VIDEO Grace Upon Grace

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

We can never exhaust God’s grace or wear out His promises. The phrase “grace for grace” conveys the idea of reoccurring waves, like an ocean. Someone put it like this: “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”

Raymond H. Davis wrote, “Every spiritual blessing we have prepares us for a greater blessing. Every filling with the Holy Ghost creates a capacity for an additional filling with the Holy Ghost. Every experience of the presence of God we enjoy leads the way to a richer experience of the presence of God. As long as we live in this life we can go on from blessing to blessing, from filling to filling with the Holy Spirit, from experience to experience of God’s presence until, finally, we see Him face to face when He returns to receive us into His glory.”

We have His waves of grace amidst the storms of life.

Grace upon grace?! I’m floored. What can I say? His grace upon grace not only lets me live, His grace lets me serve, it lets me worship, it lets me take His name as my own, it called me by name, it grants me fullness of life. Joni Eareckson Tada

Jesus: Glory, Grace, and God (John 1:14-18)

Difficult People

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Lucy Worsley is a British historian and TV presenter. Like most people in the public eye, she sometimes receives nasty mail—in her case, over a mild speech impediment that makes her r’s sound like w’s. One person wrote this: “Lucy, I’ll be blunt: Please try harder to correct your lazy speech or remove r’s from your scripts—I couldn’t sit through your TV series because it made me so annoyed. Regards, Darren.”

For some people, an insensitive comment like this might trigger an equally rude reply. But here’s how Lucy responded: “Oh Darren, I think you’ve used the anonymity of the internet to say something you probably wouldn’t say to my face. Please reconsider your unkind words! Lucy.”

Lucy’s measured response worked. Darren apologized and vowed not to send anyone such an email again.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,” Proverbs says, “but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1). While the hot-tempered person stirs things up, the patient person calms them down (v. 18). When we get a critical comment from a colleague, a snide remark from a family member, or a nasty reply from a stranger, we have a choice: to speak angry words that fuel the flames or gentle words that douse them.

May God help us to speak words that turn away wrath—and perhaps even help difficult people to change.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

Think of a time you got defensive with someone. Why do you think you reacted that way? How could you respond differently in God’s power?

Loving God, give me the ability to respond to quarrelsome people with patient, gentle words

The Importance of Right Motives

1 Samuel 17:20-40

Goliath was a daunting enemy of Israel, and a strong incentive was offered to anyone who could kill the giant: money, exemption from taxes, and marriage to King Saul’s daughter. Though these rewards would intrigue any young man, David was not foolhardy. The young shepherd had a different motivation for standing against Goliath: He wanted to serve the Lord.

And so David called out, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he has dared to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). To him, a challenge to God’s chosen nation of Israel was the same as defying the Lord Himself. David was prepared to defend Yahweh’s holy name and His people, even against this formidable warrior.

It is possible for believers to seek victory with wrong motives. In fact, many reasons that sound good are actually selfish. For example, I’m tired of being in this mess, or Lord, I can’t run away, so You’ll have to remove this problem, or even, If I had more money, then I’d give more to the church. At the end of the day, the right motive is a desire to follow, serve, and honor God.

Life’s “Goliaths” happen to us all, and they can either impede or strengthen our walk with the Lord. As He did with David, God will give victory to those who stand strong in His name.

Opening the Ear

“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.” (Psalm 40:6)

That Psalm 40 is primarily a Messianic psalm speaking mainly about the work of Christ is evident from its quotation as such in Hebrews 10:5-10. The psalm is prophesying particularly of His incarnation, as He says: “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7).

Burnt offerings and sin offerings had indeed been required from God’s people under the law, but these were not an end in themselves. These sacrifices were meaningless unless they were offered out of a willing heart, obedient expressions of submission to a forgiving God.

That was the implication of the “opened ear,” a symbolic expression indicating one’s willingness thenceforth to hear only the voice of his master and to submit to His will in all things. If a freed bondservant “shall plainly say, I love my master…I will not go out free: Then his master shall…bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever” (Exodus 21:5-6). This was the testimony of the coming Messiah, as reported in our text.

Then note its application as recorded in Hebrews 10:5: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” That is, the phrase “mine ears hath thou opened” is translated by the Holy Spirit as “a body hast thou prepared me.” The perfect submission of the Son to the Father required that He become a man, with a very special human body prepared by His Father. Then Psalm 40:7 becomes (in Hebrews 10:7): “Lo, I come…to do thy will, O God….By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10). HMM

If God Answers Prayer

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. —James 1:17

Why does God answer prayer? Let’s not imagine that it’s because somebody was good. We Protestants think we don’t believe in saints, but we do. We canonize them: we have Saint George Mueller, Saint C.H. Spurgeon, Saint D.L. Moody and Saint A.B. Simpson. We get the idea that God answered prayer for them because they were really good. They would deny that fervently if they were here.

Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Having fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it’s because God is good. From His goodness, His loving-kindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That’s the source of everything.   AOG046-047

Thank You, God, that You are indeed good, You are faithful, You are gracious, You are full of loving-kindness and benevolence. Thank You that You do in fact answer prayer! Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership.

A Worshiping People

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:…come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. —1 Chronicles 16:29

We are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship and adore Him. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians, cookie-cutter Christians, Christians stamped out with a die.

God has provided His salvation that we might be, individually and personally, vibrant children of God, loving God with all our hearts and worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness.

This does not mean, and I am not saying, that we must all worship alike. The Holy Spirit does not operate by anyone’s preconceived idea or formula. But this I know: when the Holy Spirit of God comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people. WHT014

Worship means to “express in some appropriate manner” what you feel. Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn’t mean that we always express it in the same way all the time. And it doesn’t mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it will be expressed in some manner. QTB197

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

There’s A Price Tag

Luke 14:27

Remember the Mother Goose rhyme about Simple Simon? He’s the one who met the pie man and asked for a sample. The pie man said, “Show me first your penny.” Or as we might say, “There’s a price tag on it.”

Jesus said this about Christian discipleship. “No one can be My disciple who does not carry his own cross and follow Me. But don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:27, 28 TLB).

There’s a price tag on life. Whether at its beginning or end or at any point in between, life costs something. The world offers many desirable, fascinating things. Impulsively we say, “That’s for me! I’ll have a big helping of that!” Then comes the unavoidable demand, “First your penny!” Health, peace, liberty, reputation, all of these and much more demand prior and continuing payment. There’s a price tag on everything.

There’s a price tag on achievement. To master a musical instrument, or to sing well requires long hours of diligent study and patient practice. To get a good education, to excel in some sport, to be a leader in a profession or in the arts, every worthwhile thing demands payment in industry, self-discipline and perseverance. Some of us do no more than window shop. We see the price tag and don’t want to pay what it costs.

There’s a price tag on religion. Jesus dispelled any illusions of an easy, cheap, pie-in-the-sky sort of discipleship when He said, “If any man would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). A satisfying relationship with God will cost the surrender of every known wrong, every conflicting love, every doubtful practice. Time and effort must also be spent in cultivating the things of the Spirit. Salvation is of such surpassing value that whatever it costs us it is still a gift. It cost Heaven’s best, the self-giving of the Son of God.

Whether we choose the best or the worst, we pay for it. The best Christian you know chooses to be a servant of Jesus Christ and pays for it. Some people choose to be slaves to their appetites and they pay for it. We take what we want and pay for it.

May we so live as to be satisfied and benefitted with what we are paying for.

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point