How Do You Witness to Those in Cults and Other Religions?

Grace For The Journey


28Feb  All cults and manmade religions are based in “works righteousness.”  Their adherents believe they have to do something to earn their way to heaven – pray five times a day, lie on beds of nails, do good works, fast, repeat certain prayers, etc.

They do this because

They are ignorant

Of God’s standard

Of righteousness.

This is why they need

The Law of God

To show them

That the leap they

Are trying to make

Is infinitely wider

Than the Grand Canyon.

However, before you take them through the Law to grace, help them see that they are indeed trusting in “works” for salvation.

I have a pastor friend who used this illustration to drive home this point: Let’s say there are a couple of cult members at my door.  I warmly ask for their names, and then say, “I have a knife in my back.  I am dying and have only three minutes to live.  What do I need to do to enter heaven/paradise/the kingdom of God?”  They look concerned.  One says, “A lot.” I ask, “What do you mean ‘a lot’?  I have only two minutes to live. Help me.”  They will normally say they cannot help someone who has just a couple of minutes to live, because their salvation is based on gaining knowledge and doing “good works.”  The fact that they must do things to be saved reveals that they are trusting in their “self-righteousness.”

He then asks them if they think they are “good” people, they almost always say they are, and that is the root cause of their deception.  While they know they are sinners, they believe their sin is not so bad that they cannot earn their own way out of it and “merit” heaven.  So . . .

  • They must be taken through the Law and made to understand that they are criminals in the sight of a holy Judge, and are guilty of countless crimes.
  • They must be taken through the Law and made to understand that they are criminals in the sight of a holy Judge, and are guilty of countless crimes.
  • They must understand that God is perfect and holy, that He considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, and He will see to it that absolute justice is done. That means adulterers, murderers, liars, and thieves will be damned forever.
  • They must understand that their “good” works are not good at all, but are in reality a detestable attempt to bribe the Judge of the universe.

Hopefully they will see their need to

Trust In God’s mercy alone to save them.

That is how the thief on the cross was saved – through mercy alone.  He didn’t go anywhere or do anything to save himself.  He couldn’t, because he was nailed to the cross.  He had no other avenue but to humbly turn to Jesus and say, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).  In doing so, he acknowledged Jesus as Lord, and believed that He would rise from the dead (Romans 10:9).

That is all that any who are involved in “works righteousness” religions need to do to be saved.

They are condemned by the Law.

They cannot go anywhere or do anything. Al

l they can do is turn to Jesus and

Trust in Him alone for their salvation.

We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves; “it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  So. plant that seed in the hearts of those who think they can be saved by their own works, then pray that God causes it to grow and produce fruit.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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



When We Doubt the Faithfulness of God

Grace For The Journey


27Feb  Fear has been a constant, albeit unbidden, companion of humanity since the fall. Concerns can range between the jitters from seeing many-legged creatures to the debilitation of a doctor’s diagnosis.  We could take up several blogs considering the prevalent fear, even among Christians, of our own faithlessness.  And yet, this fear of faithlessness is not the one that keeps us awake staring at the ceiling in the dark night of the soul, or when hopes are dashed or finances dry up, or relationships crumble, or persecution bites.

If we allow ourselves a moment of honesty, in times of trials and suffering, there tends to be a voice that does not strive against our faithlessness but calls into question the faithfulness of God.  Will He come through?  Will He do what He has promised?  Will He provide?  Will He heal?  Will He save? Will He strengthen? He will hold me fast.  Will He?

The soul-crippling fear of the Lord’s faithlessness is worthy of a heated battle.  Indeed, we must strive against the fear of the Lord’s faithlessness.  How shall we fight against it?  The key overcoming this fear begins with an understanding of this biblical principle:

My obedience to God is

An obedience that occurs second:

God keeps His word.

He always remains faithful.

Our obedience is certainly required in Scripture.  We are to “be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).  In a real sense, a person’s assurance, comfort, and hope hangs in the balance regarding his glad-hearted obedience or soul-deluding disobedience. As crucial as hearing God’s word is, the testimony of Scripture is that the end of proper hearing is action.

What James wrote propositionally,

Jesus painted pictorially through

The image of a constructed house.

Jesus states in Luke 6:46-49, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

When we are hearers only of God’s Word, we become deceived and in as much danger as a beautiful home without a solid foundation.  By grace, resolve to be like the owner who built his unshakable house on the firm foundation by being a doer of the Word.

But . . .

There is a more significant and

Fundamentally firmer foundation.

All of reality rests on this foundation.

