Blessed Biblical Boundaries

Grace For The Journey

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11Nov  Did you ever believe that the boundaries set forth in sacred Scripture bound you up and left you without a blessing? Many unbelievers regard Christianity as little more than a dour collection of “Thou shalt nots” . . . but what about you? Have you ever slipped into that kind of thinking?

We live in a culture which champions the freedom to do what we want, when we want, and how we want.  If you speak out about the biblical boundaries God has graciously provided us (yes, I said “graciously provided,” not “onerously burdened”), you are viewed as legalistic, narrow-minded, puritanical, and intolerant.  It is not uncommon for someone who is speaking in favor of biblical boundaries to be ruled “OUT OF BOUNDS!”

But this is not what God wants for you!

The Bible says in Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way that sinners take, nor sits in the seat of the scornful (mockers). But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law does he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall ot wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”

This same culture which champions “If-it-feels-good-do-it” as an inalienable right is increasingly marked by a haunting sense of meaninglessness and utter despair.  The American College Health Association reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death among college students.

The answer to this epidemic of emotional emptiness sweeping our country is not found in freedom to do what we want.  The Gospel not only tells us what we have been freed from – the dominion of sin and Satan – but the Gospel tells us we are freed for – to walk in the ways of the Lord and to delight in His law.

Biblical boundaries are not burdens to bear; they are blessings to be received.

Someone has explained it this way, “God’s law (biblical boundaries) tells us where the land mines are buried and keeps us from blowing ourselves and others up.”  The psalmist makes it perfectly clear that we will inevitably step on those land mines when we “walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”

Parents, do you put up boundaries for your children because you want to squash their sense of joy and freedom?  No, we set boundaries to protect them from the destructive desires of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Our great desire is to point our kids to the abundant life that God calls them to live.  We know where many of the land mines are . . . all too often because we stepped squarely on them when we were young!

By outlining for our children what God has already outlined in His Word, we equip and empower them to live a life that truly matters, hopefully picking up less shrapnel than we did along the way!

By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are God’s children.  Our heavenly Father never sinned; He never came close to stepping on a land mine!  But He knows where every single one of them is, and He gave us the map to warn us about all of them – that map is called the Bible.  If we will, as much as it is within our power, faithfully live within the framework of the biblical boundaries He has laid out for us, we will stay within the bounds of God’s blessings.

Are God’s boundaries there to frustrate us and spoil our fun? By no means! They are a gracious gift from God, given to us so that we can live – really live – in freedom and joy.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Veterans Day

Grace For The Journey

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12Nov  Today is Veterans Day. It is a wonderful time to publicly say “Thank You!” to the brave men and women of our armed forces who served and sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy.

Yet a tribute on this special day, as wonderful as that was, is hardly enough to declare just how thankful we ought to be for the unimaginable sacrifices all of our veterans have made.

Some history of Veterans Day will be helpful to show our thankfulness is important. “The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918…” was when an armistice (the temporary cessation of battle) was declared between the Allied nations and Germany, ending World War I. The following year, November 11 was set aside as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a day honoring all veterans who served in all wars. Here is a fact that few of us know, because we live in a culture that cares less and less for the things of God. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the recurring anniversary of November 11, 1918 “should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer.”

That is what we all should do – not only on Veterans Day, but every day throughout the year. We ought to thank our God for the great gift of the countless brave men and women who served and sacrificed to secure our freedom.

As a pastor, I am sometimes asked, “Why does God allow so many wars?” The answer, of course, is found in the Bible’s account of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, and it is rooted in a single word: SIN!  The Bible says in James 4:1, “From where come wars and fighting among you? Com they not here, even of your lusts that war in your members.” When Adam and Eve chose to do what they wanted to do rather than what God commanded them to do, sin entered this world and broke everything, resulting in a losing battle against sin, death, and Satan

It wasn’t long after Adam and Eve sinned that Cain, the firstborn of our first parents, killed his younger brother, Abel. From that moment on, the pages of Scripture and written history are filled with wars. And in this great nation, God blesses us by raising up men and women of courage and commitment who are willing to pay the ultimate price to ensure our freedom by serving in our armed forces.

