Let Us Overcome Evil With Good

When we try to make others pay for their sin, we have forgotten that Jesus paid for our sin. As recipients of grace, we are to release our instinct for revenge when others wrong us to let God judge, punish and make all things right in His timing and in His way.  Our role is to model His grace, not His judgment. Even when we must seek appropriate justice, it should be motivated by love, not hatred. So, let us overcome evil with good and leave it to God to do the work He means to do.  We who have received grace should be quickest to extend it, praying that others will turn to Jesus as we ourselves have done.

He Is Preparing Us For A Place

Bad circumstances, bad people and bad news make me want it. The more I survey the landscape of the sinfulness and brokenness we are all a part of, I look forward to our eternal heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us so we can be with Him forever.  A place where there will be no more sorrow, suffering or sin.  A place where bad things will be eliminated, good things will be perfected and the best things will be unveiled.  Our citizenship is in heaven, and God has put a longing in us for our homeland.  When it’s hard here, let’s take heart and remember:  He is preparing a place for us, and preparing us for a place.

He Has Kept All Of His Promises To Me

Great is MY faithfulness is not part of a proverb or hymn.  Nobody would ever celebrate my ability to do what I should do or do what I say I will do.  I’m both a promise-maker and a promise-breaker.  A thousand times I have failed to follow-through on my intentions in keeping God’s expectations as I have followed Jesus.  And a thousand times I have received in return… Grace.  Mercy.  Forgiveness.  Encouragement.  Renewal. Correction. Power.  Motivation. Reassurance.  Acceptance.  Instruction.  Hope. Love.  I cannot say that I have kept all of my promises to God. But I can say that He has kept all of His promises to me.

As He Does For Us, So We Do For Others

It’s so easy to give up on people who don’t seem to get it or don’t seem to care.  It’s so easy to distance yourself from people who are negative.  It’s so easy to walk away from people who don’t agree with us.  It’s so easy to check out of relationships when we give more than we receive.  But don’t stop showing people the love of Jesus, because it is the love of Jesus that can soften a heart, transform a life, rewrite a story, and impact an eternity.  Though it is sometimes hard to do good to others, let us never give up on people by remembering that Jesus never gives up on us.  As He does for us, may we do for others.

We Will Sin Less

One of the evidences that you have received God’s pardon for your sin is that you are relying on God’s power to fight against your sin. Forgiveness and freedom are two inseparable aspects of grace. You don’t get one without the other. Spiritual growth will vary by person and season, but one thing every genuine Christian has in common is this: sin no longer holds the same appeal or power as it once did. We go from loving sin to hating it and from choosing sin to fighting it. Though we will not be sinless, we will sin less because of this… Our relationship with sin changes because of our relationship with Jesus.

Relying On And Resting In His Grace

When we receive God’s grace, every sin we have committed, are committing and will commit are all forgiven. Fully.  Freely.  Forever.  That doesn’t mean we can knowingly and willfully continue sinning with no remorse or repentance.  True grace is not “All is forgiven, now you can freely wallow in sin.”  True grace is, “All is forgiven, now you can firmly withstand sin.” Jesus did not pick us up just so we would run back to the same thing that knocked us down. He supplies both pardon for sin and power not to sin. So… We rely on His grace as we strive for holiness, and we rest in His grace when we need forgiveness.

Salvation Is Received, Not Achieved

Salvation is received, not achieved.  We cannot do anything to deserve it or earn it, not even acts of obedience or righteousness.  God does it all… The Father wills it.  The Son secures it.  The Holy Spirit administers it.  What a gift!  What a God! He doesn’t help those who help themselves; He helps those who cannot help themselves.  From start to finish, it’s all by grace… Chosen.  Called.  Converted.  Completed.  Someday every genuine believer will be fully and forever delivered from the presence of sin into the presence of God.  Not because we are able to keep the law, but because Jesus is able to keep us.

His Perfect Life For Our Imperfect Ones

If you think you can simply be a “good person” to get into heaven when you die, then you have grossly underestimated what God requires for entrance. Something we need to understand is this: our standards may be low enough that we can meet them, but God’s are high enough that we never will.  As sinners, the best we can do does not measure up.  The good news is this:  We don’t have to because Jesus already did on behalf of all who put their trust in Him.  Jesus lived for us.  Jesus died for us.  Someday we will be accepted into heaven by grace through faith in this: He exchanged His perfect life for our imperfect ones.

Someone Had To Pay

Nothing is free.  When a gift is received, someone had to first secure it.  Someone had to cover the cost.  Someone had to pay.   You and I are grace recipients who are gifted divine blessings.  These are… Gifts, not wages.  Free to us, not earned by us.  Heaven-sent, not earth-generated.  But let’s never, no never, lose sight of this truth:  they came at a staggeringly high cost.  Someone had to pay, and that Someone was Jesus.  Except for what He did on the cross, sinners like you and me would get nothing but judgment. Instead, we get every good thing God has purposed for us. We get it all because Jesus paid for it all.

Infused With His Mercy

When we are moved by the mercy of God shown to us in Christ, we will move to show it to others.    The merciful extend forgiveness for sin and kindness in suffering to the people around them because they have experienced it themselves.  They have soft hearts, not hard ones.  They have reaching hands, not folded ones.  They have loving mouths, not condemning ones.  This is only possible when the God of mercy takes our natural inclination to be intolerant or indifferent and supernaturally infuses us with His delight to do good to the needy.  Today, let us ask Him to help us deal with others like He deals with us.

