Suppose you gave me a gift. Let's say you presented me with a new tie. I take it out of the box and examine it. I say thank you and then reach for my wallet. "Now how much do I owe you?" I ask.

You think I am kidding. "It's a gift," you say. "You don't need to pay me."

"Oh, I understand," I respond, but then show I don't by asking, "Could I write you a check?"

You're stunned. "I don't want you to pay me. I want you to accept the gift."

"Oh, I see," I respond. "Perhaps I could do some work around your house in exchange for the tie?"

"You just don't get it, do you?" you state firmly. "I want to give this to you. It is a present. You can't buy a present."

"Oh, forgive me," I hasten. "Perhaps if I promised to purchase you a tie in return."

By this time you're insulted. In trying to buy your gift I have degraded your grace. I have robbed you of the joy of giving.

How often we rob God.

Have you ever considered what an insult it is to God when we try to pay him for his goodness? God loves a cheerful giver because he is a cheerful giver. If we, who are evil, enjoy giving gifts, how much more does he? If we, who are human, are offended when people want to turn our gift into a bribe, how much more is God?

Spend some moments slowly reading the response of Jesus to their question, "What are the things God wants us to do?" (John 6:28).

Jesus replied: "The work God wants you to do is this ..."

Can't you see the people lean closer, their minds racing? "What is the work he wants us to do? Pray more? Give more? Study? Travel? Memorize the Bible? What is the work he wants?" Sly is this scheme of Satan. Rather than lead us away from grace, he causes us to question grace or to earn it ... and in the end we never even know it.

What is it, then, that God wants us to do? What is the work he seeks? Just believe. Believe the One he sent. "The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent."

"Joys of the Feast"

Written by Max Lucado

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all ( 2 Corinthians 4:17).

The Thanksgiving meal is over. My legs are propped up on the hearth. I have every intention of dozing off very soon. The turkey's been attacked. The giblet gravy has been gobbled. The table is clear. The kids are napping. And the family's content. Yesterday's challenges on the trip getting here were lost in today's joy of the feast and the family.

That's what Paul meant when he talked of "our light and momentary troubles." God never said the journey would be easy, but He did say the arrival would be worthwhile.

Remember this: God may not do what you want, but He will do what is right — and best. He is the Father of forward motion.

Trust Him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast and of the family. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm a bit tired from the journey, and it feels good to rest.

And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb." And he added, "These are true words that come from God" ( Revelation 19:9 NLT).


From Max's book, In the Eye of the Storm: Jesus Knows How You Feel. © Max Lucado.

Used with permission.

Romans 14:8

If we live, we live to the Lord: and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Thoughts on today's verse

One of the incredible realizations we can have as Christians is that our relationship with the Lord can be eternal. As long as we seek after him, he is always there and no one can separate us from his love. Even when we die, we go to be with the Lord. When we sleep in death, we are still "in the Lord." Everything we have on earth is temporary except our love for the Lord Jesus and those with whom we share that love!


Almighty God, thank you so much for binding yourself to our world in Jesus and binding me close to you through his Lordship in my life. I look forward to the day when the Lord who I kneel to worship today will be recognized by all the living and the dead as the One True Lord. I pledge to you Father, that I will live this day to honor him and by honoring him, honor you. In his name I pray. Amen.

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
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