Charles Stanley – The Grace of God

 

Romans 5:1-2

Grace is far more than a mealtime prayer. The word communicates the idea of blessing. As children of God, we are the recipients of grace, which is poured out on us by our heavenly Father. Let’s look at how we experience this amazing benefit of His love.

God’s favor is seen in our salvation, as Ephesians 2:8 tells us: “For by grace you have been saved.” The blessing is undeserved and unearned—nothing about us prompted God to save us. He acted purely out of His goodness, sacrificing His precious Son Jesus Christ in our place. In that way, we could be reconciled to the Father and adopted into His family.

Grace is also the sphere in which we live the Christian life. At salvation, we were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13). Here, we live out our new identity as God’s children and carry out His purpose of glorifying Him—both of which result in manifold blessings.

The beauty of grace becomes especially clear when we consider who we once were—a people hostile to the Lord and alienated from Him. We were spiritually dead, living according to our own selfish interests (Eph. 2:1). But now, through faith in Jesus as our Savior, God has justified us and given us new life. He has declared that we have right standing before Him (Rom. 8:1). All of our sins were placed upon Jesus, and His righteousness has been credited to our account permanently.

Picture yourself living in the favor of God. Internalize this truth, and then give Him thanks.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 9-12

Our Daily Bread — Eulogize the Living God

 

Read: Ephesians 1:3-14

Bible in a Year: Psalms 23-25; Acts 21:18-40

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. —Ephesians 1:3

In 2005, when American civil rights hero Rosa Parks died, Oprah Winfrey counted it a privilege to eulogize her. Oprah said of the woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955, “I often thought about what that took—knowing the climate of the times and what could have happened to you—what it took to stay seated. You acted without concern for yourself and made life better for us all.”

We often use the word eulogy to refer to the words spoken at a funeral. But it can also refer to other situations where we give high praise to someone. In the opening lines of Ephesians, the apostle Paul eulogized the living God. When he said, “Blessed be the God and Father,” he used a word for “blessed” that means “eulogy.” Paul invited the Ephesians to join him in praising God for all kinds of spiritual blessings: God had chosen and adopted them; Jesus had redeemed, forgiven, and made known to them the mystery of the gospel; and the Spirit had guaranteed and sealed them. This great salvation was purely an act of God and His grace.

Let us continue to center our thoughts on God’s blessings in Christ. When we do, like Paul, we will find our hearts overflowing with a eulogy that declares: “To the praise of His glory.” —Marvin Williams

Blessed Father, I am overwhelmed by Your grace. My only adequate response is ceaseless praise. Thank You for choosing me, adopting me, redeeming me, forgiving me, and making known to me the mystery of the gospel.

Praise is the song of a soul set free.

INSIGHT: Ephesians 1:3-14 is an extended blessing to God for His work of creation and redemption. Paul goes to great lengths to describe and celebrate the goodness of God for His grace and promise. Twice Paul mentions that our salvation is in accordance with His good pleasure or “according to the purpose of His will” (vv. 5,9 esv). God made the decision to lavish grace on those who would be saved in Jesus Christ, and He took delight in extending that grace.

Alistair Begg – The Glory of God

 

The Lord our God has shown us his glory. Deuteronomy 5:24

God’s great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this would be unworthy of Himself.

But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single in its focus; he always has a side glance toward his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted. And this is the reason why He often brings His people into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying and hence but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks know but little of the God of tempests; but they who are “doing business on the great waters”1 see “his wondrous works in the deep.2 Among the huge waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: It is this that has given you your experience of God’s greatness and loving-kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: Your trials have been the crevice of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance that continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction you have been qualified for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.

