Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Daily Grace - Restored by the Master

Over the centuries, many attempts have been made to restore damaged and time-worn masterpieces of art. While some of these efforts have skillfully preserved the original work of artists, others have actually damaged many works of genius, including ancient Greek statues and at least two paintings by da Vinci.

In Paul's letter to the Christians at Colosse, he described a restoration process that is impossible in the world of art. It's a restoration of God's people. Paul wrote, "You have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Col. 3:9-10). This is no attempt at renovating the work of a deceased artist. It is a spiritual renewal from the living God who created us and gave us new life in His Son, Jesus Christ. His forgiveness brightens the colors of our lives while His grace sharpens the lines of His purpose for us.

The canvas of our lives is in the skilled hands of our Lord who knows who and what He designed us to be. No matter how sin-damaged and dirty we may be, there is hope for renewal and restoration. The Master Artist is alive and at work within us. Jesus specializes in restoration.

Today We Pray

Dear God, flood me with Your spirit. Let the beauty and love of Christ pour through me. Renew me, empower me, purify me this day to your Great Commission.

Set free, O Lord, the souls of Your servants from all restlessness and anxiety. Give us that peace and power which flow from You alone. Shield us from all perplexity and distress, that upheld by Your strength and secured on the rock of Your faithfulness, we may abide in You now and evermore.

May God the Father bless us. May Christ take care of us, the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.


Today's Godly Reminder - Colossians 3:10

 Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator. And, you will understand him better. It is because He is in you. He is in your heart, soul and mind.

You are a brand new you! Put on your new self. You have been clothed new by God spiritually. You are continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Daily Grace - No One Remembered!

In a commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:15, Martin Luther cites the story of Themistocles, the soldier and statesman who commanded the Athenian squadron. Through his strategy, he won the Battle of Salamis, drove the Persian army from Greek soil, and saved his city. A few years later, he fell out of favor, was ostracized by his countrymen, and was banished from Athens. Thus, Luther concludes, "Themistocles did much good for his city, but received much ingratitude".

The crowd, for some reason, seems to ignore or quickly forget the good that the poor and humble man accomplishes through his wisdom. No matter. "Wisdom is [still] better than strength" even if "the poor man's wisdom is despised" (Ecc. 9:16). It's better to be a quiet, honest sage who, though forgotten, leaves much good behind, than a swaggering, strident fool who, though many applaud him, destroys much good" (Ecc. 9:18).

Accordingly, what matters in the end is not the recognition and gratitude we receive for the work we've done, but the souls of those gentle folk in whom we've sown the seeds of righteousness. Put another way: "Wisdom is justified by all her children" (Luke 7:35). Whom have you influenced through your wise and godly wisdom? A wise person sets his earthly goals on heavenly gains.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your Word says, yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.

Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Oh blessed Holy Spirit, nudge me, remind me throughout my day, again and again, for I know I will find freedom in obedience to your Word. I pray, show me what I need to focus on, right now and wherever the day might take me.

Now, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Timothy 1:16

No matter how worse we are, He is merciful to forgive us in all of our sins. Through this, it shows an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. Yes, He is a patient God, too. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. Receive that eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Receive the good news today!

The Daily Grace - Forgotten Memories

Recently, a friend from my youth emailed 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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, may Your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world. I ask for the grace to let go of my own concerns and be open to what God is asking of me, to let myself be guided and formed by my loving Creator.

Do not leave me without a portion of the blessed eternity. Grant also that I may follow Thy Holy example, that I may submit to the authorities placed over me. Grant me the clean soul, the simplicity of heart that makes us worthy of Thy love.

Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Grant me this day to lay up my treasure in heaven, and give me all confidence that the judgments of the world are fleeting vanity; but your judgments are eternal. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, I pray.


