What Costume Will You Wear Today?

Grace For The Journey


31Oct  I am not a supporter of “celebrating” Halloween.  This observance is firmly rooted in pagan tradition and continues to rise in popularity as a festival of the occult.  Our church has offered an alternative, called “HarvestFest.”  We invited the community to come and celebrate Jesus through games, contests, and candy that included biblical character costumes.  More recently we are participating through the outreach ministry of “TrunkNTreat” by providing treats including Gospel tracts and other items for the children.  We plan on using signs in the trunk that say, “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus;” “Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know” or “Are You Fall – O – Ween Jesus?”

Back in my childhood, Halloween was little more than carving out pumpkins and a night out trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids.  Today it is big business for adults and kids alike, including horror movies, haunted houses, and Halloween parties and celebrations of all shapes and sizes.

Because today is Halloween and likely we will have young, costumed visitors coming to our homes looking for candy, I thought I would write about the “costumes” we adults like to wear year-round.  And I’m not talking about the store-bought ones!

The Bible tells us in Genesis 3:1-13 that after they disobeyed God, Adam and Even constructed the first-ever “costumes in the Garden of Eden.  When their consciences were seared by their sin, they sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness and shame.  And when they heard the sound of God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, they ran and hid.  This is the primary reason we wear our costumes.  We like to hide ourselves from the view of others.  We don’t want anyone to see what we are really like . . . as if our blemishes are unique to us.

God confronted Adam and Eve in love and not in anger, but instead of confessing their sin and seeking God’s forgiveness, they attempted to shift blame.  Adam blamed Eve and God Himself (“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit . . .”); Eve blamed the serpent; and we all have been blaming-shifting ever since.

We wear costumes,

Seeking to cover our

Mistakes, shortcomings, and sins

– Which makes it easier

For us to blame others and God

For the predicaments

We find ourselves in.

Wearing costumes allows us

To keep from confronting

The real person

Underneath the mask.

This, of course, is a great comfort for all those who willing seek after satisfying the desires of the flesh rather than the Spirit.

So . . . what costumes have you been wearing lately?  What would happen if you took yours off?

The Gospel frees us to step out of our costumes, because – regardless of what others think of us – God’s love is as unchanging as it is unconditional.

Costumes enslave us;

The Gospel frees us.

Costumes blind to the glories of His kingdom;

The Gospel opens our eyes to see with the eyes of faith.

The Gospel liberates us from the need to hide

And when we are found out It rids us of the need to blame.

Jesus died to set the captives free, and in Christ we are free indeed to be exactly what we are: great sinners in need of an even greater Savior.

As fallen, sinful people

Living in a broken, sin-filled world,

We can step out of every costume

We wear for creaturely comfort,

Because the only true source of comfort

Is found in Christ.

What costume will you wear today?  Why not rest is the reality of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ?  With His robe of righteousness wrapped tightly around you, what else could you possibly 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.”


500+ Years And Still Reforming

Grace For The Journey


30Oct  Five centuries ago, an unknown Augustinian monk named Martin Luther rocked the world with his Reformation theology and preaching.  What started out as an attempt to engage in a debate turned into the greatest awakening in human history since the explosion that occurred at Pentecost.  It was the goal of Luther, John Calvin, and the other Reformers to reconnect Christianity to the original message of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel . . . summarized in five Latin phrases, often called “The Five Solas,” which emerged out of the Reformation:

  1. Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone
  2. Sola Fide – Faith alone
  3. Sola Gratia – Grace alone
  4. Solus ChristusChrist alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – To the glory of God alone

In 1517, the front of the Castle Church’s door served as a large social media outlet in primitive form.  Long before the social media platforms of our day with smartphones and apps at our fingertips, Luther, and his colleagues would enter into friendly and passionate discussions by nailing documents containing their ideas on specific matters to the front of the Castle Church’s door.

Little did Luther know that God would have other plans for his Ninety-Five Theses.  Rather than a localized debate in the city of Wittenberg, Germany – those statements would spark a world-wide debate that would end in the unleashing of the Protestant movement.

Not long before Luther’s spark, a Roman Catholic named Johannas Guttenberg converted an old wine press into a printing press with moveable type. This invention would revolutionize the world of literature.  Little did Guttenberg know, but God would take a Roman Catholic’s invention and use it as a weapon against the Roman Catholic Church.  When Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses were printed on the moveable type press and distributed all around Europe it would spark a massive wildfire of controversy.

