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In a world overrun with harsh criticisms and rampant cynicism, I want to double down on my efforts to celebrate every evidence of God’s grace in my life. I want to shine a spotlight on every ounce of encouragement he sends my way.

I found three this week.

The first were the lyrics to Augustus Toplady’s (1740–1778) hymn, “Payment God Cannot Twice Demand”:

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?


Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?


If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.


Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee!

The second was George Herbert’s (1593–1633) poem “Submission.” Most people crave positions of influence and long for greater notoriety. I know I have, and still do––which is why I need to read and re-read this poem. It oozes gospel-wisdom and reflects the appropriate God-centered posture of Christ’s servants.

But that thou art my wisdome, Lord,
And both mine eyes are thine,
My minde would be extreamly stirr’d
For missing my designe.


Were it not better to bestow
Some place and power on me?
Then should thy praises with me grow,
And share in my degree.


But when I thus dispute and grieve,
I do resume my sight,
And pilfring what I once did give,
Disseize thee of thy right.


How know I, if thou shouldst me raise,
That I should then raise thee?
Perhaps great places and thy praise
Do not so well agree.


Wherefore unto my gift I stand;
I will no more advise:
Onely do thou lend me a hand,
Since thou hast both mine eyes.

Finally, Scotty Smith’s prayer “All Purpose Grace” lifted my eyes heavenward to the radiant Christ!

How did God encourage you this week?