Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Note to My Readers

Dear Friends and Faithful Readers,

I have been privileged to greet you morning by morning since 2013 with daily Abundant Grace devotions. There have been over 500 original posts with some of those posts reused on special days or when I needed to take a break and renew my creative juices. I will be taking a longer break for the next six months or so. 

On the side bar of this devotion you can track the past posts back to 2013. If you want to pick up where we left off yesterday, you can select 2013 and select May. Starting with Comprehensive Grace, you can follow along daily throughout all of 2013 and find renewed blessing in previously published Abundant Grace devotions. Thank you for sharing these posts with me over the years and may God bless you in the months to come. And remember, you can always find a good book to read to give you encouragement and joy in your daily walk with God at my website.

David Craig

Until the future, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace, strengthen and keep you in His loving arms, and shelter you beneath his tender protective wings. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Grace to Move Us Forward

In Annie Coghill’s revival hymn “Work, for the Night Is Coming” we are constantly reminded to work.  How are we to work?  We are to work zealously.  Paul told Titus to tell his congregation to be zealous for good works.  Why are we to be zealous for good works?  We are to do this in response to God’s grace to us.  We were saved by grace to be zealous for good works so that men might see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.  We conclude our alphabet today with “Z” for zealous grace. 

In many of the ways that we have seen grace going through the grace alphabet, it has been the work of God’s grace toward us.  But grace toward us is also to be grace in us and grace through us.  We are now to manifest the greatness of God’s grace as we live in this world.  He did not extend His wonderful grace to us that we might just soak it up like a sponge.  A saturated sponge is a soggy thing.  We are to keep the sponge busy spreading around the grace of God and then get our sponges refilled to spread it around some more.  That spreading around of God’s grace is called good works and we are to be zealous to do them.
We see that Jesus was Himself zealous for the work of God.  John records in his gospel that when Jesus cleansed the temple it fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that He would be zealous for His Father’s house.  Today we are His Father’s house.  We have become the temple of God.  We need to be zealous in doing good works for those in the church first.  But we are also servants in the Father’s field which is the world.  We need to be as zealous to reap in His field as we are to do good works for those who are His temple. 
Annie Coghill’s song reminds us that we only have so much time to work.  We should not put off getting it done until some more convenient time.  Satan will lure us with many things that will mean we will never find a convenient time.  Paul wrote, “Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.”  Not only do we have a limited time to do God’s work, others have a limited time to hear it.  Let us sing joyfully and zealously as we get about the work of God.  “Work, for the night is coming. Work through the morning hours.  Work when the dew is sparkling.  Work mid springing flowers . . . Work for the night is coming, when man works no more.”  Go forth with zeal and work with zealous grace.      

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Satisfying Grace

In her sweet testimonial hymn “Satisfied!” Clara Williams clearly captures the condition of humanity.  Her opening stanza “All my life long I had panted for a drink from some clear spring that I thought would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within” paints an accurate picture of the desires of mankind.  While not seeking for God, which Romans 3 emphatically points out that we do not do, we search for the benefits of the grace of God.  We yearn for grace. Yearned will be our “Y” in alphabetizing grace. 

What do we yearn for that grace provides?  We yearn for forgiveness from all our sins against God and man.  People realize that simple self forgiveness is not enough.  In Christ we have complete forgiveness through the grace of God.  We yearn for hope.  The macro-world and the micro-world often set us into a state of despondency.  All is not right and the future is very uncertain.  Where is hope?  The Bible says hope comes from God and His abundant grace.  When both the macro-world and micro-world are spinning out of control both now and the future, God is the same and offers the constancy of hope.  We yearn for a certainty of a positive outcome after death.  The Bible tells us that that certainty is heaven and it is reached by grace through faith in the work of Christ on the cross.  We yearn for a constant friend. Worldly friends and family can often be fickle or unresponsive to us.  This is why Joseph Scriven’s hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” resonates so loudly.  The world wants a constant friend and by grace God has given His Son to be ours. 
Technically we do not yearn for God.  We do, however, yearn for the blessings of God.  We should take heart that the God of those blessings came to seek us out and give them to us.  One of the simplest and easiest to remember of all verses in the Bible is this verse of comfort, purpose and hope in Luke 19:10.  “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Grace sought us that we might have the yearnings of our hearts fulfilled.  With Clara Williams sing her triumphant chorus, “Hallelujah! I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings – through His blood I now am saved.”  O the great fulfillment of yearned for grace!  