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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Daily Grace - An Imaginary Threat

Last spring, the window to one of the rooms in our house was repeatedly attacked by a robin. The bird would perch at the base of the window, ruffle its feathers, chirp loudly, and then fly headfirst into the glass. I did some research and learned that robins are territorial. While nestling, they drive out any competing robins. This bird apparently saw its reflection in our window and thought it was another robin. The threat was not real; it was only an illusion.

In the Old Testament, we see an instance when Jacob imagined a threat that wasn't really there. Years earlier, Jacob had stolen his brother Esau's blessing by their father. Now, after many years of separation, they were going to meet again. Jacob thought Esau would harm him, so he sent gifts ahead as a peace offering of sorts. Then, when he saw Esau approaching with 400 men, Jacob panicked. Yet what Jacob though was an attack force turned out to be a welcoming committee. "Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Gen. 33:4).

In interpersonal relationships, we sometimes misinterpret a situation. We must ask the Lord for discernment so we don't miss a friendship because of an imaginary threat. Don't be afraid of a presumed enemy, but rust in the Lord to make a new friend.

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 - Philippians 4:2

" of the same mind in the Lord."

This verse is originally a statement of Paul to Euodia and Syntyche. It is a plead for harmony. Paul wanted them to live in peace and be united in their works, and to stop arguing with each other. It is because they belong to the Lord.

All of us should agree with each other, especially to the Lord. Live in harmony in the Lord. Being in the same mind of Christ means having a Christ-like attitude. Since we are Christians, let us be like Christ. Walk in His image and shine the light!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Daily Grace - What is Secure?

During the worldwide financial crisis of 2008, a widow lost a third of her income when her bank stocks no longer paid dividends after her trusted bank failed. The Wall Street Journal quoted her tearful response as an example of the feelings of many people who were similarly affected: "You just think, 'This can't be happening'. What is secure anymore?"

Tragedy and hard times always jolt our thinking. Our best plans and hopes can be shattered by events beyond our control. We are reminded that there is only one source of true security in a changing world. With new appreciation, we consider Paul's words: "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

When our resources diminish, we can grow richer in good works, generosity, and sharing with others. If financial stability returns, we can hold more loosely what we are given, trusting solely in God. We are secure in Him alone. In uncertain times, our security is in God alone. The Lord will always provide.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, give me a thankful sense of the Blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by Discontent or Indifference. Be gracious to my Necessities, and guard me, and all I love, from Evil this day. May the sick and afflicted, be now, and ever thy care; and heartily do I pray for the safety of all that travel by Land or by Sea, for the comfort & protection of the Orphan and Widow and that thy pity may be shewn upon all Captives and Prisoners.

Above all other blessings Oh! God, for myself, and my fellow-creatures, I implore Thee to quicken our sense of thy Mercy in the redemption of the World, of the Value of that Holy Religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own neglect, throw away the salvation thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name. Hear me Almighty God, for His sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.

May the God the Father bless us. May Christ take care of us, the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Timothy 6:17

This verse is not only applicable to the rich people of this world, but for ALL of us. This is about stewardship. This is about how to take care of God's entrusted possessions to us in this world. We should not be conceited and arrogant, nor to set our hope on the uncertainty of riches.

Instead, we must focus on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. He is a Jehovah Jireh, the great provider. He provides everything in this world for our enjoyment. He is the reason why we have earthly possessions. Don't be obsessed with riches or money. Go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage. Do good, be rich in helping others instead and be extravagantly generous. 

The Daily Grace - Thanks, Dad

In the US, more long distance calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day. But on Father's Day, the most collect calls are made. It seems that children still depend on their fathers to provide, even when they are far away from home. Fathers are needed and wanted for much more than financial help. While 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 is primarily directed toward church leaders, Paul talks about how their role is similar to a father's. He states: "You know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children".

Exhorted is "to call near". It is easy for fathers to think that all that's required of them is to bring home a paycheck. But children need their close encouragement. The word comforted is "to console". Nothing is more valuable to a child than the time given by a father to listen and talk. Without constant relating, relationships turn cold. Charged is "to affirm". Fathers challenge their children by affirming the truth of God's Word as they live it out in front of them. And even in failings, they affirm what is right through the asking of forgiveness. How thankful we can be for fathers who help their children "walk worthy of God" (v. 12). Good fathers reflect the heavenly Father.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Today We Pray

Dear Lord,  majestic is Your name! From the rising of the sun to its setting your name is to be praised. Hear us in the name of Your Son, for He has promised that where two or three of us are gathered in Your name, He would be with us and our prayer would be heard.

We're thankful for our fathers, Lord. They're special gifts from You. Help us to show we honor them by what we say and do.

Direct our way unto You. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


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, June 16, 2017

The Daily Grace - Why Suffer?

Jesus taught that the world seen from God's viewpoint is tilted in favor of the oppressed. This teaching emerges in the Sermon on the Mount and other statements of Jesus: the first will be last (Matt. 19:130; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30), and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11; 18:14). But why would God single out the oppressed for special attention? 1. Suffering helps us realize our urgent need for redemption; 2. Suffering helps us experience our dependence on God and our interdependence with one another; 3. Suffering helps us distinguish between necessities and luxuries; 4. Suffering helps us respond to the call of the gospel because we may have become so desperate that we cry out to God.

The poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those who suffer are blessed (Matt. 5:3-6) because their lack of self-sufficiency is obvious to them every day. They must turn somewhere for strength. People who are rich, successful and beautiful may go through life relying on their natural gifts. But people who are needy, dependent and dissatisfied with life are more likely to welcome God's free gift of love.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit". Why? Because "theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). The weaker we feel, the harder we lean on God.

Today We Pray

Dear God, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I have You in mind with my every thought and act. Lead me to take that first step every day to open my Bible, and to fold my hands and close my eyes. Let me put You first and realize that the pressures of the world are illusory: but Your Word is forever.

May Your spirit guide me to seek Your Loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world. Grant that I may always desire to spend time in Your presence.

Seek me out, and bring me home to Your fold again. Deal favorably with me according to Your good pleasure, until I may dwell in Your house all the days of my life. And, praise You forever and ever with them that are there.


Today's Godly Reminder - Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

The poor in spirit are to be blessed. Those who are poor in spirit are those who devoid spiritual arrogance and those who regard themselves as insignificant. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Speck

It was just a speck, a tiny foreign object flying through the air on a windy day while I was cutting the grass. Somehow that speck made its way into my left eye. For the next few hours, that little speck caused quite a bit of irritation. I tried washing it out and thought everything that I could do. But finally, we went to a Med Center, where the medical personnel on duty couldn't get it out either. Only after applying some ointment and waiting several more annoying hours did I get relief from the speck.

This tiny, nagging irritant made me think anew about Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7 about criticizing others. My first thought was to be impressed with the practicality of Jesus' illustration. Using the effective literary tool of hyperbole, or exaggeration, He explained for His listeners how foolish it is for a person to criticize someone without seeing that he or she is also guilty of error. If you can find someone else's little speck while ignoring the hunk of wood in your own eye, something's wrong. 

It should be unthinkable to ignore our own faults while pointing out someone else's. An attitude of self-righteousness has no place in the Christian life. That should be plain to see. Inspect your own life before you look for specks in others.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which You give to me.

Help me not to get caught up in pointing out the "little" sins in others' lives, while ignoring my own glaring sin. I'm thankful that with repentance comes forgiveness. By the power of Your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to Your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom.

Walk with me, dear Lord, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in Your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may reflect the light of Your truth, to inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.


Today's Godly Reminder - Luke 6:41

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

This verse is a reminder not to judge quickly. It teaches that the accurate measurement of the magnitude of our own failings should precede our detection of our brother’s. Christ assumes the commonness of the opposite practice by asking ‘why’ it is so. And we have all to admit that the assumption is correct. The keenness of men’s criticism of their neighbour’s faults is in inverse proportion to their familiarity with their own.  

Our actions are our self-revelations. The words are not to be pressed, as if they taught the entire goodness of one class of men, so that all their acts were products of their good character, nor the unmingled evil of another, so that no good of any kind or in any degree is in them or comes from them. They must be read as embodying a general truth which is not as yet fully exemplified in any character or conduct.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Daily Grace - A Beautiful Melody

In the spring of 2009, Susan Boyle took the stage of Britain's Got Talent. Compared to the other contestants, she was plain-looking. No one expected much when she raised the microphone to her lips. But then she began to sing. Spellbound, the judges were clearly taken with the beauty and power of the voice that filled the auditorium as the audience stood to their feet cheering with delight. All were surprised that such a rivetingly beautiful song came from such an unlikely source.

All of us can be unlikely sources when it comes to the beauty of Jesus flowing out of us. But that is how He planned it. Common folk like you and me take turns on the stage of life in front of the world's skeptical audience so that our friends, family and all who fill the arena of our lives will see and hear the love and grace of Jesus Christ emerging from our lives. I love Peter's reminder that we are "a people for His own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). You might think you're an unlikely source, but when you allow the Lord to flow through you, the watching world will stand up and take notice. The beauty of Jesus may come from the most unlikely sources.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You that I can see or hear Your Word this morning. Let me give thanks all day for what I have, especially Your eternal love, and forgive me this day when I go astray, by my thoughts or actions; my only aim is to please you, to know and do your will.

Help me to live this day with wisdom and discretion so that I may not fall short of Your glory. Protect me from danger, both in the world and in my attitude. Give me the gift of a clear mind, that I might hear the quiet voice of Your Spirit. 

Your are my leader and my coach, Lord. I am on Your team. Help me to keep this in mind for just today, in Christ's name I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are precious in His sight. We are the chosen generation. We are the chosen race. And, we are the special people for God's own possession.

Proclaim His wonderful deeds, virtues and perfections today. For you are called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were lost, but now you were found. Now, you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Daily Grace - Rock-Solid

was a sad day in May 2003 when "The Old Man of the Mountain" broke apart and slid down the mountainside. This 40-foot profile of an old man's face, carved by nature in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, had long been an attraction to tourists, a solid presence for residents, and the official state emblem. It was written about by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short story The Great Stone Face. Some nearby residents were devastated when The Old Man fell. One woman said, "I grew up thinking that someone was watching over me. I feel a little less watched-over now".

There are times when a dependable presence disappears. Something or someone we've relied on is gone, and our life is shaken. Maybe it's the loss of a loved one, or a job, or good health. The loss makes us feel off-balance, unstable. We might even think that God is no longer watching over us.

But "the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry" (Ps. 34:15). He "is near to those who have a broken heart" (v. 18). He is the Rock whose presence we can always depend on (Deut. 32:4). God's presence is real. He continually watches over us. He is rock-solid.

Today We Pray

Dear God, You are holy and Your Name is holy. The angels and all the creatures of heaven and earth praise You daily for all eternity. Blessed are You Lord, the holy God.

I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You.

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 for ever and ever.


Today's Godly Reminder - Psalm 34:15

Obedience to the Lord is the key to put a smile on His face. It is also one way that God will bless You a thousand folds. He will watch over you wherever you will go. And, He will answer your prayers with no doubt. Obey the Lord at all times and you will reap these wonderful blessings.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Daily Grace - Run!

In the award-winning film Chariots of Fire, one of the characters is legendary British sprinter Harold Abrahams. He is obsessed with winning, but in a preliminary 100-meter dash leading up to the 1924 Olympics, he is soundly beaten by his rival, Eric Liddell. Abrahams' response is deep despair. When his girlfriend, Sybil, tries to encourage him, Harold angrily declares, "I run to win. If I can't win, I won't run!" Sybil responds wisely, "If you don't run, you can't win".

Life is full of reversals, and we as Christians are not excluded from disappointments that make us want to give up. But in the race that is the Christian life, Paul challenges us to keep running. He told the Corinthians, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (1 Cor. 9:24). We are to run faithfully, Paul is saying, spurred on by the knowledge that we run to honor our King and to receive from Him an eternal crown.

If we falter in our running - if we quit serving God or give in to sin because of our difficulties - we risk losing a rich reward we could have received had we run our best. Sybil was right. "If you don't run, you can't win". Greater than winning any medal will be hearing the Master say "Well done!"

Today We Pray

Dear God, use me today as may suit You. This is my prayer, to submit myself totally to Your Holy Spirit, showing the face of Christ to the world in my love and my proclamation of your majesty. If the world hates me for it, let me remember that this hatred is for You.

Put Your words in my mouth, O Holy Spirit, whatever the cost, and teach me to bear any burden with the joy of eternal salvation. For every stripe on my back, put an angel in my heart to heal me. Guide me always to do Your holy will, knowing that Your strength will carry me through.

May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. And, may the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Corinthians 9:24

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the greatest prize to win.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Shooting Panda

In her amusing book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss bemoans the problem of poor punctuation in today's world. To illustrate, she tells the funny story of a panda who enters a cafe, orders a sandwhich, eats it, and then pulls out a gun and starts shooting. When a waiter asks him to explain his behavior, the panda hands him a poorly punctuated wildlife guide and asks him to look up the description of a panda. It reads: "Panda, Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves". Having a comma after the word eats is an error that changes the whole meaning of the last sentence. The words shoots and leaves become actions, instead of plants to eat.

This idea of being careful with language is important in Bible study as well. Paul described this process as "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). The phrase translated "rightly dividing" was used of a skilled craftsman cutting something straight. In the context of Bible study, it means taking the time for diligent and careful study, while prayerfully asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance. It means teaching the truth directly and correctly.

Accurately discerning and passing on God's truth must be the priority of every conscientious believer. Apply yourself to the study of the Bible and apply the Bible to yourself. Correctly handling the Word of truth takes diligence and care. So, make the time to study it and then that truth declare.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, You have called me by my name. You have carved me in the palm of Your hand. May I grow in trust and never give in to despair.

I offer you my memory, understanding, my entire will. All I ask for in return is Your love and Your grace, that’s enough for me. Direct my focus always toward You and teach me to follow You in obedience and love. 

May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity. My blessed Lord, I ask for love. This is all we ask in Your mighty name.


Today's Godly Reminder - 2 Timothy 2:15

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved and tested by trial. A workman who has no reason to be ashamed. The one who is accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Do your best to win God’s approval as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who teaches only the true message. Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Daily Grace - Stop to Help

Dr. Scott Kurtzman, chief of surgery at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut, was on his way to deliver a lecture when he witnessed a horrible crash involving 20 vehicles. The doctor shifted into trauma mode, worked his way through the mess of metal and called out, "Who needs help?" After 90 minutes of assisting, and the victims were taken to area hospitals, Dr. Kurtzman commented, "A person with my skills simply can't drive by someone who is injured. I refuse to live my life that way".

Jesus told a parable about a man who stopped to help another (Luke 10:30-37). A Jewish man had been ambushed, stripped, robbed and left for dead. A Jewish priest and a temple assistant passed by, saw the man, and crossed over to the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came by, aw the man, and was filled with compassion. His compassion was translated into action: He soothed and bandaged the man's wounds, took him to an inn, cared for him while he could, paid for all his medical expenses, and then promised the innkeeper he would return to pay any additional expenses.

There are people around us who are suffering. Moved with compassion for their pain, let's be those who stop to help. Reach out in Jesus' name with hands of love and care to those who are in need and caught in life's despair. Compassion is always active.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us. Help me to dedicate these few moments to You completely.

I enter Your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from You and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me; the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong; and the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy on me, and forgive me for all my sins against you and against others.

Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.


Today's Godly Reminder - Luke 10:27

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Love God above all else. He should be our first love. Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence. And, that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.

Loving God means loving others, too. You can love others no matter what if you love God with all your heart, soul and strength. It is a challenge that no matter how difficult people are, we should still love them. Just remember, what would Jesus do? Even if we are imperfect, still, He loved us. That is how vast His love is.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Daily Grace - Crowns of Honor

The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are stored securely and protected within the Tower of London under 24-hour guard. Each year, millions visit the display area to "ooh and ahh" over these ornate treasures. The Crown Jewels symbolize the power of the kingdom, as well as the prestige and position of those who use them. Part of the Crown Jewels are the crowns themselves. There are three different types: the coronation crown, which is worn when an individual is crowned monarch; the state crown (or coronet), which is worn for various functions; and the consort crown worn by the wife of a reigning king. Different crowns serve different purposes.

The King of heaven, who was worthy of the greatest crown and the highest honor, wore a very different crown. In the hours of humiliation and suffering that Christ experienced before He was crucified, "the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe" (John 19:2). That day, the crown, which is normally a symbol of royalty and honor, was turned into a tool of mockery and hate. Yet our Savior willingly wore that crown for us, bearing our sin and shame.

The One who deserved the best of all crowns took the worst for us. Without the cross, there could be no crown. As one popular hymn said, "Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave; who rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save". Indeed, that Victor's Crown is the most royal crown of all.

Today We Pray

Dear Jesus, thank You for all the benefits thou hast won for me. And, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly for ever and ever.

I know that if I do not love You with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and with all my strength, I will love something else with all my mind and heart and soul and strength. Grant that by putting you first in all my desires I will be liberated from all lesser desires, loving you first and foremost. Grant that my loyalties will lie completely with you; and that I will always have you as my first love, my chiefest good, and my final joy.

May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.


Today's Godly Reminder - Ephesians 3:20

Give glory to the Lord always. Give due to His Name. He deserves all the credit, the glory and honor. He is able to carry out His purpose. He is able to do super-abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think. It is infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams. His power is always at work within us. Glory to God, forever!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Daily Grace - Intimacy with God

As we look at the Christian landscape, only a portion of believers in Jesus appear to enjoy an intimate, vibrant relationship with God. Are they God's favorites? Is it possible that there are some people who have "qualified" for a deeper intimacy with Him?

In Exodus 24, we can see here about people who were at four different levels of intimacy with God. The first level contained the Israelites who Moses led out of the camp to meet with God at the foot of the mountain (Ex. 19:17). This group worshiped God from a distance. The second level was attained by "Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel's elders" (Ex. 24:1). They ascended the mountain and actually "saw the God of Israel" (vv. 9 - 10). In fact, they ate and drank in His presence (v. 11). The third level was realized by Joshua and Moses who "set out" to receive God's commands inscribed in stone (v. 13). Why did Joshua receive this honor to accompany Moses? In Exodus 33:11, we catch a glimpse into his heart. Joshua desired intimacy with God. He preferred to be in God's presence, to be identified with Him. The fourth level was reached solely by Moses with whom the Lord spoke "face to face, as one speaks to a friend" (Ex. 33:11).

Oswald Sanders, in his sermon on Exodus 24, concluded: "Every one of us is as close to God as we have chosen. It is not as close as we would like to be, or what we sometimes want to be". God will not drag us up the "mountain". But He sees the desire of our heart as displayed in our choices, and as you "come close to God. . . God will come close to you" (James 4:8). Don't confuse familiarity with intimacy. Familiarity is knowing about God; intimacy is knowing God.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, let Your forgiveness find me. Hold me in Your strong arms and give me Your new life. Live in me and with me this day, that I may by Your power find forgiveness and be made ever anew, reborn from above, living fully in Your Spirit every minute.

Also, remind me often that You have been exceedingly generous to me. Help me to extend that generosity of spirit toward those around me, so that they may know who You are and rejoice in You. Grant mercy to all who sing Your praise, both now and in the time to come.

You have graciously accepted me as a living member of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and You have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart. Through Christ our Lord.