January 17, 2005
Encouragement for Today
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/

"But For the Grace of God"
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member, Certified Speaker

Key Verse:

"To the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Ephesians 1:6 (NKJ)

Devotion:

Ray walked into his first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Stretched across the front of the room was a sign that read, "But for the grace of God..."  He asked the man sitting beside him what the sign meant.

"Well, it depends on your perspective," the man replied. "Someone who hasn't been in our shape looks at that sign and us sitting here and may complete it, but for the grace of God... I'd be one of them."

"That translation used to make me think God gave some people grace and withheld it from others," the man confessed. "But one day, as I was reading the Bible, I saw how Jesus cared for the people others avoided - people like you and me. I came to know Jesus personally, like I would a close friend. Now I read that sign, because of the grace of God... Jesus became one of us."

Have you ever thought about just how far Christ came to give each one of us a new beginning? He left His home in Heaven and His Holy Father. Christ took off His royal crown and righteous robe. He became like us, taking on human form and entering into a dark, sinful world to become a sinless sacrifice so that we might be made brand new.

No matter what you've done, where you've been, or what's been done to you, it's never too late for a new beginning. In fact, it is why Christ came. He didn't come for those who have it all together, but for those who don't. Others may reject you, but Christ died for you. He loves you and in Him is new life. This is not some fairy tale passed down from years long gone. No, Christ is real. Because of the grace of God, He sent His Son to transform us, one person at a time.

Science can't change you; self-help books can't change you, neither can plastic surgery change the real need you have. Only the One who created you can recreate you. The price has been paid. All you need is faith. Anyone who will believe and receive His saving grace can have a new start. Looking for a change? God is waiting to change you - from the inside out.

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, thank you for coming so far to show how much you love me. Thank you for being obedient, even to the point of death, paying the price for my new life. I receive your death as payment for my sins. Please forgive me for putting you there. Fill my life with yours and lead me in the everlasting way. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Applications Steps:

Go to the mall and find a small child with his/her mother. Notice how the child depends on and trusts his/her mother for all things. Observe the freedom of being a child with no worries or responsibilities. Now relate that relationship to the one you have with God. Now, let go and trust your Father completely.

Reflection Points:

Do you find your worth in what people think of you or in what God thinks of you?

Do you believe the lie that you've sunk too low for help - even God's help?

How many stories from the bible can you recall where Christ helped someone just like you?

God is willing to help you; are you willing to trust Him?


Power Verses:

"For the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 (NKJ)

"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." John 3:16 (NKJ)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 (NKJ)

"I, even I, am he that blotted out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Isaiah 43:25 (NKJ)

Additional Resources:

Coming out of the Dark, book by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html

How to Live a Life of Victory, tape set by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/victoryset.html

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, book by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

Who Holds the Keys to Your Heart, book by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html