Grace is Amazing

October 24th, 2019

 

Failure Is Not Final.

 ”From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”  John 1:16 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,“grace is amazing.”

History is a story of both efforts and attempts, success and failure. If you have never made a mistake, you were not attempting much of consequence, or not trying very much, or not accomplishing anything very important. History bears evidence to that. Thomas Edison failed five hundred times to invent the light bulb but didn’t stop until he succeeded. Eventually, he was successful because he didn’t quit trying and believing his idea could be achieved. Babe Ruth, a legendary baseball hitter known for career home runs, is remembered for his successes not his strikeouts.

Success and failure are common to all. Your best intention may not be achievable. Your best effort may fall short of your intent. Your best judgment may be inadequate. Your impulsiveness will produce regret. Your words or actions will hurt someone you never meant to hurt. Those are not the same as failures of character or lack of integrity. They are simply results of our common humanity.

Failures are not comparable. They are not all equal, not from the same source, not with the same cause and consequence. Failure may be something you do or a mistake you make. The good news is this. Your history need not define your destiny. God specializes in redemption.

Failure is not final, unless you allow it to be. Read Hebrews 11. Many of the revered names in the Bible’s chapter of champions would have been a mere footnote in history if their stories had ended with their mistakes. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and Paul, and all the others. Instead, their stories are a tribute to God’s redemptive and amazing grace. They failed but they chose not remain failures. Their obedience and faith in God gave them strength to become more than they had been or would have become without the Lord.

Peter spoke before thinking. He reacted without considering. He failed often and on a grand scale. Jesus warned Peter about his natural tendency, but also assured him that even his failure could be redeemable and become useful to help others. “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 NKJ. Peter returned to Jesus, learned from his failure, and spared others from theirs. There is much that failure will teach you, if you are willing to listen and learn.

Don’t give up on yourself. Jesus doesn’t. You can be wiser. You can do better. Turn away from failure; do not keep repeating it stubbornly. Bring your failures to Jesus, who alone can give you forgiveness and a fresh start. Seek and receive God’s wisdom, when yours has been inadequate. When asked, share your experiences to help others to avoid the same mistakes. Failure need not be the end of your story. A loving, forgiving God offers you a new place to begin anew.

You may be tempted to judge yourself by a failure of the moment, but Jesus looks upon you in grace and sees both your past and your potential. A Savior sees what you are becoming rather than what you have been. I love this beautiful Bible verse, “To as many as believed on His name.” John 1:12. NKJ. Grace is God’s gift and remedy for your failures and mistakes.

 In faith, I intend to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of the Lord forever.” Matthew 25:21 NKJ. The last word over your life can be God’s commendation, not condemnation. As Paul wrote to the believers at Rome, “There is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 NKJ. His grace is truly amazing.

My prayer for you today is to walk before God in forgiveness and freedom.

EDL Communications 2019

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Ultimate Questions

October 19th, 2019
“ULTIMATE QUESTIONS”
 
Leave no Doubt.
”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Romans 8:35 NIV.
 
Questions! Everyone has them, because it is impossible to know what you don’t know. Daily life is full of questions while offering few answers. But you can learn if you look where truth and wisdom can be found. Truth and wisdom rest in the Creator of all. The Bible foretold the nature of the Savior Who would come, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 NKJ.
 
In the fertile ground of reverence, wisdom grows. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Questions encourage your desire to learn and when correctly answered, your knowledge increases.
 
Questions are good if they lead you to the right answers. If you don’t have questions and ask them, and understand the answers, you won’t know more than you already know. Without truth you will never increase in practical wisdom. Seek truth. Truth is the seedbed of wisdom. Solomon asked God for one thing. He asked for wisdom. Solomon wrote the wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
 
From both his successes and failures, Solomon learned, “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 NKJ. That is great advice still. Without wisdom and knowledge, you neither learn nor grow. Knowledge provides information. Wisdom promotes inspiration. When you are not growing, you will not fulfill your God-given purpose in life.
 
