Rings and Grace

[I] will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

When I look at my hands, I am reminded that I lost my wedding and engagement rings. I was multitasking as I packed for a trip, and I still have no idea where they ended up.

I dreaded telling my husband about my careless mistake—worried how the news would affect him. But he responded with more compassion and care for me than concern over the rings. However, there are times when I still want to do something to earn his grace! He, on the contrary, doesn’t hold this episode against me.

Grace and forgiveness are unearned gifts.

So many times we remember our sins and feel we must do something to earn God’s forgiveness. But God has said it is by grace, not by works, that we are saved (Eph. 2:8–9). Speaking of a new covenant, God promised Israel, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34). We have a God who forgives and no longer calls to mind the wrongs we have done.

We may still feel sad about our past, but we need to trust His promise and believe His grace and forgiveness is real through faith in Jesus Christ. This news should lead us to thankfulness and the assurance faith brings. When God forgives, He forgets.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and Your offer of salvation and forgiveness through Christ. Thank You for this free gift that is not based on anything I can do.

Grace and forgiveness are unearned gifts.

By Keila Ochoa 

INSIGHT:The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience who had trusted Jesus as Messiah. Because of their Old Testament background, they were tempted to regress into trusting the Mosaic law instead of Christ’s sufficiency. So the author speaks of Jesus as providing a superior ministry, a superior covenant, and better promises (8:6).

Consider God’s promise of forgiveness in Hebrews 8:12—“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”—and see how you have every reason to rejoice.

How to Pass Down Our Faith

Deuteronomy 4:9

The most valuable “possession” believers can leave to family and friends is faith in Jesus Christ. While everyone must choose to trust in the Savior for him- or herself, Christians can and should share key biblical truths with loved ones.

These essentials of the faith should not be kept to ourselves:

Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). From an early age, children should be taught that the most important relationship they’ll ever have is with the Lord. Believing in Him and obeying Him is vital.

Everything that exists was created by the Lord, and He owns it all (Psalm 24:1). We’re managers of our resources, not owners. As stewards, we are to invest in God’s kingdom and not just spend on personal pleasures. His priorities are to become our own.

God has a purpose for each of us, and discovering it is very important (Eph. 2:10). We can look for opportunities to share what we are learning about God’s plan for our life. In the process, our loved ones might become curious about what His purpose is for them.

God will provide whatever we need to carry out His plan (Eph. 4:11-13). Our heavenly Father gives us talents and spiritual gifts to achieve His purposes and plans. He has promised that we will have what is necessary for us to live a life that’s pleasing to Him.

Why wait to start sharing your faith? Each day offers new opportunities to speak of our Savior. Think about the people to whom you could pass along this precious possession.

The Days of Youth

“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

When one reaches maturity and, finally, old age, he will almost inevitably find himself recalling wistfully the days of his youth. Often there will be feelings of regret for wasted opportunities and sinful living, and he would urge young people not to make the same mistakes that he did.

Unfortunately, most young people tend to listen more to their peers than to their seniors. As the old cliché has it—“too soon old, and too late smart.” So the cycle continues, generation after generation.

There have been godly exceptions, of course, such as Mary and Daniel and Timothy, and some today as well, who have maintained a strong stand and witness for God and His Word all their lives. As our text (written by King Solomon in his old age) indicates, youth can and should be a time of real joy, but the best joy is “the joy of the LORD” (Nehemiah 8:10). Such joy is true pleasure and happiness, and is much better than mere “fun.”

Our text also confirms that a judgment day is coming, and the misdeeds of youth will be judged along with all the rest. Especially good advice was given by Solomon in his next two verses. “Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh” (Ecclesiastes 11:10–12:1). Paul advised young Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). HMM

Yes, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:8-31

The history of the fall of Jericho through the blast of rams’-horns reminds us of Paul’s expression in the Corinthians, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” Let us read a passage in which the reputed weakness of the gospel is gloried in because the Lord, nevertheless, works by it—

1 Corinthians 1:18

The same thing is different to differing persons. One sees in the gospel folly, and another omnipotence. These last have felt its gracious power, and therefore are well assured of what they believe.

1 Corinthians 1:19, 20

Let this be remembered still, and it will help to cure the craving after learned and intellectual preaching. What have we to do with setting up what God means to destroy? The plain gospel of Jesus, simply preached, is infinitely superior to all the “deep thinking” and “exact criticism” of modern times.

