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November 17, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what ways are you experiencing the sufficient grace of Christ today?

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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9


When we study Scripture, there are times when a nuance provided by the meaning learned from the Bible’s original languages can rock us to the core. The Greek word order of 2 Corinthians 12:9 provides us with meaning we don’t want to miss: “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” That is an incredible promise! Essentially the Lord told the apostle Paul, I am the grace. I’m all the grace you need. God does not dispense strength and encouragement like a pharmacist fills a prescription. God never says, Here, take two of these and call Me in the morning. He is the grace. He is the strength. His presence is the power. All we need comes through intimacy with Him.


No matter what we face, Jesus is the complete answer. “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” He doesn’t give what we need and then go somewhere else. He comes to stay. “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Notice that the Lord explains how I’m all the grace you need actually works in our lives: “For my power is made perfect in weakness.” “Perfect” means fulfilled, accomplished, completed, finished. It’s the same term Jesus spoke as His final word on the cross, tetelestai, which means, “It is finished” (John 19:30). God brings His sufficient and powerful grace to the relationship; all we bring is weakness. All of this is grace because we can’t do anything to deserve what He does for us. And He makes sure the results are perfect and complete.


God wants His grace to be completed in your weakness. You never really experience the grace unless you see the need for it—and even that realization comes by grace. The power of Jesus' grace is not fully seen until weakness is fully acknowledged. The moment you are overwhelmed with your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, I’m all the grace you need. Think about the place where you regularly meet with God. Is it a chair in your bedroom? At the kitchen table? Or as one father of five small children confessed, is it in the garage in the backseat of your car? In light of today’s verse ask yourself, How many times have I gotten up from that place and left God’s sufficient grace there? The Lord was there with you holding out to you the grace for the trial you were going to face that day, as your mind was drifting off to your own plan. How many days did you run out to a busy day and leave Him there with His sufficient grace?


If you want to live by God’s sufficient grace, you’re not going to catch it falling from the sky as you hurry to your next appointment. You must go to the fountain and drink deeply. He is the One who quenches your thirst. When you read His Word and are thinking about it, His grace is flowing into you. He is also the One who wants to go with you every step of the way. And when a trial threatens to overwhelm you, remember His promise: “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” The Lord is a faithful friend, sustaining you. He is all the grace you need. In what ways are you experiencing the sufficient grace of Christ today? What could you do tomorrow to drink more deeply of what He is offering you?


This is my Prayer: Father God, what an amazing thought that Your grace is not separate from You, I can’t experience Your grace without experiencing You. Lord You deliver grace personally, and Your presence in my life is grace. I know that because it’s Your grace, sufficient doesn’t mean “just enough” or “barely enough,” but way more than enough for whatever I face. Jesus help me to rest fully in Your grace as I seek to live for You in the day ahead. In Your name Jesus, amen.

November 16, 2017, 5:00 AM

How would you describe your responses when God brings a matter to your attention?

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."  John 4:16-19


Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman we only know as the woman at the well. He asked her for a drink and then talked about the living water, which is really Himself. When we pick up the story at verse 16, the conversation is about to turn a corner. Just talking with Jesus turns out to be life-changing. When Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come here,” He was making an unexpected yet significant request. Her answer was a half-truth that He immediately challenged: “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.”  The woman had just asked Him for some of His living water, and His response was to suddenly expand the discussion. Whatever Jesus had to offer wasn’t just for her, it would also affect all her relationships. Which isn't a big surprise, as God is always about the totality of our lives.


In essence, Jesus was saying what God says to each of us, Why don’t you drop your guard a little? You just spun the truth by telling me you have no husband at the moment, but I know about all those other men. And I know you and I’m still talking to you. His straight talk with this woman was not hard, but both tender and truthful. No wonder she could think of no other response but “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” Talking with Jesus changed her view of Him and her view of herself. As this episode with the woman at the well illustrates, when we talk to the Lord, we're connecting with the One who knows everything and cuts right to the heart of the matter. He understands us just as intimately today as He knew that woman in Sychar. Isn’t it phenomenal to realize we can drop all of our posing and be who we really are? God knows us yet He loves us, and even in our imperfection and sinfulness, He invites us to trust Him.


