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Friday, February 28, 2014

Truth Exists

Jesus made a simple, straightforward statement that day in John 14 that spoke volumes to the people of His day and likewise speaks volumes to us in our day. In fact, Jesus said things that are as relevant and applicable to us as they were to Thomas and the other disciples those many years ago. Because of Jesus   I can know that truth exists.

When Jesus told Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” He was not only making a true statement; He was making a true statement about truth!

Here is where the easy believism or benign “whatever-ism” of many of our friends and neighbors breaks down. A lot of folks will say that “Jesus is just all right with me,” you know, that Jesus was a great man and an inspirational philosopher whose teachings ought to be followed … but they will also tend to say that there is no right and wrong, there is no true or false, and truth is just “whatever,” you know? Truth is whatever I say it is, and YOUR truth is whatever YOU say it is.

But there is an obvious problem with that: Jesus taught that truth exists! Jesus did not treat truth as a personal preference; He spoke of it as an objective reality. He could have said, “I am the truth … for me.” He could have said, “I am the truth … for you.” He could have said, “I am the truth … if you want me to be.” But He didn’t say any of those things. He said, “I am the … truth.”

Be wise - when Jesus says, “I am the truth,” understand His clear intention is to say that truth exists.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Godquest

I would like you to join me on a journey over the next six weeks called Godquest. Everyone is on a quest; not everyone realizes it. Every soul is seeking the same thing, longing for the same thing, but some are not even aware of it. And I think our common quest involves pressing life questions like: Can truth be known? Does God exist? Can we trust the Bible? Why is there evil and suffering? Our common destination can be found on the other side of those questions.

The first verses of this chapter kind of set the stage for our quest, as they depict the disciples of Jesus—His closest friends and followers—being told by Jesus that He was scouting out the path for them, that He would be their bellwether, their pathfinder, in the quest we’ll be studying these next six weeks. Turn there with me and follow along.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” —John 14:1–6

Jesus is speaking these words in the days prior to His crucifixion. He’s preparing his disciples for His death, resurrection, and ascension. And you can see from Thomas’s reaction that he—and probably the rest of the disciples—were bothered when Jesus said He would be leaving them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t worry; you know the way.” Thomas answered, in effect, “How can you say that? We don’t know the way.” And Jesus answered—don’t miss this—“I am the way …”

In other words, Jesus doesn’t just KNOW the way; He IS the way. Jesus doesn’t just GO the way; He IS the way. Jesus doesn’t just SHOW the way; He IS the way.

He said: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” —John 14:6

We’re going to spend some time on that second statement, “I am the … truth,” because that’s a key starting point on this GodQuest.


Be wise today and always – seek God and follow His path.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Seeking Prayer

Solomon shares a great key to wisdom and understanding in Proverbs 2:1-5: 
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,  turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

A Prayer for Seeking After God*

Dear Father God,
   I want to know you as you promised in your word. Thank you for sending your Son to save me and your Holy Spirit to guide me in your wisdom. Thank you that you want to know me even more than I want to know you. Thank you for the love you extend to me every day. Father, I want to walk in that love.
   I admit that I do not have the wisdom on my own to accomplish all that you have put in my heart to do in this lifetime. I need your guidance to walk every step of every day of my life.
   Thank you for the promises in your Word to help me accomplish the dreams you have given me, and that I can have confidence that you will do exactly as you have said you will do.
   Father, I want to seek you as Solomon did, I ask that you will answer and show up in my life just as you did in his. I also ask that you will show me more clearly your dreams and purposes for my life and that you will give me your wisdom to fulfill all you show me. I offer my praise and thanksgiving to you and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Word, Jesus is near - He is always with you. Are you always with Him? 

Accept His Grace and Wisdom.


* Adapted from The Prayer of Solomon, by Bethany House

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All In - Everyday

We all need to committed to the ministry Jesus has called us to do. Do you ever wonder how you can be more effective? Jesus models the crucial elements to having a true commitment to ministry in Mark 1:32-­39.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Three things to be committed in:

    1. People (vv. 32­-34). These verses tell us the sun had already set; it was late, and the whole city gathered to be healed by Jesus. Jesus stayed up late because He was committed to people.

    2. Prayer (vv. 35-­37). After a long night of ministry, Jesus still got up long before the sun came up again to pray! Jesus got up early because He was committed to prayer.

