Grace for the Moment

Duration: 365 days

A HOLY TASK

Obey the Lord with great fear. Psalm 2:11

mary and Mary [Magdalene] knew a task had to be done—Jesus’ body had to be prepared for burial. Peter didn’t offer to do it. Andrew didn’t volunteer … So the two Marys decide to do it …

I wonder if halfway to the tomb they had sat down and reconsidered. What if they’d looked at each other and shrugged, “What’s the use?” What if they had given up? What if one had thrown up her arms in frustration and bemoaned, “I’m tired of being the only one who cares. Let Andrew do something for a change. Let Nathanael show some leadership.”

Whether or not they were tempted to, I’m glad they didn’t quit. That would have been tragic. You see, we know something they didn’t. We know the Father was watching. Mary and Mary thought they were alone. They weren’t. They thought their journey was unnoticed. They were wrong. God knew.

from He Still Moves Stones

GENESIS 5-6

Adam’s Family History

This is the family history of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them in his own likeness. He created them male and female, and on that day he blessed them and named them human beings.

When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of another son in his likeness and image, and Adam named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. So Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth was 105 years old, he had a son named Enosh. After Enosh was born, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. So Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh was 90 years old, he had a son named Kenan. 10 After Kenan was born, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 So Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.

12 When Kenan was 70 years old, he had a son named Mahalalel. 13 After Mahalalel was born, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 So Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.

15 When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he had a son named Jared. 16 After Jared was born, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 So Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.

18 When Jared was 162 years old, he had a son named Enoch. 19 After Enoch was born, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 So Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.

21 When Enoch was 65 years old, he had a son named Methuselah. 22 After Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God 300 years more and had other sons and daughters. 23 So Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; one day Enoch could not be found, because God took him.

25 When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had a son named Lamech. 26 After Lamech was born, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 So Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

28 When Lamech was 182, he had a son. 29 Lamech named his son Noah[a] and said, “He will comfort us in our work, which comes from the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 So Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The Human Race Becomes Evil

The number of people on earth began to grow, and daughters were born to them. When the sons of God saw that these girls were beautiful, they married any of them they chose. The Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain in human beings forever, because they are flesh. They will live only 120 years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also later. That was when the sons of God had sexual relations with the daughters of human beings. These women gave birth to children, who became famous and were the mighty warriors of long ago.

The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked and that everything they thought about was evil. He was sorry he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will destroy all human beings that I made on the earth. And I will destroy every animal and everything that crawls on the earth and the birds of the air, because I am sorry I have made them.” But Noah pleased the Lord.

Noah and the Great Flood

This is the family history of Noah. Noah was a good man, the most innocent man of his time, and he walked with God. 10 He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 People on earth did what God said was evil, and violence was everywhere. 12 When God saw that everyone on the earth did only evil, 13 he said to Noah, “Because people have made the earth full of violence, I will destroy all of them from the earth. 14 Build a boat of cypress wood for yourself. Make rooms in it and cover it inside and outside with tar. 15 This is how big I want you to build the boat: four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Make an opening around the top of the boat that is eighteen inches high from the edge of the roof down. Put a door in the side of the boat. Make an upper, middle, and lower deck in it. 17 I will bring a flood of water on the earth to destroy all living things that live under the sky, including everything that has the breath of life. Everything on the earth will die. 18 But I will make an agreement with you—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives will all go into the boat. 19 Also, you must bring into the boat two of every living thing, male and female. Keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, animal, and crawling thing will come to you to be kept alive. 21 Also gather some of every kind of food and store it on the boat as food for you and the animals.”

22 Noah did everything that God commanded him.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:29 Noah This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “rest.”

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

PSALM 2:7-12

Now I will tell you what the Lord has declared:
He said to me, “You are my son.
    Today I have become your father.
If you ask me, I will give you the nations;
    all the people on earth will be yours.
You will rule over them with an iron rod.
    You will break them into pieces like pottery.”

10 So, kings, be wise;
    rulers, learn this lesson.
11 Obey the Lord with great fear.
    Be happy, but tremble.
12 Show that you are loyal to his son,
    or you will be destroyed by his anger,
because he can quickly become angry.
    But happy are those who trust him for protection.New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

PROVERBS 1:10-19

10 My child, if sinners try to lead you into sin,
    do not follow them.
11 They will say, “Come with us.
    Let’s ambush and kill someone;
    let’s attack some innocent people just for fun.
12 Let’s swallow them alive, as death does;
    let’s swallow them whole, as the grave does.
13 We will take all kinds of valuable things
    and fill our houses with stolen goods.
14 Come join us,
    and we will share with you stolen goods.”
15 My child, do not go along with them;
    do not do what they do.
16 They are eager to do evil
    and are quick to kill.
17 It is useless to spread out a net
    right where the birds can see it.
18 But sinners will fall into their own traps;
    they will only catch themselves!
19 All greedy people end up this way;
    greed kills selfish people.New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

MATTHEW 3

The Work of John the Baptist

About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea. John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is near.” John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said:

“This is a voice of one
    who calls out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
    Make the road straight for him.’” Isaiah 40:3

John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are snakes! Who warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 10 The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.[a]

11 “I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 He will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”[b]

Jesus Is Baptized by John

13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River and wanted John to baptize him. 14 But John tried to stop him, saying, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”

15 Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are God’s will.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with him.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:10 The ax . . . fire. This means that God is ready to punish his people who do not obey him.
  2. 3:12 He will . . . out. This means that Jesus will come to separate good people from bad people, saving the good and punishing the bad.