Jesus can meet you where you are today just as surely as He met that woman. God will speak to you by His Word and Spirit and you can tell Him what’s on your heart. Are you ready to listen? You may not be at a well, but He has living water for you. Your personal issues may be different than this woman's, but your heavenly Father knows them and He has the answers you need.  What aspects of your life has God recently spoken to you about in His Word? How would you describe your responses when God brings a matter to your attention?


This is my prayer: Father God, to borrow David’s admission in Psalm 139, You have searched me and known me. You know me so much better than I know myself. You always speak truth into my life, whether I accept it or not. You command, correct, instruct, and guide me, but most of all, You love me as You talk to me. You love me with a love I can spend the rest of time and eternity discovering and will never reach the end. Thank You for speaking into my life, Lord. Jesus please continue that good work in me. In Your name Jesus, amen.

November 15, 2017, 5:00 AM

If we can’t bring our problems to church then where can we bring them?

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17


Families are filled with broken people who have their own struggles and failures. Even though we know this to be true in our head, we struggle to believe this in our hearts. Why is this the case? All we see, or at least all we center our attention on, are those “picture perfect” examples of ideal families seen in advertisements, movies, and television shows. These pictures of perfection also flood our social media feeds where family after family posts the best of themselves. Even in Christian circles, we’ve been engrained to dress in our “Sunday bests.” The blow-up that happened on our way to church or the arguments that might have taken place during the weekend have no business being spoken when we worship. But, if we can’t bring our problems to church then where can we bring them?


Every family has its stories, no matter how hard they try to dress them up or hide them. Silently we struggle alone. We lose hope and heart. We doubt that anything will change. We reason that our situation, or that family member who went their own way, is too far gone for God’s redemption. But, this is simply not the case. God has a way of bringing beauty out of brokenness. If redemption means God uses everything, then it is safe to assume God wastes nothing, including our pain, heartbreak, and shame. We can run to Jesus in our mess, and He gets us. God is kind enough and strong enough to handle all of it. When our children or life bring us to our knees, we’re in the best position for God to help us.  As we face disappointment, we shouldn’t just wait for Jesus to act, we must wait WITH Him expectantly.


Prayerlessness is our declaration of independence from God. On the other hand, prayer is keeping company with God. He infuses us with new strength as we stay connected to Him. While we wait for answers to prayer, we must ask ourselves whether we are waiting with our worries, doubts, and fears, or are we waiting with Jesus? As it relates to your family situation, where does your heart need to be encouraged? Why have you lost faith and hope in these circumstances?


This is my Prayer: Father God, You extend grace to everyone, including myself and no one is too far from Your reach. Lord help me to realize that there are no perfect people and no perfect families. We all have our own struggles, failures, and regrets. Jesus teach me to be transparent and honest with You, and others, about what is going on in my world. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

November 14, 2017, 5:00 AM

Is there someone you need to forgive?

I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants. 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 15:18-20


Picture someone who has wronged you. I mean full-on, blatantly crushed you. If the wound is any bit a fresh one, it’s probably hard to imagine running to that person to forgive him or her. For the prodigal son, he experienced forgiveness in that way precisely. It was not just love that drove the father to run to his once lost son. He was protecting his son from due punishment. Let us recall the son’s sins against his father: he requested his share of the family’s wealth (on a whim), took it, then blew it all on “reckless living.” Then he decided to come back.  In a first century Jewish community, the village would have performed a kezazah. This was a ceremony against anyone who squandered his inheritance among Gentiles then returned home. They would have broken a large pot in front of the son and yelled something such as, “You are now cut off from your people!”


There was no kezazah. The father ran to his son before anyone could fault him as he entered the village. Forgiveness was clear. Celebration commenced. Christ shared such parables as the lost son to convey the nature of His Father. God’s forgiveness is indispensable. Like the lost son, we are prone to wander. We stray from the good path God has paved for us. Sometimes we even do detestable things that bear zero consideration for loved ones. Still God is full of grace. What He offers to us is incomparable, especially in terms of forgiveness. Not only does He refocus our humility, but He frees us from the grips of our sin.  My mind goes to a person who has wronged me multiple times. It has hurt me and angered me. A kezazah would be the warm-up!


