Mercy . . . Me? Yes, I Need It, And So Does Everyone! Part 2

Grace For The Journey


30July  Yesterday and today we are looking at the words, “grace” and “mercy.”  The Bible has much to say about both of these wonderful words.  They are two of the sweetest and most powerful words that the human heart can grasp.  They take us to the realm of the “unsearchable riches of God.” 

I gladly admit that I am just like you – I need the grace of God, as well as the mercy of God.  It was these two virtues of God which provided for those who believe, which produces what we know as salvation.  I would hope that you too realize that each of these is greatly needed in your life as well.

As in the case of the word “grace” so also with the word “mercy,” the Bible has many references regarding it.  I think the following story allow catapult us into what the Bible reveal to us about the mercy of God.  A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son.  The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.  “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.”  “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied.  “Sir,” the woman cried, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”  “Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” and he spared the woman’s son.

1. Mercy Defined

Have you noticed that in general conversation that we often use the words “grace” and “mercy” together?  We also sometimes use the words “grace” and “mercy” as if they are the same thing, but that just isn’t so.

Grace is God giving to sinful man

What He desperately needs

– The unmerited favor of God

Which He delivers to us through Jesus Christ

Mercy however is something altogether different.

Mercy is God not giving to sinful mankind

What they rightly deserve.

The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-24, “Through the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul; ‘therefore will I hope in Him.’”

God’s mercy and grace

Give me hope – for myself,

And for our world.

Yes, we too are in a constant state of needing the mercy of God and we can only cry out – MERCY, MERCY, MERCY!  God is faithful to NOT give us what we rightly deserve!

2. Mercy Demonstrated

One of the pleas which has been used throughout the history of mankind has been the cry for the mercy of God.  Do you know why sinful man cries out for the mercy of God?  I believe it is found in some of the final words of John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”  Newton declared toward the end of his life, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”

Notice these examples of those who were the recipients of the mercy of God:

 JOSEPH – Genesis 39:21, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”

 MOSES – Exodus 15:13, “You in Your mercy has led forth the people whom You have redeemed: You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.

 DAVID – 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Oh give thanks to the LORD; for He is good; For His mercy endures forever.”

 PAUL – 1Timothy 1:13, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

 We can’t imagine a church

Failing to exalt the cross.

We also ought to be living our lives

In such a way that they exalt the cross.

Alexander Whyte speaking about the cross – “It is the picture of violence, yet the key to peace.  It is a picture of suffering, yet the key to healing.  It is a picture of utter weakness, yet the key to power.  It is a picture of capital punishment, yet the key to mercy and forgiveness.  It is a picture of supreme shame, yet the Christian’s supreme boast.  It is a picture of death, yet the key to life.  It is a picture of vicious hatred, yet the key to love.”  What irresistible love!

Thank God for the Cross where the MERCY of God is put onto full display!

The song, “Great Is thy Faithfulness” was not the result of some tragic event in Thomas Chisholm’s life, but a powerful witness to his daily walk with Jesus as he experienced “morning by morning” new mercies from His Everlasting Father.  Pastor Chisholm always trusted his Everlasting Father to take care of him, sustain him, and provide for his daily needs.

Just before his death in 1960 he wrote this power, personal witness: “My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now.  But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing mercy, grace, and care which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness.”  That is our testimony too!

3. Mercy Declared

The Bible is replete with declaration of God’s wonderful mercy . . .

Deuteronomy 4:31, “(For the LORD your God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore unto them.”

Job 11:6, “And that He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is!  Know therefore that God exacts of you less than you iniquity deserves.”

Psalms 37:25-26, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and His seed is blessed.”

Psalms 136:1, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.”

Psalms 145:8-9, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirt.”


A young employee secretly misappropriated several hundred dollars of his business firm’s money.  When this action was discovered, the young man was told to report to the office of the senior partner of the firm.  As he walked up the stairs toward the administrative office, the young employee was heavy-hearted.  He knew without a doubt he would lose his position with the firm.  He also feared the possibility of legal action taken against him.  Seemingly his whole world had collapsed.  Upon his arrival in the office of the senior executive the young man was questioned about the whole affair.  He was asked if the allegations were true, and he answered in the affirmative.  Then the executive surprisingly asked this question: “If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?”  The young worker brightened up and said, “Yes, sir, you surely can. I’ve learned my lesson.”  The executive responded, “I’m not going to press charges, and you can continue in your present responsibility.”  The employer concluded the conversation with his younger employee by saying, “I think you ought to know, however, that you are the second man in this firm who succumbed to temptation and was shown leniency.  I was the first.  What you have done, I did.  The mercy you are receiving, I received.  It is only the mercy and grace of God that can keep us both.”

Amen, and, Amen!

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 and Mercy . . . Something We all Need! Part 1

Grace For The Journey


30July  Over the next two days I want to look at the words “grace” and “mercy.”  The Bible has much to say about both of these wonderful words.  They are two of the sweetest and most powerful words that the human heart can grasp.

Today I want us to look at the marvelous truth of God’s amazing “grace.”

It is my contention that the grace of God

Is so important that it would be horrible

If a person would come to church

And never hear about the grace of God!

Can you imagine having prepared yourself to go to church on Sunday morning with your clothes being laid out, your shoes are shined, and you go to church, but as you sat in church something strange happened about the service.  The announcements were made but there was NO voice.  The congregational songs were sung but NO sound.  The choir sang but NO sound.  The preacher got up and preached his message but NO sound.  There was NO sound during the entire worship time.  Then suddenly you could see a young girl standing amongst the congregation and now suddenly you could hear her voice and she was singing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”  Your response would accurately convey the heart of a genuine believer if your respond to it by saying, “I have now been to church because I have now heard about the grace of God.”  Yes . .

Grace is just that important to each of us

. . . Because we all need it.

Let’s notice these truths about the awesome grace of God . . .

1. Grace Must Be Defined.

Most of us understand that when we use the word “grace” we are referring to God’s unmerited favor toward those who are underserving of it.  That is certainly a proper understanding of God’s grace and all of us would have to admit that we certainly need God’s unmerited favor.  Of all the blessings of God, I have to admit that I am most appreciative of the grace of God, how about you?  Aren’t you thankful for the grace of God?

D. L. Moody said: “Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.”

One of the great truths of Scripture

Is that God provided His Son Jesus Christ

As the mechanism through which

He extended His grace towards mankind.

Perhaps this little explanation will help you to grasp what grace is . . .

Grace is . . .






Many years ago a well-known evangelist was driving through a small southern town when he was stopped by a policeman and charged with speeding.  The evangelist admitted his guilt, but was told by the officer that he would have to appear in court.

The judge asked, “Guilty, or not guilty?”  When the offender pleaded guilty, the judge replied, “That’ll be ten dollars — a dollar for every mile you went over the limit.”  Suddenly the judge recognized the famous minister.  “You have violated the law,” he said. “The fine must be paid . . . but I am going to pay it for you.”  The judge took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and then took the evangelist out and bought him a steak dinner!  Later the evangelist was repeating this account during a sermon and he stated “the is how God treats repentant sinners!”

Is there little wonder that the saints of God rejoice in the grace of God?  How true the words of the hymn “Grace Greater Than Our Sin:

“Marvelous Grace of our living Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,

Yonder on Calvary’s mount out poured,

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt


Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,

What can avail to wash it away?

Look There is flowing a crimson tide;

Whiter than snow you may be today,


Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,

Freely bestowed on all who believe.

All who are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?


Grace, grace, God’s Grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

2. Grace Is Demonstrated

The pages of the Bible are literally saturated with the grace of God.  I often hear people speak of the grace of God as if it is something new which is NOT found until you get to the New Testament, but that just isn’t so!

Granted there is a lot of grace referenced in the New Testament such as in many of the letters or epistles of the New Testament where the word “grace” is used as in the greeting or at least in the conclusion of the letter. (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon).  Yes, the grace of God is demonstrated in the New Testament but it should also be understood . . .

That the Bible is a Book

Which demonstrates the grace of God

From the first book

All the way through to the last.