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.Copyright © 2006 by Max Lucado.

NIGHT LIGHT FOR PARENTS

The Power of Words Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil. 1 Peter 3:10 Our words are an incredibly important tool for understanding and communicating with our kids. What we say, and how we convey what we say, can make the difference between drawing closer to the hearts of our sons and daughters and hurting them with an insensitive or inappropriate remark. I thought about the impact of our words when I read a story by former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose father never affirmed her as a child. When she was in high school, she brought home a report card with an A grade in every subject. She proudly showed it to her dad, hoping for approval or praise. Instead he said, “Well, you must be attending an easy school.” Thirty-five years later, that thoughtless remark is still etched in Mrs. Clinton’s mind. That father may have considered it a casual quip, but it created a point of pain for his daughter that has endured to this day. If you doubt the power of words, remember what John the disciple wrote under divine inspiration. He said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John was describing Jesus, the Son of God, who was identified personally with words. Can a better case be made than that? Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe a related prophetic statement made by Jesus that confirms the eternal nature of His teachings. He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). We remember what Christ said to this hour, more than two thousand years later. Words are a mighty instrument with lasting power to enlighten, encourage, and heal—or, when used carelessly, to wound and destroy. How we use them has eternal impact: “Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37, tlb). As parents, let’s choose words that always benefit our kids and bring glory to God. -Shirley M Dobson From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Illustration adapted from Martha Sherrill, “Mrs. Clinton’s Two Weeks out of Time: The Vigil for Her Father, Taking a Toll Both Public and Private,” Washington Post, 3 April 1993, C1, as quoted in Bringing Up Boys copyright © 2001 by James Dobson, Inc. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

NIGHT LIGHT FOR COUPLE

Black Sunday “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:4 Every family has moments they’d rather forget—moments that later call for understanding and forgiveness. When our children lived at home, we found that Sunday was often the most frustrating day of the week, especially during the “get ’em ready for church” routine. But Black Sunday was uniquely chaotic! Jim and I began the day by getting up late, which meant that everyone had to rush to prepare for church. Then there was the matter of spilled milk at breakfast and the black shoe polish on the floor. Finally, Ryan, who was dressed first, managed to slip out the back door and get himself dirty from head to toe. As these irritations mounted, the criticism and accusations flew back and forth. At least one spanking was delivered and another three or four were promised. After the Sunday evening service we called the family together. We described the day we’d had and asked each person to forgive us for our part in it. We also gave each member of the family a chance to express his or her feelings. Ryan was given his first shot, and he fired it at me. “You’ve been a real grouch today, Mom!” he said with feeling. “You’ve blamed me for everything all day long.” Danae then poured out her hostilities and frustrations. Finally, Jim and I had an opportunity to explain the tensions that had caused our overreaction. It was a valuable time of ventilation and honesty that drew us together once more. We then had prayer as a family and asked the Lord to help us live and work together in love and harmony. No matter how hard we try, we will experience times when we fail to live up to our Christian principles. When those times arrive, discussion and forgiveness are the best methods for soothing wounded relationships. I urge you at those moments to actively seek forgiveness from each other and from God and freely offer forgiveness in return. While you’re at it, forgive yourself. If God can post a “No Fishing” sign by the sea where your sins are thrown, then so can you and I. – Shirley M Dobson From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

INSIGHT FOR STUDENTS

The woman at the other end of the phone was furious. Her husband had, for many years, handled the family’s finances foolishly, and she had just discovered a whole bunch of needless expenditures. “We’re broke again,” she wailed. “And I’ve had it with Sid,” she added.

Over the next several months I met with Sid. As we talked, I discovered that runaway spending wasn’t his only problem. In fact, the money thing was only a symptom of a much bigger problem. Sid would see something he wanted to accomplish, he would focus on this goal, and then he’d ignore everything else . . . his wife, his family, his health, his chores and his friends. He was on a personal, selfish mission and could not be distracted!

“Do you know what my problem is?” Sid finally admitted one day over cheese enchiladas. “I have a problem seeing.” “I didn’t know you needed glasses,” I replied, not having any idea where Sid was going. “No, not a problem with my eyesight,” he returned. “I have a problem noticing things . . . paying attention enough to see what’s going on with anyone else but myself. I’m so focused on tasks and goals that I’m stepping over the people who love me most.”

This is exactly the message of the Good Samaritan. The Levite and the priest were each fixated on their goal. They were focused on what they had to do: taking care of the temple and leading the people in worship. Two extremely worthwhile assignments, wouldn’t you agree? So when they saw the injured man on the roadside, they didn’t really see him. They saw themselves and their own tasks first, and since these jobs were so important, their eyes looked past the person in need.

This story is about American dads . . . . We’re on a mission, and we’ll not have our attention diverted. We are, after all, hope-filled winners in the game of life, and we intend to keep winning.

Except for one thing. All of this striving to complete our tasks is actually absorption with ourselves . . . .

The priest and the Levite had extremely important jobs. God was a full-time job for both of them. But Jesus was telling his disciples—and this includes you and me—that even God-jobs are no excuse for missing those who are lying at our feet . . . our first priorities . . . those who need us even more than the Samaritan needed help from these two. Wow, what a lesson.

By the way, Sid and his wife worked it out. They actually separated for several months, but Sid’s wife allowed him to come back to his house for dinner nearly every day. His assignment was to do the dishes. In no time, Sid’s wife fell madly in love with her man with a dishrag in his hand. She fell in love again with a man who stopped stepping over her. Taken from NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible