supply chain. Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it HIs power to execute. Grace is a sweet, soothing sound that is music to your soul.

    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ. Ephesians 3:7-8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen me by Your grace, so I can serve others in Your power.

    Related Readings: Acts 15:39-41, 18:27; Romans 5:2, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 5:4

    Post/Tweet this today: Grace does carry Christ’s expectations, but with it His power to execute. #strengthenedbygrace

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

3 Item(s)

Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...