VIDEO Gift of Grace

Dec 21, 2016

We can easily get consumed by the activities and extravagance of Christmas. We can also be burdened by the sadness of our situation and emotions. No matter the circumstances, you can lean into Jesus—the best gift we could ever receive—and He will calm your spirit

Patience and Kindness

Love suffers long and is kind . . . . 1 Corinthians 13:4a

In March 2007, Switzerland invaded its tiny neighbor-nation, Lichtenstein—accidentally. A group of about 170 Swiss soldiers accidentally crossed the unmarked border between the two nations before recognizing where they were. Liechtenstein has no army and wasn’t aware of the “invasion” until later. When they eventually discovered they had been accidentally invaded, Liechtenstein chose to forgive its neighbor and not retaliate.

How great it would be if all such “invasions” in life could be met with such kindness—especially those where our personal space or rights are invaded! Sometimes we are wounded intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Regardless, the fleshly side of us thinks immediately of retaliating. That, of course, is the opposite of what Paul wrote in his Love Chapter: “Love suffers long and is kind.” Why do you think Paul wrote of patience (longsuffering) and immediately thought of kindness? Perhaps our first response to a wound should be patience, giving time for kindness and forgiveness to come forth.

If you love, you will be patient—even toward those who wound you (Matthew 5:44). While being patient, the spiritual fruit of kindness (Galatians 5:22) is born.

Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.  Author Unknown

The Value of God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:14-17

From the opening verse of Genesis to the final words of Revelation, Scripture is divinely inspired; every word has purpose. In today’s passage, we are told that the sacred writings are “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be … equipped for every good work.” In other words, they offer preparation for whatever we will face in life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). No other book holds such value for living.

The Old Testament introduces us to God’s nature, ways, and power; it lays the foundation for us to understand the Lord’s holiness and humanity’s desperate need for a Savior. The New Testament explains that Jesus sacrificially became our “bridge” to the Father (John 14:6). Its writings clarify why we must trust Christ for salvation, how to live as God’s children, and what to expect in this life and after death.

Ephesians 6:13-17 compares the Word to armor, and for good reason: In the battle of life, we have a real enemy who wants to destroy us. But God’s power is greater (1 John 4:4), and dressing in war gear prepares us for the temptations, lies, and decisions we will encounter daily.

We should be excited about the Word of God, for it is our hope—and the only instruction that leads to victory, in life and after physical death.

The Bible predicted that many people would reject the truth, and a glimpse at our world today shows that to be the case. Don’t let yourself fall into the same trap. Life without His truth is destined for failure, so meditate daily on Scripture, and ask God to speak to you.

Power in the Ark

“And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.” (1 Samuel 5:3)

The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant, where God met with His people, and set it up in the temple of their god, Dagon. The first night, Dagon fell down before the Ark; the second night, he fell down broken in pieces. On the next day, a great plague fell on the people of Ashdod, and forthwith they sent the Ark away!

Just as Dagon fell before the Ark, which was a type of Christ, so the priests and soldiers, who came to take Jesus away, “went backward, and fell to the ground” in His presence (John 18:6). Similarly, just as the temple of Dagon could hold the Ark no longer than three days, and the whale could only hold God’s prophet Jonah for three days, so the grave could not hold Jesus longer than three days.

The Ark also exhibited its great power both to bless and to curse. It brought death to the Philistines who desecrated it, and even to the Israelites at Beth-shemesh, when they foolishly looked into the Ark (1 Samuel 6:19). However, it evidently brought blessing to the house of the Levite Abinadab, where it stayed for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:1-2), and later to the house of Obed-edom (2 Samuel 6:11).

The same is true of the Lord Jesus Christ and of all who are “in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10). The presence of Christ was a blessing to many, but others “besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear” (Luke 8:37). “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). HMM

“I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”

Genesis 49:16-33

We will now read the rest of the benedictions pronounced by Jacob upon his sons.

Genesis 49:16

Dan signifies judge; the patriarch declared that he would verify his name.

Genesis 49:17-18

Here Jacob made a pause. His utterance of weakness has neither petulance nor complaining in it, but is expressive of hope growing out of long confidence. Soon he hoped to enjoy the fulness of salvation in the presence of the Lord.

Genesis 49:19

This is often exemplified in the believer’s life. Many trials press him down, but he rises up again.

Genesis 49:21

Vivacity of spirit was linked with readiness of speech, a good combination for a minister of the gospel.

