Grace and Peace To You

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come (Rev 1:4) Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come (Rev 1:4)


When the apostle John, was exiled to the Island of Patmos because of the word of God, God did not offer him platitudes, or explanations. God reveals himself to John in all his glory. God desired that John’s mind would be saturated with thoughts of God, not dwelling on his circumstances. God wanted John to be blown away by his concept of God, not by what he could or couldn’t see. God gave John the opportunity to live by faith not by works, with hope not despair, filled with love not hatred.

In the midst of life God reveals himself to you so that you can understand the real forces at work in this world. God’s revelation helps you see that history is not just a haphazard sequence of unrelated events but a divinely orchestrated mysterious masterpiece.

God, the Alpha and Omega, who is complete in himself, has revealed all that he has intended for you to know. And that is more than sufficient. God is an infinity that you will never be able to fully explore or comprehend during our finite lives.

God desires that you move away from an intellectual, rational understanding of life, to a fresh, intimate, rich, imaginative relational experience with the Creator. Hear with your mind and emotions what God is saying to you.

Treasure the stabilizing center of peace and grace for your life that the God who is, who was and who is to come offers you. Embrace the love and freedom from your sins that Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of this earth offers you by his blood.

You have freedom from what can’t be explained so that you can contemplate and adore God. To him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Read Revelation 1:1-8 on BibleGateway

Wait In Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, 
for we trust in his holy name. 
May your unfailing love be with us, 
Lord,even as we put our hope in you.
Ps 33:20-22

Wait in hope for the Lord! May your heart be filled with joy as you trust in God’s holy name!

 

It is easy in pain or affliction to speak wrong things, or to let roots of bitterness spring up in your life. Peace can’t and won’t co-exist with bitterness. Evil speech chases thanksgiving far away. Lies block joy from entering your heart. Confess your sins, leave them at the foot of the cross. Allow the blood of Christ to wash away all your shame, sorrow, worries and fears that are written on your face. Having received forgiveness, in silence quietly seek refuge in the Lord, the Holy One who has made you holy.

 

In the stillness of waiting, remember how God has blessed you and brought you to this point in your life.

 

As you wait in God’s presence, look up! Gaze upon your Lord’s face! Bask in the radiance of his love and delight in you. Allow God’s radiance to transform your face to reflect his life, light, love and joy.

 

Don’t be in a hurry to leave God’s presence. God is the only one who can provide you with the grace you need for today. Let God’s goodness, like the scent of a rose, or the taste of a sweet morsel saturate your senses. As you savor the Lord’s goodness, stand in awe at God’s majesty.

 

Standing before God who is too wise to make a mistake, and to loving to be unkind, ask for wisdom. God has words of wisdom to direct, guide, protect and keep you. Silently listen to what your Lord has to say to you. Accept God’s grace so that you can obediently take the next faithful step in your journey.

 

As you take one step forward, with your heart filled with joy, invite others to join you in glorifying and praising the Lord.

 

Before you take the next step, or worry about next week wait in hope for the Lord. May your heart be overflowing with joy as you trust in God’s holy name!

Cry For Mercy

For, You Lord have delivered me!

The Lord hears your voice wherever and whenever you cry for mercy! Call on the name the Lord to save you when the cords of death entangle you! When your cheeks are wet with tears and you feebly whisper “Lord, save me”, God will bow done from his throne in heaven and place his ear by your face to hear your frail cry of anguish. You can call on God as long as you live, and God will always hear you!

God is always merciful to you. There has never been a time, and never will be a time when God isn’t good. God is more gracious than we deserve. God is full of compassion for you. God will help you bear the worst and hope for the best.

Allow God’s goodness to overwhelm you. God is close beside you as you walk through the dark valleys. There is no place for any of your fears in the presence of God’s perfect love. Even in your anguish, God continues to honor you by anointing your head with oil. God’s goodness and unfailing love will continue to pursue you no matter what is happening in your life.

God invites you to return to him and rest your weary soul. God’s hands are your only safe refuge. As you rest at the feet of God, God will nourish your soul and give you the strength to face tomorrow. Why would you go anywhere else, when God has been gracious, compassionate and merciful to you?

God walks beside you in the land of the living as you make each decision and take the next step in this journey. Even though life may not be turning out the way you expected, walk beside God Almighty faithfully and blamelessly.

You are God’s servant! You are created in God’s image! You are redeemed by the blood of Christ. You have been placed by God in his creation – a land of mercy and a land of opportunity! Choose to continue to serve the Lord and fulfill your vows. When you are ready, share your story of God’s goodness, grace, mercy and compassion in the presence of all God’s people so that you can comfort and bring hope to others.

Offer up to God as a sweet smelling offering your praise and thanksgiving for what the Lord is doing for you.

Read Psalm 116 on BibleGateway

How can you sing for joy?