Since I was a university student, this has been a life-verse for me, “That I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10 NKJ. In my lifetime, I have had my share of questions. Everyone does. Life doesn’t always appear to make sense at a given moment.
When life is confusing and you have more questions than answers, you can rest, In the Father and His Son, “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 NKJ. Paul viewed his life from God’s vantage point. “Now we see things imperfectly . . then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” Read 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 NLT.
In God’s Word, you discover wisdom and truth. Acquaint yourself with God’s Word. You will always find truth and wisdom there. Above all else, one question must not remain unclear or unanswered. Ask yourself, “where will I spend eternity?” That is the ultimate question. Let me be clear. This is the ultimate truth, “Salvation is in no other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NKJ. Jesus is His name.
 
Paul wrote with triumph and conviction, ”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . For I am convinced that neither death nor life . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” Read Romans 8:36-39 NKJ. Those words are your ultimate assurance.
 
My prayer for you today is to be assured that you have settled eternal matters.
 
EDL Communications 2019
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Wants Versus Needs

October 3rd, 2019

What You want to Have Is Rarely What You Ought To Have.

 ”My God shall supply all your need according to His riches.”

Philippians 4:19

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“wants versus needs.”

Needs and desires present a challenge to learn that they are distinct and different. Each of us is a unique combination of both. Be wise and discerning. Your insistent desires can pose themselves as legitimate needs. The challenge appears to be our lack of ability to distinguish between our ample wants and our authentic needs. Often, you and I become confused by their apparent similarities. What you want to have is rarely what you ought to have. I can think of times when I wasted valuable energy and expense to get what I wanted only to find that was not at all what I needed.

Your knowledge of God’s Word and your sensitivity and submission to the Holy Spirit are essential. The Bible is clear, ”And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14 NKJV. That amazing offer has a qualifying intention. You must not lose sight of Heaven’s priority. And your priority should be the same, “That the Father may be glorified.”

Everything is not about you or me. Get over yourself. First and foremost, your life as well as mine are for His pleasure and purpose. Humility and deferred satisfaction are invaluable to the soul. Invoking the Lord’s name should be done appropriately. Those words are the solemn confession of covenant. Be cautious about misusing that incredible privilege of access to all that our Father has offers.

The problem lies in the fact that we are earth bound and shortsighted. The Apostle Paul provided practical counsel and solution for our dilemma, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2 NKJV. Perspective clarifies priority. I love the simplicity and beauty of a worship chorus from earlier years. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” So true. So reorienting. So restoring. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV. The Holy Spirit sees and knows your heart.

Jesus has a single priority in all things, “that the Father may be glorified.” That never changes, no matter how determined you may be in your asking. The Bible is clear, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3 NIV. God will supply your needs but never promised  to always provide your wants. While in a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul’s testimony was this: “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.” Philippians 4:11 The Message. That is the simple secret to a contented life. Be careful that your requests are not delivered as requirements, to either God or man. Not yet does not mean never. Not yet may just mean not now. Trust in God’s impeccable timing and unfailing generosity.

My prayer for you today is to be thankful for what you have, and trust God for what you need. His love and character are forever, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

EDL Communications 2019

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Practical Wisdom

September 25th, 2019

Wisdom Is Found From God’s Perspective.

”You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from above.”  1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “practical wisdom.”

Life can be confusing, if you don’t get it straight and keep it straight. Sometimes life seems as though someone has maliciously changed the price tags. In popular culture, it seems that we are encouraged to prize things momentarily and minimize matters of eternal value and consequence. Beware of valuing things of limited or little worth. And be even more beware of devaluing matters of enduring importance and eternal consequence.

Jesus warned, ”Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20 NLT. That is what practical wisdom looks like. Wisdom empowers you to do the right things at the right time for the right reason. A fulfilling life requires wisdom.

Across the years, I have been helped by this simple description. Wisdom results from seeing yourself and others from God’s perspective. Doing that changes anything and everything. Here is the practical truth, ”If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 KJV. To be well lived, your life must value, and seek, and gather, and hold fast to practical wisdom.