Note what the Bible says in Genesis 6:5-8, And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart.  And the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

In these verses the unmerited favor of God was demonstrated, resulting in the judgment of God being spared for 120 years.  At this time Noah has no printed Bible to read, so how did he even know about God and more specifically the grace of God?

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

If you pull these many Scriptures together, we find that Noah was a man who believed in God as Creator, as His Sovereign, and the only Savior from sin.  Because of this “he found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and “moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

Yes, my dear friend, mankind had not been on earth for a long period of time before we observe that mankind needs the grace of God and God always supplies that for mankind.

3. Grace Delivered

For this blog I have decided to use Noah as an example of God supplying His grace, but I could have just as easily chosen any one of the 30,000 individuals recorded in the Bible because the Scripture makes it clear that all of mankind needs the grace of God.

Let’s take a moment and consider that truth, are you in agreement that you need the grace of God?  So, if we all need the grace of God, how has God supplied that for all of us?

 The Bible tells us in Titus 2:11-13, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

The Bible makes it clear that God has abundantly supplied His grace, but why is it so important?  The text of Scripture provides two simple reasons why God would do this for mankind:

 1) It is impossible to save ourselves.  The Bible says in Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

2) We have a tendency to boast about our ability to save ourselves. The Bible makes that clear in passages such as 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, where the Bible says, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak thing of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen and the thing which are not, to bring to nothing the things t that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, ‘He who glory, let him glory in the LORD.’” and Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

4. Grace Must be Applied

This is because all of us need God’s grace so desperately.  I believe the following illustration captures this truth:  In heaven there was once a great debate as to who was the greatest monument of God’s grace.  All souls were bared and all secrets were told as the redeemed sought to pay tribute to the grace of God. One after another related the sin or transgression out of which Christ had delivered him.  At length the choice seemed to be settling down upon one man who apparently had committed all sins.  He recounted iniquity after iniquity as he turned over the ghastly pages of his autobiography.  He then related how on his deathbed Christ came and saved him just as God had saved the thief on the cross.

Just before the vote was taken another of the redeemed stepped forward and asked to tell his story.  He had come to know and love Christ as a child and had followed Him all the days of his life and he related how the grace of God had kept him from the sins and transgressions of which the others had spoken.  Then the vote was taken and it was not the drunkard, the thief, the adulterer, the perjurer, the murderer, or the blasphemer, but the man who had followed Christ all his days and had been kept by His grace who was selected as the greatest monument to the grace of God.

 Today, if you know Jesus Christ as Savior, you are a testimony of what God’s grace can do in the life of an undeserving sinner.  So, I urge each of us to live out your life today,  rejoice because each of us is a monument of the grace of God!

Tomorrow we will look at the biblical truth of mercy – something that all of us also need.

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.”



Understanding The Spiritual Battle We Are In

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme  In yesterday’s blog, we looked at Luke 22:31-32 which deals with Satan’s attempt to attack and destroy Peter.  Jesus wanted Peter to know the reality of this battle, the He not only knows about this battle but is able to defeat Satan in the battle, and to lead him to discover the reasons we lose those battles.  I want to continue that thought today from the perspective of understanding how failure comes in our spiritual battles.  We are not different than Peter.  We all have failed the Lord.  Today we will analyze what was behind Peter’s failure so that we can be equipped to overcome Satan’s schemes.

1. Behind spiritual failure is a spiritual enemy.

Jesus tells Peter that Satan has demanded permission (the verb means “to obtain by asking”) to sift him like wheat.  This reveals Christ’s supernatural knowledge of events before God’s throne.  It reminds us of the story of Job, where Satan asked God’s permission to afflict Job.  He wanted to prove that Job followed God for the benefits, but that he would deny God if the benefits were removed.  “To sift like wheat” pictures grain running through a sieve, where the head of grain is taken apart.  Satan wanted to tear Peter apart and leave him in pieces.

Note that Satan especially goes after those who are in spiritual leadership. The pronoun “you” in verse 31 is plural, pointing to Satan’s sifting all the apostles, but Peter as the leader among the apostles is especially singled out.  He would fail in the most dramatic way, but God would use his failure after he had recovered to strengthen the others, who also had failed.

The point is, behind the scenes there is an evil spiritual enemy, Satan, who is bent on our destruction.  Often, we forget or fail to see him.  He brought sin into the world by tempting Eve in the garden.  He is prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour the faith of God’s people (1 Peter 5:8).  Jesus calls him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), a murderer, and a liar, the father of lies (John 8:44).  He said that this wicked being snatches the seed of the gospel from hearts so that they may not believe and be saved (Luke 8:12).  Paul calls him the god of this world who has “blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  He is a powerful, cunning enemy!

  1. C. Ryle states, “The world is a snare to the believer. The flesh is a burden and a clog. But there is no enemy so dangerous as that restless, invisible, experienced enemy, the devil” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], Luke 11-24, p. 410).

That is why the apostle Paul instructs us to put on the full armor of God, so that we can stand against the subtle but powerful schemes of this wicked enemy (Ephesians 6:10-20).  We are foolish and in danger of failing if we forget about our enemy.

2. Behind spiritual failure is blindness to our own weakness and to the Lord’s warnings of danger.

Peter was foolishly confident in his own commitment to the Lord, so much so that he contradicted Jesus’ own words!  We often flatter ourselves into thinking, “Others may fall, but I’m strong!”  It’s interesting that verse 34 is the only time in the gospels that Jesus calls Peter by this name which He gave him. It means “rock.”  The Lord is gently saying,

“Peter, you are a rock only

When you rely on Me,

Not on yourself.

You think that you’re

A rock in yourself,

But Peter, you are about to fall.”

I believe that the disciples’ blindness to their own weakness and to the spiritual danger that lurked just ahead is the point of the difficulties in verses 35-38.  Jesus is telling them that there is a new direction just ahead in light of His impending death and departure.  He reminds them of the time when He had sent them out without any provisions, but they did not lack anything.  He had provided everything for them, they saw great spiritual victories, and they came back rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them in Jesus’ name (Luke 10:17).  The Lord had given them smooth going in this first experience to give them confidence in their beginning attempts at ministry.

But, now Jesus is warning them that the battle is about to heat up in ways that they had never experienced before.  They will encounter situations where God would not miraculously provide, and so they needed to make adequate provisions in advance. Jesus’ being numbered with the transgressors meant a new level of spiritual conflict. This hour and the power of darkness belonged to the enemy (Luke 22:53).  The disciples needed to be ready.

So, Jesus told the disciples to sell their robe and buy a sword.  And, when they produced two swords, He said, “It is enough.”  What did He mean?  In light of Jesus’ command to Peter in the garden to put away his sword, and Christ’s non-resistance to the Jewish guards (Luke 22:53), it is obvious that Jesus was speaking symbolically, not literally, when He told them to buy swords.  He was referring to the swords as a symbol of preparation for the intense spiritual conflict just ahead.  When the disciples took Jesus literally and produced two swords and He replied, “It is enough,” He was dismissing the subject in light of their continuing spiritual dullness. They just didn’t get it.

There is one more factor in our text that shows that the disciples were spiritually blind and dull: They did not understand that Isaiah 53:12, “And He was numbered with the transgressors” applied to Jesus:  Jesus tells them that it referred to Him and now would be fulfilled.  Most Jews understood that Scripture as applying to the nation, not to Messiah.  They did not have a concept of a suffering Servant Messiah.  They thought that an exalted, powerful Messiah would deliver a suffering nation.  As the risen Lord later tells the two men from Emmaus, and repeats to the apostles, Christ first had to suffer these things and then enter into His glory (Luke 24:26, 46).

The application for us is that often behind our spiritual failure is our blindness to our own weakness and to the warnings of God’s Word.  We just don’t see the situation from God’s perspective.  And, like the disciples, we often read Scripture with our own bias, missing what God intended for us to see.  For example, I have seen Christians who read in Hebrews 11 of all the glorious deliverances that God accomplished through those who trusted Him, but they block out the end of the chapter, where it describes how believers were mocked, scourged, imprisoned, and sawed in two.  So, when they experience suffering rather than deliverance, they think that God has failed them.  They simply did not understand Scripture.

