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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, August 21, 2016
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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb ♥
Today’s scripture reading:
When someone gives you a gift, do you say, “That’s very nice—now how much do I owe you?” No, the appropriate response to a gift is “Thank you.” Yet how often 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. (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 price 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 realm—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.
The psalmist wrote, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.” –Psalm 66:16 (NRSV)
Hayes Mizell (South Carolina) titled his story “GOD IS WORKING;” here is Hayes’ story:
“Each Sunday, I enter worship in full command of my emotions. But it often doesn’t last. A verse or phrase of a hymn I have sung for decades strikes me in an entirely new way. I reflect on how God has worked in my life, in the lives of my loved ones, and in members of the church I attend. A flood of memories and feelings pours over me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s grace and mercy, and tears come to my eyes.
“For many years I could not have imagined standing in church, unashamed of my lack of composure. I could not have imagined being comfortable talking about my faith, or praying in public. Then, through many different experiences, not all of them positive, God broke through my shell of insecurity and self-protection. God put agents of grace in my path, and opened my heart to their acceptance and love. When I finally understood that God is present and active in my life and the lives of others, I became more confident in my faith and more committed to grow in it.
“Some may think of God as abstract and remote. But for me, the opposite is true. The Holy Spirit can transform the way we experience God, inviting us into a personal relationship with our Creator.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How has my response to God’s grace changed over time?
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for being with us each day. Grant us courage to respond authentically. Amen.
Prayer Focus: WORSHIP LEADERS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/