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For by the grace given me I say to every one of you...
A few weeks ago the pastor of my church and I were talking. The Sunday sermon came up in our conversation and he asked me how I liked it. I said, "Very much. I think it was one of your best. That one part really spoke to me. Were you thinking about me when you wrote it?" He smiled then answered, "No, but I've had several people ask me that same question." He asked me, "What did you hear the Lord saying specifically to you?" I told him. He said, "One thing I find so interesting about preaching is how differently each person hears. Following a sermon I'll have one person say, 'Wow, you really called out the sin in my life,' while another person tells me after listening to the same exact words, 'I have never felt so encouraged.' I sometimes wonder if they both were in the same room. The Lord moves in mysterious ways!"
As I read our passage today I thought back to this conversation with Pastor Ty and the evidence of the grace God has given him in his words as well. The Greek word used for "grace" is charis, which Strong's defines as: "that which affords joy, pleasure, loveliness, grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, and favor." But even more, it is also: "the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues." I think that's a pretty good description of the kind of grace God has given to both Paul and the pastor of my church.
Once in a while a person will come to me and say, "The Lord has given me a word for you." I can't help but put up my defenses a little. I wonder, "If the Lord has a word for me, then why didn't He tell me personally?" Regardless, I politely listen while applying our passage today: "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you..." I ask, "Is there grace in the words and in the person?" And if so, "Is this consistent with what the Lord has been speaking to me about?" What has the Lord been speaking to you about recently? Has it come up in your prayer time, Bible study, during a Sunday sermon, or while listening to Christian radio? The Lord speaks to us all the time, and He uses multiple venues to communicate His message. Are you listening?
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Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.