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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, August 16, 2015
Today’s scripture reading:
. . . Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy.
We become Christians through God’s unmerited favor, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church. (NLT)
Ephesians 2:1-10 – Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s anger just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms–all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Janice Quinn (Texas) titled her story “NO EARNING REQUIRED;” here is Janice’s story:
“For seven years during my twenties, I struggled with an eating disorder. Today, despite many full and rewarding years of recovery from this vicious disease, I still struggle with self-esteem issues. I am a mother, wife, and nurse. I volunteer my time and pledge my financial resources. I commit time to a morning devotional and strive to be an example to others. I was raised in a strong Christian home, and I know that we are saved by grace, and not through any works. Yet despite all I have learned of God’s grace, I confess that sometimes deep down I still feel I have to earn that grace.
“Just as the apostle Paul had his ‘thorn in the flesh,’ I have my ‘thorn in the mind.’ Twenty-seven years ago God granted me ‘surrender’ with my eating disorder, helping me to have a healthy attitude toward food and perfectionism. Now God continues to grant me daily surrender in my mind. God is love, and God loves me just as I am.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – God’s grace is freely given.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for saving us and for loving us, even when we find it hard to love ourselves. Use us as witnesses to your grace and mercy. Amen.
Prayer Focus: SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH AN EATING DISORDER
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
SPIRITUAL GROWTH: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/spiritual-growth/
PERSEVERANCE, PERSEVERE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/perseverance-persevere/
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