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Brother Love
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« on: October 04, 2004, 05:57:27 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional  


  Do you need a reminder of God's grace...?

Have you ever swam in the ocean and been so distracted with the waves that you forgot to keep your eyes on the shore? It doesn't take long before we can slowly drift down the beach without even realizing it, does it?

Legalism works the same way. It seeks to distract us from dependence and trust in Jesus to trusting in our performance. It comes at us at a hundred miles per hour, all day, everyday. It doesn't jerk you abruptly over into its clutches. Instead, legalism slowly, almost imperceptibly, pulls us under until one day we turn around and we've lost sight of the shore.

Each one of us on the Grace Walk team is susceptible to the same scheme of our enemy. No one is immune to the deception. That's why we are convinced that renewing our minds constantly on the truth of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) is crucial to experiencing victory over the ongoing bombardment of legalism. We would like to share those reminders with you. Please visit us each month for what we hope are helpful reminders to you of God's amazing grace...  

 

Marriotts, Maps and God’s Presence

Where is that hotel? I asked myself with a sense of frustration that was becoming greater and greater. It was in Tampa last week and I was trying to find the place where I was to spend the night. I had gone on the Internet and gotten exact driving directions from where I was to where I was going to stay. The directions didn’t seem hard to follow when I first read them, but now I was wondering if they were even correct.


“I think I’m heading north,” I thought to myself. I’ve always been directionally challenged and have, in fact, sometimes told those who give me directions, “I don’t speak compass.” Left or right, I understand. Otherwise, it’s a gamble.


I drove down the road for a mile, then turned around and came back to where I had begun on that same road. I studied the printed directions again, carefully looking at street names and highway numbers. I looked along the roadside for a sign. “Yes, I’m on the right road,” I thought. “But where’s my turn???” This routine was repeated several times, each time with a growing sense of anxiety over finding my way through this maze.


Suddenly I glanced up, away from the road signs I had been carefully watching and I saw it. The hotel was right there – right in front of me. Courtyard By Marriott the sign affixed to the tall building read. Suddenly I felt foolish. I had driven past this building several times. There it was, in plain view, but I hadn’t seen it. I was too busy studying the written instructions and watching for signs to see the obvious.


That’s how many of us approach our spiritual lives. We read the Bible daily. We are careful about the road we travel. We’re intently focused on making the right turns, reading the signs, staying off the wrong road. After all, we want to see God’s presence in our lives. We don’t want to miss Him. So we become analytical, calculated, cautious, and, meanwhile, grow internally more and more tense by the minute.


Does this describe your spiritual journey? It certainly has characterized mine at times. Just like I stopped enjoying the beautiful Florida sun and the sights of spring because of my exaggerated focus on making the right turns, there have been times when I’ve missed intimacy with the Divine Lover who stands right before me. I’ve been so absorbed with my efforts to stay on the right road and make the right turns in life that I’ve failed to enjoy the journey.


What’s the answer? Relax. Trust that you will get to where God has you going. Stop being so tense about the journey and enjoy the “Sonlight” along the way. Remember, we have a Guide inside us who promised to abide with us always. So lighten up. Let the wind blow your hair, the sun shine down on your face and enjoy smelling the flowers. When you do, you’ll discover that what you’ve been looking for has been right there with you all the time.



Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2004,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org






 
 

 
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2004, 06:01:27 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


Holy Hugs

Jake is an eighteen year old whose life is a clear demonstration of divine grace. I heard him share his story this past weekend with his church family . He shared truths about the comfort of God during the trials of life, a topic about which circumstances have made him highly qualified to speak.


When Jake was born, it soon became apparent that his parents would not be able to care for him in the way all babies need. Because of this fact, his dad’s mother, a Christian, brought him into her home when he was an infant. He lives with her until this day.


“One day when I was about five,” he explained, “I learned that earlier that week my mother had taken her own mother’s life.” As Jake shared the horror he felt as a young child when he learned that his grandmother had been murdered by his own mother, many who listened wiped tears of compassion from their eyes.


“Years later,” he continued, “I opened a letter one day. It was from my mother, who is in prison. I soon learned that it had been addressed to my sister, not me.” The letter said, “you were conceived in love, but Jacob was not.” “You can imagine how that would make you feel,” he said.


Jake then described how he had first come to attend the church where he was speaking. He talked about how he had met Jesus Christ there and had come to understand His love. “All I had to do was accept His comfort and His love,” he explained. “Maybe you need God’s comfort in your own life,” he concluded. “He’s there, waiting for you to trust Him.”


A story this intense, told by an eighteen year old, touched the whole congregation. When the service was over, teary eyed people crowded around Jake. They each hugged him and spoke words of appreciation and affirmation to him. It was Love personified in the body of Christ, a Divine response through the corporate action of God’s church.


As my wife, Melanie, and I awaited our chance to speak to him, his grandmother jokingly commented, “I think he comes here for the hugs.” As we drove back home later, I commented to Melanie that Jake’s grandmother’s observation was a profound commentary on the church. “He comes here for the hugs” she had said.


What a tribute to God’s church in general and that church in particular! Is there any other place in the world where a boy who missed the parental hugs necessary to nurture life could find such an outpouring of love? The ministry of hugs – what an expression of Jesus in action!


I believe the Father’s heart can been seen in a hug. It may be that there is a supernatural exchange conveyed in a hug between two Christians that defies explanation. A holy hug brings God’s heart right out into the open.


When the Apostle Paul once preached until midnight in one church, a young man sitting on a window ledge fell asleep and fell out the window. Rushing out to where he lay below, the Bible says that “Paul threw himself on him and hugged him. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘He is still alive!’” (Acts 20:10, TEV). Hugging people back to health – that was Paul’s style. In Luke 15, when the prodigal son came home his dad “ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” A hug and kiss – that’s our Father’s heart.