    3. Purpose (vv. 38-39). He was having effective ministry there, so why would He move to the next town? It was His purpose! Jesus kept preaching because He was committed to His purpose.

Do you passionately and sacrificially minister to people? Are you sustained by a consistent prayer life? Are you using your spiritual gifts to carry out God's purpose for you?
 
Be all in to your commitment to God's call on your life.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Big Grace

Learning about and growing in grace is a life long process. Doing it God’s way every time is always best. The greater our understanding and application of God’s grace the more we’ll be able to receive. If our understanding of grace is small then our acceptance of grace will be small. It’s all about focus.

Many times we try to be “people pleasers” instead of desiring to make God smile. Do you care more about worldly appearances than Godly integrity? If so ask God right now to change your heart.

As you live a grace-shaped life, commit each day to investing grace into your decisions, words, relationships, and everything else you do. Allow grace to happen here, there, and everywhere you go. "See to it that no one misses the grace of God" - Hebrews 12:15

Praise God for His fabulous gift called grace.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dealing with Thorns

The Bible talks about a type of grace; a saving, a sustaining, and sufficient grace. God is always with us - even when we experience “the thorns” of life. The man who wrote most of the New Testament knew this all to well.  Because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  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.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
 
To keep us from trusting in our own abilities sometimes God gives us a thorn. More importantly God gives us the grace needed to survive the struggle. There is never a challenge without providing us the grace we need to meet it.
 
When Paul asked God to remove the thorn his request was denied. He said he took, "pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecution, in distresses”, and  “When I am weak, then I am strong”. Paul’s thorn was a demonstration of God’s grace. The reality here is how you deal with your pain may be your greatest testimony.
 
God’s covenant of grace is available to all people. Look at John 1:14-17, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)  Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
 
 
In Romans 8:30-32 Paul brings God's grace in to focus. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
 
God’s grace may not always appear in the form that we’d like, but it is always there when we need it. We should accept it and be grateful.
 
How can you acknowledge His presence and grace in your life? Maybe it's how you respond to the "thorns".

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Family

Family is one of the most important structures in the Bible. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will Ephesians 1:3-5 

God knew before the foundations of the world that He would make a way for all humanity to be reconciled to him. He knew sin would enter the world, and he knew grace would be necessary to overcome it. Are you willing to bestow grace to other, even if they don’t see a need for it?


 Paul said we become God’s children “by Jesus Christ”. Jesus died to reconcile everyone to God. Adoption only requires you to say yes to grace.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. - Romans 8:14-17
In Rome, when a child was adopted, he lost all his ties to his blood relatives. He became 100 percent a part of his new family, with full rights to inheritance. No difference was made between an adoptive child and the natural child. That’s the way it is for us and God. God’s grace has made you His child and you are in no danger of being abandoned to your old relatives, sin, and death.


To feel God’s grace is to experience His presence.

Friday, February 21, 2014

More Than We Deserve

Today let's look at sustaining grace in action. The first act is to place all our worries and cares at the foot of the cross.“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
God never stops giving grace. He never runs out because grace is a bottomless well. “God has enough grace to solve every dilemma you face, wipe every tear that you cry, and answer every question you ask.” —Max Lucado

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
 The Question we all must answer: Is grace enough?

Where have you seen God’s sustaining grace recently in your life?
Do you trust it to see you through your next trial?
Grace is more than we deserve - and greater than we can image!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Power Made Perfect

Where is God’s grace when we’re hurting? Look at Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10. “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)
Old Testament reminders.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you.” (Deuteronomy 4:31)
Sustaining grace does not promise the absence of struggle but the presence of God.” —Max Lucado
Through our suffering, we’re being made into the likeness of Christ.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 esv)
 
Don't miss God's grace.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Greater than All Our Sins

As we close out our study on grace we will try to answer; Is Grace enough? Over the next few days we'll take four looks at grace. The first is a comparison of saving grace vs. sustaining grace.
 
Saving grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 nkjv)

Sustaining grace.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 rsv)

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 esv)

“Sustaining grace meets us at our point of need and equips us with courage, wisdom, and strength.” —Max Lucado
 
Don't miss God's grace.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sustaining and Sufficient Grace

This is our last week of our series GRACE by Max Lucado. We will learn of be reminded of the following truths:

1. The difference between God’s saving grace and God’s sustaining grace.
2. Sustaining grace is available no matter the struggle.
3. It is enough to see us through every trial we face.

