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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grace period

My last water bill contained a penalty charge of $5.98. I picked up the phone and dialed the water company to enquire about the charge. The lady on the other end informed me that I had paid my bill two days late and had incurred a penalty.

Feeling unusually testy I said, "I pay my bill just two days late and I get a penalty?"

She replied, "I'm sorry. There's no grace period."

Those words stayed with me all day.

No grace period.

Where would we be if God had not extended His grace to us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins? Or what if, like the water company, as soon as we did something wrong, he inflicted punishment on us? Thank God for His grace. Thank God that He tempers His law with grace.

Some people, anxious to excuse acts of wrongdoing, say we are now under grace and not under the law. It is true that grace came to us through Jesus Christ, but even He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

Therefore the law is a "schoolmaster" to help us distinguish between right and wrong. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).

In the same way I would not have known about the penalty had the water company not imposed one. However, while I had no choice but to pay the penalty, we who are in Christ can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

And that's the difference. Law punishes, but grace forgives. Which one will you choose?

Heavenly Father, how grateful we are that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have grace and forgiveness for our sins. We accept this precious gift, Lord along with your laws and precepts, and it's in His name we pray. Amen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Praying for our children

I realize I haven't posted anything in a while, and I apologize. Vacation and other things clouded my priorities and just kept me away from my blog. Anyway, things are now back to normal, and with the beginning of a new school year, my thoughts turn to our children and what this year might hold for them. The fact is, none of us knows what the future holds. Only God, and this is why we need to place our precious little ones in His capable hands. Having said that, here is a little prayer I composed for them.

Heavenly Father, we bring our children before You, knowing that you are the only wise and powerful God, the only One who can protect and care for them. Lord, we come in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who shed His precious blood on the cross so that we might have life. Therefore, when we call on the name of Jesus, we are speaking life over our loved ones and over our situation.

Father God, we pray that this year our children will be protected from the forces of darkness; that they will be safe and at peace in the classroom, the playgrounds, the buses and wherever they may go. Father God, we decree that our children will be able to pursue their education without fear, and that no weapon formed against them will prosper.

Father, we ask that you protect their minds from those who seek to pollute them with false doctrines and beliefs. We pray especially for those young people who are holding up the godly standard in our schools and colleges, that they will adhere to their principles and not be swayed by all the temptations around them. We ask, O God, that you protect our children from the dope peddlers, the child molesters and anyone who may try to destroy our children.

Father God, we thank you that we train up our children in the way they should go, and they carry this training with them into the schools. Father God, we thank you that our children are of upright conversation and they follow godly company. Lord, we ask you to bless the teachers and other professionals who work with our children. Give them patience and wisdom as they deal with the variety of personalities, for we ask it all in the name of Jesus. Amen.