I love the story of Jesus with His disciples in the upper room. John 13 describes the scenario where Jesus is sharing final thoughts with His disciples in the last hours before He was to go to the cross. Right in the middle of this chapter, there is a verse that seems to be almost an incidental notation. It says, “One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against Him, his head on His shoulder” (John 13:23). Why does the Bible tell the posture of one man who happened to be sitting in the room at the time?


It’s because the man described there is the one who wrote that verse. John loved to refer to himself as “the one who Jesus loved dearly.” It seems like he was making a point – “Jesus was talking to us all, but He was hugging me!” A hugging Jesus – that’s the One who loves you dearly too!


A hug – is anything more powerful, more spiritual, more Godlike? It became apparent to me this past Sunday as I watched Jake’s church that he won’t ever lack for hugs. His heavenly Father has seen to that. I watched his Abba hug him many times after that service, through the arms of others. I couldn’t resist hugging him myself, and not just because he is my nephew.


Do you want to do a Jesus thing? Find somebody who needs a hug and give it to them. That won’t be a hard task because the truth is that we all could use a hug. Some desperately need it. A hug is the heart of God in action toward others. Go ahead. Find somebody and hug them back to health. Your Father will be proud.



Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2004,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org








 
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2004, 06:05:11 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


Steve McVey Resigns




Steve McVey, President and Founder of Grace Walk Ministries has offered his resignation, effective immediately. Steve is resigning from his position of trying to assume the role of God over his personal life as well as the ministry he leads. The job requirements to hold the position of God are omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. “I’m a slower learner at times,” McVey recently said, “but I’m finally beginning to realize that I’m just not equipped to be God. Trying to hold on to this role is wearing me out.”


McVey first attempted to assume the role of God as a young man when he came to believe that somehow he was responsible for his own destiny. “I thought it was my job to do my best and that if I just dedicated myself to try hard I could succeed. That’s what I believed for many years. Was I ever wrong.”


Irrefutable evidence has proven that there is only one Person who truly qualifies to assume the role of God, but history shows a long line of those who have attempted a hostile takeover of the position. Records indicate that the first to aspire for the role of Deity was named Lucifer. An ancient record of his attempt reveal his words: “I’ll set my throne over the stars of God . . . I’ll climb to the top . . . I’ll take over as King of the Universe” (Isaiah 14:13-14 The Message). Lucifer failed after a short-lived attempt to rally others around him in his effort to take control by force.


Despite Lucifer’s failed attempt, many others have sought the position in vain. McVey recounts his own experience: “Unlike Lucifer, I didn’t want the title. I only wanted the position – you know, being the one to have complete control over everything associated with my life.”


McVey began to realize that his efforts to become sovereign over his own affairs were destined to failure when his personal and professional plans constantly failed to materialize. “It was like Somebody else kept short-circuiting what I wanted and caused things to work out the way He wanted,” he said. “I finally realized that The True God was behind the scenes of my life, quietly causing things to turn out according to His plans despite all my efforts to be in control.”


Upon tendering His resignation, McVey affirmed that He plans to continue to lead Grace Walk Ministries. “I’ll keep going with Grace Walk,” he said, “but I’m not going to be responsible for its future anymore. I’ve given the title to the ministry to God. It’s up to Him to sustain and guide it. I’ll just do whatever He says.”


McVey also indicated his intentions of maintaining his role as husband to his wife of thirty one years and father to his four children. “I’ve tried to be God in my wife’s life too many times,” he said. “I think I’ll just keep loving her with all my heart, but let the Lord do the rest. And the same goes for my kids – I’ve worn myself out at times trying to be God in their lives. They’re His responsibility now. I’ve given them to Him and it’s up to Him which direction they go in life.”


McVey will continue to reside in Atlanta, Georgia. “Nothing will change that other people might notice,” he said, “but in reality, everything will change. I hope that by my being public about my resignation from trying to be God, others will be motivated to do the same.”



Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2004,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries,
www.gracewalk.org













 
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2004, 06:23:36 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional

Losing Your Religion



I lost my religion years ago and I’m doing so much better now. I’m not exaggerating to make a point. I really mean it. Sometimes people will say to me, “What do you mean when you say you lost your religion?” The answer is simple.


Understanding the true meaning of the word “religion” will help clarify my statement. The English word is taken from the Latin word relgio, originally meaning “obligation” or “bond.” It was probably derived from the verb religare , which means to “tie tight.” (Taken from The Dictionary of Word Origins, by John Ayto.)


The origin of the word “religion” explains its problem. Religion ties people up tight, obligating them to a particular set of standards and behavior. In time the word became associated with the obligation men had toward ancient gods.


In modern terminology, the word denotes the idea of performing certain actions with the goal in mind of gaining divine favor. Religion is a greenhouse for legalism because it focuses on duty and performance. It puts the duty on man to reach God by his actions. It puts a bond on people, consequently leaving them in bondage.


Authentic Christianity is different from religion in many ways. A recent comment made about boxing illustrates what I mean. Somebody said, “To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography and the dancers hit each other.” His comparison between boxing and ballet illustrates the union that exists between authentic Christianity and legalistic religion. There is none.


Authentic Christianity is the grounded in the gospel . The word “gospel” means “good news.” What is the good news? It’s that we don’t have to try to reach God by our actions anymore, but that it is God’s actions that unite us to Him. It’s the good news that God has reached down to us in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s the good news that the cross and empty tomb were sufficient to cause God to tear up the score card on your life and to call the game over, with you as a winner.


All we need is to trust in the finished work of Christ. That’s it – nothing else. “What should we do that we might work the works of God?” the disciples once asked Jesus. The answer Jesus gave sounds strange to religious ears. He said, “This is the work of God – that you believe on Him who He has sent” (John 6:28-29). Believe – that’s it.


“Aren’t we to do certain things?” some might ask. The answer is that we will do certain things, not because we’re trying to score points with God, but because it’s a part of our spiritual DNA to produce godly works. Others may mistakenly think that we are behaving religiously, but we aren’t. We are simply acting like who we are – containers and conduits of divine life.