Come let us sing for joy to the Lord

God is the rock of your salvation! God is constantly whispering to you that there is nothing and nobody in this world who can separate you from his love.

The Lord is the great King above all gods and above all rulers! Stop worrying about what is happening in this world because the King of Kings is on his throne! Instead do your work with excellence, love your co-workers, customers, family and friends with God’s love.

God who alone holds the depths of the earth in his hands, who created the mountain peaks, who made the sea and formed the dry land, knows exactly what you need to solve the challenges you face at work. Take time today to enjoy all that God has created. Ask with confidence knowing that God hears your requests, has the wisdom you need, and will answer.

God is your Maker! God hasn’t made a mistake in where you live, in the family he chose for you, or the skills and talents that you have! Honor the Lord, God your Maker, by obediently, quietly faithfully persevering as a parent, friend and worker.

The Good Shepherd is your shepherd. The only safe place for you is in God’s presence! There you will experience God’s watchful care and provision. The Good Shepherd is the only one who knows the safe pathways for your life. Don’t wander away. The grass isn’t greener outside his sheepfold. Listen to his voice – he knows what you need, he knows when you need it and he alone is capable of providing what you need.

Yes, life can be difficult. Living your life constantly in God’s presence is not always easy. However it is the best place to be. The story of King David, who was anointed by Samuel to be King, but who had to run and hide from King Saul for many years is a testimony of a life lived in God’s presence. David shares his joy and his struggles in the Psalms so that you can know that what you are experiencing is not unique.

As you listen to God’s voice, bow down and worship, Kneel before the Lord your maker! May your heart be filled with songs of joy and thanksgiving as you obey what the Lord has to say to you today!

Never Forsaken

God will never leave you; God will never forsake you!

Because God speaks … Because you are welcome in God’s presence … Because Christ died for you … Because you are God’s child … boldly, confidently and with thanksgiving, live your life in a way that is pleasing to God, and not to man.

Boldly continue to love your brothers and sisters, eagerly sharing God’s blessings with them, even when their humanity threatens to evaporate your love for them. Courageously show hospitality to all people with compassionate deeds and genuine caring – for they are created in God’s image, and Christ died for them.

 

Honor your spouse and keep your marriage bed pure. Shamelessly turn away from immorality, adultery and pornography.

 

Confidently go about your day, knowing that the eternal God will never leave you or forsake you. Your prayers are rising like sweet incense before his throne. He knows your laughter and tears, joys and frustrations. When your life is right with Christ, you do not have to be afraid of anybody. The Lord, robed in Majesty and armed with strength is your helper, there is nothing anybody can do separate you from our Holy God who loves you.

 

Demonstrate your contentment with what God has blessed you with by doing your best as a worker, a parent, a spouse, or a friend. Leave the outcome of your work in the hands of a providential God who knows what is best for you.

 

Allow gratitude to fill your life so that there is no place for greed, selfishness, jealousy or lust.

 

Give thanks with a grateful heart for your brothers and sisters in Christ, for your spouse and family, for what you have materially and most of all for the Lord. Give thanks that Jesus is unchanging, that God is with you! Give thanks for God’s grace, for Christ’s sacrifice, for God’s discipline, for the warm invitation to come into God’s presence.

 

God Speaks

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Ps 119:103)

I know God speaks, but do I want to listen? I am doing just fine on my own.

Am I afraid of what God is going to say me? I am told God is a consuming fire and a jealous God – will he speak words of punishment that will cause me to beg him to be silent? Will he command me to do things that I am unable or unwilling to do?
Will I turn away from the one who warns from heaven? Will I refuse the God who speaks?
God’s powerful words laid the earth’s foundations in place and set the heaven’s in place. His trustworthy words call out at the city gates.
God’s eternal words lead to the paths of righteousness, shining ever brighter until the full light of day. His words lead to safety, away from snares that cause feet to stumble. His words cast out all fear, and bring sweet sleep. His words are the way of faithfulness.
God’s unblemished words are words of unfailing love. His good word leads to blessing, and to the favor of the Lord. His words are right and true. Words that open eyes to see amazing things.
God’s flawless words offer wisdom, knowledge, judgment, understanding, insight, discretion and discernment. His words are more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. They are more precious than rubies. His words are words of counsel and sound judgment. They are words of insight and power.
God’s perfect words are a bubbling brook of love, grace, compassion, that cleanses with comfort and healing. His words provide strength to face the day. God calls you by your name.
God’s desires to teach his words. His Sweet words are the only way to stay on the path of purity. His words light the path. His strong words lead away and rescue from sin and shame.
God’s wonderful words are a refuge and shield in times of trouble. His delightful words sustain and uphold those who are lonely, despised, in trouble or distress. His words answer every cry for help through the watches of the night.
God’s words are alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, they penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. They judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart 1.
Each of God’s words will accomplish what he desires, and will achieve the purpose for which they were spoken. Not one of his words is wasted.
The paradox of listening to and obeying God’s words is that his words lead to freedom.
Hope anchored in God’s words will never be shaken for his words are eternal. God’s words stand firm in the heavens.
Living a life responding to God’s word is proof of the existence and character of God.
Prayer:
My ways are in full view of you Lord. You examine all my paths. Search me and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me 2.
Today I choose to write God’s words on my heart that I might not sin. Today I choose to obey God’s words with grateful trust and love. Today, with thanksgiving that God has spoken, I choose to worship with awe and reverence. Help me to hear your voice as you walk in righteousness through my workplace and city.
Scripture – Hebrews 12:25-29 
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire”.

