When Grace Runs Out

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Devotion: John 12:40

There’s an old hymn with a line that goes, “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe.”  The acronym for grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense.  It can never be earned or deserved but can grace really run out?

Our scripture today indicates that grace can indeed run out. After a person rejects Christ so many times; the Lord declares He will harden a person’s heart.  I did hear of a man who had the gospel given to him over a hundred times before it started to sink in and then he prayed to receive Christ.

We don’t know the time frame God has ordained for each person being wooed to Himself.  He does not wish for any man to perish without a saving knowledge of Himself. Over time; if any man continually refuses to beckon to God’s call, he will develop a heart of stone.  Any time a person falls under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and rejects His wooing; a heart of stone can be changed to a heart of flesh.

I recently heard the testimony of a Catholic Samoan missionary who studied for many years to become a Jesuite priest.  Jim Civale and his wife Emi were steeped in Roman Catholicism. God used Jim’s earthly brother’s letter to lead him and his wife to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The letter stated that Jim’s brother was leaving the Catholic Church.

At first Jim was angered by his brother’s declaration.  Jim proclaimed with his own mouth how he was steeped in pride of his Catholic training.  He had obtained a doctorate degree in his field but God opened his eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Through a letter; Jim Civale had a Damascus Road experience. Although there was no blinding light, he began to read the Holy Bible for himself and the truth of this two edged sword pierced him through and through.  Eventually he led his bride Emi; also steeped in Catholic training, to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Since that day; God has done many great and mighty things through this dear couple.  Schools have been established on the island of Samoia.  Churches have been built.  Many people have been delivered from ancestor worship and cultish practices, to the glorious saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

You see, a heart of stone can be changed when a person begins to seek the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ the Lord.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, thank You for using different ways and means to draw us to Yourself.  Thank You for bringing Jim and Emi to Christ.  A whole country has been changed due to their obedience. I praise You for these dear missionaries that brought light into a once very dark place.  Keep Your hand upon them as they continue to do the work of Your ministry.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

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Bright, Bright, Sun Shiny Day

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Devotion:  John 8:12

Do you remember the last time you were distraught over something?  How did you encourage yourself?  Or did someone lift your spirits with a word of encouragement?  There is something about getting in the sunshine that lifts our spirit.

Jesus is the light of the world.  He pours rays of hope into our minds and hearts if only we allow Him.  He brings brightness into our darkest places.  I need sunshine in a major way.  The need for Vitamin D calls my name.

This song was written by Kenneth Gamble quite some time ago.

“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies.”

We love the days of blue skies and sunshine; however,

        Will we always have a bright sun shiny day?

No.  God said, “In this world we will have tribulation, but do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.”
“This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.”  I want it to be a Son-Shiny day for you my friend. When the dark clouds of storm seem to swirl around you; let Jesus shine on you, in you and through you. Allow Him to be the lifter of your head.  Wait upon the Lord.  He will renew your strength and help you to mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary and walk and not faint.
Prayer in Motion:
Lord Jesus, please let this be a bright, bright, Son-Shiny Day, for those who need their spirits to be lifted. I plead “grace, grace God’s grace, freely bestowed upon every single reader of God’s Word.”

Little Faith, No Faith or Great Faith

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Devotion: Hebrews 11:6

These words jumped out at me when I opened up my Precept Matthew Study.  Where do I fall amongst these scenarios?  Do I have a little faith?  After all, Jesus says, “Faith the grain of a mustard seed can move a mountain.  If I have no faith; it means I do not believe the Lord God can accomplish what concerns me.

When is our faith tested?  Is it when things are going wonderfully well?  Usually; it’s when you are at a very low point in your life. That’s when the enemy of your soul wants to shove the reality of your life in your face.  He wants to make you question:  “How’s that faith thing working out for you?”  Where is your God now when you need Him the most?

How we should long to be a person of great faith. There are many people mentioned in the Bible.  Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Joseph and David to name a few.  They never recanted their faith.

I witnessed to a young  lady who prayed to receive Christ one evening and then recanted by the next morning.  She called to say, “Mrs. Libby, I don’t want you to hate me, but I didn’t really mean what I said about trusting Jesus as my Savior.  What? Didn’t mean it? I was so sad for her denial of the one true God. I don’t know what happened to her but the truth will always prevail.  I prayed that she would one day come to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ as her Savior.

Without faith it’s impossible to please Christ.  Allow Him to build you up in your most holy faith.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, may I be known by You as a person of great faith.  I love You and thank You for training me in righteousness.  In Jesus name I offer up this prayer.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Listen = Silent

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Devotion:  “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Did you realize the same letters in the word listen are the same letters in the word silent?  Isn’t that amazing?  There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth.  No one loves to talk more than I do.  I hear you laughing.  It is the truth.

I also love to listen to a good story.  I really enjoy hearing good preaching and teaching.  Why?  The preaching and teaching of God’s Word yields fruit that will remain.  If we heed God’s Word; it helps us make better choices.  When temptation comes; and it will, we can choose to abstain from “the sin that so easily besets us.”

