Tag Archives: grace

A Spiritual Examination 


I’ve got a friend who doesn’t like to go to the doctor. He says, “Every time I go, they find something wrong.” Isn’t that the point? If there’s something wrong, wouldn’t you want to know about it? For some people, if the problem isn’t exposed, it doesn’t exist. So if they don’t go to doctor and have the tests run, they aren’t really sick. That’s the wrong way to think about things. If you have a sickness and there’s a cure, wouldn’t you want that sickness exposed so the disease doesn’t run its course?

To some of you, what I just described sounds crazy. Others of you can identify with it. Whichever side you’re on, the truth is that many of us think the way my friend does when it comes to sin in our lives. We don’t want to shed light on it or expose it, much less have a test run to prove it exists in our body. If there’s something wrong spiritually with you, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Wouldn’t you want to get it cured?

David fell into the group that wanted to go to the doctor often and have tests run to make sure nothing was wrong. In Psalm 26:2 he prayed, “Examine me, GOD, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I’m fit inside and out” (MSG). He wasn’t afraid to have God shine His light into every dark corner of his life. He knew that sin likes to lay hidden in our lives unexposed. It tells us to pretend we are perfect and nothing is wrong. The truth is that all of us are infected with sin, and the way we rid ourselves of it is to expose it to the light of God’s Word.

If we truly want to live the lives God has called us to, we can’t be afraid to go to The Doctor and have Him test our lives. God will not condemn us for having Him expose our sins. Instead, He will be faithful to forgive us and to lead us down His paths. We can’t be afraid that He will find something wrong with us or what others will think. There’s a cure for the sin that’s holding us back and it’s free. Jesus already paid the price for our sin and has written out the prescription. Ask God today to examine you so you can be fit inside and out.

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Times Of Rain

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Rain is something we need, but don’t really want. We’ve given it a negative connotation too. It started when we were children singing the song, “Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day.” Rain disrupts the times of sunshine and happiness that we feel. When it’s rainy outside, we say it’s gloomy. We think of the gray clouds and associate them with depression. Rain changes our path, our timing and our plans. It messes things up for us so we resist it. We forget that rain is a necessary part of life. We forget all the good that it does.

I’ve got several friends right now who are experiencing rain in their lives. Several friends have had loved ones pass away unexpectedly. I’ve got a couple of friends who can’t seem to find a job. I’ve got a few friends whose lives have been turned upside down because of choices their spouse made. For them, it seems like the rain just keeps coming. It feels like their lives are being flooded with only negative things. As I’ve thought about all their situations, Matthew 5:45 came to mind. It says, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

I’ve read or heard that scripture my whole life. I was always under the impression that it meant that bad things happen to Christians and non Christians alike because I associated rain with bad times. When I read it in context and then in several versions and interpretations of the original Greek, the Message Bible stood out. It said, “This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone regardless.” The times of rain in our lives are meant to nourish us. Just like our yards, lakes and crops need rain for nourishment, so do our lives. 

When bad things happen, it usually pushes us closer go God. We spend more time in prayer. We take the time to talk to God and to read His Word to try to find answers. Days of sunshine rarely push us to spend time with God, but rain does. When we go a long time without rain or without spending time with a God, we go through a drought and that isn’t healthy. If you’re going through times of rain in your life right now, don’t pray for it to go away. Instead thank God for the nourishment and for the shelter He provides

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Restoring The Broken


Being a father of a boy with toys means that I have to always have superglue on hand. I can’t tell you how many times he’s handed me toys that were broken in pieces. With tears in his eyes, “Can you fix this please?” Sometimes I can do it, and other times I have to tell him that it’s beyond my ability to repair. He doesn’t understand why there are some things that are just too broken and superglue just won’t work.

Like him, many times we have to take the broken pieces of our lives to God and ask Him to fix it. I don’t know if God has some kind of spiritual superglue or what, but I do know that He’s pretty good at taking our broken pieces and putting them back together again. In fact, there’s no life so broken that it’s beyond His ability to repair. He specializes in putting our shattered pieces back together and making our life better than it was. We just have to be willing to hand Him the pieces.

Here are some Bible verses on God repairing our broken pieces and making us whole again.

1. GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD ’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Psalm 18:20-24 MSG

2. He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 GNT

3. A Message from Israel’s GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies: “When I’ve turned everything around and brought my people back, the old expressions will be heard on the streets: ‘ GOD bless you!’… ‘O True Home!’… ‘O Holy Mountain!’ All Judah’s people, whether in town or country, will get along just fine with each other. I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.”
Jeremiah 31:23-25 MSG

4. But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.
Isaiah 53:5 GNT

5. For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. 
Isaiah 9:6 MSG

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Trusting Grace


My six year old son has been asking me a lot of questions about sin lately. He asked me if I sin. When I told him that I do, he wanted to know why. I explained that I don’t want to, but sometimes I do. It’s just part of being human and having sin live inside us. Then he wanted to know if it upsets God when I sin. I told him that it does, but God is faithful to forgive us of our sins when we confess them to Him and are sorry for doing them. Then he wanted to know if he sins and the circle continued. 

I love that he’s already concerning himself with wanting to live a life that pleases God. I also want him to understand that sin is an ongoing problem in all of our lives. There is no one who is perfect and can keep from sinning. This problem is outlined perfectly in Romans 7. Verses 17-20 say, “I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; i decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway” (MSG). It’s the struggle we all face.

