Tag

grace

Now and then it is good to take a “morning inventory” and reflect on the grace of God.

This morning when I opened my eyes I thanked God for protecting me while I slept. As I turned off the alarm clock, I thanked Him for sounds and my hearing. As I rested for a moment before getting out of bed, I could feel my beating heart which He kept working while I slept. As I stood up, I thanked Him for my balance, healthy legs, and my slippers. As I took a shower, I thanked Him for the warm water, shampoo, soap, a towel, and a mat on the floor to keep me from slipping. Then I continued by thanking Him for a mirror, razor, deodorant, and on and on until I thanked Him for each of the articles of clothing He provided for me to wear.

And, then I thanked Him for the words of the Psalmist that reminded me of His promise: “no good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

It was then that I had to pause in deep humility and gratefully thank Him for His love and grace that I do not deserve but desperately need. It is so easy for me to accept the gifts of God - including my salvation - without realizing that everything I have, or ever had or will have, are gifts from God.

And, as I reflected on that verse, the word blameless kept ringing in my ears as though it was my friendly alarm clock. I, of all people, am certainly not blameless. As I meditated on the word blameless for a few minutes and thought about everything I am or have, it’s not because I am blameless. It’s because His life was blameless, and of His unending love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness!

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for loving us, saving us, and giving us everything we have. May we be ever mindful of Your love and grateful for Your gifts! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  No good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11c 

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According to Greek legend, Achilles was the greatest warrior who ever lived. In Homer’s Iliad, he was the hero of the Trojan Wars. When he was a baby, his mother wanted him to be invulnerable to injury. So, early in his, life she took him to the River Styx, believing that it had miraculous powers, held him by his heels, and dipped him in the water. Only his heels were not covered by the water. 
Eventually, he became a greatly respected and feared warrior! Unfortunately, he was killed in battle by an arrow that pierced his heel - the only spot that was not covered by the water from the River Styx. It is from this legend that we talk of “our Achilles heel.” 
Although it is only a legend, it teaches us a significant fact: Our surrender to Christ must be complete – it must include all of us: our hearts, minds, and bodies. Paul advises us that we are not “to let any part of our body become a tool of wickedness to be used for sinning...instead...let your whole body be as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” 
Surrender is often difficult for some of us for fear that we will fail our Lord. Does this come from the idea that we think we are responsible for the victory over sin? We are not! It is God working in us and through us and for us that gives us victory over sin through Christ. Whatever we do not surrender to God is our “Achilles heel” and will be targeted by Satan and bring about our death.  
 Prayer:  Help us, Father, to remember that the battle and the victory are in Your hands. We know that if we surrender our “all” to You we will survive the attacks of Satan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
Scripture For Today:  Romans 6:12-14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.  
Every now and then it is good to take a "morning inventory" and reflect on the grace of God.
This morning when I opened my eyes I thanked God for protecting me while I slept. As I turned off the alarm clock, I thanked Him for sounds and my hearing. As I rested for a moment before I got out of bed I could feel my beating heart which He kept going while I slept. As I stood up, I thanked Him for my balance, healthy legs and my slippers. As I took a shower, I thanked Him for the warm water, shampoo, soap, a towel and a mat on the floor to keep me from slipping. Then I continued by thanking Him for a mirror, razor, deodorant and on and on until I thanked Him for all of the articles of clothing He provided for me to wear today.
