The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of August 22, 2016
Job 5:18-19, “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. 18For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”
Beloved, have you ever experienced happiness after being reproved? For many of us the answer is a loud, “No. Are you crazy?” I ask this question understanding that for many of us happiness is not our first response. Our first response to discipline is usually denial, or blame-shifting, or outright rebellion such as, “Who are you to correct me?” But happy?
Yet, this is what Job 5:18-19 says, “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves.” The word “blessed” literally means, “O how happy!” So, why should be happy when God is reproving us? We should be happy knowing a couple of things. One: that we are children of God, two: that God loves us and three: that God desires us to mature.
We understand these truths from Hebrews 12:5-6, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Beloved, because we know these three truths we can then be content knowing that God is working in our lives when He reproves us. We also learn that God does not leave us hurting. He heals us as Job 5:19 says, “For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”
Beloved, God is always working in our lives. He works through circumstance, through people and through pain and suffering. Beloved, I pray that you would humbly acknowledge His sovereignty in your life and recognize His hand is at work. His desire is to do what Jude 1:24 says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”
I pray that you will have a blessed day! I love you and I will be praying for you!
Word of Grace Devotion for August 15, 2016
1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Beloved, we have been on a theme the last few weeks looking at God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. We have learned that God will keep us from stumbling but that we need to keep ourselves in the love of God. Hence we need both sovereignty and responsibility in our lives.
In the above Scriptural verses we learn that God will provide a way out of temptation but that we also must take heed to ourselves as 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” So how do we take heed to ourselves? To take heed means: to mind; to regard with care; to take notice of; to attend to; and to observe. In other words we are to internally look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we are placing ourselves in a position of spiritual danger. For example, if we had a previous problem with alcohol- should we visit a bar; if we have a problem with lust should we watch an r-rated movie; if we eat too many donuts should we continually visit Dunkin Donuts? So we take heed of ourselves by not placing ourselves in a position of temptation. I have always said that the best way to overcome temptation is to completely avoid it.
But sometimes temptation comes upon us. This is where 1 Corinthians 10:13 comes into play. If we have taken heed to ourselves but still find ourselves in a position of temptation, we can know that the Lord, in His sovereignty, will provide, “the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” In a sense, we do what we can and God is always faithful to do what only He can do and we can have victory over temptation!
I pray that you will have a blessed day! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In Jesus Name-
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of August 8, 2016
Set His Heart
Ezra 7:10- “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”
Beloved, I still remember that day when I had to present a seven-minute sermon before the Shepherd School’s homiletic class in Pastor Skip’s office. Pastor Skip would critique all manner of the presentation from your eye contact to your pronunciation of words. He left no one unscathed by his tedious critique of every aspect of your presentation. My sermon was based off of Ezra 7:10 which has become one of my favorite verses in Scripture.
Beloved, it is in Ezra 7:10 that we receive an outline on how to study the Word of God. First we must set or prepare our heart. This includes going to the Lord in prayer and preparing out heart to receive the Word of God. We do this because God first desires to speak to the individual studying the Scripture. Unfortunately so many teachers miss this point. They search the Scriptures for texts that will speak to others not understanding that God still needs to do a work in their own hearts and lives.
Secondly, as we set our heart then we can proceed to study the Law of the Lord. We read it again and again and use the observation, interpretation, and application method of study. Thankfully, God speaks to us: this is necessary because step three commands our participation in what we have just studied.
Thus, thirdly, we apply the Scripture to our own lives as we “do it.” God first desires to make application in the teacher’s life before the teacher ever teaches his text. Some teachers may say, “Well, the text doesn’t apply to me, “ or “I didn’t receive anything out of that text.” Teacher, if you did not receive anything you can bet that no one else will receive anything as well. You might as well not teach it.
Which is the fourth part of Ezra 7:10, “And to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” When we finally get around to teaching the text, we have already set our heart, studied the Word and applied it to our life; then we can teach it remembering what James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
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 August 1, 2016
2 Chronicles 30:8-9, “Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
Beloved, under King Hezekiah, Judah and the rest of Israel experienced a great revival. Idols were destroyed, such as Nehustan, high places were removed and Temple worship was reinstituted. Under him there was again one king, one people and one Temple for he sought to reunite Judah with the remnant of Israel around the worship at Jerusalem (30:1 - 31:1). In addition, the Passover feast was restored.
It all begins as King Hezekiah and those around him turned their hearts to the Lord. In the Scripture above we are given the admonition to, “not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God.”
Thus our return to the Lord begins with us yielding our lives unto Him. Beloved, there are times in our lives that we may need to stop and determine if we are going in the right direction. We also need to come to the point in our lives where we allow the Lord to lead. Thus we yield unto Him and allow Him to take the lead.
What happens when we return to the Lord? Scripture says in 2 Chronicles 30:9- For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”
Beloved, I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you! Take some time this week to determine who is leading your life. If it is not the Lord, then repent, allow Him to get in front of you and allow Him to lead you. Remember, He knows the best way home!