Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Word of His Grace... and us...

My devotional time each day has me exploring more and more into what God wants me to do with my knowledge of His Word.

I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able . . . But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (Acts 20:32 and 2Timothy 3:14-15)

The present verses again point me to continuing in the word of God's grace. Only the grace of God is able to provide what is needed for the life we are called to live. This necessary grace is held forth for our learning and appropriating in "the word of His grace." This life-giving grace is to be lived in day by day (ideally, from childhood through old age).

Paul urged Timothy to continue in the biblical truth that he had been taught, truth about which he had become convinced.

"Continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of."

God's word not only instructs me in His ways, it also convinces me of their validity. In this process, God uses human instruments: "knowing from whom you have learned them."

In Timothy's spiritual training, the Lord used the prophets of old (who were inspired to write the scriptures), as well as Paul (who discipled Timothy). Timothy's mother and grandmother were also a vital part of this process.

"I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice" (2Timothy 1:5).

Thus, his spiritual nurture began in his childhood years.

"From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures." It is the will of God that children be raised upon the scriptures. "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

If you were not raised upon the Word, God wants to begin feeding it to you at new birth.

"As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1Peter 2:2).

If you have never had a serious diet of the Word, today is the day to begin.

As I learn more of the Word of God, its ability is unleashed in my life. Saving grace is the first great matter the Lord wants to bring to us through the scriptures: "which are able to make you wise for salvation."

People can be exceedingly foolish concerning salvation, until they are enlightened through the Word of God . Some think they do not need to be saved. Others think they can somehow save themselves.

The Bible reveals the necessary path for all: "through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fervent Prayer

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

2Co 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

2Co 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

2Co 10:6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

We have an arsenal not made by human hands, but is stocked full with the powerful weapons fashioned by God Himself. They aren't for marketing or manipulation of any sort, but are specifically designed to demolish demonic strongholds — putting down every false argument raised against Truth. These weapons have the power of God to destroy the enemy's efforts against our Faith.

Prayer is one of these weapons, and when it is coupled with the Word of God it possesses a power that is invincible. That's why the early disciples said, "We will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word." When we follow their example, we will experience the same results that happened for them.

I look at a remarkable example found in the Scriptures.

When Joshua was battling the armies of the Amalekites in the valley of Rephidim, the Bible tells us that Moses was on the mountain lifting up the Rod which God had given him. As long as the Rod was held up, Joshua advanced in battle. When Moses' arms grew weary and he lowered the Rod, the enemy began to make advances against Joshua. Aaron and Hur, two of Moses' friends, stood beside him and held his arms up — the result was a overwhelming victory for Joshua. (read Exodus 17:8-13).

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. Jesus said that when we pray in secret, God will reward us openly. An example of this happened in Jerusalem when the disciples gathered in prayer and "the place where they were assembled was shaken." They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and preached the Word of God with boldness — even in the face of death threats.

This brief scan of the biblical record proves the age old adage — "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!" (James 5:16). Prayer makes tremendous power available, the kind of power that is dynamic in its working and effective in its results; great power that produces wonderful results.

Why not pray today and look for happens as a result. You just might find yourself praying every day!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Word of His Grace

I was just studying this in my devotional time this morning and thought I would share it.

I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able . . .

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed" . . . For this reason I have sent Timothy to you . . . who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. (Acts 20:32; John 8:3; 1Corinthians 4:17)

God's grace characterizes His word: "I commend you to God and to the word of His grace." This permeating presence of grace in the scriptures is what makes God's word so able to effect godly changes in our lives: "the word of His grace, which is able." This is why the Lord wants us to continue in His word: "continue in the faith" (Acts 14:22). Also, continuing in the word allows the Lord to remind us of things pertaining to grace, things we need to hear over and over again.

Jesus called professing disciples to continue in His word. "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide [remain, continue] in My word, you are My disciples indeed'."

It is impossible to truly live as a follower of Jesus without continuing in His word. (yet many, many profess to be follwers and do not read His word daily - therefore, are we truly a follower.)

The Christian life is lived by grace. The Bible is "the word of His grace." We cannot follow Jesus by grace apart from hearing regularly of His grace. The natural bent of our humanity (including, the flesh of true believers) is toward human works and law performance. This is one reason why the Lord wants us to hear of His effective grace day by day.

The ministry of reminding is part of this process. The Apostle Paul sent out his ministry partner, Timothy, to remind the saints of matters that he himself had previously expounded upon in all the churches. "For this reason I have sent Timothy to you . . . who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church." Later, after Timothy had become a pastor in Ephesus, Paul wrote urging him to remind the saints of some basic elements of grace (matters pertaining to the faithfulness of God). "This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Remind them of these thinhgs" (2Timothy 2:11-14).

Such vital truths need to be considered repeatedly. The Apostle Peter knew that it would amount to spiritual irresponsibility to neglect the import of reminders. "Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them, and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you" (2Peter 1:12).

I long to be a true disciple, living by grace -Lord, please remind me of the necessity to be in the Word of Your grace consistently!