This was Solomon’s counsel. “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you. Wisdom will bring you honor, when you embrace her.” Proverbs 4:7-8 NKJV. Practical wisdom should be, and can be, modeled in your daily life.

God’s Word provides you a definition of practical wisdom. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom . . wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Read James 3:13-17 NIV.

Imagine how differently you would view and live your life if you took the Apostle James’ words to heart and translated them daily into your priorities and practice. True wisdom is practical. Practical wisdom is this: doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons, for the glory of God and the edification  of others. Wisdom lives with a concern for doing the right thing for the broadest benefit to others.

Isaiah prophesied of Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 NKJV. God does not leave you on your own in the pursuit of Godly wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God who will give it to him; because God gives generously and graciously to all.” James 1:5 TEV. Generously and graciously to all. Such an amazing promise.

God is the Source of all true wisdom.

Jesus is the Embodiment of wisdom.

The Holy Spirit is the Resource for wisdom.

For wisdom, you need God’s help which is exactly what He promises to provide. Jesus connected wisdom with truth, and linked truth with the One who is the Spirit of truth: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. John 16:13 NLT. Living wisely is living in Christ. Paul was clear, “You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV. Read Ephesians 1:7-9 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to live wisely, open and honest before God and man.

EDL Communications 2019

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Hope Fuels the Soul

September 19th, 2019

Hope Is The Forerunner of  joy.

“I have pitched my tent in the land of hope.”

Acts 2:26 The Message.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Hope Fuels the Soul.”

Hope is both gift and lift to the human spirit. Hope is more than a feeling, deeper than emotions. Hope is a conviction. You can live without many things, but you will not live well, nor live as long without hope. Hope is the forerunner of joy. Hope is life-giving and doubt-destroying. Hope fuels the soul. In contrast, hopelessness is crushing to one’s heart and spirit.

Hope is as essential to your soul as breath is to your body. Both are vital, restorative, and life-enriching. You will live better and more fully each day by finding a reason for hope. The Bible describes this hope we have as being, “like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul.” Hebrews 6:19 NLT. Hope is not wishful thanking. Hope is a firm conviction of God’s character and faithfulness.

Hope does not mean that all will be as you wish. Hope rests in the truth that everything will be according to God’s will and wisdom, and always accompanied by His abounding love and sufficient grace. I remember when my Mom suffered a massive, cerebral hemorrhage and was not expected to live through the day. The neurosurgeon could offer us no hope. That dreadful day stretched to difficult weeks. We could not dare to believe for much more than each precious minute.

I remember well the morning when our love for her was joined by hope. After weeks unable to do anything for herself, and contrary to every medical prognosis, and beyond natural explanation, she regained consciousness. For her remaining weeks, days were filled with love, laughter, and memories. God graciously had given our family renewed hope. And hope does not disappoint. Read Romans 5:3-5 JB Phillips.

In the New Testament, King David is quoted, “I have pitched my tent in the land of hope!” Acts 2:26 The Message. I love David’s affirmation of faith. What a statement of trust with courage and confidence. Where is your tent planted? Dread or hope? Doubt or trust? Sorrow or joy? Regret or gratitude? Fear or faith? Everyone lives somewhere. Your circumstance need not determine your address or destiny.

David chose to live, “in the land of hope.” When God, or others, go looking for you,  where will you be found – in the land of doubt, despair, fear, discouragement, or self pity? Are you dreading the future, or making plans with hope? You can let your circumstance determine where you dwell, or you can choose to pitch your tent in such a place and in such a way that every morning the first reality you see is the face of God and a brighter future.

David expressed his experience this way, “I saw God before me at all time. Nothing can shake me; He’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.” Acts 2:25-26 The Message. Keep hope alive in your heart.

Pitch your tent where you want your future to be found. Yours and my future rest in the providence of God. Paul prayed for the Roman Christians, “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. His prayer is my prayer for you. The God of hope; what a wonderful description of our Father God.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16 NKJV. How does God give you god hope? “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is for your future be filled with day-brightening hope.

EDL Communications 2019

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