Creation, redemption, sanctification,

And glorification rests on this foundation.

Our God is a keeper of His word.

Our God is faithful to keep what He has promised because He is righteous in His character.  It is the testimony of Scripture from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 that our God will do what He said He would do.  The Bible proclaims in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? Did he say it? Won’t he do it?

Woven into the very fabric

Of the nature of God

Is His faithfulness.

In the proclamation of His name to Moses, loyalty is no minor trait.  He abounds in faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).  The song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:4 captures Who the Lord is through the picture of a reliable rock. “He is the Rock, His way is perfect, for all His ways are justice.  A God of truth and without iniquity, just and upright is He.”

Would there be any greater dismay in the entire universe than an unfaithful God who failed to keep his word?

As Joshua’s final charge to Israel included the reminder that not one word had failed of all the good things that the Lord promised – all had come to pass (Joshua 23:14).  The Psalmist gives us good soul food for our hearts to feast upon every time we step outside and look up at the vastness of the sky in Psalm 36:5, “Your mercy, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds.”

A beam of hopeful light pierces through the dark exilic clouds of Lamentations 3:21-23, “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  Gladly we sing, “There is no shadow of turning with Thee.”   We discover Him to be, “The Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to turning” (James 1:17).  Mightily we can stand against the fear of a faithless God.

Romans 3:3-4 tells us that human unbelief has no bearing on the Lord’s faithfulness. “What if some were unfaithful?  Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?   By no means! Let God be true though every man were a liar, as it is written, ‘That You may be justified in Your words and prevail when You are judged.’”  The Bible tells in 2 Timothy 2:13 there is a good reason why this is so, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.”

The supremely tremendous

And continual declaration

From the Word of God is

That above all things

Our Triune God is

Faithful to Himself.

There is profound encouragement in knowing that our God is faithful to His own.

Spiritual fortitude in the face of fear

Finds its source in God’s

Deeper commitment to Himself.

His faithfulness to us

Is the fruit of

His allegiance to Himself.

Here is where hope in the most challenging circumstances finds fertile soil to grow and flourish.  Here is the battleground where the fear of the Lord’s faithlessness is fought.  The Bible declares in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear …”

The ground of our hope is

Our Lord’s faithfulness

To His Word.

He has promised us great things.  Won’t He do them?  Do you think He wouldn’t follow His own rules?  If we are to be doers of His word and not hearers only, it rests fundamentally on the fact that God is a doer of His word.  The fear of God’s faithlessness is an irrational fear.  By grace, like Job, make a covenant with the eyes of your faith to keep them locked on the facts of God’s faithfulness.

We can then, “Hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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



Being A Believer That Honors God And Furthers His Kingdom

Grace For The Journey


26Feb  As we study the New Testament and particularly the difficult topics dealt with in Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8, 9, and 10:23-33, we find that . . .

Christians tend to fall into

Five different categories depending

On how they understand and respond

To their liberty in Christ.

I want to look at these areas in my blog today.

(1) The Weaker Brother

An analysis of these passages reveals four weaknesses which define the weaker brother.

He is weak in faith (Romans 14:1-2; cf. 22-23).

Faith as used here means “a firm, intelligent agreement and conviction based on Scripture that something is okay or not okay.”  The Greek text has “the faith” which refers to the body of truth which is to be taken in faith, but due to context (verses 2 and 14), the article should be taken as a personal pronoun, “his faith.”

The biblical definition of faith

Does not apply only to salvation.

It is equally applicable to

The rest of the Christian life.

Faith, as taught in the Bible,

Means we are to not only believe

What God says in the Bible,

We are also to obey it.

We are not only to believe the promises of God,

We are to live by those promises.

We are to agree with the truth of God’s Word,


We are to allow ourselves

To be transformed by it (Romans 12:2).

Why is this definition of faith so important?  Why must acting on the truth accompany agreeing with the truth facts?  Because “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6); because without faith, we cannot be saved John 3:16); because without faith, the Christian life cannot be what God intends it to be (John 10:10).

He is weak in knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:7; cf. Romans 14:14).

This is the reason for his lack of conviction – a lack of biblical understanding of God’s grace.  His faith is either misinformed or lacking in biblical content which included three issues:

  • He did not realize the idol was nothing.  He had not seen the implications that “there is only one true God” (1 Corinthians 8:4-5).
  • He did not know that food offered to “a nothing” would not spiritually affect him and that it could not be unclean in itself (Romans 14:14).
  • He do not understand that food cannot commend us to God, that food in itself has no spiritual bearing on our spiritual lives (1 Corinthians 8:8).