What began as an inner debate was now moving on toward a collision of two worlds.  As Luther saw it . . .

It was the gospel of Christ

In contrast to the false gospel of works

– Clearly seen in the selling of indulgences.

In 1521, Luther was summoned to stand before the imperial Diet in the city of Worms. Although his friends cautioned him against appearing, based on the fact that anti-Reformation protests had been taking place where Luther’s books were being burned in the streets.  Luther’s friends feared he would be burned too.  Nevertheless, he insisted that they travel to Worms and, in Luther’s mind, even if they must go through the gates of hell, he would appear there to defend the gospel.

When he walked into the room to stand before the royal assembly which included representatives from as far away as Spain, Italy, and various other places throughout Europe – the emperor Charles V was also present.

In front of the room was a table that contained all of Luther’s books.  The spokesman of the emperor demanded that Luther not speak until he was called upon.  Finally, pointing to a pile of books on the table, he asked, “Are these your books? If so, will you recant?”

After given a day to consider his answer, Luther stated emphatically that he would not retract anything he had written in the books and anything that he had said in his public attacks.  As Luther reasoned, the Emperor shouted “NO!” to Luther’s comments, but the poised Reformer continued to speak.  He insisted that if he is wrong, he must be refuted with Scripture – and he would be the first to burn his books.  Finally, one last time the spokesman of the emperor demanded an answer from the zealous monk, “Will you recant?”  It’s at this point that Luther said the following: “I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot and I will not recant of anything since it is neither safe nor right to go against the Bible and conscience.  I cannot do otherwise.  Here I stand – may God help me. AMEN.”

Later he would tell a friend, “If I had a thousand heads I would rather have them all lopped off than to abandon my gospel.”

If the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517

Was the spark of the Reformation,

Luther’s stand at Worms

Was the explosion of the Reformation.

As Luther made his stand, we too must continue to stand in our day.  Recent findings from a new Pew Research Survey clearly demonstrate that American Protestants are distancing themselves from the fundamental biblical beliefs that undergirded the Reformation.  At the very least, American Protestants completely misunderstand what those beliefs actually are.

According to the research taken of professing American Protestants . . .

  • 52% believe faith and works are needed to get into heaven
  • 52% believe church teaching and traditions are also needed
  • Only 46% believe faith alone in Jesus is required for salvation (sola fide)
  • Only 46% believe that the Scriptures are sufficient for faith and practice

How far we have fallen in 502 years!

More than half of all professing Christians in America

Stated that faith in Jesus Christ alone

Is not enough for salvation;

They believe that faith in Jesus plus their good works

(Church attendance, acts of mercy and service, giving, etc.)

Are required for eternal life.

And more than half of all professing Christians in America

Believe the Bible plus the teachings and traditions of man or a religion

Are necessary for living a Christian life

That is pleasing and acceptable to God,

Rather than trusting in the clear assertion of 2 Peter 1:3

That the teachings of God’s Word

Has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

And of 2 Timothy 3:17,

“That the man of god may be complete, thoroughly equipped”

for everything he needs in this life and the life to come.

Such an understanding, of course, is entirely unbiblical, running counter to the doctrines Sola Gratia (By Grace alone) and Sola Fide (By faith alone) – which are expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:5-6, Titus 2:5-7 and elsewhere.

What has brought us to this sad station?  How did the wheels come off “The Truth Track?”  To be sure, there are many factors, including our sinful nature, a stubborn belief in universalism, an increasing desire for things below rather than things above, spiritual sluggishness, and biblical ignorance and conviction.

I am convinced that the men

Who stand in pulpits

All across our country

Bear the greatest weight

Of responsibility for our drift

Away from Reformation truths.

When pastors find it more important

To preach messages that meet people

At the level of “felt needs,”

Rather than true needs,

We have begun our return

To the Dark Ages.

The whole counsel of God is the light that must be directed into this dark and depraved world, not “gospel-lite” messages.

When the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

Of God’s Word is no longer preached from our pulpits,

We allow the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil

To infiltrate and infect our congregations.

And thus, it is no surprise to see survey results like these in a “cultural church” context that sees the average professing Christian attending church once or twice a month, abandoning any thought of attending Bible studies which would add another hour at church, and little or no time for family devotions and personal Bible Study.