1) Psalm 107:3

2) Psalm 107:24

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Substitution

 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 2:18-25

Of this God in Christ, our text says that he knew no sin. It does not say that he did not sin; that we know: but it says more than that; he did not know sin; he knew not what sin was. He saw it in others, but he did not know it by experience. He was a perfect stranger to it. It is not barely said, that he did not take sin into his heart, but he did not know it. It was no acquantance of his. He was the acquaintance of grief; but he was not the acquaintance of sin. He knew no sin of any kind,—no sin of thought, no sin of birth, no original, no actual transgression; no sin of lip, or of hand, did ever Christ commit. He was pure, perfect, spotless; like his own divinity, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. This gracious person, is he who is spoken of in the text. He was a person utterly incapable of committing anything that was wrong. It has been asserted lately, by some ill-judged one, that Christ was capable of sin. I think it was Irving who started some such idea, that if Christ was not capable of sinning, he could not have been capable of virtue. “For,” say they, “if a man must necessarily be good, there is no virtue in his goodness.” Away with their ridiculous nonsense! Is not God necessarily good? And who dares deny that God is virtuous? Are not the glorified spirits in heaven necessarily pure? And yet are they not holy because of that very necessity? Are not the angels, now that they are confirmed, necessarily faultless? And shall any one dare to deny angelic virtue! The thing is not true; it needs no freedom in order to create virtue. Freedom and virtue generally go together; but necessity and virtue are as much brother and sister as freedom and virtue. Jesus Christ was not capable of sin.

For meditation: It would have been awful for the sinless Christ to suffer just for one sin of one man. But for him to suffer for all the sins of a countless multitude past, present and future must have been appalling beyond all imagination. How God must hate sin! How he must love poor sinners! Did Christ die for you (Galatians 2:20)?

Sermon nos. 141-142

19 July (1857)

John MacArthur – Receiving Compassion

 

“You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:10).

Because of God’s compassion, He withholds the just punishment of your sin.

Hosea had a unique role among the prophets. God used him and his adulterous wife, Gomer, as living illustrations of His love for unfaithful Israel. When Gomer gave birth to a daughter, the Lord told Hosea to name her Lo-ruhamah, which means “No mercy,” because His mercy for Israel would soon come to an end. When Gomer later gave birth to a son, the Lord said to call him Lo-ammi, which means “Not mine,” for He no longer considered Israel His people. Yet He offered this hope, saying, “It will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ it will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God'” (Hos. 1:10).

In our Scripture for today, Peter applied that Old Testament text to the New Testament church, just as Paul did in Romans 9:25-26: “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God.” God rejected unbelieving Israel, but extended His compassion to anyone willing to trust in Christ. It is particularly true that Gentiles in the church were once not the people of God, but now have received mercy and are God’s beloved children.

God’s mercy includes His general providential care for all mankind, but Hosea, Peter, and Paul were speaking of His special compassion—first in salvation, then in daily blessings—for those who belong to Him. By it He withholds the punishment we deserve for our sins and grants us His lovingkindness instead.

As you reflect on God’s mercy in your own life, let Psalm 136:1 be the song of your heart: “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever” (KJV).

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Psalm 59:16-17. Recite it often in praise to the Lord.

For Further Study

What do these verses teach about God’s mercy: Psalm 103:11, 2 Corinthians 1:3, and Titus 3:5?

Joyce Meyer – Quick to Forgive

 

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. – 1 Colossians 3:13

The world is filled with pain and hurting people; and my experience has been that hurting people hurt others. The devil works overtime among God’s people to bring offense, strife, and disharmony, but we can be thankful that God gives us a tool to disappoint and defeat the devil: We can be quick to forgive.

Forgiveness closes the door to Satan’s attack so that he cannot gain a foothold that might eventually become a stronghold. It can prevent or end strife in our relationships with others. No wonder Scripture tells us over and over that we are to forgive those who hurt or offend us. Jesus made forgiveness a lifestyle, and He taught us to do the same. This is essential to living a joy-filled life.

Prayer of Thanks Father, I am so thankful for the forgiveness You have given me through Jesus and for the grace to be able to forgive others. Regardless of what others have done to hurt or offend me, today I choose to forgive those who have caused me pain. Thank You for helping me to live out that forgiveness each new day.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Things for Our Good

 

“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans” (Romans 8:28).

