God’s grace shields us

“And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? …’” Judges 6:13.

IF … the Lord is with us … there is a God … He cares at all. How often I’ve heard Gideon’s question posed to me over my years of ministry. The problem is that the beginning premise is flawed. Many assume that we all are basically good people, who haven’t done any really bad sins like rape or murder—so we are unnecessarily or unjustly facing terrible circumstances in our lives from an uncaring, uninvolved, or non-existent God.

Scriptures reveal just the opposite story, though: that we have all sinned and deserve death! When we can grasp this truth, then we begin to see just how the evil in the world is always caused by sinful men, a fallen world, or (gasp) our own bad choices!

In fact, when compared to what could be happening to us, we can see God’s grace in shielding us from what could have been. The financial guru, Dave Ramsey, often answers when asked how he’s doing with “better than my sins deserve.”

This keeps a good perspective. It’s better to ask, “If the Lord were NOT with us, what could be happening to us?”

Do you recognize His grace?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #grace #douglas-kashorek

Command and teach

“Command and teach these things” 1 Timothy 4:11.

We are to train ourselves to be godly as godliness has value in this present life and the life to come. We labor and strive with hope in the living God as our motivation to flee from our sinful lives to take hold of the promise of eternal life that God has given us and declared with an oath. So, now it is time to break this down into specific behaviors. Speaking to the young evangelist first but to us by extension, we are to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” We must also “devote” ourselves “to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” We must not, and this is perhaps the most challenging—not neglect our gifts. If benevolence, edification, and evangelism are our core values, to not live these instructions out is to sin by omission. James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” To not set an example is to not show edification. To not be devoted to reading, preaching, and teaching is to not show evangelism. And, to neglect our gifts to not serve others is to not show benevolence.

Are you living out our core values?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #douglas-kashorek #values

Watch and pray to be prepared

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. … Be always on the watch, and pray … that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21:34-36.

Often we want to get wrapped up in the issues of in whether Jesus is speaking about the end of the world or the destruction of the temple? Premillennialism or a rapture? The point is that we must watch and pray, so we are prepared. But prepared for what? Not the end of the world but to stand before the Son of Man. What may keep us from doing that? The answer is a scarily accurate depiction of life today. Our hearts may be weighed down with dissipation, which is a wasting from misuse of our talents and time. Drunkenness—terrible escapes from life. Or caught up in the anxieties of life! Life today has lots of those … as well as more leisure time than any generation before ours, thanks to advances in every realm of life. Not using your time and talents for yourself, then, but for God’s Kingdom instead would be one way to prepare.

If the end was in this moment, could you stand before the Son of Man?

Douglas Kashorek

plattsburghchurch.com

#douglas-kashorek #devotional #preparation