No matter how much anyone of us want to live a sinless life, we eventually fall short and sin. Paul is very clear in this chapter that the problem is not us, but the sin that is inside of us. We are all dependent on God’s grace instead of our ability to live sinless lives. I love how Romans 8:4 puts it. “The law always ended up being a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it.” Trying to live a sinless life doesn’t fix the problem; it only covers it up. Living a perfect life is not our goal. Learning to trust God’s grace is.

God’s grace and the Holy Spirit working in us is the remedy to our sin problem. When we try to put a Band-Aid on our sin and do things on our own, pride comes in. The answer is to quit trying to live a sinless life out of sheer will power because we can’t. God’s Spirit is living in us and working in us. We must learn to live Spirit led lives, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us in the life that He wants us to live. The Spirit wants to lead us into a life of freedom instead of constant condemnation because we fail constantly. Rip off the Band-Aid and let God heal you from the inside out.

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Amazing Grace


One of the most popular and well known hymns of all time has to be “Amazing Grace”. Each of us has heard it at least once in our lives. Even my sins year old son knows it. He was singing it recently when he stopped mid verse. He asked, “What does that mean? ‘Was blind, but now I see’?” I explained that the man who wrote it had been very bad in his life, and he couldn’t see how what he had been doing (slave trading) was wrong. When he became a Christian, his spiritual eyes were opened and he could see right from wrong.”

The author wasn’t describing a physical healing and having his physical sight restored. The song is about how he came to know Jesus. It resonates with us because we were once spiritually blind ourselves. We once were blind to the sins in our lives, but when we gave our heart to Jesus, our spiritual eyes were opened. 

In John 9, there was a physically and spiritually blind man looking for money. Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud, put it on the man’s eyes and told him. “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam” (GNT). The man went to the pool, washed his face and came back seeing. Everyone was amazed that a man who had been born blind could see. They took him to the religious leaders who asked him how he could see. They didn’t like his answer that Jesus healed him.

After questioning his parents, they brought him back and asked again. In verse 25, He said, “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.” He was talking about his physical sight, but when he went back to meet Jesus, he found out that Jesus wanted to heal his spiritual eyes too. He came into this world that you and I could truly see. The amazing part of God’s grace isn’t that it just covers our sins. It’s also that it opens our blind eyes to truly see for the first time. We need to look at our life with those eyes so we can see where we’re wrong, and dive deeper into that amazing grace.

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Stone In Hand


One of my biggest pet peeves while driving is people who cross the double white line to get into the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. Every time I see someone do it, I say, “Where is a cop when you need one?” Or I yell out, “That’s illegal! You’re breaking the law!” There is a place to get on and off of the HOV lane every few miles, and people who don’t do it right deserve tickets.

I tell you that because as I was stewing over it one day, I was reminded of the story in John 8. There was a woman caught breaking the law, and the religious police brought her to Jesus. They said, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (NLT) He began drawing in the sand until they demanded an answer. Jesus finally answered them by saying, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” One by one they dropped their stones and walked away.

What I didn’t tell you about my story with people crossing the double white line was that I’m usually driving around 80 mph in a 65 zone. I’m just as guilty of breaking the law as they are and just as deserving of a ticket. However, I find it easy to justify my speeding by saying, “I’m just keeping up with traffic.” We’re all pretty good at justifying our own sins and throwing stones at people who sin differently than we do. These people had stones in their hands ready to throw. They were just waiting for Jesus to give them permission.

There’s been a lot of debate and speculation as to what Jesus drew in the sand that day. I like to think he wrote out the word, “Grace”. Each of them, like each of us, had needed God’s grace for something they had done that deserved the penalty of sin. It’s time we offered grace instead of stones to people who sin differently than we do. It’s easy to condemn, but Christlike to offer grace. Those double white lines on the freeway have become a self righteous check for me. I’m learning to drop the stones in my hands, and I hope that you are too.

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A Life Of Grace 


I think grace is one of those things that’s hard for us to understand because it goes against human nature. It’s forgiveness. It’s free. It’s unearned. Not only are we supposed to receive it, we are supposed to give it. Doing those two things seems like a constant battle for most of us. How can God or anyone else forgive the things I’ve done? How can I forgive something someone else has done to me? Those are tough questions that we all wrestle with, but in my life, I’ve found God’s grace to be sufficient. 

In the New Testament , Paul used the word grace over and over. If anyone needed it, it was him. He had hunted down and murdered Christians. He even referred to himself as the chief of sinners. If anyone had a past that was seemingly unforgivable, it was him. He had to learn to accept God’s grace and forgive his own past. If he struggled with it, he knew others would too. That’s why in Acts 13:43, referring to Him, it says, “The apostles spoke to them and encouraged them to keep on living in the grace of God” (GNT).

He had to remind himself, others, and us to keep living in God’s grace. Our past sin is not greater than God’s grace. You might be thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done!” I don’t have to know. As I said, Paul was a murderer. Specifically he murdered Christians. God’s grace is more powerful than anything you’ve ever done. Learn to accept His grace, forgive yourself, and then live in that grace. Remind yourself over and over that God has cast it as far as the east is from the west. If He’s not going to hold it over you, then don’t hold yourself down with it either. 

Part of loving life in the grace of God is also giving out grace. For me personally, this is harder than receiving God’s grace. I have to remind myself that they’re intertwined. To continue to receive God’s grace, I need to give grace. Jesus said that if we didn’t forgive others, God couldn’t forgive us. The first person we need to learn to forgive is ourselves. After doing that, learn to forgive others for what they’ve done. Living a life of grace is hard to do, but not impossible. You can do it with God’s help. 

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