Thursday, July 27, 2017

Today's Godly Reminder - Romans 1:16

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes"

Be proud that you are a Christian. It is an opportunity for you to shine the light into this dark world. The gospel is the power of God for salvation, from His wrath and punishment. It is also a responsibility for us Christians to spread the gospel to everyone. Make a stand! Don't be shy to tell the world that you are a Christian. Be proud to proclaim God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him. Be proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Daily Grace - Lessons of Obedience

When young Kofi came home after Sunday school, his mother asked him what he had learned that morning. His quickly reply spoke volumes: "Obedience. . . again!" Although I'm many years older than Kofi, I agree that obedience to God is a lesson that we must, sometimes reluctantly, learn over and over again.

Oswald Chambers wrote: "The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says. . . . If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself". When we are obedient, we show God that we love Him and have more faith in Him than we do in ourselves. Arthur W. Pink said that love is "a principle of action, and it expresses itself. . . by deeds which please the object loved". To obey God means to relinquish what we want and to choose to do what He asks.

God requires the obedience of His followers, and Jesus placed great importance on it. He asked, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord', and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). And, He issued this challenge: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Obedience to God is an expression of our love for God.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. You have not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. All glory, all thanks be to You, wonderful God, who has by Your Son put away our sin, and cleansed us, that we might dwell with You forever.

Come to me, Holy Spirit, and drive away my apathy. Forgive me for the smallness and selfishness of my mind. Take away this sense of tedium with Your Word, Your love, the wondrous gift of eternal life.

I bind myself to You this day, oh Christ, in Your truth and in Your sacrifice. I give to You my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for You have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself Your burden, for it is light and Your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 John 5:3

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome. We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.

 The true love of God is this: we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And, His commandments and His precepts are not difficult to obey. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. Obey and be blessed!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Daily Grace - Learning from Erin

Erin's life was so different from that of most 8-year-olds. While other kids were running and playing and eating ice cream, Erin was lying in a bed being fed through a tube - able to see only the brightest lights and hear only the loudest sounds. Her life consisted of needles and nurses and hospital visits as she battled ongoing illnesses and profound disabilities. Surrounded by a remarkable family who cared for her with compassion and filled her life with love, Erin died before reaching her ninth birthday.

What can be learned from a precious child like Erin - one who never spoke a word or colored a picture or sang a song? A friend of Erin's family put it best: "We are all better for having had Erin in our lives. She taught us compassion, unconditional love, and appreciation for the little things". Children such as Erin also remind us that this world is not reserved for the perfect, the wealthy, or the athletic. 

Each person, no matter their physical, mental, or emotional condition, is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and is of equal value and significance. Our Lord has compassion for the weak, the broken, and all He has made (Ps. 145:8-9), and we should mirror that concern (Eph. 5:1-2). Is there an "Erin" in your life you can learn from? Never underestimate the value of one soul.

Today We Pray

Dear God, I thank You and love You for seeing who I really am. You know things about me that I don't even know myself, for You see with the clear eye of God. I most especially thank You, I fall upon my knees in gratitude, that You love me despite all of the sin and ugliness You see in me.

I thank You for teaching me how to live in the present moment. In this way I enjoy each simple task as I do it without thinking that I must hurry on to the next thing. I do what I am doing with all my ability and all my concentration.

I pray to be filled with Your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with Your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for Your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts You have given me, and showing forth Your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name.


Today's Godly Reminder - Psalm 145:8

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy."

God is all mercy and grace. He is not quick to anger. He is rich in love. He is merciful. He is kind and patient. He is always loving. He never fails.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Daily Grace - Fix Your Eyes

Over and over again, my driver's education instructor said these two words: "Drive ahead". This was his way of telling me to focus on the horizon, not just on my immediate surroundings. Drivers who continually look to the right or to the left may well go into the ditch. 

Satan is good at causing "roadside distractions" that tempt us to look at him rather than at Jesus. If he can get our attention, he may be able to get us off track and delay our spiritual progress. He even tried this with Jesus Himself! After Jesus was baptized, Satan tried to deter Him by suggesting "better" ways to accomplish His work. Satan told Jesus that He could prove He was the Son of God by throwing Himself from the temple (Luke 4:9-11). But Jesus knew that proving He was God's Son would come by submitting Himself to the cross, not by flinging Himself from a high building. He responded, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God" (v. 12). Jesus had His eyes on our redemption, and He knew He couldn't accomplish it by taking a detour around the cross.