1 Corinthians 1:21

Philosophy left the world in the foulest mire of lasciviousness and unbelief, but the unlettered men who delivered the Lord’s message of love just as they received it, became the salvation of myriads.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Tastes are not to regulate the gospel. What men desire is one thing, but what the gospel gives them is another. Instead of signs and wisdom, God’s ministers show unto men the crucified Saviour, and nothing else.

1 Corinthians 1:25

It will be seen in the end that what men think foolish and weak in God’s gospel, will be more than a match for human power and learning.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

As election thus makes no account of human greatness, the preacher must pay no deference to it in his ministry. He is to proclaim his message to the common people, and to be content if his converts are despised as belonging to the base things of this world. If God’s election ran among the grandees, he might have sent to them a philosophical gospel to be delivered with all the graces of classic oratory: but such is not the mind of the Lord. Let us, as a family, hold fast to the old gospel, and love the honest ministers of it who care more about winning souls than about being considered fine orators. The gospel which saved the apostles, the martyrs, the reformers, and our godly ancestors, is quite good enough for us. Let those who please seek after the wisdom of man, we will abide by the teaching of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

All is of Jesus, from first to last, and so all the glory is unto him who deserves it. Blessed be the name of the Lord, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.


Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,

Nor can the memory find,

A sweeter sound than thy blest name,

O Saviour of mankind!


Jesus, our only joy be thou,

As thou our crown wilt be;

Jesus, be thou our glory now,

And through eternity.


You Can Make a Difference In Someone Else’s Life!

Jude 1:22

If you are burdened for someone who isn’t serving God the way he used to, it’s time for you to do something about it. Worrying won’t change a thing! But turning that worry into action can make a big difference in the outcome of that other person’s life.

You can make a difference in someone else’s life! That is precisely why Jude 22 tells us, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Do you see the word “compassion” in this verse? This important word is taken from the Greek word eleao, which in this case refers to deep-seated and unsettling emotions a person feels when he has seen or heard something that is terribly sad or upsetting.

These are the kinds of emotions that well up inside you when you see a child whose stomach is bloated from malnutrition and starvation. You might also feel these emotions when you see a person who is emaciated and dying of terminal cancer or a destitute family that is forced to live on the streets with no food and money.

Jude’s purpose in using the Greek word eleao is very plain. He is doing exactly what television programs do when they flash pictures of starving children with bloated stomachs on the television screen in front of us. The producers of these programs show us these kinds of worst-scenario pictures in order to stir us to action.

These pictures of desperate misery from Third World countries are flashed in front of us while emotionally moving music plays in the background. Then the celebrity host on the program says in an impassioned voice, “Pick up your phone and call today. Your call could save the life of a child.”

These kinds of television programs are designed to stir up emotional feelings of pity. The producers of the programs realize that simply stating a need verbally would never get our attention; we’re just too mentally busy in today’s society. Therefore, they make the need as graphic as they possibly can, knowing that pictures speak a thousand words and are much more effective in arousing pity from our hearts.

However, arousing pity is not the ultimate aim of these programs. The horrifying pictures and emotional musical background are designed to convince you to pick up your telephone, call the phone number on the television screen, and make a donation to help the cause of the sponsoring organization. This compulsion to act and to do something is the moment when pity is transformed into compassion. By itself, pity would simply feel sorry about the situation. But compassion cannot sit by and idly watch the scenario grow worse. Compassion reaches out to act immediately and to do something about the situation.

It is unmistakably clear that Jude wants to elicit an emotional response from his readers. He wants them to graphically see and understand the seriousness of believers who have backslidden into a life of sin and disobedience. He wants his readers to “feel” for these critically ill spiritual patients. In fact, he wants them to “feel” their condition so intensely that he says, “And of some have compassion….” In other words, Jude is telling his readers to take that pity and turn it into action!

You see, when genuine compassion begins to flow from your heart, you cannot sit idly by and simply feel sorry about a person’s situation. Real compassion says, “I have to get up and do something about this!”

Because Jude uses the word “compassion,” he is telling us that the spiritual condition of a backslidden believer is just as real and serious as the plight of a starving child, a dying man, or a destitute family. If you will allow the love of God to flow through you, it won’t be long until compassion for these erring believers begins to flow from you to them. Then you will be compelled to see them set free from their bondage! That compulsion is the activity of compassion!

You may think, “Yes, but those believers knew better! If they had stayed faithful in their walk with the Lord, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in right now. Isn’t it their fault that they’re in trouble?”

The answer to this question may be “Yes, they are to blame for their condition.” However, consider this: Wouldn’t you have compassion on a homosexual who contracted AIDS due to his own illicit sexual activity? Although his own actions got him into his mess, wouldn’t it still grab hold of your heart when you saw his wasting body? Wouldn’t his helpless condition make you wish there was a cure for AIDS?

In the same way, even though a sinning believer may have gotten himself into trouble because of his own actions, we must not therefore shut off the flow of God’s compassion that resides within us. Believers who have become spiritually deceived need a touch of God’s power more than they ever did before! Therefore, we cannot let the enemy sow hardheartedness in our hearts toward people who have become spiritually ill or backslidden. Their plight is very serious, and they need our help and prayers of intercession!

If you know people who fit this description, it’s time for you to let the supernatural compassion of Jesus Christ begin to flow out of your heart toward them. These error-ridden believers need a divine touch from God that will open their eyes and bring them back to the Lord. By releasing a flow of this powerful force toward them, you could set in motion the very deliverance these individuals need from the powers of darkness that bind their souls and keep them in deception.

This is why Jude urges us to release this delivering flow of compassion when he says, “And of some have compassion….” This kind of compassion is a mighty force that reaches even into the flames of judgment to snatch people from destruction. Why not open the bowels of your heart and allow this supernatural flow of compassion to start flowing through you today? Just think—by opening your heart and letting compassion flow through you toward these people, you could be the very one God uses to bring them back home again!


Lord, please forgive me for being hardhearted, condemning, and judgmental toward people who have needed my prayers and intercession. Instead of wasting all my time judging them,

I could have been praying for them. Now I see my mistake, and I truly repent for it. Starting today I pledge to change my attitude—to open my heart and let the compassion of Jesus Christ flow through me to help set their deliverance in motion. Let Your compassion begin flowing through me today!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I boldly confess that compassion flows through me like a river! Condemnation and judgment have no place in my life, in my thinking or in the way I relate to other people. I am filled with the love of God, and I allow that love to touch others who are near me. The bowels of my heart release the compassion of Jesus Christ, touching the lives of people caught in the deception of sin and darkness and setting them free!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Do you know anyone who is no longer walking with God and for whom you need to be praying and interceding right now?
  2. Have you acted in a judgmental way toward a sinning or erring believer—someone who really needs your prayers and intercession, not your condemnation? If your answer is yes, I suggest that you take a few minutes to get your heart right with God and then begin to regularly pray for his or her deliverance.
  3. Have you ever been caught in a deception, but someone loved you through it until you were set free and put back on a straight course? Who was that person who stood with you through that ordeal? Did you ever take the time to express your gratefulness for his or her love and patience toward you during that time?


Trusting God When The Bottom Falls Out

Our true mettle is revealed not in times of success, but in times of testing… In times of “failure.


How do you respond when:

  • Everything you have worked for over the years disintegrates before your eyes?
  • You feel you are no longer viewed by your peers as a paragon of business acumen… no longer perceived as a leader in your field?
  • There are lingering, hushed questions as to whether someone else could have done a better job of pulling the company out of the fire?

One of the most sterling individuals I have known is presently going through an excruciating experience. As the CEO of a long-established, respected firm, he has been forced into the painful experience of downsizing in order to survive new market realities.


No one has handled this agonizing process of change with greater dignity than this friend.


Following are excerpts from his recent letter:


“Life is hard, but God is good… The love of God is better than life.


“We’re leading a couples [Bible] study… God is working wonderfully in the lives of all…


“Staying in business is quite a challenge still, yet after incredible downsizing, things seem to be turning around…


“I have gone through a major ‘business lifestyle’ change and am ready to adjust some more as God leads… It has gotten down to focusing on a day at a time, which is where I believe God wants us, but depending on Him daily is still difficult for me, yet at times thrilling.”


Beautiful, isn’t it. We would be fortunate to share his perspective… to possess his godly character. It is obvious that he has learned, in effect, to respond with Job in declaring:


“‘… Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:21, 22)


QUESTION: Is the present tenor of your life such that IF AND WHEN THE BOTTOM FALLS OUT, you will respond in similar fashion? If not, what changes do you need to be making at this time?



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