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Living In Joy As Examples of God's Grace Jim

by Jim May


I am a man who came to Jesus later in life, and therefore I have much more life to remember, regret, and wish had never happened. There is a monumental verse in the Bible that cuts to the heart of these feelings. 


Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." How remarkable! The God of all Creation would look down on this insignificant man and love him enough to send a Sacrifice to pay for the sins he could never pay himself. What kind of God does that?


You need to understand. I know who I am. I cannot forget things that happened in the past. I cannot forgive myself, but God forgives me. God chooses to forget my sins and forgive me! Amazing grace.


Gratitude, humility and joy. Those are the responses that explode out of a forgiven heart. I have encountered Christians that never seem to be happy with any situation or anything that is done for them. It causes me to wonder, "Where is the gratitude to Him that gives life and grace?" As Christians, we should be the most joy-filled people on the planet.


There is a ministry begun at Saddleback Church in California called Celebrate Recovery (CR). It ministers to people with "Hurts, Hang-ups and Habits". When you attend a CR meeting you will find all types of broken and imprisoned people, but you will also find people that have found freedom in Christ. Many thought they would never taste freedom from sin and their addictions.  


Some of the most vibrant, holy and honest worship services I have ever experienced have been with people in CR. They understand forgiveness. They know that God loves them, He provides for them, He forgives them. They know that God expects them to share their joy and to return thanks to Him who is the Giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). Their hearts cannot contain the gratitude that is inside; it must be proclaimed.


Our role in this Christian life is to "infect" the world with the love of Christ. Jesus modeled this and commands us to serve, to exhibit, to move into relationships with those who have never tasted the freedom that Christ alone offers. The relationship may be half a world away or with the person living next door.


No matter our circumstances, may you and I today live with grateful, humble hearts, with joy, love and thanksgiving to the God of all creation. May the joy of Jesus abiding in us invite people to taste and see the goodness of God. Freedom, forgiveness, peace, purpose, and JOY!


About the Author

Jim May is the Missions Pastor at Colonial Hills Church (CHC) in Southaven, MS. His background includes a lot of time on a Harley Davidson and fifteen years as a graphic artist. Jim committed his life to Christ well into his adult life, and felt the call of God to ministry in 1995. He joined the staff at CHC in 1996. Jim and Betty have been married for 40 years.


A Word From James

I have never met anyone that is more obviously full of the joy of Jesus than Jim May. Consider his words carefully today. Yield to Jesus and receive supernatural joy for your life and ministry today. Is there some way FollowOne can help you, your children and your church use the blessings of God to serve lost and hurting people?


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