Purpose

Written by Bill Grandi on December 16th, 2017

Welcome to Be Transformed. You can read my personal story in the About section to the right. As the header states, this is a daily journal focusing on New Morning Mercies. You can order the book using the widget on the right (a cheaper version is seen below). I’d like you to join me daily if you can. Take part in the discussion. Add your comments. Agree or disagree…it’s okay. Just do it civilly. 🙂  I welcome your input on my thoughts or your own thoughts. Join me for a year of Being Transformed by God’s amazing grace.

All Scripture is English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.

 

April 23

Written by Bill Grandi on April 23rd, 2018

As God’s child, there’s never a moment when you’re not under God’s care, never a time when you’re not the object of His love.

Sometimes this is hard to accept. When the going is rough it is hard to say, “This is God’s work in me.” It is not an original thought (but wish it was) but sometimes God has to “break my bones” to bring about my redemption. I’ve been reading Whiter Than Snow, another of Tripp’s books, and he talks about God breaking bones. Not literally, of course. God’s work of delivering me from my addiction to self and sin and molding me into His image isn’t always a comfortable process. Sometimes, in order to make our crooked hearts straight God has to break some bones.

So when that time comes, it is easy to doubt, to question, God’s presence in my life. I want Him to work in a certain way but His way is diverse. He works in me the way He deems best. Sometimes it is a cool drink and a soft pillow; sometimes it is a stone for a pillow, a bed of nails, and warm Gatorade. But he must work most consistently on what will bring about change in me.

“Father, I do not know how you will choose to work in me. I just know you will. I know there are times you will ‘break my bones.’ I just pray I will accept your work in me and not see it as a betrayal to me but rather an indication of your love.”

 

April 22

Written by Bill Grandi on April 22nd, 2018

I’ve been reading a lot about suffering these past few weeks. Cancer. Suicide. Emotional. Physical. Seems like everywhere I turn these days I see hurting people. I sometimes feel overwhelmed; most definitely hurting inside. Today’s devotion helps bring things into focus.

If God intended for all the days of my life to be easy, they would be. No, in grace, he intends for my days to be his tools of refinement.

I can’t argue with Tripp’s thoughts about not being on God’s agenda page. Way too often I’m not. I want Him to be on mine. I like it when we see eye-to-eye. But as I read today, my questions tend to be more focused on God’s fairness, i.e. “why me and not them?” One of the books I am currently reading, Notes from the Valley (going through cancer treatment), says this is exactly what he was asking. That breeds all sorts of discontent. I want happiness; God wants holiness.

“Father, help me to see your redemptive work in me. Help me not to be distracted and side-tracked by worry, comparison and complaining, but stay focused on your work in me.”

 

April 21

Written by Bill Grandi on April 21st, 2018

Grace and obedience. Those two words seem to sum up today’s devotion. Is obedience dependent on grace? Is grace dependent on obedience?

When I was growing up, dad would go off to work and leave a list of chores to be done. Pull weeds. (Hated it). Use a knife and take out dandelions, etc by the root. (Hated it). Cut grass. We had an old push mower (not gas). Pull weeds. (Same commentary). We were never paid an allowance; we were just expected to do/obey. OR else! Not to do so led to consequences. There was no leeway; no grace. Nor reward. So fulfilling a task was sheer fear-of the consequences, of dad’s disapproval, of some form of punishment.

No grace. What I did I did in the hopes of no future consequences. The reward was dad’s approval. Pat on the back. The exact opposite if I failed to comply.

When it comes to God, my relationship with Him is different. His grace, His approval of me is not based on my obedience to His rules/laws. He grants me what I can never earn; never deserve; never repay. I obey because of His work in my life, not because I want Him to work. He’s not going to love me anymore and He’s not going to love me any less.

“Father, thank you for grace not dependent on my obedience or my performance. It’s all You, Your doing. Help me to see Your initiative, your work, your involvement from the get-go until now and in the future.”

