Proper Perspective For Pain And Suffering

Grace For The Journey


  No one is immune from the pain and suffering of this life.  Everyone born into this world will experience some degree of pain and suffering during their life.  Even for the Christian, along the way to glory, we face countless sources of sorrow and pain.  But for every child born of grace, pain is to be kept in its proper perspective.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

We need to be perfectly clear about what Paul is doing in this verse: He is not portraying pain as painless!  Nor is he saying that pain is irrelevant, insignificant, or inconsequential, even when regarded in light of eternity.  Paul’s goal, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to provide every believer with the proper perspective for pain.

Paul lived in dangerous times. Life was not easy for the Corinthian Christians. Temptations and trials threatened them. Discouragement and depression were recurring problems. In the midst of all these trials, Paul stood out with a great confidence, but it was not a confidence based on who he was but on whose he was. The result of such thinking is evident in his bold living.

The above verse shows us that God is calling us to a new perspective in our trials and problems. I know quite well that everyone who is reading this blog is afflicted in various ways, but it is your perspective in those afflictions that determines your attitude and actions.  What might this new perspective do?  Can you be too otherworldly and focused too much on the future?  Perhaps so, but if our minds are where they ought to be, then we can gain new insights for living here and now in this life, insights that will enable us to live boldly and confidently in the name of Jesus.

I Corinthians chapter 4 is devoted entirely to this theme of Paul’s confidence.  There were many things in which Paul was confident: in the truths of the Gospel, the results of his salvation, even the rewards of his faith.  Remember, Paul’s confidence in these things made him the follower of Christ he was. They can you too if you believe and act upon them. Since it is verse 17 that we are looking at today, and since we are after a new perspective on our trials or afflictions, let’s make note of three reasons we can have this new perspective.

How are we to see our afflictions?

1st – LIGHT

In light of what awaits the believer in glory, affliction and pain are to be considered “light.”  When Paul says this, he does not mean easy or painless.  He means that compared to what is coming they are as nothing.  Compared to the weight of glory coming, they are like feathers on the scale.  This in no way is meant to minimize the reality of suffering, pain, sorrow, or loss.  It is intended to help the believer keep it in its proper perspective.

When Paul was talking about affliction – he wasn’t talking about a stomach ache or uncomfortable relationship. He was talking about the afflictions he suffered as the result of the gospel he preached and lived by.  He was talking about the prison sentences, the constant slander, those who took advantage of him, the ones who beat and mocked him. He was talking about being an outcast among his own people – being rejected the way Christ was.  He was talking about the whippings and lashings and beatings.  He was talking about the stonings, the shipwrecks, the constant traveling and not having a home.  He was referring to the constant threat of living in the wild, of having to go hungry because he was broke or because no one would offer to feed him.  He was talking about sleeping outside in the harsh winters, going without decent clothes and shelter.

Yet, compared to what God has prepared for him in heaven, these hardships and suffering were mild in comparison.


After the apostle Paul compares and contrasts our “light” affliction against the “weight of glory,” he goes on to compare and contrast our “momentary” affliction against the “eternal weight of glory.”  Paul is encouraging every believer to keep pain in its proper perspective.  Whatever wave of challenge we are currently facing in this life is but a drop of water in the vast ocean of eternity.

We talk about our afflictions – about how we can’t get a good parking place at the mall, or about how it takes more than 10 minutes to get our food at the restaurant.  We complain because our insurance doesn’t pick up all the tab or because the cell phones won’t reach who we’re trying to call.  Afflictions?  What do we really know about afflictions?  If Paul endured all he did and could still call them light – then how are we to view ours?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to belittle anyone or to suggest that your afflictions aren’t real.

What I am suggesting is that we get a new perspective on them.

Look at verse 16 again – “For which cause we faint not.” If you go to Hebrews 12:1-3 and read those verses it will help you get a proper perspective.  When you begin to be wearied and faint – when you feel like giving up and loosing heart, consider the opposition and affliction that Jesus Christ faced doing what He did for you!

You see, it’s all about perspective.  It is s not that your afflictions are greater than mine or the next guys.  They probably are – but your afflictions will never compare to those that Jesus faced, and until they do – Paul says to keep on, “Though our outward man is perishing – our inward man can be renewed day by day when you remember that your afflictions are light.”