The Most Rewarding Thing We Can Ever Do

The most rewarding thing we can ever do is admit our lostness, helplessness and unworthiness to enter God’s kingdom, and depend completely on His mercy and grace.  When we acknowledge our need for God and turn to Him in faith, we are given access to His kingdom and all of its benefits for us in Christ. The kingdom of heaven has a King … and it’s not you or me.  It’s an infinitely wiser, stronger, kinder King who rules over the lives of His people for their good and unleashes so many blessings on them that it will take an eternity to experience them all.  We get a foretaste for now and a feast forever. All hail King Jesus!

By Grace We Get Up And Fight On

People who love Jesus repent by making war against their sin instead of making excuses for it.  Because His pardon is given to us, and His power is with us, and His presence is in us, we can be honest about our sin, and we can be victorious over it.  We have been forgiven.  We are free.  We can be faithful. Therefore, let us strive for holy living while resting in the grace of God, remembering and rejoicing over this truth:   what Jesus has done for us on the cross is sufficient to both cleanse and correct our transgressions.  Because of grace we don’t give up in our fight against our sinfulness; by grace we get up and fight on.

Conviction And Celebration

Christians should know two feelings better than anyone else:  conviction and celebration. We must never lose sight of this:  our sin is great.  We must never lose hope in this:  our Savior is greater.  A right response to our unfolding transformation as we follow Jesus in faith is the ongoing rhythm of repenting of our sin and rejoicing in our salvation.  We were guilty, yet acquitted.  We were undeserving, yet rewarded. We were trapped, yet freed.  May we know the humbling, exalting experience of knowing both our sinfulness and our Savior.  Let us be glad in this: Our sin may have begun our story, but the grace of God will end it.

God Shows His Love For Us

Day after day He says it.  Day after day He shows it.  God lets us know He loves us in countless ways if we will listen and look for it.  Sometimes it sounds like a plea for repentance or a call to faith or an invitation to serve or a warning of danger or a word of encouragement.  Sometimes it looks like a timely-met need or a quiet moment to rest or a special time with loved ones or a normal day with food, clothing and shelter.  But most verbally and visibly… It sounds like “A Savior is born,” “It is finished,” and “He is risen.”  It looks like a manger, a cross and an empty tomb.  God speaks and shows His love best through Jesus.

Freedom From Something And To Something

Freedom is always from something and to something else.  If you are trusting in Jesus, He has set you free from a life of shame, regret, joylessness, emptiness, addictions, fear, pride, doubt, lusts, sin and eternal death at the end.  And He has set you free to a life of honor, joy, contentment, victory, humility, security, faith, peace, hope, love and eternal life at the end.  You are free from sin’s cruel rule to be happy in Jesus now and forever! To experience His freedom, simply abide in His words, depend upon His Spirit and feel His presence with you. Today, don’t live as if you are still in chains.  You have been set free.

And So Is The End Of Sin

There are many things we long for about heaven, such as being with Jesus, reuniting with loved ones, eliminating sorrow and experiencing fullness of joy.  One big thing that we should daily and decidedly look forward to is the complete defeat of all sin.  What a day it will be when we sin no more!  No more unkindness, hardheartedness, covetousness and selfishness.  No more idolatry, bigotry, adultery and mockery. No more rebellion, manipulation, inaction or division.  Every sin completely gone forever because our Savior has secured the victory! Take heart, friends.  Jesus is coming, and so is the end of sin.

Has He Started That Good Work In You?

Has He started that good work in you? How can you and I know that we have received God’s grace?  There are two really good indicators that your faith in Him is genuine:  you have a growing hatred for sin and a growing love for Jesus.  You don’t just want to be free from the consequences of sin, but sin itself.  You don’t just want to have the blessings of God, but God Himself.  There is a desire that begins growing inside of you to experience all that God has for you, in this world and the one to come.  You believe in Jesus for the first time, and then you believe in Him more fully over time.  We grow.  That’s how we know.

Ongoing War Against Sin

As Christians, we are in an ongoing war against our sin, and there are daily occasions in which we lose the battle.  This spiritual journey we are on is one in which we have not yet been fully delivered from the presence of sin, so we must fight against it and confess our failings when we lose a skirmish.   Ours is a humble and simple cry out for grace: “I did it.  I regret doing it.  Help me not do it again.  Lead me to something better in you.”  Because Jesus has already secured the final victory over our sin, there is grace for us.  Grace that gives us pardon when we lose the fight, and grace that gives us power to fight on.

Still Works Miracles

Never give up on your family member who is far from God.  Never stop praying for your friend who is cold toward God.  Never lose hope over your loved one who doesn’t believe in God.  We were all there in some way at some time in our past, and God changed our lives.  He can do it again!  He is still rescuing sinners by His grace so they can find their way to new life in Jesus.  No matter how far away they are.  No matter how cold they are.  No matter how unbelieving they are.  It takes a miracle for someone to repent and believe the gospel, but that’s exactly where we pin our hopes:  Our gracious God still works miracles.

I Understand

There are two words that Christians ought to use regularly to encourage believers and engage with non-believers:  I understand.  We get it that perfection isn’t possible.  We get it that mistakes will be made.  We get it that flaws will come forth. We are all sinners who struggle with being the people we were made to be and doing the things we were made to do, even if we have been following Jesus for decades.  We never outgrow our need for His forgiveness and help.    Others need to hear us honestly acknowledge that we are fellow-sojourners who fail and fall too. And that we know where to go for grace when we do.