 

April 20

Written by Bill Grandi on April 20th, 2018

What a fantastic and powerful devotion this morning! My thoughts may be disjointed and random, but hopefully understandable. 🙂

I’ve heard it said and “prophesied” that having a “love affair” with grace will only lead to license to sin. That a person who catches onto grace will think it is okay to live however he wants. Not according to Scripture (Romans 6:1-14, especially 12-13). And not according to a proper understanding of grace.

Grace doesn’t make it okay for me to live for me. No, grace frees me to experience the joy of living for One greater than me.

Freedom isn’t freedom just because I say so. In fact, much of what I think is nothing more than adding to my kingdom of one. I have tried living my life my way. I have tried living outside God’s boundaries. It leads to bondage, lies, temptation, sin, suffering (mine and others), and heartaches. Grace is best lived within God’s boundaries. Say what? Yes! Isn’t that legalism? NO. God has my best in mind. He drew up the rules, not me. I didn’t have the freedom to devise my own moral code, but I did/do have the freedom to abide by His or not. Putting myself in the middle leaves a pretty small package. AS Tripp put it “the doorway to freedom is submission.”

“Father, true freedom is found in humbly submitting to your will, to your grace. Teach me dependency, trusting in you in all things, especially your moral code. Free me from my kingdom of one.”

 

April 19

Written by Bill Grandi on April 19th, 2018

This devotion spoke life to my soul this morning.

It is grace to not be paralyzed by regret. The cross teaches that I am not stuck, not cursed to pay forever for my past.

Thank you Jesus!! The past can be a tricky thing. I can look back at my past and lament it and live in shame OR I can see my past, mourn it and then move on. Not because my past and its lessons are insignificant, but because Jesus can take my past and teach me/show me/give me a beautiful future. Like Back to the Future, my future is altered because of God’s grace on my past. Because of His grace I’m not a slave to fear; I’m not a slave to shame; I’m not a slave to regret; I’m not a slave to condemnation. No…I’m his child and share in all that means. “It is good to mourn the sins of the past. It is not good to be paralyzed by them.” Tripp

I don’t normally do this for this devotion but this song kept playing through my head: https://youtu.be/yTz83khVtsU

“Father, you have written off my past. The cross did that. I look back and see my sin; you look back and see nothing. I look forward and see your forgiveness; you look forward and see my hope and a beautiful future. Le me live today in that truth. I’m not a slave; I’m a free man.”

 

April 18

Written by Bill Grandi on April 18th, 2018

I thought today’s devotion was a good one. Sparked a lot of running thoughts for me. I’ll try to corral them. 🙂

Whom will I trust? What will I trust?
-Will I trust in something man made? That will eventually wear out.
-Will I trust in something “less than?” Ps.20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses…”
-Will I trust in myself? In my goodness? In my abilities? Oh…how scary is that? I know how that turns out.
-Will I trust in other people? You know…the same people who sin like me; act like me; fail like me; are in the same boat as me.
-Will I trust in the Father? The One is wiser, stronger, more righteous, and more purposeful than I, any other human, or any other thing proposes to be.

Fear is real. Fear rears its ugly head way too often, way too easily. Is.31:1 says, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horseman because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or consult the Lord!”

Whom/what will I trust? Real fear comes when I place my trust in that which will not stand. To finish Psalm 20:7 (started above) “…but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” I need to remind myself that faith in my Father is where I need to be.

“Father, so much is clamoring for my trust. Even myself. I’ve already proven that won’t work. Help me to place my trust in You and to know You are wiser, stronger, more righteous and more powerful than anything or or anyone can pretend to be. Nothing compares to you.”

 

April 17

Written by Bill Grandi on April 17th, 2018

“Faith means I take God at his Word, I never let myself think I’m smarter than him, and I live inside his boundaries.”

Faith, to me, is a tricky thing. While one part of me has the bluster and backbone to say, “I believe,” the other part of me says, “I believe…I think.” Not only that, faith is more than lip-service. Can faith really be called faith if it doesn’t reveal itself in actions? I believe Tripp is right in saying, “Just because I participate in the scheduled program of the church doesn’t mean I’m a person of faith.” I know that in my own life and in the life of others. I see it. I see me acting all pious and righteous on Sunday, then living my way during the week. I praise God for His presence in my life, then try to live (and justify) living outside his boundaries during the week. I sing, say and preach trust in an Almighty God, then live as though I’m on my own during the week.

