Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Daily Grace - Glory Deflectors

Barbara Mertz has a complaint about Egypt's Pharaoh Ramses II. In her books Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs, archaeologist Mertz writes, "One gets so tired of Ramses; his face, his figure, and/or his name are plastered over half the wall surfaces still standing in Egypt - at least it seems that way" Insatiably thirsty for glory, Ramses revealed in Egyptian religion, which taught that the pharaoh was divine. Contrast Ramses' desire for glory with the attitude of Paul and Barnabas.

On one of their missionary journeys, they faced a situation during which they refused to accept vainglory. When a crowd in the idolatrous city of Lystra saw them heal a crippled man, the people exclaimed, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!" (Acts 14:11). They immediately prepared animals to sacrifice in honor of Paul and Barnabas. But the two quickly objected, saying, "We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God" (v. 15).

We do not rival the apostles in our accomplishments for God, but we all have things we do for Him. It's then that we must be "glory deflectors", making sure God gets all the glory for everything we have done. Man's greatest goal: Bringing glory to God. To Him be all the glory, honor, power and majesty!

Today We Pray

Dear God, from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift, I offer to Your divine majesty my unfeigned praise and thanksgiving for all your mercies towards me. You made me at first and have ever since sustained the work of Your own hand. You gave Your Son to die for me; and have given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to His holy precepts and example.

Take care of my affairs and more and more direct me in Your truth. Defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Do not allow me to be drawn away from you, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. 

Work in me Your good will and pleasure. Discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to You, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride and vain conceit of myself. And, make me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded.


Today's Godly Reminder - Ephesians 6:4

This verse is not just focused only to fathers, but also to the mothers, as well. Since the father is the head of the family, it is emphasized to them. But the point is to not provoke your children to anger. Do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive. Nor, by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them. But instead, bring them up tenderly, with lovingkindness in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Then, the Lord will bless your family and your children will produce good fruit as they grow up.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Daily Grace - A Mutual Friend

Imagine being a visitor in a foreign land, showing up unannounced at a gathering of people you have never met and who have never heard of you - and then being allowed to address that group just a few minutes later. That can happen only if something breaks down barriers - something like mutual friends. It happened when I took a missions team to a church service in Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Before we left the US, my friend Dorant Brown, a Jamaican pastor, recommended a church to attend. So, when we arrived at the church, and I mentioned Pastor Brown, we were not only welcomed, but I was also asked to speak briefly and our team was asked to sing. While sharing Dorant's name was vital, I really don't think it was that mutual friend who got us such a warm welcome. I think it was our shared Friend and Savior Jesus who opened our Jamaican friends' hearts to our visit.

Have you experienced a connection with someone you just met when you tell them you too know Jesus? He's a friend who laid down His life for us (John 15:13), and He makes brothers and sisters of all who believe (1 Peter 2:17). Jesus. Our Savior. Our mutual Friend. He joins hearts around the world under the banner of His love. Those who are drawn to Christ are drawn to each other.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, the night has passed, the sun shines its light upon us, and the day lies open before me. As I rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of Your presence fill me with love for You and my fellow man. Abide with me, I pray, now and forever.

I need to know Your love in order to love others. I want to experience and share Your patience and kindness with those I care about. Fill me and use me.

The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue. The Lord meet in mercy all that seek him. The Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; and, the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day and always.


Today's Godly Reminder - Psalm 103:2

Bless the Lord at all times. Affectionately, praise His Name. Let us not forget the good things that He has done in our lives. Our God is a sovereign God. He is always gracious to extend to us the blessings that comes from His hands. Receive that blessing always. It's not just one or two, but you will be blessed a thousand folds. Acknowledge the Lord always. Let His Name be known to the nations. Let the people know the good things that He has done so that many people will come to Him and inherit His Kingdom.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Daily Grace - Forgotten Memories

Recently, a friend from my youth, e-mailed me a picture of our junior high track team. The grainy black-and-white snapshot showed a vaguely familiar group of teens with our two coaches. I was instantly swept back in time to happy memories of running the mile and the half-mile in track meets. Yet even as I enjoyed remembering those days, I found myself thinking about how easily I had forgotten them and moved on to other things.

As we make our way on the journey of life, it is easy to forget places, people, and events that have been important to us along the way. Time passes, yesterday fades, and we become obsessed with the concerns of the moment. When this happens, we can also forget just how good God has been to us. Perhaps that is why David remembered as he wrote, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Ps. 103:1-2).

Never is this remembrance more needed than when the heartaches of life crowd in on us When we are feeling overwhelmed and forgotten, it's important to recall all that He has done for us. In remembering, we find the encouragement to trust Him in the present and for the future. Remembering God's faithfulness in the past strengthens us for the future.