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.

 

January 21

Written by Bill Grandi on January 21st, 2018

In another book he has written, Forever, PDT calls it “eternity amnesia.” I like that description. There is an old saying, “You are so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good.” Perhaps we can put it another way: “You’re so earthly minded you’re no heavenly good.” I know that has some crazy theological complications but just think for a moment with me about how it just might be true for many of us. We spend so much time worrying about what we have here on earth, that our thoughts and hearts never turn or think of heaven. There is no eternity in our view.

“When I ask the present to give me what only eternity can give, I end up driven, frustrated, discouraged, and ultimately hopeless.”

Tripp calls it “evangelical schizophrenia.” It is the fact we declare we believe in forever, yet we live as if this is all there is.

As I see it there are two ways out of this. I need to realize:
1) Life is not all about me. I’m preaching today about “not thinking of myself more highly than I ought.” Hmmmm.
2) My heart will not be satisfied until it finds its satisfaction in God. As I stated earlier this week (January 18): when I realize God is enough then God will be enough.

Eternity is forever. Now is temporary. May eternity be in my heart and in yours.

“Father, help me to set my heart on things above. Help me to see beyond today, beyond this world, and realize I live for eternity. There is so much more waiting for me. Forever is waiting. Let me live today in the light of that promise.”

 

January 20

Written by Bill Grandi on January 20th, 2018

I started out by asking myself a question: If hope is to be found in a person-a Person-why do I, why do we, seek it elsewhere? Tripp put it well:

“Hope is not a situation. Hope is not a location. Hope is not a possession. Hope is not an experience. Hope is more than an insight or a truism. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus.”

Those words describe me. Hope is found in Jesus not a good event; a good church; time alone on the beach; a new bike or truck/car; or a one-of-a-kind vacation. All those are temporary. The only hope worth having and the only one which lasts is in Christ. The truth is I’ll never be smart enough; I’ll never be able to buy enough; I’ll never be able to go to enough places; I’ll never have the ultimate experience to where I won’t crave the next thing. I have to keep my hope in Christ. He is the ultimate fulfillment of all things. He has promised to always be there. I must trust He will.

“Father, you are the Giver of life. And you are the Giver and Keeper and Sustainer of hope. Help me to remember all the chasing I do here will amount to nothing if my hope is not in you. You have promised you would be with me always. I’m going to trust you in that.”

Have a great weekend folks. Enjoy life. Enjoy your families. Live in hope. See you tomorrow.

 

January 19

Written by Bill Grandi on January 19th, 2018

This was a very convicting devo for me.

If I look into the mirror of God’s Word and see someone there in need of grace, why would I be impatient with others who share that need?

Bingo! How about a shot between the eyes? I get lost sometimes in my own self-righteousness and forget others need grace. I criticize. I judge. I give no slack. I withhold caring. When I do that I forget my own need for grace. The sad part is that I’m such a mess how can I possibly be critical, judgmental, and use someone as target practice? Makes no sense whatsoever. But that is me. I forget the grace shown to me. I forget the grace given to me. How can I be unforgiving? How can I be so harsh? Critical? Judgmental? (Time for a Gibbs slap or one of those V-8 forehead slap).

“Father, forgive me for forgetting Your grace to me. Forgive me for forgetting your patience, your understanding, your slowness in judgment toward me when I mess up. And forgive me when I take stabs at people; when I criticize; when I turn the other way; when I fake caring and really struggle with being real. Let me remember how wide, long, deep & wide your love is for me. (Eph.3) Help me to remember my reflection in the mirror of your Word and be reminded always of my need for your grace.”

 

January 18

Written by Bill Grandi on January 18th, 2018

Is God enough? That’s the question which keeps popping into my head as I read this. His last line fostered that question: “What does the gospel say I have been given right here, right now so that I can be what I’ve been called to be and do what I’ve been called to do? The answer is Jesus! He is in me. He is with me. He is for me.”

He is in me. He is with me. He is for me. He is enough. The crux of this devo is Christ-followers can grasp the “past” of the gospel-God has forgiven my past. Christ=followers can see the future-salvation is coming. It is the “now” we have problems with. Jesus didn’t just die for my past sins and He didn’t die/raise just to give me hope for the future. He also died so He could live in me today.

“If I’m God’s child, I will never again have just me to depend on. No, I’ve been blessed, right here, right now, with grace.”

“Father you are enough. Past. Present. Future. Especially the present. Let me live in Your power today, knowing I live in your presence today. You are in me. You are with me. You are for me.”


 

 

January 17

Written by Bill Grandi on January 17th, 2018

Caution: long entry today

Back in the ’60s, Blood, Sweat & Tears had a song called “Spinning Wheel.” I disliked B,S, & T and particularly this song, but it has weird lyrics: “What goes up must come down/Spinning wheel got to ’round…” (You can look the rest up on google). The lyrics were strange. They seemed to talk about a drug trip but also about a basic truth of life: life goes around and around and there’s nothing really new under the sun. I can’t argue with that (neither can the Preacher in Ecclesiastes), but the lyrics are so fatalistic. It’s almost like we are a dog and pony show with no meaning, no control. While the life of the Christ-follower is no different on a day-to-day basis, the reality is it IS different. We do have meaning and we do have Someone who is in control. When life seems out of control it isn’t. When my plans all go to pot there is still Someone in charge of my future. When my dreams all seem to die there is Someone who is there to show me new ones-His dreams for me.

“To think today, when life doesn’t work as planned that it’s out of control is to forget Jesus reigns for my sake and His glory.”

Tripp’s opening paragraph was a series of questions. I picked out a couple. 1) Where would I like to take back choices and redo decisions? 2) Where do the thoughts of the past tend to flood me with regret, or visions of the future make me a bit afraid? 3) If I could change a couple of things in my life right now, what would they be?