Faith takes God at his Word. I know what His Word says.
Faith never lets me think I’m smarter than God. As if…
Faith has me living inside his boundaries. His Word is sure. His wisdom is far beyond me. What in the world would make me think I can live outside his boundaries and be right or safe?

“Father, a life of faith is not lived within the ‘castle walls.’ It is lived in the trenches. May my life today be one lived by faith-taking you at your Word; never thinking I’m smarter than you; and living within your boundaries.”

 

April 16

Written by Bill Grandi on April 16th, 2018

I wondered how to write my thoughts this morning. I totally agree that the life Jesus offers is the only one worth living. But how to communicate it this morning other than saying just that was my conundrum. Here are my thoughts:

Life! What a word to different people.
-To some it describes a life of wanton desire.
-To some it describes a life of freedom from boundaries
-To some it describes a life of carefree attitude.
-To some it describes a life of aimlessness.
-To some it describes a life of a brain-addled existence.
-To some is describes a life of toys.
-To some it describes a life of (you fill in the blank)
-To some it describes a life of fulfillment. A life of meaning and purpose. This person takes seriously Jesus’ words that He came to give life and give it abundantly.

The lie foisted off on man is that meaning and purpose can be found outside , even separate from, the Creator. Believing that lie ultimately leaves emptiness.  I know there will be those who say, “I don’t need your God” or “I don’t want your myth.” Just proves the lie is still alive. So-called temporary satisfaction will lead to permanent emptiness. What this person thought was life will be an empty bag.

“Father, I thank you for life. On the outside, it is seen as child’s play, a myth, a fairy tale. But on the inside it is so much more! Just as Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4) that He would give her water and she will never thirst again, so He gives that same water to me. It quenches my thirst, my longing. Let me drink from your well.”

 

April 15

Written by Bill Grandi on April 15th, 2018

The importance of corporate worship is a familiar theme in NMM. It is easy to get jaded about it be we shouldn’t because it is so essential. This devotion talks about the necessity of daily intervention with others.

Sadly, it is easy to hide behind a mask. Or to never go deeper than the weather, food, politics, or a “howdy-doody.” We think talking about the latest liked/disliked movie is interaction. It is but definitely not the kind God wants us to have. It is as Tripp says, “every physically blind person knows he is blind, but not every spiritually blind person knows he is.” It’s like the Emperor’s new clothes. We have fooled ourselves into thinking we are clothed when in reality we are naked.

God has given other followers to me to help me run to Him. To help me stay tuned. To help me stay locked in. Only by establishing more than a surface act can I benefit from others.

“Father, you’ve put others in my life to help me in my walk with you. Send me some who don’t want anything from me except to be a friend. No drama. Just friends. Then let me see them as your hand to me. And help me to be that to them and others.”

 

April 14

Written by Bill Grandi on April 14th, 2018

“Nothing can separate us”
“If God is for me who can be against me?”
“My God will supply all my needs.”

3 statements that have a profound effect on my walk with Christ,

The first is the gist of Tripp’s devo. It defies to think God would rescue and redeem me only to lose me. I’m reminded of the words of Jesus: “No one can pluck them from my hand.” I have a hard time with the in/out of salvation theory of some, but I also struggle with the teaching of “do whatever” and God’s grace will forgive and cover. Paul’s argument in Romans 6 comes into play. I guess the jury is till out for me as I wrestle with that.

The second is a very strong reassurance to me of God’s continual presence as I battle the enemy. Small skirmish or big battle. He’s there fighting for me and blessing me with His presence.

The third is a daily promise of provision. Every need I have is provided for. With Him I have everything I need.

All three show God’s intimate love and care for me. I am taken care of. “Father, thank you for your love, concern, and care for me. Thank you for the promise of your presence. That alone is sufficient. Whether it be in salvation; whether it be in battle; whether it be in daily needs, your presence is vital and counted on.”