Martin Luther Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)
Grace
"This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners, for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ's, and Christ's righteousness is not Christ's, but ours."
 
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The Crown of Glory Be shepherds of God’s flock …. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:2, 4, niv) We’ve all heard that teachers and spiritual leaders will be judged by a different measure than the rest of us. James tells us, “Not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness” (James 3:1). People who are given positions of authority and leadership in the body of Christ are expected to live as examples and mentors to those who are younger and weaker in their faith. God expects more from them and more of them. Because of this, they can also expect a greater measure of respect during their days on earth. Paul tells Timothy, “Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17). It makes sense, then, that on the day of salvation, such people will receive a special reward from Jesus. Those who were given great responsibility on earth and carried out their duties well will receive the crown of glory. Peter exhorts such people this way: “Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor” (1 Peter 5:2-4, italics mine).  The reason we appoint certain people as elders and teachers is because that’s what God wants them to be. They are of his choosing, not ours. They are serving his church, not their own. They are to be examples of his love and goodness, not the world’s. And they will be judged by God’s standards, not ours. Being called to such a position is the greatest honor a person could ask for this side of heaven. And if done well, can lead to one of the greatest honors a person could ask for on the other side of it as well.

Today’s Reading  1 Timothy 3:2-7; 1 Peter 5:2, 4 Reflection  As you read through Paul’s list of desired character traits for overseers, think about how your life reflects these qualities. Do you have the traits God is looking for in a leader? If not, what would he have you do to prepare yourself for greater responsibility?
 
The best-selling Left Behind series has captured the attention of millions of readers, and it has changed lives. It has brought millions of believers the motivation to examine their hearts. Are you ready to embrace eternity? Live each moment as if it could be your last? Your future is more important than your past. Where you are going matters more than where you have been. What you do from this day forward means much more than what you have already done. You may be affected by your past, but you are not defined by it. Not in the eyes of God. What does it mean to embrace eternity? It means grasping each breath as if it could be your last, living life moment by precious moment with your feet planted firmly on earth but your heart aimed squarely at heaven. It means learning to embrace the role of dual citizenship—living in one world while belonging to another. It is a lifestyle of living like there’s no tomorrow and then dying so that your real life can finally begin! This 365-day devotional explores the themes introduced in the Left Behind series—themes of salvation, grace, obedience, and faith. New believers as well as mature believers will find a message of faith that will inspire and motivate daily.