However, we have great cause fro hope – There is a day coming when no one will serve in any armed forces anywhere, because Jesus fought and won the ultimate battle against sin, Satan, and death itself. Hanging on the cross, Jesus took all the punishment for our sin and became the death of death. On the third day, He rose from the grave, proof positive that God the Father was fully pleased with Christ’s atoning work. And what Jesus began in His first coming, He will finish in His second; there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more wars, and no more death. The lion will lie down with the lamb, and the peace that passes all understanding will reign forever and ever!

But until that day, let us pause and thank our God for the great gift of our veterans. Let us salute all those who have served. Let us thank God for them and pray for them and their families. And let us never forget all those who have fought for our freedom – all paying some . . . and some paying all.

May God bless every veteran – not only on this day, but every day!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Heart Attack!

Grace For The Journey

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10Nov  According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 800,000 people die each year from heart attacks and strokes. Also known as a myocardial infarction or (MI), a heart attack is caused by the loss of blood supply generally due to a blockage of a coronary artery.  The death of heart muscle causes shortness of breath, chest pain, and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.  On scene treatment includes CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), administration of medication, and at times electrical shock.  Over 90% of heart attack victims who reach the hospital survive, so a quick response, proper treatment, and transportation are critical.

Did you know that there is another kind of heart attack that we all face every day?  It is an attack on the affections of our heart, also known as heart idolatry.  When Jesus entered into your life and redeemed you through faith, He claimed your heart as His own.  He has claimed the throne of your life and will tolerate no rival.  The problem is we tolerate rivals to our Redeemer and fill our hearts with idols. To name just a few:

  • The idols of affection, approval, achievement
  • The idols of power, position, prestige
  • The idols of security, success, sensuality
  • The idols of recognition, respect, reputation
  • The idols of comfort, control, calling

How does this list measure up with you?  Is there something we have not mentioned that is attacking your heart right now?  If you are not sure, ask yourself, “What do I love, hope, trust, or fear?”  If you love a structured life without any uncomfortable interruptions, control will be your idol.  If you hope for a pain free life, living inside zones of comfort will be your idol.  If you trust in financial security, earning as much as you can will be your idol.  If you fear being alone and single, being in a relationship (any relationship) will be your idol.  When you get right down to it, idols of the heart are false saviors, promoting false gospels, promising false hope.  We go to them expecting them to do for us what only Jesus can.

Just as a lack of blood supply causes physical death to your heart, a lack of Jesus causes spiritual death to your life.  It is only by keeping the gospel before us and living in light of its truths every day that we are able to forsake all of our idols and turn to Jesus because we realize these idols cannot deliver on their promises.  Jesus not only delivered on His every promise, He continues to deliver daily.

The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-24, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’”

Let me encourage you in closing.  You are not alone in the battle of dismantling your heart idols.  Every Christian is fighting the same battles on different fronts.  Consider it not a “strange thing” to be in this battle and to be wearied by it.  But remember, Jesus has won your victory on the cross.  The King came for you and purchased you with His precious blood.  And once you are His, nothing can separate you from Him (Romans 8:39).  Call on Him.  Seek Him.  There is help from the Great Physician for every heart attack.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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One Reason for a Stormy Season

Grace For The Journey

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9Nov  We all go through stormy seasons.  Trouble has been promised.  Suffering is simply a part of the Christian life.  But have you considered the reason why?  Today we will briefly look at one reason for a stormy season:

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”

We see in these verses that we experience stormy seasons so that we will receive the comfort of our God.  And we receive God’s comfort “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.”  What a privilege we have been given, to be vessels that communicate God’s comfort into the lives of others who are currently in the fire of affliction!  This knowledge should empower us to praise God during life’s storms, rather than complain or pity ourselves.