And what starts as an infection that is barely visible festers and becomes an insidious disease that is emptying out our churches.  Why?  Because motivational messages, inspirational insights, and secular stories will not hold up when the storm winds begin to blow and the waves of challenge come crashing down on you.  And those storms come with great regularity!  As I frequently remind our church family, there are only three stages in life on this side of the grave.  Either you are . . .

In the midst of a storm,

Heading out of a storm,

Or heading back into a storm!

So, what is the way forward?  I would insist that, even after 502 years, . . .

The Protestant church must keep reforming!

We must reclaim the pulpit

For its intended purpose:

Preaching the wisdom

Of the whole counsel of God,

Not the wisdom of the world.

As we think about the need of Luther’s hour, we must look to our present day and consider the need of this present hour.

Today, we have far too much laziness in our American evangelical culture.  Too many Christians have capitulated on the idea of pragmatic church growth schemes in order to see their churches increase and become successful.

Today’s church is spiritually weak and superficial.

In many circles, it’s as if the mind

Has no place in worship.

Everything is driven

By feelings, emotions, and

Shallow theological clichés.

Jesus, in an answer to a scribe who asked about the greatest commandment, said the following, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).  God desires for His people to think.  Luther understood this point as a part of the discipleship commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  That’s why, when you travel all throughout Europe, you discover that as the Reformation spread – universities were setup to teach people more than economics and world history.  They were used to instruct people with the gospel of Christ.

That same thing is true with our first universities here in America.  Harvard was instituted to train ministers of the gospel.  Today, such institutions have been overtaken by liberals who deny the gospel of Christ and the teaching of the Word of God.  As we consider the fact that God is interested in our minds, we must not approach our worship with a mindless approach to Christianity.

We Need Courageous Preachers

Why was Luther’s preaching so relentless and bold?  Luther believed that preaching was a noble and serious task.  According to Luther, “The pulpit is the throne for the Word of God.”  Luther ascended the pulpit with the Word of God in complete confidence.  He pointed to the Scriptures and asserted at one point, “The Holy Spirit is the Author of this book.  They are God’s Scriptures and God’s Word.”

Luther was not approaching the weekly preaching of God’s Word

With a slapstick approach, in hopes to grow his following.

Luther had a following and it was based on

His unwillingness to compromise the true gospel.

Today’s evangelical church has a reversed trend.

Many popular preachers have a following,

And lead mega-churches, sadly because

They refuse to preach the gospel boldly.

The need of the hour is for bold preachers to confront the shallow and man-centered theology of our day with the true gospel of King Jesus.  No genuine reformation will happen without bold and courageous people who continue to uphold the true gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world.

John Huss understood the cost and he gave his life for the cause.  Luther would come 100 years later and put his neck on the line.  Tyndale would read Luther’s works and eventually become a believer.  He would dedicate his life to the translation of the Bible into English and as a result, he would suffer the flames of the infamous stake.  The Reformers were bold, their preaching was courageous, and their sacrifice was based on the true gospel of Christ.  They were not puppeteers or comedians.  They were preachers, Bible translators, and faithful Christians who obeyed God.

The health and strength of our local churches depends on a serious approach to worship, preaching, and missions.  Reformations don’t happen by accident. The need of the hour is for bold preaching to thunder from pulpits around the world by men who have great confidence that God’s Word will always accomplish God’s purpose and will never return void.

When we preach messages designed to tickle ears, meet felt needs, and fill seats, we forsake souls; God will call those who hold the privileged position of preaching His Word to account for their empty messages.

On the eve of the 502th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it is my prayer that . . .

Every pulpit will become aflame

With the Spirit of God

And proclaim the inspired

Truth of Scripture alone,

Preaching salvation by grace alone,

Through faith alone

In Jesus Christ alone,

And to the glory of God alone.

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.”


X-Ray Vision

Grace For The Journey


29Oct  The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  There are many ways to define worldliness – from seeking all things below to being possessed by your possessions.  But here is one of my favorite definitions of worldliness: “a lack of the vision.”  What does that mean? Let’s take a look . . .

When I speak of a lack of vision, I am speaking about the ability to see the invisible.  We get so caught up in what is right in front of us . . . what we can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and possess.  We often forget about the invisible world because the visible, temporal world all around us has gained our focus.  When we are focused on the visible, we eventually find ourselves afflicted by fear, anxiety, and doubts.  Yet, everything in the visible world is passing away; it is all in the process of decay (1 John 2:17).

