Be Kind One to Another

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32) 
Kindness is manifested in small, simple gestures. 
From a smile to a thoughtful word, a loving act can turn someone’s day around!   

Jesus tells us that we are to be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another. 
Now more than ever, we need tenderness.
God, in His great mercy, freely offers forgiveness to us.
The more our hearts draw near to Him and His ways, the more we want to be like Him.
Having received forgiveness, we will pass it on to others.
Just as children imitate their mothers and fathers, we are to be imitators of Christ.
How might you show sacrificial love to those in your life?
As I encounter difficulties and irritations, I will freely forgive, showing kindness and grace to all those I interact with and meet! Amen.
When I read this devotion it blessed me. I felt showing forgiveness, kindness and grace is something we all need to do just a bit more these days. Many have become easily irritated with the state our world is in, being told what to do and what not to do, passing judgment on one another, speaking in anger. I pray in those moments when it would be so easy to lash out and voice your opinion that you would stop and think, how would Christ handle this, how can I imitate Christ and show forgiveness, kindness and grace? Ephesians 5:1, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord!

A Great Power

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33) 
When the disciples were left alone as Jesus ascended into heaven, a new beginning was just around the corner. Jesus told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Promise. That Promise came on the day of Pentecost, a day that would change their lives forever. God’s Holy Spirit came upon them with sounds of a mighty wind that came from heaven, a demonstration of supernatural power. Tongues of fire were then dispersed on (“sat upon”) each person (Acts 2:1-4). This event made it very clear that something amazing and indescribable was taking place amongst these people. In the days that followed, this small group of believers came together in one accord, knowing that they had been given gifts from the Lord, and that they had been called to witness to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
The first gift given involved “great power” as the apostles zealously told of their knowledge and personal experience of who Jesus Christ was and what He had done. The second gift, however, is one we sometimes take for granted but it is extremely crucial to the first one: “great grace.” They were not only granted power but also they were given great grace. Without grace, they could not go forth and do what they were called to do. The same is true for us today. We may have gifts, callings, knowledge, experience and all of the right answers, but without grace, we will not get very far in our service or our usefulness to God. Why? Because we will be taken out by our own thoughts and behaviors as human beings. We become too aware of our weaknesses and we try to overcome them in our own strength. We cannot control condemning thoughts of the enemy who tells us we are not worthy. We lose faith, hope and the eternal perspective because our focus shifts to ourselves. Grace, however, steps in and says that the Lord has granted us unmerited favor in His sight. He chose us. He loved us first. He called us to do His work. He gifted us for His purposes. Not of us, but of Him, by His grace. 
Grace must accompany power in your life today. Grace must be connected to your faith. Take time today and look up verses on “grace.” Use your Bible concordance and spend some time reading about grace. Make a study of it and take your time, even over several days. Let the Lord minister to you through His Word. If you are suffering or struggling, you need to approach His throne of grace with boldness and receive His mercy today (Hebrews 4:16). And even though we are not worthy, the Lord still uses us by giving us the gifts and grace to minister for Him and by Him and in Him. You will be blessed! 
I needed to be reminded of this today, so when I read this I wanted to share it in hopes that someone out there could be just as blessed by it as I was. I fail to remember at times how important it truly is for grace to accompany power in my own life, I deliberately try to offer grace to those around me from day to day and I do falter at times but I must admit I’ve failed to offer it up to myself day to day. Instead we are so quick to judge and criticize ourselves so harshly, when all God wants is for us to bring our faults and failures to Him with a humble heart and give it over to Him so we can then go forth and do as today’s devotion said, minister for Him and by Him and in Him. 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Isaiah 40:31

Rhythms of Grace

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

A friend and his wife, now in their early nineties and married for sixty-six years, wrote their family history for their children, grandchildren, and generations to come. The final chapter, “A Letter from Mom and Dad,” contains important life-lessons they’ve learned. One caused me to pause and take inventory of my own life: “If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life” (Matt. 11:28–29).

Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Jesus’s invitation in this passage begins, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? . . . Walk with me and work with me. . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (The Message).

When I think that serving God is all up to me, I’ve begun working for Him instead of walking with Him. There is a vital difference. If I’m not walking with Christ, my spirit becomes dry and brittle. People are annoyances, not fellow humans created in God’s image. Nothing seems right.

When I sense that I’m practicing religion instead of enjoying a relationship with Jesus, it’s time to lay the burden down and walk with Him in His “unforced rhythms of grace.”

Lord Jesus, I come to You today to exchange my frenzied work for Your pathway of grace. Amen.

When I read this I instantly thought what simple truth and yet so powerful. Often times we can get so busy working for Christ that we forget we are no longer walking with Him and enjoying a relationship with Him. I needed to be reminded of this, I don’t want to become so busy that my spirit becomes dry and brittle. I can honestly say I can sense it in a day in my attitude when I haven’t stopped to talk with God and make time for Him. The instant I do those things that may have irritated me or frustrated me don’t seem so big or important anymore. Let’s make time today to walk with Him, stop what you are doing and just talk to Him, He longs to hear from you and talk to you. Let’s slow down and remember Jesus wants us to walk with Him.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading Matthew 11:25-30


Trophies of Grace

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
On more than one occasion as a little kid, I was sent to my father for a spanking. I have two distinct memories of different moments in my spanking history.

In the first, I was feeling ultra-rebellious. I hadn’t just disobeyed. I disobeyed with flare. I was defending my sin and staring my father in the eyes arguing with him over who was really right. During those kinds of confrontations, I usually racked up an additional two or three spankings on top of the one I’d been sent to him for. I can still feel the sting of those spankings and my heart still remembers the angry defiance I felt as my retribution was handed out. I remember it sadly. I wasn’t a sweet little girl in those moments. I was ugly, rebellious and criminal. Justice was served and it wasn’t pretty.

In the second, I remember being sad and sorry for my disobedience before my foot crossed over the threshold into my father’s presence. I was already crying. Already asking for forgiveness before he could even speak. I remember the next moments clearly. I stood sobbing, awaiting the blow. My body knew the pain that was coming and I was tense, but more than anything, my little 7-year-old self was heartbroken at my own wrongdoing and I was so ashamed. As I waited for my punishment, I heard my father say my name. I looked up at him and he said ‘I’m not going to spank you.’ I couldn’t believe it. I knew I’d done wrong; he knew I’d done wrong. ‘I’m going to show you grace. Do you understand what that means?’ And just like that, I did. I understood what grace was and I loved it.

Matt Chandler said, “You will be either a picture of God’s justice or a trophy of His grace.” When I think back on these two scenarios of my sin and its consequence, it strikes me that in the first scenario, my memory is mostly of myself, of how naughty and unlovable I was. In the second, I remember my father and his grace and love. The day he showed me grace, he won me over. I became his trophy. The day I received justice did not make for a pretty picture, but it certainly was a picture. It was fair, sad and ugly.

At the end of your life, will others see your persistent defiance, pride and self-sufficiency? Or will they see a tribute to a loving and graceful heavenly Father? Be the purchased and redeemed Bride of Christ. Lose your will to His and shake off your willful independence and lean fully into His grace. It is far, far better to be a testimony to His grace than an example of His justice.

Today’s Reading is Titus 3:4-7
Have a wonderful day in The Lord!