Our enemy prowls around seeking whom he may devour.  He knows our weaknesses; so those are the areas he will choose to attack.  He has no new tricks up his sleeve.  The old ones have been working for him since the beginning of time.

During every trial; we must learn to be silent and listen for the voice of God.  He will “order your steps and direct your path.”  If we take to heart the sermons, the Biblical teaching and encouragement from God’s Word, we will be trained in righteousness.  I am  not saying it will be easy; just that we will be trained by our trials.

God does not want any trial or tribulation to be in vain.  He wants His children to learn from them and pass along to others; how we are applying what we’ve learned.  You see our trials are not just for our benefit.  Be still. Be quiet.  Listen for God’s voice.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Lord my God; I do love You more today than yesterday.  I need You more with every passing day.  You are so good, so kind, so all knowing.  Thank You for the trials You with which You have entrusted me. Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.  In Jesus Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen

 

The Last One Saved

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Devotion: 1 Thessalonians 4:17

Can you imagine being the last one saved; as the Father stands up and says to His Son, “Go get your children.”?  The Lord alone knows the last one to pray the sinner’s prayer.

Can you imagine being the one who witnesses to the last one saved?  What a glorious way to go out of this world; having introduced a lost person to their Savior.

The ladies in my Sunday School Class are studying the book of Acts.  We had just finished discussing the apostles courage to witness, in spite of the never ending threat of persecution.  My friend Tina Hunt asked the question;

              “Can you imagine giving out the gospel to the                                       last person on earth to be saved?”

Together, you and the last one saved; would be caught up to meet Jesus in the air and live with Him in Heaven for eternity.

There could be nothing more exciting than leading another soul to Christ.  Whether or not you have the gift of evangelism; we are still responsible to give the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can only imagine.  I pray right now for us to become stronger and bolder in our witnessing.  I’m asking that it might be one of you who’s the last one to lead someone to Christ.

Prayer in Motion

Oh God, may no weapon formed against my readers prosper. Please give us all a sense of urgency to share the blessed hope of our salvation. May we take Your command to go and make disciples seriously. Father, create in us a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within us.  Grant us courage to take the gospel into our Judea and Samaria.  May Your Words of Life stay in our hearts and on our lips.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Valley to Victory

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Devotion:  Psalm 23:4

My son sent me a powerful quote by CS Lewis. “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way.”

Dear reader, I do not know what your low point has been, is now or will be in the future; however, we all have them.  God brought to my mind a verse found in Psalm 23.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil”…

                                “For Thou are with me.”

It is in the valleys of life where we learn to trust Emmanuel, God with us.  If we never walked through the valleys; the victories would not be nearly as powerful.

I knew a precious lady; now in heaven, who used to say, “Life is hard, but God is good.”  Do you remember that God is good; even in the worst of times?  Does His goodness leave Him when our lives appear to be torn apart? No!  God is good all the time.

The character of God is immutable.  He never changes.  My prayer for you, precious child of the Most High God is as follows. I pray that you will live to see the goodness of God in the land of the living. I pray that you will experience victory even while you are in the valley.  God is good even in the valley of the shadow of death.  It might not be the death of a person.  It might be the death of a job or a dream.

When all seems lost and undone; “God remains on His throne, where He has been all along and He knows what’s going on.” That quote comes from my friend Danny Benton.

The Lord has not turned His back on you.  If His eye is on the sparrow; His eyes never look away from you.  He never says “Oops, I had no idea this was going on in your life.”  He sees and He knows. Trust Him when you’re in the lowest part of the valley, until He brings you to victory.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for the valleys.  I know that I walk in them with You. Thank You for being with me and staying with me.  You are faithful even when I am not.  I will not lose heart or hope because Your presence goes with me.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

Where the Seed Falls

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Devotion:  Matthew 13:3-9

My dad always planted a huge garden, one acre to be precise. He planted corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, peas, squash, canteloupe and watermelons.  Oh my goodness; it was a lot of work.

Carol Setzer was a house builder.  He would leave about 6:00 a.m. in the morning and come home about 4:30 in the afternoon. In the spring, summer and early fall; after eating an early dinner; he would head out to his garden to hoe, weed, plow, fertilize or gather his harvest, depending upon the time of the season.

As my sister and I got old enough to plant, hoe, fertilize or weed; Dad would carefully instruct and supervise our work; because he wanted those specific tasks to be done right.

Sometimes; we would throw the seed too widely and it would land on the rocky outer soil.  Dad’s eyes were watching; so he would tell us to keep the seed in it’s prepared place.  He had hoed in a small ditch prepared specifically for each seed.  It had been de-rocked, plowed, weeded, and fertilized.  In order for the crop to come, the seed had to land on the “good soil.”

                     It matters where the seed falls.

God sends the rain and brings the sun that yields the plant growth, as well as the fruit.  

We as Christians are responsible to throw out the seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus knows the hearts that are prepared to hear and receive the truth of His message.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, thank You for preparing the soil of the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel.  May I be faithful to throw out the seeds with which you have entrusted me.  I pray for good soil and much fruit to remain.  In Jesus Name I offer up this prayer. Amen