TRACKING OUR TEARS!

Grace For The Journey

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16Dec  I spend a great deal of time reading through the Bible over and over again, yet it never ceases to amaze me just how much God cares for us. You are likely familiar with the oft-quoted text that God even knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30), which reveals that He cares about even the most infinitesimal details of our lives!

I’d like to offer you another word of incredible comfort today from the one of David’s psalms:

The Bible says in Psalm 56:8, “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?“

David knew how intimately God cared for him. Before David was crowned king of Israel, he spent years on the run from King Saul, who wanted to kill David because he burned with jealousy over David’s success and popularity. David was comforted in the knowledge that God had kept a detailed list of his years of wanderings. In other words,

God kept track of David’s tracks!

But that’s not all . . .

God tracked David’s tears as well.

The Holy Spirit moved David to offer this lovely image of God collecting his tears in His bottle, a reference to an ancient custom among the Greeks and Romans, who would collect their tears shed for the death of a loved one in a bottle or container of remembrance and then place the bottle in the tomb of the deceased. Clearly, David was greatly encouraged by the knowledge that God cares so much for us that He keeps track of our tears. Christian, if that doesn’t light the fire of your faith, your wood is wet!

You and I have shed our share of tears in this lifetime, have we not?

  • Tears of sorrow
  • Tears of pain
  • Tears of grief
  • Tears of frustration
  • Tears of failure
  • Tears of joy
  • Tears of laughter
  • Tears of loneliness

God is not some distant, disconnected deity who is indifferent to the trials and tears of His people. God cares for every one of us, and that includes you! God cares about even the smallest details of your life, and He is with you every step of the way.

I know there are times when it seems like God is distant, heaven is silent, and the weight of the world is pressing down on your shoulders. But remember this: Jesus came into this world and God the Father collected His tears in His bottle also . . . tears that Jesus shed for you.

Regardless of where this finds you today, whether you are shedding tears of joy or tears of pain, God is tracking your tears. He cares so much for you that He took your place on a cruel cross and paid the penalty for your every sin . . . past, present, and still to come. Christ’s cry of unimaginable anguish from the cross – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” – is your cry of heavenly comfort. You can be utterly and eternally be assured that because Jesus was forsaken, you never will be!

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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Shaped by “Such Things”

Grace For The Journey

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14Dec  You’re probably familiar with the famous axiom given to us from the technology world: G.I.G.O. – Garbage In, Garbage Out.  It was devised to call attention to the fact that computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input (garbage in), thereby producing worthless output (garbage out).  What you put in, you will inevitably get out.

What is true for computers holds true for people as well, which is why Scripture reminds us to think good thoughts.

The Bible says in Philippians 4;8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things.”

God’s Word makes it clear that what we put into our minds shapes our lives.  If we put garbage in, we can expect to get garbage out.  We are shaped by what we watch on television and in the movies.  We are shaped by what we view on the Internet.  We are shaped by the music we listen to.  We are shaped by the people we habitually associate and converse with.  We are shaped by what we read . . . and what we don’t read.  The law of exposure says whatever we are repeatedly exposed to will ultimately shape us.  That is why Paul tells us to think about “such things” that will glorify God and benefit others, including ourselves.

So . . . where in your life has the law of exposure been affecting you lately – for good and for bad?  Are there any changes you need to make regarding “Garbage In, Garbage Out?”

The Bible says in Lamentations 3:40, “Let us test and examine our ways” … “and return to the Lord!” Prayerfully consider what you have been consistently ingesting lately.  Are you taking in any garbage?  Without making time to inventory what you have been exposing yourself to lately it’s easy to miss the negative influences that so easily creep in.

Rarely will negative influences knock you right off course.  That would be easy to detect and appropriately responded to.  Instead, the negative influences in life gently nudge you off course, one small step at a time, one step here . . . another step there . . . and before you know it you find yourself in a place you never intended to be and not even fully understand how you got there!

I often have often told others what I heard a great preacher say long ago …

“Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go

And

keep you there longer than you ever wanted to stay.”

That is why we must be intentional about what we put into our minds on a daily basis.

So here is a new GIGO mantra for you to keep with you wherever you go:

“GOSPEL IN / GOSPEL OUT.”

Keep preaching and living by the gospel every day and watch what God does with your life for His glory and the good of others – including your good!

