Monday, September 25, 2017

By grace

He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. ~ Psalm 30:5 (MSG)

For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift... ~ Ephesians 2:8 (GNT)

KEY IDEA:
God sets his anger aside to graciously love his people.
PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for loving me. I am not very loveable in and of what or who I am. I'm very unimpressive. I'm a broken person without a lot to offer you. So you do it all through your grace -- your generosity. Help me to live faithfully by faith in what Christ Jesus has done (and is doing) to draw me to yourself. I'm not going to be prideful of my spiritual progress but will denounce all such attitudes to acknowledge the great gift that comes through Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Choose life!

The 16th Sunday after Pentecost

I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life... ~ Deuteronomy 30:19 (CEB)

Jesus said: I came so that they could have life -- indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. ~ John 10:10 (CEB)

KEY IDEA:
Jesus IS the life. Choose him every day, every hour, every minute, and every second in order to have a great life.
PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for giving us the life you intended for us to have. Yet, we tend to gravitate toward darkness and death. For some reason, we enjoy the risk of dangerous choices. I include myself. Help me to choose life! I want to live according to the plan you have set out for me. Amen.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

God values people

But why are people even important to you? Why do you take care of human beings? ~ Psalm 8:4 (NCV)

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. ~ Ephesians 1:5-6 (NLT)

KEY IDEA:
People are so important to God that he made a way for us to be adopted into his family.
PRAYER:
Lord, with the psalmist I wonder how it is that you started to care for us people. There is so much to your creation and yet you sought out fellowship with the people. Thank you for making a way for us to become a part of your family. Help me to remember who I am because of your grace and to think often of you, our heavenly Father. Amen.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Discerning

Ears to hear and eyes to see -- both are gifts from the Lord. ~ Proverbs 20:12 (NLT)

Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NLT)

KEY IDEA:
Put everything you see and hear to the test to determine if it is from the Lord.
PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for giving us the tools to sort the good from the bad. I confess, though, that I'm a bit lazy in this matter. There are so many words and so many images -- I get tired of the sorting work. Might the Holy Spirit reenergize me so that I can faithfully discern what needs to be discerned. I want to hold onto only those things which are good. Amen.