Day # 40 April 3rd – Grace, grace, grace (and more grace)
Go to www.biblegateway.com and click on keyword search. Type in “grace” and see how many times it appears in the Bible. Type in “mercy” “compassion,” “forgive,” and “love.” These are more than passing phrases, but they are the theme of the entire story of God. By grace God created us, by grace God loved us, by grace cared for us, by grace God forgives us, by grace God sent his son Jesus, by grace he died for us, by grace he rose from the dead, by grace we are saved through him, by grace we are called to share him, and by grace we are united with him and his entire family for all eternity. Ephesians 2:8 says it best “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Remember who we are, is by the grace of God, therefore we accept each other by that same grace. No matter the difficulties of another person, we accept them as Christ accepted us. And whatever good that is happening in our lives, remember it is by grace. Whenever any bad is happening in our lives, remember it is by grace that we will conquer it and be in heaven some day. All these disciplines, and all our faith, is simply by the love and grace of God, share that grace always!
Day # 39 April 2nd – Releasing (being a hard-line liberal and a flaming conservative)
God does not like carbon copies. Look at the disciples, there were 12 of them who followed Jesus closely for three years, yet they were still all different in their own way. The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all tell the same story, but they tell it in different ways, if they were all identical, we would only need one. God likes our unique traits; in fact that’s how we were designed. A puzzle has several, sometimes hundreds of pieces, all which are different. Each piece serves its own function, when properly placed they form one complete picture, that is like that body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says that there are different gifts, different kinds of service, different kinds of working, but that the same God works in all of them. The idea of “releasing” is that when we do the work of discipling, mentoring, and teaching in the faith, we conclude by releasing, letting the individual express their faith in their unique way. We cannot hold tightly onto every action. We teach the importance, and sacredness of the faith, and allow people to grow into who God desires them to be. This means that perhaps someone we discipled, or mentored ends up being a democrat when we are republican. Perhaps it means they listen to rock music when we do classical. Perhaps it means they use the ESV when we use the NIV. Remember the puzzle, our differences make us united. Correct when there needs to be correction, disciple at all times, be always mentoring, but remember to release and allow God to do his distinct work at its appropriate time.
P.S. It is Good Friday, find a community of believers to go and worship remembering Jesus' sacrafice for us.
Day # 38 April 1st – Mentoring (making an example out of yourself)
There is much one can learn from reading devotions, listening to sermons, and reading Max Lucado literature, but nothing speaks louder than watching the word be lived out in another believer. Our life has so many twists and turns, that sometimes it is hard to see how faith impacts us. For those who have been a follower of Jesus for sometime it is therefore, vitally important to be a spiritual mentor. Is there one person you are currently investing in to help their faith? Whether it is a formal or informal agreement, mature believers need to invest in others lives. The words of 1 Peter 5:2 say it best “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing…” Those who are veterans in the faith should have the desire to say the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." Being a mentor starts by praying with the individual on a regular basis (no less than once a week). A mentor continually encourages one to be devoted to the reading of scripture. A mentor will take their mentee with them on serving opportunities (the Community Center, food pantry, etc). A mentor will ask their mentee how they and God are doing. Most importantly a mentor will allow their life to be an example of a disciple of Christ for the mentee to imitate. Who are you mentoring today? If you do not have an answer find someone, it is the calling and duty of our faith.