Paul isn’t really calling on ua to think about time as we know it – but rather time as it fits into the grander scale of eternity.  If you were to imagine a straight line extending from this room to the most distant place you know, you’ve not even begun to imagine eternity.  Now take that line – to what place does it extend?  Now take a pen or pencil and make a dot on the line – what do you have?  You life here on earth, with all its problems and afflictions – the good times and bad. They are but a moment.

When we get our minds off our problems and take a more heavenly perspective on things, we’ll realize that it’s really our worrying and complaining that is foolishness.


Speaking from personal experience, it is hard to see pain as preparatory.  When I find myself in the middle of some kind of pain, I find it hard to focus on anything past the pain!  Is it not the same for you?  That is why we need to keep the Gospel truths before us daily.  Paul is telling us that our pain is preparing us for our promised reward.

During this preparation period, God will use our suffering for the gospel’s sake to bring souls to Him, and in order that people have the opportunity to grow in their faith as they see how God comforts our hearts and works through us.  Yes, in this world, many have and still are suffering for Christ.  The Bible says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” There is a glory that is going to be revealed in you one day – that day when Christ appears, when the clouds are rolled back like a scroll and Jesus appears in all His glory and majesty – when it is revealed, it will be worth it all!

How was Paul able to live such an awesome life of faith?  How was he able to endure so much, to live so boldly, to make such a difference in spite of his afflictions? He kept a right perspective.

That right perspective was made possible because Paul knew the suffering and sovereign Savior, the One who had bought and called him to ministry.

Only the power of the Gospel can lift the believer to the place where pain, suffering, and loss can be received as slight, momentary, and preparatory.  Whatever we are going through right now, we are going through it.  We will get to the other side, and on that other side is something so incredible – so incomprehensible – our words can produce only a vague shadow of the supernatural substance we will one day walk into with the One who has prepared all of it for us.

As the Bible reminds us in 2 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

And what was true for Paul then is true for all of us today.

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.”



Becoming Is Not The Same As Being

Grace For The Journey


30Aug  When it comes to the Christian faith, becoming a Christian is not the same as being one.

Becoming a Christian happens through the Great Exchange.

God exchanges the righteousness of Christ for our unrighteousness.  On the cross Jesus took our sins upon Himself (Colossians 2:13-14) and gave us His righteousness in return (2 Corinthians 5:21).  All those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior stand before God, clothed in the righteousness of Christ forevermore.  And that Great Exchange took place in the instant we believed!

But when it comes to being a Christian in our daily lives . . . that takes a lifetime.

The seventh chapter of Romans makes it perfectly clear that indwelling sin will be with us until we reach the other side of the Jordan.  The old nature fights against the new nature every step of the way (Galatians 5:17).  Now, please understand that the apostle Paul did not write that chapter to discourage us with the prospect of living in continual defeat; he wrote it to encourage us that we should not expect to live in continual victory. Sin will always be present in our Christian life, but we will be progressively delivered from sin’s power throughout this life as we walk with our Lord.

The Bible says in Romans 7:24-25, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I doubt anyone would disagree that Paul was one of the most courageous and godly saints who ever walked this earth . . . yet he readily admitted that he wrestled with indwelling sin throughout his Christian life.  Take comfort from that!  We aren’t comforted by the fact that Paul struggled with his own sin, so much as we draw strength from the knowledge that we are not alone in this ongoing struggle with our sin.

Surely only a true Christian can cry out like this, because only a true Christian has two natures at war within.  Prior to conversion, there is only one nature, and it is fallen, corrupt, and dead in trespasses and sins.  It is not at war with itself.  But when Jesus raises a dead sinner to life and gives us the new nature, the battle begins . . . and it will not end until the flesh is buried in the grave.

We become a Christian in the instant we believe;

Being a Christian is a daily battle.

It is a lifelong process of struggling with sin, repenting of that sin, turning away from that sin and toward our Savior, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.  I find it remarkable that Paul would cry out with such desperate need and then provide us with the only hope for every Christian: Jesus Christ our Lord.

You see, our understanding of being a Christian

Is rooted in our understanding of becoming a Christian.

Understanding the Gospel truth that we have been joined to Jesus (Romans 6:5) provides us both the motive and the motivation to keep fighting the good fight, no matter how many times we get knocked down.

We know that the war was won on the cross. We know that the Lord occupies the throne of our lives, so that sin and death no longer reign.  But we also know by way of experience that sin still remains and will do everything it can to draw our affections away from Christ.

