Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Devotion: A Tale of Two Gifts

Zechariah 12:10         “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

John 1:14       The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

The older I get, the more I need God’s grace in my life. Decades ago, I thought it would be the reverse. I believed then that I would by now have worked out all of my flaws, failings, and mistakes because I would be older, wiser, and more mature. The reality is a whole lot different: I get set in my ways, whine for the good old days, and feel out of place. Ecclesiastical curmudgeonary and dinosaurial drudgery can best describe me at times. I was born in the 1950’s, raised in the sixties, and formed in the seventies. I’m a 20th century man living in a 21st century world. I know how I would like things to be but there’s no going back; in order to accommodate a new bold world, I constantly need an old beautiful gift: grace.

The two Bible verses for today were written hundreds of years apart, but they express God’s remedy for a broken world in almost the same terms: ‘grace and supplication’ and ‘grace and truth.’ In the Old Testament, God’s patience and mercy were appealed to through the means of sacrifice and supplication. In the New Testament, the Supreme Sacrifice had already been made, so the opportunity of God’s patience and mercy were given through this truth: Jesus is the Savior of our sins. In the past, grace was a means of being granted the permission to approach God; now grace through Christ means that we can not only approach God, but we may also abide with Him forever.

Grace: an ancient, blessed, and beautiful gift from God granted to us today (and for all time) through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.

Question for personal reflection
How many times have I needed God’s grace this week?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You were given to us to become the ultimate sacrifice and universal Savior of the world. By Your obedience and death, we have been given God’s grace and life. We will always be truly thankful for Your wonderful gift. In Your Holy Name, we humbly and gratefully pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask a question of him, please send an email to John is always delighted to read your comments and answer your questions.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Nativity drawing for 2012. It’s called “First Family” and is currently being used by churches in the United States, Switzerland, and England for their Christmas advertizing campaigns. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

John has signed 8x11 prints available. Contact him by email for details.

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