Abounding Grace

By Julian Wells

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. … I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, 3:7 NIV)

Paul makes it very clear in his letter to the Ephesians that we are saved by grace alone in Christ alone. But he also emphasizes that the impact of God’s grace in our lives does not stop at salvation, but supplies us with unimaginable and often untapped power to live the life to which we have been called.

Grace should be the defining characteristic of a life lived in Christ. And we have no better guide for that grace-filled life than the book of Ephesians, which closes with these words: “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Ephesians 6:24 NIV)

Abounding sin is the terror of the world but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

A Man After God’s Own Heart

By Julian Wells

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. … I will praise the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. … I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. … Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 5:2, 16:7-8, 22:22, 25:4-5 NIV)

Thumbing through the psalms of David this morning and reviewing the verses I have highlighted in my Bible through the years, I was reminded why God called David a man after his own heart. (Acts 13:22)

Though David was far from perfect, he was genuine in his devotion to God, fervent in prayer and praise, dependent on God’s direction along the paths of his life, and committed to proclaiming his name in psalms that would comfort, encourage, instruct, and guide generations to come.

Lord, give me a heart like David’s – a heart that hungers for your Word and thirsts for your presence; a heart that earnestly seeks the guidance of your Spirit as I navigate the paths before me; a heart that yearns to proclaim your Name to a world in such desperate need of you.

“If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.” ~ D.L. Moody, Prevailing Prayer

Great Is Thy Faithfulness 

By Julian Wells

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:21-23 NIV)

The fact that these familiar verses are found in a book whose title, Lamentations, means “funeral songs” speaks volumes. In the midst of seemingly unbearable sorrow, Jeremiah never took his eyes off of The Lord, in whom he found hope and comfort.

Even as the smoke was still rising from the ashes of Jerusalem, he chose to focus on God’s unfailing love, compassion, mercy, and faithfulness. As believers in a sovereign God, these are his unchanging attributes that sustain us through our darkest hours.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, acts with a hand that never fails.”

How can we not trust a God like that?

And just as Jeremiah’s testimony in the Book of Lamentations still ministers to us today, our trust in God in the midst of the inevitable trials of life is perhaps the most powerful testimony we can offer to a world in such need of the hope only God can provide.

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hands have provided.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

(Lyrics by Thomas Obediah Chisholm)

An Eye-Opening Prayer

By Julian Wells

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18 NIV)

As I encountered this verse in my Bible reading this morning, it echoed back to me a three-fold plea I often pray as I open the pages of God’s Word: “Lord, open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your Word; awaken my ears to hear like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4); and open my mind to understand the Scriptures I’m about to read (Luke 24:45).”

Uttering that prayer reminds me that Bible study without the involvement of the Holy Spirit is just reading. But when the Holy Spirit intercedes, Bible study becomes an engagement and a dialogue with the Author himself.

When that happens, real transformation begins to take place.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

Unfolding The Word

By Julian Wells

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. … I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:130, 147 NIV)

When it comes to expressing the importance of God’s Word and the role it plays in a successful Christian walk that is pleasing to God, there is no equal to Psalm 119. At 176 verses, it is the longest chapter in the entire Bible and fittingly so. The message it conveys is that important and the psalmist’s poetic words are that beautiful.

Don’t be intimidated or discouraged from reading Psalm 119 because of its length. Take the time to let the psalmist’s love for the Scriptures seep into your soul. And start every day allowing God’s light to penetrate your heart as you open the pages of his Word.

“With what joy an invalid on a winter’s day yields himself to bask in the bright sunshine! And how little do God’s children understand that they only have to wait in quiet before God till His light shines upon them and into them and through them. How little we understand that we need enough time with God for His light to shine into the depths of our hearts and fill our lives.” – Andrew Murray