The key to being a Christian is to keep the Gospel before us

And look to, lean on, and live in its power.

The Bible reminds us of that in Romans 1:17-18, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” … “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”

We must never shrink our view of the cross and begin to believe that we have grown beyond the Gospel.  Never forget: the Gospel is for sinners, and we are still sinners after we have been saved.  The Gospel is meant for us every bit as much after we have become Christians as it was before, and therefore we must rest in it daily.

There is no greater consolation in all of Scripture than that final verse in Romans 7 – “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  A heart filled with thanksgiving for what God has already done, and what He has promised still to do, is a heart that beats for Jesus.  And the more our hearts beat for Jesus, the less they will beat for the things of 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.”


Before The Cross … Before The Cradle … Before Creation!

Grace For The Journey


29Aug  Some think the Christian story began on Calvary when our Lord was nailed to the cross. Others think it began in a cradle in a stable, when our Lord entered space and time, took on flesh, and dwelt among us. But make no mistake, before the cross and before the cradle, the Christian story was written in the mind of our Creator.

Look at what the Bible says in the following verses:

“He (God) chose us in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love . . .”  (Ephesians 1:4)

“He (Jesus) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”  (1 Peter 1:20)

Before the morning sun ever shone or the evening stars sang, our Lord Jesus Christ was on the way to rescue rebels on the run from God.  When the earth was “without form and void,” our salvation was full of substance in the eternal counsel of the Triune God and our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Imagine that!  Before God spoke creation into existence, He spoke our names into everlasting life.

When we think about these Gospel-saturated truths, we begin to catch a glimpse of the greatness of our God.  He did not need us for any reason whatsoever.  He already had perfect community, fellowship, and love in the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  So if He didn’t need us, why make us?  The answer can only be found in one word: LOVE!  Surely you know the most famous verse in all of Scripture?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

I always find it amazing that John, who was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could find no better description for the love of God poured out upon His people than “so loved.”  To be sure, the love of God is indescribable.  Who can understand it and put it into clearer words?  Take just a cursory glance at the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it’s plain to see that God was in hot pursuit of the first sinners.  They sinned and their consciences were seared.  Filled with fear, they ran and hid from God.  When God showed up, He would have been fully in the right to strike them down on the spot; instead, He shared His plan for their salvation . . . a plan that had been set in motion eons before.

Yes, our first parents died instantly – just as God had promised they would if they ate of the forbidden fruit – but that death was spiritual.  Physical death came later.  But God did not leave Adam and Eve without hope.  He promised to send One who would crush the head of the serpent and rescue God’s people from sin and death.  And that is exactly what Jesus did by way of the cradle and the cross.

We must never forget that, before the foundation of the world, God had written the plan for our salvation . . . and it was written on the heart of Jesus.

And what was true for Adam and Eve, and for Paul, is true for all of us today.

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.”


From Woe To Witness!

Grace For The Journey



When was the last time you felt like God simply couldn’t use you?  Notice I didn’t ask if you have ever felt this way, because we all feel like this from time to time.  Well, God has words of great comfort for you and for me:

The Bible records in Isaiah 6:1-9, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim.  Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’  And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’  And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’  And he said, ‘Go…’”

On the occasion of his calling, the prophet Isaiah went from “woe” to “witness” because of the grace of God.  When Isaiah was given a glimpse into the court of heaven, he instantly recognized the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man – including himself.  He cast an oracle of “woe” upon himself, but the story does not end there!  God, in His mercy and grace, reached down to Isaiah, cleansed him from his filthiness, and fitted him for service.  The Lord, high and lifted up, equipped Isaiah to “witness” and advance the cause of God’s Kingdom.  This is God’s way.

God took Isaiah from his sinful inadequacy – “Woe is me!” – and transformed him into the almighty adequacy of “Go and tell.”  God is in the business of cleansing us and calling us . . . and cleansing us and calling us . . . over and over again.  This is the message we need to burn deep into our hearts.

God delights in taking us from “woe” to “witness,” which displays for all the world the adequacy of His almighty love, grace, and strength, put to use in weak and broken vessels like you and me.  The only qualification for this kind of service is to know we are unqualified.  Remember, God chose the weak to shame the strong and the foolish to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27); so that there would be no doubt as to who should get the glory.  Let me say that again: God puts His omnipotent strength on display in vessels who are so weak and unwise that there can be no doubt as to the One who is to get the glory.

