Daily Discipleship Devotionals
The Gift of Salvation
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Why is a gift of salvation so hard to accept? Why do so many people look for their own way to heaven? Why do people try to make God fit into their own belief system? Regardless of the many who reject these two verses, they are truth. There is only one way to heaven and the only Way is by receiving the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Despite the growing and ever present number of religious groups which believe otherwise, this truth will be the only one that matters when it is all said and done. Because in essence, we as mankind have a hard time accepting the “gift.” The old saying that there is no free lunch sets us up to trust only in those things we earn. Trust is the key word. Where do we put our trust? We either trust in the Lord or we trust in ourselves.
Many today try to blend a combination of the two. They trust the Lord to give them the gift of salvation because they work so hard to please Him. And these works and efforts can really look good. They attend church regularly, serve when needed, give as required, and try to live overall lives that maintain Christian moral values. But they give themselves too much credit. God does not want anyone to do anything for Him because He has already done everything for us. So how do we accept His gift? We need to realize that the gift has been given by grace, and to receive the gift, all we need to do is believe. We just need to believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins and that without Him we are spiritually dead and destined to spend eternity separated from Him. Believe in Jesus, not in man’s good works.
Are you tired and weary of trying to please God? Even if you have professed faith and accepted Jesus as your Lord, you still might be trying so hard to please Him. Today, we need to accept His promise and rest in Him. Let’s live today to the fullest in God’s gift by trusting Him in all things and all areas of our lives. Start by talking to Him. Give your heart to Jesus, give Him your burdens today and He will show you mercy. Worship and praise Him and your heart will begin to sense His joy and peace. Why would any of us desire to follow any other way?
The Marks of New Life
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13
You know, a lot of strange and sometimes exciting things can happen to you when you’re traveling. In Genesis 32, we find Jacob traveling back home, and he has an experience that is more than just exciting. Jacob is met by a host of angels. Then he receives word that his brother, Esau, is heading his way with four hundred men, and he assumes he’s in for a battle, which causes him great fear and distress. But the most amazing thing of all happened while he was alone at night. He had a wrestling match with an angel, in which he prevailed, his life was preserved, and God blessed him.
In that encounter with God, his life was changed for all time. No longer would he be Jacob–the con man, liar, thief. He was now Israel, a prince who had power with God. But note something significant. He doesn’t begin to beat his chest and flex his muscles and announce to one and all that he had wrestled with God and prevailed.
In deep humility and wonder he says, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared” (32:30). Immediately, he begins to show the marks of a new life. He is a different person.
Today you may be facing a similar encounter with God. It may have come through a sickness, a heartache, the loss of a job, or some other difficult circumstance. And it hurts. But the very encounters we resist because of their pain are the ones that can lead us to a changed life and a deeper fellowship with the Lord.
Lord, I submit to your correction as to a dear and loving Father. Amen.
We are never closer to God than when we are resisting in a spiritual battle through the power of the Holy Spirit.