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Category: Devotional (page 19 of 28)

Redemption

Despair.  That was his life.  He had no hope.  His family had no hope.  He worked day-by-day under a harsh taskmaster.  He endured beatings.  He worried about whether his young son would be sold to another. All he had known was being  a slave.  He was born a slave and he would die a slave.

Then one day he learned that he in his family had been bought.  The assumption was that they were bought by another plantation owner, destined to the same work.  However, they were surprised to learn that the new owner did not want them for slaves.  No, he wanted to restore them to freedom.  He had paid their price to set them free and allow them to truly live.  They had been redeemed.

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Build Up, Don’t Tear Down

Words have power.  No, they cannot break bones.  But they have power.  A word well placed can soothe anger, it can create good will, and it can provide comfort.  A careless word can cause much destruction. It should be no surprise then that the Scriptures speak to how we are to use our words.

One such section is Ephesians:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (4:29).

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Motivating Grace

Grace is a word often times thrown around.  We hear of free grace.  We hear of cheap grace.  We hear of saving gracing.  I want to discuss motivating grace.

Grace is seen as a motivation to overcome sin.  It is by the grace of God that sin has been removed from us.  It is by God’s grace that we are no longer slaves to sin, but instead free to present ourselves as instruments of righteousness.  This is why Paul is clear in his denunciation of the idea that Grace is a motivation to continue in sin (Romans 6:1). In fact Paul says it should be the opposite.  Grace should motivate us to live in the reality that we are “dead to sin.”

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What to be Thankful for?

Persecution abounds.  Your fellow citizens have turned their back on you.  You are the traitor.  The black-sheep.  You shamed your family and your community.  In fact many think that by you accepting this new religion that the gods will be angered and will punish the people.  Or just as bad the emperor will be!

To this background the man who had taught you the message of Jesus tells you to be thankful.  The message you accepted as the word of God.  The message that, because of that acceptance, was causing you to be persecuted.   His words are not just hollow cliches.  No, this man himself has on his body the “marks of Jesus,” the marks of one who has faced suffering and yet He is thankful.  His command to you is in all things be thankful.

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Humility

Humility is one of those words that is given a great amount of lip service.  As Christians you cannot study Scripture seriously and not see the need for it.  It is at the beginning of the Sermon of the Mount (Blessed are the poor in spirit).  It is stated that God gives grace to the humble.  We even sing of the necessity to humble ourselves before the Lord.

However, at times it seems that humility is more a word tossed around than a characteristic of who we are.  We say we want humility, but then glorify the athlete or movie star or politician who is proud and arrogant.  We say we want humility but we seem to look down on the truly humble. Humility is seen as a weakness.

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