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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Shaped by “Such Things”

Grace For The Journey

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14Dec  You’re probably familiar with the famous axiom given to us from the technology world: G.I.G.O. – Garbage In, Garbage Out.  It was devised to call attention to the fact that computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input (garbage in), thereby producing worthless output (garbage out).  What you put in, you will inevitably get out.

What is true for computers holds true for people as well, which is why Scripture reminds us to think good thoughts.

The Bible says in Philippians 4;8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things.”

God’s Word makes it clear that what we put into our minds shapes our lives.  If we put garbage in, we can expect to get garbage out.  We are shaped by what we watch on television and in the movies.  We are shaped by what we view on the Internet.  We are shaped by the music we listen to.  We are shaped by the people we habitually associate and converse with.  We are shaped by what we read . . . and what we don’t read.  The law of exposure says whatever we are repeatedly exposed to will ultimately shape us.  That is why Paul tells us to think about “such things” that will glorify God and benefit others, including ourselves.

So . . . where in your life has the law of exposure been affecting you lately – for good and for bad?  Are there any changes you need to make regarding “Garbage In, Garbage Out?”

The Bible says in Lamentations 3:40, “Let us test and examine our ways” … “and return to the Lord!” Prayerfully consider what you have been consistently ingesting lately.  Are you taking in any garbage?  Without making time to inventory what you have been exposing yourself to lately it’s easy to miss the negative influences that so easily creep in.

Rarely will negative influences knock you right off course.  That would be easy to detect and appropriately responded to.  Instead, the negative influences in life gently nudge you off course, one small step at a time, one step here . . . another step there . . . and before you know it you find yourself in a place you never intended to be and not even fully understand how you got there!

I often have often told others what I heard a great preacher say long ago …

“Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go

And

keep you there longer than you ever wanted to stay.”

That is why we must be intentional about what we put into our minds on a daily basis.

So here is a new GIGO mantra for you to keep with you wherever you go:

“GOSPEL IN / GOSPEL OUT.”

Keep preaching and living by the gospel every day and watch what God does with your life for His glory and the good of others – including your good!

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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A Week of Anticipation -Part 1

Grace For The Journey

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21Dec  This week our Gospel-encouragement comes out of the truths taught in the Christmas Miracle – The Coming Of The Christ-Child.

Today we will focus on the first truth: WHO this Christ-Child is.  It is rooted in the Revelation of John and asks three important questions:

  1. Who Does God The Father Say He Is?
  2. Who Does Jesus Say He Is?
  3. Who Do You Say He Is?

To truly understand the significance of Christmas, we must understand that without God sending Christ, the world is hopeless and helpless. Contrary to the thinking of modern man, no human being is not able to do the most needed and important act to help mankind. The Bible says in Revelations 5:1-5, “Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”

Think about this scripture for a few minutes. Let the significance be driven home to your heart. It sets the stage for truly understanding the Christmas Miracle – The Coming of The Christ-Child.

Who Does God Say This Child Is?

In Matthew 3:17 we read, “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  This testimony from heaven confirms the identification of Jesus as the Son of the Living God.  He is the One God promised to man all the way back during those terrible moments immediately after the Fall: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Who Does Jesus Say He Is?

Jesus confirms what God the Father said when He responded to Peter in Matthew 16:16-17. “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”

Here are a few other things Jesus said about Himself:

John 8:23, “And He said to them, ‘You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.’”

John 10:30. “I and the Father are one.”

John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.

God the Father confirmed from heaven that Jesus was His beloved Son.  Jesus Himself asserted that He was the Son of God, equal with the Father.  But what about you? Who do you say Jesus is?

Who Do You Say He Is?

The Bible says in Matthew 16:15, “Jesus asked the disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’” He is asking us that very same question today.  C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Either Jesus was who He said He was or He was not . . . and if He was not, there is nothing good about Him or His teaching.  So who do you say Jesus is?  To be sure, Jesus is the WHO of the Christmas Mircale, the only One worthy and able to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: to save us from the penalty of sin and the power of our sin. And when He comes again, he will remove us even from the presence of sin!

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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A Week of Anticipation – Part 1

Grace For The Journey

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21Dec  This week our Gospel-encouragement comes out of the truths taught in the Christmas Miracle – The Coming Of The Christ-Child.