He is weak in conscience

This means his conscience is based on human standards and norms and is overly sensitive, condemning him for things the Biblee does not (1 Corinthians 8:7; 10, 12).

He is weak in his will

He is weak in his will because he can be influenced to do something contrary to his conscience, or to act without becoming fully convinced by Scripture that something is either right or wrong.  In this case, the weaker person acts on the example of the stronger believer without biblical conviction and faith.  This violates his conscience, and so causes him to sin against the Lord (1 Corinthians 8:10).

The weaker brother is any believer who, because of the weakness of his faith, conscience, knowledge, and will, can be influenced to sin against his conscience by the example or life style of a stronger brother.  The weaker brother is not just a new or immature believer; he is not a Christian who happens to differ with you or me on some issue, but he or she is one who can be influenced to act contrary to their conscience or personal convictions (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 8:9-12).

(2) The Stronger Brother

Conversely the stronger brother of Romans 15:1 is the one who is strong in his faith (conviction) (Romans 14:22), knowledge of grace, and what is truly right or wrong (1 Corinthians 8:7, 10; Romans 14:14) in his conscience (Romans 14:22), and will (1 Corinthians 10:10; Romans 11:14).  The stronger brother is the believer who is certain of his biblical convictions, understands his freedom in Christ, and exercises his liberty without doubting and without being improperly influenced by differing opinions or behavior.

(3) The Pharisee Believer

Warnings in the Bible regarding being judgmental of others such as Matthew 7:1-3 undoubtedly had in mind the Pharisees.  The Pharisee mentality is a problem among all people, and God’s people are not exempt because we still have old patterns that need to be dealt with along with a sinful nature that wars against the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

Not understanding God’s righteousness in Christ, this type of believer works to gain God’s righteousness or to be accepted of God (Romans 14:1-10).  The tendency is for such believers to look down on those who do not do and believe as they do in regard to debatable issues.  This was one of the problems for the church at Galatia (Galatians. 5:1-15).  Romans 16:17 warns about those who cause dissensions, and a critical spirit is associated with such people.  Those involved in the fan clubs mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:3 were critical of others in an effort to promote their favorite teacher.  In fact, Paul warns of this in 1 Corinthians 4:3 (cf. also 2 Corinthians 10:7-12; 4:6).

This believer is characterized by a number of things.

  • He lacks in biblical understanding of the believer’s freedom in Christ and his deliverance from the works of the law, or from human works as a means of salvation or spirituality.  So he is a legalist.  Legalism is not simply the conviction certain things are wrong, nor the avoidance of certain things; rather it is an observance or an avoidance done in order to merit favor with God.
  • He has very strong convictions about his list of taboos, but his convictions are based primarily on his own background and prejudices rather than the teaching of the Bible.
  • He is often strong willed.  He is able to resist pressure from others to conform to their standards.  He tends not to be influenced by the example of others and often takes religious pride in his taboos, for to him they are a sign of his super-spirituality.
  • Above all, he tends to be hyper-critical and judgmental and seeks to get others to conform to his opinions.  Those who will not conform he rejects and refuses to accept.
  • He is usually not too hungry for the in-depth study of Scripture.  He tends to be superficial and an externalist.

(4) The Stumbling Block Believer

This believer (cf. Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13) may have all the characteristics of the stronger brother, only he uses his liberty without regard to biblical guidelines for the use of liberty,( i.e., the biblical principles which govern behavior in the questionable things).  The majority of 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 and 15 are aimed at this type of believer, or at keeping the stronger believer from misusing his or her liberty.  This is a believer who is weak on LOVE and concern for the One Another responsibilities laid out in the New Testament.

(5) The Servant-Type Believer

This believer (cf. Romans 15:1; Galatians 5) too has all the characteristics of the stronger believer, but he is not in bondage to his emancipation.  He forgoes his liberty, out of love, for the sake of others, whenever it might harm another believer, hurt his testimony with unbelievers, or in essence break any one of the cardinal principles necessary for exercising our liberty, and for guiding us as to when we should or should not do certain things.  The servant-type believer is strong on love and follows the model of His Savior.  He pursues the things which make for peace and the edification of one another.  Rather than becoming a stumbling block, he seeks to be a stepping stone.

What type of believer are you?  What is God showing you that you need to become so that you can be the type of believer that will honor Him and further His kingdom?