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Friday, August 3, 2018

X Marks the Spot

In any good treasure hunting movie we learn that “X” marks the spot.  Our “X” is for Xaris, the Greek word for Grace.  It is pronounced with a “CH” sound as in Christian.  Our English letter “x” comes from this letter, but it did not keep the sound.  What we do like the sound of, however, is the sound of grace as in John Newton’s hymn, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”. 

Xaris is on the list of frequently used words in the New Testament.  It is used 153 times. It is the mother word for Xara which is used 59 times, Xairo which is used 74 times, Xarisma which is used 17 times, euXaristos which is used 55 times and Xaristao which is used only twice.  All forms of this word are used 300 times in the New Testament.  That means that it is a pretty “x”citing word to learn.  Grace is indeed “x”citing.  Just the thought of God’s amazing grace should get us up and singing a rousing chorus of praise.
Xaris is also an “x”ceedingly important word.  Without it there is no joy (Xara), no thanksgiving (euXaristos), no rejoicing (Xairo) not to mention none of God’s wonderful gifts (Xarisma).  What would the Christian do without these “x”ceedingly important parts of God’s wonderful grace?  These beautiful words are also translated as favor, gladness, accepted, thanks and variations of these words.  All that is part of God’s “x”ceedingly wonderful and “x”citing grace.  When we think of grace we need to grasp the whole of what it means.  It means everything that we find necessary for a positive outlook on life.  It means everything that makes us really pleasing to those around us.  It means everything required for personal peace.  All of this is wrapped up in one little word “grace”. 
It is no wonder that so many songs are written about grace.  Philip Doddridge wrote a hymn that is little used anymore.  It is titled “Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound”.  The first stanza reads, “Grace! ‘Tis a charming sound, harmonious to the ear; heaven with the echo shall resound, and all the earth shall hear.”  The fifth stanza concludes with a plea to make God’s “x”citing grace an integral part of our life.  “O let Thy grace inspire, my soul with strength divine; may all my powers to Thee aspire, and all my days be Thine.”  That is truly a proper attitude toward God’s “x”ceedingly wonderful grace.  

  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Wonderful Grace

Haldor Lillenas’s great hymn “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” is aimed at making one point very clear - the grace of God is wonderful.  Each stanza begins with “wonderful grace of Jesus” and each stanza ends with “wonderful grace of Jesus”.  We have reached “W” and that will be for the wonderful grace of Jesus.

What does wonderful really mean to us?  Its actual definition means to fill with wonder.  It could be used in a negative way.  At the end of a long day at work the boss brings in a stack of papers that need to be finished before you can go home.  “Wonderful,” you mutter under your breath.  Of course, it fills you with wonder at how the boss could be so inconsiderate to wait until 4:45 to dump three more hours of work on you.  That would be a negative wonderful. 
Then you see the sharpest, speediest and most efficient worker in the office go past your door.  She looks in and sees what has just happened.  She comes into your office and takes off her coat and says, “We can probably get this done in an hour if we work together.” 
Wow!  You say, “Wonderful!  Thank you so much!”  That is positive wonderful and it fills you with wonder at the kindness, the concern, the care, the camaraderie and the self sacrificing nature of your co-worker.  You are filled with wonder that anyone could do such an onerous task in your behalf.  It fills you with gratitude and joy and peace and thanksgiving.   That is the wonderful grace of Jesus. 
Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  He has taken the burden of our sin and nailed it to Calvary’s cross.  He has taken the burden of our condemnation and carried it to hell and rose again to life for our hope.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He has promised to be there as our burden bearer for all time and eternity.  Isn’t that wonderful?  He did all that for us when we were yet sinners and opposed to him in mind, heart and body.  He did it all by His wonderful grace. 
We need to sing of His grace. We need to proclaim such wonderful grace from the housetops. We need to respond in genuine gratitude demonstrated in our daily lives for such wonderful grace.  Indeed we can sing with Haldor Lillenas, “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin.  How shall my tongue describe it?  Where shall its praise begin?”  O the wonderful, wonderful exceedingly wonderful grace of God.  

