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.

 

September 20

Written by Bill Grandi on September 20th, 2018

“I’m hopeless.” Not the kind of words one like to hear come out of someone’s mouth.

“I’m helpless. Same thing.

“I give up.” Ditto.

All 3 are phrases of resignation. Seen as sighs of desperation. Basically seen as expressions of surrender, of “I can’t take this anymore.”

UNLESS

Unless they are seen in another light. Unless they are seen as resignation to the grace of God. Unless they are seen as a sigh of surrender. Unless they are seen as expressions of “I need God and His grace in a powerful way.” Being able to say those words to God means the willingness to admit “I can’t do this on my own.” My righteousness is weak. My righteousness, as Isaiah says, “is as filthy rags.” It is an admittance of the emptiness needed for God’s grace to do its work in me. I can’t do it on my own. It is a giving up of taking credit and seeing my emptiness spiritually.

“Father, I’m undone. I come to you as a helpless, hopeless and now surrendered man. I have nothing to bring-no goodness, No good works, no righteousness. I give it all to You. I NEED your grace. I can’t live without it.  No looking at others, only myself. Come Father. Exercise your grace in me.”

 

September 19

Written by Bill Grandi on September 19th, 2018

Okay…so I’m not a hymn person. There are some I like: “How Great Thou Art.” “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” “When I Survey…” But for the most part I’m not fond of them. So I was surprised as I read through the hymn in today’s devotion. True, it is more modern (2012) but the words rung out in my heart.

“No list of sins I have not done, no list of virtues I pursue, no list of those I am not like can earn myself a place with you…My only hope of righteousness is not in me, but only you.”

“No separation from the world, no work I do, no gift I give can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands, I cannot cause my soul to live. But Jesus died and rose again. The power of death is overthrown! My God is merciful to me and merciful in Christ alone.”

That hymn is describing my utter inability to bring anything before God to commend myself. He is describing grace. He is describing mercy. May I never forget that. That was the point of this devotion. Not forgetting. And the role corporate worship plays in helping me not forget.

“Father, such grace! Such mercy! Oh, may I never forget what a sacrifice you made to express that grace and mercy. Whether corporately or individually may I never forget.”

Words from “Not In Me” by Schumacher and Ward @2012

 

September 18

Written by Bill Grandi on September 18th, 2018

This devotion is sort of a continuation of yesterday’s, i.e. “this world is not my home.” But it is more. It is also realizing that my view of here is “tainted” by my view of eternity. What I mean by that is my biblical view of eternity influences my view of my time here. let me echo Paul’s words here from 2 Corinthians 5:

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened-not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be fully clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee…We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Life on this earth is of the “seen” variety. Life in eternity is of the “faith” variety. I can live my life focused on “making mudpies” (as C.S.Lewis called it) or I can live my life focused on pleasing Him with my eyes on eternity.

Might as well prepare now for the future. After all, it comes with a guarantee.

“Father, help me to truly walk by faith and not by sight. That’s more than a catch phrase; it’s a way of life. Take my eyes off here and place them on eternity.”

As a side: I read this from Isaiah 49:16 this morning: “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” What a tremendous thought! Engraved on His palms.

 

September 17

Written by Bill Grandi on September 17th, 2018

As I read this devotion the words that came to my mind were the words to a song: “This world is not my home I’m just a passin’ through…” I would do well to remember that.

Realizing this world is not my home gives me insight (or it should) on how to live. Temporary quarters should be how I see living here on earth. That should change how I “love” i.e. view things, places, even people. This world is not my final destination. This world is not my home. This world should not receive my affections. This place is not paradise.

And that’s the key! To see this world as a temporary place. A place, as the song says, “I’m just passing through.” My final “stop” will be in a much better place. Through His grace God has given me so much more. That truth, that reality, should take me and sustain me through anything I experience here but should also motivate me to look ahead.

“Father, I so want to be with you. but I also don’t want to leave the ones I love. It’s the same battle Paul talked about in Philippians 1. While I’m here help me to keep my eyes on my future prize. Help me not to allow my affections to become too fond of this world but to see this world as temporary and my future home as my prize.”

 

September 16

Written by Bill Grandi on September 16th, 2018

It is hard in the day of “try harder” spirituality to not try harder.

It is hard in this day of “cover up the truth” spirituality to not cover it up.

It is hard in this day of “hide the pain” spirituality to not hide the pain.

It is had in this day of “act right to be right” spirituality not to act right to be be right.

Living in a culture, especially a church culture where we want everything to look and be just right, makes it hard not to be works-oriented. And the works are usually performed to make the wrong right. it is, as Tripp says, “a denial of the gospel of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I can stop this merry-go-round I find myself on if I realize there is nothing I can do to make things look better and there is nothing I can do to be free from the sin that haunts my thoughts, desires, attitude and actions. There is nothing I can ever do, desire, think or project that is beyond the reach of His loving, matchless, fulfilling, ever-reaching grace.

“Father, I give up. I can’t try harder. I can’t cover up the truth. I can’t hide the pain. I can’t act right to be right. So I give up. I give up and release my life to you. I give you my sin. I give up the defense of my sin and ask you to work in me. I open my heart to you and your loving, matchless, fulfilling, ever-reaching grace.”

 

September 15

Written by Bill Grandi on September 15th, 2018

I think Tripp sums up half the devotion in these words: “This world can be a tough address.”

The other half is summed up in the words:

I will face loss, trouble, and disappointment, but nothing has the power to separate me from my Redeemer’s unrelenting love.

I, too, like that the Bible is not a cutesy, everything in okay and will be okay book. It does not paint people with sin, with warts and all. It is honest.