So . . . when was the last time you went from “woe” to “witness” in some area God was calling you to?  Or is it possible that you are stuck right now in the middle of a “woe?”  In your marriage?  In your parenting?  In a friendship?  With a family member?  At the office?  In your service to others?

The only thing wrong with beginning with “woe” is if you end there too!

The devil would love for you to stumble through life going from one woe to another. Perhaps even someone close to you has the “gift” of pointing out a place of woe, intending to keep you walking in it.

The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who went from “woe” to “witness,” and in the process did some mighty things for the expansion of the kingdom of God.  Here is a great biblical truth . . .

We were designed to go from strength to strength

The Bible says in Psalm 84:5, 7, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage” … “they go from strength to strength …”  Is this the testimony of your life?  It will be, if you remember the One who is constantly calling you out of your “woe” and to be His “witness” and remember that He is with you every step of the way.

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.”



Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde – When We Struggle With The Sinner And The Saint

Grace For The Journey


23Aug  When was the last time you felt like two completely different people?  If you are anything like me, you felt that way recently – praising God one minute and fussing and fuming the next!  Well, I have a word of comfort for every child of God who does not always act like a child of God . . . and wonders why.

In the 19th century, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a short suspense novel, titled The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Stevenson explored the concept of two different people living inside one body.  In an effort to become a better person, Dr. Jekyll, a mild-mannered man of science, developed a potion that was meant to separate his “good self” from his “bad self.”  After drinking the concoction, however, Dr. Jekyll’s bad side turned out to be much more powerful and evil than he had ever imagined.  At night he became the mysterious Mr. Hyde, a violent man who cared only for his own desires.

When Dr. Jekyll realized the extent of his own depravity, he tried to clamp down on his Mr. Hyde side, resolving not to take the potion anymore.  But his Mr. Hyde side had become too strong.  Despairing of ever changing himself for the good, Dr. Jekyll took his own life.

I was reminded of this Jekyll-Hyde conflict as I studied this truth and I would like to unpack the principle of this ongoing struggle within every sinner-saint in my blog today.

The Bible teaches about this battle in Romans chapter 7.

Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul confirmed what you and I experience every day: the truth that every Christian struggles with his “old self” (his sinful nature by birth) and his “new self” (his Spirit-filled nature by re-birth).

The Bible says in Romans 7:15-20, 24-25a, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh, my sinful nature) nothing good dwell; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who does it, but sin that dwells in me” … “O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!.”

The greatest struggle Paul faced was not outside of himself.  Paul’s life was marked by constant struggle!   He was flogged, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked three times, he spent a night and a day in the open sea, he was imprisoned, falsely accused, went hungry, was thirsty and cold, and he felt the weight of his concern for the purity, unity, and growth of all the fledgling Christian churches (2 Corinthians 11:25-28).

And yet,

As bad as all those hardships were,

Paul’s inward struggle with indwelling sin

Grieved him far more.

However, Paul’s story does not end in tragedy like Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll.  No, Paul’s story ends in victory through sanctification and ultimately glorification when God took him home.

To be sure, indwelling sin still remained in Paul,

Just as it remains in us,

But it no longer reigned in him

And one day it would be gone forever.

Unlike Dr. Jekyll, Paul did not despair of ever changing himself for the good because the Holy Spirit was doing it for him.  Paul was being conformed to the likeness of Christ daily, but along the way, he would battle with his old nature . . . and he would lose some of those battles.

And so will you and I.  That’s what God wants us to learn from the truth in this Romans 7 passage.  To help us get victory in this battle between our two natures, we must remind ourselves of the following gospel truths:

1) Sin is Alive and Well

There is a principle throughout Scripture that we all need to understand: all of us are sinners and fall short of what God wants. That includes every person on the planet. Another principle we need to understand is this: even if you have accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are still a sinner and fall short of what God wants. There is a sinful nature that dwells within each believer.  Paul mentioned this Romans 7:17-18.

The Bible teaches that if we have truly accepted Jesus Christ, God has declared us righteous based on what Jesus has done for us, but we still have a sin nature within us. In the above verses, Paul wrote about “sin dwelling within me.”  This means that sin is alive within us.  Sin continues to dwell within us even though the penalty of death and the guilt associated with sin has been removed by the cross of Jesus Christ.

Another principle in Scripture that we need to understand is this: If sin is alive and well within us (and it is!), then we are incapable of not sinning.