The cure for this type of myopia

Is to have X-Ray Vision –

To be able to see through

That which is visible

To the invisible all around us.

It is to have the vision of Elisha.  When Elisha’s servant looked out in the early morning hours, he saw the city surrounded by the Syrian army of horses, chariots, and soldiers, and was stricken with fear.  Why?  Because he could see only the visible . . . and the visible said they were in deep trouble!

The Bible tells us in 2 Kings 6:16-17a that Elisha saw the invisible, “’Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’  Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17b)

Notice the prayer of Elisha for his servant.  He prayed that God would give him X-Ray Vision.  And when God answered His petition, Elisha’s servant saw what was previously invisible: the heavenly armies that vastly outnumbered the Syrian army, standing ready to do battle for the people of God.

This must be our prayer each day,

That we would be able to see

All that God has given to us

In the invisible realm.

Some of the greatest saints in all of sacred Scripture had X-Ray Vision, and followed the way of the invisible.

  • Elisha saw the invisible armies of heaven (2 Kings 6)
  • Abraham saw the invisible city of heaven (Hebrews 11)
  • Moses saw the invisible God of heaven (Hebrews 11)

To the extent that we can see that which is invisible, we will be able to rise above the visible and live and walk in the ways of our Lord!

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.”


More Than A Feeling

Grace For The Journey



The Bible says in Psalm 51:6, “You desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”  When you are walking out of corporate worship, how often do you hear someone say something like, “I was really moved today” . . . “The tears were really flowing”? . . . “My emotions were deeply touched today””

That can be a good thing,

But if our response to

The preaching of the Word of God

Stops at a feeling and does not

Move us on to faithfulness,

It is less than a good thing.

The goal of the Christian life

Is to go beyond feelings

And stop at nothing short

Of all-out faithfulness.

When we are truly stirred by the Holy Spirit, our emotions do not simply come and go. They come and go with the hands and feet of Christ.  Our emotions manifest themselves by extending the mercy of our Master to mend a broken heart.  The emotions go forth and express themselves by pouring out the grace of our God in delivering God’s grace and goodness to others.

Emotions that become the fuel

That ignites the fire of our faithfulness

Are emotions that have been delivered

To us from on high . . .

And for two reasons only:

For God’s Glory


The Good of All Others!

The Old Testament prophets were quick to condemn the emptiness of emotions that were not accompanied by an outward expression of good works.  It is very emotional to tear the clothing . . . to put on sackcloth . . . to heap ashes upon the head . . . and to sacrifice the fatted ram.  But when all of these outward expressions of emotion are not followed up with the faithful obedience of the heart, they are empty, shallow, and utterly devoid of meaning that would give glory to God.

May God give us the grace

To live out this profound truth

From the inspired pen

Of the prophet Joel,

“Rend your heart and

Not your garments” (Joel 2:13).

So . . . how emotional have you been lately in your worship of your God?  Have you walked out of church emotionally moved, but with no corresponding movement of obedience and faithfulness?

Let me close today with a word of great encouragement from Ephesians 3:16-17, “I pray that out of His glorious riches [the Father] may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

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 Source Of Real Joy

Grace For The Journey


25Oct  The Bible says in Psalm 126:2, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”

If someone asked you to define the word “laughter,” how would you respond?  Here is a typical definition: a response to something clever, humorous, or absurd that touches our “funny bone,” resulting in an outburst of laughter.  I’m sure you have heard that laughter is good for the soul (Proverbs 17:22), but . . .

There is another kind of laughter

That is not only good for the soul,

But is absolutely glorifying to God.

The Bible says in Genesis 17:17 and Genesis 21:6-7, “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?  Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” … “Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’”

What was the source of the happiness?  It certainly wasn’t from either one of them – Sarah even laughed in doubt about what God announced to Abraham regarding their having a child.

This is laughter that has its source only in God.

  This laughter comes from the depths of a soul

That trusts in God completely,

In spite of the circumstances;

Knowing, just as the psalmist knew,

That our Lord has done great things for us.

God promised to make Abraham the father of many nations, and He kept His promise when Abraham had reached the ripe old age of 100; Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was 90.  This kind of joy comes from submitting and surrendering to the will and work of God in His timing and in His way.  This kind of joy springs from a soul that magnifies the Lord when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy . . . and also . . . when dark storm clouds roll in, bearing hurricane-force winds.