Religion will tie you down. Jesus Christ will set you free. Religion will obligate you to work for God, but Jesus will liberate you to serve because of love. Religion will leave you exhausted. Jesus will invigorate your spirit with divine life continuously.

Yes, I lost my religion. As a result, I’ve come to know Jesus intimately. I wouldn’t trade that knowledge for all the religion in the world. I still do many things that probably look religious to others, but that’s not the case. I’m just enjoying Jesus and doing what I want (which happens to coincide with what He wants).


Do you need to lose your religion? You’ll find yourself much better off when you find your life in Christ. Go ahead, do it. Say good-bye to the bondage of being tied up by religious duty and fall into the arms of Jesus Christ. You won’t be sorry.



Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2004,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org








 
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2004, 08:41:22 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional  








An Outlook or an Uplook?
by Steve McVey

 
_________________

 
“Your son may not live. He may be a paraplegic.” The words stunned me as the emergency room doctor spoke them to us in a somber tone. The year was 1995 and our oldest son, twenty at the time, had just fallen from scaffolding on a job site where he was working. Suddenly, life made no sense to me at all. My world became instantly dark at the very thought of the long term implications of this accident.

The doctor told us that Andrew would have to be transferred to another hospital which was better equipped to handle such an extensive injury. After following the ambulance across town to the larger hospital with tears streaming down our cheeks, we pulled into the parking space outside the emergency room.

I reached over and took Melanie’s hand. Through teary eyes and with a trembling voice I said, “We don’t know what the rest of this day holds for us. Andrew may not live. He may be crippled for life. Before we go in here, can we agree on one thing? No matter what happens in this hospital, God is God and God is good.”

Melanie nodded as she wiped tears from her own eyes. We got out of the car and walked into the hospital holding hands. A long journey was beginning.

Our son did survive that accident eight years ago and after three years of therapy, he was restored to complete health. Today he lives a normal life with little residual effects of the accident. We give God the glory for that.

How are we to survive, let alone triumph, when tragedy strikes our lives? What do we do when the outlook is bleak? The answer is, “Try the uplook.” When John wrote the words in Revelation 4, he was exiled on an island – a prisoner in isolation. Humanly, things looked bleak. But the Lord showed John that life can’t be properly understood from a human perspective, but must be seen from His perspective.

As long as God is on His throne, we have every reason to trust Him and know that, despite superficial evidence to the contrary, everything will ultimately work out for our highest good and His highest glory. This is a truth which has sustained saints through the ages.

When he lost his children, Job said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” “Job, how could you say such a thing?” He might answer, “Because I can see beyond the cemetery and I know there’s a throne fixed in heaven and Somebody is sitting on it!”

From a prison cell, Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord. I’ll say it again – rejoice!” “Paul,” we might say, “Those are strange words coming from somebody imprisoned for preaching. How do you keep such a perspective?” The Apostle might answer, “You see prison bars, but I can look beyond them and see a throne in heaven and Somebody is sitting on it!”

The list goes on and on throughout Scripture – those who looked beyond the temporal circumstances of life and saw a sovereign God sitting on a throne. Will you choose that perspective?

When the outlook is hopeless, try the uplook. Your Father loves you and is sovereign over every detail of your life. That fact is enough to sustain us in the darkest days of our lives.




Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org
 





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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2004, 03:51:20 PM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


The Parable Of The Fake Church Building
by Steve McVey
 
_________________


 
I was recently visiting a town where I lived years ago when I drove past a church that had been there all these years. I remembered the church and was amazed as I looked at their new building. When I had lived in the town, the church was very small and wasn’t known for being a growing church. However, now, looking at this building, I was amazed. It was huge.

I was thinking to myself how something must have happened there to cause that church to really come alive in order to have that kind of growth. I slowed down as I drove past, and looked backward at the building. What I saw shocked me. I felt conflicting feelings that seemed both funny and sad to me at the same time.

The front of the building was a facade that had been added to the tiny building that had always been there. It was like they had built a long, high wall at the front of their church building that made it look like the building itself was awesome. But, in reality, it was the same tiny brick building that had always been there.

They wanted to give the illusion of growth, even though none had occurred. As I drove on, I thought about that church and began to realize how I have done the same thing many times in my own life. There have been countless times since I’ve been in ministry that I wanted to make things seem bigger than they really were. In fact, there have been times I even gave the illusion of growth in my personal life when it wasn’t true.

Why do we do things like that? It’s because we want the approval of men. The bottom line is that sometimes we feel like we need validation from other people. Without it, we question our true value. We wonder if we are as much as we should be. We want to look like we are somebody important. We relate to others with the unspoken question, “Do you think I’m really worth something?”

To the extent that we seek the praise of other people, we aren’t resting in the truth of our identity in Christ. I like the way the King James Version translates what Paul says about it – “We have been accepted in the Beloved.” In Jesus Christ, we are somebody special.

It doesn’t matter how well we perform or how we look to others. God adores us just like we are. We don’t have to appear flashy, highly successful or look like we are really moving forward with leaps and bounds. We can take down the facade and just be ourselves. After all, if God gives you the “thumbs up,” what else really matters?


To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6, King James Version




Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org
 








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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2004, 04:11:43 PM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


Don't Grow Up




Growing older isn’t really a choice we can make, given our options. However, growing older and growing up are two different matters altogether. When we were children or perhaps later, when we acted like irresponsible teens, we were all admonished at times to “grow up!” Those words of advice were probably well intended, but the more I’ve thought about it, I don’t think it’s such a good suggestion.


An argument could be made from Scripture that God’s desire is for us all to remain children at heart. When trying to explain the kingdom of heaven, Jesus once lifted a child onto his lap and said, “If you want to enter the kingdom of heaven, you have to become like this.” (See Matthew 18:1-3) We are to become childlike. That’s what Jesus plainly said.


To remain a child at heart, however, requires constant grace in a society which tries to force us into growing up. G.K. Chesterton once said, "I think God is the only child left in the universe, and all the rest of us have grown old and cynical because of sin..” Has this sinful world stolen away your childlikeness?


The desire of your Father’s heart is to free you from the shackles of an old heart and empower you to be young again. Like a child, your role is to trust Him completely, laugh heartily, live playfully, run intently, dream imaginatively and love unconditionally.


Life in this world is a warm-up for what comes later. One blip on the screen of eternity and our time on this planet is done. Why waste ourselves away with headaches and heartaches over things that won’t even matter to us a hundred years from now?


The call to childlikeness isn’t a lure to childishness. Of course we are to act responsibly, but not become bogged down in the muck of artificial maturity. In the midst of responsible living, the indwelling Christ will equip us to move ahead experiencing life through the heart of a child.


Our Father has everything under control. He has every detail of our lives worked out already. We don’t have to live like we are the captains of our own destiny, because we aren’t. Just relax. Your privilege is to join hands with your Father and enthusiastically run through the fields of grace He has planted for you in this world. He’ll see to it that you reach His intended destination for you.


Grow older if you must, but don’t grow up. Stay a child at heart. One day you’ll see that the things that worry you most now didn’t even matter in the eternal scheme of things. Live with eternity in view. Play – it will do your heart good and your Father will be pleased.




Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2004,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org









 
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2004, 03:49:42 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


How To Stay Happily Married
by Steve McVey
 
_________________


 
Lord, send me a good looking girlfriend.” This was my constant prayer. Forget the war in Vietnam, racial tensions at home, or a hotel called Watergate. When I was sixteen years old, those things paled to insignificance compared to my desire for a girlfriend. My prayer took priority over everything else. After all, I’d never had a girlfriend and it wasn’t cool to be without one at sixteen.

One Sunday morning while I was sitting on the back row in Sunday School, the answer to my prayers walked in the door. It was a visitor I had never seen before, but as soon as I saw her I knew that this would be a great place to start my dating career. After church that day, despite my bumbling attempt at asking her out, she said yes.

The first date seemed to go well, so I decided to try again for a second date. Again she said yes. Then she said yes for a third date and a fourth. I dated that girl every week for three years. Then I married her. She was the only girl I ever dated. Melanie and I have now been married for 30 years in July. We have four children and three grandchildren.

The odds of two teens staying married, and happily married at that, are very unlikely. I’m no expert on the subject, but after nearly three decades of having both scaled the heights and plumbed the depths of marriage, I’m convinced that the key to a happy marriage can be identified in one word — Jesus.

On the day Melanie and I were married, knowing nothing about how to build a strong marriage, God prompted us to agree upon one thing. In a day before anyone had even heard the phrase, “prenuptial agreement,” we agreed on one tenet of marriage. It was the decision that Christ would be the Source of our relationship. On our wedding night, the very first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel where we would spend our honeymoon was to kneel together beside the bed in prayer. We gave our marriage to Jesus that night.

It wasn’t human wisdom that caused us to do such a thing. It was a God given understanding that we had better depend upon Him because all we knew about our marriage was that we loved each other. That act of unified agreement, that one decision, was the only prenuptial agreement with which we entered into marriage. But it was enough.

We have reached a place where the divorce rate inside the church has surpassed the number outside the church, evidence that we must be missing a big piece of the puzzle in experiencing the “happily ever after” for which we all hope. The Bible says that “Unless the Lord build a house, they labor in vain that build it.” What does that statement mean in practical terms?

Marriage might be compared to a house. It is important to have strong planks in building a house. All of our lives, Christians have been told about these planks. Believers already know the importance of praying together as a couple. We recognize the need for the primacy of God’s Word in our relationships. We understand the value of being a part of a church family. We have been taught how to do everything from budget our money to argue, all from a Christian perspective. These things aren’t new to anybody who has even casually been exposed to the church. Yet the divorces continue.

The problem in modern marriages may be discovered by examining the foundation of the house. Strong planks mean nothing unless they stand on a strong foundation. They will only stand until a strong wind comes along and blows them down. Couples can read the Bible, pray, go to church, study every method known to man for maintaining their marriage and still find themselves in divorce court. Don’t you know couples at church ended up divorced despite the fact that they were doing all the right things externally? Does this suggest that the planks of Christian behavior are unimportant? No! It simply points to the necessity of a proper foundation and religious disciplines aren’t it.

What is the foundation upon which an enduring and loving marriage must stand? It is nothing less than the life of Jesus Christ. Christian marriages aren’t about doing all the right things. That may describe a religious marriage, but an authentic Christian marriage is founded on an intimate union two people share with Jesus Christ. Marriages inside the church are failing because many have made a subtle shift from Jesus to religious activity. Many have a long inventory list to ensure they possess all the planks of spiritual disciplines, but have forgotten about the foundation of Christ Himself.

Church attendance alone is not enough. Neither is praying together, nor reading the Bible. Learning effective communication skills won’t hold a marriage together. There isn’t one Christian who doesn’t know the value of these things. They are important, but they simply aren’t enough when standing alone. They must rest upon the foundation of Christ’s life being expressed in and through marriage partners individually and together.

Grace in marriage is divine enablement by the life of Jesus Christ within us so that we can be all that God has called us to be and do all that He has called us to do. Understanding who we are in Christ is the key that unlocks the door to a successful marriage. We are each one with Him, thereby making us one with each other.

The planks can only be effectively put into place when our marriage is founded upon the Person of Jesus Christ. As we learn to abide in Him, He indeed builds our marriage, consecrating our relationship and causing it to be a precious, holy union through which the three of us experience an intimacy which is nothing less than divine. Anything else is simply empty religious ritual.



Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds a house, they labor in vain who build it.

Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries,
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2004, 04:46:34 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional

When GOD Rolls By
by Steve McVey
 
_________________

 
My youngest son, David, lived in New York City at the time the Twin Towers were attacked. From his apartment in Jersey City, he could see the skyline of New York. On September 11, he watched the Towers fall from outside his apartment.

David had moved there to pursue a career in acting, a lifelong love of his. Prior to the attack on America, he had already been discouraged. Things just weren’t working out for him like he had hoped. He began to wonder what God was up to in his life.

Then came 9/11, which only added to the sense of discouragement that he was already feeling. Finally, came the grand finale of his hard times. He was walking down the street one day when a stranger, obviously strung out of drugs, shoved a gun in David’s face and robbed him.

He went outside the city and in a rural area, sat alone to pray. He prayed to his heavenly Father, “I sometimes don’t feel like you are anywhere around me anymore,” he said. “Show me that you are still with me.

No sooner had he prayed that than he heard an approaching sound and looked up to see what was interrupting his otherwise tranquil setting. It was a tractor-trailer truck, which rolled right past his line of sight. There, in huge letters, printed across the trailer were the letters – “GOD.”

Underneath, he noticed the smaller words which the initials represented – “Guaranteed On Delivery,” but that was irrelevant. He laughed at his own unbelief as he realized that at the very instant he had asked his heavenly Father to give evidence of His presence, GOD rolled right past him in letters too big to miss.

Do you see God in your daily life? Your heavenly Father is with you in the midst of your circumstances, whatever they may be. At times when it feels like He isn’t involved in your situation, look beyond the superficial evidences of this physical world and recognize that He is right in front of your face. He will never leave or forsake you.

Don’t allow the circumstances of your life to be what you use to determine how your Father feels about you. Circumstances can’t tell you that. If you want to know how He feels toward you, look beyond the temporal situations of life and see the cross.

At the cross, you will find an expression of His divine love for you. He loves you so much that He paid the highest price to ensure that you were His for all eternity. Sometimes He shouts His love in large letters. At others times, he gently whispers His love in the recesses of our hearts. In whatever ways He chooses to speak into your life, you can be assured that you are loved. He does care . . . and nothing is ever going to change that. Listen for Him to speak to you this week and you will hear the words, “I love you.”

Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries,
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2004, 05:25:33 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional

Living Peaceably Together
by Steve McVey
 
_________________


 
The newspaper report read, “James L. Ramey, 53, of Clyde, N.C., was charged with assault in November after a 15 minute brawl at the rural Full Gospel Holiness Church. The brawl began when one person wanted to occupy the back pew, which was occupied, as usual, by a church regular. The church minister's son suffered a bite to the neck that required 31 stitches.”

Getting along with people – it can sometimes be a challenge in life. Someone once described it in a poem:



To live above with saints we love,


Oh, that will be glory!


To live below with saints we know,


Well, that’s a different story!


While it is unlikely that you’ve ever been in a brawl at church, the chances are that there is at least one other Christian in your life with whom you tend to have problems. How can we get along with people with whom it is often hard to live peaceably? The Apostle Paul had a word on the matter than can help immeasurably. He wrote, “From now on, we know no one according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 5:16). Then in the next verse he said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.”

What does this have to do with getting along with people? It has to do with the way we choose to relate to other believers. To know somebody after the flesh is to decide their identity based on superficial, earthly things — such as their behavior, their position, – things like that.

Paul said that he chose not to know people within that context. Instead, he points to the fact that, in Christ, we are new creatures. When we choose by faith to look past the human flaws in other people and to see Jesus in them, it becomes much easier to “be at peace with them.” We can’t control how others act, but we can determine how we will respond to them.

When you find it difficult to get along with somebody, there are a few things you might do which could help you navigate through stressful moments.

1. Pray a quick prayer for the person. Ask Jesus to express love to them through you. When we react to the bad mood of others with a negative response, we have allowed them to control us. Why let somebody else cause you to get in a bad mood? You can choose to express love to them and not allow the circumstance to rob you of your own joy.


2. Remember that people who are hard to get along with almost always have conflict going on within themselves. A sales clerk in a store once acted like a jerk to me. My first impulse was to react the same way (I can act like a jerk with the best of them), but instead I paused, looked at the lady and sincerely asked, “Are you having a bad day?” To my amazement, she began to pour out the details of her personal life that were causing trouble for her. I was so glad that I hadn’t acted on my first impulse. Her demeanor instantly softened when I asked that question. (The question I asked could be asked in an accusatory way and add to the problem.) It was one of those “God-moments” when He allowed me to see the importance of responding in love and not reacting impulsively.


3. Recognize the fact that the problem may be within you and not the other person. There have been times when I’ve found myself irritated several times by other people before it finally dawned on me – “They aren’t doing anything wrong. I’m just in a bad mood today!” Maybe the quality in another person that irritates you isn’t a bad quality. Maybe that person reminds you of somebody else that you’ve had trouble with in your past. Or maybe you’re just in a bad mood yourself.


When you find yourself feeling irritable toward somebody else, ask the Holy Spirit this question, “Lord, is it me?” You might be surprised to find out that the problem isn’t with the other person at all.

Paul determined to look beyond human characteristics and see Jesus in every Christian. Mother Teresa was once asked about her work with the lepers – “Do you imagine that it is Jesus ministering to them when you serve them?” “No,” she answered. “When I look at them, I see the face of Jesus.”

There’s the key – seeing Jesus in others. Look beyond the grouch and see Jesus in the face of your brother and sister in Christ. As much as it is possible, live at peace. That choice expresses the life of Christ.

And if anybody ever wants to take your seat in church, especially if it is on the back row – just give it to them!





