God’s Want Ad

Grace For The Journey

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17May  If God posted an ad on one of those career builder/jobs.com web sites, do you know what it would look like?  Do you know the kind of person He would be looking for to do the job He has for them to do?  Well, God has already posted His want ad, long before these sites became popular, and He posted it in His Scriptures . . . In 2 Chronicles 16:9 God tells us,

“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.”

In God’s want ad, we see that He identifies only one qualification for employment in His work: “a heart that is perfect (blameless; complete).”  In the Old Testament, the concept of complete or blamelessness brought with it two different but not dissimilar ideas:

First – Sacrificial animals without defect: “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish.” (Leviticus 3:1)  Only unblemished animals were worthy of being sacrificed to the Lord.

Second – Blameless people who seek to do what pleases God and cannot be accused of wrongdoing: “He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.”  (Psalm 15:2)

In the New Testament, the concept of blamelessness is rooted in the character of Christ and His followers:

1st In Hebrews 7:26, the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ Himself possessing this quality: “It was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”  (Hebrews 7:26)

2nd In Ephesians 1:4, the Bible states that this was a quality of the disciples of Christ: “Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  (Ephesians 1:4)

Those who are disciples of Christ are blameless in the sight of God because they are clothed in Christ’s righteousness.  The blamelessness of Christ has been imputed to all who have trusted in His atoning work on their behalf.  Christian, when God looks at you He sees Jesus, so He sees perfection and completeness!  Yet in everyday experience, disciples of Christ do everything imperfectly, and we still do many things that are blameworthy.  So while we are already blameless in the sight of God because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, we are being made blameless through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  And, of course, that transformation will not be completed until we pass into glory.

So for the purposes of God’s Word for us today . . .

  • A blameless heart is a heart that is surrendered and sold out for God.
  • It is a heart that beats for the things that God’s heart beats for and is broken by the things that break God’s heart.

 

Notice what God’s “cosmic classified” does not identify as qualifications for employment in His work in this world:

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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Divine Desires

Grace For The Journey

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16May  We all desire.  The only difference is found in what we desire.  What is your desire?

The Bible says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Since these words were first set forth in sacred Scripture, many have misunderstood them.  Too many wrongly receive this verse as a blank check from heaven to cash in on anything their sinful heart desires.

But this is not what God is saying!  The key to understanding the truth of Psalm 37:4 is found in the first five words: “Delight yourself in the Lord.”

When your delight is in the Lord, your desires are of the Lord and for the Lord, and these desires He delights to give to you.  When your heart beats as one with the Savior, your goals are His goals . . . your dreams are His dreams . . . your pursuits are His pursuits . . . your agendas are His agendas . . . your affections are His affections.

The Bible says in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.  His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:3). One of the amazing powers of the Gospel is located in the fact that . . .

The more you delight in the Lord . . .

The more He plants within you the qualities that matter most to Him.

The Gospel empowers you to look up at God and out at others, rather than focusing in on yourself.  By nature, unaided by the Holy Spirit, you want what you want, when you want it, and the way you want it.  But when Jesus shows up, He begins to change you from the inside out.  Your desires begin to take on the shape of the cross; you seek the things of God and the good of others, and when you ascend to this place of living, God delights to give to you the desires of your heart.  When what you desire is rooted in Christ, you can be assured it is already on the way.

So . . . what do you seek to bring you happiness and joy?  What are you pressing toward?  Blaise Pascal rightly observed, “All men seek happiness.  This is without exception.  Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end.  The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views.  The will never take the least step but to this object.  This is the motive of every action of every man, even those who hang themselves.”

Some Christians don’t think we should be seeking the desires of the heart, but this is because they do not understand the goodness of our God.  Our desires do not compete with God when they are centered on God.  Idols compete with God, because they cause us to forsake God and find our joy, delight, and happiness in things much smaller than God.

God delights in filling His children with joy, but He will only do that through a growing relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.  Those who are in Christ will find that God delights to deliver divine desires.

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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God’s Three-Part Plan For Salvation, Stumbling, And Straying

Grace For The Journey

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13May  Did you know that God has made a special three-part plan for pardon available to every Christian believer? Notice I said “available.”  God has placed it within your reach, but not dropped it into your hands.  When taken in combination, you have the greatest power known to man available to you: the power of the Gospel.  Here is how to obtain forgiveness . . .