One of the lessons that you and I

Must take from Abraham and Sarah

Is just how insignificant our obstacles

Truly are to God.

When we think about our problems, which we so often make into mountains, we must remember that those same problems look like insignificant molehills to the Almighty.  To be sure, the obstacles for a couple as old as Abraham and Sarah to conceive a child were absolutely overwhelming.  In the natural realm, such a thing was utterly impossible.  But remember . . .

With God nothing is impossible

When it comes to God’s plan

And purpose for our lives.

That thought should fill us with holy laughter from the time we put our feet on the ground at the start of the day until the time we slip back under the covers at night.

A sense of humor is a good thing, but it can be shallow, secular, and devoid of the supernatural.  But holy joy – joy that leads to laughter that is rooted in the truth of who God is, what God has promised to do, and what God has done – should be the mark of every disciple of Christ.  The gift of holy laughter flows from a spiritual vision that has been shaped by the promises of God . . . promises that find their “Yes!” and “Amen!” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

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 Freed From The Grip Of Guilt

Grace For The Journey


24Oct  Many Christians who come to me for pastoral counseling are locked solidly in the grip of guilt.  They simply cannot get past a past littered with sin . . .

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

And the list goes on and on and on.

This is the place

The devil wants us to live.

He wants us to wallow in the past,

Which keeps us from living in the present.

To be sure, the devil cannot take you out of the nail-scarred hands of your Savior (John10:28), but . . .

He can get you to focus

So tightly on your sinful past

That you never live

In the forgiven present

Of your God-given potential.

Living in the grip of guilt . . .

Stunts our growth,

Slows our progress,


Shuts off the flow

Of God’s blessings

To our lives.

In other words, we take a truncated view of the glorious Gospel . . .

We view the work of Christ

On our behalf as

Incomplete in its ability

To save us

“to the uttermost”

(Hebrews 7:25)


Remove all of our guilt.

But this is not what God wants for you!

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

If Paul did not believe what he wrote, he never would have been able to rise above a past littered with sin – and not just your common, garden-variety sin – but his approving role in the execution of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  Read Paul’s inspired words in 1 Timothy 1:13-15 carefully, remembering he was the one who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”

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

The answer is that Paul had

A clear view of the Gospel

And refused to be held

In the devil’s grip of guilt.

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

So . . . what about you?  How clear is your view of the Gospel?  Check your guilt and remember these words John Newton uttered shortly before his death at the age of 82:

“My memory is nearly gone,

But I remember two things:

That I am a great sinner


That Christ is a great Savior.”

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

God’s grace

Is greater

Than all our sins!

And so, we are to shake free from the grip of guilt and stand fully in God’s grace, no matter what our past was like.

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 Still Is Still Doing Something

Grace For The Journey


23Oct The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Many of us have a tendency to think that if we are not busily and frantically engaged in doing something for the Lord, then we are doing nothing for Him.  That is not true!  What about the times when we are to sit at the feet of our Savior and be still?

Being still is still something,

And it is the something

We all need

Much more than

We think we do.

Why?  Because the natural man is addicted to activity.  We think we must be like the Energizer Bunny and just keep going and going and going . . .

I want to encourage you today

With two examples from the Bible

Which demonstrate that

Being still is still something.

The Bible tells us in Exodus 14:13 that Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more.”

After having been freed from more than 400 years of bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were on the way toward the Promised Land.  There was a major problem, however . . .

Pharaoh had changed his mind

About freeing the people

And was furiously

Pursuing the Israelites,

Who were confronted

By a seemingly impassable

Roadblock . . . The Red Sea.

You know “the rest of the story” . . .

After a bit of grumbling and complaining,

The people of God obeyed

The command to “stand still,”

And they did indeed see

And experience the salvation of the Lord

As they walked through

The Red Sea on dry ground

And then saw the waters

Close over the Egyptian army

And destroy it.

Being still was still something for the Israelites . . .

It demonstrated their trust in

And dependence on the Lord God.

Now let’s look at the New Testament.  Luke 10:38-42 tells us that as Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore, tell her to help me.’  And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is need, and Mary has chosen that good part, which not be taken away from her.’”

What a profound illustration

Of being still

Still being something!

In fact,

Jesus indicated

That it is

The best of things.