Today we will focus on the first truth: WHO this Christ-Child is.  It is rooted in the Revelation of John and asks three important questions:

  1. Who Does God The Father Say He Is?
  2. Who Does Jesus Say He Is?
  3. Who Do You Say He Is?

To truly understand the significance of Christmas, we must understand that without God sending Christ, the world is hopeless and helpless. Contrary to the thinking of modern man, no human being is not able to do the most needed and important act to help mankind. The Bible says in Revelations 5:1-5, “Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”

Think about this scripture for a few minutes. Let the significance be driven home to your heart. It sets the stage for truly understanding the Christmas Miracle – The Coming of The Christ-Child.

Who Does God Say This Child Is?

In Matthew 3:17 we read, “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  This testimony from heaven confirms the identification of Jesus as the Son of the Living God.  He is the One God promised to man all the way back during those terrible moments immediately after the Fall: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Who Does Jesus Say He Is?

Jesus confirms what God the Father said when He responded to Peter in Matthew 16:16-17. “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”

Here are a few other things Jesus said about Himself:

John 8:23, “And He said to them, ‘You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.’”

John 10:30. “I and the Father are one.”

John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.

God the Father confirmed from heaven that Jesus was His beloved Son.  Jesus Himself asserted that He was the Son of God, equal with the Father.  But what about you? Who do you say Jesus is?

Who Do You Say He Is?

The Bible says in Matthew 16:15, “Jesus asked the disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’” He is asking us that very same question today.  C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Either Jesus was who He said He was or He was not . . . and if He was not, there is nothing good about Him or His teaching.  So who do you say Jesus is?  To be sure, Jesus is the WHO of the Christmas Miracle, the only One worthy and able to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: to save us from the penalty of sin and the power of our sin. And when He comes again, he will remove us even from the presence of sin!

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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A Holy Heart Burn

Grace For The Journey

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 14Dec

Their hearts had been broken three days earlier.  What they had believed in and hoped for died a slow, agonized death, nailed to a dirty cross in the middle of Golgotha’s Hill.

The Bible says in Luke 24:13-17, “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”  And they stood still, looking sad.”

We find two devastated disciples trudging along the road to Emmaus, two men who were about to have the encounter of their lives with the living and resurrected Lord.  Prevented by Providence from recognizing Jesus, they began to tell their unidentified companion everything about their hope in the one called Jesus of Nazareth, whom they wanted so desperately to be the promised One to redeem Israel.  But their hope was beaten and bloodied, hung spread-eagled on an old rugged cross until he breathed His last.

But in Luke 24:25-32 we read these words, “And He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” 

So they drew near to the village to which they were going.  He acted as if He were going farther, but they urged Him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’  So he went tin to stay with them.  When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.  And He vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?’” (emphasis added)

From broken hearts to “burning hearts” – that is the change that encountering Jesus produces, regardless of our current circumstances.  I don’t know where this finds you, but I do know Jesus wants to have an encounter with you . . . today and every day.  Our Master is always on the lookout for opportunities to minister, even when we are not looking for Him.

  • He sought out the women at the well.
  • He sought out a tax collector in a tree.
  • He sought out a dead friend.
  • He sought out a denying Peter.
  • He sought out a doubting Thomas.
  • He sought out two devastated disciples on the road to Emmaus.
  • He sought out a Pharisee on the road to Damascus.

He is seeking you out today.

Perhaps He is speaking to you today for the very first time – or at least the first time you’ve heard the call.  By His Spirit He is drawing you to Himself to cover you in His redeeming blood and to forgive your every sin – past, present, and future.  Yes, your sin is great, but your Savior is far greater, and He is “able to save to the uttermost.”   You simply cannot sin yourself beyond His reach.  Or, as someone wrote, “God’s willingness to clean things up is infinitely bigger than our willingness to mess things up.”

Could it be that today salvation has come to you?  Are you hearing Jesus’ invitation to become a member of His family of faith for the very first time?  Take a walk through the Romans Road to get a crystal clear picture of that so-great salvation. It is a road to lead to eternal life!

  • Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Romans 5:8 – “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Romans 10:9-10 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

If you have walked this road for the very first time today and placed your trust in Jesus as your Savior, please let another Christian know.  Please let me know! I would love to tell you how you can build this relationship with the God of salvation into something fruitful and lovely.

But perhaps you already have a personal relationship with Jesus, but today you do not sense this “holy heartburn.”  Run to Him!  Let Jesus remind you of the grace of the gospel to you once again.  His patience is unwavering.  His forgiveness is unlimited. His love is unconditional.  And it is all for you!  You are the object of His heart’s desire.  Let this truth minister to you today and 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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WHAT ARE YOU FULL OF?

Grace For The Journey

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10Dec  When was the last time someone told you that you were “full of goodness”? If it’s been a while, cheer up! I have a wonderful word of encouragement for you today.

Paul wrote in Romans 15:14, “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”

The apostle Paul was absolutely convinced that the saints in Rome were full of goodness. Wouldn’t that be well said of all of us! This word “goodness” in the original Greek means “to benefit others,” and its highest expression is found in sacrificial service. It is living a life that is other-oriented for two reasons: (1) God’s glory; and, () the good of all others. Someone once said, “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway!”

This goodness is not manufactured by man. It is a gift from God that comes to us by virtue of our union, by faith, with Jesus Christ and is manifested as one of the fruits of His Holy Spirit.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:22-23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

This heavenly gift, given to those who have trusted in Christ Jesus, is meant to be poured out on all others out of love for God and for the glory of God. We must remember that genuine faith always produces this fruit because “a good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7). This is a powerful truth for living – the Christian life is not about perfection on this side of the grave. It is about a change in direction, and that change is produced by our union with Jesus.

When we are united by grace through faith to Jesus, everything changes!

  • Our desires change.
  • Our goals change.
  • Our dreams change.
  • Our plans change.
  • Our ultimate destination changes.

And along the way we become more and more like our Master, who “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).

If Jesus went around doing good, His ambassadors – that means you and me – should go around doing good also. And it is important to note that Jesus went around personally. He did not send angels or disciples for the work He was here to do. He did not send money so that others could do good. He went personally to the woman at the well. He went personally to the tax collector. He went personally to the tomb of Lazarus. He went personally to the sick, the lame, the blind, the deaf, and the lost.

So . . . is your life marked by going around doing good personally? This is what some call the ministry of the presence. Just showing up is one of the best ways to minister and do good to someone. Let them hear and feel . . .

  • Your high five
  • Your helping hand
  • Your holy hug
  • Your healing hope
  • Your heavy heart
  • Your hallelujah

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” In other words, do what you can do while there is still time to do it. Perhaps someday someone will say that you are full of goodness!

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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WHAT WELL DO YOU DRINK FROM?

Grace For The Journey

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9Dec  When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, He made it clear that there are two different “wells” we can drink from: one will sustain everyday life . . . the other will sustain eternal life.

Jesus was returning to Galilee from Judea, and John’s gospel tells us our Lord “had to go through Samaria,” which means He had a divine appointment with the woman at the well. Around noon, the woman came to the well to draw water to meet her physical needs. But Jesus engaged her in a conversation about a different kind of water than what she had come looking for, a “living water.” And after Jesus reviewed her past for her, she realized that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Notice what she did next:

Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”  (John 4:28-29)

After her encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, the woman abandoned the very reason she came to the well in the first place! She forgot all about her water jar and ran back to town to tell everyone about the Messiah. For the very first time in her life, this sinful woman knew the truth that there was something greater than meeting physical needs. Everything this woman had been looking to in order to meet her in her deepest place of need was now met in her Messiah.

So . . . the question we must ask ourselves is this: What water jar are we willing to abandon in order to embrace Jesus and drink from His well of living water?

  • Climbing the ladder of success
  • Applause of man
  • Acceptance of others
  • Financial security
  • Physical pleasure

The list could go on and on. When we are looking to meet our needs in anything other than Jesus, we are looking to fill our “water jar.” Like the Samaritan woman at the well, we must be willing to leave it behind in order to have the deep thirst of our soul quenched by the living water that only our Savior can offer.

Some readers may be worrying about the jar the woman left behind at the well. You might well ask, “She does need the physical water to sustain life, doesn’t she?” Don’t worry about that; Jesus has promised to meet all of our physical needs too!

“So do not worry,” He tells us, “saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33).

Our loving Lord promises to meet us at our every point of need, in this world and the next.

Truly, when we drink from His well, we will never grow thirsty again!

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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Truly Amazing Grace

Grace For The Journey

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8Dec  The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:1, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  The grace you need for the race set before you is without measure because it flows from within the Master.  Like a fountain, grace flows from the Prince to His people in abundant supplies.

