Saturday, January 25, 2020

Strengthened by Grace Devotional: 1/25/20

Prayer for Saturday: Now unto You, O heavenly Father, be all praise and glory that day by day You do richly fill my life with various blessings: A home to share, kindred to love, and friends to cherish; A place to fill and a work to do; A green world to live in, blue skies above me, and pure air to breathe; Healthy exercise and simple pleasures; Good books to read and many arts and crafts to delight in; Many happy days, and that inward calm that You give me in days of gloom; The peace, passing understanding, that comes from Your indwelling in my soul; The faith that looks through death and the hope of a larger life beyond the grave. 

O Lord my God, it seems sometimes like you want to give me gifts more than I want to receive them, because my life is filled with so many wonderful things that I take for granted. Who could possibly remember to thank you for everything? The way my eyes move and focus, all the parts of my heart that keep lifeblood circulating, every minute of every day, without me even thinking about it. All those weird little parts of my brain. The chlorophyll in plant leaves that make my life possible. Nobody could come close to thanking you for all the wonders of life.

So I pray that you will accept my thanks for all the little things that make my life possible, and pleasant. The necessary things, and the beautiful things, and the things that smell good, and the things that make me laugh; everything that I will never remember to thank you for specifically, great Lord, I thank you for now. In Christ's Name, Amen.

Scripture Reflection for Saturday: Today's journey "Through the Bible" visits Exodus 19-22.

In Exodus 19, we see that it was marvelous grace that the Lord, who can claim “all the earth is mine,” took a small, enslaved people as His treasure. Israel broke the old covenant by disobedience to the law (v. 5), but the Lord accomplished His larger purposes in the new covenant, which promises inward grace to produce obedience for both Jews and Gentiles (Jer. 31:31–34). The church drawn from Jews and Gentiles is now called God’s “peculiar” treasure, the kingdom of priests and a holy nation by Christ’s blood.

In Exodus 20, we are reminded that the church’s status as God’s treasured possession is not based on its obedience to the law, but on the death of Christ (Titus 2:14). Significantly, God gave the law after the exodus and not before. Law followed grace, defining how the redeemed people were to live before God. You become part of God’s people by faith in Christ alone. Yet obedience to God’s Word is still a vital part of the covenant relationship (John 14:23; 15:5), for the law continues on as a rule of life for believers to which they respond with gratitude (Jer. 31:33; 32:40; Ezek. 36:27). So pursue holiness, but never try to keep God’s covenant by your own strength. Rely on the work of Christ and God’s grace will enable you to live in holiness.

In Exodus 21, we see that while the judicial laws of the old covenant do not bind us today, they contain many moral principles. For instance, punishments should fit the crime; murder is not the same as accidentally killing someone. Another principle in this chapter is that all human beings, including unborn children, are precious persons and they should be protected from injury and death.

In Exodus 22, we see that God’s law requires justice in relationships and society. Not only is theft a crime, but God requires restitution for possessions stolen or destroyed. The Lord especially hates injustice against those who are weak. Human justice systems may fail, but God’s justice will prevail. In the fear of God, can you honestly say that you have not stolen from others, harmed their property, or oppressed the weak? If you have wronged someone, what must you do to make it right with God and that person?

Spiritual Meditation for Saturday:
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
May God help you to grow in Christ today,