Martha and her sister Mary were both busily engaged in preparing the meal for Jesus. Both women served the Lord and both loved the Lord.  But . . .

Martha saw the meal

As the most important thing,

While Mary saw the Master

As the most important thing.

Martha was addicted to activity;

Mary was adoring Jesus.

The message is clear.

There is most definitely a time to work . . .

But there are also those vitally important times

For us to be still in the presence of our Savior.

The question that you and I must ask ourselves is this: “Does my life reflect my understanding of the importance of both those times?”

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.”


Divine Diet

Grace For The Journey



The Bible says in Jeremiah 15:16, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.”

When I ask members of our congregation, “What does the Bible mean to you?” their true answer is easy to discern, no matter what they might say –

The Bible means as much to you

As the amount of time

You spend in it.

It really is that simple.  Think about others things in your life.  The more you like something – a special food, a favorite recreation activity, an important relationship – the more time you spend engaging with it.  Well, the same is true for the Word of God.

Think about the above verse for a moment.  What do you think the Word of God meant to the prophet Jeremiah?  Jeremiah was on what I call a “Divine Diet.”  He feasted on the Word of God; and when God’s Word is your food, it becomes your joy and your heart’s delight.

What have you been feasting on lately?  How much time do you spend in God’s Word each day?

How has the Word of God

Been shaping and

Sharpening your life?

I think we would agree that Jesus knew the Word of God better than anyone . . . spoke the Word of God better than anyone . . . and lived out the truths of the Word of God better than anyone.  When Jesus in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work,” . . .

He was making it perfectly clear

Just how important

The Scriptures were to Him.

As God, Jesus was the Word of God.  But as a man, He needed to study, meditate on, and pray through the Word of God in order to know and do the will of God.  And what was true for Jesus then is true for you and me today.

Because the Word of God

Is both living and active (Hebrews 4:12),

The more we come to it,

The more alive we are made to it,

And the more active

We become in living it out.

When we are on a Divine Diet of both the Old and the New Testaments, we become more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, more in-tune to the purpose and desire of God, and we are increasingly strengthened to follow wherever He is leading us.

Remember, after Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested, He used the Word of God to defeat the devil.  In Matthew 4:4 the Bible records Jesus saying, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So . . . how’s your diet?  Are you getting all the nourishment you need to be all God is calling you to be?  Remember . . .

God wrote the Bible

So we would read it

. . . And the Book

We don’t read

Won’t help!

One last thought:

This is the only diet in the world

Where you can eat all you want,

Whenever you want,

And all you will ever gain

Is a heart filled

With satisfaction and joy!

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 Master Never Misses A Meeting

Grace For The Journey


21Oct  The Bible records an encounter that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had with an angel in Mark 16:5-7, “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side and they and they were afraid.  But he said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He is risen!  He is not here.  See the place where He is not here.  Se 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.’”

All of us who have worked in ministry or business have been involved in cancelled meetings, whether the meeting was cancelled on us or we cancelled the meeting ourselves.  And there has undoubtedly been at least one time in our lives when a boss or coworker said to us, “We missed you at the meeting.  I sent you an notice!” And we realize that we have completely missed a meeting that did take place and that we were supposed to attend.

But there is One who never misses a meeting . . .

And His name is Jesus Christ.

Not long before He was arrested and crucified, Jesus told His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee after His resurrection (Matthew 26:32).  The women went to the tomb on that glorious morning, saw that the stone had been rolled away, and looked in.  They saw an angel dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side of the tomb.  They were alarmed, trembling and bewildered, as you might imagine.  Then the angel told them that Jesus had risen from the dead and gone ahead of them into Galilee, where He had promised to meet them after His resurrection.

Even death itself could not keep Jesus

From His intended meeting.

You and I may miss meetings for any number of reasons, but make no mistake, our faithful Lord and Savior never misses a meeting!  Jesus has promised to meet you in a myriad of ways in your daily living.

  • He has promised to meet you continually in prayer. The throne of grace is always accessible to those who approach.
  • He has promised to meet you in His Word. The Bible is “living and active” and is always available to meet you in your deepest place of need, whenever or wherever you are.
  • He has promised to meet you in church. Corporate worship is one of God’s special meeting places where we meet with our Master.

