Your Perspective Determines Your Progress

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

16Oct  The online dictionary tells us that “perspective” is simply “a way of thinking or looking about something;” perspective is “a sensible way of judging how good, how bad, how important or unimportant something is in comparison with other things.”  With this in mind, let me share something very important with you today:

HOW YOU SEE YOUR LIFE . . . SHAPES IT!

If you see your life as little more than something that you simply need to get through, your life will be shaped by that view.  If Wednesday is “Hump Day” and you “Thank God it’s Friday,” your life will never rise above the level of simply “making a living,” longing for the day you can retire.”  There are those people who see life like a “card game,” where you simply “Play the hand you’re dealt.”  And then there are those who ride a “see-saw,” where life is a rhythm of up and down.  Their goal is to somehow have more ups than downs in life.

So . . . what is your perspective on life?  What would be the “life metaphor” that best describes the life you are currently living right now?

A child of the Most High God is to see life from His perspective.

God’s Word tells us that life is a . . .

A GIFT

God’s gift to you is the life He has given you.  Every breath you take and every beat of your heart is a gift from God.  Your gift back to God is how you live life out before His presence.  What do you have that you have not been given?  Your personality and passions . . . your intelligence and intuition . . . your dreams and desires . . . your talents and treasures . . . your opportunities and obstacles . . . everything is a gift from God, meant for you to handle for His glory and the good of others.

God’s Word also tells us that life is a . . .

A TRUST

From the beginning in the Garden, God entrusted the care of creation to His image-bearers, Adam and Eve.  God created them to care for everything, and in spite of their horrific fall into sin, this role has never been rescinded.  We have been made by God for God, and we are to live a life that expands God’s kingdom, not our own.  When we are working to expand our own little kingdom, we shrink the size of our lives down to the size of our lives.

That is not the life God has created us to live!

We are to be living for something that will live on long after we are gone . . .  and that will only happen when we are living for God.

When your perspective on life is God’s perspective – that life is both a gift and a trust – you will begin to think and act in a responsible, God-honoring way with everything you have been given.  You will seek to grow the kingdom of God through everything you do.  Time and time again, Jesus used beautiful stories to illustrate our responsibility to live for the glory of God and the good of others!

When we are living this kind of life, everything matters.

  • Every job has eternal value when we are working for God.
  • Every recreation activity has eternal value when we engage in it for God’s glory.
  • Everything we do has eternal implications when we are living in the light of eternity.

With this kind of perspective, progress is assured as we glorify God and bless others, advancing toward our eternal rest.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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A Solution to Stinginess

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

11Oct   There is a saying: “Some people are so stingy, they’ll squeeze a quarter until the eagle screams!”  But this is no way to live for the Christian who understands the generosity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today, I want to take a brief look at this topic.

The Bible says in Philippians 2:5-8, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” 

If that passage does not present a solution to stinginess, I don’t know what will!   These words, penned by the apostle Paul, are foundational to comprehending the generosity of Jesus in the Gospel.

Imagine the King of the universe making Himself nothing for you!   The second person of the Trinity took on the nature of a servant: made in human likeness, born of the Virgin Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.  The King of kings and the Lord of lords went from the glorious throne of heaven to a dark, smelly stable in Bethlehem.

If that wasn’t enough, Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death – and not just any death, but death by crucifixion.

There is no greater picture of God’s love and care for you

Than His precious Son dying on a cross.

God held nothing back in the redemption of His people . . . not even His precious Son!

Do you remember the account in Genesis 22, when Abraham went up Mount Moriah with his son Isaac, fully prepared to sacrifice Isaac for God?  God graciously provided another sacrifice.  God explained to Abraham, “Now I know you love Me.”  Of course, God always knew; it was Abraham who needed to know just how much he loved his God.

How much do we know that God loves us!  He turned His Son over to the mocking and beating, the nails, and the cruel cross.  Let this sink into your heart . . .