Think about this for a moment: when we are buffeted by stormy winds, God does not only bring His comfort to make us comfortable; He also brings it to make us better comforters!  History teaches us that lighthouses have been built by ship-wrecked sailors . . . roads widened after multi-car pileups . . . and traffic lights installed because of the death of a motorist.  It’s an uncomfortable truth that when nobody suffers, nobody really grows.  Suffering makes us sensitive to our own humanity, forces us to reach out to our God for His resources of strength, and equips us to bring comfort to others who are dealing with the same human condition.

In verse 5 we see that we find our comfort through our relationship with Jesus.  He endured the stormiest season that ever blew across the face of this earth, and He endured it without any comfort at all from His Father in heaven.  He endured the full cup of God’s wrath while He hung on the cross on Calvary’s Hill . . . and He endured it alone.  You remember His despairing cry: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46.)  Why did He experience that?  So that you and I would never have to.

Jesus went without comfort as He secured our salvation for us.  So today, as we live out that “so-great salvation,” we will never be without the comfort of our God, no matter what stormy season we are facing.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  This Gospel truth should encourage us to encourage others . . . inspire us to inspire others . . . comfort us to comfort others.

Now that’s a grace-filled comfort for facing stormy seasons!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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Do I Matter?

Grace For The Journey

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6Nov  When was the last time you wondered, “Do I matter?”  Notice I did not ask, “Have you ever wondered, ‘Do I matter?’”  We have all wondered if we matter, and for many of us it was on more than one occasion . . . and recently!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Mind over matter; I don’t mind and you don’t matter?” The world says you matter only to the extent that you have power, position, prestige, prosperity, or pedigree.  We live in a world that judges a man by the size of his bankroll and a woman by her external beauty.  But in God’s economy, the world has been turned upside down.

The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

Here is a great truth to keep upon your heart . . .

You matter to the only One who truly matters!

You matter to God, not because of what you have or what you have done, but because of who you are.  You are a child of the Most High God.

Let me ask you a question . . .

What do birds, hairs, and flowers have in common?

They all matter to God and are continually under His divine care.  Because God doesn’t make any junk, everything He has made matters to Him.  Listen to what Jesus says about this.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.”  (Luke 12:6)

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”  (Luke 12:7)

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.  Of how much more value are you than the birds!”  (Luke 12:24)

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  (Luke 12:27)

Perhaps you are going through a difficult season right now and feel like you don’t matter much to anyone, including God.  Maybe you feel unimportant, uninvolved, unwanted, under-appreciated, or unloved.  Is it possible you feel like you are only a number at work, a nobody at church, and a knucklehead at home?  Cheer up!

Birds matter to God.  Flowers matter to God.  If the Creator of the universe takes special care of birds and flowers, how much more will He take care of you!  The fact that He knows the number of hairs on your head should be a source of great comfort to you today.

You matter to God more than you could ever imagine!

The Bible even tells us that God knows the nights we toss and turn on our beds; he knows the number of ever tears we’ve shed! (See Psalm 56:8.)

Unlike birds and flowers, you were made in the image of God.  To be sure, since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, that image has been marred, twisted, and stained with sin, but still it is the image of God.  As His image bearers, God is infinitely more concerned for you than anything else in the entire universe.  So much so, He sent His only Son to the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.

You matter to God, and that should matter to you!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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STRENGTH IN THE SEA OF TROUBLE

Grace For The Journey

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5Nov  Regardless of where this find you today, could you use a little extra strength to get you through everything you are going through? If you could use a word of encouragement, read on!

The Bible says in Zechariah 10:11-12, “They will pass through the sea of trouble; the surging sea will be subdued and all the depths of the Nile will dry up . . . I will strengthen them in the LORD and in his name they will walk,” declares the LORD.”

Notice a few things that God told His people through the prophet Zechariah.

First, they would find themselves in the sea of trouble. The people of God were never promised calm seas . . . only safe passage. “They will pass through the sea of trouble,” the Lord said. This means that whatever you are currently going through, you are going through it. You will be brought out on the other side by God’s mighty right hand!

Second, God promises to strengthen His people as they are passing through the sea of trouble. So instead of getting weaker along the way, as we would expect in the economy of this world, God promises that we will go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7). “How is that possible?” you may be thinking. It is because we go – not in our name – but in His name, and there is power in the name of our God!