But these are not the only meeting places ordained by our wonderful Master!  We expect to meet our Master when we are on our knees in fervent prayer. We expect to meet our Master when we are meditating on and studying the Word of God. We expect to meet our Master when we come to His house to praise and worship His mighty name. We quickly give thanks to Him when good things happen: the promotion at work . . . seeing a beloved friend you hadn’t seen for years . . . deliverance from some health issue.

But Jesus often meets us

In places we would never expect.

Perhaps it is a divine appointment in the checkout line at the grocery store . . . you know the one: the shortest line with the longest wait!  Maybe it is at a sporting event or a social gathering when you bump into someone you had not seen for years . . . and you hadn’t been missing that person all that much!  Possibly you are at the doctor’s office . . . and the test results are not what you wanted to hear.

Now notice the words in our verse today, Mark 16:7 – “He is going ahead of you.”  Jesus always goes ahead of you. Jesus is always first in fellowship with His family of faith . . . and if you have trusted in Christ for your salvation, you are part of that family!

His strength goes ahead of you.

His grace goes ahead of you.

His mercy goes ahead of you,

Because your Master never missed a meeting

. . . “Just as He told you.”

Perhaps it is time for you to look more closely for your Master in your meetings.

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.”



Unholy Hiding

Grace For The Journey

  When we read the account of the horrific fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we may not give the proper attention to the exchange recorded in Genesis 3:8-10 between God and Adam.  Here is what the Bible records about that conversation, “The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’”

We’re anxious to “get to the good part” about God’s plan to redeem man and restore him to fellowship with Him, so it’s easy to skim past one of the saddest moments ever recorded in the Bible.

The one who was formed by God

And made for God

Was now trying to hide from God.

Adam and Eve were created . . .

To walk with God,

Talk with God,


Rejoice in God.

They were created to find

Purpose in His presence;

Meaning in His majesty;

Significance in His sovereignty;

Identity in His immutability.

Now they crouch, trembling in the brush . . . and in their hiding they are denying their humanity.  Made for intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe, they are now on the run from Him.

Before Adam and Eve committed their act of defiance and disobedience, their hearts filled with delight in the presence of God; after they sinned, their hearts filled with dread at the sound of God walking in the Garden.

They now find themselves

At the beginning of a drama

That will be played out

Until Jesus returns,

A story marked

By “unholy hiding”

From our holy God.

So . . . where in your life today do you find yourself hiding from God?  Where have you been hiding from those who love you most?

Life is not to be lived in the shadows; it is to be lived in the light, and that light shines brilliantly through the truths of the Gospel.  You see, God knows you.  He knows you fully; He has created you and He knows you; He is familiar with all your ways; before a word is on your tongue He knows it fully (Psalm 139:1-4) . . . and yet He still loves you.

There is no hiding from the One who knows everything and sees everything.  And only a clear view of the Gospel can help us to come out from behind the bushes without fear of rejection or removal from the presence of God.

The Bible says in Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

The Gospel makes it clear that Jesus was the One who would take our place and pay the penalty for our sin.  The Gospel also makes it clear that Jesus was removed from the presence of His Father during the darkest time in the history of the world: the day when the Light of the world was spit upon, scourged, and nailed to a cruel cross.  And because Jesus took our place on that cross – rejected by God and removed from His presence – all those who are in Christ need never fear rejection or removal from the presence of God ever again.

God loves you!  He accepts you!  God is for you (Romans 8:31), so it doesn’t matter who is against you . . . which means you can stop any kind of “unholy hiding” from Him and from those who matter most in your life.

Think about the last time you went into hiding.  You could hear His voice, couldn’t you?  Of course you could!  God did not leave Adam and Even in their hiding and He will not leave you either.  God is in the business of pursuing rebels on the run – not to crush them but to restore them – and that includes you.

Always remember . . .

God is not pleased with you

Because of your performance.

God delights in you

Because of the perfect

Performance of your Prince,

Who lived and died

And was raised from the dead

So that you could stop hiding

In shadows and begin living

In the warm sunlight

Of God’s unwavering love,

Which is expressed

In the truths of the Gospel.

If you will pause for a moment and sit still long enough, you just might hear the sound of God walking in your garden, calling out to you, “Where are you?”  Come out from behind the bushes of unbelief and your unholy hiding.  Go to Him.  Run to Him!  And you will find that, while you are still a long way off, He will come running to you, His arms outstretched and nail-scarred hands held open, just waiting to take you into His loving, healing, eternal embrace.

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.”