The way to stay out of spiritual ditches is to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) and refuse to even glance at Satan's distractions. The only way to overcome temptations that we face is to be focused on the Lord, who strengthens by His grace. Satan ought not be in our line of vision, but behind us. Don't let the enemy trick you, fix your eyes on Jesus.

Today We Pray

Dear God, holy You have called me to come to You. I feel unworthy, for I have failed You again and again; I feel like running away, yet you keep calling me. Have mercy on me, and all of us, O God.

Bless and uphold all who are sick and suffering this day. Console them with Your Holy Spirit. And, if it is Your will, bring their suffering to a quick conclusion. 

May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Holy God, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me for the sake of Your Son, who died to free me from our sins. To You be honor and glory!


Today's Godly Reminder - Hebrews 12:2

Look away from all that will distract us in serving our Lord and fulfilling His commands. Let us focus our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Daily Grace - He Calls the Stars by Name

On a plateau high above the Atacama Desert in Chile, one of the world's largest radio telescopes is giving astronomers a view of the universe never seen before. In an Associated Press article, Luis Andres Henao spoke of scientists from many countries "looking for clues about the dawn of the cosmos - from the coldest gases and dust where galaxies are formed and stars are born to the energy produced by the Big Bang".

The Bible celebrates the mighty power and infinite understanding of God who "counts the number of the stars" and "calls them all by name" (Ps. 147:4). Yet the Creator of the universe is not a remote, uncaring force, but a loving heavenly Father who "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (v. 3). "The Lord lifts up the humble" (v. 6) and "takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy" (v. 11). He loves us so much that "He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

British author J.B. Phillips called Earth "the visited planet", where the Prince of Glory is still working out His plan. Our hope for today and forever lies in the loving mercy of God who calls each star by name. God, who knows the name of every star, knows all our names as well. The God who made the firmament, who made the deepest sea, the God who put the stars in place is the God who cares for us.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, take my life and make it wholly Thine. Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine. Take all my will, my passion, life, self and pride.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord. Let Your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear Your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by Your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind.

Let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain. In the name of Christ I ask this.


Today's Godly Reminder - John 3:16

This verse is very common nowadays, and probably the most memorized verse of all times. But, we should not miss the real essence of this verse, which is God's love to us. He sent His Son for us to die from our sins. Have faith in God so that we will live an eternal life. What a great love it is!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Daily Grace - Waving the White Flag

Recently, while watching a video of a church service held in South America, I noticed something I had never seen before in church. As the pastor passionately called his flock to yield their lives to Jesus, one of the parishioners took a white hankie out of his pocket and started waving it in the air. The another, and another. With tears running down their cheeks, they were expressing full surrender to Christ.

But, I wonder if there was more to the moment than the flags of surrender. I think they were waving flags of love to God. When God told His people to "love the Lord your God" (Deut. 6:5), it was in the context of His urging them to surrender their lives to Him. Surrender is God's love language.

From God's point of view, life with Him is far more than just trying to be good. It is always about relationship - relationship in which surrender is the way we express our grateful love to Him. Jesus, in amazing love for us, surrendered Himself on the cross to rescue us from our helpless bondage to sin and set us on a journey to all that is good and glorious. We don't have enough words to tell God how much we love Him! So, let's show Him our love by surrendering our hearts and lives to follow Him. 

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine. Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty and Thy glory in my valley. Help me to yield my will to You and to follow where You lead.

Thank You, Lord, for Your love and care. Thank You for sending Your Son, our Savior, to fulfill Your promise of forgiveness and restoration. Show me how You want me to use my gifts for Your kingdom.

May I be willing to be hidden and unknown today, yet ready to speak a word to those who are weary. May Your Spirit touch my words and make them Your words that enrich and refresh others. Give me grace today, so to live by obedience that I may increase in faith and in the understanding of your Holy Word.


Today's Godly Reminder - Deuteronomy 6:5

To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength is the greatest commandment of all. Since God is the author of love, we must also love Him completely. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from our sins. And, that is the greatest gift of love that He did for us, amazing indeed! He sacrificed for us to be forgiven and free from unrighteousness. What an amazing love that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords had shown to us. Invite God into your hearts now and feel His unconditional love for us.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Daily Grace - Glory and Grace

The Lord's Prayer is a relational prayer. And, though it might surprise you, it reveals a lot about our relationship with God. In these well-known lines, He reveals Himself to us - who is He is and what He has done for us. The prayer also reveals how we should respond to Him. Its initial focus is on God's glory, affirming His paternity and person (Matt. 6:9), and His program and His purpose (v. 10). Then, it shifts from a contemplation of the Holy God to who are - vulnerable children who are totally dependent upon our heavenly Father. The focus turns to God's grace, assuring us of His provision (v. 11). His pardon (v. 12), and His protection (v. 13).

"Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy" (v. 9) affirms the intimacy of the Father-child relationship as we reverently approach our perfect Father. "May Your kingdom come soon (v. 9) speaks of royalty and the loyalty offered to the King by His subjects. "May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (v. 10) is a declaration of surrender as we seek to obey our Master. "Give us today the food we need" (v. 11) reveals our total dependence on God as our provider. With gratitude in our hearts, we receive what He has given. "Forgive our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us" (v. 12) - we explicitly ask the Father's forgiveness, even as we implicitly seek a forgiving spirit towards others. "Don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one" (v. 13) warns of the dangers and evil of this world, pointing us to the assurance of safety that comes from our Protector. "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (v. 13) - a confident declaration that God's sovereignty and power guarantee that this prayer will be answered in our lives.

Today We Pray

Dear God, most mighty and merciful father, I, Your unworthy creation and servant, once more approach Your presence. Though not worthy to appear before You, because of the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against Your divine majesty; yet I pray You, for the sake of him in whom You are well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to let me give You thanks and praise for Your many and varied mercies extended toward me, for the quiet rest and repose of the past night, for food, clothing, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of Your dear son's bitter passion.

Continue Your mercy and favor to me this day. And always, give resolution to all my lawful undertakings. Let me have all my directions from your Holy Spirit, and success from Your bountiful hand. 

Bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick. Let your blessings guide me and all of us, this day and forever, through Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - Hebrews 4:16

We are indeed privileged to come to God freely. His Throne of Grace is open. He will gladly welcome us there when we approach the throne of God’s gracious favor. Confidently and without fear, just come. Do not hesitate.

Doing this, we may receive mercy for our failures and find His amazing grace to help in time of need. It is an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment. So, let us boldly draw near to the Throne of Grace, the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners. We can find help in good time for every need.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Daily Grace - Water for the World

Although seventy percent of the world is covered by water, less than one percent of it is drinkable by humans. Water conservation and sanitation are crucial matters in many parts of the world, as all life depends on having sanitary water. 

Jesus went out of His way to introduce a lost woman to another kind of life-giving water. He deliberately chose to go to a town in Samaria, a place where no respectable rabii would set foot. There, He told this woman about "living water". Those who drink of it, He said, "will never thirst". It will "become in Him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

The living water is Jesus Himself. Those who receive Him have eternal life. But the living water He provides also serves another function. Jesus said of those who receive it: "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). The living water that refreshes us is to refresh others also. As fresh-water distribution is uneven in the world, so too is the distribution of living water.  Many people do not know followers of Jesus who really care about them. It is our privilege to share Him. Christ is, after all, the living water for whom people are thirsting.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for giving me another morning! I am blessed to be alive on Your beautiful planet, so full of marvelous things and the beautiful plants and animals and all the people You have created in Your image. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, now and all day long, until I go to sleep, because I want to live with You every minute of this day. 

I want to live for You. May Your life and love flow through me as I go about my duties today. So that, others may see You through me and be drawn to the living water.

Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.


Today's Godly Reminder - John 7:38

"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."

Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in the Lord this way, just as the Scripture says. Have faith in God. And, you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you. Anyone who believes in God may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart'.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Daily Grace - There is Blessing in Every Failure

How do you respond to failures? What do you do after you fail? Sometimes, like an inventor, we followers of Jesus Christ may also find ourselves frozen in fear after a failure in our personal lives. We are unsure on how to pick up the pieces and move on. We might even spend our remaining time, waiting for a big idea or action that can help us recover from a previous failure.

Do not forget that Jesus has already done that on our behalf. He covered our shame. And, He set us free to fellowship with God and serve Him daily. It is because He gave His life, and rose again. When we fall, we can arise with Him, for He delights in mercy.

The moment we find Jesus, our eternity with Him begins. He walks alongside us so He can change us into the people we long to be. We are created to be like Him. Look up from your failure, and you'll find God standing ready to receive you. Remember, there is blessing in every failure you encounter. Trust in Him always.