  1. CONVICTION: First, there must be a conviction of the heart that convinces us that we have fallen short of God’s perfect mark.  Christian believers should know that they are great sinners in need of an even greater Savior.  The Bible declares in John 16:8, “When He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” For Christian believers who are indwelt by the Spirit of God, His presence convicts us of our wrongdoing.

Oswald Chambers writes: “Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man.  It is the threshold of an understanding of God.  Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.”

The Holy Spirit is God’s gracious gift to convict us of sin – not because He hates us, but because He loves us and wants us to be what He has called us to be.  Remember, God hates the sin and sent His Son to pay the price for it.  He loves the sinner . . . and that includes you!

  1. CONFESSION: Next, the Holy Spirit draws us to the cross of Christ, where we confess our sins.  We openly confess that the practice of our lives contradicts the profession of our lips.  I am not suggesting that this is the time to confess every known sin in your life; there aren’t enough hours in the day!  You are far worse than you think you are!  But with a broken and contrite heart (see Psalm 51:16-17), you come boldly before the throne of grace and confess that you are a sinner – both by nature and by habit – and repent of those sins.  We confess that all of our attempts at saving ourselves have fallen miserably short and will never accomplish for us what only Jesus can do.
  2. CELEBRATION: The final installation of God’s special three-part plan for pardon is the one most often missed by distracted and defeated Christians.  For many in the body of Christ, confession is a time of deep depression, devastating despair, and dark defeat.  They simply cannot get back up and get back into the life God is calling them to, because they don’t fully understand what Jesus has done for them on the cross.  They believe they must confess with bitter feelings of utter defeat and failure and stay in that mindset for as long as they can . . . or at least until the next time they sin.  This is simply unbiblical NONSENSE!  It is nothing more than an outright denial of the Gospel that Jesus secured on the cross with His precious blood.

Have you responded to this plan for your life?  Do so today!  It will change your life now and forever.  Are you resting in this precious plan today?  This plan applies to our lives not just for our salvation but for every day of our life when we stumble and stray.

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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I WILL TRUST … BECAUSE HE LIVES …

Grace For The Journey

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SONY DSC  Only two letters in the small word “my,” but it carries a message of the greatest importance when it is connected with this tremendous encouragement from the Book of Job:

“I know that MY Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25)

If you’re familiar with the story of Job, you will remember the incredible, almost unimaginable, loss he suffered. He lost his wealth. He lost his health. He lost his ten children. He even lost the support of his wife, who was so devastated that she urged her husband to “Curse God and die!”

Yet, through it all, that little two-letter word – MY – gave Job the strength he needed in the midst of his crucible of crisis. Here was a man who didn’t need a theological proposition as he journeyed through a season of suffering; he needed a Redeemer, and he needed to know that the Redeemer was his.

To know that a Redeemer lives is a good thing. To know that MY Redeemer lives is the ultimate thing. Job could endure what he was going through because he knew his Redeemer lived. This was a truth that empowered, encouraged, and equipped Job to rise out of the ashes of desperation, doubt, and defeat.

So . . . do you know this truth today? Can you put the word “my” in front of Redeemer? If this is true for you, then you have been given everything you need to live life as God designed and weather any storm that comes your way.

Remember that whatever you are going through right now, you are going through it. Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and that they would go to the other side of the lake. But they forgot that truth when the storm winds began to blow; they thought they were going to sink and cried out to Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:35-40). All they needed to remember was the fact that Jesus had said they were going to the other side of the lake, which meant that not even the most violent storm could keep them from their destination.

This is a truth to be trusted by everyone who can say along with Job, “I know that MY Redeemer lives.” Jesus is MY . . . MY . . . MY Redeemer; and if you have placed your trust in Christ’s atoning death on the cross to fully and freely pay the penalty for your sins, then He is YOUR Redeemer too!

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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Useless No More!

Grace For The Journey

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11May  Ever feel useless? If you are anything like me—a great sinner in need of an even greater Savior—you may have felt that way from time to time. Well, get ready for a word of great encouragement today!

The Bible says in Philemon 8:11, “Although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul – an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus – I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.”

Philemon was a wealthy Christian who lived in Colossae. Slavery was a common practice in the Roman world and Paul had not received a mandate from God to abolish it. However, as several New Testament passages show, Paul intended to transform slavery through the Gospel transforming the way Christian slaves and Christian slave owners related with each other.

