Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Humility’

Good Works

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. ~~ Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Salvation is simple – not easy – but simple.  Sometimes a simple truth can be brought home by something that passes for a joke.  I was reminded of that by Mikey’s Funnies.

A man dies. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.”

“Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.”

“That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!”

“Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.”

“Terrific!” says St. Peter. “That’s certainly worth a point.”

“One point!?!! I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”

“Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says.

“Two points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries, “At this rate it’ll just be by the grace of God that I ever get into heaven.”

“Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!”

Trying to work our way into heaven is an exercise in futility. Nothing we can do will earn us a place in heaven. God has clearly stated how we can get there.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ~~ John 3:16-17 (KJV)

Believe is the operative word here. Believe, trust, have faith in Jesus. Take Him at His word.

But what about good works?  Aren’t we to do them?

Of course, we are to do good works. But those works are our “thank you” notes to God for what He has done for us. They are not our tickets to heaven.

Today, take a moment to thank God for His gift of salvation. Or if you are not sure about your salvation, take a few minutes to read John 3:16-17.

Then learn the answer to the one question you need to be able to answer correctly.

He (Jesus) saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. ~~ Matthew 16:15-16

Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples. He followed Jesus daily, listening to His words, watching His actions. He would have gone wherever Jesus told Him to go.

If we can follow Simon Peter’s example, knowing who Jesus is, doing His bidding at all times, we will have grasped the gift of God’s grace. The grace that leads to heaven.

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom to see your gift of grace, the humility to acknowledge our need, the faith to believe Your word, and the persistence to follow at all times.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Advertisements

The Basics

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (NKJV)

The word of Christ is the good news of his redemption for us all. It is the best word we can hear. It is the foundation for all our hope. But we so often forget to heed it. Other things crowd in upon us and rob us of the time we intended to spend in His Word.

When that happens, we find ourselves without strength, without purpose. The cares of the world can overwhelm us – drown us in a sea of worry and fretfulness. We need to remember the basics.

John 3:16, 17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (NKJV)

You can read that verse personally, substituting your name for the world. Had you been the only person in the world, Christ would still have come for you alone — for me alone. What a monumental value God places on each of us!

In return, He asks that we do some very simple things:

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (NKJV)

We have a tendency to complicate things so. The Christian life is simple – not necessarily easy, but simple. There are two rules. Love God; love your neighbor.  Everything else is gingerbread.

Father, God,

Help us to remember the basics and to keep things simple. When simple becomes difficult, grant us the grace and perseverance to keep on in Your word. Fill us with gratitude for your grace toward us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

The Answer

2 Chronicles 7:14    If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Our world is irretrievably broken. There are tragedies galore in the news daily. Murder, rape, robbery, theft, embezzlement, sexual sin, you name it.  Today we learned that the mother of the youngest victim of the Aurora shooting lost the child she was carrying due to complications from her own injuries. Two children murdered at one event.

We live in a world where terrorist seem to rule – both in our land and in others. Prayer seems to be the only solace. But let’s look at this verse carefully.

He says “my people who are called by my name.”  That means Christians must pray, must intercede for this nation — on their knees — incessantly.  We cannot have the arrogant attitude that this state of affairs is the fault of those who are not Christian.  It is up to us to pray without ceasing, humbly, on our knees.

But we must seek God’s face, not his munificent hand. We are not to ask for his intervention. We are to ask for him, to be closer to him, to see his face, to see him instead of the circumstances.

When we put him first, he will hear and heal the land. He said it. We can count on it.

Father, God,

Help us to put away our arrogant sense of entitlement. Grant us the humility to seek you and you alone in adversity. Keep us faithful in prayer for our land.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Role Of The Messiah

Focus verses: Isaiah 42:1-7

God gives us a glimpse of the coming Messiah. He tells us that Messiah will bring justice and mercy to the people. And he Promises that He will keep us in His covenant, in His righteousness.

What a beautiful promise!

The tenderness of the Lord in these verses is nurturing and supportive. He will not break a bruised reed nor quench a smoldering wick. His justice is tempered with mercy.

Can we say the same of ourselves?

It has sometimes been said that Christians are the only group of people that shoot their wounded. People who have weaknesses are sometimes not welcome in our services. We look down upon them, as if we could not fall into a similar plight. Those of us who have had relatively painless lives can have a tendency to become smug and self-satisfied. A tendency to feel superior to those who have not been so fortunate as we.

A little humility is in order here. Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. We need to have patience and mercy with the hurting lest we find ourselves in similar circumstances.

Father, God,

Imbue us with Your mercy and tenderness. Keep us from the sin of self-righteous pride. Help us to deal tenderly with Your hurting world.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

My People

Focus verses: II Chronicles 7:11-22

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

This promise from God is our only hope at this time in our history. I cringe when I think we have a president who states openly that we are not a Christian nation. This nation was founded by Christians on Judeo-Christian principles.

For forty years, we have taught revisionist history in our public schools. We have vaunted the sensational over the accurate. We allow the media hype to sway our opinions without studying the issues to discover the truth. Worst of all, we have grown lukewarm about defending our faith. We are silent and almost apologetic when Christianity is under attack.

Our only hope lies in following the precepts in this verse:
If my people who are called by my name–that’s us, the Christians.
Will humble themselves and pray and seek my face — notice the progression: humility, prayer, seeking.
And turn from their wicked ways — quit aiding, abetting and tolerating evil.

If we do all these things, in this order, we have the promise of God that He will hear and forgive our sin, and heal our land.

Notice that He says the sin is ours, meaning belonging to the people called by his name. It is our sins of apathy and tolerance that need forgiveness, not the sins of the worldly who do not belong to Him.

Father, God,

Grant us the courage to see the ungodly attacks on Christianity as disrespect for you. Give us the wisdom to speak up for our faith effectively.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.