Amazing Grace – Luke 19

Amazing Grace – Luke 19

READ LUKE 19

The first part of Luke 19 tells the story of Zacchaeus, a rich and notorious tax collector. At that time in Israel’s history, tax collectors were looked down upon and considered to be sinners of the worst kind because of their dishonest practices. In fact, when Jesus called out to Zacchaeus to tell him that he would be staying at his house, people grumbled and said of Jesus, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Here is the thing about God’s grace though – it came (through Jesus) to redeem us all because we ALL have sinned (Romans 3:23-24). No person is better (or worse) than another in God’s eyes, nor is anyone more (or less) deserving of His amazing grace. His grace is for all who choose to receive it. As a follower of Jesus, may I live with that truth in my heart every day so that I may extend His grace to others who need it just as much as I do. Take a moment to thank Jesus, right now, for His amazing grace!

— Samantha Rasch

All Of Us Fail – Philemon 1

All Of Us Fail – Philemon 1

READ PHILEMON 1

The call to grace that Paul gives both Philemon and Onesimus is one far easier observed than done. Each needed to show grace to the other even though they were in very different situations. Onesimus was to be gracious to the owner that was placed over him, and Philemon needed to be gracious to the life that was in his care.

How often are we in these similar situations? All of us have someone we report to, or that reports to us; if not a boss, parent, or teacher, and ultimately God. For those that are our leaders, do we choose to extend grace to them when they give us tasks or in the ways they treat us? For those placed in our care, do we choose to be gracious to them, understanding their value and serving them in leadership? In both cases how we should choose to respond when the other fails us is in graciousness; considering them as not infallible but as a valuable receptacle of the glory of God.

Here are three takeaways for all of us.

  1. Submit to the leaders over us despite our feelings about them and give them the grace to fail.
  2. Treat those who are placed in our care as brothers, not slaves, and give them the grace to fail.  
  3. All of us fail. If we run from our master or we are the master, we fail.

— Mitch Ressel

Messenger of Grace? – 2 Cor. 12

Messenger of Grace? – 2 Cor. 12

READ 2 CORINTHIANS 12

Would you ever consider a messenger of Satan to be a good thing? If the knock on life’s door was a delivery man from “Hades Ex” with a package labeled ‘pain and distress’…would you receive it? Maybe you would if you knew what was really inside the package. It doesn’t make sense, but sometimes God wraps his gift of grace in a package of affliction and has it delivered by demons!  

Sometimes we forget how desperately we need grace. Grace saves us and sustains our life. Grace is to our soul what air is to our lungs! Grace is the power of God doing in and through our lives what we are unable to do on our own.

Paul says he takes pleasure in distresses – why? He realized God was using them as a conduit for grace…the one thing he desperately needs. God desires to overflow our lives with grace, but often we’re not in a place to receive it. We’re too strong and self-sufficient. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. Our strength/pride may be blocking us from the very grace we need to live…really live. Messengers of Satan become necessary agents to move us from a place of strength to a place of weakness…because grace is given to the weak/humble.

Is there distress, pain, or hardship in your life right now? Before you ask for God to take it away, consider that He might be using it to bring you to a place of weakness…so that He can give you His life changing grace.

— Kent Liles

Jesus Chose Me – John 1

Jesus Chose Me – John 1

READ JOHN 1

The gospel of John is often recommended reading for a new Christian- a great introduction to who Jesus is. This week I found myself needing to read in John – a funny God moment considering I read it prior to knowing it was my “devotion assignment”. I was reminded that Jesus chose me to have a relationship with Him and it is so easy for me to get wrapped up in everything that I am doing for God, but not spend quality time with God. Is my to do list more important than spending time with the One who existed before time began, who came to earth as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”?  

He saw me, just as He saw Nathanael under the fig tree, and He chose me.  Jesus wants a relationship with you too. He calls to you, just as He called each of His Disciples, “follow me”. Take time today, no matter how busy your schedule, and spend time with Him.

— Jamie Twaddell

Grace Is Enough – Matthew 20

Grace Is Enough – Matthew 20

READ MATTHEW 20

In the first half of Matthew chapter 20, Jesus tells a parable of a man and his vineyard. When I read this parable, I think of myself as a young christian. I remember that I often thought about the idea of waiting until I was closer to dying to receive Jesus. It seemed like that would be the best of both worlds. I would get to do whatever I wanted all my life and then still get into heaven.

Much like the laborers who worked from the beginning of the day, I would get frustrated that people got the same reward for accepting Jesus shortly before they died as I would get for following him for many years. I believe Jesus would reply to this way of thinking similarly to the way the owner of the vineyard replies to his disgruntled workers. I imagine him saying something like, “Is this reward not enough for you?” In other words, “Is grace not enough for you?”

But the reward is enough. It’s enough because whether you have been sold out in your faith for as long as you can remember or you accepted Jesus yesterday, you don’t deserve grace. No amount of “labor” for Jesus could ever pay back this reward. Knowing how much we are forgiven, could we ever say it is unfair to “only” receive grace?

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9

—Jake Ikerd