A slave belonging to Philemon, named Onesimus, took something of value and ran away from Philemon. Onesimus somehow met Paul in Rome, and through Paul’s preaching and teaching, Onesimus became a Christian believer. Now Onesimus needed to do the right thing: return to his owner and face whatever consequences Philemon chose to impose on him.

Onesimus wouldn’t return empty-handed, however. Paul wrote a letter – which we know today as the New Testament epistle “Philemon” – asking the Christian slave owner to receive Onesimus back, not as a slave but as a Christian brother. The name Onesimus means “useful.” Paul was appealing to Philemon’s Christian heart to overlook the offense of Onesimus, who was “useless” without Christ when he ran away, returning now as “useful” because of his faith in Jesus.

Before Jesus shows up, you and I are just as useless, from the perspective of doing anything good that brings honor, praise, and glory to God. We were just like Onesimus: runaway slaves, stubbornly refusing to bow our knee to the King of kings. But once Jesus saves us, we become useful for advancing the cause of the kingdom. We are useless no more, now that we have been redeemed from our slavery to sin in order to rejoice in sonship to our Savior.

Think on this for just a moment. After you have been united to Christ by grace through faith, you are useless no more, no matter what you do.

  •  Abraham lied and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Jacob schemed and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Moses was fearful and he was still USEFUL.
  •  David was an adulterer and a murderer and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Matthew collected taxes for Rome, stole from his people, and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Peter denied and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Thomas doubted and he was still USEFUL.
  •  Paul persecuted the church and he was still USEFUL.

Once you are in Christ, you are useless no more, regardless of anything you have done, regardless of anything you do or don’t do. To be sure, there are consequences to your behavior, and some of those consequences may follow you for the rest of your life. But you are always fit to be used by God, as long as you are willing to get back up and into the game of life.

In reading the biblical account of Onesimus, it is obvious that the apostle Paul set his affection upon this runaway slave for no reason that was to be found in Onesimus. And that, beloved, is a picture of Jesus . . . and you and me. Jesus set His affection upon us, slaves on the run, for no reason that was in us. Indeed, the Bible says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

In ancient Rome, the only thing Onesimus deserved was punishment as a slave on the run. Instead he got grace. In our day, we deserved the eternal punishment as sinners on the run. When we trusted in Christ as our Savior, we too got amazing grace. What a beautiful picture of the Gospel – going from useless to useless no more!

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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Peace That Was Never Promised

Grace For The Journey

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10May  Untold millions in this world are doing all they can to provide and produce peace for themselves, their neighborhoods, their countries, and the world.  But the sad reality is that so few are experiencing and enjoying real peace in their lives.  The great, glad news of the Gospel is that what the world cannot give God provides through Jesus!  The Bible clearly sets for the peace that is promised to all those who have trusted in Christ’s atoning work on their behalf.  In Romans 5:1, the Bible says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul wrote further about this grace producing peace when he was led to write to the Colossian Christians, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation . . .” (Colossians 1:21). Christian believers are declared eternally righteous in God’s sight (we are justified) and thus have peace with God.

The Bible teaches that there are many positive and great truths about this peace . . .

It cannot be found in this world …

Luke 19:41-42 – “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!  But not they are hidden from your days.’”

John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world give do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

It comes from God …

2 Corinthians 13:11 – “Finally, brethren, farewell.  Become complete.  Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Ephesians 2:14 – “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.”

Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses al understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It comes as we yield and surrender to God …

Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts …”

2 Timothy 2:22 – “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

These are the promises to all those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But let me briefly share three pillars of peace that were never promised to the Christian. We should not look to lean on any of these!

PILLAR #1 – Peace with the world.

Far from any guarantee of peace with the world, the exact opposite has been promised to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  In John 16:33 Jesus says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Why should we expect peace with the world when Jesus has promised trouble? The world jammed a crown of thorns down onto our Lord’s forehead and hung Him on a cross. Do we expect to wear a crown of glory in their presence? The Son of Man had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20); do we expect to recline in the lap of luxury? No, peace with the world was never promised.

PILLAR #2 – Peace with the flesh.

From the moment of our conversion, a war began between our flesh and God’s Spirit; that battle will rage until we are brought all the way into glory. The apostle Paul made this point perfectly clear, warning us that “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). It was Paul who cried, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24.)

Make no mistake, the old sinful man is waging war against the new spiritual man, and we can expect to be harassed and hounded by the corruption of our sinful nature. Peace with the flesh was never promised.

PILLAR #3 – Peace with the Devil.