 

A Royal Invitation

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28

Come with joyful songs! For the Lord is good and his love endures forever!

Come, enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!

Come as God’s precious child and worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, for God’s faithfulness continues through all generations!

Come to Christ when your work burdens you down and find rest for your soul!

Come, when the process is long and your losing your song in the night, and hear the cloud of faithful witness cheering you on!

Come, when your spirit has been drained by your cares for the people around you, and let your soul be refreshed in God’s Kingdom!

Come with your broken heart or your pillows soaked in tears, and allow God to comfort you!

Come from the turmoil of your work and experience God’s peace that passes all understanding!

Come in humility and trust out of the midst of the noise of bullies and self-proclaimed heroes to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Come when you are hungering and thirsting for righteousness in your workplace, and allow God to fill your soul to overflowing with love, joy, peace and the deepest longings of your heart!

Come in purity of heart and see God in all his glory, majesty, splendor and holiness!

Come as a child and crawl confidently into God’s lap, or leap into God’s arms and soak in God’s love as he hugs you tightly!

Come when you are persecuted for righteousness – for you do not belong to this world, but to the kingdom of heaven!

Come when you have sinned and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and wash your sins away never to be remembered again. Then bow down at the feet of the Living God, the Holy and Righteous Judge – you won’t be condemned!

Come, you won’t be chased away! You will be welcomed! This is where you belong!

Come joyfully to worship and celebrate with the assembly of angels in God’s presence!

Come proclaiming “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!”

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Heb 12:22-24)

Why do we need God’s Discipline?

The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. (Heb 11:6)

What thoughts go through your mind, when you read the phrase “The Lord disciplines the one he loves”?

God’s discipline is not an isolated character trait. God’s discipline is intricately and intimately woven into his character and love for you. God’s discipline is not meant to discourage you, or impede you from running the race God laid out for you before you were born. It’s the complete opposite!

God’s discipline is a demonstration of the depths of God’s love for you. Those times when God out of his infinite wisdom and mercy chooses to discipline you is your assurance that you are God’s precious son or daughter. God’s discipline is not the natural consequences of your choices. God’s discipline is absolutely not punishment for your sins, because Christ has already paid the price for your sins. God’s discipline is not the effects of living in a fallen world. God disciplines you because he loves you.

God’s discipline and God’s provision of our daily bread enable us to persevere, to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to experience the joy of running the race. God’s discipline comes from the same right hand that delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and the same loving hand that raised Jesus from the dead. God our Heavenly Father disciplines us so that we can enjoy the depths of intimate fellowship with him.

God’s discipline is not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of those around you. God’s discipline is training you to live at peace with everyone, including those you really wish you didn’t have to live at peace with. By discipline, training, perseverance, and obedience in the ordinary everyday things of life, your right relationship with God brings peace and joy to those around you. Through God’s discipline you are able to make level paths for the feet for the physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded so that they can come to Christ for healing and strength. Because of God’s discipline you are an example of a life of holiness to those around you.

God loves you so much that he will discipline you how and when he deems best. Don’t resent God’s rebuke, don’t become hardened or discouraged or anxious under God’s discipline. Instead pour out your soul to God and plead with God to show you his grace and love so that you can humbly submit to his discipline. Because Christ died for you, because God loves you, because of God’s discipline you are being transformed into his likeness and sharing in his holiness so that you will be present with Christ in glory!

Read Hebrews 12:4-17 on BibleGateway

Persevere

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2) 


Persevere in your faith. The multitudes of Christians who have gone before you, living lives grounded in God’s grace, are cheering you on to continue to be faithful. They have proven that God is faithful. Their lives are a testimony of God’s unseen power to deliver. They assure you that God’s promises are real, reliable and trustworthy.

The life of faith that you are called to live was chosen for you by God before you were born. God is too wise to have made a mistake about the unique path of faith you are called to follow. Endure to the end on the path God laid out for you with patient obedience and reliance on God’s promises and power.