The solution to stinginess

Is not found in trying harder

To be more generous!

It is to be found

In developing a deeper understanding

Of what God in Christ

Has done for us.

Redoubling our efforts will always leave us frustrated and wanting.  It is in redoubling our understanding of the truths of the Gospel that we will find freedom from slavery to our “stuff” and the ultimate solution to any kind of stinginess!

The more deeply we understand the generosity of Jesus, the more confident we become in looking only to Him for our security.  We are free to give away what we have to bless others because we have everything we need in Him!

Only the Gospel can restructure our motivations and reorient our hearts to live for something bigger than ourselves.  God refused to withhold anything we needed to be with Him.  Our Lord gave up all His treasure in heaven in order to make us His treasure.  We must let that truth guide our hearts and hands as we pour ourselves out for the cause of Christ in a way that brings glory to God and good to all others.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Getting Free From The Grip of Guilt

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

11Oct Many Christians are locked solidly in the grip of guilt.  They simply cannot get past …  a past littered with sin . . .

  • The sin of self-rule.
  • The sin of self-focus.
  • The sin of self-righteousness.
  • The sin of self-centeredness.
  • The sin of self-love.

And the list goes on and on and on.

This is the place the devil wants us to live.

He wants us to wallow in the past,

Which keeps us from living in the present.

To be sure, if you are a blood-bought, born-again child of God the devil cannot take you out of the nail-scarred hands of your Savior (John10:28), but he can get you to focus so tightly on your sinful past that you never live in the forgiven present of your God-given potential.

Living in the grip of guilt

Stunts our growth,

Slows our progress,

And

Shuts off the flow

Of God’s Blessings to our lives.

In other words, we reduce the impact of the glorious Gospel.  We view the work of Christ on our behalf as incomplete in its ability to save us “to the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25) and remove all of our guilt.

But God has so much more for us!

The Bible says in Romans 8:1-4, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

If Paul did not believe what he wrote, he never would have been able to rise above a past littered with sin – and not just your common, garden-variety sin – but his approving role in the execution of Stephen, the first Christian martyr and his first-hand effort in having Christians killed.  Read Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 1:13-15 carefully, remembering he was the one who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death and had a part in having many believers brought to their deaths . . .

“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”  (1 Timothy 1:13-15)

How could Paul see himself as the “chief sinner” and still do the work God called him to do?

The answer is that Paul had a clear view of the Gospel

And

Refused to be held in the devil’s grip of guilt.

John Newton wrote one of the most beloved Christian hymns, Amazing Grace.  Newton wrote those wonderful lyrics with the full knowledge and remembrance of his past life as a notorious slave trader.  So how could he rise above this horrible history and faithfully serve his Savior until he passed into glory?  Like Paul, Newton had a clear view of the Gospel and refused to be held in the devil’s grip of guilt.

So . . . what about you?

How clear is your view of the Gospel?

Check your guilt and remember these words John Newton uttered shortly before his death at the age of 82: “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”

Now that is what we should remember as we respond to God’s call in our lives;

God’s grace is greater than all our sins!

And so we are to shake free from the grip of guilt, no matter what our past was like.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Holy Hardships: Their Purpose

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

10Oct  Ever wonder why we face so much hardship in this life?  In a word, the answer is sin.  It will not always be this way!  When the church is presented to Christ as His bride, the Bible tells us in Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe way every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  Neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  However, until that glorious day comes, we can expect to deal with hardship in this life.

There is something profound lying just beneath the surface of sin

That needs be understood by every child born of grace.

Thanks to the finished work of Jesus upon the cross and the empty tomb, hardship is never a punishment, penalty, penance, or pain being exacted by an angry God to make believers “right” with Him.  Because God’s justice has been fully satisfied in Jesus, our hardship is designed to draw us nearer to Him, not push us further away.  Far too many Christians interpret hardship as a sign of God’s displeasure with them, perhaps even of His abandonment – but it is not!  God loves you with an everlasting love; hardship is merely a sign of His sanctifying activity in your life.

