It is amazing how fast technology changes for day to day. The latest, newest gadget is soon tossed in a drawer to be replaced with the new improved version. I remember when we first got a computer, not much better than a ten dollar game now days. With all of us trying to learn what we were doing, it was not long before Alan and Ricky became the teachers and me and mom the students. That’s still true today, no matter how much I learn it seems that those boys are light years ahead of me. So, I often pick up the old fashion telephone and call and soon I am on my way. Now everyone is into text messaging, I’m so slow punching the keys everyone has forgotten what the question was. I have tried IM-ing, that’s instant message on the computer, I am no better at that. Now a days we can keep in touch with our love ones with the push of a button almost all the time almost everywhere. Now they even have cameras in places like schools and daycare centers so you can see what’s going on 24/7.
But with all this technology there is one way of communicating that is far superior, prayer.
Prayer is as illimitable as God’s own blessed Son. There is nothing on earth or in heaven, for time or eternity, that God’s Son did not secure for us. By prayer God gives us the vast and matchless inheritance which is ours by virtue of his Son. God charges us to “come boldly to the throne of grace.” God is glorified and Christ is honored by large asking ( E.M. Bounds)
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jer. 33:3)
How long has it been since you’ve seen great and mighty things happening in your life?
Most of us were taught that you have to work for what you get in this world. Nothing is free and there are no free rides. If it is free, then there must be a catch. As a young boy I won a scholarship to a Art College. My teachers were very happy, I was very happy but my Daddy said “No way.” He thought I would go off to College and leave him a big bill. The people from the school and my Art teacher came to our house to talk to my Dad. He refused to listen and refused to let me go. So I went in the Army, not the brightest idea. But it put an end to any notion of Art School. I would have to work for anything I got, according to my Dad. Most of us live our life that way, but thanks to God we start to learn about the grace of giving as time passes on.
My grace is sufficient for thee. This is one of the most comforting statements given to us in God’s Word. When we understand how it applies to every aspect of our lives, we will see that God’s grace is, in fact, sufficient for our salvation, for our security and for our suffering. In this Age of Grace, God’s grace reigns supreme for all of our needs.
What is Grace?
Someone has said that grace can be defined as the free unmerited favor of God. However you define grace, there are two truths about grace that are made abundantly clear in scripture.
First, grace and works are mutually exclusive principles. They cannot coexist.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
The truth of this passage is critical. Many people seem to have the opinion that if they simply, “do their best, God will take care of the rest,” or if they, “reach up as high as they can toward God, he’ll reach down the rest of the way”. This understanding is in direct contradiction to the principle of Romans 11:6. We will either be rewarded based entirely on our works, or we will be rewarded based entirely on God’s grace.
The second principle of grace that scripture teaches is that God’s grace will accept only one response from man. Faith.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:4,5
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
It is plain to see that grace and works are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the only response that grace can accept is something that is not a work. Notice that in Romans 4:5 Paul specifically excludes faith as being a work-“to him that worketh not, but believeth”. This is because the merit of faith is not in the faith itself, but in the object of the faith. Faith alone does not save. Faith in Mohammed will not save. Faith in your works will not save. Faith in your church will not save. Faith cannot save because faith is not a meritorious work. Faith in Christ will save because in Christ there is merit, not because there is merit in the faith. Scripture is clear-the only response that grace will accept is faith. When you consider the working of grace in your life keep these two important truths in mind. Grace and works are mutually exclusive principles and the only response that grace will accept is faith. We need to stop working and start believing.
Saved by Grace
Throughout the Bible, we observe God at work in people’s lives. Sometimes He acts in dramatic fashion, as when He parted the Red Sea to let the Israelites escape from the Egyptian army. At other times it may appear that He’s not taking any action. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother needed His help, but Christ delayed before traveling to their home (John 11:3-6). In fact, He was preparing an even greater miracle.
The Holy Spirit helps us recognize God’s presence and handiwork. He does this by cultivating our ability to discern when and where the Lord is at work.
In addition to spiritual discernment, we must develop patience because God operates according to His timetable, not ours. Abraham was promised numerous descendants, but there was a long wait before his wife conceived—in fact, he and Sarah were beyond childbearing years. Impatience can cause us to take matters into our own hands and make mistakes.
The Lord’s efforts can bring delight, as was the case when Hannah became a mother (1 Samuel 1:27-2:1). His plan can also lead through painful times, which was Joseph’s experience. Before the Lord elevated him to a position of authority to help his family, Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly imprisoned.
Jesus told the disciples that His Father was always at work and so was He. We will be encouraged and strengthened in our faith when we recognize the ways in which God is operating. These glimpses of His handiwork will motivate us to stay the course and help us maintain a godly perspective on life.
By Billy Graham
Some Christians have learned little of a daily devotional life. Some time ago a policeman asked me what the secret of victorious living was. I told him that there is no magic formula that can be pronounced. If any word could describe it, I would say surrender.
The second word I would say would be devotion. Nothing can take the place of a daily devotional life with Christ. Your quiet time, your prayer time, the time you spend in the Word, is absolutely essential for a happy Christian life. You cannot possibly be a happy, dynamic, and powerful Christian apart from a daily walk with Christ.
Christ is calling Christians today to cleansing, to dedication, to consecration, and to full surrender. It will make the difference between success and failure in your spiritual life. It will make the difference between being helped and helping others. It will make a difference in your habits, in your prayer life, in your Bible reading, in your giving, in your testimony, and in your church membership. This is the Christian hour of decision!
Prayer for the day: I long for a deeper devotional life, living Lord. May I consecrate myself completely to You
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee . .—Psalm 63:1
By David Jeremiah
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
Walt Disney made dreams come true, but he occasionally encountered some nightmares of his own—times when everything went wrong for him. Out of his struggles he developed an optimistic philosophy. “All the adversity I’ve had in my life,” he said, “all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me.” (from The Quotable Walt Disney (Disney Enterprises, Inc., 2001).)
The strengthening power of adversity is universally true. Football teams don’t win without opposition. Wisdom isn’t gained without mistakes. Leaders don’t rise to greatness without crises and tough times.
After reading several hundred biographies during his adult life, Andy Andrews said he came to one conclusion: Adversity builds emotional muscle, creates reliable leaders, and prepares us for greatness.
Don’t faint in the day of adversity. Remember your ABCs—Adversity Builds Character. The Lord draws near to us in tough times and helps us trust Him in days of difficulty. Hardship is sometimes a help to holiness, and roadblocks are signposts directing us in a better way. Lean on the Lord in adversity, learn from Him, and let Him lead you through it.
Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting.—A. W. Tozer
Rev. Franklin Graham pointed out that it started to rain as President Trump delivered his inaugural speech.
“Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God’s blessing,” he said. “And it started to rain Mr. President when you came to the platform.”
Can a man be officially alive after being declared legally dead? That question became international news when a man from Ohio showed up in good health after being reported missing more than 25 years earlier. At the time of his disappearance he had been unemployed, addicted, and hopelessly behind in child support payments. So he decided to go into hiding. On his return, however, he discovered how hard it is to come back from the dead. When the man went to court to reverse the ruling that had declared him legally dead, the judge turned down his request, citing a 3-year time limit for changing a death ruling.
That unusual request of a human court turns out to be a common experience for God. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us that though we were spiritually dead, God “made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:1,5). Yet declaring and making us spiritually alive was a deeply painful matter for God. Our sin and its consequent spiritual death required the suffering, death, and resurrection of God’s Son (vv.4-7).
It’s one thing to show evidence of physical life. Our challenge is to show evidence of spiritual life. Having been declared alive in Christ, we are called to live in gratitude for the immeasurable mercy and life given to us. —Mart DeHaan
Father in heaven, our hearts are full of gratitude for the way You reached out to us when we were dead in our sins. May we live joyfully and with unending appreciation for what You did to give us life.
Jesus died that we might live.
Growing up we were poor. How poor were we? So poor the rats had to go next door to eat.
Many times when a school friend would come over I was a little embarrassed if they asked for water, because our drinking glasses were jelly jars or any type of empty jar we had. Funny thing was that none of my friends were embarrassed, they thought it was cool. They would say all they wanted was water it didn’t matter what type of container it was in.
Now, we have matching glasses, and guess what the water taste the same as it did from those old mason jars. You see it does not matter the shape or size of the container, what counts is what’s inside.
Many Christian take great pride on the outward appearance and very little thought of what’s inside.
2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure (salvation) in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not us.
Like winter, some seasons of our faith journey feel cold, barren, devoid of life. Will renewal ever come? Will spring flourish again in our heart? Yet the world bears witness to God’s power to bring new life where all seems lost.
In the early 1990’s, the St. Louis neighborhood of South City deteriorated sharply due to a stagnant economy, population decline and crime. Then Bosnian refugees started settling there. Thousands of people renovated abandoned houses and other buildings; they started businesses and brought skilled labor back to the neighborhood. As the area returned to life, the refugees experienced renewal, too — hope in place of discouragement, opportunities where none had existed, peace instead of war, life replacing death.
When our faith is challenged by despair, lost dreams or an uncertain future — when God’s promises feel as dead as winter — real-life renewal stories are signs of spring. They testify to the resurrection God has in store for us.
Colorado pastor Mike Paulison, who’s made many mission trips to Haiti to build and maintain an orphanage, shares about prayer’s power:
“On one trip, we were bringing large items that could’ve been problematic, because in Haiti customs officials often make up their own rules. We urged our prayer-support team back home to be praying as we went through customs. But when a storm delayed our flight from Miami for two hours, the schedule was off. We encouraged one another, saying at least prayers had been lifted. Later, on the plane to Haiti, I noticed I’d made a mistake on the schedule. It was off by exactly two hours. The supporters were actually praying the very moment we landed in Port-au-Prince!
“In line at customs, we watched officials opening luggage. But by the time we got to the front, the inspectors were gone, and we were allowed to walk into the country. We experienced firsthand the promise in Daniel 11:32b (KJV): “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits..”