The Grace In Which We Stand…

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Acts 15:7-11

7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

As believers, we readily attribute our salvation to God’s grace, but what does “this grace in which we stand” mean to us now (Rom. 5:2)?

How does it work out in everyday life, especially when we’re going through periods of trial or suffering?

The Lord’s grace releases His supernatural power within us so we can endure life’s hardships with a godly attitude. In fact, we’ll even be able to rejoice in what He is doing in us through the adversity. Grace builds our confidence in the sovereign Lord.

Nothing looks hopeless when we focus on Him instead of on our problems.

We discover the assurance of God’s sustaining presence as He walks with us every step of the way. Because we’ve experienced His care for us, we are able to show empathy and love to others facing hard times.

During fiery trials, grace works to transform our character so that others can see Jesus reflected in us.

Difficulties in life are unavoidable. So we need a daily dose of God’s grace if we are to walk through trials with confidence that there is great reward on the other side. If we rely on our own strength, however, obstacles will appear insurmountable, leaving us discouraged and ready to give up.
Too often believers rely on Christ for their salvation but then try to go solo. If God’s grace was needed to save us, then logic says we would also need it for the rest of our days.

Only through a continuous infusion of His sustaining power can we  live a victorious Christian life.

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Crown Your Day With Success…

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Proverbs 3:6 (KJV)

“ In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

Do you need direction in your life?

Ask yourself, “Am I acknowledging God in all my ways?”

In other words, is He first place in your life?

All throughout the day, we should be acknowledging God, asking for His help, seeking His wisdom, obeying His commands and thanking Him for His goodness.

In the morning, we should wake up and say, “Father, thank You for another beautiful day. I commit this day, my plans and my future into Your hands.”

When you start the day like this, you are acknowledging God.

He promises to crown your day with success. When you are driving on the freeway say, “Father, thank You for keeping me safe.” At the office say, “Lord, help me to be focused and productive today.”

At home, “Father, bless my children.” Before you go to bed, “Lord, thank You for a good night’s rest.”

When you’re acknowledging Him in all your ways, He promises to direct your paths.

He promises to lead and guide you into paths of peace, joy and everlasting life!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear God, I acknowledge You in everything I do today.

I invite You to direct my steps.
I invite You to search my heart.
I surrender every area of my life to You.
Keep me close to You always in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

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Redirect Us When We Stray…

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1 John 4:7-21

7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Most Christians agree that God loves them.

We hear catch phrases about this in the church today, and believers often recite Bible verses on this topic.

Yet do we really grasp what it means to be cared for in this way by the Creator of the universe?

Let’s explore three aspects of God’s love.

First, it is uninfluenced by anything within or around us.

We know that even while we were still living in sin, Christ died for us -Rom. 5:8; there is simply no greater sacrifice.

Nothing we do can hinder God’s love for us—and coming to that realization should lift a burden off your shoulders.

Second, divine love is eternal.

Believers will never be separated from it. In fact, Ephesians 1:4 tells us that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world.

We know, therefore, that His care for us has always been a fact—and always will be.

Third, we know that God’s love is part of His character

1 John 4:8 and directed toward all people -Matt. 5:45

Yet believers experience it differently from those who do not follow Jesus.

Consider what would happen if a patio umbrella shielded part of a garden.

When it rains, some flowers might be surrounded by water without actually getting wet. Similarly, a person who doesn’t have a relationship with God isn’t impacted by His love, though it exists and is available.

We can trust the One who loves us intensely and completely. Jesus proved this by dying in our place to spare us the consequences of our sin. He promises to stay with us always and redirects us when we stray.

Though we do not always feel His love, it surrounds and protects us forever.

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Lack Of Submission…

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Isaiah 66:1-2

1 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Believers are always under the canopy of God’s grace and love.

Nothing we do can change that.

At the same time, our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of His blessings.

Today’s passage teaches us how to experience the Father’s favor.

First, He desires that we have a contrite heart and a humble spirit -Ps. 51:17.

For that to be the case, all aspects of our lives must be surrendered to Jesus.

Yet some dreams, desires, and people are difficult to release into His hands.

Anything we do not give over to His authority is evidence of pride, the exact opposite of what our Father wants in His children.

Remember that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” – James 4:6

Lack of submission proves that we think our way is better than His plan.

Second, God tells us to tremble at His Word-Isa. 66:2.

Scripture—the unfolding revelation of Jesus Himself—is living and powerful to teach and transform us. Consider how we treat this treasure.

Do we devote time each day to know what the Bible says and how to apply its principles? Do we hunger for more of the Word in our lives so we can know its Author better? One measure of our reverence is obedience: to honor the Lord, we must obey Him.

We all desire God’s favor.

Are you living in a manner that positions you to receive His full blessings?

Prayerfully consider whether you have submitted all areas of your life—from finances and health to relationships and work habits—to Jesus Christ. Recognize His authority in all things, and revere His Word..