And then I thanked Him for the words of the psalmist that reminded me of His promise: "no good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless."
It was then that I had to pause in deep humility and gratefully thank Him for His love and grace that I do not deserve. It is so easy for me to accept the gifts of God – including my salvation - without realizing that everything I have, ever have had, or will have are gifts from God.
As I reflected on that verse the word blameless kept ringing in my ears as though it was my friendly alarm clock. I, of all people, am certainly not blameless. As I meditated on the word blameless for a few minutes and thought about everything I am or have, it's not because I am blameless. It's because of His unending love and grace!
Prayer: Thank You Lord, for loving us, saving us and giving us everything we have. May we be ever grateful! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 84:11c No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
The word grace in Scripture is used in many different ways. In the Old Testament it is often included with "grace-words" when the writer is speaking of God's loyalty or forgiveness, His steadfast love or loving-kindness. It is also used in association with relationships, such as the relationship of a superior to an inferior. And this is noteworthy: An inferior cannot show a superior grace. In other words, we cannot show God grace. Everything flows from His grace and there is nothing we have that did not come from Him.
In the New Testament the word for grace is charis – a word used when speaking of forgiveness. From it comes our word "charity" – giving something to someone when they do not deserve "it" or cannot get "it" themselves. It also implies being "gracious" – which is, grace in action.
Showing God's grace is what Christians are to do after they accept God’s grace. And unless we show it we might question whether or not we really have it!
For example, when we are saved by grace we are to become gracious and act differently. Cruelty is to be replaced with kindness, anger with acceptance, rejection with reconciliation and giving instead of always getting.
Grace is certainly a comprehensive word. It is as wide as the world. Remember what Jesus said: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall be saved."
Our indebtedness to God for His grace is beyond us. Our indebtedness to show His grace to others is within us.
Prayer: Your love, Father, is beyond our comprehension and Your grace can never be understood – only accepted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 84:11b  The Lord will give grace and glory;
Shortly after John Newton turned eight years old, he was orphaned and became a “wanderer.” He eventually began working on ships and the sea captain became his “father.” It was not long before he joined the Royal Navy. Dissatisfied, he deserted his post, was caught, put in irons and whipped publicly before being thrown in prison.
Leaving prison angry and defiant, he signed on with the lowest of all seagoing ships - one that carried slaves.
Aboard the new ship life continued to deteriorate. The wife of the captain treated him with great disdain. When meals were served, his food was thrown on the floor and he was forced to eat like a dog. If he refused to eat, he was beaten. He finally escaped, made his way to shore where he built a fire and attracted a ship that rescued him.
John could hardly read, but his knowledge of the sea and sailing ships earned him a promotion. One day he served the crew too much rum and they became drunk. It so angered the captain, that while brutally beating him, John was knocked overboard. But instead of allowing him to drown, he threw a harpoon at John and rescued him. The harpoon speared him and as a result, he carried a scar the rest of his life.
On a voyage from Brazil a severe storm nearly sank the ship. Newton became so frightened that he fell on his knees and asked God to save him. Years later, reflecting on his sordid life, he again fell on his knees. This time to write the great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” to honor “The Lord who was gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger.”

Prayer:
 Father, “sin is sin” and all of us have compiled our own list. We thank You that Your grace exceeds every sin! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 145:8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
Oswald Avery and a group of biologists were looking for a method to cure pneumonia. While doing their research they accidentally discovered the properties of DNA – a unique gift from God that gives each person a unique identity. It has had and will have a direct impact on each of our lives as scientists expand its usefulness. It has the potential to assist physicians in diagnosing illnesses and in prescribing medications that will increase the healing process.
Avery did not have the discovery of DNA as a lifetime goal or objective. In fact, he worked in the laboratories of the Rockefeller Institute Hospital in New York City for many years and many of his research efforts failed.
But there was one standard in his life that kept him motivated. Each time he failed in one of his experiments, he took great pride in saying, “Whenever you fall, pick up something!”
Paul had that attitude. In his second letter to the Corinthians he wrote that God’s “gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.”
Paul wrote those words when God refused to remove his “affliction.” Yet, through his “affliction” he understood and saw God at work in his life.
How? God gave Paul His courage, strength and power to overcome his doubts and weaknesses. Trust Him! Good things await you!
Prayer: When life seems to be crumbling all around us, Lord, help us to look to You in faith, believing that You have a gift for us in the midst of life’s “afflictions.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
A great sculptor was commissioned to create a statue of Napoleon. The marble was ordered from a quarry in Greece known for its quality materials. As soon as it arrived in the studio of the famous sculptor, Canova, he examined it carefully. To his dismay he noticed that it was not perfect.
In disgust he shouted, “Discard it! It has a flaw in it. I will not lay my chisel upon it.”
How fortunate we are that God’s attitude toward and acceptance of sinners are the exact opposites. Paul boldly declares that God saved us “by His grace” – a word that means strong kindness toward someone! Imagine, if you can, how important God’s grace is for us.
God is perfection and only perfection is good enough for Him. But, our very nature condemns us and will not allow us to grow into anything near perfection. So, if we are ever to get near to God, then, it must be on His terms.
God is also love. This love that we do not deserve or can ever understand is what makes grace necessary. There is nothing we could ever do that would enable us to remove the flaws in our lives. We need Someone who is above us and beyond us Who will reach out to us and say: “In spite of your flaws, I love you and will forgive you and transform you by My grace if you have faith in my Son.”
In spite of their flaws, Jesus called men to be His disciples who were like us: ordinary sinners saved by grace. Accept His grace and love today.
Prayer: Lord, it’s not about breaking Your laws that requires Your grace, but breaking Your heart. Forgive us, transform us and enable us to live worthy of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Little Lola was having a hard time learning to skate. Every time she got up and started to skate, she fell down. The bruises were multiplying and covering all of the available space on her knees and elbows.
A neighbor passing by watched her try and try again. Finally he approached her and asked, “Why don’t you give up?”
“Because,” she cried with tears streaming down her face, “my father didn’t give me these skates to give up with but to go on with.”
Our Lord gives us His gracious favor and wonder working power to “go on with…” A good example of this is the Apostle Paul. God did not remove His affliction. He promised, however, to demonstrate His grace and power in and through him at all times.
God wants to display His grace and power in our lives often through what we believe to be our weaknesses. He wants to give us courage and hope, strength and victory. When we willingly admit our weaknesses and limitations we are forced to depend upon God to be effective and successful. Surrendering to Him when we need His help forces us to admit our inabilities and His abilities. Admitting our limitations enables us to develop our Christ-dependence, deepen our respect for God’s presence and power in our lives and will encourage us to develop a deeper sense of worship.
Prayer: Father, we truly need Your involvement in our lives. When we are weak - give us Your strength, when we are down - raise us with Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…That is why, for Christ sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.
When Michelangelo was a young boy and determined to become an artisan, he went to visit a sculptor. Knowing of his interest in bringing objects to life, the artist gave him a young man half chiseled out of marble. For years he kept the object by his side and looked forward to the day when he would be able to free figures from stone.
Jesus possessed the ability to see what men and women could become. In John’s Gospel the story of Andrew bringing Simon to Jesus reflects this ability. “When Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus, looking intently at Simon, Jesus said ‘You are Simon, the son of John – but you will be called Cephas, which means Peter.’”
In this intriguing story, Jesus looked at Simon and saw his potential – who he was and who he would become. That is precisely why He gave him a new name which meant Peter – which in Greek meant “Rock.”
Throughout the Gospels, Peter is not portrayed as being one who is “rock-solid” – an immovable object that would make a foundation safe and secure. But over time, as he grew in His faith and did the work of his Lord, he did become a solid rock for the faith that was established in the early church. By giving him such a significant name, Jesus introduced him to the person he would become by the grace of God.
What Peter became through the grace of God is what each of us can become. Peter tried and failed but he did not give up. He denied Jesus and turned his back on Him but he did not leave Him. Though he faltered and failed, he was one who never failed to follow Jesus and eventually become who God wanted him to be.
Prayer: Lord, we admit that we often fail in being and doing what You have planned for us. But give us a heart-desire to never leave You nor forsake You as we struggle to please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 1:40-42 Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
In 1918 a salesman traveling from door to door selling “foot scrappers" stopped at the door of Eric Enstrom, a Minnesota photographer. He looked into the eyes of the salesman and noticed their kindness and was so impressed by the gentleness of the man that he invited him in to eat.
"Come in,” said Enstrom, "I'm ready to sit down to dinner. Join me." As he walked to the table, an idea struck the photographer. He asked, "Will you please pose for a picture for me?"
"Yes," answered the salesman and sat down at the table. There was a pair of glasses on a Bible, a bowl of food and a piece of bread. "Would you please bow your head," and as he did, the peddler, without giving thought to what he was doing, immediately began to thank God for what he had been given.
The photograph was taken in 1918 during World War I. Enstrom said he wanted to take the picture to remind people that even though they had to do without many things, they still had much to be thankful for. Enstrom wrote "Though poor in earthly goods he has more than most." He called the picture Grace.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to always be thankful for all that we have because of Your goodness and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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