Today We Pray

Dear Jesus, grant me Your grace, that it may be with me and labor with me and dwell within me, this day and all the days of my short life. Give me grace always to desire and seek what is most acceptable to You; whatever is most pleasing in Your sight, let me do that. Let my will always follow Yours; let Your will be mine.

Reform me into a spiritual perfection impossible for the world, which might be gained only by Your grace. And, help me to live in accord with it. Save me, Christ, I pray, out of love; for unworthy I might be, yet I love You dearly.

I am one of Your people, the sheep of Your flock. I pray for You to heal those who are wounded, touch those who are in pain, clean those who are soiled, warm those who are cold. Help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.


Today's Godly Reminder - Colossians 3:23

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

Whatever your task may be, work from the soul. Put in your very best effort. It is something done for the Lord, not for your earthly masters. God has put you there, so put every effort as if you are working for Him.

Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God. Be confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Daily Grace - Small Ways in Small Places

Often I meet with people who serve in what they think are seemingly small ways in small places. They are frequently discouraged by loneliness, feeling that their acts of service are insignificant. When I hear them speak, I think of one of the angels in C.S. Lewis' book "Out of the Silent Planet". He said: "My people have a law never to speak of sizes or numbers to you. . . It makes you do reverence to nothings and pass by what is really great."

Sometimes, culture says bigger is better - that size is the truest measure of success. It takes a strong person to resist that trend, especially if he or she is laboring in a small place. But we must not "pass by what is really great". It's not that numbers aren't important (after all, the apostles counted their converts; See Acts 2:41). Numbers represent living people with eternal needs. We should all work and pray for large numbers of people to enter the kingdom, but numbers mustn't be the basis for self-esteem.

God doesn't call us to find fulfillment in the amount of work we do for Him, or the number of people who are a part of that work, but in faithfully doing our work for His sake. Serving our great God with His strength in a small way is not a stepping-stone to greatness - it is greatness. Anyone doing God's work in God's way is important in His sight. God appreciates your great work!

Today We Pray

Dear God, the author of all good, I come to You for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without You I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Your power.

I pray to You for all the graces I need to know You, to love You and serve You faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to Your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating You each day in prayer. And, teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with Your own.

I thank You for salvation, for your mercy, full and free. Take my all in consecration. Glorify Yourself in me.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 John 4:7

Love one another. God commanded us countless times in the Bible that we must never stop loving others. Even if they are unlovable, try your best to love them. Ask God for it to help you.

We are also unlovable, human as we are, we sin countless times too. But God still accepted us, who is the Author of Love. So, it is a challenge to have love to others no matter who are they and what they are. Be filled with His love so that you can love others.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Daily Grace - Allergic To. . .

One of my friends is allergic to several kinds of foods. Milk, cheese, eggs, and ice cream are among the items she has to avoid. Even a small amount of these things is detrimental to her health. She's not alone in being required to avoid certain things in life. While her allergies are related to her physical well-being, each of us as believers in Jesus has dangers we need to stay away from to maintain spiritual health. Scripture gives us a clear indication of what we are "allergic to" spiritually.

Every kind of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). This should cause us to think about the choices we make, because taking part in what is clearly evil is not good for our spiritual vitality.
Foolish disputes and arguments (2 Tim. 2:23; Titus 3:9). This takes discernment, for some arguments have merit in defending the faith. But those for which there is no answer or which have no bearing on truth only cause dissension.
Sexual Immorality (1 Thess. 4:3). The Bible says that any sexual activity outside the boundaries of a marriage between a man and a woman is immoral (Gen. 2:24; Ex. 20:14; 1 Cor. 7:2; Heb. 13:4).

Are we willing to make the effort to steer clear of things we are spiritually "allergic to"? To avoid sin, nip it in the bud of temptation. Today, avoid sin and temptations that will lure you to evil thoughts. Don't let sinful things take control and master you someday.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, when I come into Your presence, I know that You are here. You created me out of Love. Your presence, O Lord, is the greatest of all.

May I never take the gift of freedom for granted. You gave me the great blessing of freedom of spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and Your joy.