Third, notice that the strength our Lord gives us causes us to walk, which suggests forward progress. It’s true that it is possible for us to walk backwards, and at times we do just that in our proverbial “one step forward and two steps back” mode of growth in the Lord. But here God is assuring us that He will give us the strength to go through everything He is calling us to go through.

So regardless of the “surging sea” you may be facing today, it will be subdued in the name of your Savior. There is a special word of comfort when God says “the depths of the Nile will dry up.” Imagine what power and might would be required to make that happen! Just like the children of Israel who walked along on dry ground, with surging walls of water on both sides as God parted the Red Sea, God will dry up any “surging sea” you may be facing today.

Oh, by the way . . . do you remember the rest of the story? God caused the waters to swallow up all the pursuing enemies of His people. Exodus 14:28 records that “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen — the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

Call on His name today; He is ready to give you His strength and grace for whatever you face!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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The Blessing Of Rock Bottom

Grace For The Journey

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4Nov(1)     4Nov(2)  For all those who have spent any time at “rock bottom,” I promise you today’s message will be a source of great comfort and encouragement for you.

Over and over again the Bible says we need to make God our dwelling place and build our lives upon His solid foundation.  Listen to these two powerful verses: Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He with thrust out the enemy before you, and will say, ‘Destroy.'”  And in Psalm 91:9, “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation.”

If the eternal God is your dwelling place, then when you find yourself at rock bottom know this: you are still standing on the Rock—and His name is Jesus Christ.  No matter how far you fall, His everlasting arms will be there to cradle you.  You cannot fall so far that He is not still underneath you.  The Savior is your support, regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself.

  • Are you under the weight of financial misfortune?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of trouble at the office?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of sickness and disease?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of difficulties in your marriage?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of rebellious children?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of the snares of sin?  He is underneath you still.

His arms never grow tired or weary, but continually provide strength and support.  When you find yourself as low as you can possibly go, you are eternally sustained in His everlasting arms.

The blessing of rock bottom is to know that you are still standing on the Rock.  When you feel you are at your lowest, He is there, holding you up with His everlasting arms.  He provides comfort and strength for every battle you face.  When the flesh takes you low, He is there.  When the devil takes you under, He is underneath.  When the world takes you down, He is down under!

What a promise for the child of God, that there is no sinking past our Savior! The Bible says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”

There is safety even in the grave, if you are an adopted child of God.  The grave cannot hold you, because His everlasting arms are underneath the grave, doing two things at once: preventing us from going further down and propelling us into the presence of our Lord.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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White Flag Of Surrender?

Grace For The Journey

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3Nov  The white flag is an internationally recognized sign used to signify a truce, ceasefire, desire for negotiation, or intention to surrender.  The first mention of the usage of white flags to surrender is made during the Eastern Han dynasty (A.D 25-220).  The white flag was widely used during the Middle Ages in Western Europe to indicate the desire to surrender.

Can you guess what “white flag” surrender means for the Christian?  It, too, is a sign of the desire to surrender . . . but to whom?  It is surrendering yourself – all of yourself – to your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible says in James 4:6-7, “God resists (opposes) the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God”

There are numerous examples of white flag faithfulness in sacred Scripture.

  • Abraham waved the white flag and left everything he knew to faithfully follow God.
  • Noah waved the white flag and worked for more than 100 years to build a boat, working miles from any body of water.
  • Gideon waved the white flag and won the day against the Midianite army with only 300 warriors.
  • Mary waved the white flag when the angel Gabriel announced she was God’s choice to be the mother of the Messiah, knowing full well the scorn and shame she would attract as an unmarried pregnant woman.
  • John the Baptist waved the white flag and preached the coming Savior, a surrender which ultimately cost him his life.
  • Paul waved the white flag on the road to Damascus and was transformed from persecutor to pastor.

Prayerfully consider the extent of your sold-out surrender to your Savior in the following areas; are you submitted and waving the white flag in your . . .