Thus, behind spiritual failure is a spiritual enemy; and, there is blindness to our own weakness and danger.

3. Behind spiritual failure is our own slowness to grasp the spiritual significance of events before they hit.

The disciples didn’t realize that they were on the brink of the greatest spiritual conflict in history, when the Son of God would be delivered into the hands of sinners.  If they had known what Jesus was telling them, that this hour and the power of darkness belonged to the enemy, they would have stayed awake and prayed with Jesus in the garden. Peter wouldn’t have foolishly drawn his sword and lopped off the servant’s ear.  They were thinking in physical and human terms when they needed to be thinking in spiritual and supernatural terms.

When we fail the Lord, we usually are operating on the human plane only.  We fail to see the cosmic battle in the heavenlies.  We forget that we are supposed to glorify God before the principalities and powers.  We’re just thinking about our needs and our perspective.  We forget that God has a bigger plan and that He wants to use this temptation as a victory for His cause.  We miss the spiritual significance of events until it i4 too late.

4. Behind spiritual failure is a failure of faith.

The Lord tells Peter that He has prayed for him “so that his faith may not fail.”  He means, so that it would not fail utterly, beyond recovery.  His faith failed, but it did not fail completely because of the Lord’s intercession.  But when Satan attacks, he always attacks faith, because faith links us with Christ and all the benefits of our salvation.  If the enemy can sever our faith, he has cut the connection by which we lay hold of God’s grace and power.  Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  So. the enemy invariably goes after the jugular vein of our faith.

That is why Paul tells us, in spiritual conflict, “Above all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16).  That is why Peter later instructs us to “resist him (the devil), steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9).  If our faith is in the living Lord, we will not fail.  Invariably, behind spiritual failure is a failure of our faith.

That’s enough analysis of the problem.  Now let’s focus on the hope that the Lord gives us through His grace.

When we fail the Lord, His grace points the way back and gives us hope.

Just as a diamond sparkles more brilliantly when set on a background of black velvet, so God’s grace shines more brilliantly when set against the blackness of our sin.  His grace shines through in our text in several ways:

1. Christ’s gracious prayers for us are the ultimate reason for our perseverance.

It’s obvious that Peter didn’t have a clue about what was going on concerning him in the spiritual realm.  He didn’t know that Satan had demanded permission to sift him like wheat or that Christ had already prayed for him so that his faith would not finally fail.  He erroneously thought that he could stand against this powerful enemy in his own resolve. But it’s also obvious that the reason that Peter would recover and persevere in his service for the Lord was because of Christ’s prayers for Peter, not because of Peter’s resolve to follow the Lord.

In Romans 8:34, the Bible proclaims, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”  In Hebrews 7:25, the Bible tells us that since Christ abides forever as our great High Priest, “He is able to save to the uttermost [or, “completely”] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”  What a great assurance, that we are not only saved by Christ’s death on our behalf, but that we also shall be saved by His present ministry of intercession for us!  As Paul also assures us, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians).  Even if you have failed the Lord big time, if you know that He saved you by His grace, then you can know that He will restore and keep you by that same grace. But if we have failed, we should not be passive:

2. Our repentance turns us away from sin and back to the Lord’s grace.

The Lord tells Peter “and when you have returned to Me” (Luke 22:32). Turning away from our sin and back to God is the main idea of repentance.  In Acts 3:19 Peter preaches, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  In Acts 26:18, Paul describes his commission from God to go to the Gentiles, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’”

Sometimes when we have sinned, we feel that we cannot go back to God again.  But when Christ died on the cross for our sins, He didn’t just die for the little ones.  He died for them all, big and little alike!  While we should never abuse God’s grace by sinning, when we do sin, Scripture assures us that we have Christ as our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).

3. The Lord’s graciously restoring us to service keeps us walking in brokenness and trust.

I do not know why the Lord did not pray that Peter would be kept from sin.  Rather, He prayed that having sinned, his faith would not permanently fail.  But I do know that God often uses failure to teach us some lessons that we cannot learn in any other way.  By nature, we are all too confident in our flesh, and it is only when we fall that we begin to realize how weak we really are, which drives us to trust more fully in the Lord’s strength.

The Lord here assigns Peter a ministry after he is restored, to strengthen his brothers. He could do that ministry much more tenderly and without pride after his fall than he would have done before it.  Before we fall, we often look down on others who fail, proudly thinking that we are somehow more “together” than they are.  God uses our failures to make us more sympathetic and compassionate.  As Paul instructs us when we seek to restore others, we must look to ourselves lest we too be tempted (Galatians 6:1).  It is when we proudly think that we won’t fall that we’re most in danger of falling (1 Corinthians 10:12).

4. The fact that Christ graciously chose us even though He knew that we would fail should move us to repent.

The Lord chose Peter knowing full well how Peter would deny Him.  Here Christ reveals in detail that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny three times that he knew Him. But He still chose him!  What was true of Peter is true of every believer:

The Lord chose you knowing that we fail.

5. The unusual grace that Christ shows after we repent should draw us to Him.

Jesus made a special point to single out Peter after the resurrection and to restore him to service.  On that first Resurrection Sunday, when the men from Emmaus returned to Jerusalem to tell of their encounter with the risen Lord, the eleven said to them, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon” (Luke24:34).  At the tomb, the angel told the surprised women, “… He has risen; He is not here; see the place where they laid Him.  But go, tell His disciples – and Peter – that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him as He said to you.”  (Mark 16:6-7).  Those wonderful extra and yet not extra words, “and Peter,” show us the unusual grace of the Lord in restoring the repentant Peter.  “Go and tell the disciples” was enough, since that included Peter.  But knowing Peter’s colossal failure, the Lord instructed the angel to add, “and Peter!”  When we fail the Lord and then repent, He just keeps piling on His grace to reassure us of His forgiveness.

6. The starting point to experience God’s grace is to trust in Christ as your sin bearer.

Jesus cites Isaiah 53:12 as finding fulfillment in Himself, that “He was numbered with the transgressors.”  Of course, this prophecy refers to His crucifixion between the two thieves, but it points to more.   Christ was subjected to the condemnation which we deserved, and was reckoned among transgressors, that we, who are transgressors, and loaded with sins, might be presented by Him to the Father as righteous.  For we are reckoned pure and free from sins before God, because the Lamb, who was pure and free from every blemish.  On the cross, Jesus Christ became our substitute, bearing the penalty we deserved.  The Bible states in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

But you must personally apply Christ’s shed blood to your sins by faith.  If you have not trusted in Christ, even if you think that you’re a pretty good person, the Bible says that you are in Satan’s domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13).  But God offers His free and abundant grace to every sinner.  If you will trust in Jesus Christ to save you from God’s judgment, you will experience His abundant grace and forgiveness for all your sins.


I believe that one of the main things that keeps us from receiving God’s grace in Christ is our pride.  We think, “Yes, I’ve failed God, but it wasn’t all that bad. Besides, I’m basically a good person.”  The Bible says that God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).  If you want God’s grace, you must humble yourself and come as a needy sinner.

In the highlands of Scotland, sheep occasionally wander off among the rocky crags and get themselves trapped on dangerous ledges.  They leap down to get the sweet grass on a ledge, but they can’t get back up.  A shepherd will allow the helpless animal to remain there for days, until it becomes so weak that it’s unable to stand up.  Finally, he ties a rope around himself and goes over the ledge to rescue the straying sheep.

You may ask, “Why doesn’t the shepherd go down right away?”  The answer is that the sheep are so foolish that they would dash right over the precipice and be killed if the shepherd didn’t wait until their strength was nearly gone. (“Our Daily Bread,” Winter, 1980.)