The Devil was after our Lord in His wilderness experience (Matthew 4:1-11) and he is after us in ours (1 Peter 5:8). There will never be peace between the Christian and the Prince of Darkness; we can go back to the Garden of Eden to find this promise. God told Satan, “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). Enmity means we are enemies; this promised enmity is clearly no promise of peace! Just as the “sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:7), and the “friendship of the world is hatred toward God” (James 4:4), we will be at enmity with the devil until we are brought safely into our heavenly home.

Our promised peace is with God, not the world, the flesh, or the devil. It should not come as a surprise to you when you warring against the world, fighting against the flesh, and being dogged by the devil. You can be certain of this: if the world, the flesh, or the devil never distressed, discouraged, nor battled against you, then God has never created new life in you. Peace with sin is sinful peace – not the peace promised to the saints of God.

You have no promise of peace with the world, the flesh, or the devil, but you do have peace promised with God. Could there be any better peace in both life and death? I think not!

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 Thing I Could Never Do!

Grace For The Journey

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6May  As a pastor, it burdens my soul and breaks my heart to hear so many people tearfully say, “That was the one thing I thought I could never do!”  Whether it was a season of gambling . . . a drinking binge . . . a descent into immorality . . . a time of wandering off into some far country . . . surrendering to the temptation of touch-of-a-button internet pornography . . . or countless other scenarios, the cry is universal: “I never believed I could do that!”

The Bible is full of examples of what happens to broken people living in a broken world with other broken people, especially when they thump their chests and utter the word never.  Here is arguably the most memorable “never” in Scripture, where Jesus foretold Peter’s denial:

“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter answered Him, ‘Though they all fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even if I must die with You, I will not deny You!” And all the disciples said the same.’”  (Matthew 26:30-35)

Peter really did suffer from “foot-in-mouth” disease.  In response to Jesus telling all the disciples that they would all fall away, Peter insisted, “I could never do that!”  But Peter wasn’t content to contradict Jesus – as if that wasn’t bad enough!  He went on to elevate himself and his commitment to Jesus above the other disciples, saying, “Though they all fall away . . . I will never!”  And, of course, Matthew’s gospel shows us the slippery slope we all stand on when we boast loudly of our own strength and resolve. Peter went on to deny Jesus – not once, but three times . . . just as Jesus had warned him.

When we believe there is something we could never do, we begin to let our guard down.  When we do that, we leave ourselves wide open to the attacks of the flesh, the world, and the devil.  We shift our focus away from Jesus and put in on ourselves.  And when we do that, it’s just a matter of time before we find ourselves doing the very thing we loudly insisted we could never do.

Instead of making our hollow boast about what we will never do, we must cry out every day and ask God to give us grace to withstand the flaming arrows Satan sends our way.  We are never more than one poor decision away from making an appalling mess of everything; the more we focus on what we could never do, we move that much closer to making that poor decision.

Learn and live by these two Gospel truths:

  • The only strength that will sustain us is His strength.
  • The only commitment we can count on is His commitment to us.

Let us never say “never,” apart from attaching our confidence to the grace and goodness of God, freely given to us in Jesus Christ.  His power is made perfect in our weakness; when we admit that weakness, we are strong in Him!  (If you have any doubts about that, read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

Stand on God’s eternal Word, “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”  (Psalm 28:6-7)

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 MAKES A WORK GOOD?

Grace For The Journey

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5May  What constitutes a good work in the eyes of God? I believe the 18th-Century English pastor Abraham Booth put it best:

“To constitute a work that is truly good, it must be done from a RIGHT PRINCIPLE (the love of God), performed by a RIGHT RULE (God’s revealed will in sacred Scripture), for a RIGHT END (God’s glory).”

I don’t think those words can be improved on, do you? To be sure, even our “good works” are like filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6), because we stain even the best actions with mixed motives and less than perfect performance. Yet Booth clearly explained the foundation upon which a good work must be built: for the love of God, by the Word of God, to the glory of God.

So . . . how are you doing in this area? What has been your motivation for living a life that is pleasing to God? Hope of reward for doing good? Fear of consequences if you don’t succeed? The apostle Paul makes it clear there is a better way, a far better way:

“Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

Notice the ultimate why behind all the what that we do: that why is the love of Christ. We are not motivated by a fear of consequences, nor are we inspired by a hope of reward. The love of Christ is the ultimate motivation to live the life God has both saved, called and equipped us to live.