The Bible says in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Hardship in the life of the believer is designed to discipline, develop, and to draw us closer to God, never to discourage and destroy.  God uses hardship in the lives of His children for a number of reasons:

  • To train us in character.
  • To teach us in conduct.
  • To turn us from sin.

We must always remember that God’s discipline – which we frequently experience in the form of hardship, trials, storms, and struggles – is never punitive; it is always redemptive, and always intended to cause us to draw nearer to Him.

God is not exacting His “pound of flesh” from us because of our wrongdoing.  Jesus paid the price for our sin – all of our sin – on the cross.  God will not collect a second time on a debt that has been paid in full.  So God is using His holy hardship for His glory and our ultimate good by conforming us to the image and likeness of His beloved Son.

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:10 that God disciplines “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”

The fact that hardship is inevitable should not drive us to despair,

Because it is a loving Father who delivers it to us.

God only wants what is best for His children; at times, the only way to achieve that “best” is through the holy hardships of life.  God is training us in our character and our conduct, so that we might become ever more useful for the advancement of His Kingdom purposes.

When we are forged in the fire of betrayal, abandonment, loneliness, heartache, false accusations, and denials – just as Jesus was – we are being prepared for greater service in the lives of others who are experiencing the same.

We will be able to empathize with our brothers and sisters in Christ, not merely sympathize.  We will be able to minister from the heart – As the Bible puts it in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, [and] weep with those who weep.”  The more we suffer as Jesus suffered, the more we serve as He served . . . forgive as He forgave . . . minister as He ministered . . . and love as He loved.

Our hardship is holy

Because it passes through

The hands of a holy God.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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The Need For Truth

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

9OctHow many times have you heard someone say, “You can’t handle the truth?”  By saying that, they mean that you are either ignoring the truth or not open to dealing with the truth. In John 3:19-21, Jesus states, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  In John 8:34, Jesus says, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.”   In John 18:37, Jesus declares, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

In these statements Jesus says something very similar

But for very different reasons.

He tells His would-be followers, “You cannot hear My word.”  Or, in other words, “You can’t handle the truth!”  These would-be disciples cannot bear His word, which is true, because they belong to a different father and another world (John 8:23, 44).

No matter how much truth He may speak,

They simply will not understand.

Why?

Because truth and untruth

Cannot be harmonized

Or

Brought into agreement.

They are on two different planes of existence.  If something is true, say 2+2=4, then it cannot be untrue.  Something is either one or the other; there is no in-between.

And so, when Jesus speaks, the men hear truth but cannot understand it.  To them, the truth is a lie for which Jesus must die because the truth is too terrible to bear.  They can do no less because they belong to the father of lies and to the realm of untruth.

Thus, in order to understand truth,

One must first be in the truth.

So how can one be persuaded

To the truth if it is unbearable?

Various research has dealt with this knowledge paradox.  One such study outlines what is now called the Kruger-Dunning Effect (Kruger, Justin; Dunning, David (1999), Article in “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Unskilled And Unaware Of It: How Difficulties In Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead To Inflated Self-Assessments.”)  Basically, it states that the knowledge necessary to produce correct judgment is the same knowledge necessary to recognize correct judgment.  If one happens to be incompetent in a certain field for lack of knowledge – like English grammar, for example – it is that same lack of knowledge that impedes one from realizing he is incompetent in English grammar.  So if your grammar is bad, you won’t know it, because you are bad at grammar!

In other words, you need to know what you don’t know in order to know if you are right.

What an insurmountable situation!

Philosophers and scientists have dealt with this question of discovering that which is unknown for millennia.  How is it possible to seek what we are unaware of?  How can we recognize what we don’t know?

One Christian philosopher, Kierkegaard, probably comes closest to finding a solution to this problem. He argues that “mankind, who is in a perpetual state of untruth due to past actions, is in need of an other-worldly Teacher, who ultimately becomes a Savior, who can give us truth and the condition to understand it.”  Without this Teacher-Savior, we are lost in perpetual untruth.

Clearly, Jesus is the only Teacher-Savior who can do this.  In His earthly ministry, we see Jesus continually speaking truth, but its reception is varied.  Many are curious but confused.  Some interpret it to serve their own personal agendas.  Others flat out reject it (like those in John 8).  And one even wonders, “What is truth?” (John 18:28).

A few sense a shimmer of the truth, but it is not until after the cross and outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the disciples finally receive the condition to understand.  People can hear, see and even parrot the truth all day without ever understanding it.  As Kierkegaard argued and Jesus taught, it is not until individuals receive the condition to understand the truth that they can bear it. Without being given the condition to understand, we remain on the dark plane of untruth.  There are many examples where the disciples’ minds and eyes were opened so they could recognize truth.  Some examples include illumination to recognize: (1) the identify of Jesus (Luke 24:31; Acts 9:18); (2) to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45); and, (3) to turn from Satan to God (Acts 26:18).  The opposite is also true, where eyes or minds were “darkened” so they could not understand (Romans 11:8-10).

What can we make of all this?  First, do not underestimate the power of the Gospel. Remember that we all, on some level, have preferred the darkness (John 3:19-21) because it allowed us to live and work by our own code of honor.  Yet someone challenged our untruth and planted the seed of truth in us.  And one day, by the grace of God, that tiny seed of truth burst forth in power and overcame our untruth!  Remember, the Gospel overpowers all untruth (Romans 1:16).

Second, proclaim boldly the Gospel in the fields of untruth. The culture in Jesus’ day reviled the truth, and many in our postmodern culture can’t handle it either.  Still, our mission remains, and we must bravely follow in our Teacher’s wake.  We belong to God and speak His truth, not our own ideas.  We represent Christ and His Kingdom, not our personal relativism or agenda.  Let us, then, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, boldly proclaim the unbearable truth with love, compassion and courage (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Lastly, do not fear the mission.  Fear is one of the reasons Christians refrain from proclaiming truth.  We get apprehensive about being called narrow-minded or a fanatic; when are put on the defensive and challenged to “prove” something to those who cannot understand it.

It truly is a hopeless cause

Because the Gospel cannot

Be explained, only announced.

We do not need to make excuses for the truth to those who cannot grasp it yet.  The Gospel may appear weak because, at the present time, it is an offer of grace that can be rejected.  But again, do not confuse gentleness and grace with weakness; the Gospel is the power of God and the only way anyone has to escape untruth.

No matter how hopeless

It may feel

To preach the truth

In our world of untruth,

Preach on!

In the end,

Truth will prevail.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Your Sleepless Savior

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

4Oct  How well did you sleep last night?  Did you spend the night tossing and turning?  Perhaps you hit the “snooze” button a few times this morning and still got out of bed feeling like you needed more rest?  Today I’d like to give you a word of encouragement about our sleepless Savior.  The Bible says in Psalm 121:1-3,

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber.”

When was the last time you thought about Jesus staying up all night just to watch over you?  Perhaps we would all toss and turn a little less and awake feeling far more rested if we kept this Gospel truth before us.  The psalmist tells us that our help comes from the One who refuses to slumber or sleep.

So . . . where have you been looking for your help lately?

Think about this for a moment:

The Creator of the universe,

The One who created you,

Cares so much for you

That He never sleeps!

That means He is always working.  Jesus assures us in John 5:17 that, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

Jesus is working for you;

Jesus is working in you;

Jesus is working through you.

Every night . . . all night . . . your Savior is sleepless on your behalf.

To be sure, this thought of the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Alpha and the Omega, watching over us day and night, is a thought almost too much for our finite minds to comprehend!  The love that sought us, caught us, and bought us – the relentless, pursuing love of God in Christ Jesus – never takes a moment off or calls for a time out!  Jesus is watching over each and every one of us, twenty-four hours a day, seven days each week, 365 days each year, year after year after year, from everlasting to everlasting!  Our God has promised us in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

When God sent Moses back to Egypt to lead His people out of bondage, He instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go, that they may serve me!”  We are all called to be servants of our Most High God.  That is why we are here on this earth: to know, serve and glorify our God by doing what He has called us to do.

I truly cannot think of any greater encouragement

In our walk with God and our service to God

Than knowing that He is constantly

Watching us and working for us!

The next time you find yourself experiencing one of those “sheep-counting” moments late at night, remember that if you know Jesus as your Savior He is watching and working for you always.  He will meet you in your place of deepest need in this life. You have His Word on it!

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Fork In The Road!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

4Oct  Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” The phrase “fork in the road” is often used to describe those deciding moments in life when a major decision must be made.  Is this the person I want to marry?  Is this the career I should pursue? Should I make this move to another state?

How do you deal with the many forks in your road of life?  I hope you heed the Bible’s advice in Proverbs 3:5-7a,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .”

Here is the key that unlocks the door

Leading to the life God is calling us to live.

And the reason this is so profoundly true lies in the fact that much of what you and I consider to be “understanding” is actually misunderstanding . . . simply because our understanding is broken!  Often we don’t see things as they truly are, but rather as we want to see them.  Our interpretation of what is going on around us is just that: our interpretation.  That is why we must look above and beyond ourselves and seek out the wisdom that will carry us through every fork in the road and onto the straight path God has prepared for us.

Notice that these verses are not telling us to turn away from understanding.  That is the siren song of the world, which frequently tells us to “Follow your heart.”  That is devastatingly bad advice!  The Bible says flatly that our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked’ Who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9). And we’re supposed to follow our hearts?!

God never instructs us to follow our hearts, but rather

Urges us to “Incline our hearts to understanding” (Proverbs 2:3);

Exhorts us to “Buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23);

And reassures us that “Understanding will guard us” (Proverbs 2:6).

In the passage featured in today’s blog, we are told to turn away from our “own understanding,” which simply means an understanding that is the product of our own conclusions, drawn apart from the wisdom and way of Almighty God.

On the other hand, to trust in the Lord with all our heart is to trust Him even when we cannot trace or understand His work.  In our finite state . . .

We cannot see things from God’s perspective.

He sees everything, from beginning to end,

And

He knows what is best for us.

God’s perspective is eternal, and therefore He guides us into what is eternally best, which is often not what we feel to be best in the moment.

When Solomon penned Proverbs 3:7, saying, “Do not be wise in your own eyes,” this was another way of saying, “Do not be a fool; Don’t be someone  who looks to his or her own counsel,  when God’s infinite Wisdom is at your disposal.”

What God would have us do at every fork in the road is to prayerfully consider which path He would have us take.  That big promotion at the office might give us more income but take away significant time with our families.  A particular course of study might land us a high-paying job, but may very well not be work that brings us joy and may not be where God wants us to serve.

To be faithful at the fork in the road requires us to look to the Faithful One. This requires time in His Word, time on our knees, and time with other godly people who will often provide perspective we do not have.  One thing is certain, understanding that comes from above will keep us on the straight and narrow here below.

You have His Word on that!

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Do Tell!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

2Oct  You and I have a responsibility to pass on the exalted truths of God from generation to generation.

And that includes not only

Proclaiming His hand of mercy,

But explaining His hand of judgment.

The combination of these divine attributes provides us with a full picture of God’s eternal plan of redemption, offering important life lessons for Christian believers.  The Bible says in Joel 1:2-4,

“Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.”