Be careful! There are many things along this path that will tempt you, burden you and drag you down, or tangle up your feet so that you can’t move forward.

Don’t fall in the trap of comparing yourself or your path to other people. Your journey of faith is unique. Jesus reminded Peter, that Peter must follow Jesus and not worry about God’s plans other disciples.

Don’t be tempted by the god’s of this world. Heed the warning given by the lives of the Israelites who didn’t remove all the idols from the land of Caanan. Those idols ensnared them and they ended up forsaking God for idols.

Guard your tongue. “For the mouths of fools are their undoing and their lips are a snare to their very lives” (Prov 18:7). “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare” (Prov 21:6).

Perhaps you are like Jonah, or David and Bathsheba and find yourself caught in sin. Sin which has entangled you keeps you from moving forward in your life. Sin clouds your vision so you can’t see God’s light along your path. The same peace that David testified to in the Psalms when he confessed his sin, is available to you. When you confess your sin and admit your mistakes Jesus will freely forgive you, and once again you will be able to relax and rest as you enjoy the grace, joy and peace of our loving Savior.

As you are faithfully doing your job day in and day out, as a parent or an employee be assured that there are no little people and no little places in God’s Kingdom. You have the same infinite value as every person of faith.  Ruth and Naomi bear witness to the possibilities of an unassuming life of faith.

Maybe some of you are looking at all you have accomplished like the man in Jesus’ parable who had just reaped an abundant harvest and was looking to build bigger barns. Others of you know that what you have built is holding together precariously like a house of cards and you are afraid that it will all fall apart if you move on. Just as Joseph faithfully believed that God would deliver his descendants back to the Promised Land, you can release what you have built (your church, your company, your department, your program, your ministry) into God hands and trust God to redeem, restore and deliver.

Maybe you feel like you aren’t qualified or capable, like Moses when God called him from a burning bush. Moses life demonstrates that God equips those he calls with the right stuff at the right time. Moses is cheering you on as you obediently take each step in faith, trusting in God to equip you.

Persevere with your eyes fixed on Jesus so you don’t have to worry about being snared by sin. Jesus sees the temptations and snares around you, and will safely guide you past them. If you have taken your eyes off Jesus, look again at Jesus and see the compassion and love in his eyes for you. He understands your struggles and doubts for he has experienced these himself. He is your High Priest who offers you the cleansing and forgiveness you need so that it is possible for you to enter God’s presence right now.

Your faith depends on Jesus alone from start to finish. Jesus has blazed the trail of faith to its triumphant finish at throne room of heaven, and now walks beside you. Jesus is the fully sufficient Savior who alone is enabling you to persevere and attain the goal of your faith.

As you look at Jesus, see the joy that awaits you in God’s Kingdom. Persevere in your faith with your eyes fixed on Jesus who is waiting for you at the finish line. Jesus is fully sufficient! You don’t need anything else or anyone else. Your destiny is not in the hands of other people, managers, rulers or the government. Your life is safe in the strong hands of Jesus, the King of Kings, who is sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven.

Persevere to the end! Finish the race! Keep the faith! There is in store for you the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to you on that day. (Heb 4:7-8)

Read Psalm 91 on Bible Gateway

Do Not Be Discouraged

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities. 
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his love for those who fear him; 
as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
(Psalm 103:10-12) 

When you hear the names Gideon or Samson what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is your first thought about Gideon’s fleece, or Samson and Delilah? Or do their stories remind you of God? It is interesting that when we think of people, we often think of their colorful faults or weaknesses.

The author of Hebrews reminds us that when God sees Gideon, or Samson he doesn’t see someone who is frightened, or someone who was just as interested in women as serving God. God remembers their faith! Their stories are examples of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and power.

Do not let your faults and mistakes discourage you! Do not believe Satan when he tells you that you are unworthy when your faith fails at times. For in each one us something sinful can be found. My faith is halting and imperfect many times. However, none of that changes how God sees us. God sees us as men and women of faith.

When our faith falters at times, when our faith is imperfect and incomplete Jesus intercedes on our behalf to God, his Father and our Father. Jesus says “I died for their imperfections, and faltering faith.” And with great joy God replies, “Yes my son, because you willingly shed your blood for them, I have taken away their sins! I find no fault in these my precious children”

Hear the words that God has to say to you today … “I find no fault in you!”

Do not be discouraged! Press on in faith!

Your life is a story of God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and power. Your story brings renewed hope to the people around you, and to future generations!

Since God sees no fault in you, in faith fulfill the calling God has placed in your heart! Continue to be a faithful husband or wife! Continue to be a faithful worker, manager, student, entrepreneur, or author!

May many people be inspired as your life story demonstrates God’s ability to turn weakness into strength and to deliver in times of need!

Read Hebrews 11:32-40 on BibleGateway