Tag Archives: grace

June 24; The Truth Hurts

2 Kings 14:7-14, 5:1-7a; 2 Chronicles 25:11-24

The truth really does hurt sometimes. Especially if the truth reveals a sin or proves us wrong. It’s like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning. You just don’t like what’s looking back at you.

So often in the Bible we read about God’s prophets proclaiming the truth, then being persecuted for it. But what spoke to me today as I read God’s Word is that the men of God didn’t back down or change their message to make life easier for themselves. The truth was more important than their comfort, or acceptance, or even their lives.

We might look in that mirror in the morning and throw it crashing to the ground. But breaking a mirror doesn’t change what that mirror revealed. You still have that sleepy morning look. You just don’t have to look at it.

Being angry at God, or throwing out His Word doesn’t change what is revealed there, either. That sin God laid a finger on is still a sin. And until you repent of it, you will pay, whether or not you want to admit it or not.

Dear Ones, we need to know what the Truth is. We need to know what the Bible says. And we need to keep proclaiming it, even if it makes us uncomfortable, or results in persecution.

Because the Truth also heals. It is life-altering, wonderfully beautiful, and worth any grief we might receive in sharing it. God hates sin. God loves sinners. Sin comes with a death penalty. Jesus died. Grace is ours for the taking.

Speak the Truth, even if it hurts. Let’s be as faithful as the prophets we read about today, no matter what.

June 9; Good, Bad, and Trust

Ecclesiastes 7-10

Bad things happen. Good things happen, too. We have successes, and we have failures. Some days the sun shines, and some days the sun hides behind clouds. Let’s face it. There are just some things that are out of our control.

Solomon says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” (Ecc 7:14)

We who have placed our faith in the Lord know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. We count on that with assurance.

Some people question why God allows sin, or tragedy, or hardship. Honestly, I don’t see how He could have done it any other way. If it wasn’t for the night, would we even notice the day? If it wasn’t for sickness, would we appreciate health? If it wasn’t for bad times, we’d take good times for granted. If it wasn’t for sin, how could we understand grace?

Solomon seems to be saying, let God be God. “Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Quit fighting against God, or wasting your time being mad at Him. He is God. And He’s got this.

King Solomon has a dismal view of life. I don’t. And you don’t have to, either. Do you trust God? He absolutely can be trusted with every detail of your life. You can rest assured that, whether the sun is shining, or if you are in the middle of a storm, God wants to show you what He can do, He wants to draw you to Himself.

Good things happen and bad things happen. Trust God in every circumstance. He can be trusted.

March 16; By The Grace Of God

Deuteronomy 9-11

Moses is reminding the Jews that God had blessed them, not because they were this great, upstanding, cleaned-up family, but because of who God is. Moses called them a stiff-necked people, and then proceeded to recall the many times they had blown it. Did they think they deserved God’s favor? Think again, folks.

But God had chosen the Jews to show the world who He is. God chose the Jews to demonstrate His holiness, His power, His grace to the people of that time, and to us. Which reminds me of what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

Our salvation, God’s blessings on our lives have nothing to do with our being this great, upstanding, cleaned-up person. It’s God. Period.

Now, if you read all three chapters today, you’ll hear God tell us that as His children, we need to be obedient. Our obedience leads to blessings which translates into a window through which the world can get a glimpse of Jesus.

But what we do is a result of who we are in Christ. Sinners forgiven. Lost found. Dead alive.

By the grace of God.

February 8; Rules

Exodus 19-21

We come to the part where God lays down the law. Verse after verse of rules and regulations for EVERYTHING. Some of the punishments for breaking the rules are harsh – like the death penalty for cursing your parents. Many include some sort of retribution.

In fact, in regard to injuring a pregnant woman we read, “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (21:23-25)

In regard to your neighbor’s bull, you break it, you buy it.

Now  I am aware we live under grace. But does that mean we should throw out the rules? Does God’s grace negate consequences?

A while back I was talking to the 3-5 graders in our Good News Club about rules, and asked them what our club would be like if there were no rules. It was an interesting, lively conversation. After trying to picture what a club with no rules would look like, we decided rules aren’t such a bad thing after all.

Rules are boundaries that make life better.

But we live in a society that’s nibbling at the rules. In fact, we are encouraged to live by our own rules. Can a society survive without rules, or with an infinite number of rule-sets? Can you picture what that would look like?

Oh yeah. I saw it on the news last night.

God gave the rules we read here in Exodus for a reason, so that the Jewish people would enjoy a safe, and caring lifestyle. God’s rules made life better for them.

And they still do for us. I don’t have a bull, or a slave. But if I read these rules God specified, and apply the principles to my life and in my dealings with people, my life and theirs would be better.

Rules are not meant to be broken, but rather followed, and taught. Without them, our world would be nothing but chaos. Without rules, our society will crumble.

Thank God for rules.

February 6: Not From Yourselves

Exodus 13-15

Every day I read God’s Word, I write my thoughts and observations in a journal. These past few years my journals have served as a rough draft for the posts on this blog. The journal I am using now has a Bible verse on each  page. Today’s verse is Ephesians 2:8-9, and it reinforces the truth found in these chapters in Exodus so beautifully!

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

The parting of the Red Sea is a familiar story to most. The dramatic rescue of the Jews from the Egyptians is nothing short of spectacular. God revealed His power to the whole world when those waters parted, and the Jews were saved.

I am reminded the Jews didn’t build a dam to stop the water. They didn’t throw together a barge to float across the water. They didn’t do a part-the-water-dance. In fact, God told them to be still.

Their salvation had nothing to do with anything they did. It was His grace that saved them. And His grace is still saving souls thousands of years later.

Someone told me recently that a friend of their’s who lived a very difficult life with health issues and heartache was in heaven now because, “She paid her penance on earth.”

Dear one, that isn’t close to being true. Your troubles here on earth – or even all the good you do – have zero to do with whether or not you spend eternity in the Presence of God.

ZERO.

There is only one thing that will save you. It’s not from yourself. It is a gift from the heart of God. It’s His grace.

The Jews walked through the waters of the Red Sea on dry ground because God alone made a way. And we can walk through this life and into the next because God made a way. His name is Jesus.

There was only one way for the Jews to be saved from their enemy. And there is only one way for us to be saved from ours. They had to go through the Sea. We have to go through Jesus.

Acts 4:12 tells us there is no other name on earth or in heaven, no other salvation in anyone else other than Jesus Himself. No other way. And we can accept what Jesus did on the cross, because of the grace of God.

If you haven’t already, please surrender to God. Be still. Quit trying so hard. Ask God to forgive you, and He will. Let Him save you by His grace through the precious blood of Jesus.

 

Galatians; I’m An Heir!

Reading Galatians thrills my soul. As a Gentile, to hear God say through His servant Paul, that I am His child, I am heir to His Promise, and that in His eyes there is no difference between Jews and the rest of us, I am humbled and grateful.

God doesn’t say I am His step-child, or His foster child. He doesn’t say I’m His child except for this one thing. Or that I’m an heir of only some of the Promise. I read Galatians and rejoice in my position as a child of God, wholly His.

I’m an heir, not because of parentage or some ceremonial circumcision, but because of Jesus. I am a child of God because I have accepted what Jesus did for me on the cross.

I hope you’ll read this letter for yourself, and rejoice with me in the cross of Christ. Because, if you have received God’s grace through the blood of His Son, you are a new creation. And God, through Paul, says that’s the only thing that counts. (6:15)

Matthew 20-22; The Invitation

Jesus sure had a lot to say about the Kingdom of God. I’m learning some things about my own walk with Him as I consider how the Church should look and operate according to the Lord. I want to be an intentionally obedient citizen.

Jesus tells us in chapter 20 the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who hires laborers. For one thing, this parable reminds me we all are to be out there working, planting, watering, and harvesting every day.

And, although this parable is talking about the heavenly kingdom and grace, God is revealing some things about Himself. First, He is the boss. Period. How He runs things is really not our business. He’s not sending out a survey asking how we think He’s doing. He doesn’t need our approval. But He wants us to know He is a good boss, a fair boss, as well as a generous boss.

Which leads me to the second thing God is revealing about Himself in this parable: His grace is His to give and I can be sure that, as His child, I will not be cheated. As a citizen of the Kingdom of God, I am assured that my King does all things well. I need to look less at others, and recognize the enormous amount of grace He has shown me. God is generous to me.

The next parable is also about a landowner. This one reveals that the Jews would reject Jesus as the Messiah, and would be responsible for Jesus’ death. The kingdom is no longer a Jewish thing. It’s a believers thing. Praise God!

And that parable is reinforced in the next one, the wedding banquet. God’s kingdom is open to everyone; rich, poor, good, bad…

But, and here is the kicker, only those wearing “wedding clothes” will be granted entrance. The invitation is there. But you can’t be a citizen of God’s Kingdom on your own terms. The Kingdom of God is reserved for those who accept God’s grace through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Looking at God’s Kingdom through these chapters reminds me what a privilege it is to belong. It encourages me to get out there, working for a harvest, inviting others to join us who know Jesus as our Savior.

So I’m inviting you!