Life doesn’t always turn out like we want it. But I have the reassurance of God’s Word that when my world seems to be spinning out of control, it really isn’t. The One who rules and reigns really does have my world in His hands. And with that in mind I will rest.

“Father, even when my life seems like one big merry-go-round and spinning wheel, I have the assurance you are in control. Nothing that happens-yesterday, today, tomorrow- is out of Your sight. Let me find my rest in You.”

 

January 16

Written by Bill Grandi on January 16th, 2018

Two things I know for sure besides death and taxes: I will continue to sin; and I will continue needing God’s mercies. Tripp emphasizes those two truths in this devotion. I went back to read more of Nehemiah as a refresher. That book is often used as a “leadership” book, i.e. Nehemiah is an example of what a leader is to be like. Carry a burden. Respond. Rally. Encourage. Plan. Innovate. Make hard decisions, etc. I can’t even begin to say how many times I have read this book and never picked up on Nehemiah 9, an example of the two things I know for sure: sin and the need for God’s mercy. They are both there in verse 29 and verse 31.

“There’s not a day without sin rearing its ugly head and not a day in which God’s abundant mercies are not new.” (Tripp)

There’s also not a day that goes by when I don’t need to remember that. I need to remember that today when lust, greed, complacency, sarcasm, being judgmental, selfishness (and others) wants to make an appearance. Sin will be present, but so will God’s mercy.

“Father, I know sin will make an appearance today. When it does, help me to also remember your mercy. Help me not to beat myself up with regret, but to rely on your tender mercy to get through it.”

 

January 15

Written by Bill Grandi on January 15th, 2018

Psalm 118 is rich with truth, hope and love. Sample:

Verse 1: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Verses 5-9: I have no one to fear because God is on my side. I would do well to take refuge in Him (my summary)
Verse 14: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
Verses 28-29: “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.”

How fitting that chapter-those Scriptures-are to today’s devotion. Tripp:

“Unlike human love, which is often fickle and temporary, God’s love never fails, no matter what.”

As much as I hate to admit it, there have been times I have questioned the steadfastness of God’s love. Of course, I was basing that on my own fickle love. Love I cannot say did not waffle. Love said to be steadfast, unconditional, but was not.

But God’s love? Totally different. While I say I have unconditional love, reality says otherwise. When He says He loves, He means it!

“Father, it is hard for my little mind and heart to fathom your kind of love. Talk about falling short! And yet, you have proven time after time that your love is real. Your love is honest. Your love is powerful. And your love is here to stay! So I bless you Father. And I thank you for unconditional, steadfast love.”

As I pray that and now as I type this, it blows me away even more when I think about it. God’s love has never wavered. He never wanted to chuck me out the door. His love never stopped. Live today with that truth burning in your chest!

 

January 14

Written by Bill Grandi on January 14th, 2018

“Don’t be discouraged today. I can leave my ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’s’ in the hands of the One who loves me and rules all things.”

It is easy to live a life of regrets. Like Frank Sinatra sang, “Regrets…I’ve had a few.” But my regrets are handled by the One who loves me, forgives me, shows grace to me, and lives for me. I also know part of the “what ifs” is wondering about the future! I am told in the Scripture I have nothing to “what if” about. Will I/do I understand all that? Never have and never will. But I know the One who does. I will never understand it all. If I did, where is the mystery? If I did would I need Him? I don’t think so. In my mind, wondering about the future only leads to worry. Worry leads to wringing hands. Wringing hands leads to lack of faith. Lack of faith leads to questioning God’s goodness. There are times life is not going to make sense. I guarantee there are times when confusion will be written all over my heart. It is then I have to remember whose hands my life is in.

Father, I know I will not understand it all. I will have times of confusion. I will have times of ‘what if’ and ‘if only.’ Hold me closely.”

 

January 13

Written by Bill Grandi on January 13th, 2018

Powerful and much needed NMM today. Given my penchant to sin-even when I know its wrong-plays with my mind. And my heart. I not only put myself down, I find myself asking, “How could God forgive me? How can He put up with my infidelity to Him? How can I claim to be His child?” From the very beginning Tripp hit me where I live:

“Yes, its true-God will remain faithful even when I’m not because His faithfulness rests on who He is not on what I’m doing.”

Now THAT is the key! It does not rest, it is not determined, by what I do but it is reliant on WHO HE IS!

There is so much meat in today’s devotion. One whole paragraph reminds me of what he is and I am not. But I like the way he ends it. “Rather than giving me a license to do whatever, this truth should give me the motivation to continue.” This whole devotion brought me to thinking about 2 Tim.2:13 where Paul tells Timothy: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful.”

“Father, thank you for being faithful even when I am faithless. When I stumble you are there to steady me and even pick me up. help me to be wiser in my choices so those choices don’t cause me to question, but actually cause me to rely. But come what may, help me to rely on your faithfulness.

 

January 12

Written by Bill Grandi on January 12th, 2018

I’ve always wondered if I had what it takes. Since no one knows the future, will I have what it takes when (not if) things get really dicey?  No question things are already going that way. Persecution of followers of Christ has amped up drastically and, I believe, will do so more as time moves on. If called on to be strong will I? The essence of today’s devotion is Yes. I serve a God of endurance who gives me the endurance I need. Tripp says,

“God calls me to persevere by faith, and then, with powerful grace, he protects and keeps me.”

On my own, I am unable to stand, to persevere, to endure. But because of who He is I can, not because of myself, but because of His grace and His commitment to me. He will provide me what I need the moment I need it.

“Father, give me Your endurance to last when the going gets tough in the days ahead. Help me to endure, not by my own power and strength but because of Yours.”