The Word of God instructs us to be students of God’s story of redemption (not a story in the sense of a myth, fable, or fairy tale; but a story based upon historical facts and demonstrations of Who God is and what He had done).  And the only way we can be students of His story is to read it, meditate on it, and come to know it.  God inspired the prophet Joel to urge parents to take the time to know God’s story and to pass it along to their children.

The locusts Joel referred to were agents of God’s divine judgment on His people for their rebellion and disobedience.  And when the destroying swarms of locusts were understood to be an instrument of redemption in the hands of God, His people would respond in repentance and return to their God.

This is the pattern throughout the Old Testament history of God and His people:

Things would go well for a while;

The people would grow complacent,

And

Turn away from God;

God would send judgment.

And

The people would repent and return to God.

So . . . how well are you at knowing and telling God’s story of redemption to those around you?

Are you spending adequate time

In His Word each day

To know it well enough to tell it?

Sadly, many in the church today neglect the rich history of God’s story of redemption in the Old Testament.  Yet, the New Testament doesn’t make sense without the Old!

It has been well said that . . .

“The Old Testament is revealed in the New,

And the New Testament is concealed in the Old.”

Both the Old and New Testaments make up one single story of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

He is the key is to see the Bible

As one single, overarching story

From beginning to end.

The Bible is not comprised of 66 disconnected books offering stories with moralistic messages to keep us in line; it is the incomparable saga of God’s redemption and His pursuing love for rebels on the run.  And God wants us to know it so well that we can share it with our children . . . so that they will know it and share it with their children. With all the “stuff” we can pass along to our kids, there is nothing more important to give them than the story of our Savior.

In telling God’s story to our children,

We are also to share

How our story intersects with it.

We can share the lessons we have learned in life from both our victories and our defeats.  And we should explain how, through it all, God has loved us with an everlasting love that would lift us out of the ashes of depravity, death, and defeat; change our hearts and our destiny, and send us back into the game of life.

Now that is a story worth telling, over and over and over again!

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Faith Verses Fear!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

Oct1  Science tells us that all babies have two inborn fears incorporated into their human DNA and their immature nervous systems:

The fear of loud noises

And

The fear of falling.

Other than these two fears, every fear we experience throughout life is acquired . . .  this includes . . .

  • The fear of closed spaces to fear of open spaces.
  • The fear of being abandoned.
  • The fear of public speaking.
  • The fear of darkness.
  • The fear of death.

Some of these fears protect us and others paralyze us.

So . . . how do we effectively deal with those fears that can paralyze us and prevent us from growing into the person God is calling us to be?  Here are two steps you can take toward victory in the ongoing battle between faith and fear.

Step #1: Remember the promises of God

An important aspect of this is,

We cannot remember the promises of God

If we don’t know the promises of God

And the only way to know the promises of God

Is to immerse ourselves in the Word of God.

How much time have you been spending God’s Word every day?  How many promises have you committed to memory?  Look at just three of the numerous promises in God’s Word . . .

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  (Psalm 27:1)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

There simply is no substitute for spending time in the Word of God if we are ever going to conquer our fears by faith in Jesus Christ.

Step #2: Keep your focus on Christ, not your circumstances

I know this is easier said than done, which is why Step #1 is so critical in this process. The single common denominator for those who focus more on Christ than on their circumstances is their knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.  Like the psalmist, they know that the best defense against fear is a good offense.  Listen to what the Bible says . . .

“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.”  (Psalm 34:4-5)

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust, I will not fear; what can flesh do to me?”  (Psalm 56:3-4)

“I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.  The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  (Psalm 118:5-6)

Alexander MacLaren, an English minister of the late 1800s, put it this way . . .

“Faith, which is trust, and fear are opposite poles. If a man has the one, he can scarcely have the other in vigorous operation. He that has his trust set upon God does not need to dread anything except the weakening or the paralyzing of that trust.”

With a mind and heart filled with the Word of God, and with our focus fixed firmly on Christ (rather than our circumstances), faith will conquer any fear we face.

We have His Word on it!

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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