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7/28/15 6:38 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 28

God's Children by God's Promises

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise…Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Galatians 4:22-23, 28)

Our God is a God of promises. He characteristically works by making and fulfilling promises. We are His children. We are children of promise. We were birthed spiritually into God's family through faith in His promises. Two sons of Abraham (Ishmael and Isaac) provide a vivid contrast that attests our sonship by promise.

God had promised to make Abraham a mighty nation, through which would come the Messianic seed that would bless all nations. "I will make you a great nation…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-2). Yet, the years passed by, and Abraham was still without a son. Eventually, he implied to God that his servant would have to be the beginning of this promised seed. "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house [Eliezer, his servant] is my heir!" (Genesis 15:3). However, the Lord clarified His promise to give Abraham a true son, sired from his own body. "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir" (Genesis 15:4). As time passed, the aging couple decided that they would have to come up with another alternative for God. "Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children…So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived" (Genesis 16:1-2, 4). Thus, Ishmael was born as the result of Abraham's and Sarah's ingenuity: "But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh."

Thereafter, the Lord reiterated His promise of a son. "My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year" (Genesis 17:21). As God promised, so He did. "And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken" (Genesis 21:1). Thus, Isaac was birthed as a result of God's promises. This is a picture of the only possible way that we could ever have become God's children, by His fulfilling of His promises. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise."

Dear Father, the God of promises, I praise You for promising salvation to all who would believe. I rejoice in being a child of promise. Lord, no effort or ingenuity of my flesh could have ever given me a place in Your family. Please teach me to live by Your promises, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion


"To God be the glory!!"


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7/26/15 9:31 P

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Day By Day By Grace - July 27

Once More on God's Faithfulness and His Promises

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

This magnificent benedictory prayer closes with another proclamation of God's faithfulness, coupled with a strategic promise from the Lord. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." What has our faithful God called us to, and what is He promising to do?

The Lord has called us to sanctification and blamelessness (that is, a life of increasing personal righteousness). "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). It is the will of God that His children grow in a sanctified life (that is, to be set apart increasingly for the glory, honor, and use of God). The particular issue in view here is sexual purity: "that you should abstain from sexual immorality."

Another term for this godly goal is blamelessness. "May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." As we live unto the Lord day by day (awaiting His return), He wants us to develop in Christlikeness. He desires that there be less and less reason for people to point a finger of blame at us: "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).

How is this desire of the Lord to be accomplished? It is to be done by the work of our faithful God, who promises to do such. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." What is the Lord's means in advancing this process? It is His word. Jesus revealed this in His prayer for us as He approached the cross. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Our Lord wants to unleash the power of His word in our lives, changing the way we think and act. He wants to use His word to set us apart for Himself. The Apostle Paul wrote of this powerful spiritual process in referring to Jesus' intentions for His church: "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:26). Will we humbly and dependently cooperate with our Lord in this desire of His heart for us?

Lord God of holiness, I long to be set apart more and more for Your glory, honor, and use. I yearn for more godliness in my daily life. I humbly ask You to transform my heart and mind by the power of Your holy word. You are faithful! Please do it, Lord!

blueletterbible.com/devotion



"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - July 26

Once More on God's Faithfulness and His Promises

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

This magnificent benedictory prayer closes with another proclamation of God's faithfulness, coupled with a strategic promise from the Lord. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." What has our faithful God called us to, and what is He promising to do?

The Lord has called us to sanctification and blamelessness (that is, a life of increasing personal righteousness). "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). It is the will of God that His children grow in a sanctified life (that is, to be set apart increasingly for the glory, honor, and use of God). The particular issue in view here is sexual purity: "that you should abstain from sexual immorality."

Another term for this godly goal is blamelessness. "May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." As we live unto the Lord day by day (awaiting His return), He wants us to develop in Christlikeness. He desires that there be less and less reason for people to point a finger of blame at us: "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).

How is this desire of the Lord to be accomplished? It is to be done by the work of our faithful God, who promises to do such. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." What is the Lord's means in advancing this process? It is His word. Jesus revealed this in His prayer for us as He approached the cross. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Our Lord wants to unleash the power of His word in our lives, changing the way we think and act. He wants to use His word to set us apart for Himself. The Apostle Paul wrote of this powerful spiritual process in referring to Jesus' intentions for His church: "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:26). Will we humbly and dependently cooperate with our Lord in this desire of His heart for us?

Lord God of holiness, I long to be set apart more and more for Your glory, honor, and use. I yearn for more godliness in my daily life. I humbly ask You to transform my heart and mind by the power of Your holy word. You are faithful! Please do it, Lord!

blueletterbible.com/devotion


"To God be the glory!!"


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7/25/15 8:01 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 25

Even More on God's Faithfulness and His Promises

The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Perhaps, a word of reflection upon our context would be helpful. In our daily studies on growing in the grace of God, we have been looking at the promises of God. Living by God's promises is comparable to living by His grace. In both perspectives, the critical matter is having God at work in our lives, doing what He alone can do, doing what we could never deserve or never produce on our own. In considering God's promises, we have allowed the Lord to increase our confidence in His promises by focusing first on His ability, and now on His faithfulness. Our present verse proclaims God's faithfulness, while adding a two-fold promise concerning high priority issues of Christian living.

The faithfulness of God is one of the grand themes of Scripture. "The Lord is faithful." Our God is reliable, so we can rely upon Him and His abundant promises. "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:9). The true and eternal God, who has invited us into an intimate relationship with His Son, is trustworthy, so we can trust in Him and His bountiful promises.

For example, we can trust in His promise to bring spiritual stability to our lives. "The Lord is faithful, who will establish you." This is one of the major needs in people's lives. On our own, we can easily be unstable and inconsistent. The Lord wants to turn us into responsible and steadfast servants of God. He will be faithful to do this, if we humbly open our hearts to the work of His word and His Spirit.

Another example of how God wants to demonstrate His faithfulness is in protecting us from the evil one. "The Lord is faithful, who will…guard you from the evil one." We are God's sheep. "Know that the LORD, He is God…We are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (Psalm 100:3). Our enemy is like a lion, who wants to consume us. "Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Sheep do not do well against lions. However, we have a wonderful shepherd, who will not flee when the attack comes. "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own" (John 10:13-14).

Our Lord wants us to know that we can count on Him to be faithful to keep His promises to establish us and to guard us.

Dear Lord, my Good Shepherd, on my own I am as vulnerable as a sheep and as unsteady as ater. In light of Your faithfulness, I rely upon Your promises to protect me from the enemy and to build into my life spiritual stability.

blueletterbible.com/devotion



"To God be the glory!!"


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7/24/15 7:54 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 24

More on God's Faithfulness and His Promises

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

When we are considering the promises of God, it is invaluable to keep His faithfulness in view. Our present verse helps us focus on the faithfulness of God, while offering more promises from our God of promises.

The setting for our meditation is temptations (or, testings). "No temptation has overtaken you." It is interesting to note that this word translated temptation could also be rendered as "testing." This gives insight into the question frequently raised during difficult times: "Is this the enemy, or is this the Lord?" In the midst of the battles of life, the enemy of our souls wants to tempt us into wrong responses like doubt, fear, or compromise. On the other hand, in the same battles, the Lord wants to test us (to exercise our faith). Appropriately, this one term can be used for both situations. Thus, in any temptation or testing, we can be assured that our struggles are not unique. "No temptation [or, testing] has overtaken you except such as is common to man." Whatever our struggle, the Lord has dealt with it innumerable times before.

More significant than the commonplace nature of our difficulties is the faithfulness of God: "but God is faithful." This is the pivotal issue in our impossibilities. Too often, we find ourselves fainting at the challenges that we face. We sense our own unreliability. We are concerned that we may prove unfaithful. God wants us to concentrate on His faithfulness.

After reminding us of God's faithfulness, the Spirit brings forth two promises that provide hope to those in temptations and testings. First, God will not allow battles that are inappropriate for our stage of spiritual growth. He"will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able." Second, God will eventually provide a way out of the battle. He "will also make the way of escape." If we respond in godly faith to the enemy's "mortar shells," the Lord will not allow him to destroy us. Whatever the difficulty involves, the Lord will see us through ("that you may be able to bear it"). We can count on God fulfilling these promises, because "God is faithful."

Dear Lord, thank You for exposing the lie of the enemy that my trials are unique. Thank You for promising to see me through and bring me out. Lord, help me to rest my expectations on Your faithfulness, in Jesus' name, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion


"To God be the glory!!"


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7/23/15 6:27 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 23

God's Faithfulness and His Promises

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

Previously, we reflected upon God's ability in conjunction with His promises. The capability of the one making promises is strategic when promises are made. When relating God's ability to His promises, we have full assurance that He can fulfill what He has promised to do. "Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You…Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:17, 27). Our Lord created all the universe, and He is ruler over all of humanity. Surely, He is able to fulfill all of His promises.

Now, we have another issue to consider: faithfulness. When promises are made, faithfulness is just as important as ability. It is vital to know that the one promising is not only able, but is also reliable. In our present verse, we are given reason to exercise unwavering confidence in God, based upon His faithfulness. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

In the book of Hebrews, we are given a recurring call to stand firm in the hope of the Lord. To participate more and more in the reality of being God's spiritual household here on earth, we are to confidently embrace throughout our pilgrimage the hope that is available in our Lord: "whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Hebrews 3:6). To fully partake of all that is ours in Christ, we are to persistently cling to Him by faith right up to our last days on earth. "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:14).

Our present verse also stresses persistent faith in the hope of the Lord. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering." This persistence of trust in God is related to His promises and His faithfulness. "For He who promised is faithful." We can cling tightly to the promises of God. We can confidently hope in God's fulfilling His promises to us. We do not need to waver in doubt, because God is reliable. He is trustworthy. He is faithful.

Dear God of faithfulness, how delightful to realize that my persistence of faith in You hinges on Your faithfulness toward me. I see that I can continue to depend upon You, because you are fully faithful to me. What expectation this gives me as I consider Your great promises! You will be faithful to fulfill every one of them, as I place my trust in You!

blueletterbible.com/devotion



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7/22/15 9:21 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 22

The Lord Promising a New Heaven and New Earth

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:9, 13)

In our previous meditation, we considered Jesus' promise to return for His people. "I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3). Many centuries have come and gone with that promise remaining unfulfilled. Consequently, some are inclined to scoff at this promise. The Scriptures have prepared us for this by giving us another promise. "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days…saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'" (2 Peter 3:3-4). Nevertheless, we who believe God's promises are convinced that He will keep His word and return for us. When He returns, He will fulfill another promise as well: the promise of a new heaven and new earth. "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."

Two insights are offered here concerning the Lord's delay in His return. The first one pertains to God's compassion and patience in allowing more opportunity for people to repent and not perish. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." The second insight pertains to God's perspective on time. For our eternal Lord, it is as though He made the promise of His return only a couple of days ago! "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8).

Yet, some day the Lord will fulfill His promise to return for us. Then, the new, eternal reality will come. "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." It is delightful to consider! "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'" (Revelation 21:1-4).

Dear Lord, I eagerly await Your appearing. I rejoice at the place You have prepared for us—a place of righteousness, joy, and peace. Above all, I anticipate dwelling in Your visible presence forever and ever, Amen!

blueletterbible.com/devotion


"To God be the glory!!"


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7/21/15 8:27 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 21

The Lord Promising to Return for Us

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3)

Jesus' promise to return for His followers was given to bring them heavenly comfort. How comforting to us, in this troublesome world, to know that Jesus will be back for all of us who have followed Him here on earth.

When the Lord Jesus spoke these words, He would soon be leaving His disciples. He knew that the cross, the resurrection, and His ascension were close at hand. As He spoke of His departure, they were troubled. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." One purpose in His leaving was to make ready a heavenly home for those who believed in Him. "I go to prepare a place for you." Then, the promise that followed brought Jesus' ultimate comfort. "I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Jesus would be returning to take His beloved followers to be with Him again.

After His atoning death and victorious resurrection, the Lord instructed the disciples for a brief season in the matters of His kingdom. Then, it was time to depart. "Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Their gaze remained upon this one whom they had come to love. "They looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up" (Acts 1:10). Then, angelic messengers repeated the promise of His return. "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). What hope this must have stirred in their yearning hearts.

Throughout the history of the church, loving hearts have longed for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles were inspired by the Spirit of God to bring us comforting promises of His return. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This is the promised hope we are to live in day by day: "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

Dear Lord Jesus, I find sweet comfort in Your promises to return for me. I long to see You face to face. It is inexpressible joy to anticipate being with You forever. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

blueletterbible.com/devotion


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7/20/15 8:55 A

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Day By Day By Grace - July 20

Answered Prayer Promised in Jesus' Name

"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

We who belong to the Lord have a great invitation to thoroughly express our hearts to Him in humble, dependent prayer. "Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him" (Psalm 62:8). We also have a great need to speak to Him. "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). We also have great promises of answered prayer. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do…If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

When the people of God are prayerless, they do not receive from the Lord all that He wants to give to them. "You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2). At times, God's children pray, but they still do not receive from the Lord. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3). Their prayers are anchored in their own wills and interests. True praying is to be anchored in the will of God. "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).

At this juncture, the Scriptures are vital in our daily prayer life. God's word directs us in praying according to the will of God. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7). As we are abiding in (depending upon) Christ, we will want His word to have full sway in our lives. As we consistently get into His word, the Scriptures shape our thoughts and our desires. Consequently, we ask what the Lord teaches us to desire. In that beautiful biblical setting, He promises to give us whatever we ask.

All of this describes the essence of praying in the name of Jesus. Praying in Jesus' name is not merely a formula of words with which to conclude our prayers. Whether we verbalize that phrase or not, it is about praying as Jesus would pray (always concerned with the will of His Father). It is about praying based on all that the word teaches concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus on our behalf. Those who pray this way enjoy the certainty of these great promises of answered prayer, and they see much glory brought to God. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

Lord Jesus, thank You for these great promises of answered prayer. Teach me to pray in Your name. Please shape my praying by all that Your word reveals concerning Your will and Your work on my behalf. In Your precious name, I pray, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 19

More Truth to Deliver Us from the Law

Now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. (Galatians 4:9-10)

In our last meditation, we saw that the Lord's promise of liberating truth includes truth to deliver us from the law. If we are going to be justified (declared not guilty and pronounced righteous in Christ), we must be delivered from the law (which condemns us, pronounces us guilty of sin). We are rescued from the law by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus, thereby receiving His justifying grace. "We have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law" (Galatians 2:16).

Through this exercise of faith, we come to know the Lord. At this point, many Christians return to a religious striving-under-law performance, assuming they can grow in sanctification by their own dedicated efforts. "Now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements?" These words from Galatians repeat a major theme of that revolutionary letter: the power and richness of grace contrasted with the weakness and poverty ("the weak and beggarly elements") of the law. The grace of God, that was powerful enough to bring us justification, is the only option powerful enough to provide us daily sanctification (growth in godly living). The grace of God, that was abundantly rich unto the saving of our souls, is the only resource rich enough to effect the transforming of our heart and character. God's law was never intended to provide the heavenly power or riches needed for justification. Neither was the law intended to do such for sanctification.

The futility of producing godliness through the law can be seen in the Galatians' vain hope that observing religious holy days would empower them spiritually. "You observe days and months and seasons and years." Far from liberation, this was a return to religious enslavement. "You desire again to be in bondage." God's people are certainly free to celebrate days that may have spiritual significance to them. "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). We are not to require or prohibit the observance of days. Nevertheless, if our hope is in religious observances, we are heading into religious bondage, not into spiritual liberty.

Dear Lord, I rejoice in the power and richness of Your grace that has brought me justification from sin! I humbly cry out to You for a daily supply of Your powerful and rich sanctifying grace. Convict me when I am leaning upon the weak and beggarly elements of law performance, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 18

Truth to Deliver Us from the Law

The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives…But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:1, 6)

In the word of God, the Lord has promised truth which brings spiritual liberation. "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). We have considered such truths that set people free from bondage to sin, from bondage to the fear of death, and from bondage to the influence of the evil one. Now, we will look at another category of liberating truth: truth to deliver us from the law.

This issue pertains to everyone initially, because we all begin under bondage to the law. "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). Everyone who has ever lived, is living now, or will live in the days to come ("all the world") is initially held in a state of condemnation ("guilty before God"), because of their sin. This guilty condition would persist for a lifetime, if God did not supply a remedy. "The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives." However, this condition need not persist, because the Lord's word proclaims liberating truth for this drastic need. "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by." The person we were at physical birth died on the cross with Christ, when we believed in Him. The new creature in Christ now stands justified by faith in Christ (not by law performance). "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [declared not guilty, pronounced righteous in Christ] by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).

All of God's children have experienced these liberating truths, as they apply to justification (our eternal righteous standing before God in heaven). However, many of God's people are unaware of deliverance from the bondage of the law concerning sanctification (our daily growth in personal, practical godliness on earth). This matter is repeatedly addressed in the word of God. Here, in one of our primary verses for meditation, we see these truths given a sanctification implication. "Now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Yes, understanding the truth of deliverance from the law determines whether we will struggle in bondage to law performance, or live freely by the ongoing, fresh work of the Spirit of God.

Dear Lord of deliverance, I worship You for delivering me from the condemnation of the law, by grace through faith. Teach me how to live daily by grace through faith, that I might be practically delivered from law performance as I serve You, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 17

Truth to Set Us Free from the Enemy's Bondage

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"…that they may know the truth… and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him. (John 8:31-32 and 2 Timothy 2:25-26)

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is so important that we abide in His word. We are called to live in the word of the Lord that we might know His truth. As we embrace God's truth, we are impacted by its liberating power. "The truth shall make you free." One fundamental area where people need spiritual liberation is bondage from the enemy.

The entire realm of unbelieving humanity lies under the binding influence of the evil one. "The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). Even those unbelievers who do not accept the truths of God about Satan and sin are nonetheless captivated by him. Consequently, we are to humbly reach out to them with the truth: "in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." Paul was sent forth to proclaim the gospel truth that offers freedom from such bondage: "to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18). The testimony of all who believe in the truth of the gospel is this: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13).

The problem of Satan's binding, hindering, restricting influence did not end at salvation. Many saints (though headed for heaven) are still bound in areas of their thinking and behaving. They are still influenced by the enemy's lies. They cannot make the liberating confession of Paul and his missionary team: "we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] devices" (2 Corinthians 2:11). Ignorance of the enemy's tactics will persist in the lives of those who do not know (or will not yield to) God's liberating truth. On the other hand, all who are willing to embrace the truths of God's word will enjoy more and more freedom from the enemy's lies. They will grow in understanding of, and reliance upon, the victorious purposes of Jesus' coming to this earth. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8 ).

Dear Lord, I praise You for the liberating truth of Your gospel of grace that delivered me from the enemy's grasp. Now, I need more and more of the liberating truths of Your word that I might not be ignorant of his devious and persistent tactics. Teach me Your truths, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 16

The Truth Promised to Set Us Free

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

As we have seen, the Holy Spirit is promised as our guide into all the truths of God's word. "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13). A related promise assures us that this truth will have a liberating impact upon our lives. "The truth shall make you free." This promise of spiritual liberation through the truths of God's word is such a vital one for man, because various forms of spiritual bondage threaten us all.

Everyone needs liberation from bondage to sin. Those who first heard this promise of Jesus needed instruction on this. "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'? Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin'" (John 8:33-34). This "whoever" includes us all, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). However, we can all praise God that His liberating truth can set us free from the bondage to sin. All who trust in the Lord Jesus are justified from their sins (declared righteous in God's sight) through the redemption price of the blood of Christ: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [satisfactory payment for sin] by His blood, through faith" (Romans 3:24-25).

The fear of death is another bondage from which people need liberation. Hebrews speaks of those "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15). What a tormenting bondage is the fear of death! Yet, Jesus' liberating truth can deal with this bondage as well. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). All who believe in the one who is resurrection life will live forever. Even if they should experience physical death, the grave has no grip on them. In fact, though their bodies may go into a tomb, they would go immediately into the presence of the Lord. "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Dear God of truth, I rejoice in the freedom that comes through Your truth! Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of condemnation and judgment that I deserved because of my sin. I praise You for liberation from the fear of death. May I live victoriously by these truths and pass them on to others who need to be set free, in Your holy name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 15

The Spirit Promised to Glorify Jesus

"When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all the truth…He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you"…Now we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (John 16:13-14 and 1 Corinthians 2:12)

The promised teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit guides us into all the truths of the word of God. "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all the truth." As the Spirit fulfills this promise, He especially wants to unfold God's truth in ways that will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you." The desire of the Holy Spirit is to bring glory and honor, not to Himself, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me" (John 15:26).

One basic way the Spirit glorifies Jesus is by revealing to us (and bringing into our growing experiential knowledge) the free heavenly riches that are ours in Christ. "Now we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." This is the language of grace: "freely given to us." The wonders of God's grace are poured out freely: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved" (Romans 3:24 and Ephesians 1:6, NASB). What man deserves (and has earned by his own sin and offenses) is judgment. However, Christ supplies at His cost (His death for us) the free remedy of eternal life. "But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many…For the wages of sin is death, but the [free] gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 5:15; 6:23).

These freely given things of everlasting life include far more than the precious gift of forgiveness. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). We are to freely drink from a river of blessings (including, peace, hope, fruit, gifts, victory, etc.) throughout time-and even for all eternity. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts… and let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 21:6; 22:17).

Lord Jesus, these freely given things of God, revealed to me by Your Spirit through Your word, cause me to glorify You greatly. Please teach me to freely drink of these riches yet more and more, through humble dependence upon You, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 14

The Lord Promising His Spirit to Teach Us

"The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all the truth." (John 14:26 and 16:13)

We have been meditating upon the Lord's promise to build His church. "I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18). One aspect of this promise is the qualitative development of the spiritual life of God's people. To properly develop spiritually, the Lord's people need to learn the truths of His word. The Holy Spirit is promised to us to fulfill that need.

The coming of the Spirit (in His ministry as Helper to the church) was a matter of promise: "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name." When the Father would fulfill this promise (on the day of Pentecost), one of the primary purposes would be the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. "He will teach you all things." This teaching work of the Spirit leads us into all the truths of the word of God. "He will guide you into all the truth." This role harmonizes with one of the titles of the Spirit: "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come."

We must have the teaching ministry of the Spirit in our lives. We cannot learn the truths of God on our own intellectual capabilities. "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8). The thoughts and ways of God are as far above our thoughts and ways as the heavens are above the earth. Jesus gave similar insight concerning the heavenly kingdom that He invited people to enter. "My kingdom is not of this world…My kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36). Consequently, we need the Holy Spirit to be our teacher concerning this kingdom.

God loves us beyond measure. The death of His Son demonstrates that without question. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). For all who will come by faith and, thereby, love Him in return, He offers blessings far beyond what human minds can grasp. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). Yet, these wonders can be known. "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:10). These spiritual treasures in the word of God are to be unfolded to us by the Spirit of God.

Lord God of great promises, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit. I need Your Spirit to teach me the wondrous realities of Your kingdom. As I humbly approach Your word, guide me into all the truths You want me to know and to live, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 13

More on the Lord Promising to Build His Church

"I will build My church." (Matthew 16:18)

This promise has monumental implications for every follower of Jesus Christ. "I will build My church." Each of the five words in this brief declaration reveals an essential truth of Christian life and service.

First, this promise discloses who will build the church. "I [Jesus]will build My church." Jesus is the builder of the church, not man. He wants to use us in the process, but He is the builder. Paul understood this arrangement. "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation" (1 Corinthians 3:10). By the grace of God, Paul served the Lord. As he went about proclaiming Christ, the Lord was using him to lay the foundation (Christ) in lives that were being saved and individual churches that were being started.

Second, Jesus' promise reveals the certainty of His church being built. "I will [assuredly] build My church." There is no room for doubt. Jesus will do what He is promising. The only question for us is whether or not we will be available as a part of this wondrous process. The Lord wants to make us usable for His work: "sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:21).

Third, this promise indicates the manner in which the Lord wants to work. "I will build [construct] My church." As with any construction project, there are both the quantitative and qualitative aspects. The Lord saves souls, adding them to His church in a quantitative increase. "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). The Lord also enriches those He saves, bringing to His church qualitative development. "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33).

Fourth, His promise settles the issue of ownership. "I will build My [Jesus'] church." The church does not belong to the Pastor, the Church Board, or the District Office. It is Jesus' church. He paid the price to redeem us: "the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Fifth, this promise specifies exactly what Jesus is going to build. "I will build My church [His people]." The church is not a building. This word (church) literally speaks of "a called-out people." "But you are…His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God" (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Dear Lord Jesus, I honor You as the builder of the church. I rest in the certainty of Your task being accomplished, both quantitatively and qualitatively. I see that the church, Your redeemed people, belongs to You. Also, I humbly ask that You equip me and use me as You fulfill this grand promise, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 12

The Lord Promising to Build His Church

"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

"The" promise of all promises that God has made is the gift of everlasting life. "And this is the promise that He has promised us-eternal life" (1 John 2:25). All who respond by faith to this promise of life become part of the church Jesus promises to build. "I will build My church."

The Lord gave this promise after Peter's accurate confession of Jesus being the Messiah. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). As Jesus confirmed this confession, He let Peter know that he did not come up with that insight on his own. "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16:17). Then, Jesus contrasted the meaning of Peter's name with the kind of foundation He would lay for His church. "You are Peter [in Greek, "Petros," a stone], and on this rock [in Greek, "petra," a bedrock] I will build My church." Peter's name signified a stone, that which could be easily moved or held within one's hand. Jesus would not build His church on mere men, which at best are like movable stones. Rather, he would build upon a bedrock foundation that could not be moved. He would build upon the rock-solid truth contained in Peter's confession. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself would be the actual foundation for the church. "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

This picture of Jesus Christ as the foundation of His church is a fulfillment of one of the great prophetic promises the Lord made long ago. "Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation'" (Isaiah 28:16). Also, this is in perfect harmony with the Old Testament revelation of God as our Rock. "Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation" (Psalm 95:1). This rock-solid, anointed King (Jesus, the Messiah) would be fully effective in His mission. Even Satan and his demons, the authorities ("gates") of death and darkness ("Hades"), would be unable to prevent the fulfillment of His promise to build His church: "and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

Lord Jesus, I also confess You as the Christ, the Son of the living God. I praise You as the rock-solid foundation of Your church collectively—and of my life individually. Please use me as You fulfill Your promise to build Your church. In Your mighty name I pray, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 11

More on the Promise of Eternal Life

And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life…And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 2:25 and 5:11)

We previously referred to the promise of eternal life as "the promise of all promises" (regarding its impact upon man). Thus, we will give it additional attention. We saw that eternal life (everlasting life) has both a quantitative aspect (lasting forever) and a qualitative aspect (growing in fullness). Also, eternal life is a gift of God's grace, which is received in humble faith. There are other distinctives of eternal life that are very edifying to contemplate.

The gift of eternal life is to be possessed now, not just awaiting us in eternity. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life…Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life…Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47). Those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus already have eternal life here on earth.

Furthermore, that reality can be embraced with assurance. "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:11-13). Eternal life is innate to Jesus Christ. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live…I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 11:25; 14:6). He is the life. All who have trusted in the Lord Jesus have Him dwelling in their lives. Therefore, they are assured of having eternal life.

Ultimately, these verses remind us of the most profound aspect of eternal life. The realities of that life are all related to Jesus. "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." In order to grow in that life, one must only pursue a growing relationship with the one who has the life. "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (John 17:3 and 2 Peter 3:18).

Dear Lord, I rejoice that Christ dwells within my life. Therefore, with full assurance I know that eternal life is my present possession. Now, I desire to grow in the fullness of that life, so I set my heart to know You better. Please reveal Yourself to me more and more through Your holy word, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 10

God Promising Eternal Life

And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

We have examined a number of strategic promises from God in the Old Testament. We have also considered how a growing awareness of God's ability builds our faith in His promises. Now, let's begin to examine some of the promises that God has made in the New Testament.

The first promise we will look at could actually be called "the promise of all promises" (as far as that which impacts man the most profoundly). This promise is the culmination of all the others. "And this is the promise that He has promised us-eternal life." As in human life, eternal life has a quantitative aspect (related to duration) and a qualitative aspect (related to substance).

The quantitative aspect of eternal life pertains to the fact that it never ends. Consequently, it is sometimes translated as everlasting. "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40). For humans, whose natural life is limited to a brief number of years, the thought of a never-ending life is overwhelming. Yet, as amazing as the quantitative side of eternal life is, the qualitative side is even more stupendous.

Jesus spoke of the qualitative aspect of eternal life. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). This is a life in which the fullness of Jesus' grace is being increasingly manifested. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth… And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for [upon] grace" (John 1:14, 16). This is a life in which the Holy Spirit is being trusted to produce Christlike characteristics in an increasing manner. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). This is a life in which God, not man, is the source of sufficiency. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Appropriately, this eternal life is offered to man as a gift. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord…And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish" (Romans 6:23 and John 10:28). Necessarily, this gift can only be received by faith: "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:15).

O gracious Lord, what a wondrous gift is ours through faith—eternal life! I praise You that it will never end. I seek You that it may grow abundant in and through me. This I pray for Your glory and honor, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 9

Once More on God's Ability and His Promises

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think… (Ephesians 3:20)

These opening words from one of the most well-known benedictions in all of the New Testament offer a unique opportunity to consider God's ability, as related to His promises. How able is God? He is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think." Could we possibly ask for more than that which God has already promised? Could we properly think greater things than what God has promised? Well, let's reflect upon some of the promises of God that we have already considered.

We have seen that God promised to make a mighty nation with worldwide blessings from one man, Abraham. "I will make you a great nation…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3). God also promised to deliver His people from bondage into an abundant land. "I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:17). He also promised to fight for His people. "The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you" (Deuteronomy 1:30). Additionally, God promised an eternal kingdom for His people, through the line of David. "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16). Further, God promised that His Messiah would sit on that eternal throne. "A Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him" (Isaiah 11:1-2). Moreover, God promised that Messiah would be a unique King. "A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench" (Isaiah 42:3).

Ultimately, the Father promised that the Messiah Himself (Jesus) would be the new covenant of grace. "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will…give You as a covenant to the people" (Isaiah 42:6). Correspondingly, the Lord promised that this covenant of grace would provide forgiveness of sins ("I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"-Jeremiah 31:34), intimacy with God ("They all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them"-Jeremiah 31:34), and an inner work of God to change us from the inside out ("I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts"-Jeremiah 31:33).

Certainly, we could not ask or think beyond these promises. Yet, our God is able to do far beyond these extraordinary matters. What confidence this gives us regarding God's promises, as well as every prayer we offer based on these promises!

Almighty God, how often I underestimate Your ability and thereby end up doubting Your promises. Lord, I praise You that You are able to do far beyond my prayers or thoughts—and every promise that You have ever made!

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Day By Day By Grace - July 8

Still More on God's Ability and His Promises

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

A growing appreciation of God's ability produces an increasing tendency to rely upon God's promises. In this present meditation, we are reminded of how relationship with the Lord is always at the heart of the Christian life.

Paul's experience of suffering was the setting for this "one verse testimony." "For this reason I also suffer these things." The reason he suffered was related to his calling to preach the gospel: "to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Timothy 1:11). When the Lord first called Paul to serve Him in the good news of grace, God revealed his future sufferings. "I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16). Suffering is inevitable while serving God in an ungodly world. Jesus Himself was our example. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

Although Paul suffered, he was not shamed by his suffering. "Nevertheless I am not ashamed." If our suffering is for godly reasons, we likewise do not need to be ashamed. "If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (1 Peter 4:16). The faith that enabled Paul to endure sufferings properly came from His growing relationship with Jesus. "For I know whom I have believed." Since originally believing in the Lord, Paul had become increasingly acquainted with Him. A wonderful consequence of increased intimacy with Christ is becoming increasingly convinced of His ability. "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able." This conviction encouraged Paul to entrust the issues of life into the care of His Master. "He is able to keep what I have committed to Him." This trust was Paul's daily desire right up to the return of the Lord: "until that Day." Again, Jesus left us a similar example. He committed His daily situations into the hands of His able heavenly Father. "When He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).

Dear heavenly Father, again I see that it is all about relationship. As Jesus related to You in His day by day living, I want to relate to Jesus. Lord Jesus, help me to know You more and more. Getting to know You is what persuades me of Your ability to fulfill Your promises. Lord, I have many sufferings that I need to trust You to handle, from now until You return for me. In Your mighty name I pray, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 7

Even More on God's Ability and His Promises

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. (Daniel 3:17 and Jude v. 24)

The basic subject matter in this section of our meditations on growing in the grace of God pertains to the promises of God. Living by the promises of God is just another way to consider living by the grace of God. Again, our present verses speak of the ability of God. The more we understand what God is able to do, the more extensively we will trust in His promises.

Three young Israelites (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) gave powerful testimony of the ability of God. King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered all the people to engage in idolatry, under threat of severe consequences. "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn…you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" (Daniel 3:4-6). The three young men had a bold answer, based on the ability of God. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace." They did not bow down, so they were thrown into the blazing furnace. Yet, the Lord demonstrated His ability on their behalf. When the king looked into the furnace, he exclaimed, "Look!…I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25). Yes, God proved able to deliver them.

Hundreds of years later, Jude wrote of God's ability in two other important arenas. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." This aspect of God's ability offers assurance that God can keep His people from stumbling while on earth and present them faultless when they reach heaven. We all know our own capacity to stumble spiritually into transgression or compromise. Also, the enemy's condemnations often rob us of the expectation that we will eventually stand before our Lord in glory, fully forgiven, cleansed, and transformed. Our God is able to work effectively in both arenas for all who humbly trust in Him.

Lord, how able You are! You are able to deliver me from the threatening situations of life. You are able to keep me from stumbling into sin. You are able to present me faultless before You some day in heaven. Lord, Your great ability encourages me to humbly depend upon Your many promises!

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Day By Day By Grace - July 6

More on God's Ability and His Promises

"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible…For with God nothing will be impossible." (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 1:37)

God's ability has a critical relationship with His promises. The more we trust His ability, the more sure we are of His promises. Man's ability is one of the basic reasons we often doubt human promises. This is one of the significant differences between God's promises and man's promises. Man's ability often runs into human impossibilities. The Lord is not limited by the "impossibility factor." This truth is reflected in two stories of "seeming impossibilities" that lie behind our present verses.

A rich young man came to Jesus, seeking salvation. "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16). Jesus quoted the law to stir conviction. This man wrongly thought he was performing well. "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20). Jesus identified with precision the man's basic sin: putting money ahead of the Lord. "Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21). However, he would not put Jesus ahead of his riches. "When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:22). Jesus then elaborated on the man's difficult situation. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). The disciples (who wrongly assumed that rich men were the most likely to be saved) wondered how anyone could then be saved. Jesus corrected their faulty thinking. "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:24). Later, Jesus demonstrated that God can even save a rich man (Zacchaeus-see Luke 19:1-10).

Our second story concerns the "impossible" births of Jesus and John, the Baptist. When the angel proclaimed to Mary that she would have a child before she even knew a man in marriage, she was initially staggered by the impossibility of it all. "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" (Luke 1:34). The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35). Then, the angel announced that Elizabeth (Mary's elderly, barren relative) was now pregnant. Finally, the angel summarized Jesus' divine conception and Elizabeth's miraculous pregnancy with the heavenly explanation: " For with God nothing will be impossible."

Dear Lord, You are able to do much more than put camels through eyes of needles. You are able to forgive sinners and get them into heaven. Lord, Your ability to do the impossible assures the certainty of Your promises, so I trust in Your word, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 5

God's Ability and His Promises

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth…There is nothing too hard for You…" Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:17, 27)

In recent days, we have meditated upon many of the strategic promises of God. When considering promises, the ability of the one making the promises is a vital concern. If we examine God's ability and His promises with an open heart, growth in faith will always be the result. In our present verses, God's promise-keeping ability is assured by His role in creation and by His rule over mankind.

How able is God to fulfill His promises? Jeremiah answers this by confessing God as the creator of the universe. "Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." Because God was able to create everything, we can be assured He is able to do what He promises. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). He was able to do this merely by His spoken word. "God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light" …"Then God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters'…and it was so" (Genesis 1:3, 6-7). The Psalmist understood the proper response to such a great God. "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:6, 8-9). When our God, the Creator of heaven and earth, speaks forth His promises, we should bow before Him and say with Jeremiah, "There is nothing too hard for You."

Our confidence in God's ability to keep His promises is further strengthened by His rhetorical question addressed to Jeremiah. "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" Our God not only created the universe, He is the ruler of all humanity. The Psalmist also saw this truth. "The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations" (Psalm 33:10-11). When our God, the ruler of all nations, addresses His promises to us, we can respond rhetorically, "Is there anything too hard for [Him]?"

Ah, Lord God, You are the creator of all the universe, and You are the ruler of all mankind. Surely, You are able to do everything that You have ever promised. Nothing is too difficult for you!

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Day By Day By Grace - July 4

God Promising His Messiah to the Gentiles

"I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles…It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6)

As we have seen, God, the Father, promised to give Jesus, the Messiah, to His people as the new covenant of grace. "I, the LORD…will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people." Thus, God's resources of grace are only available through relationship with Christ. Furthermore, the Father promised that His covenant of grace through his Son would extend to all the Gentile nations: "that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth."

It is clear that the Messiah's mission would initially be to the house of Israel, to the Jewish people. "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness'" (Jeremiah 33:14-15). Jesus' initial instructions to His disciples were in line with this truth. "These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: 'Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'" (Matthew 10:5-6).

Yet, God's promises were much larger than solely reaching His chosen people, Israel. "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel." God wanted His light to shine out into the nations. "I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles." The Father wanted His saving grace to extend throughout the world: "that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth."

At the appropriate time, Jesus also instructed His followers in the worldwide dimensions of His mission. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; and Acts 1:8).

O Lord God, how extensive are Your promises. I thank You that they reached to me. Yet, I need my thinking to be enlarged by Your promises. Transform my vision and my prayers to include the entire world, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 3

The Father Promising His Messiah as a Covenant

"I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people." (Isaiah 42:6)

Once again, multiple promises reveal God's plan and guarantee His purposes. These promises are actually being made from God, the Father, to His Messiah, the anointed King (who is God, the Son). The promises show that the Messiah would be the new covenant of grace for His people.

In the opening words, the Father is describing the call of His Messiah. "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness." Also, the Father is promising full participation in His Messiah's mission. "I, the LORD…will hold Your hand; I will keep You." This would be essential, because the Messiah would go forth as a humble, dependent Servant ("My Servant"-Isaiah 49:6): "taking the form of a servant…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:7-8).

Then, the Father offers this great promise of Christ's primary role in going forth to earth. "I will…give You as a covenant to the people." Jesus Christ Himself would be given to God's people as His new covenant with them. The new covenant of grace was supplanting the old covenant of law. Yet, it was not just a matter of prescribing new terms. Rather, a Person was being given who would be the sum and substance of the covenant. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

God has a new covenant of grace for His people, and it is all related to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is the embodiment of all that the new covenant promises. In the new covenant, the Lord promises righteousness. This righteousness is found in a Person. "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). Peace is promised in this covenant of grace. This peace is also found in a Person. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:13-14). Yes, all that the Lord promises by grace is entered into initially, and continually, by a humble, dependent relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Father, I praise You for Your grace. I rejoice that the provisions of grace are not about performance or procedure, but are about developing a relationship with Your Son, Jesus Christ!

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Day By Day By Grace - July 2

God Promising a Unique King

A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth. (Isaiah 42:3-4)

Again, the promises of God cascade forth, one upon another. "He will not break…He will not quench…He will bring forth …He will not fail." This set of four promises confirms a unique King for the people of God. His uniqueness is seen in how He would deal with bruised reeds and smoking flaxes, as well as in the justice He would eventually establish upon the earth.

Many times, people are like bruised reeds. God has created humanity to be innately vulnerable, like reeds that grow by the river. "As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more" (Psalm 103:15-16). At best, reeds are not strong. When they are bruised, they hang over limp and helpless. It is easy for an insensitive person to break a human "bruised reed" in half, virtually destroying that life. Jesus, the unique King, does not do that. "A bruised reed He will not break." The Lord Jesus can take bruised reeds and turn them into mighty spiritual trees. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted… to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified" (Isaiah 61:1, 3).

At other times, people are like smoking flax (a dimly burning wick). Their spiritual fire of hope or zeal is flickering, ready to burn out. A rough or blustering person can easily extinguish the meager spark that remains. Once again, Jesus is unique. He can gently fan that flickering wick, even fueling it back into a spiritual blaze. The disillusioned disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced that. "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32).

Ultimately, His uniqueness shall be demonstrated when He sets up His kingdom on earth. Then, after man has brought forth injustice after injustice, true justice will be established throughout this world. "He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth."

Lord Jesus, I honor You as my unique King. No one but You could have dealt with my heart when I was the bruised reed and the dimly burning wick. No one but You can properly reverse the injustices that I have both perpetrated and endured. I bow to You, asking that You make me more like You, in Your name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - July 1

God Promising an Anointed King

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:1-2)

Already, we have seen our God of promises guarantees to call out a people for Himself, to deliver His people from bondage, to fight for His people, and to give them an everlasting kingdom. Now, God promises an anointed king for His people.

This anointed king was promised through David's line. "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse." Jesse was a son of Obed and the father of David. "Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David" (Ruth 4:22). This king is here given a Messianic title, "Branch." "A Branch shall grow out of his roots." Other prophets had made similar prophetic promises concerning this royal Branch. "Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth'…I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch… Behold, the Man whose name is the Branch!" (Jeremiah 23:5 and Zechariah 3:8; 6:12).

This king ("the Branch") would serve by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him." The Spirit of God would not merely come upon Him at times (as with King Saul). "Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them" (1 Samuel 10:10). The Spirit would continually be upon Him for ministry. "The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him." Of course, this king, the Branch, would be Jesus Christ. Jesus applied a similar Messianic passage to Himself. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me" (Luke 4:18). Yes, Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the anointed King. In fact, Christ is the Greek term for "anointed One," whereas Messiah is the Hebrew term for the same.

The Messiah's ministry would be characterized by godly wisdom, heavenly understanding, perfect counsel, divine might, complete knowledge, and holy reverence for the Father. All of this was produced by the work of the Holy Spirit upon Him: "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD."

Jesus, my anointed King, You walked in spiritual fullness while upon this earth. What You displayed is what I long to live day by day. By Your promises, through the work of Your Spirit, please supply these realities in my walk, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 30

God Promising an Everlasting Kingdom

"And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever…And now, O LORD God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant." (2 Samuel 7:16, 28)

The opening verse consists of promises from the Lord to David. They guaranteed an everlasting kingdom for David's line. The following verse conveys David's response to God's promises. His response reminds us how we should respond to the promises of God.

The kingdoms of man come and go. The kingdom that God establishes for His people is forever. This kingdom is made available to man by the promises of God. The Lord ordained that King David would have a key role in this plan. "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." It would be through David that the promised Messiah would come. This divine King would sit upon David's throne in a rule that would have no end. "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

When the angel was announcing to Mary the conception of the Messiah, these promises were reiterated. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:31-33). These promises will be eternally fulfilled some day. "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" (Revelation 11:15).

This is the kingdom Jesus offered when He walked upon this earth. "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matthew 4:17). For all who would respond in faith like David ("Your words are true"), a place would be given in that everlasting kingdom!

Eternal God, I believe Your words are true. I have repented of my sins and have turned to Jesus as my Savior and my King. I praise Your holy name for giving me a place in the everlasting kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 29

God's Promise to Fight for His People

"The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 1:30 and Joshua 1:5)

God's promises had guaranteed that Israel would be delivered from bondage in Egypt. Here, God promises to fight for His people, assuring them of victory in battle as they entered the Promised Land.

There would be many battles as God's people went into the land. Ungodly nations would persistently oppose them. Moses, as God's spokesperson, expresses the Lord's commitment to do battle for Israel. "The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you." The Lord had done mighty things for Israel in bringing them out of Egypt. Now, Moses assures them that God will act again on their behalf "according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes."

Later, the Lord Himself reassured Joshua of a similar truth. "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life." Many would try to come against the people of God under Joshua's leadership. Yet, God pledged the same faithfulness to Joshua that Moses had enjoyed. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you." Then, the Lord added the ultimate words of reassurance. "I will not leave you nor forsake you." When facing the certainty of battles, there is nothing greater than having God committed to always be present to fight against the enemy. The battle report in one region of the Promised Land gave testimony to God's faithful promises. "All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel" (Joshua 10:42).

We are also engaged in warfare, spiritual warfare. "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3). As spiritual soldiers, we must use spiritual weapons. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). The promises of God are part of our spiritual weaponry. We can stand victorious in battle by the promises of God, just as the Apostle Paul did. "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you…And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 18:9-11).

Dear Lord, the battles rage hot and heavy so often in my life. I thank You for Your promises to fight for me. I rest in Your presence in my life here in the midst of this battlefield called earth, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 28

God's Promise to Deliver Israel

"I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt…I will certainly be with you…I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey…So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go." (Exodus 3:10, 12, 17, 20)

Again, we see our God of promises pouring out His guaranteed plans like a cascading waterfall. They include God's promise to deliver Israel. These promises build upon God's fundamental commitment to Abraham to call out a people for His own glory and purposes. The central promise reveals the rescuing heart of God, who wants to deliver people from bondage, and bring them into blessing. "I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt… to a land flowing with milk and honey."

Our God is a God of compassion. When Israel was in cruel bondage in Egypt, God's heart was moved with concern. "And the LORD said: 'I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows'" (Exodus 3:7). The prophet Isaiah put it this way. "In all their affliction He was afflicted" (Isaiah 63:9). Thus, the Lord committed Himself to deliver them. "So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go."

When the Lord Jesus walked upon this earth, He demonstrated the same compassion. "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). This same loving compassion led Jesus all the way to the cross to deliver us from the bondage of sin.

The delivering work of God for Israel was not only from bondage; it was to substantial blessing: "to a land flowing with milk and honey." Israel was not only rescued from great heartache, but they were brought into a joyous bounty. When Joshua and Caleb saw the land, they described it as "an exceedingly good land" (Numbers 14:7). This same pattern (from bondage to blessing) is how Jesus works on our behalf. He delivers us from spiritual death to fullness of life. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Dear Lord, my Deliverer, I praise You for rescuing me from the bondage of sin. I rejoice that You have brought me into the richness of fellowship with You. What a gracious plan You have provided—to make all of this available by means of Your faithful promises!

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"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 27

God's Promises to Abraham

Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3)

These are some of the most strategic promises in the word of God. They are repeated to Abraham (Genesis 13:14-18; 15:5; 17:1-8; 22:17-18). They are confirmed to Isaac (Genesis 26:2-4, 24) and to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-14; 35:9-12). They are woven throughout the Old Testament (Nehemiah 9:7-8; Psalm 105:6-11; Isaiah 51:2). They are elaborated upon in prominent chapters of the New Testament (Romans 4 and 9; Galatians 3 and 4; Hebrews 6, 7, and 11). Ultimately, we will see that these promises are at the root of the new covenant of grace.

These promises to Abraham flow forth one upon another. This is so typical of our God of promises. He does not merely sprinkle His word with a promise here and there. He pours them out like a cascading waterfall. Included within these divine commitments are some of the monumental purposes of God; namely, a Promised Land, the nation of Israel, the Messiah, and worldwide missions.

First, God's promises included a Promised Land. "Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." This new land would be spacious, with bountiful provision: "a good and large land…a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8). Then, in that land of blessing, God would develop the nation of Israel. "I will make you a great nation." Eventually, through that nation, Messiah would be birthed, fulfilling the promise to bring God's blessings to all who would believe. "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The Lord Jesus would be that specific, individual seed that would offer God's blessed salvation to all the world. "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). This promise contained the gospel. "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'In you all the nations shall be blessed'" (Galatians 3:8). The gospel is the good news of God's saving grace. This good news is for all the world to hear.

Lord God of majestic promises, what a grand plan You have laid out in only a few sentences! Help me to read Your word with alertness regarding Your promises. Please shape my thinking and my expectations by Your mighty promises, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 26

Promises Concerning the Flood

"Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." (Genesis 9:11)

The history of the great flood in Genesis is a striking illustration that our God is a God of promises. The cause for the flood was the exceeding sinfulness of man. "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). God set forth His plan to deal with this problem by a promise of judgment. "So the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth'" (Genesis 6:7). Thus, through promise, judgment by floodwaters became a certainty.

Along with a promise of judgment, God made a promise of deliverance, a promise of grace. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8). This grace was available through the promised ark of protection. "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark" (Genesis 6:18). Noah trusted in the Lord's plan and provision and was thereby preserved from judgment. "Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did" (Genesis 6:22). Then, the Lord promised Noah (and all humanity) that a judgment of floodwaters would never again destroy mankind. "Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." Additionally, God established by promise a sign for this covenant. "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth" (Genesis 9:12-13).

These promises concerning the flood (and God's "ark of salvation") are a picture of Jesus' being our "ark of eternal salvation." Peter wrote of the flood and the ark. "The longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water" (1 Peter 3:20). Then, he likened Noah's rescue through the ark and the floodwaters to our rescue through Christ and the waters of baptism. "There is also an antitype [a prefiguring] which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21). When we identified by faith with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (which is the significance of water baptism), Jesus became our "ark of salvation," whereby we are brought to God (rescued from the judgment due our sins). Now every rainbow can remind us of God's faithfulness to keep His promises of salvation.

Lord Jesus, I rejoice in You as my ark of safety from judgment for my sins! Please remind me with every rainbow that You keep all of Your promises of salvation, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 25

Our God of Promises

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Although the Scriptures do not command us to make promises to God, we who believe in the Lord have the liberty to make various kinds of promises. It is permissible to express our devotion to God through promises, if they are in dependence upon His character and capacities. "I will love You, O LORD, my strength" (Psalm 18:1). It is also acceptable to make godly confessions through promises that are based on His promises to us. "He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear'" (Hebrews 13:5-6a). We are even allowed to make predictive promises concerning the details of our lives, if they are subject to God's will. "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:15). Still, the work of God in our lives hinges upon His promises to us. In fact, our God is characteristically a God of promises.

The fact that our God typically works through promises is seen as early as the third chapter of the Bible. There, God made a very strategic set of promises. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." These prophetic promises were addressed to Satan, but they were given in the hearing of Adam and Eve. Of course, they were recorded in the Scriptures for everyone else to consider thereafter.

These promises revealed some of the consequences of spiritual rebellion, as well as announcing God's remedy for the sin of man. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed." These words declare the inevitability of spiritual warfare, as well as the certainty of the cross of Christ.

Spiritual warfare is a major theme in Scripture. This warfare is documented throughout the word of God. "Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel…Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?…So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (1 Chronicles 21:1; Acts 5:3; and Revelation 12:9). Nevertheless, the cross of Christ would provide a victory over the enemy and an escape from this sinful world for all who would embrace it. "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age" (Galatians 1:3-4).

Dear God of promises, may my promises be a peripheral issue in my thinking and living. Conversely, may Your promises be central and foundational—especially, those promises related to the cross of Jesus, my Lord, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 24

Promises Based on the Will of God

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15)

Promises based on the will of God is another category of acceptable promises. People are frequently heard making predictive promises. "I will be a more faithful husband next year." "I will get better grades in school this semester." "I will not repeat my personal failures of last year." "I will improve my business this quarter." Such promises are only acceptable to God, if they are made contingent upon the will of God. Instead, we ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."

The will of God is to be the determining factor for all of our plans. God used James to reprimand the self-willed life. "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'." Such promises indicate the arrogance that people can embrace within their lives. "But now you boast in your arrogance" (James 4:16). Such arrogance prohibits us from living by grace, because grace is imparted to the humble heart. "Be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Peter 5:5).

David was a notable example of one who humbly yielded to, and sought after, the will of God. "I delight to do Your will, O my God…Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God" (Psalm 40:8; 143:10). Paul's comprehensive commitment to God's will could be seen even in the way he stated predictive promises about his personal travel plans. As he left Ephesus, he stated,"I will return again to you, God willing" (Acts 18:21). When writing to Corinth, he promised "I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills" (1 Corinthians 4:19).

Ultimately, the Lord Jesus Christ taught and lived with His Father's will as the absolute standard. Concerning how we should pray, He taught, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-10). He Himself prayed in this way. "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39).

Dear Father, I seek You for a heart that is fully committed to Your will. May I delight in Your will each day. May I speak of future days only in terms of Your will—"If it is Your will, I shall live and do this or that."

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Day By Day By Grace - June 23

Promises to God Based on Promises from God

He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Another acceptable category of promises to God involves those based on His promises to us. God has already promised to be with us every step of our pilgrimage here on earth. "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Consequently, we can declare with great confidence: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

The Lord knows our vulnerability to fear, such as the fear of man. "The fear of man brings a snare" (Proverbs 29:25a). Many traps and entanglements await those who are afraid of man's opinions or actions. Abraham jeopardized his own wife, because he was afraid of the Egyptians. "Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, 'This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you" (Genesis 12:12-13). King Saul sinned against God, because he feared the people. "Then Saul said to Samuel, 'I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice'" (1 Samuel 15:24). Of course, God's protection against such snares is to depend upon Him, when we are tempted to fear man. "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

The Lord has given many promises of His presence with His people to protect them from man. To Joshua, God promised: "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). To Paul, the Lord promised: "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:9-10). To every believer in Christ, He has promised: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, "we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

When our promises are based on the promises of God, His faithfulness and His ability become the validation of our promises.

Dear Lord, You know my susceptibility to fear. At times, this fear concerns what others might say or do. When I am tempted to respond in this carnal manner, please remind me of Your constant presence. I want to trust You as my helper and not fear what man may do, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 22

Permissible Promises Made to God

I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3)

The Scriptures are quite clear. God's work in our lives depends upon His promises to us, not our promises to Him. However, this does not mean that we are forbidden to express our love and devotion to God through promises made to Him. In this rich testimony from the heart of David, he makes two significant promises to the Lord. "I will love You, O LORD…I will call upon the LORD." As we examine what accompanies these promises, we will see the kind of promises that are permissible to make to God.

Loving God is the essence of our relationship with the Lord. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). Our love for the Lord is in response to His great love for us. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Long ago, the Lord had promised that He would be available to work in the heart of His people, if they were willing to love Him properly. "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 30:6). The context of David's promises to love God indicates that He understood this promise from the Lord. "I will love You, O LORD, my strength." God was the one David was trusting in to give him the strength that was needed to walk in a loving relationship with the Lord.

As we grow in awareness of the love of God, we learn to call upon Him to deliver us in times of trouble. "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies." David's promise to cry out to God in the midst of difficulties was based upon the Lord's praiseworthy character. David had called upon the Lord many times before, and He had delivered him. David had come to know the Lord (to experience Him) as his mighty protector. "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust."

As we noted previously, in Israel's promises to obey the law of God, they were depending upon themselves. In David's promises to love God and to call upon Him in times of trouble, he was depending upon the character and capacities of God!

Dear loving and rescuing Lord, my love for You is truly a result of Your work of love in my heart! Likewise, my cries to You for help are based upon Your many faithful rescues in times past! You are my God, my strength, in whom I will trust!

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Day By Day By Grace - June 21

The Inability of God to Lie

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation…In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. (Hebrews 6:17-18 and Titus 1:2)

One benefit of living by the promises of God is related to something that God cannot do. He is unable to lie. "It is impossible for God to lie." This "inability" magnifies His greatness and brings us great assurance.

This "inability" of God is linked here to His promises. We who live by faith are "heirs of promise." We inherit the blessings of God by trusting Him to fulfill all that He has promised to do. These promises offer everlasting life and are anchored in eternity past: "In hope of eternal life which God… promised before time began." Now, here in time and space, God wants to deeply impress us with the unchangeable character of His will: "Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel." The Lord wants to assure us that He will not declare one thing, and then later change His mind and do something else.

In order to provide us with solid assurance, God coupled His promise with an oath ("confirmed it by an oath"). People make oaths, attempting to convince others of their reliability. They swear by something greater than themselves. "For men indeed swear by the greater" (Hebrews 6:16). However, "when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you'" (Hebrews 6:13-14). This marks an amazing condescension on the part of our Lord toward us. We might say that He somewhat lowers Himself down to our level (which He would fully do in the incarnation, becoming a man). He uses a common human custom to grant us an assured understanding of His reliable commitment to us.

In this unusual communication from God, we receive assurance that is likened unto a "double certainty." The "God, who cannot lie," makes a promise and an oath, "that by two immutable things…we might have strong consolation."

Dear Lord, as one who has often proven my ability to lie, I worship You as the God who cannot lie! Your promises grant rich assurance. Your oath adds strong encouragement to rely upon You. Thank You for doing whatever is necessary to strengthen my hope in You. How gracious You are!

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Day By Day By Grace - June 20

Man's Promises or God's Promises

Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." (Exodus 19:7-8)

The promises of the old covenant of law depend upon the performance of man. "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them" (Leviticus 18:5). The better promises of the new covenant of grace depend upon the performance of God. "I will make a new covenant…I will put My law in their minds" (Jeremiah 31:31, 33).

When man attempts to live under the law (thereby needing to perform up to God's standards by human resources), he typically tries to live by his promises to God. Israel was a vivid example of this futile tendency. "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." This well-intended promise to God was consistently broken. Moses' words are a stinging indictment of the vanity of basing life with God on our promises to Him. "You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you" (Deuteronomy 9:24).

The desire to obey God resides appropriately within the hearts of His children. However, we must find a better way to obedience than relying upon our promises to God. That better way is the path of grace, which offers a life based upon God's promises to man. "I will give you a new heart and [I will] put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and [I will] give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and [I will] cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

We are to live in dependence upon the promises of God to us (instead of relying upon our promises to Him). Living by God's promises produces a growing confidence in the Lord, a confidence that results from His unique character. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Man may make promises to God, but, eventually, he will fail. God is not like man. God is true to His word. He will not lie, nor will He change His mind. Whatever He says, He will do! We can fully rely upon the promises of God that we find in His word.

Lord God of truth, forgive my multiple attempts to develop a Christian walk by my promises to You. Lord, You know how often I have failed. What a joyous option this is—to live in reliance upon Your promises to me! Please teach me how to think and live this way, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 19

Better Promises under Grace

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

In every way, the new covenant of grace is a better covenant than the old covenant of law. "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant." We have considered some of the better aspects of living under grace: a better High Priest to minister to us, a better sacrifice for sins, a greater intimacy with God, and spiritual substance instead of mere shadows. Another better aspect of grace is that it "was established on better promises." To this excellent reality, we will now give continuing attention over many days.

Under the old covenant of law, a basic promise is stated repeatedly. It is present in the first giving of the law, when the children of Israel were delivered from bondage in Egypt. "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them" (Leviticus 18:5). It was present when the law was given again to Israel, as they were preparing to enter the promised land. "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth" (Deuteronomy 28:1). At this time, a corollary promise of warning was made. "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you" (Deuteronomy 28:15).

The basic promises of the law can be summarized as "do this, and you will live." The promises under the law are contingent upon the performance of man. If man is able to keep the law, the promises of life and blessing will be fulfilled. Ultimately, the children of Israel demonstrated the inability of man to live up to the standards of God's holy law. "Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'" (Ezekiel 20:21).

The promises under grace are immeasurably better than those under law, because they do not depend upon man's performance. "I will make a new covenant… I will put My law in their minds…I will be their God…I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Dear Lord, I rejoice over the new covenant of grace. How wonderful it is to live under promises that do not depend upon my ability to perform. Lord, I put my trust in You to fulfill Your promises in my life. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 18

More on Substance, not Shadows, under Grace

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come…Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Hebrews 10:1 and Colossians 2:16-17)

Just as an approaching shadow points to the arrival of the person casting the shadow, so the law pointed to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus (with His abounding grace) is the substance which the law foreshadows. "The substance is of Christ." Jesus is the one who brought "the good things to come."

One of these "good things" that Jesus brings by His grace is the full rest seen in the shadow of the Sabbath. The law of God called for a day of rest every week for His people. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD" (Exodus 20:8; 31:15). This shadow provided regular physical rest for the Israelites. However, it pictured the substantial rest (true spiritual rest) that Jesus brings us. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). Jesus is now the daily Sabbath rest for all who humbly depend upon Him. "For we who have believed do enter that rest" (Hebrews 4:3).

Another of the "good things" that Jesus provides by His grace is the full fellowship foreshadowed in the Tabernacle of the Old Covenant. The Tabernacle reveals God's desire to dwell in the midst of men. "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle…just so you shall make it" (Exodus 25:8-9). This elaborate portable tent was to be set up right in the middle of God's people. "You shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony…they shall carry the tabernacle…and camp around the tabernacle" (Numbers 1:50). The priests of the tribe of Levi would encircle the Tabernacle, with the other tribes of Israel encamped around them. This is a significant shadow: God dwelling at the center of His people. Yet, something far more substantial than this shadow is fulfilled in Christ. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt [literally, "tabernacled"] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Now, this same Jesus has made the church collectively, and our lives individually, the tabernacle of His presence among men! "Do you not know that you are the temple of God…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" (1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 3:17).

Dear Lord Jesus, I praise You for coming to dwell in my life by grace through faith. I hope in You now for the daily rest my weary soul desperately needs, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 17

Substance, not Shadows, under Grace

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect…Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Hebrews 10:1 and Colossians 2:16-17)

Another superior aspect of grace is seen in the difference between a shadow and the substance that casts a shadow. Shadows supply various benefits, but they have critical limitations. Shadows can provide a visible outline of an actual reality, but they cannot supply what is inherent to the reality. Also, shadows can give indication of an approaching person, but they cannot provide a relationship with that person. The old covenant of law is likened unto a shadow: "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come." The new covenant of grace (God's sufficient resources freely available in Christ) is the substance. "The substance is of Christ."

One of the shadow-like characteristics of the law was contained in its sacrifices. "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect." Christ would perfectly fulfill all that those ancient sacrifices represented, while making all of their desired benefits available to those who would believe in Him. The Passover lamb is a clear example of this truth. "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb…For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you" (Exodus 12:21, 23). This shadow of temporal deliverance becomes substance of permanent deliverance in Christ, who delivers us from eternal judgment. "Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Another shadow-like characteristic of the law can be seen in its righteous commands. Whatever the law demands is related to holiness, to righteousness. "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). This call to righteousness can only become a substantial reality through the Lord Jesus Christ: "that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Philippians 3:8-9).

Lord Jesus, You are all of the good things to come that were foreshadowed in the law. Help me to avoid being caught up in the shadows of the law. May Your Spirit draw me to the unlimited spiritual substance that is found in You alone, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 16

A Greater Intimacy under Grace

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All…Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us. (Hebrews 9:1-3 and 10:19-20)

An additional better aspect of grace is greater intimacy than the law could provide. The old covenant of law brought many priests into the holy place ("the sanctuary"), but only one into the Holy of Holies ("the Holiest"). The new covenant of grace brings every believer into the Holy of Holies-daily!

Under the guidelines of the law, there was an earthly tabernacle, where God's people were to approach Him. "Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary." The two inner chambers (the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies) were where spiritual intimacy with God was available. The holy place had significant "spiritual furniture," signifying various realities of the people's relationship with God. "For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary." In this chamber, a specified number of priests would enter each day. They would be occupied in busy service unto the Lord (lighting the lamps, laying out the bread, supplying the incense). However, they were separated from the most intimate presence of the Lord by the veil that prevented access to the Holy of Holies.

Behind that veil of separation was the most intimate place with God: "behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All." Therein was the ark with the tablets of law: "the ark of the covenant…and the tablets of the covenant" (Hebrews 9:4). Above the ark was the mercy seat, where the shining glory of God's personal presence was seen. Here, blood was sprinkled, allowing sinful man to commune with a holy God: "and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat" (Hebrews 9:5). Yet, the law's severe restriction is seen in that only one man could enter that intimate place one day a year: "into the second part the high priest went alone once a year" (Hebrews 9:7). Now every new covenant servant of grace can daily enjoy by faith that intimate presence of the Lord! "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us."

Lord God of holiness, I praise You for the new and living way of grace, that offers such intimacy with You. In humble faith, I ask that You make Your presence known to me day by day, through the blood of Christ, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 15

A Better Sacrifice under Grace

For such a High Priest was fitting for us…who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices…for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself…Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 7:26-27 and 9:12)

Another superior aspect of the new covenant of grace is the sacrifice we have in Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. The sacrifices under the old covenant were offered repeatedly, and they involved the blood of animals. In both respects the sacrifice of Jesus is far better.

The priests under the law presented their same sacrifices day after day. These sacrifices could not remove sin. "And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins" (Hebrews 10:11). These sacrifices provided a temporary covering of sin, anticipating the permanent work of the Messiah to come. However, at the same time, in these sacrifices was a constant remembrance of sin and guilt. "In those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year" (Hebrews 10:3). As the blood was shed, the ultimate consequence of sin (death) was being played out before the people. "And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). Eventually, Jesus died as the perfect, "once-for-all" sacrifice. "For such a High Priest was fitting for us…who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices…for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." This was a sacrifice that could actually remove sin. "Once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many…But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 9:26, 28 and 10:12).

The limitation of law sacrifices was that mere animal blood was being shed. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Thus, our High Priest under grace offered His own blood. "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." The blood of Christ was uniquely effective. It was the "precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (1 Peter 1:19 and John 1:29).

Dear Lamb of God, what a marvelous sacrifice You gave by grace! One death for all the sins of the world makes eternal redemption available to all who believe. I gratefully rejoice in this wondrous gift!

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Day By Day By Grace - June 14

A Better High Priest under Grace

"You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant…Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:21-22, 25)

The supreme issue regarding the better aspects of the new covenant of grace is Jesus, our High Priest. The priests under the law were men who served for a limited time and then died. Under grace, our High Priest serves forever. Jesus received His priesthood "not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16).

The priests under the law were sons of Aaron from the tribe of Levi. Each served as a brief reminder of the perfect priest who would someday bring a better covenant than the law. "Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?" (Hebrews 7:11). This was a temporary priesthood, requiring numerous priests. "And there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing" (Hebrews 7:23). The priesthood of Jesus would never have to be transferred to another because He is the eternal Son of God. "But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood" (Hebrews 7:24).

Jesus, our eternal High Priest, was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. "For this Melchizedek… without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually" (Hebrews 7:1-3). Melchizedek was the one who brought bread and wine to Abraham, when he returned victorious from battle (see Genesis 14). There was no genealogy for Melchizedek, no record of the beginning or ending of his days of service. In this, he was like the Son of God: eternal. Thus, he pictured Jesus' priesthood: eternal. This makes Jesus (the provider of grace) a better High Priest than those who served under the law. "By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant."

Now, the one who died for us (to forgive our sins) is ever praying for us (that we might be thoroughly rescued from all else that threatens us). "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them."

Lord Jesus, my great High Priest, I bow to You as the eternal one, whose priesthood never ends. I rest in Your interceding prayers for me today, that I might be delivered from all that would come against me, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 13

The Better Aspects of the New Covenant of Grace

He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." (Hebrews 8:6-8)

These verses contrast the old covenant of law ("that first covenant") with the new covenant of grace ("a second"). The old covenant of law was good, but the new covenant of grace is far better. The law is ordained of God, but it can never bring what God desires people to experience.

The law is good, but only if it is used properly. "We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners" (1 Timothy 1:8-9). The lawful use of God's law pertains to the unrighteous, the rebellious. The law is not designed to give people a righteous standing in God's sight (justification). "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ" (Galatians 2:16). Nor is the law intended for developing a godly walk (sanctification) in those who are justified through faith in Christ. "For the law made nothing perfect" (Hebrews 7:19). The proper use of the law is to lead people to the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. "The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

Grace is far better than law. If the law was sufficient, then God would never have sent His Son to die for the establishing of a new covenant. "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." Since the law was lacking (regarding justification and sanctification), God's plan included the new covenant of grace. "Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant'." The new covenant of grace has Jesus, the giver of life, as the Mediator. "He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant." This new covenant also has greater promises than the law: "a better covenant, which was established on better promises." In the days ahead, we will examine the better aspects of the grace of God.

Dear Father, I agree with You that Your law is good. It tutored me to Your magnificent grace. Lord, teach me the better aspects of Your grace, that I might fully embrace all that You want to accomplish in and through my life, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 12

More Reflections on Obedience by God's Grace

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?…Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. (Galatians 3:3 and 2 Corinthians 3:5)

Once again, let's reflect on previously studied passages that show how obedience to God is related to His grace. Galatians 3:3 fits in this helpful category.

Our beginning with God was brought about by the work of His Spirit. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). We humbly admitted our sins, casting ourselves upon the mercy of God. The Holy Spirit brought us new birth, new life. This work of the Spirit is linked to the grace of God later in this same sentence: "that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7). Thus, starting out with God is related to His Spirit applying His grace to our need.

Now, having experienced spiritual birth by the Spirit (by grace), would we be so foolish as to think that we could be spiritually developed by the flesh (by mere human activity)? "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" The only way that spiritual growth can follow spiritual birth is by the work of the Holy Spirit (that is, by the grace of God continuing to impact our lives). These same terms are the only explanation for the development of obedience in the life of a child of God. It must come from the Spirit applying grace to our hearts. "It is good that the heart be established by grace" (Hebrews 13:9).

2 Corinthians 3:5 is another passage that carries this same message about obedience. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God." We are hereby reminded that Christians are not the source of any godliness that is to develop in their lives. This would include obedience. We do not have within our own resources what it takes to produce an obedient life. Yet, we do have available to us daily all that we need to grow in pleasing God and doing His will. God is to be our source always for all things spiritual. How do we draw upon His comprehensive sufficiency? Humbly depend upon Him. God pours grace into the humble heart (James 4:6), and faith accesses grace (Romans 5:2).

Heavenly Father, would You develop obedience in me the same way You brought new life to me—by Your Spirit, by Your grace. I again confess my need for Your sufficient resources for growing in obedience, and I rely on You, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 11

Reflections on Obedience by God's Grace

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 6:14 and 8:4)

Before we leave this vital subject of obedience, let's reflect upon how it is related to God's grace. Various key passages that we have examined can help us accomplish this goal.

Romans 6:14 is such a passage. Herein, we are told how to get out from under the domination of sin. "For sin shall not have dominion over you." Anyone who is ruled by sin is living in disobedience. Sin and disobedience are virtually synonymous. Grace is the path of deliverance from disobedience. "For you are not under law but under grace." Sin is transgression of the law of God. The law can call us to the holy standards of God, but the law cannot help us to obey those perfect standards. "For the law made nothing perfect" (Hebrews 7:19). Grace is God's resource for forgiveness of sin (thus rescuing us from the dominating penalty of sin): "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Grace is also God's strength for daily living in victory over sin (thereby rescuing us from the dominating influence of sin): "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1).

Romans 8:4 is another passage that indicates the connection between obedience and grace. The opening words address a primary reason why Christ died on the cross: "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us." It is God's desire that the holy demands of the law be increasingly lived out in our lives. This would amount to a life of obedience. The law itself could never produce this. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). What God's law could not do (because of man's inability to live up to it), God did through His Son. Now, by means of all that Christ has provided for us, we can live obediently. Who is it that walks in obedience? It is those who "do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Christians who face each day by the flesh only access the carnal resources of natural man. On the other hand, those who depend daily upon the Spirit draw from the grace resources of a supernatural God.

Holy and gracious Father, I praise Your name that grace is the path to obedience. In light of my inadequacy, no other approach could ever be sufficient. Once again, I renounce my flesh and look to the work of Your Spirit to fulfill Your righteous requirements in my life, Amen.

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"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 10

God Glorified by Working Obedience in Us

Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Let's ponder once more these tremendous words in Hebrews 13:20-21. When the Lord works in us unto obedience ("what is well pleasing in His sight"), He Himself is the one who appropriately receives the glory ("to whom be glory forever and ever").

Throughout eternity, God is to be glorified and magnified by all. "I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!' And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!'" (Revelation 5:11-13).

Now, in the midst of time and space, God is also to be glorified in and through our lives. "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). What the Lord wants us to do for His glory is clearly revealed in His commands. In the New Testament, our Lord commands His new covenant servants in many areas. He calls us to genuine love, godly service, earnest prayer, and habitual hospitality: "Let love be without hypocrisy… serving the Lord…continuing steadfastly in prayer…given to hospitality" (Romans 12:9; 11, 12, 13). He instructs us to be truthful, hard-working, kind, and forgiving: "each one speak truth with his neighbor…let him labor, working with his hands what is good…be kind to one another… forgiving one another" (Ephesians 4:25, 28, 32).

These commands declare the attitudes and actions that are "well pleasing in His sight." These are the spiritual characteristics that He wants to bring forth by His work in us: "working in you what is well pleasing in His sight." When we seek the Lord to do such work in and through us, He is to be given all the glory and honor.

Glorious God of peace, may You be glorified in my life by making me complete in every good work to do Your will, working in me what is well pleasing in Your sight through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 9.

God Working in Us What Pleases Him

Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Once again, our attention is focused upon Hebrews 13:20-21. In the two previous devotionals, we saw that the God of peace makes obedience available to us through the blood of Christ and then He equips us to do His will. Now we will see that this involves God working in us what pleases Him.

Obedience is about pleasing God, doing "what is well pleasing in His sight." This is why Christ died for us. "He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:15). Living to please self is the ultimate disobedience to God. As God's children, we want to live for His approval. "Walk as children of light…proving what is acceptable to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8-10).

The ordained means for us to live pleasing in His sight is God at work in us: "the God of peace…working in you what is well pleasing in His sight." We cannot properly live obedient, pleasing lives for God, unless we look to Him to work within us. When the Lord is relied upon to work within us, He then expresses His heart and will through us. "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20). This is how the early church effectively pleased the Lord in their service. "For He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles" (Galatians 2:8).

Ultimately, pleasing God by doing His will is an internal matter of the heart. "That He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13). When our Lord returns, He wants to find obedient children. He wants His followers to be "blameless in holiness before our God and Father." This is only possible as we trust our God to do a spiritually stabilizing work deep within us: "That He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness."

Not surprisingly, all of God's working within us is done "through Jesus Christ." It is all based upon who Jesus is, all that He has done for us, and all that He alone can accomplish as He lives in us!

Lord God of peace, I long to live pleasing in Your sight, holy and true. Please do Your effective work deep within my heart, through Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 8

God Equipping Us to Do His Will

Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Again, our devotional study is from Hebrews 13:20-21. In our previous meditation, we saw that the God of peace makes obedience possible through the shed blood of the crucified, risen Christ. That shed blood forgives our sins, making friends out of formerly disobedient enemies. Furthermore, that shed blood establishes the new covenant of grace, which supplies God's sufficiency for all our needs, including the developing of an obedient life.

Now, we will reflect upon God being the one who uses His heavenly resources to equip us to do His will. What a hope and joy this is! God Himself is willing to undertake the task of shaping us into His obedient servants: "Now may the God of peace… make you complete in every good work to do His will."

This term ("complete") is exceedingly insightful. It speaks of equipping people for their intended tasks, getting them ready to do what they are called to do. To equip means to furnish whatever qualities are necessary to perform the task at hand. To equip means to supply whatever is needed for an assigned purpose. Our calling and purpose in the will of God is that we engage in a great variety of good works. God is willing to equip us "in every good work to do His will."

Long ago, David was inspired of the Holy Spirit to speak boldly in similar terms. "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me" (Psalm 138:8). In light of David's calling to obedience (and our own calling to the same), many things concern us. We are called to serve, to sacrifice, to pray, to worship, to love, to evangelize, to edify-and the list continues. How are we to expect progress in such a broad range of obedience? Our confidence is that "The LORD will perfect that which concerns [us]."

As we have asked previously, is this equipping work of God unto obedience an automatic issue? Not at all! Remember, we can resist (Acts 7:51), quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and grieve (Ephesians 4:30) the work of the Spirit of grace in our lives. So what is our response to be? Since the Lord is the one who must equip us to do His will, we are to seek Him daily in the word and in prayer. We are to depend humbly upon Him. We must not look to ourselves, to formulas, or to any other false hope.

O God of peace, please do what only You can do. Equip me to obey You in every type of good work that is in Your will. I do not have what it takes to fulfill Your will for me. I often put my hope in vain places. Lord, I now look to You alone, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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Day By Day By Grace - June 7

The God of Peace Making Obedience Available to Us

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

These powerful verses continue our inquiry concerning a life of obedience. They conclude with what results when God is relied upon to do His work in our lives. We become "complete in every good work to do His will." This hope is made available to us by "the God of peace."

We all started out in life at war with God. Although we may not have been aware of this fact, we were enemies of God: "You …were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works" (Colossians 1:21). We were disobedient by our very nature: "the sons of disobedience …by nature children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:2-3). Yet, through His Son, God reached out to offer us peace. "For He Himself is our peace, who… abolished in His flesh the enmity…making peace…through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16). This sacrifice on the cross was effective, because the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead with victory over sin and death: "the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead."

At the cross of Christ, the blood that brings eternal blessings to all who believe in Him was shed: "through the blood of the everlasting covenant." The Lord promised these eternal benefits to His people through the prophets of old. "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me . . . Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them" (Jeremiah 32:40 and Ezekiel 37:26).

The blood of the new covenant of grace secures these benefits: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). This shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ cleanses and forgives forever all who humbly trust in Him. Also, this shed blood of the new covenant (God's new arrangement for living) supplies the adequacy we need from God for the obedient life He has called us to live: "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant" (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

Dear God of peace, I praise You for the shed blood of Jesus, changing me from Your enemy to Your friend. I thank You for also making obedience available through this new covenant of grace. I humbly ask that You teach me to live in dependence upon Your sufficiency, Amen.

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"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 6

God Working in Us Both to Will and to Do

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Again, our meditation is from Philippians 2:12-13. Yesterday, we saw that God must be allowed to work within our hearts, if we are to walk in obedience. "It is God who works in you…for His good pleasure." Today, we will consider the extent to which He desires to work: "both to will and to do." In order to fully obey the Lord, we need His work within us for both the willing and the doing.

First, the Lord wants to effect our willingness to obey Him (to fulfill "His good pleasure" ). So, He invites us into His word to learn of His will. "Oh, that My people would listen to Me… [and] walk in My ways!" (Psalm 81:13). Then, His word goes to work within our hearts, convicting us of our need to obey it. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). All the while, He is nurturing in us a love for His word. "Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!" (Psalm 119:127). Increasingly, we become willing to (we desire to) obey His word. "I delight to do Your will, O my God" (Psalm 40:8).

After working in our hearts a willingness to obey Him, the Lord also wants to work in us until we are doing His will. Yes, willing and doing are two different matters. We easily forget this distinction. We wrongly assume that once the willingness is present, the doing will inevitably follow. Jesus revealed the fallacy of this thinking in a well-known warning to His disciples. "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). Even when our hearts are willing to obey, our flesh is inadequate to bring the willingness on to obedience. Thus, we are to recognize our need for prayer, that we might obey and not yield to temptation. The word even teaches us how to cry out to God for the internal inclination that we need to actually obey His will. "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments…Incline my heart to Your testimonies" (Psalm 119:35-36).

Dear gracious Lord, how wonderful that You want to work in me unto obedience. What a gift of Your grace that You desire comprehensive involvement in this vital process—from the willing to the doing. Lord, draw me day by day to Your word. Work in me a growing willingness to obey You. Also, strengthen me to actually do Your will, in Jesus' name, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion


"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 5

God Working in Us unto Obedience

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

We have been considering how God wants us to grow in obedience to His will. The lordship of Jesus makes disobedience unacceptable. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Also, our Lord taught His early disciples to instruct all future disciples about obedience: "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). Our present passage offers profound insight by describing God working in us unto obedience. "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

This subject is introduced by a call to "work out your own salvation." Notice, we are not called to work for our salvation. Salvation is a gift of God's grace, freely received by faith. "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). Still, this gift of salvation (that now resides within us by grace) is to be worked out (developed outwardly) unto an obedient life, a life that fulfills "His good pleasure."

This calling is to be approached in "fear and trembling." Initially, our approach may be one of unabashed self-confidence. Eventually, we begin to understand that we must respond in "fear" (a reverential awe) and "trembling" (a profound sense of inadequacy). The next phrase explains why we are to engage this responsibility with such unusual attitudes: "for it is God who works in you." If the salvation that God has placed in our inner man is to become a visible walk that pleases Him, it will always be a result of us allowing Him to do an ongoing work deep within us. "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts…you are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart" (Jeremiah 31:33 and 2 Corinthians 3:3). This is the wonder of true Christian living. It is based upon God working within our hearts.

Dear Lord, I praise You for the precious gift of salvation You have poured into my heart. I earnestly desire that this gift be worked outwardly unto a life that is pleasing to You. Lord, please touch and shape the depths of my heart that I may obey You in all things, in Jesus' name, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion



"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 4

Obedience and the Life of Jesus

"And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him"…Christ in you, the hope of glory. (John 8:29 and Colossians 1:27)

Our Lord Jesus wants His followers to live in obedience to His will: "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20a). Our Lord is with us in every step of our pilgrimage, granting us His grace unto obedience. "I am with you always…through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith" (Matthew 28:20b and Romans 1:4-5). This is also the way that Jesus lived here on earth in relationship with His heavenly Father. "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." The Father was with the Son, as the Son lived to please the Father.

Jesus came to earth to live in humble dependence upon, and full obedience to, the Father. "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). Even though obedience led to the cross, Jesus obeyed the will of the Father. In the garden of Gethsemane, the obedient Son wrestled with the implications and impact of the impending cross. The holy, eternal One was to drink the cup of sin and death for all of us. His entire being was repulsed by that which was so contrary to His nature. "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death…O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me" (Matthew 26:38-39). Yet, He obediently yielded to the Father's will. "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39b). This is the ultimate example of obedience.

This same Jesus (who always pleased the Father, even unto death) now lives in us. This same Jesus is our "hope of glory." He is our hope (expectation, confidence) of making it to glory (heaven) some day. He is also our hope of walking in any heavenly reality here on the way to glory. He is our hope of an obedient life.

Obedience is essentially related to the life of Jesus. The life Jesus lived on earth is our perfect example of obedience. The life He now wants to live in and through us is our glorious hope of obedience.

Lord Jesus, I look at Your life on earth and I see the obedience that I yearn to experience. I know that I can not produce such a life on my own. I think of You living in me, and I have hope that I can grow in obedience. So, I place my hope in You to express Your obedient heart in and through my choices, my words, my actions, my entire life, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion




"To God be the glory!!"


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Day By Day By Grace - June 3

Obedience and the Lordship of Jesus

"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things which I say?…Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…[and] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Luke 6:46 and Matthew 28:19-20)

As servants of the new covenant of grace, the Lordship of Jesus is part of our message. "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord" (2 Corinthians 4:5). The early church proclaimed Jesus as Lord. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ…The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ-He is Lord of all… believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…Then Paul dwelt two whole years… teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:36; 10:36; 16:31; and 28:30-31).

The Scriptures often emphasize the fact that Jesus is our Lord. The opening verses of Paul's first letter to Corinth is a clear example. "Paul…to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus…with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ…who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:1-10).

Clearly, it is right for followers of Jesus to call Him Lord. Yet, to call Him Lord and then disobey Him is a contradiction. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" After believing in Jesus and identifying with Him in water baptism, disciples are to be growing in obedience: "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." As we are learning to walk in obedience, Jesus is ever present with us. "I am with you always." Day by day, He offers the grace we need for obedience: "Declared to be the Son of God with power…through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith" (Romans 1:4-5).

Lord Jesus, I long for my verbal confession of Your Lordship to be validated by my daily growth in obedience. You are my Master. Grant me grace each day to be obedient to the faith, in Your sovereign name I pray, Amen.

blueletterbible.com/devotion



"To God be the glory!!"


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