Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Joyful Prayer (Philippians 1:3-6)

Today’s scripture: Philippians 1:3-6

So far this year, we’ve looked at what the Bible says about faith, peace, hope, and grace. Now we’re going to spend a few weeks looking at a word that is sometimes misinterpreted: joy.

Sometimes joy is synonymous with happiness, but I read a long time ago that happiness is dependent upon circumstances while joy is a state of mind. Therefore, we can find joy even when times are rough.

Let’s begin our journey through joy today with a prayer from one of my favorite books of the Bible. Paul wrote this prayer to the church in Philippi, and I echo its words today:

I truly thank the Lord for each and every one of you. With great joy, I pray that your faith in the gospel will grow as He continues the “good work” He is completing in you.

May you be blessed super-abundantly this day!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Prayer of Grace (2 John 1:3)

Today’s scripture: 2 John 1:3

We’ve spent a few weeks looking at the word “grace,” and as we move onto “joy” on Wednesday, I leave you with a prayer from the apostle John.

I pray that you too will find grace, mercy, and peace from the triune God.

May you experience His unmerited favor, His abundant mercy, and the peace that is far beyond your understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).

May you revel in His love for you, His never-ending, abundant love.

May you seek His truth through study and meditation of His word, and grow in faith.

Amen.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Representative Grace (Esther 2:17)

Today’s scripture: Esther 2:17

All the other passages we’ve seen over the last few weeks about grace focus on God’s grace to us; however, I couldn’t help but include this one reference to grace because it is from one of my favorite stories.

I love how Esther was so faithful to the God of her people; she truly represented her God as she “obtained grace and favor” from the king.

She was in such a precarious position: a young Jewess living in the palace of her people’s enemy. Yet, she was so humble—a Christ-like quality—that she was chosen to be queen.

And when her people were threatened, she had God-given courage to approach the king even if she lost her life in doing so (Esther 4:16). She knew God would be gracious to her people, and her trust Him led to an overthrowing of the plan to annihilate her people.

May we be both humble and courageous both to represent “grace and favor” to those around us and to do what God calls us to do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Grace Abused ... (Jude 1:4)

Today’s scripture: Jude 1:4

We’ve talked about this before, how some use grace as a “get out of jail free” card. They live as they like, thinking that they’ll just ask for forgiveness whenever they feel the need.

That’s so not what grace is about.

Grace is a free gift for the one who receives … but it was very expensive gift—a priceless gift—for the Giver.

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, gave everything. Everything.

He suffered betrayal and denial, torture and ridicule … and an excruciating death. All so that we can receive forgiveness and eternal like through God’s grace.

So to take that gift, to treat grace lightly ... well, it’s like slapping Jesus in the face. It’s like saying, “I don’t really care what you did, but I’m going to take advantage that you did it.”

Oh, may this never be!

Let’s never take grace for granted. Instead, let’s fall to our knees in gratitude!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Grow in Grace (2 Peter 3:18)

Today’s scripture: 2 Peter 3:18

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a women’s conference at my church. The theme was being rooted in Christ.

The analogy is sound: When a tree is firmly rooted, it grows; it withstands strong storms; it bears fruit.

We too, when we are firmly rooted in Christ, grow, withstand storms, and bear fruit.

On the other hand, a tree with weak roots doesn’t grow. It may be pulled up when the storms hit. And it is fruitless … and it is the same with faith.

Oh, but by grace, we can grow in our “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

How? By spending time in His word, studying and meditating. By internalizing its truths. By praying and listening to God’s voice.

Only then can we be firmly rooted in Christ.

So … how strong are your roots?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hope Upon Grace (1 Peter 1:13)

Today’s scripture: 1 Peter 1:13

Rest …

This seems to be a sadly-lacking commodity in our world today. Everyone is just so tired.

Physical rest. But also spiritual rest.

So many people are busy trying to find salvation or work for grace. They go, go, go and push, push, push … so much that they’re spiritually exhausted.

Salvation is not about us and what we can do. Salvation is about God and what He has already done. We are invited to “rest [our] hope fully upon … grace …”

Did you see that? “Fully on grace.”

Grace has paid the penalty. Grace has covered the sin.

Remember Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28-29? He invites us all:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (NASB)
All you have to do is “come”; Jesus is waiting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 4:16

When I’m feeling down, I imagine myself crawling onto my Abba’s lap. I feel His loving arms around me, and I know I’m going to make it through one more day.

Our God is the King of kings, and He sits on His throne. And yet, He also invites us to call Him Abba—Daddy. Because we are children of the King, we are princes and princesses, and we are welcome to “come boldly to the throne of grace …”

We don’t have to be shy. We don’t have to wait to be invited. We don’t have to fear.

No, we can be bold and confident.

And we can know that the King will listen to our pleas, and He will shower us with mercy through His grace.