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Grace

A man I knew when he was just a boy lived near one of those old-timey neighborhood grocery stores. As a child he was in that grocery store every day. He knew the owner and those working in the store very well. One day he stole some pencils. It didn’t amount to very much—maybe 25 cents. He didn’t need them. It was just one of those childish acts. In fact he took them home and buried them in the yard. 

When his dad found out (and dads usually do find out), he made the boy take those pencils back to the grocery store and present them and some money for those goods to the owner. The boy walked in with great reluctance, and told the man what he had done. It just so happened that this was on the boy’s birthday, which the owner remembered as the boy handed him the pencils and the money. The owner of the store looked at his young friend for a long time and didn't scold him. He just handed it right back to the boy and said, “Happy birthday, son.”

Wasn’t that a gracious thing to do? Wasn’t that merciful and kind? The boy had done wrong, and he deserved at least a reprimand. Instead the man who was his friend gave him a birthday gift.

That is a picture of the graciousness, the kindness, and the mercy of God. God does not deal with us according to our merits. He deals with us according to his mercy. He does not save us because we deserve it. He saves us in spite of what we deserve. And when we think of the salvation that is ours through the Gospel, we must know that it is the Gospel of grace. God loves us so much that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Togetherness in Marriage

Celebrated English poet John Milton said, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.” There is a loneliness in us that only God can satisfy. But there is also a type of loneliness—a longing for togetherness—that only another can satisfy. We all need the togetherness that only another human can provide. Ruth expresses the kind of togetherness I am talking about when she said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

This was Ruth speaking to her mother-in-law, of course. But it is equally a statement of the complete togetherness that is to characterize marriage. In marriage we need to be together in the following ways:

1. Physically. “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” God’s plan for marriage is that we leave our father and our mother and be with our mate. This leaving is to be total so that the new relationship can be shared totally. You should leave your parents geographically (get out of their house), leave them economically (get out of their pocketbook), and leave them emotionally (get out of their hair).

2. Emotionally. “Thy people shall be my people.” Marriage is more than the blending of two lives, it is the blending of two families. You do marry a person’s family. If life is shared in the deepest sense, it must include a person’s family also.

3. Spiritually. “Thy God shall be my God.” There can be no complete togetherness without a sharing of your faith. Spiritual unity (i.e., being committed to Christ) is more important than denominational unity (i.e., being in the same church), but it is best when both are shared. Marriage is best when you can say, “Our Father, our house, our children, our church.”

4. Permanently. “Where thou diest, I will die.” Every day the distance time-wise between the marriage altar and the divorce court gets shorter and shorter. This ought not to be. It is God’s plan that two people be committed together for life. It is only when this is true that we find our highest fulfillment in marriage.

We should all work to strengthen togetherness in marriage. It is one of life’s greatest blessings.

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