Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Shelter In The Time Of Storm"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)
As I grabbed my ringing telephone, I heard my daughter saying that Frank was in the greenhouse. Dropping the receiver, I made a dash out of the house, arrived at the greenhouse, and confirmed that Frank had indeed broken in and was contently munching all the tender lettuce plants down to their roots.
Frank is my miniature horse. He is extremely nosy and very determined. Unaware of my arrival, he was chomping away when I asked him what he was doing. He almost leapt out of his skin, and then gave me one of the guiltiest looks that I had ever seen. Who knew? A horse could look guilty? Not I until I caught him red-handed.
Trying not to laugh at this unexpected reaction, I chastised him and pointed my finger for him to get out, which he at least had the humility to obey.
Frank is not the only one who gets caught out in his sin, though. The Holy Spirit is pretty adept at catching me, as well, and then pointing the way out and the way to go. The way out and forward is through God's grace in Christ — grace which allows me to acknowledge my sin, to be forgiven of both it and the guilt of it, and then to go forward with a clean slate to set things as right as possible concerning the situation. It's not that I deserve forgiveness, because God's grace is undeserved. He extends it freely to all those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (NIV)
This marvellous gift of grace is something that I am becoming more and more aware of as I age, due to the fact that I am often awake during the night. During those periods of wakefulness, the Holy Spirit brings to mind occurrences of sin from years before, even though I was often not aware that they were sin at the time. They are not huge things, but rather those everyday instances when I did not love my neighbour as myself. I acted hastily, rudely, in an unthinking and unkind manner. I did not take the time to help when I could and should have. I used harsh words or a manner that was totally uncalled for. I left undone what I should have done. All these things I either justified at the time or was simply blind to. Yet, God was aware of them, and because He loves me so much, He wants me to be holy in Christ, which also means becoming aware of any ungodliness within and dealing with it, through His grace, which I am obediently doing step by step, as He lovingly catches me out.
How about you? What does God's grace mean to you? How aware of it are you in your daily life? Have you been saved by grace, through faith — and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God. And if not, ask yourself, why not?
One day, we will each be found out, much like I found Frank out. Our life will come to its earthly end, and we shall stand before God. How we have accepted or refused His grace in Christ will be the judge of our eternity.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your grace through Jesus Christ. Thank You that it is always available to us through faith, that we might not only be forgiven of our sins but also the guilt of them, which is so often the cause of depression, discouragement, and hopelessness. May each of us learn to accept and rest in that grace, that we might become more and more like You. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.