I waited and prayed in the chapel at the Loma Linda Hospital. My beloved wife, Vonette, had been in major surgery for four hours. Three weeks before, while I was in Brazil, she had gone to our doctor for a physical examination and he had informed her that she had a large growth that could be malignant.

Though he wanted to operate at once, the doctor agreed at Vonette’s insistence to wait until I returned from a tour of several Latin American countries. Vonette called to give me the doctor’s report while I was in Rio de Janerio. Naturally I wanted to return home at once. However, she assured me that she would be all right and encouraged me not to interrupt the meetings since they had the potential of ultimately helping to train hundreds of thousands of Christians to help reach millions for our Lord throughout all of Latin America (which they have subsequently done through a great Here’s Life movement in each of these countries).

We prayed together over the telephone, praising God for His faithfulness to us in the past. As an expression of our faith and an act of obedience to His holy, inspired Word, we thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him, even though at the moment it seemed very difficult. Then as we praised and gave thanks to the Lord, His supernatural peace flooded our hearts. God always honors faith and obedience.

During the following weeks we continued to praise and thank God as we both continued to speak and witness for Him personally and at many meetings, recognizing that we are His servants, and that the Master is responsible for the welfare of His servants.

After the surgery the doctors assured us that the operation was a success and that there was no malignancy. We continue to thank and praise the Lord for His goodness to us. We know that, if we love God, all things really do work out together for our good regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the outcome. Why did God allow us to go through this experience? In order that we would be reminded of His faithfulness and learn to love, trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:29-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since I love God and am fitting into His plans, I will, by faith, count all things as working together for my good today and will thank God and praise Him in obedience to His command. I will encourage others to do the same, to trust and obey God as an expression of the supernatural life.

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Name It!

 

In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp undertakes naming God’s gifts in her life. At first you might think, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve done that positive thinking stuff.” However, “naming” God’s gifts is actually acknowledging His presence in the specific moments of your life where you discern His handiwork.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Psalm 91:14

Jacob, a man in the Old Testament, was one that recognized God’s presence. He named a place “Peniel” because he said he’d seen God face to face there. He came upon another place he interpreted as “God’s camp” and called it “Mahanaim.” There was a time Jacob believed he spoke with God and he named that place “Bethel.” Ironically, after all that naming, God renamed Jacob “Israel,” meaning “triumphant with God.”

Where do you see God at work today? Can you name it? Maybe you can identify the place of “Hope for America,” or specify the place of “Provision” for needs in your neighborhood. As you intentionally spotlight God’s work, you cannot help but see more of Him. And in naming His acts, you will find more than a thousand gifts of freedom and life to share with others.

Recommended Reading: Isaiah 26:8-13

Night Light for Couples – The Power of Prayer

 

By Shirley Dobson

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

I’ll never forget the evening that Jim and I, exhausted after a long day, collapsed into bed without completing our usual practice of praying about many things, but especially for our children. We were almost asleep when I remembered.

“Jim,” I said, “we haven’t prayed for our kids yet today. Don’t you think we should talk to the Lord?”

It wasn’t easy, but we crawled out of bed, got on our knees, and offered yet another prayer for our children’s well‐being.

Later we learned that at the exact moment we were praying, a strange‐looking man sought by the police tried to get into the parked car where our daughter, Danae, and a girlfriend were sharing a fast‐food meal. By the grace of God, the door was locked, and Danae was able to start the car quickly and escape.

Never underestimate the power of prayer. When your petition is also for God’s will, it will bring you closer to the heavenly Father, who loves you unconditionally.

Just between us…

  • Can you share a personal example of the power of prayer?
  • As a couple, do we usually rely on prayer and God’s power, or do we usually try to solve our problems ourselves?
  • Who among our friends and family needs prayer right now?
  • How can I pray for you tonight?

Lord, thank You for the awesome power You make available to us through prayer. May all our requests honor You and help release Your best in our relationship. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson