Through him (our Lord Jesus Christ) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5: 2


It seems to me that if there is one thing that would make aa difference in the way that our world operates, that one thing might be the presence of more grace in our interactions and in our relationships. Now grace is an interesting concept, and it is a risky thing to engage in giving or receiving. Grace defies some of the rules of life that we all have learned, for it operates outside of the usual idea that all human interaction carries with it an inherent requirement that there be reciprocity. If I give something to you, then you are indebted to me until something of relatively equal worth is returned to me. This is the sort of platform upon which most of what we do and how we engage with each other is constructed. This give and take economy is where our world stands.


However, this is not where God is coming from in the way that He engages with His creation, in general, and with people, specifically.  In the beginning, He breathed life into us, and after we defied Him and went our own way into a universal journey of sin and its death, God came to us and provided Himself as our means of reentering the fullness of life. God asked for nothing in return as He poured out His grace upon our unworthy souls, and the only thing that Christ asked was that we be forgiven. Because of Christ and through God’s grace, anyone who turns to Him in repentance and submission is granted a new home in God’s Kingdom and a renewed purpose for this life in service to its King. Thus, in so living, we enter into our own hope of eternity wherein we will be covered in the glory of the Lord, but grace is still really for this life and it is about how we approach living today.


In Christ, we have received grace beyond our capacity or capability to measure it. There is no way to quantify or to compare this gift from God to anything else that we can perceive in this world. Yet, this grace that God has granted to us is intended to serve the purpose of setting us free from the bonds and the constraints that sin has imposed upon us. This is especially true when it comes to the way that we react to and interact with others. It seems to me that if we prepared out hearts to pour out grace upon people in all situations and under the wide range of circumstance in which we react to them in life, then this world would have a different tone and flavor to it. We might see others in a way that is more like Christ’s, and we just might find that other people start to understand some more of God’s gracious desire to redeem them. So, Lord, help me to stand today as a grace-soaked follower of Jesus and guide me to pour out that same infinite love upon others as an offering of grace given in worship to my King.


God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

John 4: 24


Sometimes we think of worship as something that takes place at specific times and in specified places. It is something that we do on our day of gathering and it happens in church. Yet, that is not even remotely how God intends for us to view this aspect of our relationship with Him. Worship is an expression of the way that we view its object, in this case God, and it is a means of taking the beliefs and the feelings that we have regarding God and making them known. God commands us to worship Him, but His heart desires that these commands would be fulfilled by us out of a sincere desire and even from a need to let out what is contained within us. The Lord wants for us to respond to His love, grace, mercy, and the rest of His character and nature by entering into this thing that we refer to as worship.


The character and the nature of God are much too large, great, and all-encompassing to be confined to a specific time or to be considered as a part of what happens in a designated place. God is not an object that we can place on a shelf, pedestal, or the wall and come to when we decide that we should engage in religious practices. His nature as spirit makes God impossible to contain or to curtail in this manner. The Lord is present and is sovereign ruler everywhere on this earth and in the universe. There is no place where He is not present and there is nothing over which He does not have final authority. This means that we can bring all that is before us in life to Him and that we can trust God with our most precious and deepest aspects of our minds, hearts, and souls. God rules over all with the sort of Creator’s love that seeks after the healing for all that is broken and for the redemption of all that is lost.


So, worship is something that takes place everywhere and in all of the circumstances where God is present, which means that for a follower of God, worship in its true form is a part of the totality of life. As we breath, so, also, we can worship the Lord who gave us each of those breaths. The realization of God’s total sovereignty and also of the absolute totality of His presence is the foundation for entering into God’s truth. There is only one author of truth in the universe, and the Lord is also the sole place to go to test the veracity of what we hear, how we are thinking, and the conclusions that we are forming about the conduct of life. Thus, seeking after truth is a form of worship, and doing this in submission to God’s Word and His Spirit is an expression of that worshipful heart. The Lord values truth as much as He does love, and He is blessed when we worship Him with lives that are dedicated to love, grace, mercy, justice, and truth.

These things we have heard from Christ and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1: 5


It has been my experience that darkness is sneaky. It can overcome a perfectly bright day with a suddenness that is disorienting. At other times it just slowly and subtly moves into my mind and my heart until all of the clear vision that was present has been obscured by its dark curtains of ambiguity. Ideas that were solid, actions that appeared to be righteous, and a path that seemed to lead me along sound footing can become distorted and shrouded with doubt. This is the effect that Satan wants to have on us, and this process of bringing darkness into our lives is one of his favorite devices.


