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Grace for the Moment: Morning and Evening Devotional Journal

Grace for the Moment: Morning and Evening Devotional Journal

by Max Lucado


Learn More | Meet Max Lucado

CHAPTER 1

January
I have chosen the way of truth; I have obeyed your laws. —Psalm 119:30

JANUARY 1 MORNING

God Listens
I cry out to the Lord; I pray to the Lord for mercy. Psalm 142:1

You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, he turns to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God, and he listens. He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home. He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate. When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently. Carefully.

The Great House of God

God wants to hear what you have to say. How does that make you feel?

JANUARY 1 EVENING
Packed for a Purpose

He has filled them with skill. Exodus 35:35 NKJV

You were born prepacked. God looked at your entire life, determined your assignment, and gave you the tools to do the job. Before traveling, you do something similar. You consider the demands of the journey and pack accordingly. Cold weather? Bring a jacket. Business meeting? Carry the laptop. Time with grand-children? Better take some sneakers and pain medication.

God did the same with you. Joe will research animals ... install curiosity. Meagan will lead a private school ... an extra dose of management. I need Eric to comfort the sick ... include a healthy share of compassion. Denalyn will marry Max ... instill a double portion of patience.

God packed you on purpose for a purpose.

Cure For The Common Life
How has God packaged your life? List some tools he has given you and describe how you might use them for his purpose.

JANUARY 2 MORNING
A Chosen People

You are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession. 1 Peter 2:9

Do you ever feel unnoticed? New clothes and styles may help for a while. But if you want permanent change, learn to see yourself as God sees you: "He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me with a coat of goodness, like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding, like a bride dressed in jewels" (Isaiah 61:10).

Does your self-esteem ever sag? When it does, remember what you are worth. "You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect lamb" (1 Peter 1:18–19).

The challenge is to remember that. To meditate on it. To focus on it. To allow his love to change the way you look at you.

When Christ Comes
You are so valuable to God that he sent his Son to die for you. Does that encourage you? In what other ways has he shown you his love?

JANUARY 2 EVENING
The Lord Is with Me

You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NKJV

You are with me."

Yes, you, Lord, are in heaven. Yes, you rule the universe. Yes, you sit upon the stars and make your home in the deep. But yes, yes, yes, you are with me.

The Lord is with me. The Creator is with me. Yahweh is with me.

Moses proclaimed it: "What great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us" (Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT).

Paul announced it: "He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:27 NIV).

And David discovered it: "You are with me."

Somewhere in the pasture, wilderness, or palace, David discovered that God meant business when he said: "I will not leave you" (Genesis 28:15).

Traveling Light
God is always with you. How can this truth bring positive changes to your life?

JANUARY 3 MORNING
Worthless Worry

I was young, and now I am old, but I have never seen good people left helpless or their children begging for food. Psalm 37:25

We worry. We worry about the IRS and the SAT and the FBI. We worry that we won't have enough money, and when we have money we worry that we won't manage it well. We worry that the world will end before the parking meter expires. We worry what the dog thinks if he sees us step out of the shower. We worry that someday we'll learn that fat-free yogurt was fattening.

Honestly, now. Did God save you so you would fret? Would he teach you to walk just to watch you fall? Would he be nailed to the cross for your sins and then disregard your prayers? Come on. Is Scripture teasing us when it reads, "He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go" (Psalm 91:11)?

I don't think so either.

In The Grip Of Grace
What things do you tend to worry about? List some of God's promises in Scripture that will remind you not to worry.

JANUARY 3 EVENING
Loaded with Love

He ... loads me with love and mercy. Psalm 103:4

It's time to let God's love cover all things in your life. All secrets. All hurts. All hours of evil, minutes of worry.

The mornings you awoke in the bed of a stranger? His love will cover that. The years you peddled prejudice and pride? His love will cover that. Every promise broken, drug taken, penny stolen. Every cross word, cuss word, and harsh word. His love covers all things.

Let it. Discover along with the psalmist: "He ... loads me with love and mercy." Picture a giant dump truck full of love. There you are behind it. God lifts the bed until the love starts to slide. Slowly at first, then down, down, down until you are hidden, buried, covered in his love.

"Hey, where are you?" someone asks.

"In here, covered in love."

A Love Worth Giving
God has loaded your life with mercy and love. What hurts and worries do you need to bury beneath that love?

JANUARY 4 MORNING
A Complete Restoration

You will know that God's power is very great for us who believe. Ephesians 1:19

God loves to decorate. God has to decorate. Let him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change. Portraits of hurt will be replaced by landscapes of grace. Walls of anger will be demolished and shaky foundations restored. God can no more leave a life unchanged than a mother can leave her child's tear untouched.

This might explain some of the discomfort in your life. Remodeling of the heart is not always pleasant. We don't object when the Carpenter adds a few shelves, but he's been known to gut the entire west wing. He has such high aspirations for you. God envisions a complete restoration. He won't stop until he is finished. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

Just Like Jesus
How has God been changing your heart? What is different in your life today because of those changes?

JANUARY 4 EVENING
The Author of Life

He who was dead sat up and began to speak. And [Jesus] presented him to his mother. Luke 7:15 NKJV

The mourners didn't cause him to stop. Nor did the large crowd, or even the body of the dead man on the stretcher. It was the woman—the look on her face and the redness in her eyes. He knew immediately what was happening. It was her son who was being carried out, her only son. And if anyone knows the pain that comes from losing your only son, God does.

So he did it; he went into action. "Don't cry," he told the mother. "Arise!" he told the boy. The dead man spoke, the devil ran, and the people were reminded of this truth: For those who know the Author of Life, death is nothing more than Satan's dead-man's-bluff.

God Came Near
How has the Author of Life brought healing and hope to your life? What difference has this made to your life?

JANUARY 5 MORNING
Don't Miss God's Answer

"Is anything too hard for the Lord? No!" Genesis 18:14

The God of surprises strikes again. God does that for the faithful. Just when the womb gets too old for babies, Sarai gets pregnant. Just when the failure is too great for grace, David is pardoned.

The lesson? Three words. Don't give up.

Is the road long? Don't stop.

Is the night black? Don't quit.

God is watching. For all you know right at this moment ... the check may be in the mail.

The apology may be in the making.

The job contract may be on the desk.

Don't quit. For if you do, you may miss the answer to your prayers.

He Still Moves Stones
God is faithful. God is always on time. Describe some other characteristics of God that will encourage you to "hang in there."

JANUARY 5 EVENING
God Honors Work

Whatever work you do, do your best. Ecclesiastes 9:10

Heaven's calendar has seven Sundays a week. God sanctifies each day. He conducts holy business at all hours and in all places. He uncommons the common by turning kitchen sinks into shrines, cafés into convents, and nine-to-five workdays into spiritual adventures.

Workdays? Yes, workdays. He ordained your work as something good. Before he gave Adam a wife or a child, even before he gave Adam britches, God gave Adam a job. "Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15 NASB). Innocence, not indolence, characterized the first family.

God unilaterally calls all the physically able to till the gardens he gives. God honors work. So honor God in your work.

Cure For The Common Life
God ordained work as something good. List some ways you can honor God in your work or daily responsibilities.

JANUARY 6 MORNING
At Home with God

"If people love me, they will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23

God wants to be your dwelling place. He has no interest in being a weekend getaway or a Sunday bungalow or a summer cottage. Don't consider using God as a vacation cabin or an eventual retirement home. He wants you under his roof now and always. He wants to be your mailing address, your point of reference; he wants to be your home.

For many this is a new thought. We think of God as a deity to discuss, not a place to dwell. We think of God as a mysterious miracle worker, not a house to live in. We think of God as a Creator to call on, not a home to reside in. But our Father wants to be much more. He wants to be the One in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 NIV).

The Great House Of God
What does God provide for you as your "dwelling place"?

JANUARY 6 EVENING
Miraculous Moments

In Christ there is all of God in a human body. Colossians 2:9 TLB

Jesus was not a godlike man, nor a manlike God. He was God-man.

Midwifed by a carpenter.

Bathed by a peasant girl.

The Maker of the world with a belly button.

The Author of the Torah being taught the Torah.

Heaven's human. And because he was, we are left with scratch-your-head, double-blink, what's-wrong-with-this-picture? moments like these:

A cripple sponsoring the town dance.

A sack lunch satisfying five thousand tummies.

What do we do with such moments?

What do we do with such a person? We applaud men for doing good things. We enshrine God for doing great things. But when a man does God things?

One thing is certain: we can't ignore him.

Next Door Savior
What God things have you seen happen in your life or the lives of others? How do you respond to those things? JANUARY 7 MORNING
The Foundation of Courage

"I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12 NIV

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1 NIV).

"[God] justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (v. 3:26).

For those in Christ, these promises are not only a source of joy. They are also the foundations of true courage. You are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus. When God looks at you, he doesn't see you; he sees the One who surrounds you. That means that failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure. How could you not be courageous?

The Applause Of Heaven
Why does God want us to confess our sins and admit our need of forgiveness? Is this for his benefit or for ours?

JANUARY 7 EVENING We Need a Big God

"I am Yahweh." Exodus 6:2 TJB

The Israelites considered the name Yahweh too holy to be spoken by human lips. Whenever they needed to say Yahweh, they substituted the word Adonai, which means "Lord." If the name needed to be written, the scribes would take a bath before they wrote it and destroy the pen afterward.

The name I am sounds strikingly close to the Hebrew verb to be—havah. It's quite possibly a combination of the present tense form (I am) and the causative tense (I cause to be). Yahweh, then, seems to mean "I am" and "I cause." God is the "One who is" and the "One who causes."

Why is that important? Because we need a big God. And if God is the "One who is," then he is an unchanging God.

Traveling Light
We have a big God who is an unchanging God. Describe how you have personally experienced the wonder of God.

JANUARY 8 MORNING
The Water of the Servant

He poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5

To place our feet in the basin of Jesus is to place the filthiest parts of our lives into his hands. In the ancient East, people's feet were caked with mud and dirt. The servant of the feast saw to it that the feet were cleaned. Jesus is assuming the role of the servant. He will wash the grimiest part of your life.

If you let him. The water of the Servant comes only when we confess that we are dirty. Only when we confess that we are caked with filth, that we have walked forbidden trails and followed the wrong paths.

We will never be cleansed until we confess we are dirty. We will never be pure until we admit we are filthy. And we will never be able to wash the feet of those who have hurt us until we allow Jesus, the one we have hurt, to wash ours.

A Gentle Thunder
How do these promises help you to live with courage and joy?

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