Even the good you do or want to do is tainted by wrong desire.

Our most exalted moments in life,

Those things that draw the greatest praise from others,

Do not fulfill God’s righteous demands.

The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”   All of us, Christian and un-Christian alike, have and do still fall very short of God’s glory.

2) There is a War Within Us

Our sinful nature is at its core a battle of desire.  It is the desire for what you should not want and have that causes problems.  Even Christians have competing desires.  There is a war on sin that occurs within each believer.  Paul teaches this in Romans 7:23.

When you receive Jesus as your Savior, God gives you the Holy Spirit.  He then begins to work in your life to remove all that junk and fleshly desires in your life.  God wants you to be like Jesus and this will bring conflict and it will sometimes bring pain.

God wants us to recognize the existence and power of sin in our life and that we will constantly struggle against it.  There is a battle between sin and what God desires and demands of us.  Paul did not say that you should give up.  He did not say that you should let sin have its way because you are powerless to stop it.  We are to acknowledge that it is God’s power and work that sanctifies us and fight the good fight between those sinful desires and the Godly desires.

Paul is saying that he knew he had this sin nature and it had not gone away as result of his faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul acknowledged that when he decided to follow Jesus Christ, he also accepted a declaration of war against the sin in his life.  He wanted to do what was right, but he admitted that he did not have the power or ability to do it (Romans 7:18).  There was a war going on within him – on the one hand he desired to do what was right and what glorified God, but on the other hand, he still lived with the desires and temptations of the flesh which led him to please himself.

When we accept Christ and begin to follow Him, we enter a battlefield – a spiritual war within us.  While we are forgiven and saved the moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ, there is also a call for each of us to fight the indwelling sin within us.  We are saved from the guilt and punishment of sin, but we must still fight those sinful desires to follow the old man.  We are to wage war with it!  Do not accept defeat saying sin has won.  Do not call it a vice, or mistake, or some other term to make you feel better about your sin.  Call it what it is and let God give you the victory over it.

This raises the question: “How do we win the battle of competing desires in our lives?”  God tells us in Romans 7:24-25.

3) The Battle is Won Through Jesus Christ

In these verses, Paul acknowledged the struggle between wanting to do what is right and living to please God, and not being able to do it.  He said there was a sinful nature within him that prevented him from doing what he should do.  So bad was his situation, Paul wrote that he was miserable. He was in a wretched state.

We must not deceive ourselves by believing we can do right and please God on our own.  Paul wanted to do what was right but was helpless to get victory over it.  If we recognize the sin that dwells within us we are better able to understand the grace of God that works in our lives to overcome it

The battle will be won through Jesus Christ!  One day, we will cast off these corrupted bodies that are drawn to sin and put on new glorified bodies.

In the section that immediately follows (Romans 8:1–11), Paul shows that the means by which Christians are delivered daily from the indwelling power of sin is by walking “not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). We are to not “set [our] minds on the things of the flesh, but … on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). We are also to be led by the indwelling presence of “the Spirit of God [who] dwells in you” (Romans 8:9, 11).

While we must fight the indwelling sin within us, we must also realize that the power to overcome it is not ours.  We cannot win this battle on our own.  We must rely on the truth of God’s Word and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.  If you find yourself fighting sin and believe you are losing the battle, maybe you are trusting in your own power.  Trust in Christ.  Rely on Him.

Let us, with all the energy we possess earnestly desire what is right and pleasing to God – namely to know and love God better.  God is your most treasured possession, not your money, not your job, not your reputation, not even your family.  May loving and knowing God be your greatest desire.

This is a lifetime of work of the Holy Spirit.  Pray for more of God’s power and the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in your life.  Pray for the desires of God to replace those remaining desires of the flesh.  Ask yourself, “What do I desire more than Jesus?”

Do not pray to God that He would help you do better things, but rather pray that He would give you new desires, new affections, and a greater love for Him.  Only from God-given desires will we truly produce the fruit, character, and life of the Spirit that pleases God.  Pray for Godly desires to replace those sinful ones.

And remember … the ultimate victory is assured because of the work of Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb.

Paul knew his daily battle would not be won though his resolve

But rather, through his reliance in

The finished work of Jesus Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.

And what was true for Paul then is true for all of us today.

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.”




