Friday, June 30, 2017

Fruit-Bearing Grace (Colossians 1:6)

Today’s scripture: Colossians 1:6

When we commit our lives to God, when we accept the truth of the gospel, God uses us to bear fruit.

As we’ve talked about many times, true followers of Christ have been given spiritual gifts: preaching, teaching, helping, giving, and encouraging—to name but a few. When we use those gifts to serve God and others, we bear fruit. Lives are touched. Lives are changed.

Let’s be clear: God doesn’t need us or our gifts. But, in His grace, He chooses to allow us to participate in the building of His Kingdom. He uses us to bless others and glorify Himself.

It’s an honor and a blessing to know that God uses me with all my flaws and foibles to serve others. He uses my gifts—such as they are—to touch lives.

Do you know your spiritual gifts? Is God using you to “bring forth fruit”? If not, take some time to discover how He can and will use you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

His Rich Grace (Ephesians 1:7)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians1:7

A few days ago, we looked at a new definition of riches. Today’s verse talks about how “the riches of His grace” brings some amazing gifts: redemption and forgiveness.

One definition of redeemed is “gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.” Another is “to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable.”

A biblical definition is a bit more complex:

Finding its context in the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the ideas of loosing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery, buying back something lost or sold, exchanging something in one’s possession for something possessed by another, and ransoming (Bible Study Tools).
When I think of what Jesus did for me to redeem me, to take formerly “bad and unpleasant” me and “setting [me] free from the captivity” of sin, I’m humbled. Through God’s grace, Jesus paid my penalty. He gave His life to save mine.

I am redeemed. I am forgiven.

I have received the riches of God’s grace. And if you have surrendered your life to Him? You have too.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Grace in One Gospel (Galatians 1:6)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:6

We live in a world of spiritual “buffets.” Take a bit of this, a little of that. Put it all together and create what works for you.

Even those who call themselves Christians say that the Bible isn’t God’s inherent word or there is more than one road to salvation.

They don’t want truth because it doesn’t line up with what they want to hear. Paul warned of this very thing: “The time is coming when people won’t listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear” (CEV, 2 Tim. 4:3).

The Bible makes it very clear: There is one gospel, one faith, one way of salvation. (See Eph. 4:4-6; John 14:6).

Follow the Bible or don’t. It’s your choice. But if you choose to follow the Bible, then know that there is one gospel, one way of salvation.

One gift of grace.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gift of Grace (Romans 5:15, 17)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:15,17

We’ve said this before: Grace is unmerited favor; it’s getting what we do NOT deserve.

Sin entered the world through “one man’s offense.” When Adam chose to go his own way and rebel against God, we all “died” spiritually.

Because of this, we all deserve punishment and eternal separation from God.

But we are so very loved—and I hope you know how loved you are. God, in His infinite grace, through one Man offers salvation and a renewed relationship with Him.

One man brought death; one Man brings life.

That’s what grace is all about.

That’s how loved you are.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:9

If you are reading this devotional, you have some sort of electronic device, which means you have adequate funds to afford it … which means you’re likely wealthier than most of the population of this earth.

But what is true wealth? Money? Things?

Today’s verse talks about Jesus’ being “rich.” I’m relatively certain Jesus has no use for money, so how was He rich, and what did He give up to become “poor”?

He gave up so much more than mere money. He gave up heaven. Heaven! He chose to become human. To feel pain, betrayal, denial, and death.

For us.

And because He was willing to give up His riches to become poor, we, who are spiritually poor, can become rich—in those things that really matter.

We become rich in grace and faith … and we become rich knowing that we’ll spend eternity with Jesus.

True riches!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Grace Through Faith (Romans 5:2)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:2

This year, we’ve looked at verses about hope, peace, faith, and grace … and it often seems like these words are found together. And this makes sense.

Grace and faith go hand in hand. We have faith in God, and we receive salvation through His grace.

Knowing that we have been saved through grace brings peace.

Even more, as we reflect upon grace, we find great hope in God’s glory. Hope in His everlasting presence and abundant love. Hope in eternity with Him.

Oh, we are so very blessed.

Peace and hope through faith and grace.

What a great God we serve! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Grace in Vain? (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1

It breaks my heart when I hear people say something like, “Well, I can live however I want as long as I ask for forgiveness.” They really don’t understand what grace is. And what Jesus did for us to receive grace.

They “receive the grace of God in vain.”

