The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of May 26, 2015
1 Corinthians 12:25-26, “That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
Beloved, last week was a long bittersweet week. Bitter because it was painful to watch my Dad suffer the last month before his death. Parkinson’s disease had slowly taken away his ability to swallow and he wasted away. When he entered the facility that cared for him he weighed 156 pounds. By the time of his death his weight had dropped to 113 pounds. My friend Frank, who lost both his Dad and his wife’s Father in the past year through similar circumstances simply said, “I know.”
It was also bitter because there had been a schism in the family. The family was broken and bitterness was setting in. Thankfully, through your prayers and the grace of God, My Dad’s passing also brought sweetness to our family. My Dad’s passing away brought my family closer together than it had been in years. There was cooperation, there were times of prayer and there were lots of tears. One last thing that my Dad wanted was for the family to stop fighting and we did. So it was a bittersweet week.
Bitter is the pain that death brings but sweet is knowledge that for my Dad there is no more pain, nor suffering as he is with the Lord. His death on Tuesday, May 19th at 9:31pm was one of 180 deaths that hour. Beloved, 250,000 people die every day. Some go to heaven but many do not. Beloved, we need to be about our Father’s business!
My family and I want to thank you for your many prayers for us this past week. They were truly present during this difficult time. God’s grace was so evident that He even allowed me to get home in time to see my dad once last time before he passed away. It was almost as if he was holding on until I got to see him. We truly felt the body at work in us!
Beloved, I have much to share but that will come later, maybe even this weekend. Once again, thank for your prayers and for being the body that “cares for one another!”
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His Strength,
THE WORD OF GRACE DEVOTION FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 18, 2015
1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-2, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Beloved, we are called to be servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. As servants of Christ we are called to do whatever our master asks us to do. The Word here in Greek for servants means “underrower.” This was the person on the bottom of the boat rowing so that the craft would move forward. Morgan describes this "under-rower" as "one who acts under direction, and asks no questions, one who does the thing he is appointed to do without hesitation, and one who reports only to the One Who is over him."
We also are stewards of the mysteries of God. A steward is one who cares for the possessions of another, an overseer or manager. In our case, everything we posses: our abilities, and our provisions come from the Lord. We are stewards of what He has given us. “Thesteward was the master's deputy in regulating the concerns of the family, providing food for the household, seeing it served out at proper times and seasons, and in proper quantities. He received all the cash, expended what was necessary for the support of the family, and kept exact accounts, for which he was obliged at certain times to lay before the master.” (Clarke)
The end result is that we be found faithful. A faithful steward is one who is reliable. A reliable steward is always available and present. Beloved, God looks more for faithfulness than any other characteristic in our life. Can you be trusted? Are you consistent? Can you be counted upon to deliver the goods? Faithfulness is what our Lord requires.
What we lack in ability and possessions the Lord is more than able to pick up the slack. So many of those in ministry are there because they answered the call and made themselves available.
Faithfulness also carries over to all other aspects of our life. If married, a faithful spouse is one who can be trusted and leaned upon. They are highly valued. In a friendship, a faithful friend is one who will be there regardless of good times or bad. They are precious in our sight.
As servants and stewards of Christ we must be found faithful.
Beloved, I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of May 11, 2015
Put on Christ
Romans 13:11-14, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
Beloved, after first starting out as a believer on fire for Christ, many believers can place their relationship with Christ on automatic pilot. They are doing the right things i.e. going to church, reading their Bible, fellowshipping, but their relationship with Christ is not growing. They have become the victim of a rote relationship with Christ, which will ultimately place them in a rut and lead eventually to rot. The solution to coming out of this is Romans 13:11-14.
First of all, if our relationship with Christ is on sleep mode we need to, “awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” We do this because we “know the time.” We know that as each day passes we are closer and closer to the return of Jesus. We know that we are to be on high alert for the return of Christ and not on sleep mode. WE NEED TO WAKE UP!
Secondly we need to CAST OFF. We need to take off our sinfulness noted as dirty clothes, our “works of darkness,” later described as, “revelry and drunkenness,” “lewdness and lust,” and “strife and envy.”
Then we need to “PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” We do this by diligently seeking the Lord through prayer and a daily reading of God’s Word.
Beloved, when we do these three things each day. When we WAKE UP, CAST OFF and then PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, our relationship with Christ will grow and it will light a fire in our hearts to love the Lord and His people.
Beloved, we “do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when wefirst believed. 12The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”
Beloved, turn off the sleep mode, place your life into gear and instead of sleepwalking, began to walk on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ. WAKE UP, CAST OFF and PUT ON JESUS!
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In Jesus’ name,
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of May 4, 2015
Character Through Perseverance
Romans 5:3-8, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Beloved- it is a privilege to share with you this day. I do not take lightly the opportunity to share God’s Word with you. I stand not on my own ability but on His. This week’s devotion is focused on, “Character Through Perseverance.” It is of upmost importance, that our lives are lives of character.
What I have learned as a Pastor is that the Lord produces character through suffering and perseverance. These are characteristics that every believer should possess. I have chosen Romans 5:3-8 as my text. We will quickly explore three facets the Lord utilizes to work in us and through us. He hones us. He gives us hope. And He offers us His love through humility. A thesis statement might read: “The Lord produces in us character through perseverance as He hones us for the work of the ministry seeding our lives with hope and humility with love.”
Beloved, firstly the Lord desires to hone us. To hone is to refine or perfect (something) over a period of time. Honing is an abrasive machining process that produces a precision surface on a metal work piece by scrubbing an abrasive stone against it along a controlled path. So how does the Lord hone us? He hones us through suffering, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Beloved, the sufferings that we endure are for good for us to become more Christ-like.
But thankfully the Lord does not leave us there because He also gives us hope. Beloved, We hope because we know that our suffering is not in vain! ROMANS 5:4-5 says it this way, “And endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Finally, character through perseverance is produced through humility. Beloved, anything that we have ever accomplished is because of God’s grace. Paul describes us with four words in Romans 5: “weak” (v. 6), “ungodly” (v. 6), “sinners” (v. 8), and “enemies” (v. 10). In so doing he tells us that God’s love was totally unmotivated by anything in us. Beloved, we could all use a heavy dose of humility! If we are anything it is because of Christ. He holds it all together!
But you may ask, “why all the suffering and humility?” Why, because the Lord needs to develop our character through our perseverance. He desires that we become more and more like Jesus and this can only be accomplished as the Lord removes the dross from our lives. Is it painful? Yes! But the results are beautiful!
Beloved, if you are in the midst of pain and suffering take hope. God is doing a beautiful work inside of you! Do not lose you hope but rather “Rejoice in your sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character.”
Beloved, I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His love-