If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Romans 12:18




Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at www.gracewalk.org.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries,"  www.gracewalk.org





 
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2004, 07:04:48 AM »

Rearing Teenagers
by Steve McVey
 
_________________


 
Why was Isaac twelve years old when God called Abraham to sacrifice his son? Because if he had been a teenager, it wouldn’t have been a sacrifice. Rearing teens– my four children are all out of their teens now, but there were times during those years when I thought The Great Tribulation had come upon us. I identified with one pastor who said, “When my children were very young, I had a sermon I used to preach called, Five Sure Steps For Rearing Godly Children. Then they became teenagers and I changed the title to A Few Things You Can Try Which May or May Not Work!”


Do you have teenagers? The teen years are seven of the most exciting years of a person’s life. During the teen years, youth begin to assert their own independence in ways that they haven’t tried until now. It is during these years that they are forming their own sense of self-identity. When I was a teen, many left home to “find themselves.” That desire hasn’t changed for teens.


“Who am I?” is the predominate question on the mind of teenagers of every generation. It is a normal question and one that must be answered. How can parents help a teen establish a true understanding of his identity? Several things can help:


1. Separate behavior from identity.

Take lying as an example. Will a Christian teenager ever tell a lie? As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow. (If you believe otherwise, you’re in for a wild ride!) Suppose a parent catches the teen in a lie, how are we to handle it? There are a number of factors which will be involved in our response, but one key element is to separate our child’s behavior from their identity.


For instance, never call your child “a liar.” They are not liars, but only acting like one. One friend of mine taught his children from the time that they were young that Christians are “truth-tellers” and that it is inconsistent with who we are to tell lies. That’s a good idea.


Teens are crying out to know, “Who am I? Do I have value? Am I lovable?” Don’t undermine a person’s basic identity by striking a blow at who they are. Deal instead with the behavior. “You lied to me and that stands in contradiction to everything I know to be true about you!” is a better response than calling your child a liar.


2. Allow your teen to see the authenticity of your own relationship to Christ.


Going to church every week isn’t enough. If that is the extent of spiritual exposure teens see in their parents, they will come to confuse being a Christian with acting religious. Regularly talk about Jesus Christ and His relevance to your daily lives. Let your relationship to Him be a part of everything in your family.


The question teens asked in generations past is, “Is it true?” Today, the underlying question in the minds of youth is, “What difference does it make?” Allow your teen to see the difference that Jesus makes in your home and in your own life.


3. Look for teachable moments in the life of your teen.

There will be times when you find your teen very receptive to spiritual input. Watch for those moments. Some of the best times I have had with my children were incidental moments. When my daughter broke up with her boyfriend, we talked it through and then prayed together. When my son’s friend’s parents divorced, we prayed for him. When a good friend moved away, we prayed.


Anytime your teen becomes emotionally upset over problems, there is great potential to show the relevance of Jesus to the situation. To allow your teenagers to hear you pray for them is one of the best legacies you can leave them. Don’t try to force it. Just be open to the Holy Spirit showing you those teachable moments and then respond when he does.


There are many jokes about being a teenager and having teenagers, but the truth is that in some ways it is the best years of family life together. These are the days when you are readying your children to launch out into the world to fulfill the unique plan that God has for them. Trust the Lord during these few short years to guide you in rearing your teens. He has a great plan for your children and He will assume responsibility to see that His plan is fulfilled.


Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – Ephesians 6:4


Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org
 








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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2004, 04:45:42 PM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


When We Are Treated Wrongly
by Steve McVey
 
_________________


 
If you are a typical Christian, you are likely infected with a spiritual disease that is poisoning you on the inside. Many don’t even know they have the problem. Like a cancer, this malady will slowly destroy your spiritual health. It will short-circuit experiencing the fullness of victory in Christ faster than almost anything.

What is this disease? Unforgiveness. Failure to forgive those who have treated us wrongly is an epidemic in the modern church. It robs us of the joy that Jesus came to give us and causes us to become judgmental toward others. It creates an underlying negativity in our attitude that will affect every area of our lives.

What does it mean to forgive? Forgiveness is the deliberate choice to release a person from all obligation he has toward us as a result of any offense he has committed against us. Consider that definition and ask the Holy Spirit is there is any unforgiveness in you toward any other person.

Misunderstandings About Forgiveness

Many think that there is no need to forgive others because they have a misunderstanding about the meaning of forgiveness. Consider a few of the common faulty beliefs about forgiveness.

1. Time heals all wounds.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. If you believe that just because you don’t feel the pain of a past offense anymore, it doesn’t need further attention, you’re hurting yourself. Hurts in our lives have an accumulative effect unless we forgive those who wrong us. It produces an underlying anger that will affect the way we relate to everything in life.

Frank Minirth and Paul Meier wrote in their book, Happiness Is A Choice:

Anger is hard to deal with unless an individual realizes it is there. If he becomes angry out of proportion to the actual event, it may be because the event reminded him of another period in his life when he felt inferior and inadequate. The current event reinforced those past feelings and insecurities. Perhaps 25% of his response was to the current situation, and the other 75% was his reaction to feelings that were long ago repressed.

Is your reaction to frustrating incidents in your life out of proportion to the incident itself? Unforgiveness may be the root cause. We live in an angry society. If you doubt that fact, watch the drivers in other cars during your drive to work tomorrow. Watch the evening news. Ours is an angry world. We have all been hurt at times. The only way to be freed from anger is to forgive.

2. To forgive somebody else, I must have feelings of forgiveness.

This is an error that can keep you imprisoned in unforgiveness. Forgiveness is a deliberate choice to release a person. It isn’t a feeling we have. It is a choice we make. Don’t believe the lie that it would be hypocritical to forgive just because you don’t feel it. Our feelings aren’t the basis for our actions as Christians. We live by faith, not feelings.

After we choose to forgive others, healing will gradually come to our feelings. If, however, we wait until we feel like forgiving, it may never happen. Don’t allow negative feelings to keep you from forgiving. Rise above your feelings and act in faith.


3. They don’t deserve to be forgiven.

Of course they don’t! If they deserved it, there would be no need for forgiveness. To forgive someone is to extend grace (undeserved favor) to them. We don’t forgive because others deserve it. We forgive them because we have been forgiven and because we want to be set free from the damaging effects of unforgiveness in our own lives.

The Bible says, “forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Did you deserve God’s forgiveness? He forgave us by His grace. That is how we forgive others. Not because they deserve it, but because we choose to show them grace.


Do you want to be set free from the burden of unforgiveness? Forgiveness is the gateway to freedom from underlying anger, resentment, bitterness, negativity. Never does a Christian more clearly express the indwelling life of Christ than when we forgive those who have wronged us. Don’t be held captive by misunderstandings about forgiveness. Choose, by faith, to release those who have hurt you and you will discover that, in the process, God is releasing you.

“Forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:32
(This devotion on forgiveness will be continued next week.)

Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org





 


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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2004, 03:55:17 AM »




How to Forgive
by Steve McVey
 
_________________

 
We don’t forgive other people because they need it. We forgive them because we need it. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door to freedom from the effect of past hurts in our lives.


When we hold onto unforgiveness toward other people, we aren’t hurting them. We are only hurting ourselves. Comedian Buddy Hackett once said, “I've had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing."


We forgive people, not for their sake, but for ours. Your unforgiveness may not even affect them, but it will certainly affect you. Until you forgive a person who has wronged you, you allow them to continue to control you.


But what if they aren’t sorry? They don’t have to be sorry in order for you to forgive them. Forgiveness is the deliberate choice to release a person from all obligation they have toward us as a result of any offense they have committed against us. There is nothing in that definition that requires action on the part of the guilty party.


Forgiveness is a conscious choice you make. It is an act of the will, not the emotions. Forgiveness is the way out that God gives you to be freed from the past, to be freed from those who have hurt you. To refuse to forgive is to stay in a prison that will keep you from ever enjoying the full abundance of life Jesus wants you to know.


How are we to move forward in forgiving those who have wronged us? Several simple steps taken in faith can set us free.


1. Pray and ask the Lord to show you those who have hurt you. Write their names on a piece of paper. This may take a few days or even weeks. Don’t rush it. The Holy Spirit will show you those you need to forgive. If a name comes to mind, write it down even if you don’t think you need to forgive the person. After all, you did pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the names. Don’t screen the list based on your own understanding.


2. Write a description of exactly what these people did to you. Be specific in your description. Don’t use vague generalities, but use detailed examples of how you have been offended by others. Unless you are specific, the act of forgiveness will be vague and not have the impact that you need in your life.


3. Describe exactly how you felt when the offense took place. The importance in identifying how you felt is to reattach the emotion to the incident. The reason for this is that it isn’t possible to fully forgive if we don’t recognize the extent of damage done to us. That’s why it is important to recognize how you felt at the time of the offense.

4. By faith, forgive those who have hurt you. Many have found it helpful to speak out loud, as if the person were in the room. Express your forgiveness to those who have hurt you, confessing that you are releasing them from any obligation for what they have done.


Perhaps the following can be helpful in facilitating the forgiveness you want to extend. Take your list of names and fill in the following:


“(Insert the name of the person who wronged you), I want to resolve a matter of unforgiveness toward you. You have wronged me, but I don’t want to be handicapped by this hurt for the rest of my life. What you did to me was (describe the exact incident). When you did that, it made me feel (describe how you felt, not what you thought at the time).

You were wrong and I was hurt by your actions. But, (insert the offender’s name), right now I forgive you. I release you from any obligation you have toward me because of what you have done. Just as Christ has forgiven me, I now forgive you.”



Now, pray and thank the Lord for the grace He gives you to forgive others. Ask Him to bring healing to your emotions and to fill you with a greater sense of His love for you. Complete this time by affirming that you have forgiven others at this very moment.


Will your feelings instantly change? Maybe not. But that’s okay. As you remind yourself of the truth that you have forgiven those who wronged you, your feelings will gradually change. You may still find that feelings of anger or resentment arise within you at times. That’s normal. When they do, remind yourself of the truth that you have forgiven. It doesn’t mean you didn’t forgive just because you may still have negative feelings at times. Simply acknowledge your feelings and then walk in the truth.


Forgiveness is a choice and you made that choice. Don’t allow the enemy to bring you back into the slavery of unforgiveness again. Through forgiveness you have been set free. So enjoy your freedom!


“If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” John 8:36

Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org




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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2004, 03:52:14 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional



Do You Like Your Pastor?
by Steve McVey
 
_________________

 
“I don’t like you,” the church member said to me with absolutely no expression on her face. “Why?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she answered. “I haven’t liked you from the moment you arrived at our church.”


This was an actual conversation I had with a lady once when I was still a local church pastor. I’ve known a few people through the years who felt the freedom to express their lack of appreciation for me, both as their pastor and as a human being. That’s a tough spot for pastors because it leaves them with no recourse. How is a pastor to respond to that kind of statement? “I don’t like you either?” Or, “I’m so sorry. I’ll try to be more likeable?”


Do you like your pastor? One newsletter had some tongue-in-cheek suggestions for church members unhappy with their pastor: "Simply send a copy of this letter to six other churches who are tired of their ministers. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of the list. Add your name to the bottom of the list. In one week you will receive 16,436 ministers, and one of them should be a dandy. Have faith in this letter. One man broke the chain and got his old minister back."


Sometimes people don’t like their pastor because they have put unrealistic expectations on him and are frustrated because he doesn’t line up to them. Their perception of him is that his DNA is somehow different from there own. Are you under the impression that your pastor is some sort of super-saint who is wired differently from other human beings? He isn’t. At times he argues with his wife. He loses his temper with his children. He worries about his kids. Just as some at church don’t like him, he may not particularly like everybody there either. Is that right? Maybe not, but it’s human.


Regardless of appearances that might indicate otherwise, your pastor is a regular guy. Don’t think that what you see in the pulpit on Sunday is all there is to him. He doesn’t speak King James English at home. He may watch football or David Letterman or Everybody Loves Raymond. He might even know who was voted off Survivor last week.


