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     God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Rom. 11:2-6

Dear heavenly Father, this amazing Scripture underscores that, at least, seventeen times a day (not just during Lent), I need to be reminded of how I entered your story of redemption and how I remain there. It's all by grace--from beginning to end.

Occasionally (and foolishly), like Elijah, I look for something in me to boast in--like being one of the few who really “gets” the gospel--no longer bowing the knee to performance-based spirituality, moralism, or legalism; as though I were smart enough, hip enough, or spiritual enough to be a member of an elite gospel club.

At other times I know myself to be completely ill-deserving--an idolater, not worshiping Baal, but running to broken cisterns when Jesus’ isn’t enough, or worshiping empty idols that have no life and cannot give like. How could I possibly be yours?

Then, like a rebuke or a kiss from heaven (depending on my attitude), I hear the Holy Spirit speak these words to my heart: “I have kept for myself . . .” As in the days before Elijah, of Elijah, and long after Elijah, you’ve reserved and are preserving a much-loved people for yourself.

Some of them have Israeli passports, but most don’t. In fact, no nation or people group will be excluded from your family--so great is your covenant of grace. My only claim to being your son is that you found me and keep me, by grace.

Father, because of past grace, present grace, and future grace, I want to live with bowed knees and palms up, before you. Grace will remain grace forever. Hallelujah! So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ exalted and loving name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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