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Seeds of the Kingdom

Amazing Grace!

by Dean Gardner

18 January 2019

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‘And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.’
Luke 15:20 ESV

This Christmas just past included a significant personal anniversary for me. December the 18th, a week before Christmas Day was the thirtieth anniversary of the night I encountered and received God’s amazing grace in a carol service, in a town where for over seven years I had lived backslidden and far from God. My life had become progressively more and more empty and hopeless until I reached the point where I thought that I had gone too far from God for Him to ever take me back. It was in that empty and now desperate state that I made my way to the town centre church where the carol service was being held that night. I never want to forget the grace and mercy I experienced during that service as God came to me by His Holy Spirit just as the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son ran to his returning and shame filled son. Like that son I too felt the loving embrace of my Heavenly Father welcoming me home as I sat weeping in my seat as the Gospel message was preached. I will never be proud of my years of wandering and rebellion but I glory in the love and grace of God that I experienced that night and have experienced countless times since.

I was listening to a song recently by the Christian group Casting Crowns which so reminded me of that night thirty years ago when Jesus reached down and rescued me from my empty way of life. Here are some of the words of that song...

I came to You, with my heart in pieces
And found the God with healing in His hands
I turned to You, put everything behind me
And found the God who makes all things new
I ran from You and wandered in the shadows
And found the God who relentlessly pursued
I hid from You haunted by my failure
And found the God whose grace still covers me

(From ‘God of all my days’ by Casting Crowns)

Perhaps there’s someone reading this Seed today and you feel that you have drifted too far from the Lord or sinned too greatly for Him to ever restore and forgive you. You haven’t - turn back to Him today. Perhaps there’s someone else and you have a loved one who you feel God could never save. He can - don’t lose heart, keep praying.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You came to seek and save the lost. Thank You that You came for me and that whatever state my heart is in, I can come to You right now just as I am. Please help me to live my whole life for You with an open and true heart and use me to reach out to those I know and meet who are still lost. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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