Don’t impose a persona on him that demands perfection. He’s not a Super-Hero without flaws. If you’re looking for a perfect pastor, you aren’t going to find him – not in any church. When you see his weaknesses, pray for him.


Show grace to your pastor. You don’t know what may be going on in his own life at any given moment. He may be dealing with personal problems that you don’t know about. One pastor I knew took great criticism from people in his church for not being at his best at the same time he and his wife were caring for her brother, who was dying of the A.I.D.S. virus.


Consider the following inside look at the lives of pastors.

-- 90% of pastors work more than 46 hours a week.

-- 80% believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively.

-- 33% said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their family.

-- 75% reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.

-- 50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job.

-- 90% felt they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands.

-- 70% say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they started out.

-- 40% reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.

(Taken from Pastors At Risk, H. B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Victor Books.)


Pastors have emotional ups and downs, just like everybody else. Allow your pastor the freedom to deal with personal struggles. If he has consistently ministered to you, ask yourself how you can minister to him. Pastors sometimes burn out for the simply reason that they continuously give without ever receiving ministry from others.


Why not pray right now and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can minister to your pastor – then do it. Bless him with acts of kindness. Pray for him. Then watch how the Lord changes you both.



Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.


This devotional may be duplicated if printed with no changes in its entirety and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org
 





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THINGS THAT DIFFER By C.R. Stam
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2004, 04:42:52 AM »

GRACE WALK - Weekly Devotional


Change Your Underwear
by Steve McVey
 
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God plainly told Moses – “Here’s the kind of underwear that must be worn. Anything else and the penalty is death.” In Exodus 28:42-43, He spoke to Moses about the garments of the high priests saying,


You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs. They shall be on Aaron and his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when the approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die.


Why would it matter what kind of underwear the priests wore? It’s because of what it symbolizes. Old Testament matters often point to New Testament truths. If God’s instructions weren’t carried out exactly as He said, the type (illustration) would be lost. So what’s the importance of the priests wearing linen underwear? The answer revolves around two things:


1. The linen underwear points to a powerful message for living in Christ.

Underwear illustrating the grace walk? It seems almost irreverent to suggest such a thing. But the fact is that the underwear of the priest represents our true identity. Nobody sees your underwear but you. The very mention of your underwear is personal, intimate and private. The “breeches” refer to what you are in the secret place of your own life. A priest may appear to be fully dressed, but be naked underneath. Some people appear to be spiritually dressed, but God knows they are spiritually naked!

What does God see when He looks at you? Are you fully dressed or do you have everybody else fooled except God? God sees who you really are! Your true identity is determined by who you are at the deepest level of your life. If you are wearing the underwear of His holiness, that’s who you are regardless of how dirty your shirt and pants might be. On the other hand, if you aren’t wearing underwear, God knows you are naked regardless of how well starched your shirt might be and how sharp the crease in your pants is.

Another aspect of the underwear is that it covers a part of you which should never be publically exposed. The Bible word used to describe independent, self-sufficient living is flesh. The word “flesh” in the New Testament generally isn’t describing skin, but is a word used to describe the techniques a man lives by when he isn’t trusting Jesus Christ to animate his behavior.

At salvation, God clothes us with the holiness of Jesus Christ in order to cover our flesh. As a Christian, we have flesh, but it is to remain covered by the holiness of His indwelling Life. Romans 13:14 says, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh. We all have flesh, but we don’t have to expose it! Nakedness is a condition which exists when our flesh is showing. Paul said, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

Do you see the powerful message of the priest’s underwear? God wants to change you at the deepest and most personal level of your being. He wants to give you His life to cover the nakedness of your sin so that you’ll never have to be ashamed again!

2. The linen underwear points to a particular method for living in Christ.

Note that the underwear the priests wore was made of linen. Why did God care what kind of material was used in making this underwear? Leviticus 16:4 said about the priest, He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash, and attired with the linen turban (these are the holy garments). Then he shall bathe his body and put them on.

The priests had to be bathed... made clean; then they were to wear these linen garments. Why linen? Ezekiel 44:18 answers: Linen turbans shall be on their heads, and linen undergarments shall be on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything which makes them sweat.

God’s plan is that those who serve Him should never sweat! Do we serve? Yes. Do we work with zeal? Of course. The grace walk is not a passive lifestyle, but it is a lifestyle in which we are never to work to the point of sweating because we aren’t depending on our own strength to serve. Instead we are trusting in the strength of Jesus Christ who indwells us..

All of our self-efforts to do things for Him are dead, meaningless works anyway! Exodus 28:42 teaches that if we minister in the holy place without wearing the underwear of His holiness, nothing will come of it except death. Ministry out of the flesh will always result in death. It may look good, but it is still dead.

Are you depending on your own self sufficiency or living from the strength of His life? Let God change your underwear today! Stop trying to manage your own life and allow Him to give you His holiness at the most intimate, personal level. He never intended that you should work to the point of exhaustion. That’s why the priests couldn’t wear anything that caused them to sweat.

We aren’t to sweat the Christian life. We simply rest in Christ and know that He has clothed us with everything we need to effectively serve Him.


This devotional is taken from Steve McVey’s teaching series, “The Garments Of Grace” and may be obtained from our web site at www.gracewalk.org or by calling 1-800-GRACE-11.

Steve McVey is the President of Grace Walk Ministries, a discipleship ministry located in Atlanta, GA. If you have been sent this devotional by a friend and want to know more about Grace Walk Ministries, visit our web site at
www.gracewalk.org.

This devotional may be duplicated if printed in its entirety, with no changes, and with the following acknowledgment: “Copyright, 2003,used by permission. Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries, www.gracewalk.org







 
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THINGS THAT DIFFER By C.R. Stam
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http://www.geocities.com/protestantscot/ttd/ttd_chap1.html

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