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Victory Through Grace

Fanny Crosby’s rousing and triumphant anthem “Victory Through Grace” proclaims the mighty power of God’s grace for the soldiers of the cross.  The chorus makes it clear that God’s people will not conquer by strength or speed.  They will have their victory through the promised grace of God.  “Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race.  Yet to the true and the faithful victory is promised through grace.” 

In conflict after conflict the Bible promises this victory through grace.  In Ephesians 2 God promises victory over the conflict of death by His quickening grace.  In Romans 5 God promises victory over the conflict of condemnation by His justifying grace.  In Romans 4 and all of Galatians God promises victory over our conflict with the law by His saving grace.  In II Corinthians 12 God promises victory over the conflict of the weakness of our flesh by His sufficient grace.  In Hebrews 4 God promises victory over the conflict of the despairs of life at His throne of grace. 
As we face the conflicts of life we must always remember that the God of grace is still our God.  Trials, despairs, conflicts, sin, weakness and all other problems of living in this shell of flesh do not separate us from Him. He knows our needs and does not leave us alone to face them.  Jesus came and lived here and experienced sorrows, temptations, trials, hurts and rejection.  Our God of grace fully understands all that we face each day.  We are not alone.  We have One with us, our Ruler, our King, our Victorious Leader, our Risen Savior who is able to sustain us by His grace in everything we face both now and unto eternity. 
With Fanny Crosby we need to stand and sing.  We need to raise our voices loudly in the triumphant proclamation of victory through grace.
 “Conquering now and still to conquer rideth the King in His might! Leading the host of all the faithful into the midst of the fight; see them with courage advancing, clad in their brilliant array, shouting the name of their Leader, hear them exultingly say.  Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race.  Yet to the true and the faithful victory is promised through GRACE!”t

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018


We return today to Daniel Whittle’s hymn “I Know Whom I Have Believed”.  The first stanza of this hymn contains the key idea for God’s unmerited Grace.  Whittle wrote, “I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me he hath made known, nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for His own.”  Unworthy clearly states our condition.   Grace clearly states God’s response.

Why was God moved to save sinners such as us? Was it our good looks?  Was it our natural abilities?  Was it our keen intellects?  Was it our good conduct?  Was it our financial standing?  Was it our important standing in the community? Was it the good benefits that we could offer Him?  Obviously these were not the reasons. Paul told the Corinthians that God did not choose the wise, the mighty, or the noble.  Rather, God chose the weak, the foolish, the despised and those which are accounted as nothing. 
We bring nothing to God.  Our best efforts, Isaiah said, are just a pile of leprosy infected rags.  Peter said our money can’t buy God’s blessing of Jesus Christ.  Paul said that we can’t bring God our works or we would have something to boast about.  We come to God naked, poor, needy and sick.  We come to God as completely tainted failures.  We come, as Daniel Whittle said, unworthy.
That is what makes grace so wonderful.  We do not merit it. God gives it.  God pours out His matchless love, His matchless care, His matchless provision not in response to our value but in response solely to His grace.  Such a gift is too high for us to comprehend.  Such a sacrifice is too great for us to understand.  Our comprehension or understanding, however, is not necessary.  What God wants is for us to receive His grace.  He wants us to take the gift He offers.  He wants us to become His children.  He wants to display His grace to the world by displaying His grace in us, unworthy, unfit, unclean sinners who have been changed by the grace of God.  Let us respond to this great grace by having our lives conform to the familiar words of Elvina Hall’s great consecration hymn “Jesus Paid it All”.  The third verse and chorus read, “For nothing good have I, whereby Thy grace to claim. I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb. Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”  Thanks be to God for His unmerited grace.   

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