Friday, July 13, 2018

The Daily Grace - Promoting Unity

The language of Proverbs 6:16-19 is strong. In the citing of seven things the Lord hates, sowing "discord among brethren" makes the list. The reason for naming this sin is that it spoils the unity that Christ desires for His followers (John 17:21-22). Those who sow discord may not initially set out to create divisions. They may be preoccupied instead with their personal needs or the interests of a group they belong to (James 4:1-10).

Consider how Lot's herdsmen argued with those of Abraham (Gen. 13:1-18); Christ's disciples argued about personal preeminence (Luke 9:46); and divisive groups in the church at Corinth elevated party factions above the unity of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:1-7). So what is the best way to promote unity? It begins with the transformation of the heart. When we adopt the mind of Christ, we develop an attitude of humility and we focus on service toward others (Phil. 2:5-11).

Only in Him can we access the power to "look out not only for [our] own interests, but also for the interests of others" (v. 4). Soon the needs and hopes of others become more important to us than our own. With growing bonds of love among us, we find discord replaced with joy and unity (Ps. 133:1). We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. O Lord my God, I praise You for Your gifts to me.

The culture around us can seem so harsh and hard on people when they fail. Help me to show grace and patience. Because You have been gracious to me and have forgiven my sin.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day. And whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord, clothed in a garb of flesh and blood; choosing a manger for a throne, while worlds on worlds are Thine alone.


Todays Godly Reminder - 1 Thessalonians 6:11

Always practice in building each other up. Don't acquire that crab mentality, it doesn't pleases the Lord. Encouraging one another pleases Him because it is His commandment also in Hebrews 11:25. God talked several times in the Bible about encouraging one another. Discover those words more by studying deeply in His Word, by yourself or with your accountability partners.

Keep doing good things around you. Be kind to others and show the love of Christ to them. When they are sad, comfort them. When they are happy, rejoice with them. Let us help one another as the day comes.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Daily Grace - "No Grace"

I have nicknamed our car "No Grace". Sunday mornings are the worst. I load the car with all the stuff I need for church, get myself in my seat, close the door, and Jay starts backing out of the garage. While I am still getting settled, the seat belt warning starts buzzing. "Please", I say to it, "all I need is another minute". The answer, apparently, is no, because it continues buzzing until I am buckled in.

This minor annoyance is a good reminder of what life would be like if indeed there were no grace. Each of us would immediately be called to account for every indiscretion. There would be no time for repentance or change of behavior. There would be no forgiveness. No mercy. No hope.

Living in this world sometimes feels like falling into a no-grace sinkhole. When minor flaws are blown up into major indiscretions or when people refuse to overlook the faults and offenses of others, we end up burdened by the weight of guilt that we were never meant to carry. God, in His grace, sent Jesus to carry the burden for us. Those who receive God's gift of grace have the privilege of offering it to others on Christ's behalf: "Above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins' "(1 Peter 4:8). When we gratefully acknowledge the grace we've received, we joyfully give it to those in need.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, in the morning, when I rise, I give praise to You, who shows His glory in the sun. O Lord God, You are the source of all warmth, all light, all sustenance. Let me remember You when I rise and all the day, my God, every waking moment; and let me sleep each night in peace, confident that I will rise with Your sun once again, in the time you have chosen for me.

Remind us that Your names reveal Your character. Help us to remember them in our times of need and distress. Thank You for the assurance that You are faithful to Your name.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip me with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in me what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.


Today's Godly Reminder - Proverbs 19:11

Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger. He is able to restrain it. It is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense, without seeking revenge and harboring resentment. Smart people know how to hold their tongue. Their grandeur is to forgive and forget. 

A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit. It’s wise to be patient and show what you are like by forgiving others. Sensible people control their temper. They earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Daily Grace - The Power of a Name

Nicknames are often descriptive of some noticeable aspect of a person's character or physical attributes. Growing up, my elementary school friends brutally called me "liver lips" since, at that stage of development, my lips seemed disproportionately large. Needless to say, I have always been glad that the name didn't stick. Unlike my nickname, I love the names of God that describe His magnificent characteristics. 

God is so wonderfully multifaceted that He has many names that communicate His capabilities and character. To name just a few, He is: 
Elohim, the God above all gods
Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides
El-Shaddai, the almighty God
Jehovah Rapha, our healer God
Jehovah Shalom, our God of peace
Jehovah Shamma, our God who is present
Jehovah Yahweh, our loving, covenant-keeping God

It's no wonder the writer of Proverbs encourages us to remember that "the name of the Lord is a strong tower", that in times of need God-fearing people run to it and "are safe" (Prov. 18:10). When unwelcome circumstances threaten you and you feel vulnerable, reflect on one of God's names. Be assured - He will be faithful to His name. God's names, which describe His character, can bring comfort when we need it most.