GRACE GODS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT
By Dan Luehrs
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15, nas
This message on the grace of God I consider to be one of the greatest revelation, I have ever received from the Lord, for it has taken me some twenty-five years to see that grace is probably the second greatest word and gift in all of the Bible behind love. What I share with you has come through much of these twenty-five years of suffering the will of God for my life. Oh, what lies many preachers have spoken to the church of not having to suffer in God’s will, for they have stolen from the church some of the greatest truths and riches from the people of God. And that truth is grace in the time of tribulation. I can only pray that you will also get a glimpse of His glory in this one marvelous word.
The first time I noticed God’s grace in my life was in the late 1980s when I started preaching. My church was going through some pastoral changes, and I was asked to preach twice on Sundays in the morning and evening services. I was still working a full-time job, and I asked the Lord how I could have time to prepare two messages for the people. He just gave me peace that He was well able to give me what the people needed.
At that time, I did not understand that messages from the Lord are not studied up out of the Bible through my mind, but they were downloaded from heaven into my spirit man and then unpacked by the Lord for the people to hear. As the Lord was doing this through me, I could feel His grace upon me. This was my first lesson in grace, and it was marvelous, easy, and exciting. When God’s grace is upon you to do something, it will not be complicated or difficult because the oil of the Holy Spirit will make it all come together with His joy and peace. But when we have to sweat at it, is when we are doing things in our own power and strength.
The second time I found grace working in my heart was when I became senior pastor of a church that had been there for fifty years, and many of the people had been there most of that time. In this church, I spoke three times a week, and I felt overwhelmed at coming up with something fresh each week to give to these people. Many of them were well seasoned in the Lord and His Word, so how could I being so young and ever hope to feed them fresh manna each time.
One day, I knelt down before the Lord and said, “Lord, I think I have bit off more than I can chew.”
All God said was, “Just trust me.”
I said okay. He never had missed a message for all those years I was there. To show that God did this through me, one elderly lady that had been in the church from the beginning said to me when I was leaving the church, “You are one of the finest preachers that I have ever sat under.” That floored me because I knew it was, not I she was speaking of, but the Lord working through me.
The next time that I felt grace working in me was to stay in His will when I wanted to quit and run. I felt Him upon me to persevere every day even though life made no sense whatsoever. My first wife was opposed to me being in the ministry, and she made it known to me that she did not want anything to do with me and my ministry. At that time, the Lord was telling me to write all the things that He had given me. It took two years and six books later before I was done with the task; the grace of God was on me to complete it. Writing was my full-time job, and somehow, the Lord paid all the bills through that time. When I was done writing, all the bills were paid. My former wife would look at me in my office and would say, “Don’t you go nuts sitting in here?” I would look around the room and sense God everywhere, and I would say no. When I look back and see how God gave me His grace to live with her badgering me because I was, not bringing a weekly check, but just trusting God to bring in the money, it was truly grace that brought me through. Little did I know that time was just preparation for the next test God had in my life and how much I would have to lean upon His grace because I had no strength left within me to go on. This is where my story of understanding grace more starts.
One night, I was given a continuous vision of a cup being formed on a wood lathe. The lathe was spinning the piece of wood as it was being formed into a cup. I saw this for a very long time from many different angles and became somewhat tired of seeing it because I wanted to go to bed. It was not until a few days later that I understood what the Lord was saying to me. God made my cup just for me; the cup is the circumstances of my life right now that I was to drink of. The next day, I went in to my office, and there was a wooden cup there like the one I had just seen in my vision the night before. My wife must have put it there without knowing that I had my vision, but I took it as a sure sign that God had spoken to me. Even though I cannot go into the specifics of what was going on in my life, I can tell you that it was the most ongoing trial that I had ever faced with no seeming way out. Even though going through financial pressure is most difficult, this was even more trying because my flesh wanted to quit, but God says, “Don’t give up.” When God says don’t give up, He wants to teach us something of lasting value through the trial.
A sign that things were about to change for my good happened as I parked my car, and I looked at the mileage counter, which I almost never do, and it said, “555–1.” Then I caught a glimpse of the speedometer, and it said “555–1.” Then I came into the house and caught the closing moments on a TV show, and it said “Grace Films.” In biblical numerology, five is the number of grace. I did need great grace to see me through this time because I had been so accustomed to it before since I was always seemingly going through something that required the grace of God on me. But for many months, I did not have it, and I missed it and did not understand that to require grace, one must have need of it. God will not give it to us unless we are in need of it, then we will not take it for granted. Now I realize to have the manifested grace required me to go through times of tribulation so that God would give me this wonderful gift. I believe what God is saying to me through the “555” is that He is going to give me His triple grace to get through this difficult time.
At this time, Jesus appeared to me in a church service, and He grabbed my two hands and pulled me up twice and said, “Come with me.” I believe what He was saying to me was to come up in the spirit realm with Him and stay there and receive my life and grace from Him, for that’s what grace really is: His life. One week later, God’s presence came on me in great power that gave me so much strength that I felt like a new man with a new life. I received a prophetic word shortly after this, and the Lord said, “How could it be any other way, but the way of my cross? What did you think that the way would be paved with gold to My glory? It is always the way of the cross. Quit looking at the needs of your flesh and what you are lacking and come on the segue of the cross to My glory. For I have set up your life experiences so you could die to self. You cannot give up, for if you keep going, you will win.” The cross of Christ is always with us if we are one of His elect, for there is no other way to enter the kingdom of God. If we are living the crucified life, we know that we are on the true path of life that will lead us to the fullness of God.
I have been living in a garment of God’s presence around the clock. When I find myself slipping back into self-pity, I begin to fellowship with God, and I am right there where I was before in the spirit realm with Him to get my strength and peace back. What a wonderful way to live—the way God design man to live in His presence, but it seems to come with a great price that many people are not willing to pay because it is costly for them to give up earthly comforts.
More than Enough
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:1–2 (nkjv)
Peter addressed his letter to the pilgrims of the dispersion. Who were the pilgrims of that day, and what was the dispersion of that day? The pilgrims were Christians that were on the run for their lives because of their faith in Jesus Christ and were being scattered through all the known earth. Many hid in caves and in the wilderness to stay alive and were hunted down as wild animals so that their faith would not be spread to others. In other words, Satan was dogging their tracks with great intensity, but Peter was given a word by God to not give in but to receive God’s grace in the midst of their trial. This is why he tells them to think it not strange.
How blessed is the man whose strength [grace] is in Thee; in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Passing through the valley of Baca [weeping], they make it a spring, the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength [grace] to strength (grace), every one of them appears before God in Zion.
Psalms 84:5–7 (nas)
May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.
1 Peter 1:2 (nas)
What greater blessing could Peter have bestowed upon us than the grace and peace of God? Grace and peace work hand in hand, the two are traveling buddies; in my opinion, peace works within me as does grace, but somehow God gives us this strength within to be worked out through the weakness of our flesh. God’s grace is His strength or power to get through anything that we may face in life. No devil, no demon, or principality will stop the grace of God because it is the power of God. There is no greater force in all of creation.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (nkjv)
For years I have wondered at this verse like a dog that cocks his head when his master is talking to him, and the dog looks at him with wonderment of what he had just said. So it was with this verse, but today, I can say that God has allowed me to see a little deeper into grace than ever before. I am convinced that most people do not have a clue of what Paul was saying here, for it is only with head knowledge that most people see it, as it was with me; it is only going through trials that we can ever come to know of it. I maybe off the deep-end here, but somehow I believe that grace is a spirit being that God sends upon our physical flesh to strengthen us so that we can feel Him in a tangible way. Why else did Paul say, “That the power of Christ may rest upon me”? Paul felt the reality of the presence of God upon himself.
Before grace came upon me, I had two angelic visitations very close together. I think they were just preparing me for what was to come. All I know is that God has given me many confirmations that this is His will for my life to be here in this place until He is done with me. If I were to leave my trial, I would be going in the power of my flesh, which would be much scarier for me than to stay put, patiently waiting for God to change me into what He would have me to be, even though my flesh is very weak. I have found that if I run from one trial, I just run into another one that is worse than the one I had before. I think the old saying goes, “From the pan into the fire.” Even though the pan is hot, the fire is far worse, so stay in the pan.
Paul would rather boast of his weakness in the flesh, not his strengths. Our generation is prone to boast in themselves because we really don’t know God’s power in our weaknesses as we should; plus, we want to feel good about ourselves when there is no good thing within us. When we become transparent, we are humbling ourselves before others and before the Lord, and He can only bless this because God gives His grace or power to the humble. “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6, nas). To most the garment of humility is very ugly and embarrassing because it is lowly and un-esteemed to the flesh, and few want it because they have to go too low in following the Lord to get it. If you are in a dead-end job or are married to the most horrible person in the world and feel like you are nothing, but somehow you still feel like you are in the will of God, rejoice in it because God will bestow upon you His most indescribable gift of grace if you will just continue to be thankful in all things rather than feeling sorry for yourself.
God told Paul that His grace was sufficient or that it was enough for Paul to get through his time of testing. One of God’s names is El-Shaddai: “The God that is more than enough.” When we have God’s grace, we have Him. I have no other words than to describe it to you this way. Yes, we have God with us at all times whether we feel Him or not, but what I am talking about is the manifest power of God that is with you twenty-four-seven. His presence will keep you strong and from giving into the tribulation that you may be facing at that time in your life. If you do not need grace, you will not get it; but when you cry out to God for strength, you will receive it. This is why Paul could say, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, nkjv).
How in the world could Paul take pleasure in tribulation? Was he a nut, did he like pain that much? No, Paul was so in love with the presence of God that it was worth everything to him. God was so great on him and in him that the trial seemed as nothing to the greatness of God’s presence. To put it plainly: Paul’s spirit was abiding in heavenly places with Jesus while his flesh was undergoing great pressures from the world, the flesh, and the devil. In fact, Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” To think and talk like this is truly supernatural because the natural man just wants to complain about his problems. But according to Paul and the Word of God, we can rejoice by faith in tribulation as His grace comes upon us; we can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Hallelujah!
Grace in Tribulation
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia: that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
2 Corinthians 8:1–2 (nas)
Paul clearly wants to teach the church about grace: “We wish to make known to you the grace of God.” Most people in the ministry interpret 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 about the giving of money, but I see something much greater than money that God wants to give to His people, and that is grace. God wants to give us this in our time of need so that we can give it to others.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (nas)
There is no greater comfort in the entire world than God’s grace in the time of need.
Paul starts his discourse on grace in chapter 8, and he finishes it with chapter 9 verses fourteen and fifteen: “While they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift [grace].” Grace is the gift that God wants His people to receive so that they can make it through their tribulations with His power to overcome and not to fail. God wants you to lean and rely upon Him heavily because you do not have the strength within yourself to make it through to the end. God has an endless supply of grace to give you daily if you will just seek Him for it. Ask, seek, and you will receive. In order to get through the days that are ahead of us in our own private lives and with the earth reeling with birth pains one after another, we are going to have to learn how to live by the grace of God. Even as the first-century church learned grace through great trial, so must we.
So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:6–7 (nkjv)
God, not only wants us to have grace, but to abound in it. That means to be filled with all the fullness of His grace. “May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure” (1 Peter 1:2, nas). Wow, what a God we serve that fills us with everything that we need to make it to our journey’s end. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency [contentment] in everything, you may have an abundance [of grace] for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8, nas). Would you not want to have all God’s grace? Of course you would. Then ask Him for it right now and see what God does with you. Don’t get discouraged if nothing happens right away but wait and see what God will do for you because He has many avenues that He can take to help you. You never know when or how He will show up strong on your behalf.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich [in grace].
2 Corinthians 8:9 (nas)
Paul wants us to understand that if Jesus needed grace to get through this earthly existence, certainly we will also need it. Jesus came from the glory of the Father into a hellish atmosphere of demonic oppression even as we live in it daily. But most likely, He had much more demonic powers coming against Him then because the enemy knew who He was and tried to cause Him to fall over and over. I’m sure when Jesus was a child or in His youth, the demons could not understand how He could not sin as other children did because the fullness of grace was upon Him. As I was led by the Holy Spirit to read these verses in the Gospel of John, I shouted because I see them in a new light of grace as never before and understand that Jesus is grace in our life, for He is all that we will ever need. Grace upon grace is given to us whenever we receive it from Him.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14–17 (nkjv)
Jesus just did not have grace; He was full of grace because He is grace. And it is through Him that we have grace upon grace overflowing in our life. Oh, what a wonderful Savior we have. He is in us, around us, and before us. So why do we have to fear anything whatsoever in this life if God is everywhere and He is going to give us all things that pertain to life and godliness throughout our life on planet earth?