Grace For The Journey


22Aug  When was the last time you really blew it? Most of us would have to admit that it has been fairly recent!  Sometimes we say things we ought not say and do things we ought not do. YET! You may be wondering, what’s with this word “yet”? It is a word of unimaginable comfort for all of us today, especially those of us who know the messes we can create in our lives.

The Bible says in Psalm 73:22-24, “I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. Yet, I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

Oh believer, did you see it? Did you see that word of comfort . . . YET? Here we find Asaph, the psalmist, in a moment of deep confession to God about the mess he had made of his life, and then, right in the middle of his confession, he made it crystal clear that his mess had not moved him away from his Master. It was one thing to confess his ignorance before God, but Asaph sank way past ignorance all the way down to being a brute beast before God. YET, he knew he was always with God, in spite of his senseless sin and ignorant ways.

What about you? Do you ever doubt God’s loving presence in your life? Do you wonder if perhaps you’ve fouled things up so badly that He has turned away from you? If so, here’s a word you gotta get . . . YET!

  • Struggling with a persistent sin . . . YET, God who is always with you has the       power to deliver you!
  • Trouble with your job . . .                    YET, God who is always with you has the       power to help you!
  • Difficulties in your marriage . . .        YET, God who is always with you has the                   power to make it work!
  • Prodigals in your parenting . . .        YET, God who is always with you has the       power to reach them
  • Struggles in your singleness . . .      YET, God who is always with you has the       power to provide for you!
  • Financial difficulties . . . YET God is always with you
  • Broken relationship . . . YET God is always with you
  • Hurting heart . . . YET God who is always with you has the power to heal it.
  • Suffering loss . . . YET God who is always with you has the comfort you need.

What a word of comfort we have here in YET. For the tired, for the downcast, for the afflicted, the word YET is a gateway to the glories that await us in heaven right now. Asaph knew that nothing can separate him from his God. Nothing could break his love-relationship with God. And what was true for the psalmist back then is true for the Christian believer today . . . and that includes you! He holds you in His hand and nothing will ever be able to pry you from His almighty grip. You probably know this glorious passage from Romans, but bask in it again today:

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Another way of saying God is always with you is to say that God is always for you.

He takes whatever providence He sends and makes it work for our ultimate good and His glory.  What a comfort for us today!  Whether the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy or the storm winds are blowing and the thunder is roaring, God is with us and for us and nothing can separate us from that love!  To know that truth is to know enough.

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.”



Grace For The Journey


18Aug  How did you first respond to the title for this blog?  How, you might ask, is it possible to be unsatisfied in our success?  Isn’t that what we’re all pushing for . . . to be successful?

It has been said that the legendary Hall of Fame football coach Tom Landry said these words after his Dallas Cowboys had won their first Super Bowl, which is the pinnacle of success in the National Football League: “The overwhelming emotion in a short period of time among the players was how empty that goal seemed to be. The thought was, there must be something more.”

I have known men and women who have achieved high levels of success in business, sports, and life, only to discover the biblical truth that success does not always bring with it the deep satisfaction of the heart we truly desire.

And God designed it that way!  You see, He created us with a God-sized void inside us that can only be filled by Him.  Regardless of how much success we achieve in this world, if it is not rooted in our Savior, it will ultimately leave us empty, unfulfilled, and wanting something more.

Success was designed to leave us unsatisfied when it is disconnected from our Savior.

We were created by God for God, and when we are living for anything other than God it will always leave us wanting.  We can climb ladder after ladder of success, climb each one all the way to the top, but if it is leaning against the wrong wall, we will eventually climb back down feeling more dissatisfied than when we started the climb. Let me close today’s word of encouragement with this beautiful poem from C.T. Studd (1860-1931), entitled,

Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And only to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or for His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy Word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, knowing and pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done;”
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say ’twas worth it all;”
Only one life,’ twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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.”


Seeking Significance

Grace For The Journey


18AugOver the years I have had the privilege of meeting with some of the most successful people in business, sports, and life.  The one common denominator for those who were not Christian believers was found in how they went about justifying their existence.  It was always and only located in what they did for a living.

They did not find their identity

In the One who created them,

As a Christian does,


In the life they were creating for themselves.

This contrast is best portrayed in the two main characters in one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire.

Based on a true story set in the 1920’s, it follows British sprinters Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams, who could not be more different.  They develop an intense on-track rivalry, both running for completely different reasons.  Liddell, born in China to Scottish missionary parents, runs to honor God and spread the Gospel.  Abrahams is a Lithuanian Jew who feels keenly the anti-Semitism of British society.  Even though his father became wealthy and was able to send him to elite Cambridge University, he feels he will never measure up and be fully accepted; he runs for the approval, acceptance, and applause of man.

