Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Search for Satisfaction

When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, we all know that to enjoy a satisfying outcome, you need all the pieces. In many ways, life is like that. We spend our days putting it together, hoping to create a complete picture out of all the scattered parts. Yet sometimes it seems like a piece is missing. Perhaps we've been pursuing the wrong pieces to the puzzle.

Even though we may know that life without God at the center is a life that has lost the most important piece. Do we live as though He isn't particularly relevant? And even though we may attend church regularly, is He the throbbing center of our lives? Sometimes we grow accustomed to feeling distant from God. This makes it easier to sin, complicating the sense that something important is missing. 

But no matter how far we may drift from God, He wants us near. He appealed to His people through the prophet Isaiah: "Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance" (Isa. 55:2). If something is missing in your life, remember that God is the only One who can fully and abundantly satisfy you. Let Him complete the picture of your life. There's a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.

Today We Pray

Dear God, in the morning I call upon You. Come to my aid and the aid of all Your servants. As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.

I wander off like a lost sheep, my eyes front, and cannot find my way back; but a shepherd seeks me out and calls me, gently. Bless You, and bless You seven times seven, for You admit no failure in finding those who seek You, no matter how lost they may believe themselves. I pray that I may hear Your voice, oh Lord, for I know You call, and my desperation is only my willful deafness.

Thank You for Your promise to walk with us through all of life. In moments of doubt, help us to have the confidence You are in control and we can trust You. We glorify Your Name, forevermore.


Today's Godly Reminder - Isaiah 55:2

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance."

It is a reminder that we should spend our money wisely. Being a good steward of money also means that we should spend wisely on the food that we eat everyday. Why waste your money on what really isn’t food? Why work hard for something that doesn’t satisfy?

Do not spend your money on food that does not give you strength. It is also a reminder to let your bodies be healthy every day by eating and spending on nutritious foods. Eat healthy. Be healthy so that we can work for the glory of our Lord.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Daily Grace - Honestly

Today is National Honesty Day in the United States. It is a little-known designation for April 30, but an important one nonetheless. Author M. Hirsh Goldberg established National Honesty Day in the early 1990s as a way to honor the honorable and encourage honesty. He said that April 30 was selected because "April begins with a day dedicated to lying [April Fool's Day] and should end on a higher moral note".

Honesty Day would be a good time to review the value of this trait according to God's Word. Honesty is not as easy at it seems - but we please God by striving for it. An understanding of honesty begins with recognizing that God - our ultimate example - is truth (Deut. 32:4) and that He cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18). Also, He hates falsehood (Prov. 6:16-19). Beyond that, all lies have as their originator Satan himself (John 8:44).

For our part, we can use these Scriptures as our guide: "A righteous man hates lying" (Prov. 13:5); love rejoices in truth (1 Cor. 13:6); lying is part of the old nature (Col. 3:9); growth means setting aside deceit (1 Pet. 2:1); and speaking truth declares righteousness (Prov. 12:17). People who trust God's Word should be people whose word can be trusted. Let yourself be trusted by the people who surrounds you. And, let's make every day Honesty Day.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, as You gave us the sun to lighten our days, so You have given us Your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that You will pour out on me Your Spirit as I pray today. Let my heart and mind may be open to Your Word, and that I may learn and accept Your will for my life.

Help me to be honest and true in all that I say and all that I do. Give me the courage to do what is right, to bring to the world a glimpse of Your light. Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of Your divine knowledge. Open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive Your Word, this day and always. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!


Today's Godly Reminder - Proverbs 12:22

"The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."

God can’t stomach liars. Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord. It is because He Himself is not a liar.  He is the truth and the life. Only the enemy, Satan, is the liar of all. Be watchful, especially with the words that you will throw to others. Make sure that it contains truth. Indeed, honesty is the best policy. Be honest all the time. It is one thing that pleases the Lord, He loves the company of those who keep their word.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Daily Grace - Our Demanding Schedules

Is your life too busy? Business deadlines, productivity quotas, and shuttling children to lessons and sporting events can really fill up your schedule. It's easy to think, "if only I didn't have so many responsibilities, then I could walk in vital union with God". Yet C.S. Lewis wisely points out that no one was busier than Christ. "Our model is the Jesus. . . of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this. . . is the Divine life operating under human conditions".

In Mark 1:32-34, we can witness Jesus' experience in Capernaum. "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those we were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many". The next day Christ sought out a solitary place and prayed. There He received direction from His Father to pursue a demanding ministry in another place. Our Lord communed with His Father and depended on the Spirit to minister through Him.

Is your schedule demanding? Follow the example of Jesus and set aside a specific time for prayer. Then depend upon God's power to help you meet each day's demand. To keep your life in balance, lean on the Lord.

Today We Pray

Dear God, purge me and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 

Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to Your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day.

If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.


Today's Godly Reminder - Ephesians 5:16

"Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days."

In these times, the world is indeed evil. It takes away your time, especially your time for God. So, make use of your time for the advancement of His Kingdom. Be a good steward of time.

First of all, seek His Kingdom first and all these things will be added unto us (Matt. 6:33). Ask God to make the most of every opportunity by managing your time. Make every minute count. Value your time by letting God take charge of it.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Daily Grace - Learning to Love

When Hans Egede went to Greenland as a missionary in 1721, he didn't know the Inuit language. His temperament was often overbearing, and he struggled to be kind to the people. In 1733, a smallpox epidemic swept through Greenland, wiping out almost two-thirds of the Inuit people - and claiming Egede's wife as well. This shared suffering melted Egede's harsh demeanor, and he began to tirelessly labor to care for the people physically and spiritually. Because his life now better represented the stories he told them of God's love, the Inuits could at last grasp His desire to love them too. Even in suffering, their hearts turned to God.

Perhaps you are like the Inuits in this story, and you are unable to see God in the people around you. Or perhaps you are like Hans Egede, who struggled to express love in a way that taught people about God. Knowing we are weak and needy people, God showed us what love is like. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins (John 3:16). That's how much God loves you and me.

Jesus is the perfect example of the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13. As we look to Him, we learn that we are loved and we learn how to love in turn. Let us never be the barrier that block one's view of God. Love others, love like Jesus.

Today We Pray

Dear Jesus, in fear of You and in the hope of mercy, I worship you. Lead me in Your righteousness. Make Your way straight before my face. 

Let me find in You a sense that I am loved. And may my heart not grow cold and cluttered by anger and wounds from the past so that others can see Your reflection in me. In You, all things are possible. 

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them shout for joy, because you defend them; those who love Your name, grant them mercy and joy. And evermore let Your word spread throughout the world, and make me Your servant in this task. In Christ's name, I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Corinthians 13:4

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

Love endures with patience and serenity. Love is thoughtful. It is not jealous or envious. Love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.

Most of all, love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. That's what love looks like.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Daily Grace - For the Sake of His Name

The ancient Israelites gathered at Gilgal for the coronation of Saul as their first king (1 Sam. 11:15). The Lord was not pleased that His people had asked for a king, yet on this occasion, Samuel uttered these words: "The Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people" (1 Sam. 12:22). We too are God's "own special people" if we have trusted Jesus as Savior (1 Pet. 2:9). He will not forsake us even though He knows we will fail Him. He knows what we are like - sinful, weak and frail. He knew it before He called us and drew us to Himself.

The certainty of our salvation rests not in ourselves but on the character of God (1 John 5:20). He will keep us to the end. This does not give us an excuse to continue in sin. Paul said, "Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:2).

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I offer to Your divine majesty my sincere praise and thanksgiving for all Your mercies towards me. You made me first and have ever since sustained the work of Your own hand. Thank You for giving me the assurance of salvation.

I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God. Pardon me for Jesus Christ's sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty. And, suffer me not to be tempted above what You give me strength to bear.

May my life be so pleasing to You that You are pleased to have Your face shine on me. As You graciously smile on my life, may I find someone today with whom I can share Your love through a smile. I ask you, Lord, to defend me this week from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask.


Today's Godly Reminder - John 16:22

"Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you."

For the meantime, you are in grief. And then, your hearts will rejoice. And, no one will take away from you your great joy. This will all be because of God. No one can snatch your joy that was given by our all powerful God!

The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain that you are feeling, but the coming joy is also similar. When God sees you again, you’ll be full of joy. And it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Daily Grace - A Powerful Word

The psalmist said of the Word of God, "Your precepts . . . have give me life" (Ps. 119:93). His Word is "powerful . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). God's Word shows us our sin and its consequences: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23); "the wages of sin is death" (6:23). It tells us of God's love and salvation: "God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, . . . made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Eph. 2:4-5). And, it gives wisdom for daily living: "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps. 119:105).

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted. It's strength is so strong amidst the raging storms of time. Its pages burn with the truth eternal. And, they glow with a light sublime.

Many books inform, but only one transforms - the Bible. This is how powerful the Bible is. Although, it's only a printed paper that is hard bounded or soft bounded, or can be downloaded as apps in our cellphones, don't underestimate its power. It can change the world. It can change our lives, too. Don't forget to read Your Bible everyday, and You will grow and make a difference in this world.

Today We Pray

Dear God, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear Your voice and feel Your calming presence. Thank You, loving Father, for blessing me with the beautiful privilege and opportunity of prayer.

We ask for hope and perseverance to continue reaching out to others. Give me a desire to grow spiritually. I want to honor You with my life and experience the joy of the Spirit’s work inside of me.

I pray that You may lift up the light of Your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark. I ask this in Your son's Name.


Today's Godly Reminder - Hebrews 13:5

 Let your character be free from the love of money. Shun greed—be financially ethical. Let your moral essence and inner nature be clean. Be content with what you have, God promised us that He will never, under any circumstances, desert you nor give you. God will never leave us without support or in any degree, leave us helpless. Be assured that He will not forsake or let us down or relax in His hold on you, assuredly not!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Daily Grace - Jesus, Take the Wheel

The bumper sticker "Jesus is my co-pilot" may be a well-intentioned sentiment, but it has always troubled me. Whenever I'm in the driver's seat of my life, the destination is nowhere good. Jesus is not meant to be just a spiritual "co-pilot" giving directions every now and then. He is always meant to be in the driver's seat. Period!

We often say that Jesus died for us, which of course is true. But there's more to it than that. Because Jesus died on the cross, something inside of us died - the power of sin. It's what Paul meant when he said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). We were essentially co-crucified with Him. 

With Jesus in the driver's seat, the old destinations are off-limits. No more turning down the streets of self-centeredness, greed, or lust. No more off-road ventures into the swamp of pride or the ditch of bitterness. We were crucified with Him and He is at the wheel now! He died so that He alone can drive and define us. So, if you've died and Christ lives in you, He's not your co-pilot. Your joy is to let Him drive and define your life. There may be a few bumps in the road, but you can count on it - He'll take you somewhere good. Still at the wheel of your life? It's time to let Jesus drive.

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 - Galatians 2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."

Being crucified with Christ means in Him, we have shared His crucifixion. It is not by physical crucifixion, but spiritual. It is being one with Christ, which means Christ is living in our bodies and hearts. Our ego is no longer central. When we are crucified with Christ by faith in Him, we are to completely surrender every selfish desire and ambition to the perfect will of God. Self-promotion and self-pleasing desires are the greatest obstacle between man and salvation because it is the nature of man to want to please himself, and this self-recognition is a building block for sin. All sin erupts from the desire to please self, and this is what must be crucified with Christ in surrender to the will of God before salvation can bear fruit.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Daily Grace - Acts of Kindness

I was traveling with some men when we spotted a family stranded alongside the road. My friends immediately pulled over to help. They got the car running, talked with the father and mother of the family, and gave them some money for gasoline. When the mother thanked them over and over, they replied, "We're glad to help out, and we do it in Jesus' name". As we drove away, I thought how natural it was for these friends to help people in need and acknowledge the Lord as the source of their generosity.

Peter and John exhibited that same joyful generosity when they healed a lame man who was begging outside the temple in Jerusalem (Acts 3:1-10). This led to their arrest and appearance before the authorities who asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" Peter replied, "If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man. . . let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole" (4:7-10).

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is also a powerful context in which to genuinely speak to others about the Lord. One act of kindness may teach more about the love of God than many sermons. Practice kindness today!

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I call to You and name You as eternal, ever-present, almighty, and boundless in love. In the daily round from sunrise to sunset and to sunrise again, remind me again and again of Your holy presence hovering near me and in me. Free me from shame and self-doubt in expressing my faith. 

Help me to see You in the fleeting moments of possibility and be filled with Your courage and Your word. Help me to love with both words and deeds, to reach out to others and meet their needs. Burden my heart for those lost in sin, with mercy and love that flows from within.

Support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last. In Christ's name I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - Colossians 3:12

As God’s own chosen people, who are holy, set apart, sanctified for His purpose and well-beloved by God Himself, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. In which, has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper. It is because we are chosen by God for this new life of love. So, we must put this kind of character.

Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Always remember to be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Be holy because He is holy. Be like Christ by putting on these things.

The Daily Grace - Never Let Down

When I was a child, one of my favorite pastimes was playing on the teeter-totter in the nearby park. A kid would sit on each end of the board and bounce each other up and down. Sometimes the one who was down would stay there and leave his playmate stuck up in the air yelling to be let down. But the cruelest of all tricks was getting off the teeter-totter and running away when your friend was up in the air - he would come crashing down to the ground with a painful bump.

Sometimes we may feel that Jesus does that to us. We trust Him to be there with us through the ups and downs of life. However, when life takes a turn and leaves us with bumps and bruises, it may feel as if He has walked away leaving our lives to come painfully crashing down. But Lamentations 3 reminds us that "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end" (v. 22) and that God is faithful to the end even when everything seems to be falling apart. This means that in the midst of our pain, even though we may be lonely, we are not alone. And though we may not feel His presence, He is there as our trusted companion who will never walk away and let us down! When everyone else fails, Jesus is your most trusted friend.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Today We Pray

Dear God, I am just beginning to realize how much You love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us.

I ask You for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to You. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give You glory. Please, Lord, guide my mind with Your truth. 

Thank You, Lord, that we can trust in Your faithful presence even when we feel alone. Help us to wait patiently for You to manifest Your steadfast loving presence. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip us with every good thing that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


Today's Godly Reminder - Lamentations 3:22-23

His love never fails. When you love the Lord, for sure, He will never fail you. You will not be brokenhearted. We will not be consumed. It is all because of His lovingkindness to us.

The Lord is compassionate. His compassion never fail us. His faithfulness to us is beyond measure. Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Treasure and the Pots

It has been said that the Roman Empire ran on olive oil. It was used in cooking, bathing, medicine, ceremonies, lamps and cosmetics. For decade, olive oil from Southern Spain was shipped to Rome in large clay jugs called amphorae. Those jugs, not worth sending back, were discarded in a growing heap of broken shards known as Monte Testaccio. The fragments of an estimated 25 million amphorae created that man-made hill, which stands today on the bank of the Tiber River in Rome. In the ancient world, the value of those pots was not their beauty but their contents.

Because of this, the first-century followers of Christ would have clearly understood Paul's illustration of the life of Jesus in every believer. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, than the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Cor. 4:7). Our bodies, like amphorae, are temporary, fragile, and expendable. In our modern world that highly values outward beauty, we would be wise to remember that our greatest treasure is the life of Jesus within us. By God's grace and power, may we live so that others can see Christ in us. We are just the clay pots. Jesus is the true treasure within us. Christ is seen most clearly when we remain in the background.

Today We Pray

Dear God, have patience with me. Forgive me from my sins. Do not spew me out, as You have warned You might do with the lukewarm.

Fill my soul with the fire of Your Word. Help me grow, to put more and more confidence in You and less and less in the world before me. Forgive me my sins and help me to live in them less and less today, and every day, that I might more perfectly follow Your commandments.

Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of Your Spirit. And may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. In Christ's name I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - 2 Corinthians 4:7

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

We have this precious treasure in earth. It is the good news about salvation in unworthy earthen vessels of human frailty. We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. So that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be shown from God, from His sufficiency, and not from ourselves.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Daily Grace - Waiting. . .

Day after day for years, Harry shared with the Lord his concern for his son-in-law John who had turned away from God. But then Harry died. A few months later, John turned back to God. When his mother-in-law Marsha told him that Harry had been praying for him everyday, John replied, "I waited too long". But Marsha joyfully shared: "The Lord is still answering the prayers Harry prayed during his earthly life". Harry's story is an encouragement to us who pray and wait. He continued "steadfastly in prayer" and waited patiently (Rom. 12:12).

The author of Psalm 130 experienced waiting in prayer. He said, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits" (v. 5). He found hope in God because he knew that "with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption" (v. 7). Author Samuel Enyia wrote about God's timing: "God does not depend on our time. Our time is chronological and linear but God . . . is timeless. He will act at the fullness of His time. Our prayer . . . may not necessarily rush God into action, but . . . places us before Him in fellowship".

What a privilege we have to fellowship with God in prayer and to wait for the answer in the fullness of His time. Pray on! Cease not to pray! When the answer tarry, wait. God will surely come and He can never come too late. God may delay our request, but He will never disappoint our trust.

Today We Pray

Dear God, in utter humility, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I come before You this morning, Eternal Spirit of God, to offer myself, my soul and body to You. I live in awe of Your purity, Your justice, and the power of Your love. You are the strength and light of my soul, for without You I have neither life nor goodness. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You.

Mercifully guard my every thought. And, grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to listen first for Your voice in everything I may say or do, this day and always.

Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives. Bless us all in our distress, O Holy Jesus, who always looked with love and sympathy on those with burdens; and lighten our burden, I beseech You, if it be Your will.


Today's Godly Reminder - Romans 12:12

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

Constantly rejoice in hope because of your confidence in Christ. Be steadfast and patient in times of distress. Be devoted to prayer. Continually seek wisdom, guidance, and strength to Christ.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Link to Life

By the time he was 16, Morris Frank (1908 - 1980) had lost his sight in both eyes. Several years later, he traveled to Switzerland where he met Buddy, the canine who would help to inspire Frank's involvement with the Seeing Eye guide-dog school. With Buddy leading the way, Frank learned to navigate busy sidewalks and intersections. Describing the freedom his guide provided, Frank said, "It was glorious: just [Buddy] and a leather strap, linking me to life". Buddy gave Morris Frank a new kind of access to the world around him.

God's Holy Spirit gives us access to abundant spiritual life in Christ. When we accept Christ as Lord, God washes our sins away and renews us "by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:5-6). Once we know Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us experience God's love (Rom. 5:5), understand God's Word (John 14:26), pray (Rom. 8:26), and abound in hope (Rom. 15:13). Today, as you think about your relationship with God, remember that the Spirit is your guide to life in Christ (Rom. 8:14). The Holy Spirit guides us into knowledge and spiritual growth.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, what a great day! Thank You for this and every day when I have woken up, with my heart beating and my mind able to read and think. You are the Lord, and there is no other; apart from You there is no God.

From the rising to the setting of the sun, I know there is none besides You. You formed the earth; You made the earth to be inhabited, and you created me in your image to dwell upon it. All praise to the great Creator: You are the Lord, and there is no other.

I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May Your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may Your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of Your angels and my hearth be warm. And, may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.


Today's Godly Reminder - Titus 3:5

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit"

 It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Daily Grace - Out of Chaos

Everything I observe makes me believe this is true: Order is not natural. When I consider my office, I'm astounded at how quickly it descends into chaos and how long it takes me to restore order. Order requires intervention. It does not happen naturally.

I shouldn't be surprised. God's role in bringing order out of chaos is a prominent biblical theme. He did it when He was creating the nation of Israel (Exodus 7 - 14). When God said it was time to bring the Hebrew people out of Egypt, Pharaoh objected. His nation's economy depended on the Hebrew workers, so Pharaoh didn't want to lose them. To change Pharaoh's mind, God sent ten plagues to convince him. Pharaoh's magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues. But they could not reverse the plagues - any of them. They could cause chaos, but they could not restore order. Only God can do that.

With effort, we can bring order to our living spaces, but none of us can bring order out of the emotional and spiritual chaos of our lives. Only God can do that. He restores order to chaotic situations when we live as God intended - speaking no evil, being peaceable and gentle, and showing humility to all (Titus 3:2). When we put our problems in God's hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, may I always remember that no matter the day and whatever hardship I face, You are with me, extending your hand in love. Help me to be open to Your guidance, knowing that you want what is best for me, only asking in return sorrow for my sins and my willingness to do good. May Your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day and always.

Our world and our lives do have much chaos and confusion. We need You to restore our souls. Help us to live as You want us to live - loving others.

There are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don't know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.


Today's Godly Reminder - Titus 3:2

"They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone."

These are the words for the Cretian Christians by Paul. It encourages them not to slander or abuse no one. Instead, they should be kind and conciliatory and gentle, showing unqualified consideration and courtesy toward everyone. They should be gentle and kind.

This message is not just for them, but for us. We should practice kindness and gentleness wherever we will go.  Do not say cruel things or argue. We should be gentle and kind to our fellowmen.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Daily Grace - Who's at the Center?

Recently, I had what for me was a "Copernican moment": I am not at the center of the universe. The world doesn't revolve around me. It doesn't move at my pace, in my terms, nor in accord with my preferences. Though we might wish it to be otherwise, life is not all about us.

Everything revolves around the Lord. In Psalm 33, it is said that all nature revolves around Him and His control (vv. 6-9). He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the ocean in vast reservoirs. Everything in nature operates in accordance with the laws He has set. The nations also revolve around the Lord (vv. 10-12). No plan or scheme can stand up against God's. Ultimately, it is the Lord's plan that will stand forever. His intentions can never be shaken.

Finally, the lives of all humanity revolve around the Lord (vv. 13-19). God sees the whole human race. He made our hearts, and He understands everything we do. And He has the power to intervene in our lives and deliver us from situations spinning out of control. Our life is created to be centered on God, not self. How thankful we can be to serve such a powerful God, who has every aspect of our lives under His control. When we die to all about us, we live to God above us.

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, who declares Your glory and shows forth Your creation in the heavens and in the earth, deliver me, I pray, in whatever work my hand may find today. Assist me, that I may do the work which you have given me to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us, humbling himself to serve all who came to him and received him.

If and when we feel homeless, remind us that You are our home. May we share this sense of belonging with those we meet. Thanks for preparing a place for us.

Let the blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue. Let the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him and comfort all who suffer and mourn. And, let the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.


Today's Godly Reminder - Colossians 4:5

When you encounter unbelievers, be wise. Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with them. Make the most of each opportunity to share the Gospel and the Good News to them. Have the heart to share so that they will also inherit the Kingdom of God.

Of course, all of us wants our friends to be with Heaven with us real soon. If they didn't have Christ yet, share! Don't hesitate, don't fear. Don't be ashamed of the Gospel. And lastly, pray about it. Ask God for wisdom on how you handle this concern and He will help you.

Sunday, April 16, 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 3:17

In everything you do, whatever it is, give God the glory. It is because He is the one who gave you life. We are here on earth, alive and kicking, because of Him. He is the reason why we are still breathing and seeing His lovely creations.

Be dependent in the Lord. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your ways (Prov. 3:5-6). Do everything in His Name. And in everything, give thanks! (1 Thess. 5:18).

The Daily Grace - Praising God throughout Eternity

Some words used to describe the opening ceremony of the 2008 summer Olympics were "awesome", "breathtaking", and "extravagant". One commentator observed, "This shows what happens when you give an artist an unlimited budget". That's what God did at creation! He held nothing back. The resulting universe is stunning in beauty, staggering in complexity, extravagant in all regards.

The Olympic ceremony was perfect in its precision; but if just one drummer or dancer had decided to alter the artist's vision, the whole ceremony would have been flawed. That's what happened shortly after creation. Unlike the Olympic producer, God allowed free choice, and His work of art was marred by Adam and Eve's idea of a better way. In Isaiah's words, "we have turned, every one, to his own way" (53:6).

God's solution to our waywardness was unimaginable: The Artist paid the price to recreate what we ruined. One day, there will be another opening ceremony, and everyone in Heaven and on earth will bow at the name of Jesus (Phil. 2:10). And those from every nation who have accepted God's plan in Christ will worship together in the flawless New Jerusalem (Rev. 15:4). We have all eternity to praise God, begin today.