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The Drift Toward Self-Reliance…

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Joshua 3:14-4:7

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Some individuals have an amazing capacity to remember images or facts. Sadly, however, it’s all too common for people to fail to recall the Lord’s goodness to them.

In light of the human tendency to forget, today’s verses offer a good example for us to follow.

God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and safely through the divided Red Sea. Now, He miraculously provided another dry path by piling up the Jordan’s waters in an enormous heap upstream.

The Lord knew that the people were about to enter Jericho, and that by His power, they would overcome the city. How compassionate to encourage them with a tangible illustration of His strength prior to such a battle.

But God also knew how easily they had forgotten Him.

We do the same today; when the Lord works in obvious ways, it is easy to trust Him.

But as time goes on, we drift toward self-reliance until we are reminded of our need for Him and repent. So in His love, the Father had a plan to help His loved ones recall the miracle at the river. He asked them to create an altar of 12 stones, representing each tribe of Israel that had passed safely through the waters. This way, they would have a tangible reminder of divine rescue.

When it comes to blessings, do you tend to be forgetful?

If so, try to create reminders of God’s faithfulness. Some people journal; others write key words on stones and leave them in noticeable places.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a way to remember the Lord’s involvement in your life.

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Conditions Of The Reward…

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Jeremiah 29:13 (KJV)

“13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Have you ever thought about the fact that a reward is put into place before anyone ever claims it?

Right now, there are rewards for certain fugitives on the loose. That money is already in a fund just waiting for someone to step up and claim it. All a person has to do is find the fugitive, and the money will be released.

In the same way, God has a reward that has already been set in place for you and me, too.

It’s just waiting to be released. But, there are conditions to that reward as well.

God says, “If you will just seek Me, I will give you the reward. If you will just make an effort to please Me, if you will just get up in the morning and thank Me, if you will just read the scripture, I’ll pour out My blessing.” You may not understand it all, but God says, “That’s okay.

I will give you the reward because your heart is in the right place, and you are making the effort.”

Today, there is nothing more important that seeking God in all your ways.

When you go about your day, keep Him on your mind. Talk to Him and ask for His direction.

Seek Him because you will find Him and find peace, abundance, joy and victory all the days of your life!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear God, thank You for ordering my steps and pouring out Your blessing on me.
I choose to put You first place in everything I do.
I honor You and thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

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Who We Really Are?

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John 8:28-29

28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

God knows who we really are—sinners by nature and practice.

Before salvation, we were actively rebelling against His authority and pursuing our own way.

Yet He loved us so much that He sent His Son to sacrifice His life in payment for the sin debt we owed-John 3:16. God’s love for us is a compelling reason to obey Him in all things.

Christ demonstrated what a life of obedience looks like.

He regularly withdrew from the crowds to spend time in prayer and thereby discover God’s will. Jesus sought to please His Father in everything He did—and wanted the world to recognize that to obey demonstrates love. -John 14:31

Both the Old and New Testaments provide examples of this principle.

David lived an imperfect life, but God knew the king was wholeheartedly committed to Him -1 Kings 15:5. David declared, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart”. -Ps. 40

And the apostle Paul was single-minded for Jesus -Phil. 3:13-14. However, before his conversion, he persecuted Jewish believers. -1 Cor. 15:9

These two men experienced God’s forgiving love firsthand, which motivated them to actively pursue His will. And our heavenly Father knows that none of us can live perfectly, so He wants His children to let the Holy Spirit help them obey.

A life of obedience requires a mind that is focused on the Lord and His plan, a heart committed to following Him, and a will that is surrendered to His authority. It consists of many daily decisions to deny self, resist temptation, and choose His way.

How strong is your desire to carry out His will?

 

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Opening Our Spiritual Eyes …

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Luke 24:49

49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

The Bible is a goldmine of promises for believers.

These are declarations of God’s gracious intention to give us a gift. During any season, but especially in hard times, they provide an anchor for our souls. They give us hope, enabling us to be courageous and bold when facing life’s storms.

But many individuals do not rely on God’s assurances.

There are two reasons for this.

First, far too many people are unaware of His promises.

Second, some simply do not believe them to be true. A lot of believers can quote Scripture, but when they face a daunting trial—like failing health or job loss—their confidence waivers and doubt prevails.

If we’re unaware of all that Scripture guarantees us, we can Read and study, but we can’t make ourselves believe.

Faith is a gift from almighty God.

Luke 24 Documents two times that people came face to face with Jesus but failed to recognize Him. He had to open their spiritual eyes before they could truly see. The same is true of our faith: it is impossible without the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gives believers countless assurances in the Scriptures—guarantees of protection, hope, eternal security, counsel, and guidance, to name a few.

Do you trust Him?

As you Read Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to point out applicable promises for your life.

Study, memorize, and meditate upon them. Our Father wants you to claim these truths. Then, when trials arise, you’ll have a rock-solid foundation on which to stand.

You can trust that God will do all He says.

 

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