  • Grace to recapture your heart.
  • Grace to renew your mind.
  • Grace to restore your soul.
  • Grace to rehabilitate your marriage.
  • Grace to resurrect your parent/child relationship.
  • Grace to refresh your worship and walk with God.

And this grace is not reserved for a few super “spiritual” saints.  It is poured out on every blood-bought child of God regardless of the station in life for two reasons… (1) God’s everlasting glory, and, (2) your eternal good.

You see, grace does more than give eternal life.  It gives “every day” life and it gives it in abundant supply.  The Bible says in Acts 4:33, “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And great grace was upon them all.” And in Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Moment by moment, God has given you all the grace you need to do all He is calling you to do.  Yet many Christians forsake the grace of God and instead choose to live lives built upon the twin pillars of self-confidence and self-sufficiency.  Self-confidence is really no confidence at all.  Self-sufficiency is really not sufficient.  These are enemies of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which demands we depend upon Him and not ourselves for all that we need in both life and death.  When Jesus told His disciples, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) He was making it clear that we are dependent upon His grace for everything.

So what have you been depending on lately?  Have you been living portions of your life apart from Christ?  Have you been working in your strength or in the strength of our Lord?  Have you been depending upon your wisdom or the wisdom of the Word of God?  DON’T BE FOOLED into thinking that you don’t have a problem with relying on yourself rather than His grace.  Paul would have never exhorted Timothy to be “strong in the grace of Christ” if our natural tendency to rely on ourselves was not so powerful and pervasive.  Paul knew by way of personal experience that it is woven into our DNA.  Paul told his spiritual son Timothy that the only real source of true strength to shape his life was to be found in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He drives home that truth in what he penned in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

God-confidence, not self-confidence is true confidence.

God-sufficiency … not self-sufficiency is

all sufficient for everything you need

in both eternal life and everyday life.

NEVER FORGET THAT!

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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From Almighty to Aladdin

 

Grace For The Journey

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Golden Aladdin lamp smoking - rendered in 3d

Far too many Christians in the contemporary church have exchanged the Almighty for Aladdin, expecting God to grant their daily wishes for wealth and health. To them, Jesus is little more than a genie in a bottle, just waiting to be released to respond to their every desire. They mistakenly believe God has saved them and exists in their lives to give to them the things of this world that will make their Christianity comfortable and convenient.

The problem with a comfortable and convenient Christianity is that it is, more often than not, Christ-less! But this is not for you!

To be sure, God often gives His people wealth and health; these are good gifts from a good and loving God. But these happy providences are not the primary “good” God has ordained to give to His children. God’s good for us may very well include storms and suffering, challenges and conflict . . . all of which accomplishes the purpose of Romans 8:29 –

“Those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

I have learned over the years that a comfortable and convenient Christianity is a poor “conformer” to the likeness of Jesus.

God did not save you to make you comfortable;

He saved you to conform you to Christ

so that you would make much of your Savior.

God saved you to give you

every spiritual blessing”

(Ephesians 1:3),

not every temporal blessing.

Certainly, it’s true that our Father has given most Christians in this country tremendous temporal blessings. Like manna from heaven, He rains down blessing upon blessing to His people, but those blessings are not intended to make us comfortable!

Even a cursory glance through the Scriptures will affirm that God was not concerned about making His children comfortable.

Where were the temporal blessings in the lives of the apostles?

All but John died a martyr’s death, and John died in exile on the Isle of Patmos. God was not Aladdin to the apostles; He was the Almighty, and they knew He did not exist to give to them possessions. The apostles were His possessions, and they poured themselves out to expand the cause of His Kingdom.

Far from “comfortable and convenient,” Christianity for the apostles was about a sold-out commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. They gave no thought to expanding their own little kingdom. They understood that they had been bought at a price, and that price was the precious blood of their Savior (1 Peter 1:18-19). They also knew their salvation was not primarily about them; it was about the One who saved them. So they lived lives of self-sacrifice, not self-protection. They gave no thought to what they were getting; it was always and only about what they were giving in service to God, for His glory and the good of others.

So . . . are you serving the Almighty or seeking to be served by Aladdin? What does the witness of your life say? What would those closest to you say? Is your greatest goal to be

conformed to the likeness of Christ

or

to be comfortable in your Christianity?

Only when our greatest goal is Christlikeness will we be ready, willing, and able to exchange Aladdin for the Almighty, receiving with glad hearts whatever God delivers . . . knowing that its ultimate purpose is to make us more like Jesus.

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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