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For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Dear Hanover Saints,

In the heart of the wilderness Satan tempts Jesus to reject God’s grace.  The devil tempts Jesus to believe that he can define and direct the extent and nature of God’s blessings.  The tempter dares Jesus to believe that he can be the source of his own provision, sustenance, and power.

The nature of grace is this: it is born of unconditional love; it comes without regard for worthiness or works; and it comes without expectation of payment.  The most crowded pathway into the wilderness is paved with the belief that our blessings are the product of our own work and worthiness.  To claim God’s blessings as the product of our hard work is to reject God’s grace.

In worship this Sunday we will celebrate God’s grace in our lives.  However, in the spirit of Lent, we will also consider the repentance necessary for not having resisted the temptations to deny and deflect God’s grace.  The message will explore the paradox of being “Lost in Grace”; of how grace can be both a wonder and a wilderness.

By the grace of God the grace of God abounds and surrounds.  The challenge in this and every season of the year is to recognize God’s grace for what it is: our source of provision, sustenance, and power.

Once upon a time a man turned to his pen and piano to spread his experience of God’s “Amazing Grace”.  Soon after repenting for having been a wholesaler in human beings, the ex-slave trader John Newton wrote: “I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.”

May God lead us from being lost in the wilderness, and may we rejoice in the promise that by God’s grace we are found.