You may be like that straying sheep.  You have allowed sin to entice you into a situation where you are trapped and unable to find your way out.  Maybe you’ve even called out to God, but He doesn’t seem to be answering.  The reason is, He knows that you’re still too strong in yourself.  But when you come to the end of yourself and recognize that you cannot do anything to save yourself, if you will call out to Jesus Christ, He will save you. He is the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep.  Confess your sin and failure to Him.  Cry out to Him to save you from your sins.  You will experience His abundant grace and pardon.

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.


“But I Have Prayed For You”

Grace For The Journey


25July  In Luke 22 Jesus reveals to Peter an intense conversation between Satan and Himself.  In verses 31-32 Jesus tells Peter, “Simon, Simon!  Indeed, Satan has asked for yo hat he may sift you as wheat.  But, I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  I pray today’s blog will be a source of encouragement to you and cause you to be excited even as you face uncertain and difficult days knowing that our Lord knows what is going on in your life and will bring you through whatever you face in a magnificent way and for a significant purpose.  As we look at this encounter of Jesus with Peter, we learn several truths:

The first reality to consider is that spiritual warfare is ever-present whether we see it or not.  Most of the time we are oblivious to it.  However, our Lord saw fit to inform Peter of Satan’s demands to sift him like wheat.  Jesus was not going to let Peter go it alone in his ignorance.  He comes to Peter, even before Peter realizes how much he needs the Lord and reassures Peter of His love and protection of him!   Let me break down this passage in more detail.

“Simon, Simon” – When a name is repeated in the sacred writings, it appears to be always intended as an expression of love, manifested by a warning voice.  It is as if Jesus is saying, “While you and the others are contending for supremacy, Satan is endeavoring to destroy you all: but I have prayed for thee, as being in most danger.”

“Satan hath desired – you” – That is, all the apostles, but particularly the three contenders: the plural pronoun sufficiently proves that these words were not addressed to Peter alone.  Satan had already got one, Judas (Luke 22:3); he had nearly got another, Peter; and he wished to have all.  But we see by this that the devil cannot even tempt a man unless he receives permission.  He desires to do all evil; he is permitted only to do some.

“May sift you as wheat” – Grain was agitated or shaken in a kind of fan or sieve.  The grain remained in the fan, and the chaff and dust were thrown off.   Christ says that Satan desired to try Peter; to place trials and temptations before him to see whether anything of faith would remain.  Some might be surprised that God granted Satan’s request!  In His inscrutable purposes, God uses Satan, who thinks that he will achieve his evil purpose, but God overrules him and turns it for His greater purpose of good.

In verse 22 Jesus declares that He had already counterattacked Satan by praying to God for Peter, and for all the other disciples (cf. Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

Notice that the Master did not ask that His servants might be freed from trouble.  The undergoing of difficulty and hardship is an integral part of the Christian way.  Jesus described Peter’s “faith” as being stretched to its limit.  He was confident that Peter would survive this attack with God’s help.  His confidence indicates the superior power of Jesus over Satan in spiritual warfare.  When he did turn back to Jesus, Peter would need to help the other disciples (“brethren” – Acts 1:15) – whose faith Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and burial would challenge (cf. John 21:15-17; 1 Thessalonica 3:2, 13; 1 Peter 5:10).

Jesus implied that Peter would turn away from Him temporarily (“when you have turned back”).  When Peter objected to this assumption, which he considered insulting (verse 33), Jesus said frankly that Peter would deny Him because He knew the future (verse 34).

Peter had a responsibility even though Jesus prayed for him.

Prayer and action are not

Mutually contradictory,

But complementary.

Peter’s commitment to Jesus was admirable.  Luke alone recorded that Peter promised to die with Jesus, and this is the first time that one of the disciples perceived and or acknowledged that Jesus was about to die.  Nonetheless, Peter overestimated his own ability to remain faithful when persecuted. Luke is also the only evangelist who mentioned that Jesus told Peter that he would deny that he even knew Jesus.  Perhaps this was a particular temptation for Theophilus and Luke’s original Greek readers. “Rocky” would hardly behave as a rock.  His overconfidence should be a warning to every disciple.

How would Peter (and us) stand to benefit from such knowledge?  I see several reasons:

  1. Jesus wants to comfort us with the knowledge that Satan is more powerful than we are, but that Christ is more powerful than Satan (John 16:33; Colossians 2:15).

The god of this world is more powerful than we are.  Christ wants us to know this.   Satan, must, as in the case of Job (Job 1:6-12), ask permission to harm any of God’s children and is powerless to harm a hair of our heads without divine permission, regardless of his pitch or tone.  This knowledge simultaneously humbles us and exalts Christ.  Jesus wants us to know that we cannot conquer Satan without Him.

  1. Jesus reveals the weapon He used to sustain Peter – “But I have prayed for you.”

Christ’s end goal, to sustain Peter through Satan’s attack, does not merely come to us in factual terms only.  Jesus also gives us insight into the means by which He sustains Peter.  If Christ needed prayer to defeat Satan, how much more do we need prayer to defeat him!  O Lord, forgive us for taking prayer too lightly!  Perhaps the intensity of our prayer would not be lacking if Christ informed us of every time He used them to fight off the enemy on our behalf!

  1. The third benefit of Christ informing Peter of His conversation with Satan is that it gives us insight into the long-suffering character of God.

Christ not only predicts Peter’s fall

But also predicts Peter’s recovery.

Only a God of great omnipotence

Could predict such things.

Only One with absolute authority can allow Peter’s faith to temporarily fail and rise again for His sovereign purposes.

It should lead us to answer three questions:

1. What should this knowledge of spiritual warfare do to the frequency and fervency of our prayers?

2. How might we apply these prayers to our brothers and sisters who may or may not know they are experiencing spiritual warfare?

3. How might we apply this to our future?

Christ’s love of Peter

Saw beyond his failures.

God’s choice of Peter to lead the other disciples came not because our Lord overlooked his sins but because He paid for them.   It is an overwhelming thought to consider that Christ presently sustains me despite His knowledge of my future sins. Let us consider the power of appealing to such a longsuffering mediator as our Lord Jesus.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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


What Do Christians Care About (Most)?

Grace For The Journey



I have two statements that I want to commend to you as biblical and true and loving.  My persuasion is that if you embrace these two declarations, they will have three long-term effects on your life.

  1. They will help your thoughts, feelings, and live be formed decisively by Scripture rather than by culture.
  2. They will help you clarify how Christians are of use to the world while being radically different from the world. And,
  3. They will help you keep God supreme, in the forefront of your life, and hold fast to Christ as absolutely crucial.

Both of the statements that I am going to discuss in today’s blog are designed to prick the conscience of one group of Christians and call out the unbelief of another group of Christians, and, I hope, bring clarity, conviction, courage, and joy to you.  I’ll mention both statements and then try to show how the Bible points to them.

  1. Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.
  2. Christians care about all injustice, especially injustice against God.

When I use the phrases “care about suffering” and “Care about injustice” I am not saying that all Christians agree on the best strategies for how to address all suffering and all injustice.  We will debate those strategies until Jesus comes.

What I am saying is more basic: Christians care.  Suffering and injustice move us, touch us, and awaken some measure of compassion, or indignation, or both.

You can see this caring in the parable Jesus uses in John 10:13.  In this parable, Jesus taught that the hired hand how is not a shepherd “cares nothing for the sheep.”  The hired hand just wants to get his pay and live his self-absorbed life.  It is clear – He does not care.

You can see it again in what John said about Judas when Judas complained about money spent on Jesus’s anointing: He complained about this “waste,” and John say in John 12;:6, “Not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief.”

Christians are not like hired hands, and they are not like hypocritical, religious thieves. Christians care about all suffering, all injustice.  We are touched.  We are moved.  Our hearts are moved toward relief, protection, and justice.   If we don’t, we are not acting like Christians.

Let’s consider these two sentences one at a time.

Christians care about all suffering,

Especially eternal suffering.

The word “All” is intended to prick the conscience of Christians who believe that caring about the suffering of disease, malnutrition, disability, mental illness, injury, abuse, assault, loneliness, rejection, calamity — caring has to be restricted, because caring about these kinds of suffering might distract from, and diminish, our commitment to the gospel of Christ crucified and risen, and from the greater need of rescuing people from eternal suffering through faith in Jesus.

Our response to this should be, “No, Christians care about all suffering. Over and over in the Gospels the Bible teaches that Jesus cared . . . He had compassion . . .

  • On the harassed crowds (Matthew 9:36),
  • On the sick (Matthew 14:14),
  • For the hungry (Matthew 15:32),
  • On the blind (Matthew 20:34),
  • On the leper (Mark 1:41),
  • On the demon-possessed (Mark 9:22), and
  • On the bereaved (Luke 7:13).

And when He told a parable to teach us what He meant by “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) He said, “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion” (Luke 10:33).   He cared.  This disposition of the soul to care is included in the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

So . . .

Christians care about all suffering.

But that is not all . . .

Christian especially care about eternal suffering.

The word “especially” is intended to call out the practical unbelief of those Christians who either don’t believe there is such a thing as eternal suffering, or who convince themselves that it is more loving not to warn people about it and not to plead with them to escape it through the provision God Himself has made in the cross of Christ.

In either case, practically,

They don’t care

About eternal suffering,

But Jesus did.

In Matthew 25:41 and 46. He warned us that it was coming: “Then the King will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ . . . And these [on his left] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Paul shared the same conviction and warned us in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “Those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus . . . will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”  And John – the apostle of love – warns with the strongest language of all in Revelation 14:9-11, “Then a third angel followed them, saying ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out rull strength into the cup of His indignation.  He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever . . .”  They really cared about whether people suffer eternally or rejoice eternally.

Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) once asked, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them?”

Sadly today, a lot of Christians, including many missionaries,

Have convinced themselves that they are loving lost people

By caring mostly about their physical suffering in this world,

And little about how, or where, they will spend eternity.

I recently read an article about reaching an unreached people group.  It began by mentioning the beneficial earthly effects of missionary work – education, medicine, prosperity, written language – and ended with a focus on earthly human flourishing, with one passing mention of Jesus in the middle.

No God.  No wrath.  No need for the cross.  No salvation.  No forgiveness of sins.  No faith.  No hell.  No heaven.  No eternal joy with God.  Whether the article was accurate or not, this is what was held up for today as a model of missionary success.

My prayer for you is that you will absolutely reject this either-or mentality: either relieve suffering now or plead with people to escape eternal suffering into eternal joy through the gospel of Christ.  My prayer is that you will say “No” to that soul-destroying dichotomy – and even the prioritizing of temporal well-being over eternal well-being. I pray you will say — and display — for the rest of your life: Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.

Now, let’s consider the second statement, “Christians care about all injustice, especially injustice against God.

Christians care about all injustice. Again, the word “All” is intended to prick the conscience of Christians who, because of self-indulgence or fear, have dulled the capacities of their hearts to care about the injustices of the world – all the countless ways that people, all over the world, are treated by other people worse than they deserve.

I say this is from “self-indulgence” because I think most indifference to injustice among professing Christians is not owing to convictional partiality or opposition, but rather to the moral stupor that comes over us when we are satiated with the comforts of this world.

But the dulling of our care about injustice also comes from fear of man – fear that some group will put a theological or political label on us that would be misleading and offensive.  And so, we convince ourselves that indifference to injustice is a price worth paying to maintain a certain reputation.

But in fact, Christians do care about all injustice.  Because all justice is rooted in God.  Look at what the Bible says about this:

  • “He is The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice.  A God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
  • “For the word of the LORD is right; and all His work is done in truth.  He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.” (Psalm 33:5).
  • “The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.” (Psalm 99:4).
  • “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until [Jesus] brings justice to victory.” (Matthew 12:20)
  • “Great and MARVELOUS ARE Your works, Lord God Almighty!  Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!” (Revelation 15:3)
  • “And I heard another from the altar saying, ‘Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments!” (Revelation 16:7)

And from the justice of our God and Savior flow His commands to us:

  • “So, by the help of your God . . . Observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually” (Hosea 12:6).
  • “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
  • “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
  • “Woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42)

If we neglect justice, if we do not care about all injustice, we are not acting like Christians.  Because Christians care about all injustice.

And, we care about all injustice, especially injustice against God.  The second part of this statement begins with “especially” – this is intended to call out the practical unbelief of Christians for whom injustices against humans ignite more passion in their hearts and in their mouths than the global tragedy of injustice against God.  And, it aims to call out the practical unbelief of Christians who are so anesthetized by the comforts and entertainments of this world that they don’t care about injustice against man or God.

“God is infinitely deserving of complete

Worship and trust and obedience.”

Injustice is to treat someone worse than they deserve from other people.  And the more respect they deserve, and the less we render, the greater the injustice.  God alone deserves the highest respect, honor, praise, love, fear, devotion, allegiance, and obedience.  Yet, every single human being has fallen short of this worship, and exchanged the glory of God for the creation (Romans 1:23; 3:23).

Therefore, every human is guilty of an injustice that is infinitely worse than all injustices against man put together.  God is infinitely deserving of complete worship, trust, and obedience.  Therefore, in treating God as unworthy of our total allegiance, every human is guilty of an infinite injustice against God.

This injustice against God came to a climax in the very moment when God Himself, in great mercy, and without compromising His justice, came in human flesh to save us from the just penalty of our own injustice against him.

The Bible describes this in Acts 8:32-33, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.  In His humiliation His justice was taken away . . .”  And, as God embraced infinite injustice against Himself, He purchased a people who would prize above all things Christ crucified as the vindication of God’s justice, and the forgiveness of our injustice against Him.  He embraced injustice against Himself to create a brokenhearted, bold people called Christians who would be marked by these two God-centered, Christ-exalting sentences:

Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.

Christians care about all injustice, especially injustice against God.

I pray that you will treasure them and to advocate of them for the rest of your life.

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.”


Where Would We Be Without The Cross?

Grace For The Journey


24July  Where would we be without the cross?  The sad truth sad truth is that those of us raised in the Church do not fully appreciate the message of the cross and the cost of it.  Perhaps this is because we to have lost or forgotten the effect of it in our lives.  The sad result of this is that the effects of the cross cannot be seen in us daily.  Or, perhaps we never fully grew in awe of it because we never fully let go of the effects of a fallen world.  It is amazing how a few verses can cause us to catch our breath and cause us to stand still in surrender.

The Bible says in Colossians 1:21, “Once you were alienated from God and you were enemies with Him in your minds, which was shown by your evil actions.”

This is who we were; and yet, not a one of us are never far from returning to it.

What Adam and Eve opened the door to

Has wrecked havoc on all of God’s creation,

And especially upon our minds.

As a result of our fallen state,

We tend to make ourselves the center of everything

And refuse to give glory to anyone else.

Even if we are forced to do it, it is usually because there is some benefit for us to do it.

This selfishness sets us up to be

In direct contradiction to the purpose

For which we were created,

Setting ourselves up us the enemy

Instead of the worshiper

Of the One who gave us life.

The rebellion that is conceived in our hearts and minds, plagues our hearts and is revealed in our actions.

We set ourselves up

As our own gods,

And we always will.

Other people only have worth as long as they have something to add to us and the moment we perceive they have nothing to offer, we cut them off.  Lying, cheating, stealing, killing, along with self-determination are all rationalized when we consider our needs to be the most important.  What a contrast this kind of living is to our Lord Jesus.  The Bible says in Philippians2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being I the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men … He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  

Because of Christ’s obedience, death, and resurrection can be impacted and influenced by the cross …

Because Jesus changed everything for us.

No longer are we trapped,

Under the control of sin

Which had misshaped

Every aspect of what

We were created to be.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:11 and 22, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” … “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame.”

Jesus did that.

While we were still enemies of God,

Jesus sacrificed Himself

So that we could be transferred

From darkness and death

Into the Kingdom of life and light.

We must get it through our heads . . .

There was no good in us,

We had nothing to offer, no value,

And yet He made a decision to love us.

In that love

He sent His Son

To rescue us

But we still have to decide

To accept it, love Him back, and obey.

Although oftentimes we still see no value in ourselves compared to His holiness, the fact is . . .

God now sees us

As holy, faultless and without blame,

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross.

Live the biggest good life you can muster, it has no value; only Jesus can save.  But there is something we have to do.  Only as we live in the power of the cross and resurrection will we fulfill our purpose.  The Bible says in Philippians 1:9-11, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”:

We have to let God complete His work of our salvation in our lives every day.  It takes God’s power and grace to remain faithful to Jesus.  It requires a conscience effort to deny the desires of our flesh and to choose Jesus’ righteousness daily.  If we know who He is and who we are in Him, and remind ourselves every day, then our effort enables the Spirit to empower us to overcome the draw of sin.  We don’t even have to think about that very much, we just have to desire Jesus, and a growing intimacy with Him.  Love really does take care of the rest, because the action of love is obedience.

We are not perfect but we are being perfected.  In God’s eyes we are perfect.  When we mess up and sin, we confess it and by His grace it is gone.  We can grow in confidence, learning to love Him more deeply, knowing He is not looking to destroy us but to increase us.

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.”


Are You Neglecting The Old Testament?

Grace For The Journey


23July  The Bible says in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  What are these “Scriptures” that Paul is referring to in this verse?  I thought the term “Scriptures” was a term designated only for the sixty-six (66) Books of the Bible?  Since the New Testament was not yet complete, Paul is referring to what could only be a reference to the Old Testament when he calls them “Scriptures.”

This is important for us to consider because I fear that we are living in a time when so much emphasis is placed on the “New Testament” to the neglect of the “Old Testament.”  After all, it is old.  Really old!  And some would say it is therefore not applicable for our time.  But the age of these “sacred writings” (2 Timothy 3:15) is exactly why we should place great emphasis on, not only reading the Old Testament, but treating these Scriptures the way the New Testament authors did.

Have you read every book in the Old Testament?  I imagine, if you are like me, you have read Matthew’s Gospel more than Hosea.  My question is, “Why is this?”  Here are three reasons you should read the Old Testament.

1. The God of the New Testament is the same as the God of the Old Testament.

One of the reasons people neglect the Old Testament is because they do not like the God of the Old Testament.  After all Jesus is so nice in the New Testament and God is so mean in the Old Testament, right?  Let’s look at this a little deeper.  The Bible says in Malachi 3:6, “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”  Did you catch that?  God does not change.  He is the same in the Old as He is in the New.  This is so comforting.

Also . . .

Notice in this verse that

The immutability of God

Is the reason

Why the people

Are not consumed.

The notion that

The Old Testament God

Is only a God of wrath

And the New Testament Jesus

Is only a God of love is

… Well … Just not true.

The grace and compassion of God flows out of every page of the Old Testament.  There are also plenty of “woes” and warnings of God’s “judgment” cast from Jesus in the New Testament.  Consider Jonah’s confession about God when he says, “I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”  The character of God is exactly why Jonah fled!  He did not want those wicked Ninevites to meet the real God who relents from disaster.  You say, “But what about all the foreign armies God sent to destroy Israel, God’s chosen people?”  Yes, that is indeed a part of the Old Testament Scriptures.  Those same Scriptures also contain the record of the about the years of warnings of the prophets of God.  God graciously gave Israel, and the pagan nations, time to turn from their sin.  The loving thing for God to do was discipline His son Israel.  Even in the mist of their discipline the declares in Lamentations 3:22-24, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

If you have the impression

That God is only a mean-spirited God

In the Old Testament

Then you need to read it again

Or perhaps for the first time

With a new set of lenses.

2. If you neglect the Old Testament you are neglecting Jesus

The whole of the sixty-six (66) Books of the Bible is about Jesus.  The Old Testament speaks of a coming deliverer and the New Testament looks back on His life and explains the significance of it.

Jews spoke of the Old Testament in three main parts; The Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  Recall Jesus words at the end of the Luke’s gospel when he told his disciples, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).

Did you catch it?

The Law, the Psalms,

And the Prophets

Were all written about Jesus.

Just a few verses earlier Luke tells us about Jesus talking to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and says, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).  In John 5:46 Jesus says, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.”

To the degree that

You neglect the Old Testament

Is the degree

That you are neglecting Jesus.

3. The New Testament explains the Old Testament.

What is the best commentary ever written on the Old Testament?  You answered correctly if you said the New Testament.  This is not to demean the New Testament to a level that is not Scripture.  It absolutely is.

This is my simple way

Of making the point

That the New Testament

Explains the Old Testament.

You would have a lot of questions if you watched The Two Towers before you watched The Fellowship of the Ring, wouldn’t you?  Why read book two before book one?  The new does not replace the old.  It fulfills it.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to destroy them but to fulfill them.  Verily, I say to you, til heaven and earth pass away, one jot, or tittle will by no means pass from the Law til all is fulfilled.”  Read the old stuff my friends.  Your passion for Jesus will increase if you understand the stage that was set for Him by God the Father.  By reading and understanding the Old Testament you will gain a greater appreciation for New Testament.  And as you read both, they will give you a complete picture of Who Jesus is and What He had done for us!  And that is amazing stuff!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The JournRest 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.”


God Is At Work

Grace For The Journey
















I want to do something a little different in my blog today.  I want to share what I read recently about a man who demonstrates that God is a work in our lives, many times when we don’t see it or understand it.   The Bible reminds us of this truth in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  I pray that it will be a real encouragement to your heart today.

I don’t think many of us would be surprised to find out that there are more Baptists in the United States than in any other country in the world, with estimates ranging anywhere from 35-50 million.  The next few countries with the largest population of Baptists might surprise us though.  They are primarily found in Asia and Africa, in places like India, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar, which used to be called Burma.

Surprisingly, Myanmar, of all places, continues to have one of the highest percentages of Baptists by population of any country today and has had for over 100 years.  The reason for that is that God was at work through Jesus Christ and His gospel to bring about the kingdom of God through the life of one man, Adoniram Judson, and his trust that God would use him to reach the lost for Him.

Judson was saved when he was twenty years old, and he quickly sensed that God was calling him to vocational missions, spending his life sharing the gospel with people overseas.  He became convinced that he needed to go to Asia because there were so many people there who weren’t Christians.  He arrived in Calcutta, India in 1812, along with his wife Ann, to join a Christian work started by William Carey.

Two things happened almost immediately

That probably would have deterred most of us.

1) Less than a year after they got to India they were forced to leave because the British didn’t want Americans there; the War of 1812 between the USA and Britain had begun;  2) Instead of leaving for home, they set sail for what was then called Burma, but right before they got there they had a miscarriage with their first child.

Instead of leaving though, they settled into the country.  It took another year before they finally found a place they could permanently live and minister.  Burma was a completely Buddhist nation at the time, and they were the only known Christians there.  Adoniram and Ann went to work learning the language, which is so different from English and other Western languages that it took them over three years to learn it.

Four years passed after they moved to Burma before Judson dared to hold even a semi-public service, with little success.

The idea of an all-powerful, Creator God

Who came to save humanity

In the person of Jesus Christ

Was completely foreign

To the Buddhist mindset

And culture of Burma.

 Making it even more difficult

Was the law that forbade religious conversion

From Buddhism, punishable by death.

Finally, in June of 1819, seven years into their stay, Judson baptized his first Burmese convert.  In 1820 he got an audience with the Emperor of Burma and attempted to witness to him and convince him to allow conversion from Buddhism to other religions, but the Emperor refused and threw him out.   By 1823 though, when they had been there for ten years, there were 18 believers meeting together in a little church in Burma, and Judson had finally translated the entire New Testament into the Burmese language.

Try to put yourself in Hudson’s place at this point.  In the grand scheme of things, when you consider the billions of people who have lived on this planet throughout history, 18 people and one translated New Testament doesn’t sound like all that much, especially after 10 years of hard work and suffering.  How many of us would have stayed?  Why would Judson?

It was because he was convinced of a truth

We too must be convinced of

If we are going to live for God:

God is at work

Through the gospel of Jesus Christ

To build the church

And bring about the kingdom,

And the results must be left to Him;

But they will be beyond compare.

Unfortunately, Judson’s church didn’t live happily ever after. In 1824, Burma and Britain went to war, making all English-speakers threats, and Judson was arrested, spending 20 months as a prisoner of war.  He was arrested in front of his wife, marched across the country, and tortured throughout his sentence, often hung upside down in prison.  A few years after that experience Judson’s wife, Ann, died, as did their infant child.

Judson knew that God had called him

To this place however,

And That God is faithful,

So he stayed faithful,

Sowing the Word.

By 1832, 19 years after moving there, he had started a new work.  This time that new work grew rapidly.  One of his indigenous disciples began a fruitful ministry himself. When Judson died in 1850 after 37 years in Burma, he left behind over 100 churches and 8000 believers, as well as the entire Bible, translated into the Burmese language. He was also instrumental in beginning the first Baptist mission organization in the United States, which led to the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845.

We must remember and trust

That God is at work.

If we come to Him,

He is at work in our lives,

Changing us through His Word.

He is at work in our church.

He is at work using our witness

In our community, In our home,

At our workplace,

At our school,

And in our country.

We may never well know how He will use us.  What we do know is that if we hear Jesus, receive His Word, grow in His grace, surrender to Him so that He bears His fruit in us, depend on Him, and remain faithful, He will work in us, and through us, to bring in a harvest we could never begin to reap on our own.

What a comfort!  What an encouraging word – God is at work!

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.”


The Precious Power of the Blood – Five Benefits Christ Purchased for Us

Grace For The Journey


19July  There is a song that most Christians are familiar with.  The words to the chorus go like this,

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Happy memories flood my mind when I hear these words. We sang them often in church when I was young.  My father seemed to love “Power in the Blood” most of all.  I could tell he would sing louder than normal on this one, and I’d follow suit.  I think the whole congregation sang with more gusto than usual, but I couldn’t hear them well with the two of us both raising our voices.

Christians of all stripes and leaning affirm

There is indeed power in the blood of Jesus.

Bible-and Spirit-shaped souls feel that intuitively, but have you ever paused to ask how? Is there magic in the blood?  If there is power in His blood, how do we explain the reality?  What truths operate under the surface when we celebrate, in shorthand, this wonder-working pow’r?

What Does the Blood Do?

The New Testament epistle to the Hebrews builds the bridge from the Old Testament sacrificial system (and its blood) to the new covenant and Jesus’s once-for-all sacrifice (Hebrews 9:7,12).  Throughout the Bible, blood represents life (for instance, Genesis 9:4), and the spilling or shedding of blood, in turn, depicts death (Leviticus 17:11,14; Deuteronomy 12:23;).  Because the just penalty of human sin against God is death (Romans 6:23), the death of sanctioned animal sacrifices, through the presentation of their blood, stood in temporarily for the requirement of death for sinners.  Yet, the high priest had to return year after year, “repeatedly” (Hebrews 9:7,25), because “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).  The repeated animal sacrifices were delaying the inevitable, waiting on God’s fullness of times.  One day a final reckoning for sin must come.

Christians, of course, believe and celebrate that now in Christ, and under the terms of a new covenant, the reckoning has come.  Jesus willingly “offered Himself” (Hebrews 9:14) by “once for all” shedding “His own blood” (Hebrews 9:12), bringing to its intended completion the temporary covenant that came before (the old covenant) and inaugurating in its place an “eternal covenant,” (Hebrews 13:30), which we call the new covenant.

Hebrews celebrates some of the specific benefits

Christians enjoy because of Jesus’s blood

(Hebrews 10:19; 13:12),

But it’s the apostle Paul, in particular,

Who celebrates the manifold grace

That comes to us because of His blood.

In one sense, we can connect to Jesus’s blood every divine grace that comes to us, but five times Paul makes the connection explicit, with both the mention of blood and a specific aspect of what Christ has secured for us with His death.

Propitiation: To Remove God’s Righteous Wrath.

The Bible says in Romans 3:25 that Jesus is the one whom “God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”  Because God is just, the sins of His people are no small obstacle. In His kindness and grace, He has chosen to love us, yet in His righteousness and justice he cannot sweep our sins, which are acts of cosmic treason against Him, under the rug of the universe.  So, in His love, He devises a way to satisfy justice and still triumph with mercy.

God Himself, in the person of His own Son, takes on human flesh and blood and offers himself in the place of sinful people, to receive the just wrath of God and pay our penalty in His death, all that we might live.  His blood, then, signifying the sacrificial giving of His life in the place of those deserving death (and “received by faith”), propitiates His righteous wrath, upholds divine justice, and opens the floodgates of his mercy.

Justification: To Extend God’s Full Acceptance.

Romans 5:9 says “we have now been justified by his blood.”  Justified is courtroom language.  The prosecution and defense each present their case, and the judge or jury makes a declaration: either righteous or condemned.  The defendant is either guilty as charged or declared to be in right standing with the law – justified.

The reason those who are united to Jesus by faith are justified is owing, in part, to His sacrificial and substitutionary death.  He willingly shed His own blood not for His own sins (he had none), but for ours.  The spilling of His blood to cover our sins made possible our sharing in His righteousness by joining us to Him through faith.  Without His blood, our unrighteousness would remain unaddressed.  We could not stand with Him at the final judgment and receive with Him his Father’s declaration, “Righteous.”

Redemption: To Purchase Our True Freedom.

Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”  To redeem means “to buy back or secure the freedom of someone in bondage.”  Because of our sins, we all were (or continue to be) in spiritual captivity.  Our violations of God’s law means we deserve His omnipotent, righteous wrath.  But in Christ, by the shedding of his Blood, which forgives our sins before God, He purchases our freedom from justice and from the power of Satan. The Bible declares this in Colossians 2:13-14, “Having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”  Through His self-offering at the cross, Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame” (Colossians 2:15).

The decisive weapon the demons had against us was unforgiven sin, but when Jesus spilled His own blood in our place, to forgive our sins, He freed us from captivity.  He redeemed us from Satan and the record of debt and legal demands against us.

Forgiveness: To Restore Our Best Relationship

These precious themes, of course, overlap.  We’ve already seen the importance of forgiveness, but Ephesians 2:13 puts it at the forefront: “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” At the heart of this “bringing near” is the restoration of humanity with the divine.  On the individual level, it’s the redemption in Christ of personal access to and a relationship with God that we, born into sin, never could have secured.  On the corporate level, it’s the restoration in Christ of the relationship with God for which we were made.

Our sin and rebellion against God has put distance between us and Him.  In His old-covenant grace, He drew near to His covenant people called Israel.  But now, in the new covenant, He draws near not to a particular ethnic people, but to all who receive His Son in faith, no matter who they are or how far they had gone away from Him.  In fact, the phrase “brought near by the blood of Christ” gets at the heart of what each of these divine gifts in Jesus’s blood does for us: it brings us to God.  There may be no better summary of what we’ve seen so far about the power of Jesus’s blood than 1 Peter 3:18, where the Bible states,“Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.”

Pacification: To Make Peace with God Himself

Finally, the God-centered aim of the effects of Jesus’s blood is confirmed in the bring of peace between God and His people.  In Christ, God reconciles His people “to Himself . . . making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).  That He shed His blood on the cross has been implicit in each instance, but here Paul makes it plain.  It is “the blood of his cross” that makes peace between God and man.  He made peace with an instrument of intentional and horrific torture and execution.

Jesus did not shed His blood by accident.  His was no random death.  Tragic as it was, it was deliberate and voluntary.  He was executed unjustly, and His blood was spilled on purpose at the cross, both by sinful men and holy God.  They took His life, and He gave it.  In doing so, He absorbed the righteous wrath of God, granted us His full legal acceptance, purchased our true freedom, restored our most important relationship, and made peace for us with God Himself.  This is how, as the Bible says in Acts 20:28, He secured “the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

Precious Blood

Following the trail of blood in Paul’s letters, we begin to see an ocean of grace in that last line of the familiar chorus: There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r / In the precious blood of the Lamb. Precious, indeed.

That pairing of precious with Jesus’s blood comes from the Bible, where God declares through the pen of Peter: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

It is fitting to sing of His blood and, in doing so, celebrate all the riches represented by it. When we add “precious” in that final line, the song writer is not just adding two additional syllables to make the cadence work with the tune.  His blood is truly “precious” to us.  Infinitely valuable.  Because Christ Himself, and God Himself in Him, is precious to us.  And because the blood of Christ, is more precious than any other means of salvation, it fulfills our deepest aches and longings in God, not just temporarily but finally and forever.

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.”


The Harmony Between God’s greatness And Goodness, Part 4

Grace For The Journey



Perhaps you remember this common meal-time prayer from your childhood: “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.”  A very simple prayer, but with very profound truth.  In fact, you may not have realized it, but a number of the psalms in the Bible follow that same pattern of emphasizing God’s greatness and His goodness.

These two truths

Aren’t just arbitrarily

Thrown together;

They balance each other out

And give us a well-rounded

Picture of just who God is.

Each of these concepts serves

To heighten the other and

Keep them in their proper context.

Psalm 113 is a psalm that follows this pattern.  This psalm draws both of these ideas together and reminds us . . .

That while God dwells in majestic splendor

Above the heights of heaven,

He is still concerned with

The plight of man and

Involves Himself in our lives.

For this reason, God is richly deserving of our praise!

The Responsibility To Praise God.

The psalmist issues an invitation to praise.  The psalmist begins with a call to worship or praise (verses 1-3 – “Praise the LORD!  Praise; O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD!  Blessed be the name of the LORD, from this time forth and forevermore!  From the rising of the sun to its going down the name of the LORD is to be praised.”).  And by the time the psalmist is done with verse 3 we’re thinking, “Okay, we get the point. We’re supposed to praise the Lord.”  The repetition in these verses, of course, is for the rhetorical effect of emphasis – we are supposed to react to this call, and in a very specific way.  The psalmist is calling us to praise.  But . . .

What does it mean to praise?

You’ve probably heard of a person called an “appraiser.”  I think virtually every county has an appraiser, and a lot of cities do, too.  The appraiser’s job is to declare how much your property is worth so the government can collect personal property taxes.  He “ap-PRAISES” your property; he states how much is it worth.  So . . .

When we praise God,

We are declaring

How valuable he is to us.

You may have noticed in these verses that several times the psalmist mentions praising God’s name.  This may strike you as a little strange because we don’t think of names the way Old Testament Jews did.  We use names mainly just to tell people apart, but Jews had a different concept of what a name meant.  To them . . .

A person’s name represented

Their character, their personality.

It stood for who the person was.

That’s why we see some Old Testament characters having their names changed after significant events that shaped their lives.  For example, Abraham’s names originally was Abram, but after God gave the promise that He would have many children, God changed his name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.”  This name was better suited to what Abram would become.

So, we see that what the psalmist is pointing to here is God’s essence, His character. He is calling us to praise God for the things that make Him God.

The reason for praise – God’s greatness.

But a big question remains unanswered in the psalm thus far:

“Why is God worthy of such praise?”

The psalmist is going to give us two answers . . .

The first of which we find in verse 4 – “The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.”  The first reason for praise is God’s greatness.  A common religious idea in Old Testament times was that deities were localized.  In other words, each nation had its own god and his power was confined to that nation.  The psalmist of course flatly rejects any such notion about Yahweh, the God of Israel, because He is high above all nations.  His power is not limited in any way and He shares His throne with no one, especially not some carved image of stone like these other nations worshiped.

God is to be praised

From every nation of the Earth

Because He is truly

The God of every nation

Of the Earth,

Whether men bow

The knee to Him or not.

But . . . not only is He above the nations, but in fact the world and the universe itself cannot contain His glory.  Solomon touched on this idea in 1 Kings 8 during his prayer of dedication for the temple.  He said in 1 Kings 8:27, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this temple which I have built?”

Herein lies the first reason for the psalmist’s call to praise, because God is so great. Mankind is dwarfed by the majesty and power of God, and . . .

Such a being who

Cannot even be contained

By the universe

Should strike fear

Into our hearts


Wonder into our souls.

But there is another reason why we should praise God, and it is an important balance to the first.  We should praise God not only for His greatness, but also for His goodness (verses 5-9 – “Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?  He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the need out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes – with the princes of His people.  He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children.  Praise the LORD!”), which is His care and concern for mankind, and this is the key point of the psalm.

The psalmist dwells on this for five verses.

Not only is God great,

But He is also good,

And this is important

Because if God were only great,

He would be no better

Than all of the other

So-called “gods” out there.

Many other religions believe

In a “god” who is great,

But no other religion

Has a god who is good.

Islam certainly preaches about a god who is great and mighty and powerful, but he is not good – certainly not in the way that the Bible describes goodness.  In Islam, the will of Allah reigns supreme, and there are no restrictions on it.  He doesn’t have to be fair to you – he can literally choose to do whatever he wants.  You could serve him faithfully your whole life, and he could still condemn you to Hell simply because he chooses to do it.  That’s why martyrdom is so attractive to those who are engaged in terrorism – they feel like that sacrifice gives them a guarantee of going to Paradise.

The psalmist mentions God’s greatness again in verse 5 to set up a contrast with verse 6.  Though God cannot even be contained by the universe, the psalmist here says that God stoops down to see what is taking place.

God is concerned about what is going on

And from other passages we know

That He is working out a plan for His glory.

Now this is not a normal thing for rulers to do.  Think about all the dictators you know from history; how many of them have been concerned about the day to day affairs of their people?  Even leaders in a system of government like ours, you may find them at a hospital when the cameras are rolling, but when the TV lights go off, where are they? There are some exceptions, but most rulers lose touch with and lose concern for the individuals they rule.

Not God though!

He is concerned about people

And what goes on in their lives.

Sometimes we adults don’t pray about certain things because we feel like they are trivial matters to burden God with.  But when a child prays, what do they pray for?  Their dog who is sick, the doll that they lost.  Kids pray for every little thing you can imagine because they believe that God cares, and you know what?  He does!  God is great, but He is interested and gets involved in our lives because He cares.

Did you catch that?

Not only does He care,

He gets actively involved.

In verses 7–9, we see that He “raises the lowly up.”

God doesn’t just care about the rich and powerful,

He cares about the lowest members of society.

In ancient Israel, the three groups that the psalmist mentions, “the poor, the needy, and the barren women,” were looked down upon.  They were stigmatized by society simply because of their condition, and the status of the poor that the psalmist mentions here was one of destitution.  He makes reference here to “the ash heap,” which was essentially the town dump.  Every good-sized town would have a landfill outside the walls of the city where they would burn their trash and their human waste.  People who had nowhere else to turn would live at these landfills, begging for the scraps of food that people brought out and huddling around the fires at night to stay warm.  You can imagine that . . .

These people were not highly esteemed.

But look at God’s actions!

God, who is so great,

Looks down from above the heavens,

Sees people in absolute destitution,

And is moved with compassion

To raise them to a position of prominence.

He sees the barren woman in her grief and is moved to grant her children.  Now these examples should be taken as proverbial.  In other words, they express a general truth of life.  God doesn’t take every poor person out of their poverty, and He doesn’t give children to every barren woman.  He has His own plans which ultimately are good and perfect, even though we don’t understand them.  But . . .

This is God’s character –

To be moved with compassion

By the needs of people.

And we clearly see from this the goodness of God.

God’s goodness stands

With His greatness

To make Him

The God that He is.

These two aspects of God’s nature are not contradictory, they are complimentary.

If God were only great,

He would not be concerned about mankind,

But if He were only good,

He would not have the power

To act on His concerns.

These truths should draw out a complimentary response from us . . .

His greatness

Makes Him worthy

Of our worship and adoration,

While His goodness

Makes Him worthy

Of our love and devotion.

Can you not see clearly now why the psalmist calls for such a response of praise, and why our hearts can respond appropriately!

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.”