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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




Where To Turn In A World Of Competing Narratives

Grace For The Journey


25Feb  In Psalm 73. Asaph reminds us why it is so important to be in church on Sunday mornings.  He begins this Psalm bewildered by the conflict of what he believes to be true in his heart and what seems to be true in the culture.  In verses 1-3, He writes, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

While Asaph knows in the depth of his soul that God is good to the pure in heart, everything around him seems to proclaim – from the workplace, magazine racks , the news, the movies, Facebook, and politics – a contradictory truth: “The wicked prosper.”

He describes his bewilderment in verses 4-9, “For they have no pangs in their death, but their strength is fir.  They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men.  Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.  Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish.  The scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily.   They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.”

The horrifying story unfolding before Asaph’s eyes seems so true, and it threatens to override the truth hidden in his own heart.

What are we to do

When the narratives

Playing out in society

Are a direct affront

To our Christian faith?

We are surrounded by conflicting stories; how do we keep our feet from stumbling into false narratives?  Asaph shows us the way.

Postmodernism and False Narratives.

I remember the first time I encountered the word postmodernism.  It was in the early 2000s, and Christians were certain postmodernism was going to be the downfall of society.  At the time, postmodern thought in my limited understanding boiled down to one basic tenet: Truth is relative.  It was a dangerous truth claim to be sure.

What I realize now is how I failed to comprehend the point of a postmodern perspective.  Someone has rightly perceived, “postmodernism was descriptive before it was prescriptive.”  The mantra, “Truth is relative” . . .

Was not necessarily

The way Postmoderns

Wanted the world to be;

It was simply the way

The world already operated.

Postmodernism sought to remove the masks and reveal the power struggles beneath the surface.  What was really happening when individuals, political parties, genders, races, classes, or religious organizations claimed to have the truth on their side?  From a postmodern perspective, truth is never really about truth.  Truth is about power.  To the postmodern world . . .

Truth is easily refashioned

To fit whatever narrative

One’s team is pushing.

And whoever controls

The narrative

Controls the world.

Certainly, we cannot deny this is often the case today.  Everyone is pushing a narrative.

  • Network and Cable News push narratives.

You will hear two totally different accounts of the “facts” depending on which network you choose.  That is because each has a story it is telling, and that story is aimed at expanding the power of their team.

  • Politicians push narratives.

The strange thing is that we all know this.  Pundits perform fact checks after debates and town halls, and we are never surprised to find that a politician has stretched the truth – or even fabricated the truth – in order to further the story he or she is trying to sell to the public.  And why?  It’s all aimed at election. It’s a vie for power.

  • Social media push narratives.

Instagram and Pinterest are telling tales about what the good life looks like. Twitter is weaving together stories to shape the narrative of social justice and to control whose voices deserve to be heard.  Facebook – well, who knows what Facebook’s narrative is these days.  But all stories being told by these platforms aim at one thing: maintaining the power, status, and importance of social media in society.

  • Hollywood pushes narratives.

Whether through award shows, celebrity activists, or the content of its art, television and movies are weaving together narratives through the telling and retelling of stories.  They are telling us something about the regal place of entertainment in society.

We Need a True Story.

The point is, we live in a storytelling world.  And that is . . .

Why you and I need

To be in church

On Sunday morning.

Asaph wandered around

Wearied and discouraged

By the narratives of this world,

Until he entered

A space shaped

By a different narrative.

A space –

And a people –

Shaped by God’s story.

He writes in verses 16-17, “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”

It was when Asaph entered the sanctuary of God . . .

When he entered

The presence

Of God’s people,

When his ears were

Filled with God’s Word,

That the narratives

Of this world

Lost their power.

He was comforted

By the narrative

Of the unbending,

Unshakeable truth –

God’s truth.

We spend six days moving about in a world that seems to proclaim, “The wicked prosper! The wicked prosper! The wicked prosper!”  And if we are not careful, we grow to envy the proud.  We become jealous of co-workers who succeed by clawing their way to the top.  Our appetites and desires are shaped by daily scrolling through social media.  We begin to believe that politics will save us.  And for six days, our hearts grow sick with worry, anxiety, doubts, and temptation because we begin to believe the false narratives the devil proclaims in an effort to exercise power over us…

Until . . .

  • We enter the sanctuary of God.
  • Until we hear God’s people singing about the wonder of God.
  • Until we are still before God, stand His honor, kneel in prayer, and sing praises to God.
  • Until we read aloud the truths of God’s Word.
  • Until we confess our sins and hear afresh the grace of God given to us in Christ.
  • Until we lay our treasures at His feet.
  • Until we taste and experience His presence.
  • Until we hear the eternal Word of God and our hearts are kindled afresh by the only true story in all of the universe.

