Grace is when we get what we don't deserve.
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Exodus 17:8-19:15 God instructed Moses to speak to the children of Israel these words: "Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exod. 19:5-6, KJV).
??"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14, NKJV).
Why shouldn't sin have dominion over us? Because we no longer possess a sin nature, but we have entered God’s empowerment, possessing the nature of Jesus Himself. We are free from the power of sin!
Psalm 27:1-7 For in time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord" (Ps. 27:5-6, KJV). What an encouraging word David wrote about times of trouble.
?Many believe they are merely struggling sinners who've been forgiven—and someday, in heaven, they will be like Jesus. This fallacy keeps people in bondage and nullifies God’s power in their lives. The Bible tells us we are His children: "Beloved, now we are children of God" (1 John 3:2, NKJV). If we are now His children, we now have access to fully operate in the character of Jesus. We have the ability to live as He intended us to live from the beginning—extraordinarily! We can live in His image, His likeness, possessing His ability—all through grace! You are a son or daughter of God. You possess His nature. You were meant for anything but ordinary!??
Exodus 13:17-15:19 One of my favorite expressions is, "The victory is ours, and the battle is the Lord's." There have been many trials in my life, as there are in all of our lives. Jesus said that in the world we would have tribulation, but His exhortation was to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. James tells us to count it all joy when we have trials because these trials will form patience and other character traits of God in us.
Psalm 25:12-22 There are many benefits that come to those who fear the Lord. This passage lists only a few of them. What does it mean to fear the Lord? The fear of the Lord is an awesome respect that causes us to honor and worship the Lord with all of our being. When we fear the Lord, we will desire to walk in His ways. The good news is that all those who fear the Lord will be taught the ways of God.
Psalm 25:1-11 Yesterday's reading talked about lifting up our heads and hearts to the Lord. We discovered that the spirit of man represents the holy of holies in the temple of God. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. The soul (mind, will and emotions) of man represents the inner court of our temple. The body represents the outer court of the temple, and the gates to that temple are our five senses. When Jesus died on the cross and gave His spirit into the hands of the Father, the veil of the temple was rent in two. The mercy seat of God now became available to not only the high priest, but to all who would believe and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Psalm 24:1-10 This psalm has special meaning to me because it is one of the psalms I memorized when I was in grammar school. The first thing we did each morning in school was pray the Lord's Prayer together, read a psalm and work on memorizing it, pledge allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem. Can you imagine the stir this would cause in public schools today if this was done? It is illogical that God and country have been removed from our children's education when education has its roots in Christianity. The first schools that existed in our country were church schools. How I pray that one day we will be able to once again have freedom of speech that includes praying aloud in public schools. Until that time we as parents can teach our children the importance of honor for country and the value of the Word of God. We need to exhort our children to memorize Scriptures because the Word that is hidden in children's hearts at a young age will be with them always. I actually paid my boys to learn Proverbs. They were given $1 for every verse in Proverbs they memorized. When our Russian son took this on as a challenge, he just about broke me.
Matthew 18:23-19:12 In this passage in Matthew, Jesus tells the story of the servant who had been forgiven all his debt by his master, but this servant was unwilling to forgive another the debt he was owed. The conclusion to this story is the following statement: "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto ye, if you from ye hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matt. 18:34-35, KJV).
Matthew 18:1-22 It has been my privilege over my fifty-plus years as a Christian to always have a prayer partner. There are so many advantages in having a prayer partner. This passage in Matthew gives two very important reasons for us to pray with others. Jesus tells us, "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:19-20, KJV).
Psalm 22:1-18 Some of the most traumatic feelings a person can experience is being abandoned. Abandonment rocks our emotions with feelings of insecurity, fear, doubt, loneliness, failure, rejection, grief, sorrow and unworthiness, just to name a few. I've never experienced abandonment, but I know people who have. I know a fifty-year-old man who is still being healed emotionally of the abandonment he experienced as a young boy. Both his mother and father were alcoholics, and they would leave their two young boys on the beach alone at night while they partied at the bars. Later this man's father killed his mother. Imagine the trauma of abandonment he felt.
??Have you often thought, "There must be more"? You’re not alone. I believe a fresh revelation of truth will unlock the God-potential within you. You probably know that by God’s grace you’re forgiven and saved, but do you know that His grace empowers you here and now in this life?
Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10 Throughout our lives circumstances and situations occur that we just do not understand. For example, I have been praying this week for two dear saints of the Lord who have been stricken with cancer. They both love the Lord with all of their hearts, and yet they are facing a severe test of faith. Why would God allow such a thing to occur? I often see how we blame God for our troubles, but we have to remember the "trouble maker" is not God. The "trouble maker" is Satan, and his plan is to destroy us. God's plan is to give us life and give it to us more abundantly. My husband had two heart attacks, and during that time, he held on to the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (KJV).
Genesis 48:1-49:33 Just recently I had the joy of discovering the genealogy of my family on the side of my maternal grandfather. I had the history of my father back to the 1600s, but I had no knowledge of the ancestry of my mother. Some people are really into their heritage, and I'm thankful for people who keep records and research genealogies, because it is rewarding to know our heritage.
Matthew 15:1-28 Remember the song from Fiddler on the Roof called "Tradition"? We all have our traditions. I recall one Christmas hosting my older sister and her family from Seattle. She and her family have their special Christmas traditions, and so does our family. We had a time trying to fit in both family traditions on Christmas day. Traditions are not bad, but they can become a hindrance to God's Word. In fact, if we hold to our religious traditions more than we hold to God's Word, we can make the Word of God have no effect in our lives.
Psalm 18:35-50 We have everything going for us if we choose to go the way of the Lord. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He goes before us to lead the way, but remember, His face is turned toward us, and He never turns His back on us. God turned His back to Jesus on the cross because He could not look upon the sins of the world that were laid upon Jesus, the Lamb slain for our sin. Since the cross, however, we have God's promise as spoken by Jesus, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Thank God for the cross that bridged the gap between God the Father and us, and made the way for us to enter His throne room daily and find grace in time of need. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He daily is making intercession for you. He is watching your every move and is there to catch you if you begin to fall. Your part is to keep looking into the face of Jesus. If you daily seek His face, you will keep walking forward in Him and you will not backslide.
Genesis 42:18-43:34 Jacob's first response to his sons' appeals to send Benjamin to Egypt as Joseph required was a definite no. He was not about to lose another son as he thought he had lost Joseph. Later in the passage we see Jacob's heart turn. Famine was once again a plague on the land where Jacob lived, and he knew the only way he could save his family was to meet the demands of the Egyptian leader to send Benjamin back with his brothers. He was willing to take the risk of never seeing Benjamin again if that was the only way he could save the rest of the family. Jacob says, "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved" (Gen. 43:14, KJV).
Matthew 13:24-46 Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a merchant man who sought good pearls. When he found one of a great price, he sold all that he had and bought it. In this passage Jesus shared four parables about the kingdom of heaven. The last parable is about the pearl. He does not explain this parable, so the hearer or reader must interpret it himself.
Proverbs 3:33-35 Again in our readings for the month of January we see the wicked person's life compared to the life of a just person (one who has been justified by God). God's Word tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. I have always interpreted that to mean troubles fall upon the just and the unjust. However, I see in the Bible where rain is usually a symbol of the blessings of God. When the people of a land are pleasing God, He sends the early and latter rains upon the land. When they are disobedient, He withholds the rain. I believe God is always sending showers of blessings upon the earth. The wicked, however, have the umbrella of pride over them, and they never receive the blessings. Today's passage from Proverbs confirms this.
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