The best way to keep the love of Christ before us is to keep the cross before us. While we were still sinners, Jesus demonstrated His love for us on that cross by dying in our place. Jesus made it clear that there is no greater love we can demonstrate for someone than to lay down our lives for that person (John 15:13). And that is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us on Mt. Calvary.

Get this settled in your heart – keeping this truth in view will keep your works good in the eyes of God, because they will be done from a right principle, performed by a right rule, for a right end. And that is what makes a work 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 Fear You Will Never Face

Grace For The Journey

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4May  What do you fear most?  I know the Bible says we are only to fear God, but I am asking this question to cause you to dive below the surface of your life to see what is really going on.  Do you fear the economy getting worse?  Do you fear the loss of a relationship?  What is the one thing you believe that losing it would cause your life to spiral out of control?

Regardless of what you may fear today, there is one fear you will never face:

The Bible records David praying in Psalm 51:11, “Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.”

David was overwhelmed with the reality of his sin and feared most the loss of the presence of his Lord.  Grace had finally convinced David that he could live without everything else in the world . . . except God.  David understood that “Jesus plus nothing equals everything!”  David could live without his health . . . He could live without his wealth . . . He could live without power, position, prestige, and pleasure . . . But he could not bear to contemplate living apart from the presence of God.

Jesus experienced this most dreadful loss on the cross in your place.  This Bible records this in Matthew 27:46: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He gave us perhaps the most ghastly verse in all of Scripture.  But because He experienced that dreadful loss, this is a fear you will never face.  No matter what you do, Jesus said He will never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

  • In your impatience . . . Jesus is with you!
  • In your anger . . . Jesus is with you!
  • In anxiety . . . Jesus is with you!
  • In your lust . . . Jesus is with you!
  • In your discontent . . . Jesus is with you!

One of the most astonishing promises of the Gospel is found in the truth that you cannot sin yourself beyond the grace of God.  And this truth must seize you moment by moment, day after day.  When you are convinced that God will not cast you away from His presence or take His Holy Spirit from you, faithfulness to Jesus will mark your life rather than fear.  This is the power of the Gospel that both saves and sanctifies.

To be sure, we are great sinners.  But we have an even greater Savior, who has willingly paid the price for every one of our sins – past, present, and still to come.  The next time you sin and fall short of the mark your Master has set before you, confess it, and be grieved for breaking His heart.  But don’t stay there!  Quickly follow that confession with a heart filled with thanksgiving and joy for the One who faced the most awful fear . . . so that you will never have to face it . . . no, not ever!

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 Grass is Greener…

Grace For The Journey

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3May  We have all heard someone say, “The grass is always greener on the other side!”  But is it true?  Let’s take a look at what is meant by this maxim, and decide whether or not it is true.

First, when someone says these words, what they mean is that the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence because it is someone else’s grass!  Our sinful, self-absorbed nature is fond of looking at what we don’t have and thinking it is better than what we do have.  This problem goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.  They had everything in the Garden of Eden except one tree, and that one tree seemed greener to them than everything else they had.

And we are just like our first parents.

  • The job I don’t have is greener than the job I do have
  • The body I don’t have is greener than the body I do have
  • The education I don’t have is greener than the education I do have
  • The talent I don’t have is greener than the talent I do have
  • The opportunity I don’t have is greener than the opportunity I do have
  • The car I don’t have is greener than the car I do have
  • The home I don’t have is greener than the home I do have
  • The marriage I don’t have is greener than the marriage I do have
  • The social network I don’t have is greener than the social circle I do have
  • The ministry I don’t have is greener than the ministry I do have

The Bible makes it clear that we are not to spend our time fixated on the things we don’t have and thinking them to be better than what we do have:

The Bible says in Exodus 20:17, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

In Deuteronomy 7:25 the Bible says, “You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them (graven images), nor take it for yourselves, lets you be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

And in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 the Bible reminds us of the dreaded end of looking for greener grass, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators . . . not the covetous . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

What do you have that you have not been given?  Everything you have is a gift from God and every gift you have been graciously given – you could say undeservedly so – should be received with gratitude, appreciation, and contentment.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism explains, “The tenth commandment requires us to be completely satisfied with our own status in life.” The letter to the Hebrews instructs, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

So . . . is the grass always greener on the other side in the world you currently live in?  Only the Gospel empowers us to see the truth about where the grass is greener. And do you know where that is?  It is always where you water it . . . fertilize it . . . nurture it . . . and care for it.

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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