Grace in the Morning

graceThe Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, “The Lord is mine, so I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Ponder It.

  • How do you define God’s grace?
  • On a scale from one to ten, how fully do you live out of God’s grace every day?
  • What do you need today? What does God say about your need(s)?

Receive It. God’s grace gives you what you need to live. What do you need for today? Be careful. How you define what you need and how God defines what you need are likely different. We can become accustomed to assuming we have a right to something when we’re not promised by God to the same things we’re promised by the world. There’s a chasm between the two. Even when we claim the promises of God, we often live by the promises of the world, and we don’t like it when the promises of the world don’t pan out. The truth is…the world lies. God doesn’t. We can trust God’s promises, but we can’t trust the world’s. We don’t think God’s grace is sufficient because we don’t fully experience what God’s grace is. We try to fit it into a box of what we think it is. We want to believe God is big enough to take care of everything about us and our lives, but we also want to understand everything about what he’s doing. We want to micromanage, give our instruction, and rely on him to make the adjustments we most want. However, we can’t make God into what we want him to be. He can’t be both big enough to be sovereign yet small enough to be understood by those who he created. What we want and prefer doesn’t change who God is. God’s grace is sufficient, because God is sufficient. He is all we need, but we have to believe he is all we need in order to experience he is all we need. Today, he is everything you need. It might not be comfortable, easy, or burden-free, but you have what you need to deal with every moment and situation. Not in your own strength, but in his. Not in your own wisdom, but in his. Not in your own plan, but in his. Are you willing to fully yield to him and trust him for grace at the beginning of today, tomorrow, and every day?

Live It. How is God providing for your needs today? Keep a running list throughout the day, acknowledging each time God provides for you. Be sensitive to notice even those things you might not consider as needs and provision.

Reinventing the Wheel

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17)

“Reinventing myself is exhausting.”

bikeMy friend’s Facebook made me think. Why would someone want to reinvent herself? I understand the desire for change in one’s life, but I was saddened my friend felt she had to expend the energy, make the decisions, and determine the direction of her development. God does a better job than we can even imagine. He has the knowledge, strength, and insight to guide and provide in exactly the best direction. In our own efforts, we’ll spin in circles. Instead of reinventing ourselves, we simply have to respond. We receive God’s grace and proceed in obedience.

We must accept God’s grace, and it comes at a price. Grace requires we give up our little gods of self-sufficiency, which includes the assumption we can do or make something better on our own. We can believe in God’s grace while living out of our self-sufficiency, but we can’t fully grasp both. We can choose not to access his full grace. It’s as if we cling to trying life partially on our own, and as we see ourselves falling short, we might think God has fallen short.

As we experience disappointments, we might consequently make assumptions about what God could have or didn’t do. The baggage we carry affects how we approach and handle future experiences. When our motivation to accept God’s grace and respond to him in obedience is overshadowed by our motivation to do things our own ways, we grow away from God. Let’s choose growth toward him instead.

As you make decisions today, determine whether you’re more motivated by your own rationale and priorities or God’s guidance? Ask God to help you set aside your god of self-sufficiency for the God of all-sufficiency.

Being Resolute in Finances

Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. This is also useless. The more wealth people have, the more friends they have to help spend it. So what do people really gain? They gain nothing except to look at their riches. Those who work hard sleep in peace; it is not important if they eat little or much. But rich people worry about their wealth and cannot sleep. (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12)

What financial concerns do you currently have?

What are your financial goals?

How have you grown in your financial habits in the past years?

Money isn’t evil in and of itself. It helps us serve one another. It helps us honor God by providing for each other. It gives us the opportunity to be faithful stewards. We can choose to search God’s ways and respond in obedience – or not. God’s Word teaches us sound financial principles, but they conflict with the ways of the world. We’re surrounded by the “get more at any cost” mentality. Accumulating debt to get what you don’t need is widely accepted. Confusing needs and wants is commonplace. The confusion and discouragement becomes so overwhelming that to make changes seems impossible. The debt is too high, the needs are too great, and the income is too low.

God is sufficient for all things. He doesn’t work in the way or timing we want him to work, but he is always moving in our lives. The question is whether we’re being obedient or not. God isn’t going to fix everything we do wrong. He knows the goal, and he knows how to get there from here, but we have to join him in the journey. We don’t invite him to walk our path with us. He invites us to walk his path with him. We’re going to step off the path from time to time when we get distracted by the beautiful window displays of the world. But when we’re committed to God’s ways, our focus more readily returns to his ways. His choice becomes our choice.

What’s one response of trust and faith you can make to honor God in your finances today? Do it.