The Faith That Saves

Grace For The Journey



There is faith

And then

There is saving faith.

What, you ask, is the difference?

Some people claim to have no faith, but that’s not possible.  If that the case, no one would fly in an airplane, ride in a car, go to school or work, or engage in any other activity that carries a level of risk.  It is by faith, that when you are asked to “sit down” and are shown a chair, you trust the chair won’t collapse.  We wake up each day believing the sun will rise, the earth will continue to turn, and gravity will continue to exert its downward force so that we don’t fall off the earth into outer space.

Faith by this definition –

As a belief that things

Will continue as they

Have always proven to be –

Is something that

Everybody exercises day.

But according to the Bible,

That is not a faith that saves.

There is a big difference

Between human faith

And saving faith.

Everybody has human faith, but not everyone has saving faith.  Saving faith is a gift; one that the Bible teaches comes from the Father that is given by the Spirit of God (John 1:13; 3:6-8; Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is this God-given faith

That resides at the very heart

Of the gospel and

The center of Christianity.

A proper understanding of this kind of faith is important because this faith is the ground of our justification, the forgiveness of our sins, and the crediting of Jesus’ perfect righteousness by God the Father.  That is what makes this faith saving.

The word “faith” and related words like “trust,” “honesty,” “firm,” “reliable,” and “truth” is found more than 430 times in the Old and New Testaments.  The Old Testament presents faith from two different aspects: (1) Of people having a strong confidence in God’s promises.  Abraham’s believed God when He promised him a land for his ancestors.  The outworking of that promise is the account of Israel’s rescue from slavery in Egypt, their wilderness journey described in the Exodus, and the conquest of the Promised Land.

But what underlies that story

Is that Abraham believed God’s promise

And God “counted it to him for righteousness.”

A word that means “innocent.

Made right, or

Being in right standing

From a legal perspective”

(Genesis 15:6).

(2) A second aspect of Old Testament faith is the faithfulness of God to His people and His promises.  Again, the entire narrative of the Exodus and entrance into the Promised Land is centered on God’s trustworthiness.  Those who believe God were promised a righteousness that leads to eternal life, and God went to great lengths to prove to His people His promises were sure.

In the New Testament, faith is presented primarily as the active, responding belief that occurs and the impact on one’s life when the gospel is heard and believed (John 3:7-8; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8).  Of the more than 260 references to faith in the New Testament, 75 are statements to “trust in the gospel” and another 26 emphasize that the good news of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ is true and should be believed.  The Bible says in Romans 3:21-22a, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.  For there is no difference.””  In other words, Jesus was the final revelation of God and His life, death and resurrection are God’s saving plan for mankind.  Jesus kept the law perfectly and, The Bible teaches that all those who have faith (belief, trust) in Him are credited with the righteousness necessary for salvation.  The Bible says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

In summary . . .

Every human person

Has a type of faith

That comes from life experience

That enables all people to live, work,

Hope, and have dreams of a better life.

No one is truly without “faith.”

But . . .

Until the gift of saving faith comes from God,

Ho one has the type of faith

Necessary to believe in Jesus Christ

And gain the promised peace

With God mentioned in Romans 5:1.

Everyone has faith,

But not everyone believes in Christ.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit

That brings dead hearts to life

And gives saving faith.

When that happens Hebrews 11:1 says,

We gain a faith that:

“… Is the assurance of things hoped for,

The conviction of things not seen.

This faith is saving faith

And is a gift from God

By His grace.

(Ephesians 2:8-9

It is a hard reality, but a biblical truth, that until the Spirit makes someone alive to God and Christ, they simply can’t see the truth of the gospel (Isaiah 6:10; Matthew 13:14; Luke 8:10; Romans 11:8).  But the Bible also tells us that “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” and this is a truth found in both the Old Testament and the New (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).  So, if you have been given this saving faith, you need to tell others.  If you have been given this faith, it also gives you the power to proclaim Jesus, to love others, and live in gratitude to God for what He has given you.  Through saving faith Jesus has given you the righteousness earned by His Son as your righteousness and has punished your sins on Christ.  And all of that is given not because of any goodness in you, but simply because of His grace.  This is good news indeed.  May you rest in this truth as you seek to glorify God in all you say and do.

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.”


Exalting Christ, Part 3

Grace For The Journey


27Aug  Monday, in part one of Exalting Christ in Your Life, I wrote that we exalt Him because Jesus is God Who has done wondrous things for us.  Tuesday, in part two we saw the significance of the title Jesus used most often to describe Himself, “the Son of Man,” and why He did so.

Both of these titles help us grasp more fully the fact that Jesus’ first coming was the fulfillment of a promise (covenant) between the Father, Son, and Spirit to redeem a cursed creation that was the result of the first man, Adam’s, sin.  And the third title given to Jesus in Scripture points us to His work to undo the curse Adam had brought about.  The Bible calls Jesus “the last Adam.”  The last Adam is the third and final title we will seek to understand, and by doing so will deepen our love and worship of Jesus the Redeemer and help us to exalt Him more effectively in our lives.

At creation, God set Adam in the Garden of Eden and appointed him as vice-regent over the creation.  God gave Adam the mandate to “work and keep” the creation along with the one created out of his side, Eve.  She was to complement Adam and the two, working together, were to provide a picture of the full-orbed nature of God and to fill creation with God’s image (Genesis 1:28; 2:15, 19).

There was just one requirement within this paradise of perfection; that Adam should trust in the goodness and provision of the Lord God.  And as a measure of his obedience, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden.  Adam and Eve were not to eat of the fruit of this tree under penalty of death (Genesis 2:16-17).  But, in case you don’t know the story, Adam failed to keep the one Law of God.  He allowed his wife to take and eat, and he too ate from the tree thus violating God’s word and will.  And with this original sin, the creation and everything in it, including Adam and Eve was justly cursed by the infinitely holy God.  Although Adam and Eve did not physically die immediately upon eating from the tree, they were separated from God (they died spiritually) and eventually died physically as well.

But God is incredibly gracious.  For on the occasion of this first sin, in the midst of the just curse pronounced on all involved, God also promised a redeemer who would one day come and undo the curse Adam had brought upon creation by his sin.  It would be an offspring of the woman.  From her would one day come someone who would crush the serpent Satan and pay the penalty for sin.  And even though this offspring would be wounded, He would fatally crush the head the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

As year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia passed, the Bible tells us that there was always one line of offspring from Eve to whom God revealed Himself by the giving of faith.  From Seth to Enos, from Enos to Cainan, from Cainan to Mahalaleel to Jared, to Enoch, to Methuselah to Lamech to Noah to Shem.  On and on, down the line, as Luke carefully records in his gospel, God provided and protected one who walked spiritually with God (Luke 3:23-38).  Until finally, in the fullness of time, the Bible says Galatians 4:4-5, “God sent for His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the laws, that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Why would God do this?

Why would His “begotten not made” Son, the eternal second Person of the Trinity take on the form of a human, to become incarnate which means “to become in flesh?” 

The answer is

So that He could

Fulfill all righteousness.

Only Jesus, the eternal, infinitely holy,

Second person of the Trinity

Could take come to earth

By taking the form of a man

And perfectly keep the law of God.

Only the Son, who was

One with the Father for all eternity;

Who was with His Father

At the moment of creation

Had the power to be totally

Obedient to His Father for every second

Of every day of His earthly life.

And in so doing,

He fulfills the requirement

Of trusting in the provision

And goodness of God fully.

This is what the first Adam failed to do.

This is what the last Adam accomplished.

Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul explains in Romans 5:18-21, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience man will be made righteous.  Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

When Jesus gave His life on the cross, it was a sinless life.  Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God veiled in human flesh, so He was able to live in total obedience (sinless) thus fulfilling the promise given to Adam.

Jesus was the only qualified individual

To give His life for the remission of sin

(Leviticus 17:11; Revelation 12:11).

And in doing so, Jesus redeemed

All those who trust in Him for salvation.

Paul states this biblical truth in his first letter to the church in Corinth.  He explains: “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:49).  This promise for us to be given the “image of Christ” is a tremendous Biblical truth.  It means that those who put their trust in Jesus, each one an image bearer of the man of dust (the first Adam), will one day bear the image of the man of heaven (Jesus).  And all those who bear His image of perfect righteousness, will be with Christ forever in His Father’s kingdom.

The “last Adam.”  That is the stunning truth of the purpose of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  And all who trust in Him will follow Him into the eternal Kingdom of God.

This title is the final reason

We should put Christ

First in our lives.

His gift of fulfilling

The Covenant of Works

(The pre-Fall agreement between God and Adam in which Adam was promised blessing and life upon obedience to the terms of the covenant and cursing and death should he disobey the terms of the covenant).

That fulfillment through Christ

Is the reason we exalt Christ.

He has secured our place with God for all eternity.  What the first Adam failed to do, the last Adam has accomplished.  May we exalt Christ each and every day of our earthly lives because of Who He is and What He has done!

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.”



Exalting Christ, Part 2

Grace For The Journey


27Aug  In Romans 12, the Bible tells us that the our faith response to God’s gracious gift of saving faith which leads us to present (yield, surrender) our lives to and for Him.  The Bible says this results in our “reasonable service (logical; rational; appropriate response).”  This “reasonable service” in the original language means “to hold someone or something in high esteem, to honor, to love and respect, in other words, to exalt.”  Yesterday, in part one of Exalting Christ in Your Life, I wrote that we exalt Him because of Who Jesus is. In today’s blog, we will learn why we are to exalt Christ.

The Bible gives us one main reason – He is the “Son of God,” a title used in Mark 1:1, John 1:14 and several other New Testament passages.  Today I want to look at the phrase that Jesus used to describe Himself, the “Son of Man,” and why He did so.

This title helps us understand

The meaning of His first coming

And gives us confidence

That our Redeemer and Savior

Is worthy of our

Allegiance, worship and exaltation.

The source for Jesus of this title is most likely Daniel 7.  In verses 13 and 14, Daniel writes this: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that Daniel’s writings were popular among first century Jews.  When Jesus used this term to describe Himself, it would have drawn the original hearers back to the time in their national history when the nation was exiled to Babylon and under intense pressure to worship the Babylonian king Belshazzar.  Daniel is given a vision of four beasts rising out of the sea to attack God’s people.  The fourth and most terrifying beast had ten horns and out of these horns arose another smaller horn.  It had eyes like a man and raged against God and His people (Daniel 7:8, 19-25).  As they attack, the Heavenly court is seated in judgment against them.  Thrones are set in place and God (the Ancient of Days) takes His seat (Daniel 7:9-10).  Then Daniel sees “one like a son of man”; a human looking figure who is given authority, glory, sovereign power, and Who was worshipped by people from every language and an eternal kingdom.  All things that are reserved for God.  This one “like the son of man” is brought into the presence of God and treated like His equal.

Daniel’s vision is one of suffering and of exaltation.  Though the “little horn” makes war against the people of God, they are at the same time, given a kingdom, with its sovereignty and power.  Jesus used Daniel’s “one like the son of man” to communicate the ideas of suffering and victory without using the politically charged terms “Messiah” and “Son of David” which would have added to the people’s expectation of a coming one who would overthrow the oppressive Roman rule and bring Israel back to its position of world power.

That was not what Jesus’ first coming was about.  As Jesus said: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”   (Matthew 20:28).

The use by Jesus of the term “Son of Man” demonstrates the connection with the themes of suffering, kingship, enthronement, and authority that are central to Daniel’s vision.  Jesus saw His authority to act on God’s behalf.  He forgave sins (Luke 5:23).  He claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28).  By the using the term “Son of Man,” Jesus brings to mind His authority to act on God’s behalf that is given to the figure in Daniel 7.

Jesus also used the “Son of Man” title to refer to His second coming (Matthew 13:41-42; 24:27).

And while the term pointed

To the suffering

Of this Son of Man

And His people (Daniel 7:25),

It also points to

The vindication after His suffering.

This is seen clearly in the Gospel of John where we see Jesus declare that He is God, “No one has ascended into heaven butt He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13); that He has the authority to judge because He is “the son of Man” (John 5:27); that God the Father has placed His seal of approval on the Son (John 6:27), and that only when the “Son of Man” is lifted up will His disciples understand who He was (John 8:28).

The title “Son of Man” was never a confessional title among the disciples of Jesus.  The only time “Son of Man” is found as a title in the New Testament from someone other than Jesus comes from Stephen as he dies a martyrs death (Acts 7:56).  This use by Stephen points to his trust in Jesus’ ability to vindicate him through his suffering as a martyr.  Later, in Revelation, John twice describes Jesus as “one like the Son of Man” (Revelation 1:13; 14:14).  The first reference uses the imagery of Daniel 7, of woolen hair, white raiment, and blazing fire (Daniel 7:9-10; Revelation 1:13-15), and the second as the one enthroned at the right hand of the Father – God’s equal – and his authority to harvest (Revelation 14:14).

Who is Jesus?  He declares He is “the Son of Man,” a title reserved for the One who sits at the right hand of the Father and is given authority to judge all of mankind.  So . . .

We exalt Christ because He is God.

He claims the title of the One Daniel saw 700 years before His birth in Bethlehem.  When Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, finally realized Who he had been following for over three years, he said: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).  And as Thomas understood, we too should understand that Jesus is worthy of being exalted and placed at the center of our lives because He is the Living God and the savior of the world.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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


Exalting Christ, Part 1

Grace For The Journey


27Aug  Exalting Christ is the secret to experiencing purpose and passion in our lives today.

What do we mean by exalting Christ?

It means giving Him the place

Of preeminent power, praise, and authority

In your heart which He deserves.

The goal of God’s plan for you is “that in everything [Christ] might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18.)  In today’s blog, I want to focus primarily from Colossians on the first of three important areas to exalt Christ in your life today: in your faith.

We will look at the other two, in your family, and in your field (of vocation) in the next two blogs.

By exalting Christ in your faith these are the attributes and the works of Christ that make Him worthy of preeminence in your life.  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith (Trust; solid, unshakable response to truth) is the substance (foundation; realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (proof; conviction) of things not seen.”

Let’s look at why we are to exalt Christ in our daily lives:

1) We Exalt Christ In Our Faith Because Of Who He Is

He was, is, and always will be fully and truly God, the second Person of the Trinity, eternally begotten of the Father.  Paul writes that Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15.)

This did not change

When He wrapped Himself

In humanity 2,000+ years ago.

He became fully man

While remaining fully God.

Thus, He could become the perfect mediator between the offended party (God) and the offending party (you and me).  Paul writes that “in [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9.)  Therefore, “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

2) We Exalt Christ In Our Faith Because Of What He Does

The Bible says in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth” … “All things were created through Him and or Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”  The entire universe doesn’t fly apart because Christ holds it together.

Cosmologists call it “dark matter,”

But the Bible calls it

The sustaining power of God.

Thus, Christ could command the wind and the waves (Matthew 8:23-27, feed thousands with a few loaves and fish (Matthew 14:13-21), and raise the dead to life (John 11:43-44).

If Jesus Christ holds all of creation together, He can hold your life together!  He can supply what you need when you need it!  Perhaps learning to exalt Christ in your heart is the key to overcoming fear, discouragement, and pain that often threatens.

The supreme work Christ did for you was to suffer a horrible death on the cross to redeem you from the awful penalty of sin, and to rise physically from the grave in order to give you victory over sin, death, and hell.  The Bible says that God has reconciled you to Himself “by making peace through [Christ’s] blood on the cross.” (Colossians 2:12).  Your faith would be worthless apart from the cross and the empty tomb.

3) We Exalt Christ In Our Faith Because Of Where He Is

In the Apostle’s Creed we confess that following His death and resurrection, Christ “ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.”

His position at the right hand of the Father denotes His ultimate power and authority over the universe – and over your life. This means that His death and resurrection have been fully accepted by God for the salvation of all who believe.

From His exalted position He intercedes for you so that you find grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16); He builds His church to manifest His kingdom purposes (Colossians 1:11); and, He pours out the Holy Spirit to empower you, equip you, and assure you of eternal life in Christ. (Colossians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 1:14).

Exalting Christ in your faith will transform your life from the inside out in every way that matters.  It will cost you something – complete surrender. And it will be well with your soul, guaranteed.

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 Genuine Gospel Needs To Go Viral

Grace For The Journey


26Aug  What do you think of when you read the words “Prosperity Gospel?”  Odds are you think about the preachers on television that speak to very large crowds and appeal to even more in their books.  More than likely you look at it as “out there” rather than “in here.”  In one sense this is good.  The shenanigans that some of those religious hucksters engage in should never be duplicated in our churches.  In another sense, however, it’s naive.  One does not have to cruise around in a private jet or be dressed ostentatiously to qualify as a promoter of the prosperity gospel.  It is more subtle.  And it is more pervasive.

In its unabashed nakedness, the prosperity gospel is a damning heresy that is not a gospel at all.  It is a Ponzi scheme concocted by those at the top to prey upon the biblically illiterate.

Preachers of this false gospel

Use God as a genie

Who is dispatched

To give us stuff;

As a result,

The gospel gets reduced

To getting more stuff.

This message is primarily

Physical rather than spiritual

And is about this life now

Rather than the one to come.

And most damning of all,

It is about us rather than God.

The cross of Christ is reduced to a stage prop to support the large tent meetings they hold.  Someone has said, “It is like they use Jesus’ bandwith to hack in and launch spiritual viruses in the world.”

Regrettably, the prosperity gospel has gone viral.  Being more nuanced and subtle than you may think, it is very active in the church.  Like a computer virus it is draining vitality and productivity in the covenant community.  And you know what the worst part is?  You may not even know that you are impacted by it.

Here are a few ways that you can tell that you are nibbling at the hook of the prosperity gospel, without, perhaps, even knowing it.

(1) You are dissatisfied by the ordinary means of grace.

The Sunday gatherings of the Lord’s people are seen to be very unspectacular.  We sing and praise God, but it is not with a fully equipped praise band and orchestra; read the Bible, but it is without the PowerPoint and other dramatic presentations; and study Word together, but it is not always cased in the new and cutting-edge way.  We probably don’t walk out of church like we walk out of a movie saying, “Wow! That was spectacular!  I can’t believe how it ended!  I never saw that coming.”  No, although there are occasions of the “wonder-working power of God” in our services, we do the same thing every week with variation of songs and Scripture.  We do this because God tells us to do it; He says it is good for us (Hebrews 10:25).  We trust Him.  But sometimes we want a little more.  Dissatisfied by preaching, prayer, and singing we want it to be a little more “upscale, varied, and more to our style” and to fit “our tastes.”  Soon . . .

We find ourselves looking

For that perfect place for us

Rather than the faithful place

That God has ordained.

Somehow worship becomes “our show.”  This subtle shift shows that we are at least susceptible to if not fully on board with prosperity thinking.

(2) You think more about God’s blessings than God Himself.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am thankful for the innumerable blessings that are ours in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).  But . . .

We must remember

That the blessings are not the end

But a means to an end;

Blessings point us to God.

It is God Himself that

Is the ultimate blessing.

You can see how this plays out when you lose something that God has given you (maybe a job, a relationship, health, opportunity, etc.).  How do you react?  Many times people get sideways with God as if He has changed.  This preoccupation with created things instead of the Creator has the footprints of idolatry (Romans 1:20-25).  It is also at the heart of the prosperity gospel.  Christians should be on guard for this type of unbiblical thinking in their church and in their lives.

(3) You avoid communion with God in the Word and in prayer.

Let’s get right down to it . . .

Christianity is spiritual before it is physical.

If you are restless about what you see

Then you will never be content

In the One whom you cannot see.

There is an epidemic of Bible negligence and prayerlessness in the church today.  It is not because we are too busy, too smart, or too whatever – it is because we do not want to have communion with God.  I believe this is a manifestation of prosperity thinking.  It is hard work and a real demonstration of faith and discipline to read your Bible and quiet your heart before the Lord in humble adoration, confession and petition.  We are very distracted by our stuff and our craving for stuff (created things) and not so drawn to God (our Creator and Savior).  This is prosperity thinking and it has gone viral in the church.

(4) You’re exhausted.

I understand some people are exhausted for medical reasons or from simply working hard.  I get that.  But what I’m talking about is . . .

The weariness of the soul and body

From the endless pursuit of stuff.

Life is a sprint from one thing to the next.

The whole day is filled with

The pursuit and pleasure of things.

We work and play – then we repeat.  This is what we are told to do.  But what about what you cannot see?  What about the heart?  What about the world to come?  Do we as Christians not believe that there is a relationship between our bodies and our souls? Is there a connection between the restlessness and lack of contentment in our souls that so drives us to grind out our lives day by day?

(5) You think that if you work hard for God then He will work hard for you.

Many have bought into this lie.  We go to church, keep our noses clean and do whatever extra we can.  Then we hope God will do His part and bless us with good kids, a nice house, a steady job, and plenty of money.  But what happens when the company downsizes?  When the kid starts taking drugs?  When the 401k shrinks?  We go into private litigation in our minds because God has not kept His end of the bargain.  We want to sue God for not following through on His prosperity promises that we have signed on to.

(6) You believe suffering is an intrusion instead of an instrument.

The Christian, of all people,

Should know that suffering

Is part of the Christian life

(John 15:20; Philippians 1:29).

We follow a Savior who was crucified after all!  The prosperity thinking has shaped our thinking to see that suffering is an intrusion in our lives.  “Why is this happening?  How could God let this happen?”  These are questions that operate from a position of privilege and, frankly, biblical ignorance.  It is happening because we live in a fallen, broken world.  But it is also happening because God uses suffering to strengthen and sanctify His people.  He makes us more like Jesus through our suffering (Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 5:7; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9, etc.).

Far from an intrusion,

Suffering is an instrument from God

For our ultimate good and His glory.

(7) You could just live here forever.

When so much of the emphasis is upon the here and now and so little is placed upon “the New City” that awaits us, we have to ask the question, “Do you even want to go to heaven?”  Let’s say I had the ability to make you a deal where you could stay here in this world forever.  You would never die and the ability to enjoy this world would not end.  You could play all the video games, watch all the sunsets, drink and eat all the best food, and utilize all the apps that are available; there would be football, hunting, shopping, and whatever else you want.  You could just ride the merry-go-round of this world forever without ever having to put in another quarter.  The only catch is this: God is not there.  That’s right, you can’t pray, read the Bible, go to church or anything.  It is on the shelf.  Would you take it?

The very thing

That makes heaven

So heavenly

Is God.

That which makes Christians long for heaven is not a lack of possession or prosperity, it is the lack of God-wardness here (starting in our own souls but moving out to the world around us).  Ultimately . . .

We don’t want more rides on the merry-go-round,

We want fellowship with God

Unhindered by our sinful flesh!

Prosperity thinking has subtly lulled us to sleep dreaming solely of sunsets, success and self-fulfillment.  Friends, it’s not ultimately about any of this.  The gospel brings us to God.  I’m afraid we’ve gotten this twisted.  The prosperity gospel has gone viral and the worst part is, many of us don’t even realize it.

The Gospel Message Needs To Go Viral

I believe what is missing in Christianity today is . . .

That many Christian have lost the sense

Of the value and worth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

And are so wrapped up in themselves

That they see no need to share it with others.

If Christians today had the biblical reality of genuine Gospel-faith we would be moved, not to seek the prosperity of the health and wealth gospel, but to seek to spread the salvation message of Jesus to every person on the Planet.

Viral messages are spread through social media when people who perceive the value of a particular message and they share it with their friends, who share it with their friends, who share it with their friends.  An example is the video of the cute baby making silly sounds with her mouth that appear to sound like real words.  There is not any profound message that accompanies it, or anything shared that is going to change the world or anyone’s life, but in 24 hours it reached100,000 people; in 48 hours, it reached 1.5 million, and in 72 hours, it has surpassed 10 million viewers.

Folks . . .

The gospel message is profound and life-changing!

It not only has perceived value,

But it has real tangible value.

It is the power of God

That brings salvation – Romans 1;16-17.

The gospel has the power to make blind people see and make dead people alive.  If any messaged deserved to go viral, it should be the gospel.  Not only is the message powerful, but those who have already heard and accepted the gospel are commanded by Jesus to take the gospel to every group of people on earth and to every creature.  Not only did Jesus command us to take the gospel to every person, He also empowered us with the Holy Spirit to do so.

So . . .

We have the

Most compelling,

Most powerful,

Most life-changing,

Most eternal message

That we have been

Commanded by the most

Amazing person to

Share with everyone.

Why not pass it on?

Could it be that

The prosperity gospel

Has distracted us

And pulled us away

From our main task?

My prayer is that the Lord will open our eyes and give us such a passion for sharing the Gospel that it will go viral . . . Post it, tweet it, YouTube it, Instagram it, text it, like it, share it, and watch it go viral!

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 Does It Mean To Wait On The Lord?

Grace For The Journey


23Aug  The command to wait on the Lord is found extensively throughout the Old and New Testaments.  In the Old Testament, it is more about waiting for the Lord’s providential care, but most New Testament references relate to Christ’s second coming.  In all cases . . .

It is about waiting expectantly and with hope.

Fundamental to being able to wait is

Trusting God’s character and goodness.

Waiting on the Lord is something the godly do.  It’s about holding on tight, hoping with expectation and trust, knowing that our Lord is not making us wait just to see how long we can “take it.”  There are times when God will delay His answer, and we will at times wonder why He seems so reluctant to intervene in our affairs.  The Psalms have numerous occasions where the writer cries out like the one in Psalm 69:3, “I am weary with my crying, my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.”  But, knowing the Lord, we trust that He will come at the perfect moment, not a second too soon or too late.

Waiting on the Lord necessitates two key elements:

A complete dependence on God


A willingness to allow Him

To decide the terms,

Including the timing of His plan.

Trusting God with the timing of events is one of the hardest things to do.  The half-joking prayer, “Lord, I need patience, and I need it RIGHT NOW,” is not far removed from the truth of how we often approach matters of spiritual growth and the Lord’s will.  To wait on the Lord produces character in the life of the Christian in that it involves patience (see James 1:4).  Waiting involves the passage of time, which is itself a gift of God.

The word “wait” in the Bible carries the idea of confident expectation and hope (Psalm 61:2).  To wait upon the Lord is to expect something from Him in godly hope, “and hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5).  We wait on the Lord in a way similar to how we wait on the arrival of out-of-town relatives, with loving anticipation of seeing them again. The Bible state in Romans 8:19, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”  All creation eagerly awaits God’s restoration.  Those who wait for God to keep His promises will not be disappointed.

Waiting on the Lord involves being at rest in the Lord.  Psalm 23 provides a lesson concerning being still.  Sheep will not be at peace near rushing water, but they will lie contentedly by “still” water, and that’s where the Good Shepherd leads us (Psalm 23:2).   The words “He makes me lie down” can be translated “He causes me to rest.”  When we, like sheep, are still, we are resting in the Lord and trusting our Shepherd.  Being still means . . .

We have ceased from following our own agenda or ingenuity;

We have stopped trusting in our own strength and will power.

We are waiting upon the Lord to exchange our weakness for His strength (see Isaiah 40:31 and 2 Corinthians 12:9).  The apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh,” and, as he gains spiritual insight, he understands that the affliction is a protective suffering meant by God to keep him from sin.  As a result . . .

The apostle is content to rest in God’s grace.

God does not remove the thorn;

He gives Paul a place to be still in the bearing of it.

Paul learned to be still and wait on the Lord.

To wait on the Lord is to rest in the confident assurance that, regardless of the details or difficulties we face in this life, God never leaves us without a sure defense.  As Moses told the panicky Israelites trapped at the Red Sea by Pharaoh’s army, “The Lord will fight for you; and you shall hold your peace (be quiet; be still)” (Exodus 14:14).

The heavenly perspective comes

As we focus not on the trouble

But on the Lord and His Word.

When it seems God has painted us into a corner,

We have an opportunity to set aside

Our human viewpoint and wait upon the Lord

To show us His power, His purpose, and His salvation.
When we don’t choose to wait on the Lord, we solicit trouble for ourselves.  Remember how Abraham and Sarah did not wait on the Lord for their child of promise?  Rather, Sarah offered her maid, Hagar, to Abraham in order to have a child through her.  The account in Genesis 16 and 18 shows that their impatience led to no end of trouble.

Any time we fail to wait on the Lord

And take matters into our own hands

–  Even when we’re trying

To bring about something God wants

– It leads to problems.

When we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), we can allow God to work out the rest of the details.

This doesn’t mean we sit idly by

As we wait on the Lord

To act on our behalf.

We should not spend our time doing nothing; rather, we should continue to walk in the way He has prescribed and do the work He has given us to do.  The Bible says in Psalm 123:2, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.”  That is, we should look to God with the constant anticipation and willingness to serve that a servant shows to his master.

The idea of waiting on the Lord

Is not like waiting for the dentist

In the waiting room (thank goodness!).

Rather, the sense of waiting on the Lord

Is somewhat akin to what

A waiter or waitress does in a restaurant.

Our attitude and actions should be as those of a waiter anticipating and meeting the requests of the one he’s waiting on.

Our waiting on the Lord is not biding our time

Until we finally get the service we’ve been waiting for;

It’s filling our time with discovery of,

And service to, the Master,

Always on our feet, ready

To know and do more.

The command to wait on the Lord means that we are to be near Him and attentive so that we may catch the slightest intimation of what He wants for us.  We naturally think of ourselves as self-sufficient.  We turn here and there and expect help from our own ability, from friends, or from circumstances.  But in the spiritual life we are taught to distrust self and depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit.

Waiting on the Lord involves

The confident expectation

Of a positive result

In which we place

A great hope – a hope

That can only be realized

By the actions of God.

This expectation must be based

On knowledge and trust,

Or we simply won’t wait.

Those who do not know the Lord will not wait on Him; neither will those who fail to trust Him.  We must ever be learning about who God is and what He is capable of doing.  The Bible tells us in 1 John 5:14, that those who wait on the Lord do not lose heart in their prayers.: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Waiting on the Lord renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31).  Prayer and Bible study and meditating upon God’s Word are essential.

To wait on the Lord

We need a heart responsive

To the Word of God,

A mind focused on the things of heaven,

And a will that is rooted in faith.

We should not despair when God tarries long in His response; but continue to patiently wait on Him to work on our behalf.  The reason God sometimes waits a long time to deliver is to extend the goodness of the final outcome.  Take comfort in what God tells us in His Word in Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.  For the LORD id a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.

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 Does The Bible Mean When It Says – Christ Lives In Me?

Grace For The Journey


22Aug Can you summarize the purpose of the Bible in just three words?  Paul did.  He said it is all about “Christ in you.”  The purpose of the gospel is captured in this powerful and pithy statement in Colossians 1:27, “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Christ living in us is the grand goal of God’s redemptive work.  Our salvation hinges on the reality of Christ living in us.  It is why Paul described his personal ambition by saying, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

God living in His people

Is a major Biblical theme,

But what does it mean?

The Biblical teaching on this subject

Differs significantly from the mystic concept

– That each person is a god

And will ultimately be absorbed

Into the full essence of the divine.

In the Bible a human is not a God,

And people maintain

Their personality throughout eternity.

To understand the importance of God living in us we must look to the account of creation.  When God first contemplated the formation of mankind He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” … “so God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:26, 27).  The purpose of our humanity is to bear the divine image!  However, sin entered and spoiled the picture.  Pain and death snuffed out life and rebellion replaced righteousness.  God’s beautiful self-portrait on the canvas of humanity was soiled by sinful hands.

Then one day the Artist Himself entered our humanity, and for the first time man could see the image of God in flawless clarity.  His grace and truth revealed the divine nature as never before, because He was the “exact image” of God in the flesh (John 1:14,17-18; Hebrews 1:3).  Jesus was the perfect expression of God’s original portrait of humanity.

The purpose of God’s redemptive work

Is to make us look like Him – Christ in you!

The stains of sin and death

Must first be removed from our lives

Before the divine image can shine through.

How this is accomplished

Is the message of the gospel.

Jesus removed the ugliness of sin and death

By His atoning sacrifice and glorious resurrection.

As a result, man is now able to reflect God’s image.

This is possible because fellowship with God is restored.  In fact, many of the passages that talk about “Christ living in us” emphasize the reality of our fellowship with Him.  For example . . .

  • Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

Jesus is emphasizing the necessity of our relationship with Him.

  • Similarly, John wrote in his first letter, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).

The acceptance of the gospel places a person in fellowship with God.  The phrase, “God abides in him” describes the intimacy of that relationship in much the same way as the phrase “in Christ” does hundreds of times in the New Testament.  [See also, John 6:56; 14:20; 17:20,21,23; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 13:5; Ephesians 2:22; 3:17; Colossians 3:11; 1 John 3:24; 4:13]

The wonderful truth is this . . .

If “Christ lives in me” that means

I have fellowship with God!

I belong to Him.

I bear His image.

He forgave my sins

Through the blood of the cross.

He gave me eternal life Through the power of the empty tomb (Romans 6:1-6).

“Christ lives in me” is all about my identity!

 I’m no longer a flawed sculpture

Cast out with the rejects of humanity.

My Redeemer remade me into His image.

I must then increasingly reflect Christ’s character in my life.  This requires a vigorous, lifelong pursuit to know Jesus.  Thankfully, the New Testament record contains the very “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).  In the Bible I discover how Jesus thought and acted, and these truths become the template of my life until Christ is formed in me (Galatians 4:19).

A significant number of the “God lives in me” passages describe the formation of Christ’s character in His followers.  A startling example is found in 1 John 4:12 which begins, “No one has seen God at any time.”  This is a clear reference to the same phrase at the beginning of John’s gospel (John 1:18).  However, in the gospel it is Jesus who made the “unseen God” known, but to our astonishment the statement in John’s letter reads, “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). Amazingly we are the ones who now make known the invisible God!  How?  We reflect the character Christ revealed to us.

Therefore, Christ vitally lives in us when we carefully follow His will – “He who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him” (1 John 3:24).  This requires a continuous pursuit of His character.  This is what the Bible means in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when it says, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”  Practically speaking it means, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the intake of the Word of God, we think as Christ thought, say what Christ said, and do what Christ did. [See also, John 15:1-8; 17:26; Romans 8:10,29; Ephesians 3:19; 5:1; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 2:6,24,27,28; 3:24; 4:16]

This is the purpose of our existence!  We are created to display the image of our Creator, but sin marred that portrait beyond recognition.  However, through Jesus Christ the sin is removed, eternal life is restored, and we learn, like teetering toddlers, to once again walk like our Father.  May we “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

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.”


Being Aware Of Fables … Believing And Living By The Truth

Grace For The Journey


21Aug  The Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they willl turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Have you ever read Aesop’s Fables or perhaps the Greek myths about Perseus, Theseus, Hercules, or Jason and the Argonauts?  When we refer to these as myths or fables, we mean that they are fictional, wild stories, and flights of fancy.  Most readers do not, for a moment, consider these stories real or factual.

But in the context of the New Testament epistles, the letters written by the Apostles, by men like Paul and Peter, John and Jude, “fable” (or “myth”’) is used in a far more serious light.  As we shall see . . .

“Fables”/ “myths” in the New Testament writings

Are synonymous with deceit, falsehood and lies.

In other words, biblically speaking,

A fable is anything that is

The antithesis of truth.”

Fables of this sort

Take people away from God’s truth

As found in His Word, the Bible,

And as revealed to us in

The person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Turning people away from truth

Goes hand in hand with

The embracing of myths and fables;

And to depart from God’s truth

Is very serious indeed.

We see, then, that “fable” is a very negative New Testament word, speaking of error – which is why the Bible portrays fables as anti-Christian!

The importance of spotting fables

Cannot be underestimated.

For once false teaching

Infiltrates a church

And takes hold of its people,

Great damage results:

God’s name is in danger

Of being blasphemed

And His glory is no longer

Evident among the Christian “flock.”

If unchallenged, those who have imbibed fables end up leaving churches in confusion, even falling away from the faith and forsaking God altogether!

The Importance Of Truth

It has been well said that the best way of spotting a forgery is to become very familiar with the genuine article – the real thing.  Banks train their tellers to identify forged currency by looking at and handling real, genuine paper currency.  In the same way . . .

Before we consider fables

(Doctrines that masquerade as truth),

It is helpful to remind ourselves of

What the Scriptures teach about the truth.

In the beginning this blog I noted that fables are contrasted with truth.  The Bible is clear that genuine Christians are those who “know the truth.”  For instance, the Bible says in 1 John 2:21, “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”

The Christian is identified as someone who knows the truth as it is in Jesus.  So, the Bible goes on to say in John 2:22, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”  Certainly, the greatest fable of all is one which culminates in a denial of Jesus as the Messiah, whom God sent as the promised Savior of sinners.

Believing the truth means remaining true to the things that God and Jesus teach in the Bible.  The Bible says in 2 John 9, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.  He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”  In fact, this is so critical, that anything that could spoil our Christian testimony, or that could bring us confusion, should be avoided like the plague . . . Truth matters!

The danger of fables

The apostle Paul went to great pains to warn Timothy, a godly young pastor, of some of the dangers and challenges of Christian ministry.  He warned of a time to come when people would “will turn their ears away from the truth” and “be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:4), embracing heresy.  His solemn commission to his young protégé is highly relevant for all twenty-first century Christians.  It is recorded in 2 Timothy 4;1-4, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: Preach the Word!  Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

In an earlier letter, Paul had already advised Timothy to reject (have nothing to do with) “profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7), advising him, instead, to exercise himself towards godly living.  In his second letter, Paul built on that advice and gave Timothy the solemn responsibility of guarding the church against false teaching.

False teaching is a constant

Threat to God’s people today too.

Therefore it is vital that pastors, church leaders,

Indeed all of us as Christians,

Are on our guard –

Recognizing and being engaged

For this battle for the truth,

For people’s minds and hearts,

Never lets up or ends.

As already mentioned, the turning from truth goes hand in hand with the embracing of myths and fables; and to depart from God’s truth is very serious indeed.  There are similar warnings elsewhere in the pastoral epistles.  For instance, Paul instructed Titus to rebuke those in the church of Crete who were becoming unsound in faith, “… Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.” (Titus 1:13-14).

The apostle Peter (in his second epistle) was also careful to distinguish his preaching and teaching methods from the false teachers of his day.  In 2 Peter 1:16, Peter is led to say, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”   Peter contrasted the fables concocted by the false teachers to the sure, prophetic Word of God, and the apostles’ eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ majesty.  In the same letter, he pulled no punches, saying outright in 2 Peter 2:15-16, “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray” … “these are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for who is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

Their teaching may be alluring, but fables and myths inevitably lead people into error.  This is why the church must be concerned to combat the insidious influence of evolution and other creation compromises in today’s world.

In our own day, there are many purveyors of devilishly clever fables in society at large and also within the church.  In fact, Peter had something important and relevant to say about “creation fables” that would arise in the last days.  He warned of false teachers – “scoffers” – who would follow “their own sinful desires,” denying the second coming of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:3-4) and mocking the biblical teaching on the future destruction of this world (2 Peter 3:7,10).

Specifically, he predicted that these mockers would deny that the world was created by God’s word and that the original world was destroyed in a watery deluge (2 Peter 3:5-6).  It’s a view that is indistinguishable from the teachings of those who argue for evolution over millions of years (a modern-day creation fable); the evolutionists’ rejection of biblical creation and Noah’s Flood goes hand-in-hand with their insistence on secularist doctrine.

How would Peter have viewed such ideas?  Taking his second letter as a whole (and remembering that he specifically addressed creation/flood deniers), it is safe to conclude that he would have regarded the philosophy of deep-time evolution as loud boasts of folly” or “great swelling words of vanity” (2 Peter 2:18) – that is to say, teaching that is ultimately void because it denies the historical nature of Genesis regarding Creation and the Flood.  Alluring they may be, but fables and myths inevitably lead people into error.

As an aside, it is heartening that even some avowed atheists are beginning to openly expose the modern evolutionary theory for the fable that it is.  One such person is Thomas Nagel (a professor of philosophy at New York University) who recently published a book with this subtitle: Why The Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.  Needless to say, such dissent has drawn a lot of fire from doctrinaire evolutionists!

Fables, then . . .

Are a grave danger

To the people of God.

A person cannot embrace fables

And at the same time

Keep a firm hold on truth!

Embracing fables always goes hand-in-hand with a departure from God’s truth.  To turn aside to consider fables is not merely a little unwise – it is to “wander off into myths.” Ultimately . . .

It is to court disaster,

Because it is impossible

To allow a fable

To have a place

In one’s mind

Without also

Rejecting biblical truth.

Fables result only in bad fruit.  Good cannot come from toying with this or any new teaching contrary to God’s Word.

It is through regularly reading and studying the Bible that we discern between God’s truth and fables.  Moreover, we will also be jealous guardians of the truth because we will see that the reputation and glory of God is at stake, as well as the eternal destiny of human beings.

With these things in mind, it is time to “call a spade a spade.”  According to the scriptural definition, those who espouse various kinds of fables are false teachers.  So, for instance, John has no qualms about describing those who actively deny the incarnation of Jesus (that He was fully God and fully man) as “deceivers;” worse than that, such a person is an actually an “antichrist” (2 John 7-8).

Indeed . . .

A careful consideration

Of all fables

(As biblically defined)

Leads to the unavoidable conclusion

That they have a spirit

Of antichrist about them.

Of course, many of the cults that have proliferated in recent centuries fall into this category – not only do they deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ but they also teach many fables which they claim are on a par with biblical truth.

Jude talks of those who have infiltrated churches unnoticed.  They have “crept in unnoticed” and “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).  That’s right! The unambiguous teaching here is that deceivers and Christ-deniers are not merely in society at large, but are inside today’s church!  This is why the New Testament writers warn so strongly about false teachers: “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 12-13).  Jude finishes his brief discourse by describing such people as those who are focused on what is “worldly” or “sensual,” causing divisions in the church because “they are devoid of the [Holy] Spirit” (Jude 19) – that is to say, they are not believers at all.

The Bible teaches clearly that genuine believers (those born of God) hear the truth and may discern it from error (1 John 4:5-6).  Nevertheless, because of the infiltration of false teachers into churches (1 John 4:1) Christians are to be especially vigilant.  Those who adhere to the Scriptures, praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will not go far wrong.  Listen to what Jesus says on the matter: ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31-32).

It is through regularly reading and studying the Bible that we discern between God’s truth and fables.  Moreover, we will also be jealous guardians of the truth because we will see that the reputation and glory of God is at stake, as well as the eternal destiny of human beings.  Jude says “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

We are living in momentous days.  All sorts of seductive, deceitful teachings are threatening to corrupt the glorious truth of God and draw people away from Christ (see 1 Timothy 4:1).  Here is excellent biblical advice:

“Test everything; hold fast what is good”

(1 Thessalonians 5:21).

