Tuesday, September 2, 2014

LIVING BY GRACE

At the beginning of our life with God, we are aware of a gap between God and us, separation from God because of sin.

We come to understand that we cannot bridge this gap by our efforts or good behavior.  We cannot earn God’s love and forgiveness; it comes only by God’s grace.  Salvation is given by the grace of God, achieved through the power of God, offered through the Spirit of God, and made secure by the promise of God.  And so we commit our life to God.

But there is still a gap.

Now the gap is between the me I am right now and the me I’m meant to be -- “current me” and “sanctified me.”  But here’s the problem:  People think it is our job to bridge that gap by our effort.  But we can’t.  This gap, too, can only be bridged by grace.  Self-improvement is no more God’s plan than self-salvation.  God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace -- it is for us to live by grace.  God’s plan is for my daily life to be given, guided, guarded, and energized by the grace of God.  To live in grace is to flow in the Spirit.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be


#3499

Friday, August 29, 2014

WORK AND WORSHIP BECOMING ONE

The humblest and the most unseen activity in the world can be the true worship of God.  Work and worship literally become one.  Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever; and we carry out that function when we do what God sent us into the world to do.  Work well done rises like a hymn of praise to God.  This means that the doctor on her rounds, the scientist in his laboratory, the teacher in her classroom, the musician at his music, the artist at her canvas, the retail associate at his counter, the typist at her computer, the mechanic in his shop, the stay-at-home mom or dad in the kitchen -- all who are doing the work of the world as it should be done are joining in a great act of worship.

-- adapted from William Barclay in The Revelation of John, vol. 1


#3498

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THE SPIRIT AT WORK

What if God really is at work in every moment, in every place?  What if your job is just to jump into the river?  What if your job is to figure out, from one moment to the next, how to stay in the flow?  How to keep yourself aware and submitted to God’s Spirit so that rivers of living water flow through your belly, through the core of your being?

The apostle Paul gives a simple command, which in a sense is all we need to do: “Do not quench the Spirit.”  The Spirit is already at work in you.  Jesus says if you have come to Him, if you are a follower of His, the Spirit is there.  He is bigger than you; He is stronger than you; He is more patient with your failures and your gaps and your inadequacies and your pretending than you are.  He is committed to helping you 24/7/365.  So Paul says, in a sense, your only job is not getting in His way.  Just don’t  quench the Spirit.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want to Be


#3497

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND

"You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;…" (James 1:19)

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

-- Stephen R. Covey


#3496

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LISTENING TO GOD AND ONE ANOTHER

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to [God's] Word, so the beginning of love for the [community of believers] is learning to listen to them... Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among [some] Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But [the one] who can no longer listen to his brother [and sister] will soon be no longer listening to God either; they will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Geffrey B. Kelly in Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works


#3495