Embrace His Grace

                    

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       The beloved evangelist Billy Graham desires to bring you to a special place of renewal of your Christian Walk, to offer strength and courage for everyday living, and to inspire you to look to the Lord for your joy through these simple, direct, encouraging and challenging devotional writings.

 

The Walk of the Willing

   This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.                                                                                       Galatians 5:16

    To paraphrase Galatians 5:16--'Walk by means of the Spirit'. In Romans 8:14 Paul writes, 'As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' To walk in the Spirit is challenging and inspiring exercise, for it combines activity with relaxation. To walk means to place one foot in front of the other. If you stop doing this, you are no longer walking--you are standing still. Walking always implies movement, progress and direction.

    Living for Christ is a day-to-day going on with Him. It is a continuous dependence upon the spirit of God. It is believing in His faithfulness. You cannot live the Christian life by yourself. The Holy Spirit must live in you and express Himself through you.

    Sin will no longer rule or dominate you if you are allowing the Holy Spirit to live Christ's life through you. It is living by faith, living by trust, living in dependence upon God.

    If we look to our own resources, our own strength, or our own ability as Peter did when he walked on the water, we will fail.

    The first key for usefulness and power for Christians today is humility. The second is the realization that sanctification is only in Christ. The third is reliance on the Holy Spirit.

    Realize that God is in control. Habakkuk the prophet cried out to God and said, 'O God, why are these terrible evils coming upon the world?' God said, 'Habakkuk, don't be discouraged. I am working a work in your day; if I told you what it is, you would not believe it.' (See Habakkuk 1:5)

    God is at work in the midst of crisis. In the midst of the problems, pessimism, and frustrations of our day, God is doing His own work. Let us realize that there are certain things we cannot do. Let us be faithful in the things He has called us to do.

 

          Our Father and our God, I want to walk with You from here throughout eternity. Hold my hand and keep me by Your side. Remind me often that You are in control of life and that I have nothing to fear when I am with You. Keep me moving forward in my spiritual growth. And please bless me with the wisdom to always be faithful through Jesus Christ, my Lord. In his name. Amen.

 

 A Word From Billy Graham                    

            "We communicate the Gospel by our love for other people. Jesus said, 'All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another' (cf. John 13:35). Do you really love people? Does it show? Do they sense your compassion? In the love that we show to others is a social involvement commanded in the Scriptures. Look at our Lord. He touched the leper. Can you imagine how a leper felt to be touched? The leper had to go around saying, 'Unclean! Unclean!' Then Jesus touched him. Jesus was teaching by example, as well as by precept, that we have a responsibility to the oppressed, the sick and the poor. Sometimes the best way to approach them is to touch them with our compassion. Yes, we are to love people, and we are to have a compassionate social concern. Jesus had compassion on people; we should have compassion too."

 

Pray Without Ceasing

    Pray without ceasing...and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly                                                                               1 Thessalonians 5:17,23

    Remember that you can pray anytime, anywhere. Washing dishes, digging ditches, working in the office, in the shop on the athletic field, even in prison--you can pray and know God hears! We have a friend on Death Row who prays for us every morning between 4am and 6am. How often this fact has encouraged and cheered us on.

    Try to have a systematic method of prayer. Prayer combined with Bible study makes for a healthy Christian life. The Bible says, 'Pray without ceasing.' If you have special prayer periods that you set aside during the day, your unconscious life will be saturated with prayer between the prayer periods. It is not enough for you to get out of bed in the morning and just bow you knee and repeat a few sentences. There should be stated periods in which you slip apart with God. For the overworked mother or one living under extremely busy circumstances, this may be impossible. But here is where 'pray without ceasing' comes in. We pray as we work. As we have said, we pray everywhere, any time.

    The devil will fight you every step of the way. He will cause the baby to cry, the telephone to ring, someone to knock at the door,--there will be many interruptions, but keep at it! Don't be discouraged. Soon you will find that these periods of prayer are the greatest delight in your life. You will look forward to them with more anticipation than to anything else. Without constant, daily, systematic prayer, you life will seem barren, discouraging, and fruitless. Without constant prayer you never can know the inner peace that God wants to give you.

          Our Father and our God, what a blessing it is to talk to You! It refreshes my soul, delights my heart, and gives great joy. Please hear my heart through Christ Jesus, my Mediator, not just my own halting words. And help me to learn to hear Your response more clearly, Lord. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.

 

You Can Leap Walls                          

      And He [the Lord] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

        Conversion is that voluntary change in the mind of a sinner in which he turns on the one hand form sin and on the other hand to Christ. Conversion is the human side of the tremendous transformation that takes place in the divinely wrought 'new birth', or 'regeneration.' It is simply man's turning from sin to Christ.

        The Scripture teaches that God turns men to Himself, but men are also exhorted to turn themselves to God. God is represented as the author of the new heart and the new spirit, yet men are commanded to make for themselves a new heart and a new spirit. It is the old paradox of grace and free will.

        No one can be converted except by the grace of God, for we are too weak to turn ourselves, unaided; and we turn only in response to some stimulus provided outside ourselves.

        But no one can be converted except with the consent of his own free will, because God does not override human choice. We may not be free to choose, because sin weakens our power of moral choice; but we are free to refuse. We can refuse to be chosen.

        Simon Peter could not become a disciple until Jesus called him and said, 'Follow me.'  But others heard the same call and refused it or put it off. One said, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' Another one said, 'Let me first say farewell to those at my home." These men refused Christ's call.

        This combination of divine calling and the human responsibility of accepting or refusing God's grace runs throughout the Bible and characterizes all God's dealing with men.

        The Bible confronts us with man's moral independence within himself and his spiritual dependence upon God.

        In the picturesque words of Psalm 18:29, David says, 'By my God I can leap over a wall.' A man can jump over some barriers by his own will and effort, but some walls are so high that they need more than this.

        The psalmist knew such walls. Those could be leaped only with the help of God. God does not lift a man over. God helps a man when he takes the leap.

 

          Our Father and our God, my strength comes from You. With Your help and support I can overcome all barriers to holiness and joy. Empower me, Lord, to do Your will and to others to Your saving grace. I come asking in the name of Jesus, my strength and hope. Amen.

 

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