May I go in peace, with God and with his other children. And, may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Reject evilness. Throw out anything tainted with evil. Withdraw and keep away from it. Do things that don’t have anything to do it. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Daily Grace - Disappointed

Scanning my e-mail inbox, I stopped in excitement when I saw a particular name. As I opened the e-mail, I held my breath in anticipation of what I would see. Waiting to hear about a manuscript I had sent in, I ready through the e-mail quickly looking for the publisher's response. Disappointment flooded my thoughts, however, when I read the letter. While the assessment had been accurate - the manuscript still needed a lot of work - I couldn't stop the tears from falling from my eyes. I had a significant work to do if I intended to proceed further.

Disappointment is a normal, human reaction to an unmet desire. Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life". We were intrinsically designed for hope, but living in a fallen world means facing disappointment. What we do with it makes all the difference.

Anytime we let disappointment rule our emotions and lives, we're believing that what we want is more important than anything or anyone else. God wants to bring good things into our lives. As proof, He has offered Himself as the unfailing hope (Rom. 10:11). The problem comes when we think we deserve something; and, we make our happiness dependent on whether we get what we want. In contrast, God asks that we live a life surrendered to and dependent on Him (Ps. 37:3-5)

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glory of the sun. And thank You for the health I have to get my duty done. I shall devote the hours of this golden day to You, by honoring Your Holy Name in everything I do. 

I will pursue my daily art without complaint or fear and spend my every effort to be friendly and sincere. I know there have been many days that I have whiled away. But this is one that I will try, to make Your special day.

Please depend on me because I want to honor You for all eternity. I am so sorry, Lord, that I let the worries of the day push ahead of You in my mind. Please help me to keep Your Holy Spirit in the forefront of my thoughts, throughout the day.


Today's Godly Reminder - Proverbs 13:12

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick. If disappointments are always attacking your life, it will indeed put you down. Not getting what you want can make you feel sick. But later on, a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree. A sudden good break can turn life around. So, don't give up. Disappointments sometimes lead us to blessings.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Daily Chained - Feeling Chained?

Boethius lived in sixth-century Italy and served the royal court as a highly skilled politician. Unfortunately, he fell into disfavor with the king. He was accused of treason and imprisoned. While awaiting execution, he asked for writing materials so he could compose his reflections. Later, these became an enduring spiritual classic on consolation.

As Boethius sat in prison, pondering his bleak prospects, his faith in Christ infused his perspective: "Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content". He understood that our view of changing circumstances and contentment is a personal choice. The apostle Paul reinforced the idea that the way we view our circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves. While he too was in prison, he wrote: "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Phil. 4:11). Both men could be content because they drew their ultimate satisfaction from God, who never changes.

Do you feel chained to difficult circumstances? God can give you contentment. Lasting satisfaction can be found only with Him, for in His "presence is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). When all you have is God, you have all you need.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love You and worthily praise Your holy name.

Lead me today as You see best. Use the gifts You've given me to encourage others on their journey. Help me not to compare myself with others but to be content.

And now let me go forth praising You, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all yYur wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.


Today's Godly Reminder - Philippians 4:11

Paul instructed us to one of his letters in Philippians to be contented with whatever circumstances we are in. He himself had suffered prison for how many years. And, God let him learn a lesson and realize about being contented. It is being self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where you are not disturbed or uneasy.

Contentment can also help you prioritize important things in life. It will also help you do be a good giver and responsible steward. Learn to be contented with everything that you have. It is really okay to ask something for the Lord. But first, He will let you practice contentment in everything.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Daily Grace - Judge Not!

When Jesus commanded, "Judge not", He was not implying that we should be naive or imprudent. Of course, we need to think critically and analytically in this world where we are often confronted with error and wrongdoing. Instead, He meant that we should not be condemning or accusing, a point Paul made eloquently: "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts" (1 Cor. 4:5).

Poet Robert Burns made a similar point, writing of those whose actions are in doubt: "One point must still be greatly dark - the [motive]. Why they do it". No one knows another's motives. God alone can bring to light what is hidden in darkness; He alone can expose the intentions of the heart.

Jesus knows the latent forces that motivate others: the cruel beginnings, the fear, the disappointment, the broken heart, the sin that is resisted. Moreover, He is working in every submissive heart to bring it to maturity. Thus in the end - quite often contrary to our expectations - He will bring praise to those He has brought to completion. The Lord alone can try the heart. Until He returns, let's ask Him to help us examine our own. Be slow to judge others, but quick to judge yourself.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I abandon myself into Your hands. Do with me what You will. I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.

Whatever You may do, I thank You. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only Your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.

 Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me. Let the whole earth also worship You, all nations obey You, all tongues confess and bless You, and men and women everywhere love You and serve You in peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - Matthew 7:1

Do not judge and criticize. Do not condemn others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn others, and God won’t condemn you. So that, you will not be judged unfairly.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Daily Grace - Dear or No Deal

If you're like me, you love a good deal. Not just bargain shopping, but when you manage to cut a great deal for yourself without giving anything up in return. So, if you can identify with these kind of deals, you'll understand the prodigal son's scheme when he decided to return home.

There were three kinds of servants in those days: day workers who were paid on a day-to-day basis; hired servants who worked long hours on the estate but lived in town with their independence intact; or bond servants who lived on the estate and gave all of themselves to serving the family. When the prodigal son hit rock bottom, it's interesting that his planned apology involved asking if he could be like a hired servant. Why not a grateful bond servant? Some commentators suggest that perhaps he was trying to negotiate a deal - a way to get a paycheck and keep his independence as well.

Often we approach God like, "I'll serve You but You can't take away my freedom". It may seem like a good deal at the time, but God's deal is so much better. Just like the boy's father, His arms are ready and willing to receive repentant sinners as part of His family. There could be no better deal and no better way to serve Him!

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, take my life and make it wholly Thine. Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine. Take all my will, my passions, self, and pride.

Thank You, that I can open up my heart to You and I can tell You everything that troubles me. I know You care about all the concerns in my life. Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today, will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.

I let go of the worries, resentments and fears that I can sometimes hold on to so tightly. Let me open my hands and my heart to receive freely all the gifts that I need at this time. May I always be aware of your presence, Your power and your Love, all the days of my life.


Today's Godly Reminder - John 12:26

If anyone serves the Lord, he must continue to faithfully follow Him. It should be without hesitation, holding steadfastly to Him, conforming to His example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Him. And, wherever He is in heaven’s glory, there will His servant be also. If anyone serves Him, the Father will honor him.

If any of you wants to serve Him, then follow Him. Then you’ll be where He is, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves the Lord. Serve the Lord with gladness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Poor Among Us

Francis Chan, in his book Crazy Love, tells of a family with an interesting Christmas tradition. On Christmas morning, the Robynson family doesn't focus on opening presents under the Christmas tree. Instead, they make pancakes and coffee, and serve the breakfast to the homeless. This is a small but creative way to show God's love and generosity to the poor.

God expected this kind of generosity from His people. In Deuteronomy 15, Moses emphasized the reality of poverty and how the more affluent must deal with it. They were warned of four dangers: 1) A hard heart, ignoring the needs of the poor (v. 7). 2) A closed hand, withholding what the poor lacked (v. 7). 3) An evil thought, hesitating or refusing to loan money to the poor because the year of canceling debts was nearing (v. 9). 4) A grudging spirit, a reluctance to satisfy the needs of the poor among them (v. 10). Not only were they warned about selfishness, but more important, they were encouraged to be spontaneously generous (vv. 8, 10-11).

Among God's people, there must always be a spirit of generosity toward the poor. Let's open our hearts and our hands. Generosity stems from the heart that has experienced God's grace. One grace each child of God can show is giving from a willing heart.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, You are the God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning. I pray that this day You will incline my heart to keep Your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done Your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving You thanks for a day lived in Your presence.

O Lord, have mercy upon me, miserable offender. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Make me and all who confess Your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to Your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Today's Godly Reminder - Deuteronomy 15:7

When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t be mean and selfish with your money.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Daily Grace - Paranoia in Reverse

Television news reports in 1991 shows non-violent revolution took place in the streets of Moscow. Russians who had grown up in totalitarianism suddenly declared, "We will act as if we are free", taking to the streets and staring down tanks. The contrast between the faces of the leaders inside and the masses outside showed who was really afraid, and who was really free. Picturing this scenario, I came up with a new definition of faith: paranoia in reverse. A truly paranoid person organizes his or her life around a common perspective of fear. Anything that happens feeds that fear.

Faith works in reverse. A faithful person organizes his or her life around a common perspective of trust, not fear. Despite the apparent chaos of the present moment, God does reign. Regardless of how I may feel, I truly matter to a God of love.

What could happen if we in God's kingdom truly acted as if the words of the apostle John were literally true: "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). What if we really started living as if the most-repeated prayer in Christendom has actually been answered - that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Feeding your faith helps starve your fears. As John 4:18 said, "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment".