“Saved by Grace”

“Saved by Grace”

Friday, January 19.

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Many books have been written on the subject of grace. Grace is a very important subject in the Christian walk.  It is important to understand God’s grace.  Grace is God’s unmerited favor to us.  He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins without us paying anything.  Jesus paid the price for our sins. It happened by the grace of God toward you, toward me.

Faith accompanies grace.  Faith is the means by which grace flows to transform our lives. Grace renews our hearts and transforms our lives. God made it easy for us to obtain grace.  All we have to do is put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and grace is ours.  We obtain our salvation just like that.  Grace is a gift.  We cannot buy it, nor can we earn it.  It is free of charge. It is absolutely free.  This is how much God loves us.

In other areas of life, we have to go through stress to earn what we achieved.  We have to go through stress to get rewards for our education, our service, or our livelihood.  For grace, we do not have to work. As Paul puts it in his letter to the church at Ephesus, it is not by the works that we do.  Here, we cannot boast of the grace that we have. We just have it from God. It comes through the invitation from God. He just offer it to us. This is amazing.  This why the old hymn Amazing Grace is so fascinating to me. Let us ask God to help us develop faith in Him for giving us salvation through His grace.

Memory verse: Ephesians 2:6

“The meaning of life.  The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: ‘Grace.’ Max Lucado

“Serving with Love”

“Serving with Love”

Thursday, January 18

“Serve whole-heartedly as if you were serving the Lord and not people.” Ephesians 6:7

Serving is very important.  Serving involves doing everything that is wholesome.  It is doing everything that benefits others. It also benefits a cause.  It is doing everything that is done out of the heart’s desire to make a difference.  It is done to make the difference for the greater good in the life and experience of another person.

In Corinthians 13:5, Paul makes it clear that Christlike serving is not self seeking.  We strive to serve a cause or others so that God’s name be glorified.  In such endeavor, we are careful not to place the emphasis on ourselves, but on God.

The meaning of Christian service comes close to the meaning of love. Christian love is described as being patient and kind, and not envious, boastful or proud.  It is a fact that all qualities that can be used to describe Christian love can also be used to describe Christian service.

Serving whole-heartedly is to serve not grudgingly, hesitantly, or serve out of duty. We do not serve for recognition by others or for recognition an organization may bestow on us.  Serving whole-heartedly is serving with joy because we do it as if we were serving the Lord. In my ministry at First United Methodist Church, I have come across parishioners who devote their time to serving others whole-heartedly. It gives us a a joy to do the same.

It is important to serve because Christ served us by giving his life on the cross. Every service we carried out is to show gratitude to God because He made us, He loves us, and He cares for us.  Let us pray that God will teach us how to serve wholeheartedly.

Memory verse: Matthew 20:28

“Happiness…consists in giving, and in serving others.” Henry Drummond

“Our Spiritual Armor”

“Our Spiritual Armor”

Wednesday, January 17.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that when the evil days come, you may be able to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

In Roman culture, soldiers wore armor to battle.  It was worn during war to protect soldiers.  Paul in Ephesians 6 used the term because of the fight between good and evil. It was a real fight. That fight continues today. Paul consider it a spiritual warfare.

In modern time, the redeemed Christ is under attack.  The church is under attack.  Moral values are under attack. It is wise to know that the disciples of Christ today are under attack.  If we are under attack, we need to protect ourselves with the full armor of God.  Talking about the armor of God, we talked about the salient things needed to help us fight a spiritual battle. The spiritual armor needs the belt of truth.  We as Christians must speak the truth at all times.  We must not compromise what the Bible teaches because something contrary to it protects our interest. We need the breastplate of righteousness and the gospel peace. We must be in right standing with God while we preach the good news of Jesus Christ.  We need to do these things to stand our ground in any fight with the evil world.

We also need the shield of faith, the helmet of salvations, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Faith is believing God whole heartedly.  We must be equipped with the word of God. The word of God helps us to understand our situation.  It gives us wisdom to make very excellent decisions. Let us pray that God will help us to prepare ourselves as we deal with spiritual battles.

Memory verse: Ephesians 6:10

Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.” Plato

 

“Looking for Someone to Trust?”

“Looking for Someone to Trust?”

Tuesday, January 16, 2017.

“Trust Jehovah with all your heart, And lean not upon thine own understanding: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

In this life, it is difficult to trust anyone.  A friend once complained that every time he puts his trust in someone, he eventually gets hurt by the person.  When a person puts his trust in another person, it is a relationship where the trust should be maintain. It should be based on mutual trust and respect.  When betrayal enters, the trust is lost.  The person who is hurt from such relationship finds it difficult to trust anyone. The are many scriptures where trust is broken.

In proverbs three, the wise man is urging his readers to put their trusts in God.  This is the truth.  In everything we do, it is important to put our trust in God.  God is not a man that he would lie.  He will never disappoint anyone, no matter what.  In this world, people will be cruel to each other. People will carry wounds from the past as a result of the hurt caused by others. But Jesus tells us to love.  He points out that it is only by our love that people will know we are followers. Through Jesus’ word, all is not lost.

We can always find people we can trust.  In the community of faith, there are many wonderful people to trust.  We can trust them because of their love.  But the one to put all our trust in is God.  God’s love is unconditional.  He loves us even before we were made.  Let us put our trust in God, he will not fail us.  Even if we venture to trust our fellow humans, let us commit it to God always.  Let us pray that God will help us to trust him.

Memory verse:John 13:34

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trust with important matters.”           William Shakespeare

 

“God’s Power is Sufficient”

“God’s Power is Sufficient”

Monday, January 15.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory.”  2 Peter 1:3

In this life, we are often faced with many tasks.  These tasks come in the form of chairing a finance committee at church, teaching Bible study, working with the children, or speaking to the women group.  In some cases, the task seems bigger than our abilities.  The author of the text above encounter hardships in completing some of the tasks in life.  There was one time, Christ told him to walk on the water.  He failed in that task initially because of doubt.  Peter also denied knowing Jesus, after the Lord was arrested.  This did not deter Peter from following the Lord.  As a matter of fact, Peter’s encounter with Jesus Christ helped propelled him in his walk with Christ.

In the verse above, Peter’s learned that God’s power from above provides everything a person needs to live a Godly life.  This is achieved through our knowledge of God.  This is because God calls us by His own glory and goodness.  Peter had many shortcomings in life.  But this statement shows that God’s help was very important to him.

It is important to know that our relationship with God brings us wisdom, patience, and power.  We need these to honor God.  We also need these to help others.  We need wisdom, patience and power to meet the challenges of our modern world.  This is a darkened world where hate rules the day.  If we have any feelings of hesitation and inadequacy, let us rely on God’s divine power to succeed.  Let us pray that God will guide us in all that we do.

Memory verse: 2 Peter 1:5

“Power in prayers comes from believing God’s promises.” Becka Goings

“Overcoming Anxiety”

“Overcoming Anxiety”

Wednesday, January 10.

“We can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; What can man do to me.”  Hebrews 13:6

Evangelist Billy Graham was a very popular evangelist. His love for God was without bounds.  He endeavor to preach Christ at every given opportunity.  He desired for everyone to be saved.  Evangelist Graham made it clear that the Bible is not an option, but the study of this great book is a necessity.  Evangelist Graham pointed out that in times of despair and anxiety, the Bible is a great help.  The Bible gives us peace and comfort.

This is true when we read the Bible and come across all the wonderful verse that gives us assurance in the face of fear and anxiety. Anxiety is a distraction.  It distracts us from the worship and relationship with God. Anxiety affects our thoughts. It is a crippling disease.  It invades the minds and puts our thoughts in darkness. What is God’s desire or us?

God desire for us is to live a life of happiness  God does not want us to live in fears and anxiety. So the Bible lets us know that we should not fret for anything.  We should just put our burden before God and He will take care of it.  So one would say the first step to getting rid of anxiety is commit ourselves to Christ. We ought to give our lives to Christ. Christ can take care of our anxieties. Once we have committed our lives to Christ, we need to focus on Christ.  Taking our eyes off Christ will be failure and total doom.  Let us pray that God will help us overcome our anxieties.  May God take all our fears way.

Memory verse: ! Peter 5:5

“To overcome fear, you have to go through it, not around it Richie Norton.

“Drawing Closer to God”

“Drawing Closer to God.”

Tuesday, January 9.

“Draw closer to God and He will draw close to you.”  James 4:8

Making resolution for a New Year can be a difficult thing to do. There are many things a person wants to accomplish during the New Year.  Our dreams and aspiration are great.  Moreover, a resolution that is difficult to achieve may lead to disappointment.  When we set goals that are difficult to achieved, we feel disappointed in the end.  We feel a sense of failure.  This can lead to a person feeling depressed.  Some failures come about as a result of God not being included in our plan for the New Year.  Every time we set resolutions for a New Year, it is important to set  goals the will bring us closer to God.

The Bible book of James informs us that if we get “closer to God, God will come closer to us.” There are many ways one can get closer to God.  One way to get closer to God is to support the work of God.  Supporting the work of God helps us get closer to God through our giving.  Giving is a form of worship.  It is very important. Let us give generously.

It is also a good thing for us to reflect on God all year long.  It will help us if we make a resolution to reflect on the goodness of God, the mercy and grace of God, the providence of God, and the many good things God does and continue to do for us throughout the year.  Reading the word of God is very important in growing closer to God.  Let us pray that God will help us to get closer to Him in this New Year.

Memory verse: James 5:16b

“Growing closer to God is not a result of trying harder, but of surrendering more.” TonyEvans.org

“Gratitude Develops Our Faith”

“Gratitude Develops our Faith.”

Monday, January 8.

“Sink your roots in Him and build on Him. Being strengthen by faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:7

There are moments in our lives when things do not  go our way.  These moments are tough moments. These are moments in life when its seems that our prayers are not being answered.  God seems to be far away.  At these moments, it seems the there is no way out of our problems.  Yet, we know that God is in control.  We still feel that God loves us and care about us.  Despite all that we go through during such moment, we still thanked Him for everything  We thanked Him because He is bigger than the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Thanking God during difficult circumstances is God’s will for our lives.  Thanking God during difficult time is gratitude on our part.  This kind of gratitude helps to develop our faith in God.  It helps develop your faith because you are trusting God during such difficult times.

Habakkuk went through tough times.  In the third chapter of Habakkuk, he points out that even when the is no sheep in the pen, the fig tree does not bud, nor the grape vine produces no grapes, he will still rejoice in the Lord.  Habakkuk made it clear that he will rejoice in God during difficult days.  What made Habakkuk praise God when everything else stinks? Habakkuk praise God because God is just God.  He praised God because God was his savior.  We need to praise God for who God is.  We need to praise God for the mere fact that God is always going to be God.  Let us ask God to give us a spirit for radical gratitude.

Memory verse: Colossians 2:7

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

 

“Love is the Bedrock of Tolerance.”

“Love is the Bedrock for Tolerance”

Friday, January 5.

“Love is Patient” I Corinthians 13:4

There are lots of things that test our patience. You have to make a meal and need additional ingredients.  You send your teenage boy to go out to get some groceries, and he is taking forever. You have a program to attend with your spouse, and she hasn’t gotten dress yet. You have a meeting to attend and your secretary is still in her office on the phone.

To be patient with people, we need love.  In life, we will have to put up with lot of things.  To put up with an old car is nothing like putting up with a neighbor who plays a loud music.  Putting up with a sewing machine is nothing like putting up with a child who does not want to do his or her homework.  To deal with people, we need love.  Love is the only thing that can help us tolerate others, from our family to our coworkers.

If love is the thing we need to tolerate or put up with others, then we ought to be patient with everyone.  Paul spoke about love in his letter to the Church at Corinth.  In this excellent piece, Paul points out that to be patient, one needs to love.  “Love is Patient.” It mkaes a lot of sense to learn to love people in order to tolerate them.  The Christian journey will be effective if we learn to love.  That is why Jesus Christ admonishes us to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  This is too important.  Without it, we are going to fail on this Christian journey.  Let us ask God to give us the spirit of love, to put up with people.

Memory verse: Ephesians 4:2-3

“The highest result of education is tolerance.” Hellen Keller

“Sings of a Back Sliding Christian”

“Signs of a Back Sliding Christian”

Thursday, January 4, 2017

“For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them then the beginning.”  2 Peter 2:20

Back sliding is a serious issue in our Christian lives.  When we back slide, we do things that transgress the laws of God.  We indulge in a practice that does not represent Christ.  It is when we sin against God and continue in that sin.  Peter is one person who knew what back sliding was.  Peter knew first hand the reality and danger of back sliding.  He knew that even the night he denied Jesus.

Back sliding is a gradual process which takes the Christian by surprise.  That is why we have to be careful.  When we become Christians, we leave the world and its sins behind us. We cannot entangle ourselves again  with the sins of the world. Pride in one sign of back sliding. Pride in our lives is a sign because it puts self above God.  The first step to coming to Jesus is humility. Pride takes away that humility, and cause us to go back into the world.

One other sign is wordiness.  Peter was ashamed to be seen with Jesus.  As Christians, we should be careful not to mingle with the world.  It is dangerous.  If we play with the fire of the world, we will get burned.  If we flirt with worldly things, we will be tainted. Let us keep close to Christ.  Let us pray that the Spirit will keep us from gossips, back biting, jesting, hatred, and all other vices that will hamper our Christian walk.

Memory verse: Mark 14:54

“Worldliness is whatever makes sin normal and righteousness strange.” Kevin Deyoung