What Love Covers
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15
The phrase “Damascene experience” is used in modern contexts to describe a sudden awakening, a moment of insight leading to a reversal of priorities and values, or a shock to one’s worldview. Its basis, of course, is in the apostle Paul’s encounter with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus where he intended to persecute the followers of Jesus.
Two great injustices—in the legal sense of the word—occur in the New Testament. First, the perfectly innocent Jesus of Nazareth was put to death, while second, the perfectly guilty Saul of Tarsus was forgiven and set free. We know why Jesus died—to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). But why was Paul forgiven and set free from his guilt? In order that he might experience first-hand what God wanted him to proclaim to the Gentile world: the love and grace of God. Saul (later Paul) was guilty of persecuting innocent Christians, yet God’s love covered all his sins.
“Love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12)—even all of yours. Be secure today in God’s love.
God’s love is a free love, having no motive or foundation but within itself. Thomas Brooks
Welcome To The Path Of Grace 1 Timothy 1:15
Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! Daniel 3:28
The comic book hero is as popular as ever. In 2017 alone, six superhero movies accounted for more than $4 billion (US) in box office sales. But why are people so drawn to big action flicks?
Maybe it’s because, in part, such stories resemble God’s Big Story. There’s a hero, a villain, a people in need of rescue, and plenty of riveting action.
In this story, the biggest villain is Satan, the enemy of our souls. But there are lots of “little” villains as well. In the book of Daniel, for example, one is Nebuchadnezzar, the king of much of the known world, who decided to kill anyone who didn’t worship his giant statue (Daniel 3:1–6). When three courageous Jewish officials refused (vv. 12–18), God dramatically rescued them from a blazing furnace (vv. 24–27).
But in a surprising twist, we see this villain’s heart begin to change. In response to this spectacular event, Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego” (v. 28).
But then he threatened to kill anyone who defied God (v. 29), not yet understanding that God didn’t need his help. Nebuchadnezzar would learn more about God in chapter 4—but that’s another story.
What we see in Nebuchadnezzar isn’t just a villain, but someone on a spiritual journey. In God’s story of redemption, our hero, Jesus, reaches out to everyone needing rescue—including the villains among us.
Reflect & Pray
Who do you know in need of God’s rescue? What can you do to help?
Jesus prayed for those who persecuted Him. We can do the same.
Imagine two grains of wheat lying on the floor of a warm and cozy barn. One day, the farmer comes in and tells them, “I want to take you out of this comfortable barn and plant you in the earth. I’m going to place you in the cold ground and cover you with soil. It will be dark, and you will die. But I promise that you will multiply and become very fruitful.”
The first grain of wheat turns down the suggestion. “No way!” he says. “Count me out. I like my comfort, and I don’t want to die.” But the second one, after carefully considering the pain and discomfort of dying, decides the promise of a future harvest is worth the sacrifice. So the farmer takes him outside and plants him in the ground, while allowing the first grain of wheat to remain inside the barn.
A few days later, a small green sprout begins to appear over where the seed has been planted. Then it grows and becomes a tall stalk of wheat that produces one hundred more grains. For the next 40 years, the farmer plants all the seeds that originated from that first grain of wheat, and year after year the harvest multiplies. Meanwhile, the grain of wheat that stayed in the barn remains there all alone, never growing or multiplying—but he has stayed very comfortable.
Which grain of wheat are you? Are you playing it safe, or have you let Christ plant you in the world? The only way you’ll become useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom is by abiding in Him and trusting that His desires for your life are worthwhile.
“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” (Matthew 10:24)
Note the twofold relation of the believer to the Lord Jesus Christ expressed in this verse. We are His disciples and servants; He is our Master and Lord. Each of the two relationships is vital. The word for “disciple” means “pupil.”
The word “master” is the same as “teacher.” The Lord Jesus, therefore, is our teacher, and He teaches us through His Word—the Holy Scriptures. It is our function to learn His teachings and, of course, to believe them. No Christian (one under the authority of Christ) has the right to reject or even to question one of the teachings of His Word (Matthew 5:18-19). The lord-servant relationship goes even further. The word for “servant” is actually “bond slave.” The “lord” of a slave was his owner; the word itself means “supreme ruler” and is the title commonly assigned to God Himself in the New Testament. Thus, if a disciple is to believe the word of his master without question, the servant is to obey the word of his lord without hesitation.
But the world scoffs at the teachings of God’s Word, and will try to persecute those who seek to follow them. The unbelieving world—even the religious world—responded to the teachings of the Master by ridiculing Him, then torturing Him, and finally hanging Him on a tree to die.
Yet we are to go to the same world with the same teachings. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). “As thou hast sent me into the world,” He prayed, “even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
He does warn us: “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). HMM
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
—1 Corinthians 10:31
On Monday, as we go about our different duties and tasks, are we aware of the Presence of God? The Lord desires still to be in His holy temple, wherever we are. He wants the continuing love and delight and worship of His children, wherever we work.
Is it not a beautiful thing for a businessman to enter his office on Monday morning with an inner call to worship: “The Lord is in my office—let all the world be silent before Him.”
If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday!…
I guess many people have an idea that they have God in a box. He is just in the church sanctuary, and when we leave and drive toward home, we have a rather faint, homesick feeling that we are leaving God in the big box.
You know that is not true, but what are you doing about it? WHT122
Lord, I expect my whole demeanor, my response to frustrating circumstances, my decisions, my relationships with people—all would be transformed and more pleasing to You if I really grasped this concept and took it with me today. Teach me and change me this morning. Amen.
That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.—Isaiah 61:3.
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.—2 Peter 1:11.
Hast thou a sense of the way to the Father? Then be careful that thy spirit daily bow before Him, that He would continue His mercy to thee; making thy way more and more clear before thee every day;—yea, and bearing thee up in all the exercises and trials which may befall thee, in every kind; that, by His secret working in thy spirit, and helping thee with a little help from time to time, thou mayest still be advancing nearer and nearer towards the kingdom; until thou find the Lord God administer an entrance unto thee there into, and give thee an inheritance of life, joy, righteousness, and peace therein; which is strength unto the soul against sin and death.
Probably the greatest result of the life of prayer is an unconscious but steady growth into the knowledge of the mind of God and into conformity with His will; for after all prayer is not so much the means whereby God’s will is bent to man’s desires, as it is that whereby man’s will is bent to God’s desires.
Charles H. Brent.
“Now will I rise, saith the Lord; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself’ Isa. 33:10
When the spoilers had made the land as waste as if devoured by locusts, and the warriors who had defended the country sat down and wept like women, then the Lord came to the rescue. When travelers ceased from the roads to Zion, and Bashan and Carmel were as vineyards from which the fruit has failed, then the Lord arose. God is exalted in the midst of an afflicted people, for they seek His face and trust Him. He is still more exalted when in answer to their cries He lifts up Himself to deliver them and overthrow their enemies.
Is it a day of sorrow with us? Let us expect to see the Lord glorified in our deliverance. Are we drawn out in fervent prayer? Do we cry day and night unto Him? Then the set time for His grace is near. God will lift up Himself at the right season. He will arise when it will be most for the display of His glory. We wish for His glory more than we long for our own deliverance. Let the Lord be exalted, and our chief desire is obtained.
Lord, help us in such a way that we may see that thou thyself art working. May we magnify thee in our inmost souls. Make all around us to see how good and great a God thou art.