It has been a tumultuous path to forgiveness, but I know it is necessary in order for me to live free. Vengeance is suffocating there is no alternative to a constant defense of your character and an endless wait for their just deserts. Forgiveness has open doors leading to possibilities. It holds potential for progress. In the same way the father forgave the son, we have to forgive others. Tough to swallow? Absolutely it is, but it is essential. The father had a right to authorize the ultimate slam on his young son. He instead loved, dispensed forgiveness, and redeemed a bad reputation. God too is justified in disowning us. But He delights in loving us, knowing us, and blessing us. Forgiveness makes it possible. We arguably could slam justice down on some of our transgressors. What might come from that?


God’s truth in forgiving is unquestionable. Is there someone you need to forgive? Maybe you are not yet in a position to communicate that forgiveness. What specifically might you need to offer up forgiveness to that someone? How will you prepare your heart to do it? What might come out of it?


This is my Prayer: Father God, in the midst of the uncertainty of life, there is one thing I can count on and that is Your unending love. Thank you for welcoming me back home. Lord even though I didn’t deserve grace and mercy, You threw a party when I returned. My redemption provides ultimate security and frees me from the bondage of unforgiveness. Jesus rather than seek justice when others wrong me, may I reflect Your love instead. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

November 13, 2017, 5:00 AM

How do you go about waiting on the Lord?

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:5-8


Whether your life lasts for several more decades or ends in fifteen seconds, you are waiting. And while you are waiting, you have an attitude. Hopefully it’s a mindset focused on God. Given our in-between situation, it would be great if every one of us who follow Jesus could unite our voices as one and say, "Here we stand today, gripping tightly God’s promises while we wait for Him to work." We couldn’t go forward another day if we didn’t believe what He told us. We’re anchored to one thought: God says so. For now, that’s going to have to be enough, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Whether you realize it or not, we’re all in the same place. As Paul put it, “We are at home in the body,” and therefore temporarily, “away from the Lord.” But He has left us His Word.


So we must review God’s promises all the time. We must remind ourselves that our faith is in God who has never failed to do what He says. He knows what He has promised, He can’t lie, and He can’t forget. He will deliver on time, all the time. Who else makes promises like that? God’s promises are great, the outcomes are certain; all that remains is to wait on His timing. Meanwhile, we walk by faith, not by sight. Again, today our faith rests entirely on what God has said He will do. The “good courage” that Paul mentions twice isn’t what we generate by our wills, but what God builds into us by His Spirit. God feels compassion for the pain of our uncertainty, and that is why He invented this idea of promise. It’s as if He is saying, “I’m not going to leave you clueless. I’m not going to leave you wondering what I’m going to do." God doesn't want you to be overcome by fear, and He's made you some promises to hold on to through the difficult days.


You don’t have to take your view of life only from what you can see or rest your happiness on what’s happening right in front of you. You don't need to be imprisoned by someone else's crazy talk that you know isn’t true. Hang on to the things His Word is telling you. What you see clearly in the light doesn't change just because the valley is dark. We walk by faith in God’s character and His promises. They sustain us when all that we can see is darkness or confusion. We live in faith until the answers come. While we wait, God builds our faith. Whether the waiting lasts for several more decades or ends in fifteen seconds, God’s promises can sustain us until the answer comes.  God never treats His promises lightly, and neither should you. Let God’s assurance that He knows about and will act in your situation be your continuous thought as you move through this day. How do you go about waiting on the Lord?


This is my Prayer: Father God, Your promises to guide, sustain, protect, provide, and forgive are simply part of a stream of living hope that flows into my life and strengthens my faith so I can live for You. Lord without You I can do nothing. Jesus the victory of walking by faith rather than sight is Your victory in our lives. While we wait for Your answers, we thank You for Your faithfulness in Jesus’ name, amen.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 16-20 of 283