  • Dating life?
  • Married life?
  • Family Life?
  • Finances?
  • Professional plans?
  • Thought life?
  • Prayer life?
  • Church service?
  • Sharing your faith?
  • Forgiving others?
  • Rejoicing for the success of others?
  • Hurting when others are hurting?
  • Removing the plank from your own eye?

In what areas have you totally abandoned yourself to the will of God?  In what areas are you holding back?  What is keeping you from totally surrendering and trusting God in any of these areas?  Whatever rules your heart shapes your life.  Whatever you refuse to surrender to Jesus is serving as your functional savior.

When you wave the white flag and surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, you live for something other than your own life.  When you live for the transcendent purposes of God you live a life that truly matters – not just on Sunday, but every day of the week.

A surrendered life is the fulfillment of the call of Christ that we talked about yesterday – “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.”  This kind of white flag surrender is a call to death that leads to life.  It is only by dying to yourself that you can live for your Savior.  Go ahead!  Wave the white flag of surrender and live the life you were designed by God to live!

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey … Rest in this eternal truth … AMEN!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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There is No “Small Print” in Sacred Scripture

Grace For The Journey

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Nov2  The terms “small print,” “fine print,” and “mouseprint” all refer to less noticeable print that is dwarfed by the more prominent larger print it accompanies.  Small print is frequently used by advertisers selling a product or service.  Some merchants who hope to deceive the consumer into believing an offer is more advantageous than it really is will sidestep the legal technicality which requires full disclosure of all terms or conditions by relegating the “bad news” to the tiny type font at the bottom of the page and trumpeting the “good news” of spectacular sale prices with brightly colored oversize type fonts.

The small print often contradicts what the larger print says.  For example, if the large print says “No Credit? No Problem!” the fine print may murmur “Subject to bank approval.”  You are probably familiar with television advertisements that flash small print text in camouflaged colors, and for the briefest periods of time, making it all but impossible to read.

And when the advertiser reads the small print disclaimer out loud, you’d think you suddenly landed in an auction with the fastest speaking auctioneer in the world! Sadly, we have all grown cynically accustomed to “small print” advertising designed to mislead us about the price, quality, or content of a particular product.

But make no mistake, there is no small print in sacred Scripture, even though many in the pulpit today preach as if there is.  Far too many preach a “small print Savior,” for fear that people will refuse to “sign up” if they know the truth about what is involved. They preach blessing without burden.  They preach success without sacrifice.  They preach getting without giving.  They preach living without dying.

The irony in all this is the truth that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation.”  The more we water it down to try to make it more palatable, the more we strip it of its supernatural power.

Listen, the Gospel is designed to both repel and attract.  Sadly, many who sit under shallow “small print” preaching, which is crafted to attract by tickling the ears of the listener, are ill-equipped for the promised trouble to come.

Jesus said the day of tribulation will come; and when it does, if all they have built their faith on has been the shifting sand of small print, they will find themselves tipped over when the waves of challenge begin to wash over them.  They will be confused by challenge, surprised by suffering, and derailed by difficulty.  But this is not what God wants for you!

The Bible says in Luke 9:23-26, “[Jesus] said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for My sake will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’”

Jesus refused to hide the truth of the Gospel in small print in order to increase His “success rate.”  In fact, it seems as though He went out of His way to make it clear just how difficult it would be for one to follow Him.  If the rich young ruler showed up in the church today he would be at the top of the list of potential elders.  Yet after a conversation with our Savior, who refused to shroud the Gospel in “small print,” the rich young ruler went away sad.

You see, the Gospel Jesus preached – and the one we are to be preaching with both our lips and our lives – is a Gospel of self-denial and self-sacrifice.  Jesus refused to tell people what they wanted to hear just so He could get someone to sign on the dotted line.  He spoke the truth and the truth was this: to follow Jesus is to follow Him to the cross on Mount Calvary, where dying to self is the only way to live for the Savior.

We know the apostles fully understood there was to be no “small print” in sacred Scripture when they spoke these words, which were “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” The words were: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

This is God’s Word … This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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