But it also gives the cure…Jesus. There is a peace amidst the storm. It is knowing that Jesus is not afraid of the storm. He was the ONE who went to sleep in a boat, woke up, said, “Peace be still” and calmed the storm. He was the one who went to a cross, died, rode again and said, “Death will be put under my feet.” There are more examples but just those two alone tell me He’s got this. Even though the storm swirls around me I can have peace.

“Father, when all is chaos You are the eye of the storm. You are that calm when the storm swirls around me, like a tornado throwing things left and right. Thank you for standing with me.”

 

September 14

Written by Bill Grandi on September 14th, 2018

There is one thing we have all had in our lives-disappointment. None are exempt. Some of it is monumental. Some of it is inconsequential (on the grand scale of things). Sometimes it is related to health. Sometimes it is related to situations. Sometimes it is related to outcomes. Sometimes it is related to family. Job. One of the biggest is relationships. We work at it. We try as hard as we can; we bend over backwards; then watch it fall apart. Marriage. Friendship. Pastor/church. Parental.

Every relationship has a handicap. Every relationship has a destructive element to it. Every relationship will hit a speed bump. The reason? Sin. Since everyone of us has sinned, the potential for destruction is there. And it doesn’t take long for sin to rear its ugly head.

But with the “revelation” of sin, also comes grace. As Tripp says:

There is grace for every moment. There is grace for every time I sin or are sinned against. And the grace I am given for my relationship will never, ever run out. There is always more of that grace for what is coming around the corner. I can give myself to love, to forgive, to confess, to confront, to trust, and to persevere even when things are hard, because He ‘gives more grace.’

All I have to say to that is…LET. GRACE. FLOW.

“Father, that is my prayer. May grace flow in me and through me and to me so I can extend that grace to others. Grace > sin. Grace > disappointment. Grace = You.”

 

September 13

Written by Bill Grandi on September 13th, 2018

I’m going to be totally honest here. My prayer life stinks. It is shallow. Sometimes it is AWOL. Almost non-existent. I don’t brag about that. I’m not proud of it. It is what it is. The more important question to me is how do I get out of it? How do I get to the place where prayer is more than just an “add on” but is a vital centerpiece of my walk?

It probably starts with giving it the priority it deserves. And that starts with recognizing prayer as an act of worship. Not a grocery list of requests-some important and some frivolous. Not a “demand” list of things I’m claiming in Jesus’ name.  Not a list seeking God’s endorsement. It is a blank sheet I sign over to God saying, “Your will be done.” If those words were good enough for Jesus they are certainly good enough for me.

The Scripture in Psalm 77 (which was our suggested reading for further study) is interesting. It appears the psalmist (Asaph) is lamenting the lack of God’s presence. He is assuming and presuming God is absent. He’s alone, abandoned, troubled. Make that he “feels” that way. but he turns the corner in verse 10: “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” He remembers the way God is! He remembers the deeds; the wonders; the works; His holiness; His redemption. “And my I do the same Father. When I tend to forget, remind me. Help me to ponder all You have been and are. I come to You with a blank sheet this morning.  Let Your will be done.”

 

September 12

Written by Bill Grandi on September 12th, 2018

“The Lord is my Shepherd I. SHALL. LACK. NOTHING.” So begins Psalm 23. And so sums up today’s devotion. The questions which face me are 1) Is God enough? A: Yes. 2) Do I live that way? A: No. Not nearly as I should. I want to be a recipient of his grace, mercy and love…and I am…but I don’t always live as though I am. Way too often I find myself listening to the clamoring of the world, and even the clamoring of the church I serve, to hear the voice of God saying, “I am enough.” I need to remember Tripp’s words:

Ultimately, human rest is not found in measuring the size of my righteousness, strength, and wisdom against the size of what I’m facing. No, rest is found when I compare the size of what I’m facing to the person, presence, character, power, and grace of the One who is with me wherever I go.

God’s gift-His greatest gift– to me is Himself. It is not Jo (although I am extremely grateful for her). It is not the family. It is not OVCF. It is not my friends. I am extremely grateful for all of those. No. God’s greatest gift is Himself. Do I need anything more when I have Him? No. And I need to keep telling myself (talking to myself) that.

“Father, You are all I need. ALL. If I have you, I have need of nothing else. There is a song that says, ‘You’re all I want/You’re all I’ve ever needed/ You’re all I want/ Help me to know You are near.’ Amen”

 

September 11

Written by Bill Grandi on September 11th, 2018

Today is the 17th anniversary of the event which changed our world. There will be 9/11 remembrances all over our country today. I mean no disrespect but I’d like to use that event to “color” my thoughts today.

We all have dreams. Dream of ease. Dreams of joy and happiness. Dreams of wealth. Dreams of contentment. Dreams of travel. Dreams of peace and tranquility. There may be as many dreams as there are people because each one has their own dream. There is nothing wrong with a dream. Nothing at all. Except this one question becomes a qualifier: “What is on the other side of my ‘if only I had”?

The Twin Towers were symbolic of what many saw as their dream. There were the symbol of affluence; ease; success; the culmination of our earthly efforts and goals. The dreams of myriads of people were symbolized by those towers and when they came down, it was also a picture of life coming apart; of life being shattered; of dreams falling down, of being destroyed.

When a dream becomes a ruling thing, it wreaks havoc on my spiritual life. (Tripp)

Dreams have to be-must be-more than what I have here. I need a sovereign Savior King not a “god” who delivers the goods (Nieman Marcus Jesus).

“Father, I’m not alone in this battle. There are many others who fight the ‘Nieman Marcus Jesus’ syndrome. Control my heart with your desire/dream/goal for me, rather than I control it for me. As I remember 9/11 today, help me also to remember You and Your desire for my dreams to be what You want for me.”