This is a word for you because you have people in your circle that no pastor/preacher can reach.  Have you not been entrusted with the gospel?  In fact, your pastor/preacher is there to equip you to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).

You need to hear the urgency of the Word in 2 Timothy 4:1-2,  “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word!  Be instant in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”  When this season of grace is over men and women will have to give an account of themselves before God.  Tell them now before it’s too late.

We need faithful, systematic biblical teaching and expository preaching, giving us the whole counsel of God.  We don’t need psychological pep talks and feel good sermons.  No, we need God’s Word – His way of thinking about this world!  Granted, it can be challenging to sit under God’s Word because it convicts you in areas that you might not want to have touched or addressed. The Word of God plainly spoken and simply taught has a way of invading places in your inner being that you have been trying to keep God out of. That can be very painful, and yet, it is so very necessary that God should do this work in us, for the Word of God is given to know about God and ourselves and how to get right and live right before Him.

That is why the church must remain committed to expository preaching.  When you’re preaching God’s Word, you are giving people answers to the real questions and issues in 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.”


Organically Grown

Grace For The Journey


20Aug Unless you subsist solely on fast food, you have heard of organically grown food, which is grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  Most grocery stores stock organically grown products, which are usually more expensive.

Did you know that the statement “organically grown” also applies to the Christian?  What I mean by this is the “vital” or “spiritual” union between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Christian believer, which is best illustrated in the Gospel of John.

The Bible says in John 15:1-5, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Our Lord’s teaching on the vine and branches perfectly illustrates just how the Christian is connected to Christ.  It is organic, not mechanical or superficial.  It is a living, vital union, where the believer (the branch) has been grafted into the vine (the Lord) and finds nutrients for growth through this organic connection.

Think about it this way . . .

Just as the branches of any tree or vine

Share in the nature and life of that tree or vine,

The Christian is united with Christ by faith

And shares in His nature and life.

Jesus final words in the passage above – “Apart from Me you can do nothing” – give us the sum and substance of the life of the Christian separated from the Savior.  Any perceived growth in a Christless environment is nothing more than behavioral change.

Anyone can change behavior,

But heart transformation

Only takes place

Through union with Christ.

It is a transformation which

Not only changes behavior,

But changes the believer as well.

When Paul said, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21), he was making it clear that his union with Christ was the very life he was living.

So . . . how is your connection to Christ these days?  Are you plugged in and powering up?  Or are you somewhat disconnected and feeling a bit lethargic?  Make no mistake: staying organically connected to Omnipotence will keep you growing and producing fruit that will last all the way into glory.

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 Need To Recalibrate Our Perspective Of Life

Grace For The Journey


19Aug  The Bible says in Psalm 73:23-24, “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

One of the most dangerous habits of thought

Among Christians is to underestimate God.

We underestimate His abilities, intent,

And His awareness in our lives.

Psalm 73 is a very powerful picture of one’s personal heart confusion when a Christian underestimates God.  The inspired writer looks at the ways of the world around him and sees a world upside down where evil goes unpunished (Verse 1–12).  In fact, the wickedness of the world seems to produce prosperity, pride, and persecution at the expense of the good.  Someone commented on the writer’s situation, “His heart calibration has slowly, but steadily, been ratcheted out of whack.”

Verses 12–16 give utterance to the confusion of his heart.  The conflict rages within as the psalmist says, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches.” Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence, for all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” … “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me.” 

When the psalmist looked around he got confused.

It seemed that the wayward and wicked

Were thriving and happy –

The exact opposite of what he expected.

The key verse in the chapter is verse 17, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”

In the presence of God,

The reach and sovereignty

Of the Eternal One

Comes into view.

Good will prevail, the righteous will be vindicated, and wickedness will inevitably be punished.  Learning from God’s Word about His nature helps the believer in recalibrating his heart.

The rest of the chapter

Is designed to provide

The reader with a window

Into the thinking

Of the repentant believer

As God recalibrates his heart.

Verses 21 and 22 spell out this repentance, which prepares the psalmist to be recalibrated to the divine standard.  The author lists four truths which reset the heart upon appropriate parameters, in verses 23 and 24.  The psalmists concludes his personal evaluation in verses 25 through 26 where he reviews the personal blessings from God true for every believer which lift the heart of the faithful ever higher in exultation.

The first calibration mark is the power of the presence of God.  The psalmist declares in verse 23a, “But as for me, I am continually with You.”

Do not dare to underestimate

The power of the presence of God.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 31:8, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.  He will be with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”  Jesus gave us His promise in Matthew 28:220b, “And lo, I am with you always; even to the end of the age.”  And the Bible says in Hebrews 13:5-6, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

The second calibration mark is the power of the will of God.  The psalmist states in verse 23b, “You hold me by my right hand.”

Do not dare to underestimate

The power of the will of God.

When we were children and effectively forced to follow the direction of our parents by a firm hold of our little hand.  As children of God, He has a sure grip upon us and is insistently drawing us to Him and prompting us along by His loving grasp.

The third calibration mark is of the clear perspective of the wisdom of God.  The psalmist proclaims in verse 24a, “You will guide me with Your counsel.”

Do not dare to underestimate

The power of the clear wisdom of God.

Wise parents reinforce their parenting with words of wisdom repeated throughout the upbringing of the children and throughout the remainder of their lifetime.  It is a blessed child who can freely come back to the refreshing spring of wisdom from godly parents.  We need to be reminded that God is the fountainhead of every refreshing spring of wisdom and we must look to Him, learn from Him, and lean upon Him.

The fourth calibration mark is the power of assurance of eternal life.  The psalmist confidently states in verse 24b, “and afterward receive me to glory.”

Do not dare to underestimate

The power of assurance of eternal life with God.

So many things in this life produces anxiety, fear, and worry.  How wonderful it is to be able to face the future and the unknown with certainty and confidence knowing that our sovereign Lord is in control and is working out everything for our good and His glory.  Live with eternity’s values in view.

What causes confusion and heartbreak in your life?  Can you identify the causes and your responses? Perhaps a recalibration is in order so that you can run true and not underestimate God.

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.”