Genesis 49:26

The heart of the venerable patriarch was enlarged concerning Joseph; he evidently felt that he could not pour out a benediction copious enough. And truly, if we turn our thoughts to Jesus, the greater Joseph, no language can ever express our desires for his exaltation. Watts has well put it—


“Blessings more than we can give

Be, Lord, for ever thine.”


Genesis 49:27

This was to be a contentious tribe. Though Benjamin stood high in his father’s natural affection, he did not dare for that reason to invent a blessing for him, but speaks the word of the Lord neither less nor more. To fight from morning to night is a sorry business, unless it be against sin.

Genesis 49:28-33

He was not left even after death among the Egyptians, but slept in the family tomb of the pilgrim band, to awake with them at the resurrection. In all things he maintained his character as a sojourner with God, looking for a city yet to be revealed.


Shrinking from the cold hand of death,

I soon must gather up my feet;

Must swift resign this fleeting breath,

And die, my father’s God to meet.


Number’d among thy people, I

Expect with joy thy face to see;

Because thou didst for sinners, die,

Jesus, in death, remember me!




Stopping Satan At His Own Game

2 Corinthians 2:11

I don’t like talking about the devil, but time after time the Bible warns us that the devil is like a roaring lion who roams about, seeking whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Whether we like it or not, the devil is a real personality who is looking for ways to destroy our lives. Since the Bible frequently warns us about this sinister enemy, we need to know:

  • How the devil operates.
  • How to identify the devil’s attacks at their very onset.
  • How to block and stop his devilish assaults.
  • How to prevent repeat attacks from occurring in the future.

In Second Corinthians 2:11, the apostle Paul wrote a verse that is teeming with insight to answer these questions. He wrote, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Paul clearly understood that Satan was constantly seeking ways to take advantage of people. The word “advantage” in this verse is the Greek word pleonekteo. This word means to outwit; to trick; to take advantage of someone through some sinister or sneaky means. It is a compound of the word pleon, which means more, and the word echo, which means to have. Together, these words form the word pleonekto, which denotes a desire to have more, more, and more. It is a form of the word pleonexia, the Greek word for greediness. In this case in Second Corinthians 2:11, it pictures someone whose lust for something is so intense that he will take any actions required to obtain what he wants.

Because Paul used this word about Satan, we are alerted to the fact that Satan desperately wants something in his control. He wants us! The devil will use any method necessary to take advantage of us and get us under his control. He will deviously and artfully endeavor to outwit us, trick us, dominate us, and ultimately take us as his hostages. That is why Paul said, “… We are not ignorant of his devices.”

When you have an enemy who hates you this much and who wants to destroy you, you can’t afford to be ignorant. In Paul’s case, he and his team were invading new territory with the Gospel all the time. Paul knew that Satan wanted to hinder and even stop them and that it was therefore essential for him to understand the way the devil operated. He had to be able to discern whether he was facing a mere human problem or a planned demonic attack.

Likewise, you need to know if the storm you’re facing right now is just a natural problem that will blow over, or if are you facing demonic turbulence sent from hell to disrupt God’s plan for your life. You can’t just shut your eyes and hope the problem will work out by itself. If this is an attack from the devil and you do nothing to stop it, it will not simply go away. On the contrary, it will actually increase and become more intense. That’s why being able to recognize Satan’s game is so important!

The word “ignorant” in Second Corinthians 2:11 is the Greek word agnoeo, and it refers to one’s ignorance or lack of certain facts. However, it also includes making mistakes or errors due to a lack of understanding. It is the picture of an uneducated person who, due to a lack of knowledge, is prone to arrive at mistaken conclusions. The word agnoeo depicts someone who is in the dark or without a clue. Because this person lacks understanding, his conclusions are faulty, erroneous, and misguided. This is where we get the word agnostic, the official name used to describe individuals who claim they don’t know what they believe. So when someone claims to be agnostic, he is literally claiming to be ignorant!

An example of this kind of ignorance is often seen when a person is diagnosed with a terminal disease sent from the devil, yet the person believes his sickness comes from God. Because the sick person is ignorant of the fact that Satan and not God is the author of sickness and disease, he mistakenly concludes that his sickness must be God’s will for his life. This ignorance is so devastating that it could possibly lead to that individual’s premature death. Do you see how dangerous it is to remain ignorant about how the devil operates?