Yet, when the path through life starts getting murky and doubts about what is good and righteous begin to swirl in my mind, this is a true sign that I am trying to figure it all out on my own and that I am not fully seeking God’s will and His desire as I set my course through my day. As I head out into the dark corners of this world, places where there is great need for Christ and for His true light, forces that are oriented toward darkness do attempt to cause confusion and distress in my mind and in my heart. Still, I cling to the fact that where God is, there is light. When Christ is leading, the path is well lit. If I am seeking to know and understand Christ through His Word and by the revelation of His Spirit, the Lord’s glory will surround me.


Based upon this fact, I should examine each and every aspect of my life where truth and love do not overcome fear and anger, and I need to continue to look for that truth in God’s Word until all of the thoughts and the actions that I engage in conform to His righteousness. For the closer I am to Christ, the more I will be standing in the center of the source of all light; and the longer I stay in this light, the more my heart will be transformed into a light filled vessel, which will lead me confidently into the way of the Lord’s brilliant truth.


Thus sys the LORD:

“Stand by the roads, and look,

and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is, and walk in it,

and find rest for your souls.

But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”

Jeremiah 6: 16


When we consider these words from the Lord, it is easy to see our day and age as depicted in them. Yet, Jeremiah wrote them down about 2,600 years ago, and people have been making the same comparison ever since then. So, it may not just be our times that are out of synch with God’s will and desire for the way that we live, but, instead, it is the fallen nature of people’s hearts and minds that is the problem. We should not take any comfort in the fact that our generation is not uniquely guilty of deviating from God’s righteous path, either; rather, we should take our Lord’s words of warning to heart and also seek out His promise of rest for our souls and the deeply felt peace that accompanies that rest.


Now God’s path of travel through life does not always seem to be so peaceful or rest filled. In fact, it takes us in a direction that heads straight into conflict with many of the values that our world holds as important. It also compels its sojourners to be on guard at all times as enemies of righteousness stand ready to assault God’s faithful people in order to attempt disruption of our faith and with ill intent regarding the stability of our fellowship of belief. There are also many times when the road signs and even the path itself are obscured or even completely covered over by ideas, concepts, and revised and newly enlightened ways of understanding God’s Word; yet, all of this new interpretation tends to be misguided at best and formed up out of dark desires at its worst. The true and ancient roads are still with us, and their footing is secure and solid when we search for it and step out in faith for our daily journey.


The discernment that we need in order to walk confidently along these foundational ways is found in the presence of Christ with us in that pursuit of truth, grace, and righteous love. We come to know these essential elements of life for the traveler along the Lord’s road by knowing our Savior and Lord well. God’s Word, read in its entirety and believed with a faith that holds its contents and their authorship as both sacred and mystical provides direction, counsel, and comfort for our days of travel. The Holy Spirit brings us the companionship of Christ for each step of the way, and He also provides insight and understanding into the direct and tangible application of all that is contained within that living word and also into God’s will as it pertains to the place and the times of today’s path. In choosing to follow Christ and stride out along His path of redemptive truth, we are moving away from the mainstream flow of our world, but in so doing, we are settling into God’s will in a manner that brings our souls to a peaceful place that brings both true rest for the night and strength for the new day to come.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24: 27


Jesus has been crucified. He was then placed into the sealed tomb but is no longer there. These two disciples are heading off toward the town of Emmaus when they encounter a stranger who joins them on the road and starts to talk with them. They explain their sadness and grief to him, and he begins to talk about Jesus with them. He possesses a depth of knowledge and a fullness of understanding that is amazing to the disciples. Even with all of this, they did not grasp who was with them until later that night when they sat down to a meal together and Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and broke it as He had while celebrating the Passover with them a few days earlier.


We look at this story and wonder how these disciples could have been so oblivious to who was with them. Perhaps we conclude that Jesus must have looked and even sounded very different than He did before. Yet, even when He explained the totality of Scripture to them in ways that made the presence of the Christ in it all fully apparent, they did not connect their companion with their teacher and close friend. How much like these disciples do we tend to be? If we have accepted Christ, He is present with us and dwelling within us; still, we are often oblivious to His truth and unresponsive to His direction for our lives. Like those men, we hear the words, but we do not grasp the real and tangible presence of their author or respond to His voice and to the Lord’s expressed will for us.


It seems to me that those disciples were so focused upon their own situation and the concerns that it caused them that they could not see beyond it to attend to the way that everything that was occurring in their lives was a part of God’s plan. Jesus spoke the truth of all eternity to them so that they could begin to understand that every word of the Scriptures was pointing to Christ and that all of life is to be dedicated to carrying out Christ’s calling for His disciples. If we open our ears to Him and yield our wills to His, we can enter into the same sort of peace that eventually came to the disciples as they realized who it was that they were engaged with in conversation and in travel through life. Christ reveals His truth and His will to us as we journey along our own roads with Him. He is present all of the time and in every situation or circumstance, for like those disciples, Christ is our companion and guide for the road that we will travel today.

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Joshua 21: 45


This is a bold statement; in fact, it is a very strong expression of the way that God had entered in to a complex series of events. Yet, it captures and encapsulates the experience that the Israelites had lived out under Moses and Joshua’s leadership as they left a state of slavery, journeyed across a hostile land, and fought to take possession of their given homeland. God had taken them out of their captive state, He had gone before them and provided provisions for their survival through those hard days in the harsh wilderness, and then the Lord had engaged in battle with their enemies and had provided the Israelites with guidance for their fights as well. Nothing that was good, needful, or redemptive came from a source outside of God’s hand. This was their reality; yet, unfortunately, it was a fragile one.


The Israelites, like many people across the course of history, lost sight of the character and the nature of God and of His wise counsel. They headed off in their own directions and sought after other, worldly forms of counsel and guidance. They entered into the worship of illicit gods and even began to offer up sacrifices of all types to these demanding concepts of what the divine should be; so, in the end, most of what God had granted to the Israelites was lost. Yet, God never turned away from them. He has continued to work out His redemption in and for them just as He has done the same for all people on this earth without regard to race, tribe, or other human attachment or affiliation. Jesus is the final and the ultimate answer to the good promise that God made to the Israelites and that He also made to all of creation. Jesus the Christ responds to each and every need that our bodies and our souls have in this life, and He comes into our lives with the full implementation of God’s love, grace, and redemption from sin and its death.


In Christ, we can all enter into the fulfillment of God’s promises of peace, joy, and meaning in this life. We also are granted His promise of eternity in full relationship with our Creator. This is a form of hope that is greater than all of the trials, struggles, and hardship that can come our way in life. The presence of Christ overcomes the oppressive powers of this world and all of their ill intent for us. Although we will encounter difficult times and even brutally harsh periods over the course of life, our feet are granted the solid foundation of God’s Word to stand firmly upon, and our hearts are surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit to shield and to guide us through these days of turmoil. The land that God has given to us as our place of dwelling may not have defined boundaries and borders as did the one that the Lord granted to the Israelites, but it is still very real and our possession of it is in every sense God’s love gift to us. As this new day dawns upon each of us, there is hope to be found in God’s promises of His goodness, there is peace and joy to be gained by and through the presence of Christ, and meaning and purpose are ours in following God’s will as our path of travel.

My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15: 58


Have you ever experienced uncertainty or become so weary from trying to live righteously in this troubled world that it felt like you were going to be swept over the edge of a towering cliff at any moment? Right, I didn’t think that I was totally alone in these responses to life. This world is a big time highly stressful place to exist. Also, Paul is generally a fairly practical guy; for, he lived his life in the center of the storm that happens whenever people who desire and seek to serve the Lord venture out into their communities and engage in bringing the truth of Christ to others. So, my conclusion is that realistic Paul wouldn’t tell us to do or to be something that couldn’t be done.


In order to avoid the inevitable sense of futility that comes when my desire to serve Christ intersects with all of the road blocks that spring up in front of my path, I am required to find my direction and the strength to carry on from a very special source. Christ calls me to follow Him and to do His work in my world. If this work is to reach the sort of potential that He knows exists, I must allow someone else to make decisions with me. Finally, if I am to stay the path of that calling through times of personal failure, disappointment with others, and the distractions that life brings my way; my feet need to be firmly set on a foundation that is stronger and that runs deeper than anything that I can fabricate on my own.


This all seems so complex to my mind; yet, it all has one relatively simple answer. Jesus, the Christ, is God’s response to every concern that I can contemplate. Jesus, who gave all so that I can live in the complete fullness of God’s riches is all that I need. Jesus, whose Spirit goes through everything in this life with me is my guide and counselor. Jesus, the One who took all of my sin and the shame that it brought to me onto His back is my strength. Jesus, the One who loves me despite all of my hurtful acts and deceitful thoughts holds me steady through all of the trials and the storms that attempt to drive me away from the Lord’s way. Jesus, there is nothing more; so, how can I accept anything less?

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