 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.

“Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer.” (Isaiah 30:19 msg)

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16 nasb)

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 niv)
 
Don't miss God's grace - it's for you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Take a Drink

There is something that is unique and beautiful in John 4:7-15. Jesus didn’t say, "And if you knew all the doctrines, and if you knew all this, and if you knew all that...." He said, "If you knew the gift of God." What is necessary? It is to learn to know Christ.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Just like the Samaritan woman in order to understand forgiveness, grace, and salvation in Christ you have to; recognize your need for cleansing, and ask to receive living water. Find time to get alone with Jesus and find out who He is. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting over your unbelief, and ask Lord to give you a right attitude, and a new heart.

Ask Him and He will give you living water. Have faith in Him and believe His grace is big enough.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blowing in the Wind

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."- John 3:8 from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus.

What is the wind? In Hebrew Rauch (wind) can mean: 1) Wind: The desert wind common in Judea  2) Breath of God: The existence of life 3) Spirit of God –In Hebrew “Rauch Ha Kodesh!”

On our farm in Ohio we experienced all sorts of wind conditions. The wind provided a cool breeze on a hot day, but also could cause storms and fires at other times. Consider the wind Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about: “The wind blows” This affirms the ceaseless action of the Holy Spirit. There has never been a time when the Holy Spirit has not been active in history. The first page of the Bible Gen 1. “The Spirit moved over the face of the deep” Last page: “The Spirit and the bride say come

Psalm 139:7-12 says,  I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence!  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,  even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.

Many try to hide from the Spirit of God but as the Psalm says there is nowhere to hide He is always at work. God the Holy Spirit never stops. Some may feel like the Holy Spirit has stopped blowing in our world or indeed about the church, but Listen to the wind! The Holy Spirit is still moving in our world, and will until the end of time. We can be full of hope because of the ceaseless wind!

The wind blows wherever it pleases The Holy Spirit is sovereign He will not be controlled. We cannot dictate to the wind – nor can we to the Holy Spirit. He will not be controlled. The Holy Spirit has the power to: break down barriers, destroy strongholds, and blast away sin.

 
You hear its sound” When the wind blows you don’t need a university degree to discover it. You feel its action. It makes its presence felt. So it is with the Holy Spirit. When He stirs the church or an individual or a community there is always evidence of his working - you feel his action! This is what brought Nicodemus to Jesus in the first place “Something was up!” 


  but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going
Think of all great moves of the Spirit. Where did they come from? The wind is blowing people to step out and stand firm in love and truth. Are you ready?

The key is to walk with Him.  When you walk against a strong wind you may take 2 steps forward, but then 3 back! When we turn and walk with the wind it is so much easier. It will be that way when we walk in the Spirit and not the flesh!

Blow Holy Spirit - bring revival to the hearts of your people. May we accept and share God's grace and salvation.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Matter to God

Do you know you matter to God? The world says your identity is “in your possessions, talents, tattoos, kudos, or accomplishments.” And that you are defined by “your divorce, deformity, debt, or dumb choices.” —Max Lucado   
 
The Word says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“If God loves you, you must be worth loving. If he wants you in his kingdom, then you must be worth having. God’s grace requires you to change your attitude about yourself and take sides with God against your feelings of rejection.” —Max Lucado

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13–14)
 
Don't miss God's grace.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Grace


Happy Valentine's day! On Valentine’s Day we share our emotional heart. I am thankful for my earthly valentines - my wife, daughters, and grandchildren. I praise God for his grace in giving me such a beautiful and loving family.

Some may not have that same family experience here on earth, but you can have a beautiful spiritual family! God desires to adopt you in to His family.  He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to give His life for you. Through faith all believers can spend eternity together in heaven. It’s the hope that is found in John 3:16-17. 
 
 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Today spend time telling God how much you love Him.
 
Share God's loving grace everyday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Results of Grace

There are great results of being adopted by God. There is freedom and confidence. “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Ephesians 3:12)

There is God’s provision in our lives. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11–13)

There is an eternal inheritance. “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3–4)

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)

“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages.” (John 10:28 amplified bible)

Don’t miss God’s grace and adoption.