For us to have grace—unmerited favor—Jesus died. He died. He gave everything so that we could have everything: salvation, justification, eternal life.

When we think of all He did, we should want to live differently so that He is pleased, so that He receives glory and honor.

Grace isn’t a “get out of jail free” card to be used over and over. It’s a gift, an amazing gift from the sovereign God of the universe.

Be grateful … and don’t take it in vain.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Mystery of Grace (Hebrews 2:9)

Today’s scripture: Hebrews 2:9

I’ll never completely understand this side of heaven why God’s plan for salvation included Jesus Christ’s having to die for us.

Jesus, the Son of God, and in truth, God Himself, came to earth, took on flesh, was betrayed and denied, was beaten and bruised, and died a horrible death.

According to God’s grace.

This is the mystery: God took grace away from a very part of Himself and gave grace to us. Jesus did not deserve death; we do not deserve grace. Yet, He died so we could live.

It is a mystery, but it is the greatest truth! We are saved, redeemed, and justified through the undeserved death of Jesus … God Himself.

Amazing …

Monday, June 12, 2017

Grace and Wisdom (2 Corinthians 1:12)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:12

“Fleshly wisdom” is very, very different than godly wisdom.

The flesh says, “I can do what I want … as long as I don’t get caught.” Godly wisdom says, “I must do what God has called me to do.”

The flesh says, “It’s just a little white lie; no one will know.” Godly wisdom says, “God sees the heart.”

The flesh says, “No one cares what I do.” Godly wisdom says, “God, who knows the number of hairs on my head, wants me to serve Him and others.”

When we live “in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity,” we represent the One who created us and the One who saved us. We honor Him and shine the light of Jesus.

Fleshly wisdom may seem great for today ... but it’s foolish for eternity.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Imparting Grace (Ephesians 4:29)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 4:29

I find it rather tragic when I hear a follower of Christ use vulgar words or gossip maliciously … from that same mouth that praises God on Sunday morning.

What must nonbelievers think when they hear Christians speak this way? How are we any different? More importantly, how are we examples of Christ?

Before I recommitted my life to the Lord, I had quite a mouth on me. Four-letter words were not uncommon. But when I surrendered my life to Him, I prayed that I would speak words of encouragement and, as today’s verse says, edification. I wanted—and I want still—to speak words that lift people up, words that please my heavenly Father.

Think about what you say and how you say it? Are you representing Jesus with your words?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Building on Grace (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:10

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to watch our then-home be built from the ground up. It was fun watching it grow from a bare plot of land to a foundation. Then framing. Then a roof. Then doors and windows.

And finally … a completed house.

We too can lay foundations of faith—or build on foundations others have laid. By His grace, God has given each of us gifts and talents to be representatives of Him and to share the good news of salvation.

Some are pastors and teachers, and many learn of salvation through their teaching. Others are encouragers or have the gift of hospitality, and they represent Jesus in the flesh. Still others are prayer warriors who lift up many who have needs.

Each of us who follows Christ have a part in building His church.

Are you doing your part?

Monday, June 05, 2017

By Grace Given ... (Romans 12:3)

Today’s scripture: Romans 12:3

A few days ago, we looked at how grace should make us humble. Today’s verses share similar theme.

By grace, we are saved.

By grace, we are children of God.

By grace, we are given gifts to serve God and others.

Everything we are, everything we have, everything we can do … these are all gifts of grace.

So why do we think that we are so important? That we accumulated all we have? That we can do what we do?

We are nothing without God. We have nothing without God. We can do nothing without God.

It is only by God’s abundant grace and overwhelming love—both so underserved—that we experience the amazing blessings we do.

To think “more highly” of ourselves than we should is basically saying that grace is meaningless.

How tragic …

Friday, June 02, 2017

Sin Under Grace? Never! (Romans 6:14-15)

Today’s scripture: Romans 6:14-15

When a person sincerely accepts the gift of grace—salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection—she is changed. She is a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). She is different. She becomes more and more like Christ.

Or at least she should.

Those who follow Christ have been given an incredible gift—that grace we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. And it is an incredible gift.

So why would someone continue in sin? I have to wonder …

I know we are not to judge others, but I have to wonder if someone who continues to live in habitual sin really knows God. Does she really understand grace?

Grace should make her want to serve God, to strive to be more like Christ, to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Grace should never be thought of a license to sin.