VIDEO Drawing on the Grace of God Now

We…plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. —2 Corinthians 6:1

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that “the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit” is before all else. Approved Unto God, 11 L


2 Corinthians 6:1-18 sermon by Dr. Bob Utley

Walking with Others

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. Romans 13:8

Billy, a loving and loyal dog, became an internet star in 2020. His owner, Russell, had broken his ankle and was using crutches to walk. Soon the dog also began to hobble when walking with his owner. Concerned, Russell took Billy to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him! He ran freely when he was by himself. It turned out that the dog faked a limp when he walked with his owner. That’s what you call trying to truly identify with someone’s pain!

Coming alongside others is forefront in the apostle Paul’s instructions to the church in Rome. He summed up the last five of the Ten Commandments in this way: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9). We can see the importance of walking with others in verse 8 as well: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

Author Jenny Albers advises: “When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. (You can’t.) When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. (You can’t.) Instead, love them by walking beside them in the hurt. (You can.) Because sometimes what people need is simply to know they aren’t alone.”

Because Jesus, our Savior, walks alongside us through all our hurt and pain, we know what it means to walk with others.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

Who needs you to come alongside them this week? In what way might God want you to do that?

Open my eyes, God, to the needs of people around me. Help me to be a loving friend.

Sunday Reflection: The Promise of Love

No matter how many good deeds we’ve done or how many mistakes we’ve made, God’s love for us remains the same

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

God loves us.  It’s a wonderful reality, but one we hear about so often that the idea can actually become stale in our minds. And sadly, if this truth becomes simply information, it loses the power to transform lives. On the other hand, if we make a daily practice of receiving God’s unconditional love and letting it wash over us, our faith will change dramatically. Then the impact will spread, as we’ll also be positioned to love others well (John 15:51 John 4:19).

So today, let’s remember: God is love, and He is both everlasting and unchanging. His unconditional commitment to us comes from who He is; it has nothing to do with who we are or what we’ve done. No matter how many mistakes or good deeds we’ve tallied, they could never influence Him to change His mind about us. Our heavenly Father loves us just as we are, even before we receive His gift of eternal life (Romans 5:8-10). Meditate on His words today: “I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Think about it

• If you’re having trouble sensing God’s love in your life, try picturing Him as a warm, nurturing, perfect Father who wants to hold and comfort you.

Spiritual Entropy

“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Corinthians 6:5)

The word for “shame” in this verse is the Greek entrope, meaning “turning inward” or “inversion.” It is used only one other time, in 1 Corinthians 15:34: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Evidently this special variety of shame is associated with taking controversies between Christian brethren to ungodly judges and also with failing to witness to the non-Christian community. Instead of bringing the true wisdom of God to the ungodly, such “entropic Christians” were turning to worldly wisdom to resolve their own spiritual problems. This inverted behavior was nothing less than spiritual confusion!

The modern scientific term “entropy” is essentially this same Greek word. In science, entropy is a measure of disorder in any given system. The universal law of increasing entropy states that every system tends to disintegrate into disorder, or confusion, if left to itself. This tendency can only be reversed if ordering energy is applied to it effectively from a source outside the system.

This universal scientific law has a striking parallel in the spiritual realm. A person turning inward to draw on his own bank of power, or seeking power from an ineffective outside source, will inevitably deteriorate eventually into utter spiritual confusion and death. But when Christ enters the life, that person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Scriptures, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The law of spiritual entropy is transformed into the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). HMM

An Old Message

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.Acts 2:32

In our world are dozens of different kinds of Christianities. Certainly many of them do not seem to be busy and joyful in proclaiming the unique glories of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God. Some brands of Christianity will tell you very quickly that they are just trying to do a little bit of good on behalf of neglected people and neglected causes. Others will affirm that we can do more good by joining in the “contemporary dialogue” than by continuing to proclaim the “old, old story of the cross.”

But we stand with the early Christian apostles. We believe that every Christian proclamation should be to the glory and the praise of the One whom God raised up after He had loosed the pains of death….Peter considered it important to affirm that the risen Christ is now exalted at the right hand of God. He said that fact was the reason for the coming of the Holy Spirit. JMI004-005

Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:22-24)

“But Your Head Is Gone”

Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.Acts 3:19

One of the things we must do if we are to stay spiritually fresh is to break decisively with everything that Christ cannot approve.

When we are fighting sin and evil, we are fighting a defeated foe, because Jesus met and conquered every sin on the cross. You will never meet a single sin that has not been defeated by Christ. So if sin is bullying you, do what E. Stanley Jones advised. He said: “When sin intimidates me, I quietly ask it to bend its neck. When it does, I joyfully point to the footprints of the Son of God on its neck. My inferiority complex is gone. I am on the winning side.” This language may be picturesque, but the truth is powerful—because of what Christ has accomplished on Calvary, we walk the earth amid conquered foes.

A far-fetched but illustrative story from the ancient battles of Africa tells how a warrior was beheaded during a skirmish, but he fought on even though his head was gone. He succeeded in killing many until someone said, “But your head has gone! You’re dead,” whereupon he fell down and died. When sin comes against you, point and say: “Look, your head has gone. My Master conquered you on the cross. Begone! You are headless.” Evil fights on, but it is brainless. It depends on prejudices, old habits, and perhaps above all on our lack of decisiveness. So if there are still any sins in your life that need to be dealt with, face them in the assurance that they are conquered foes, and break decisively with everything that Christ cannot approve.

Prayer

O God, thank You for reminding me that I need not develop an inferiority complex in relation to sin—it is a conquered foe. Help me to accept and enter into the great victory of Calvary. In Christ’s powerful name. Amen.

Further Study

1Jn 1; Pr 28:13; Col 2:14

What prevents us from prospering?

How are we to deal with sin?

Blameless

There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

There is a tremendous sense of freedom in living a blameless life. Job was blameless. Neither Satan nor any person could accuse him of wrongdoing. Even through the most rigorous tests, Job remained above reproach.

The apostle Paul said he diligently sought to relate to others in such a way that he would never regret his actions (Acts 24:16). This desire should be ours as well. The Book of Revelation indicates that those in heaven will be blameless (Rev. 14:5). This condition does not mean they never sinned on earth, but that God forgave their sins and granted them His righteousness.

Blameless does not mean perfect. It means that in every situation you do the correct thing. If you sin against someone, you confess your sin and ask for forgiveness. If you sin against God, you repent and begin to obey Him (Prov. 28:13). Often the way you handle your sin is as important as the sin itself. When you become aware of your transgression, seek to be blameless in the way you deal with it. If you attempt to conceal your sin, deny it, justify it, or blame others for it, you make the original offense much worse.

Have you been blameless in your dealings with God and others? When you have failed to treat people as you should, have you responded with integrity as you reconciled with them? If you are to be blameless, you must do everything in your power to correct any wrongdoing and reconcile any broken relationship. There is a profound sense of peace for the one whose way is blameless!