The Grace That Has Come
May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.
1 Peter 1:2 (nas)
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2 (nas)
In the books that bear Peter’s name, he encourages the people of God to receive the fullness of grace in our quest to know Christ more so that we may be changed into His likeness. In fact, we will not come to know Him more unless we do receive His grace because grace is a revelation of Jesus to us. So why not seek all the grace that is available to us? But I warn you that the greater grace is given only because we are going through something that requires it. Peter begins the first chapter of 1 Peter with the fullness of grace to come upon us at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13, nas). How do we fix our hope completely on grace? Remember that Jesus is grace and that grace is the strength of God to get us through something, which is for us to possess the full likeness of Jesus. Think of grace as a painkiller of sorts so that God can do whatever internal surgery on us because without it, we just simply will not make it through. The revelation of Jesus is the appearing of the Christ within His saints because we cannot prepare ourselves for this great event, so God gives us grace that will assist us and carry us through to the finished work. We must set our hope completely on the grace of God to do this in us, for there is no other thing for us to look to but God’s grace, whether it comes by His Word, the Holy Spirit, enemy, or friend. God has many avenues and is never at loss of what He can do or use in making us like His Son. Oh, how God loves us.
Peter ends his first book exhorting us to continue in the grace of God; in fact, he says, “Stand firm in it.” This is a command for us not to rely upon anything but grace (God’s strength). “Through Silvanus, our faithful brother [for so I regard him], I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it” (1 Peter 5:12, nas). I have heard many things about the books of Peter, but I have never heard anyone say that Peter was writing about grace. Some people think that maybe Peter was a little too harsh in his writing and that he might have copied some from the book of Jude because of their likeness. With a little study, we can see that Peter is writing about grace and is trying to prepare us for the Lord’s coming because this is his theme throughout his writings so that we can come to the desired end that God would have for us.
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry” (1 Peter 1:10, nas). I believe we are living in the time that the prophets foresaw grace coming upon God’s people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord. Yes, great grace will be given to us when the Lord comes, but I am more focused on the grace that I need right now to make it through this trial that I am facing. I want to pass this test so that I am ready for the next one, which will require more faith and more grace to get me through. Then I can agree with Paul: “I take pleasure in my weakness so that the power of Christ may be upon me.” What better way to live then by the power of God. For we have this promise: “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you [in Christ’s likeness]” (1 Peter 5:10, nas). Do you see that it is God’s will for us to suffer so that He can complete us and make us like His Son? Unless we can see the glory that comes from our suffering, we will not be able to walk in all the spiritual authority that God would have us to. So many Christians think that because Jesus suffered, we don’t have to; but they fail to realize that God is not asking us to suffer on the cross for our sins, but that we enter into the sufferings of Christ that make us one with Him and sets us on the throne with Him. It was through suffering that He was able to sit upon His throne, and it is only through suffering that we will be able to also.
Who are protected by the power of God [grace] through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:5 (nas)
If we are protected by the power of God, what do we have to fear anyway if all things are working out for the glory of God in our life? Our suffering will cause us to grow in God’s grace because we will have to learn to lean on Him just a little more each time. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18, nas). We are to be growing in grace, but how would we ever grow if we never had any trials in life to prove that we have a need for it or even what it is? For His grace is made perfect in weakness, and if we want His grace, which is also His presence, we will need to go through some things in life to require God’s assistance upon us.
How do we know if we are growing in grace? When we are weak, then we are strong for His strength, and joy will be upon us in our time of the trial, which can only come from one source—God. Remember this one simple fact: joy in tribulation is from God, and depression is from the devil. That’s why the Scriptures say, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, nas). Rejoicing in trials can only come from God because the natural man wants to sulk, but our spirit man wants to rejoice in it because he knows that God is working in the tribulation for our benefit in the end. Remember these words from Winston Churchill when Germany wanted England to surrender, “Never give up, never, never, never.”