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Option of Adoption

In Max Lucado's book GRACE he speaks about being chosen for God's family. Some of us come from some "not so good" family experiences. How is God's family different? - you might ask. Probably the question to start with is - Do I really matter to God?

The answer is that you absolutely matter to God! We can't pick the family we are born in to, but there has never been an "accidental" adoption. You are chosen to be adopted, and that is what God is doing.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

We get to call God Father. “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)

How do we know for certain you’ve been adopted?

“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!" Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?” (Galatians 4:5–7 MSG)


Thank God today for His grace and lovingly adopting you in to His family.
 

 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All in the Family (of God)

Don't miss God's promise of a loving spiritual family. Christ followers will spend eternity with one another. Let's work together to share this grace-filled invitation with the world.

“He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 kjv)

“We have received an inheritance from God.” (Ephesians 1:11 nlt)

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5 nlt)

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15 updated niv)

“You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!" Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?” (Galatians 4:5–7 msg)
Have you accepted God’s grace and adoption?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Place in the Family


In the book of Galatians Paul wants to remind us of our place in the family of God. God loves us so much he invites us to be part of his family. When we accept that, we accept that we are who he says we are. We matter to God. You matter to God. His grace gift is bigger than your wildest dreams. He invites all to be part of His family.
 
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4–7

Don't miss God's grace - He has a place for you in His family.
 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Results

What are  the results of confession? - Receiving, Restoring, and Recognizing!

Receiving God’s mercy and kindness.

“If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 ncv)

“God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again.” (Psalm 51:1–2 ncv)

Restored relationships.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10–11 esv)

Recognizing God’s power on display.

“Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things   they had done . . . So in a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing.” (Acts 19:18, 20 ncv)
 
Will you confess and risk honesty with God this week?

Allow God's grace to change you and your life.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Confess Your Sin

Our study of Max Lucado's GRACE leads us to the question, Why is confession important? One reason is that unconfessed sin causes pain.

“Bury misbehavior, and you can expect pain. Period. You cannot escape the misery it creates.” —Max Lucado

“I confess my guilt; I am troubled by my sin.” (Psalm 38:18 ncv)

Unconfessed sin also disables you. King David was brought low.

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.” (Psalm 38:4–8 niv)

“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. . . . My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.” (Psalm 32:3, 4 nlt)

Remember that confession allows healing.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10–11 nlt)

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 ncv)
 
Allow grace to bring about healing.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Coming Clean

We’ve all heard the first step in recovery is admitting that we have a problem. The same is true in our need for grace. We must confess our desire to be clean and right before God.

Focus on the following truths:
Confession is agreeing with God about our sin.
Unconfessed sin festers in the soul, bringing only pain.
Confession brings about healing and promotes unity, not judgment.
 “First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” (Matthew 23:26 nlt)
 

“If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” (1 John 1:8–9 ncv)
 
Do you need to confess today?

Accepting God's grace is confessing our need to be forgiven and clean.
 
 
 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being Angry

If God is willing to forgive His enemies then do we have the right not forgive ours? Christ told us to love our enemies. Who are you angry at or hold a grudge? Let’s take a look at a man who was angry at God in Jonah 4:1-4  But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.  He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

 Four attributes of God that we need to follow are:

1. God is gracious and compassionate.
2. God is slow to anger.
3. God is abounding in love.
4. God relents from sending calamity.

Jesus tells us to follow His example. We have the right to question God but, He also has the right to question us! What is He asking you to get over and move on from?
 
 With God's strength every set-back can be a come-back!

 Don’t miss giving the grace that you have received.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Eyes of Forgiveness

Most of us who grew up in Christian homes heard the story of Jonah and the Whale when we were very young. The image of being swallowed by a great fish for three days and then spit out caught our young imaginations. As adults there is so much more to the story.

There are great principles of God's grace and mercy. Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”Jonah 4:5-11

 Forgiveness depends on how we look at people and circumstances. We have two ways we can respond :

We can look through man’s eyes or look through God’s eyes. The first leads to hurt the other to mercy because of God's grace.

 How’s your vision?

Look at forgiveness through eyes of grace. It will put a smile on God's face.