When I needed a locksmith to get into my car, I had a pleasant surprise. After he arrived and began opening my little Ford’s door, we began chatting and I recognized his warm, familiar accent.
It turned out that my rescuer was originally from Jamaica—a land I’ve visited often and have grown to love. This changed a negative event into a positive one. We were in a small way kindred spirits because of our shared love for that beautiful island nation.
This struck me as a reminder of an even greater camaraderie—the joy of meeting someone new and discovering that he or she is also a believer in Christ.
In some places, this is not unusual because there are many believers. But in those lands where there are few believers, the joy of meeting someone else who loves Jesus must be even greater. It’s thrilling to share together the amazing reality of the freedom from sin we have through Christ!
For all who know Jesus, there is a shared bond, a oneness in Christ (Gal. 3:28), a joy of fellowship that can brighten even the darkest day. Praise God that He brings a bond of unity to all who know Him as Savior.
What a miracle it is, dear Lord, that You can bring together people of all tribes, tongues, and nations to be like-minded in Christ—to share a bond of love and affection for Jesus.
Christian fellowship builds us up and binds us together.
In the days of Jesus and Paul, there was a religious and social divide between Jews and Gentiles. So great was this divide that Jews avoided contact with Gentiles as much as possible, even erecting walls in the temple courtyard to keep themselves separated. However, both Jesus and Paul spoke of the gospel as crossing all social and national boundaries. Jesus sent the apostles to “all the nations” (Matt. 28:19) and “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8), and He broke down the “wall of separation” (Eph. 2:14).
The Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the most visited homes in the US. It was built in the 1930s and named after the original owner’s great aunt, Grace. It later became famous as the home of Elvis Presley.
I love the name Graceland because it describes the amazing territory into which God placed me when He forgave me of my sin and made me His own. He took me out of the darkness and brought me into His own “graceland.”
The apostle Paul says that “the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Rom. 5:15). I’ll be forever thankful that the “many” includes me and that God’s love has transferred me into the territory of His marvelous, infinite, matchless grace!
Think of the blessing of being in God’s graceland. It is a realm where He has given us entrance into His presence and where that same grace continues to overflow into our lives on a daily basis. Paul tells us that even in times of despair God showers us with sufficient grace to see us through (see 2 Cor. 12:9).
No matter what life may bring, nothing can remove us from the realm of God’s grace.
Lord, for the blessings of Your grace I am forever grateful! Teach me to accept Your grace and to live in its power. Help me to share Your story with others.
Remember where you live and rejoice in His grace.
Paul’s comparison of Adam and Jesus can be boiled down to a few words. Adam’s life resulted in an “offense” that brought “judgment” and “death,” but Jesus’ life brought a “free gift” of “grace” that brought “righteousness.” In grace (v.15), God took away the consequences of Adam’s sin—spiritual death and condemnation—and gave to all who believe in Jesus the gift of eternal life through His sacrificial death (vv.18-19).
As we entered a town in Australia, we were greeted by a sign that declared: “We welcome all who are seeking refuge and asylum.” This kind of welcome seems to resonate with the Old Testament concept of the cities of refuge. In the Old Testament era, cities of refuge (Num. 35:6) were established to be a safe haven for people who had accidentally killed someone and were needing protection. God had the people establish such cities to provide that refuge.
This concept, however, was not intended to be simply a practice for ancient Israel. More than that, cities of refuge reflected the heart of God for all people. He Himself longs to be our safe haven and our city of refuge in the failures, heartaches, and losses of life. We read in Psalm 59:16-17, “I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my God of mercy.”
For the hurting heart of every generation, our “city of refuge” is not a place. Our city of refuge is a Person—the God who loves us with an everlasting love. May we find our refuge and rest in Him.
How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe, I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe; How often, when trials like sea billows roll, Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul. —Cushing
Refuge can be found in the Rock of Ages.
According to the superscription at the beginning of Psalm 59, this psalm was written to the tune of “Do Not Destroy,” which is also the tune of Psalms 57, 58, and 75. David wrote this psalm when Saul had sent assassins to watch David’s house (1 Sam. 19:11). David’s wife Michal (Saul’s daughter) helped him escape (v.12).