3: Appropriating Grace
At the beginning of a new year we have high hopes and new plans. But where do we find the grace or the power to fuel our lofty ambitions? How do we receive from the God the divine strength to accomplish what is on our heart? We know God is almighty and all powerful, but how do we appropriate his power into our daily life? This is where the rubber meets the road. I have several suggestions that have worked for me and this is the first of four. It is not a new one but a tried and true one.
Read scripture daily. This has been my primary source of life, faith, and hope for many many years. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus quoted this scripture from Deuteronomy when confronted by the devil in Matthew 4:4. The original text in Deuteronomy 8:3 reads, “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Life comes from the word. Man lives by every word.
It is not only our favorite verses and chapters that provide life but every word. I just finished Malachi and Revelation two days ago and am already into Genesis and Matthew this new year. With God’s help I will read the Bible through again in 2008. 2 Timothy 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable. Amplified Version
Hope also comes from reading God’s word. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4 When it says “aforetime” it is referring to the Old Testament. As I read through the accounts of Abraham, Joseph, Samuel, Esther, David, and others I receive fresh hope. God’ s word revives my faith. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
The final passage which encourages me to daily study God’s word, is in Deuteronomy 17. When you read this sentence see if you can identify the promises “when he shall read in it all the days of his life”. This is a portion of the instructions given to the kings of Israel.
And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:19-20
I see five promises.
- learn to fear God
- be obedient and a doer of the word
- be humble
- don’t get sidetracked to the right or the left, be balanced
- live long in the kingdom with your children
May this New Year be one where you and I learn new ways to appropriate God’s power and grace in our lives beginning with reading His word regularly.