What begins as a classic conflict of man against man turns into a study of inner character and conviction as they battle the expectations of others, and must find victory in being true to their themselves and their beliefs.  Liddell’s father encourages him, “Run in God’s name and let the world stand back in wonder.”  Liddell tells his sister, “I believe that God made me for a purpose, for future missionary work in China, but He also made me fast.  And when I run I feel His pleasure.  To give that up would be to hold Him in contempt.”  He uses his celebrity athletic status to attract an audience to evangelistic services in cities where he competes.  Abrahams, on the other hand, runs to prove himself, saying, “I am going to take them on, all of them, one by one, and run them off their feet.”

When Liddell learns that the qualifying heats for his 100-meter dash are scheduled for a Sunday afternoon, he decides he cannot in clear conscience compete on the Lord’s Day.  When he informs team officials, they are dismayed and attempt to change his mind.  The impasse is resolved when a teammate slated to run in Thursday’s 400-meter race offers his place to Liddell.  Liddell and the officials gratefully accept.  In a marvelous juxtaposition, we then see Abrahams and others competing on Sunday, while Liddell preaches in a Paris church, quoting from Isaiah 40 (“Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust in the balance. … All nations before him are as nothing. … He bringeth the princes to nothing”).  Abrahams goes on to win the 100-meter race and Liddell the 400, both in record time.  At the end of the movie, we learn that Abrahams eventually became a lawyer, journalist, and leader in the British sports establishment.  Liddell, true to his calling, served as a missionary to China and died in a Japanese prison camp at the end of World War II.

What a difference a the choice of faith and divine conviction makes!  One man runs for personal glory and one man runs for God’s glory.  One man runs to build a monument to man’s glory and one man runs to build a monument to God’s glory.  The one who is building a monument for his own glory crystallizes in two of the most profound statements ever uttered by a man on the run from God, powerfully expressing the emptiness of a life without God at the center:

“Contentment? I am 24 and I’ve never known it.  I’m forever in pursuit and I don’t even know what I am chasing.

“And now, in one hour’s time, I will be out there again.  I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my existence.  But will I?”

These two statements, made by Harold Abrahams, are the bookends in the unbeliever’s life.  There is no contentment apart from Christ because Christ is the only source of contentment in this world.  Their lives are marked by continual activity: running, running, running – without ever knowing what they are chasing; working, working, working – without ever knowing what they are working for.  And, when and if they ever get what they are running after or working for, the satisfaction only lasts for a moment and then they must be off again chasing after the next thing that will quiet the unrelenting cry of their soul and medicate the unending ache in their heart.

Ten lonely seconds turns into a lifetime of lonely seconds when a person is trying to justify their existence outside of their Creator.  These statements are as sad as they are familiar in a world on the run from God.  Like Adam in the Garden, they are naked, ashamed, and afraid of who they are and what they have become, so they run from the only One who can give to them everything they need to justify their existence and validate their worth.

So . . . where are you seeking your significance?  Harold Abraham was seeking significance in 10 lonely seconds on a track and never found it.  Eric sought significance in 6 lonely hours on a cross and, by God’s grace, he found it in a bleeding, wounded, dying Savior.

One was looking inside of himself for meaning and purpose.

The other was looking beyond himself to a Savior.

The unbelieving world strains, trying to fill that hole in the soul with 10 lonely seconds, repeated over and over again until they take their last breath, but their self-justification project will never produce the desired results.

The temporal simply cannot do what only the eternal can.

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.”


I Have Met The Enemy…!

Grace For The Journey


17Aug  Many in the church mistakenly think their greatest problem is out there somewhere.  They think it is the environment . . . the culture . . . the government . . . the neighbors . . . the boss at the office . . . the list could go on and on.  I counsel many married men and women who are convinced that their greatest problem is their mate, their mother-in-law, or their family.  But the Bible has something altogether different to say about our enemy, and until we understand what is going on inside of us, there will be no measurable change outside of us.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are contrary and opposed to one another, so that you do not do the things that you want to do.”

For the Christian, the Bible makes it crystal clear that our enemy is not out there somewhere.  It lies within us, as the old man (the desires of the flesh) wages war with the new man (the desires of the Spirit).  Before we asked Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, we were content to honor the desires of the flesh, living to satisfy our sin nature.   But after we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the war began between the old nature and the new nature.  The enemy is not “out there.”  It is deep inside of us!  Our Lord teaches this in Matthew 15:18-20, “But those things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander and blasphemy.  These are the things which defile a man …”

Jesus provided a penetrating and profound diagnosis of the root problem that lies deep within the soul of every one of us.  Years ago, a newspaper article invited readers from all over the world to answer the age-old question: “What’s wrong with the world?”  As you can imagine, there were most responded that the problem was “out there.”  Many years earlier, G.K. Chesterton, the great British writer and thinker responded succinctly, “I AM!”

He got it!

Do we?

It’s important to remember sin’s goal in this battle: to separate us from God.  The comfort of God’s Word is that the child of God cannot be taken out of His loving hand (John 10:28-30), but we can be tripped up and buried under the burden, guilt, and weight of our sins.  Satan wants to do to us what he did to Adam and Eve – to make us believe that God cannot be trusted.  The devil brought Adam and Eve to an utterly insane conclusion: that God – the One who created them . . . sustained them . . . gave them everything good . . . walked with them in the cool of the day . . . their loving Creator and Friend – could not be trusted.

The devil tries to make us believe the same thing today.  He is still asking, “Has God really said . . .?”  Every time we sin and give in to the desires of the flesh, we prove we doubt the goodness of our great God.  That is why we need to keep the Gospel truths before us moment by moment.  The truths of the Gospel give us the necessary motivation to keep getting up every time we stumble and fall, because we know we are secure in Jesus.

Ultimately the victory has already been won for us at Calvary.  Now go out and walk in that victory!

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.”


What Do You Have That You Have Not Been Given?

Grace For The Journey


16Aug  Now that’s a good question!

As a pastor I cannot tell you how often I hear people tell me about all they have because of all they did to get it.  One says, “I worked for years to get to this position in life and I deserve all that I have accumulated.”  Another says, “It’s my money, I made it, and I will spend it any way I like.”  And then there are those who insist, “It’s my life, I will live it the way I want.”  What all of these individuals have forgotten is the fact that everything they have they have because God was so pleased to give it to them (1 Peter 1:3 – According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”)

  • Status in life . . . a gift from God
  • Success in life . . . a gift from God
  • Prosperity in life . . . a gift from God
  • Possessions in life . . . a gift from God
  • Life itself . . . a gift from God

What do we have that we have not been given?

NOTHING!  Daniel said succinctly that, “God . . . holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways” (Daniel 5:23).  Everything we have is a gift, a gracious gift from God, and because it is a gift, we have a responsibility to the Gift-Giver in how we steward what we have received.

Notice that I used the word steward – not use.

A steward is someone who manages the property or affairs of another, and that is what we are.  We are stewards of God’s property, not owners, and because of this fact, we need to see all of life as a gift and a trust.  God has entrusted everything He has given to us to our care.

So . . . how are you doing in caring for the things God has placed in your care?  Because God is the giver of every good gift (James 1:17), we are responsible to manage them for the expansion of His kingdom, not our own.  This shatters the misconception that we have done our duty when we give God His small percentage.  It is all God.  The Bible says in Romans 11:36, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things.”  When we see everything in this light, we see more clearly how we are to steward everything we have been given.  Whether we have a lot, or only a little, it is all God’s and thus we are responsible to Him to take good care of what He has given us.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”

If you’re not feeling uncomfortable yet, let me help you!  Stewardship transcends money and possessions; it extends to the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given us to put into service for the expansion of the cause of Christ.  This stewardship extends to the opportunities God has given us; we are to make the most of them for the glory of the King.  It even extends to our families and friends and how we reflect Christ to them and make God attractive.  And all of this is preparation for a glorious future, when God will make all of His children stewards of the new heavens and the new earth, for His glory, forever and ever.

What rules our hearts shapes our lives; if stewardship reigns in us we will be doing everything for the glory of God and the good of others.  Jesus will be on the throne of our lives – not us or our possessions.  Self-rule will be as far from us as the east is from the west when we surrender everything we are and everything we have to proclaim the kingdom of Christ to a fallen and broken world, as fallen and broken people who have been saved by His grace.

The great cry of the steward of the Savior is not, “My will be done,” but “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”  May that be the desire of our lives.

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.”