This is the reason Paul says, “… We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” Paul and his companions had carefully observed how the devil operates and the primary methods he uses to attack. As a result, they knew how to recognize the onset of an attack when Satan started maneuvering to frustrate their plans. Paul and his team were definitely not in the dark about the devil; hence, the enemy found it much more difficult to take advantage of them.

Paul had to learn these things because he faced problems with people, religious leaders, governmental leaders, and even with friends. He was thrown in prison, cast into the sea, and beaten during moments of persecution. Traps were constantly being set for his capture, and he constantly had to be on the lookout for people who tried to use him and take advantage of him. Paul couldn’t afford to be in the dark spiritually about the way Satan operated—and neither can you!

But notice what Paul says next: “… We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” The word “devices” is the Greek word noemata, derived from the word nous. The word nous is the word for the mind or the intellect. However, when the word nous becomes the word noemata, it describes a mind that is scheming calculating, conniving, devious, shrewd, sly, or clever. This is very significant because it alerts us to the reality that Satan isn’t just hoping to hinder us; he is incessantly scheming and conniving to injure or deliberately mess up a person’s plans, health, marriage, business, and family. The enemy doesn’t really care how he accomplishes his evil plan; he just wants to find ways to ruin whatever that person holds dear.

Thus, the word noemata denotes Satan’s insidious, malevolent plot to attack and victimize human beings, clearly demonstrating that the devil loves to captivate and ultimately destroy human beings. If this devilish process is not aborted by the power of God, it is only a matter of time before Satan puts the last touches on his plan to take captive a person, family, church, ministry, business, organization, or even an entire nation!


When you put all of these words together, it expresses this idea:

“Satan can forget it if he thinks he is going to pull the wool over our eyes! We know how he operates, and we understand the way he schemes and connives to take us out.”

So don’t shut your eyes and ignore the fact that the devil wants to bring about your downfall. Instead, open your eyes and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to recognize the devil’s operations so you won’t fall prey to him any longer. Then you’ll be able to say, “Devil, I know this is you attacking me, so I am telling you to leave now in Jesus’ name!”


Lord, I thank You for opening my eyes and illuminating my understanding to recognize Satan’s attacks against my life. Thank You also for giving me the understanding to know how to stand against these demonic attacks. I am so grateful that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be my Teacher and Guide and to equip me to stand against every assault that comes against my life, my family, my church, my business, and all my relationships. Armed with the power and insight of the Spirit, I never have to allow the enemy to take advantage of me again. So I open my heart today, and I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me everything I need to know to stand against the wiles the devil wants to employ against me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I declare that I am not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Because the Holy Spirit is my Teacher, I know how to recognize the onset of Satan’s attack as he starts maneuvering to frustrate my plans. I am not in the dark about the devil; therefore, the enemy finds it very difficult to take advantage of me. Because my mind has been illuminated to see how the devil operates, his evil plots against my life are aborted by the power of God! I will not be taken down by any strategy the enemy tries to use against me.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Are you aware of areas in your personal life where you are currently falling prey to the cunning plots of the devil? Can you think of some ways you have been susceptible in the past to his repeated tactics?
  2. Have you really looked at Satan’s repeat attacks on your life to see what you can learn about the way he attacks you?
  3. Since awareness of your enemy is so important, what are some ways you can be more prepared for his attacks, all of which are designed to bring ruin in your life?


One Of Life’s Illusions

Recently I relaxed in the lobby of one of Asia’s loveliest hotels located in a country classified as “Third World.” As chauffeured Mercedes and Jaguars cruised to the entrance, the beautiful and the privileged alighted to the gracious welcome of white-gloved hotel personnel.


Later, as I was being chauffeured to the airport in an air conditioned automobile, I gazed out the window and noticed a bent over old man, cane in hand, laboring under the blaring sun as he shouldered a heavy backpack up a steep series of steps that would eventually take him across the highway upon which I was traveling.


I could not help but think, “What inequity! How unfair! Why the disparity?”


… Until I recalled Jesus’ teaching:

  • Many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” (Matthew 19:30)
  • About the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: In eternity the fellow previously living in poverty and sickness on earth now enjoys heaven’s bliss with Abraham, while the rich man now languishes in Hell. (See Luke 16:19-31).
  • Because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked… ” (Revelation 3:17)

As you and I enjoy His bounty in our “island” of affluence, surrounded by the world’s impoverished, it behooves us to remember that,


From everyone who has been given much, much shall much be required… ” (Luke 12:48)


May God help us amidst our “illusion” of prosperity to maintain an eternal perspective as to the true riches, and of the responsibility that comes with privilege.