This is why we so desperately need Sunday mornings.

Sunday worship among the gathered people of God is a rehearsing, a retelling, and a reliving of God’s story – the narrative of salvation history.  We live the story together of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Re-creation.

It is a reminder

That despite the narratives

Around us that proclaim,

“The wicked prosper,”

Jesus Christ,

The Crucified and Risen Savior

Is still on His throne.

When we stand in the sanctuary, the story is reset.  The truth reigns!  And we proclaim with Asaph, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:24-26

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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





Held Captive By A Church Cliché

Grace For The Journey


24Feb  In Exodus 33:15 Moses says to the Lord, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”  Perhaps there is no more insidious church cliché that holds Christians captive than this one:

You will know you are in the center of God’s will

When you sense a peace about your decision.”

There may be times when you sense a peace about a decision you are about to make, but make no mistake, the Bible is full of examples of those who did not and yet followed God’s leading into His perfect plan for the “peaceless” path they were to travel.  In my blog today, I want to consider several biblical principles about this unbiblical cliché.

To begin with, I believe we need to clear up the matter of “peace” as it is presented in the Bible.  Peace is promised to the people of God, but . . .

That peace is rooted

In an objective fact,

Not an emotional feeling.

When Paul wrote in Romans 5:1 that “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” he was telling us about an objective fact.  The first fruit of justification is peace with God, because we have been brought back into a right relationship with our heavenly Father.  This peace is a result of the ministry of reconciliation that Jesus performs in the life of every believer, not a result of making right decisions.  So . . .

To assume that a decision is right

Simply because you have

A peace about it is wrong.

When God called Moses to be the deliverer of His people, a sense of peace was as far from him as the east is from the west.  Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) – this was Moses’ first attempt to dismiss God’s call on his life.  After God assured Moses that He Himself would go with him, Moses came up with objection number two: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13).  The Sovereign Lord dismissed that excuse with His great declaration that “I Am Who I Am,” but Moses was still troubled. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” he asked (Exodus 4:1).  God dismissed that excuse with the “staff into a snake” and the “hand as white as snow” illustrations. Moses had no other excuse available to him, so he simply asked God to pardon him from his peaceless calling because he was not an eloquent speaker.

At no time did Moses experience any sense of peace about the decision God was calling him to make.  It was just the opposite!  And remember this . . .

God not only made it crystal clear

What He wanted Moses to do

Through His spoken Word,

He accompanied His command

With supernatural miracles.

Yet none of that gave peace to Moses.

God was calling Him to do what he could not justify with a sense of peace about his decision.

What about you?  Are you facing any decisions today where God seems to be calling you to walk a peaceless path?  You are in good company!  Seek godly counsel and continue praying about it, but know that the key to understanding what is God’s calling will often not be found in peace, but rather in His presence – the place to which God ultimately brought Moses.  And when Moses sensed God’s presence, he could then say sincerely, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15).

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

 Pastor Terry

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

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




Salvation Is About The Savior, Not About The Saint

Grace For The Journey


21Feb   The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:6, “There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”  The benefits of salvation for the believer are far too many to number – for the Bible teaches us that we have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).  Now, here is a truth that needs to be declared over and over today . . .

Salvation is not

Primarily about the saint;

It is about the Savior.

We have been saved by Jesus and for Jesus.  We are not our own; we were bought by the incomparable price of the precious blood of the Lamb of God.  Therefore . . .

Because we are His,

The life we live

Must be lived

For the honor

And glory and praise

Of His name.

It is vitally important that we understand the difference between being saved for service and being saved by service.  Far too many in the church today wrongly believe they are saved by their service to God – that is, by their good works.  They believe that God will grade their lives “on a curve” of some sort, and that those who perform enough good works will be allowed into heaven.  But the Bible knows nothing of this pernicious error. The Bible clearly teaches in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  You see . . .

If we were saved by service,

Salvation would indeed be

All about the saint,

But it is not . . .

Which is why

No one can boast.

On the other hand,

Being saved for service

Frees us to find God’s

Plan and purpose

For our lives,

So that we are able

To live in a way

That demonstrates our

Love for God and

For our neighbor.

A person who has truly been saved by God’s grace is a person who lives for serving God.  Think about it this way: God doesn’t need us for anything. He is capable of accomplishing His will all by Himself. He hung the sun in the sky just by speaking a word!  Yet God wants us, and the proof of that truth is the fact that you are reading this right now.  Unlike the good thief on the cross, who went to Paradise mere moments after being saved, you are still here, which means God has work for you to do in this world.

How does knowing that salvation

Iis all about Jesus and not about you

Impact the way you use

Your time, talent, and treasure?

Are you allowing God

To use you for His glory

. . . Or are you striving

For your own glory?

Are you spending the lion’s share

Of your time expanding the cause

Of His glorious kingdom . . .

Or are you trying to

Build your own kingdom?

The choice will always be yours, and please don’t forget this: Even though God does not need your service, everyone else does.  If you fail to give yourself in service to your Lord, we are all diminished.  Keeping in view that your salvation is about your Savior will keep you in the center of His plan and purpose for your life, and there is absolutely no better place to live in order to find the meaning and significance we all crave.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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





Grace For The Journey


19FEb  On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were gathered in the Upper Room, awaiting the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.  Suddenly the sound of a hurricane rocked Jerusalem. The overpopulated city was drawn to the epicenter of the sound.  There they met one-hundred and twenty disciples of Jesus, praising God miraculously in unlearned languages.  The people assumed the disciples were drunk.  Peter addressed the crowd.  He declares that they were not drunk – they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  As Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the crucified but resurrected Messiah, the people were cut to the heart.  They repented of their sins and trusted Christ for salvation.  Acts 2:41 notes: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Acts 2 records the birth of the church.  It also records the growth of the infant church in verses 42-47.  Acts 2:42 is a summary statement: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  “They” refers to the three thousand who were baptized on the day of Pentecost. They devoted themselves “steadfastly.”  This is a word that speaks of fidelity, intensity, and consistency.  These new believers forsook whatever would hinder them from following Jesus.  In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Acts 2:42 is clear . . .

These new disciples were

Devoted to Christ

 And the church.

Their devotion to Christ

Was expressed by

Their devotion to the church.

The church increasingly struggles to address the modern epidemic of unchurched Christians.  An analysis of the New Testament reveals that they should be considered “unchurched non-Christians.”  I know it is not popular today, but I believe the Bible teaches that real Christian are devoted to the church.  But not just any church.  Real Christians are devoted to real churches.  One characteristic of the genuineness of the early believer’s faith was their commitment to the local gathering of the church.

What does a real church look like?

The Bible says in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  

 The devotion of the day-old church

Should be the devotion of the church today.

A church can do more than these four things

And still be the church.

But a church cannot do less

Than these four things

And be the church.

Acts 2:42 records four Christian essentials the church should be devoted to:


Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…”  It is not accidental or incidental that “the apostles’ doctrine” comes first in this list.  It always comes first.

  • Precept must come before practice.
  • Doctrine must come before experience.
  • Instruction must come before application.

Acts 2 recorded the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through the church. Yet . . .

These Spirit-filled Christians

Did not think

Their Pentecostal experience

Exempted them

From doctrinal teaching.

The work of the Spirit

And the truth of Scripture

Work together.

In John 16:13, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth.”  Ephesians 6:17 exhorts Christians soldier to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  The first Christians were open to divine empowerment and divine instruction.  But . . .

These Spirit-indwelt disciples

Did not seek only direct revelation.

They submitted to the apostles’ teaching.

The first mark of a Spirit-filled church

Is its appetite for biblical teaching.

The apostles were with Jesus throughout His earthly ministry.  They were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Christ.  In Acts 1:8, Jesus said to the apostles, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  On the day of Pentecost, Peter witnesses for the risen Christ to those who crucified Him.  3,000 people were saved.

The proof they were saved

Is that they did not seek

More sounds from heaven,

Cloven tongues of fire,

Or miracles of languages.

They wanted to be

Taught by the apostles.

  • They did not crave a new experience with Jesus.
  • They craved sound instruction about Jesus.

So, they devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine.

John R.W. Stott wrote: “One might perhaps say that the Holy Spirit opened a school in Jerusalem that day; its teachers were the apostles whom Jesus had appointed; and there were 3,000 pupils in the kindergarten!”  In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.”

Jesus taught the apostles.

The apostles were to

Make disciples by

Teaching them to obey Christ.

The apostles’ teaching was anchored in the Word of God.  Faithful churches are teaching, learning, studying churches.  If you are looking for a church, this should be your first question: “What does this church teach?” 

 A true church

Is unapologetically

A teaching church.

A congregation is

A Christian church

To the degree

It is confronted by

And shapes its life

In response to

The Word of God.

Spirit-filled churches are Bible-teaching churches.  What is true of a local church is true of an individual Christian.   If the Spirit who inspired Scripture lives in you, it is impossible to have no desire for studying, learning, and living by the Scripture.  Either you are not saved or you are not filled with the Spirit.  Ask God to change your heart and make you devoted to the apostles’ doctrine.


The Bible says in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”  The word “fellowship” translates the Greek word “koinonia.”  It is the most famous New Testament Greek word after “agape.”  It is just as misunderstood.  We use “fellowship” to refer to being together at the same place, having a good time together, or performing religious activities together.  But fellowship is more than that.

  • It is to hold something in common.
  • It is to be in business together.
  • It is to be partners with one another.

This commercial term became

A Christian term on the day of Pentecost.

Fellowship is what it means to be a Christian.

The Bible says in 1 John 1:3, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

We have fellowship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We also have fellowship with one another.  We can test our fellowship with God by testing our fellowship with one another.  If there is no fellowship with one another, you are not in fellowship with God.  If there is only fellowship with a select clique, you are not in fellowship with God.

Genuine conversion is evidenced

By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

And love for all the saints.

You cannot have one

Without the other.

In 1 Timothy 3:15, the Bible describes the church as “. . . the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and ground of the truth.”  I know people who claim they can be fully-devoted Christians without being participating members of the church. I do not know one person who actually is.

The gospel does not make sense,

Without the church that

Makes it make sense.

A pastor visited a member who did not regularly attend church.  The member greeted the pastor, led him to his living room, and offered him a seat near the fireplace.  It was a cold day, but the fireplace warmed the room.  As they talked, the pastor challenged the member about his participation.  But the man was unmoved.  Then the pastor took the tongs from beside the fireplace, opened the screen, and separated the glowing coals until none was touching another.  Then he sat down and watched in silence.  Soon the coals cooled, and the fire died. The man got the message.

Acts 2:44-45 illustrates Christian fellowship at work, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongs and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”  This is not communist socialism.  It is Christian fellowship.  True Christians are generous people.  There is nothing wrong with Christians gaining, possessing, or enjoying material wealth.  It is wrong for Christians to have wealth without sharing with those in need.  The Bible tells us in Galatians 6:10, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Preachers think they are being prophetic by denouncing the government failure to help the poor.  But it is foolish to expect unconverted people to practice Christian generosity.  The church can make a difference if Christians would find a need and meet it.


The Bible continues in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread…”  The meaning of the phrase “in the breaking of bread” has been the subject of vigorous debate.  It is grammatically connected to fellowship.  But it is not a parallel for fellowship. “Breaking of bread” is used at times for eating a meal.  But Luke could not simply mean they ate meals. That would be out of place, alongside the distinctively Christian acts of teaching, fellowship, and prayer. The three thousand ate meals before they became Christians.  And they ate meals after they became Christians.

The phrase ‘breaking bread”

Was uniquely Christian.

In the ancient near East,

Sharing a meal was

About fellowship, not food.

This is why the religious leaders grumbled against Jesus for receiving sinners and eating with them.  Luke presents eating together as a mark of a united church.  Acts 2:46 says, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”  In the early church, the church ate together every day.  They called it “the love feast.”  This daily meal became a weekly meal.  As a part of their corporate worship meetings, the saints would break bread together.

These common meals had a special element.  As they broke bread, they ate bread and drank wine in remembrance of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

 “Breaking bread” points to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Table is a regular reminder

That Jesus is our all-sufficient

Prophet, Priest, and King!

The call to remember

Is a call to worship.

A devoted church is

A Christ-centered church,

A Christ-focused church,

A Christ-exalting church.

The Bible says in Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the body, the church. Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”  

 Jesus is the supreme One

Who has first place, full control,

And final authority in everything.

He is to have first place

In all creation.

He is to have first place

In the church.

He is to have first place

In your life.

The Bible says in Colossians 2:9-10, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in His who is the head of all principality and power.”


Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”   

 The verse begins with

The church’s devotion

To the apostles’ teaching.

The verse ends with

The church’s devotion to prayer.

Devotion to both is essential

To be a healthy, growing,

And fruitful church.

 What was the church doing in the Upper Room between the Ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit?  Acts 1:14 says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”  During this vulnerable time of transition, the disciples did not call a business meeting.  They held a ten-day prayer meeting.  Even the important decision about who would replace Judas as the twelfth apostle was made in prayer.  Acts 1:24-25 says, “And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the heart of all, show which  of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.””

Acts 2:1 says, “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  The church was born in a prayer meeting.  But they did not stop praying after they received the power of the Spirit.

These early Christians knew

That they could not meet

Life in their own strengthen

And that they did not need to.

They always went to God

Before they went out to the world;

They were able to meet

The problems of life

Because they had first met Him.

A real church is devoted to prayer. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” 

Why pray?

  • We pray to obey the command of God.
  • We pray to enjoy the presence of God.
  • We pray to claim the promises of God.
  • We pray to experience the power of God.
  • We pray to advertise our dependence upon God.

Believing prayer invokes

Divine intervention that

Exalts sovereign glory!

Raymond McHenry wrote, “May we never experience success without prayer.”   A tour guide led tourists through Westminster Abby.  After he boasted about the classic architecture, expensive appointments, and famous celebrities who had worshiped in the cathedral, he asked, “Are there any questions?” One old woman said, “Yes, sir. Has anyone been saved here lately?”

The success of a church

Cannot be measured by

Buildings, budgets, and bodies.

It is measured by changed lives!

Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  

And Acts 2:47b says, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

  • The Lord did not add anyone to the church without saving them.
  • The Lord did not save anyone without adding them to the church.

Luke does not say the church did evangelism.  But we can assume the church witnessed for Jesus.  The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Someone had to be telling sinners about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  But Luke does not give the saints any credit.  The Lord added to the church those who were being saved!

Jonah 2:9 says, “Salvation is of the Lord.”  This is called monergism.  Synergism is when different elements work together to produce a different or greater result than they can produce separately.  Monergism means only God saves.  Pray to God for the salvation of the lost.  Praise God for the salvation of the lost. Psalm 115:1 “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to You name give glory because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.”

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

 Pastor Terry

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

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



No Back Door Believers

Grace For The Journey


18Feb  Have you ever had a friend get you into some place special, but the only way in was through the back door?  When I was in high school, one of my friends worked at the local theater and the manager would let him bring a few friends in for the final movie of the night if there were empty seats. We had to come in through the back door.  It was a great feeling to have a friend who could get us into the movies for free.  Now, as “awesome” as that was for us kids, I want to tell you about something that is truly awesome:

In the Body of Christ,

There are no

“Back door believers.”

There are those in the church today who are convinced that if they make it into heaven at all, it will be by the way of the back door.  They mistakenly believe that the spiritual superstars will be ushered in the front door, to enter into the joy of their Master’s happiness.  The believers who lived a pretty good life might slip in through the side door.  But for those who struggled and stumbled through the Christian life, the back door is the only possible way of getting in.  Do you subscribe to this kind of thinking?  If you do I pray that the Lord will shake your world and strengthen your walk with Him through an understanding of the following truth.

The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:10-11, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.  For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive an abundant welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

You ought to read that passage again.  Notice the kind of welcome every believer will receive on that day they are received into glory:

An Abundant Welcome!

There will be no easing in the side door or creeping in through the back door.  An “abundant welcome” presupposes that we will be received with a great celebration as we enter into our eternal rest . . . through the front doorway of heaven.

Every believer who has been on

The receiving end of God’s

Calling and election will receive

An abundant rich welcome,

Not because of anything

They have done,

But because of everything

Jesus has done for them.

Jesus will say to us in Matthew 25:34, “’Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

What a welcome God has planned

For all those who are in Christ!

We have been given a living hope because of what Jesus has secured for us through His life, death, and resurrection.

Don’t misunderstand the words, “Make every effort to confirm your calling and election . . . [by doing] these things” as something we must do in order to receive our abundant welcome.  That is not what Peter is teaching here.

The things we are to be doing

Do not earn our rich welcome;

They prove it is already prepared for us!

1 John 3:10 explains, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil; whoever does not practice righteousness  is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”  And remember, the first fruit of our union with Jesus is a change in the desire of our heart.  When we desire to do what Jesus wants us to do, we can be assured we are His, and when we are His we can rest in the knowledge that our welcome is assured because of what He has already done for us.

  • Not our work . . . His work
  • Not our effort . . . His effort
  • Not our righteousness . . . His righteousness
  • Not our goodness . . . His goodness
  • Not our strength . . . His strength
  • Not our love . . . His love
  • Not our commitment . . . His commitment

The abundant welcome that awaits every believer is dependent upon all that Jesus has done for the believer . . . not what the believer has done for Jesus.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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




A Faith-Filled Four-Letter Word

Grace For The Journey



I believe today’s message will offer a word of great comfort and encouragement right where this finds you.  There are many places in the Bible where this four-letter is mentioned.  Note the verses I have listed below:

 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”  Psalm 27:14

 “Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34)

 “Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18)

 “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him . . . It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”   (Lamentations 3:25a, 26)

“While staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father.” (Acts 1:4)

When was the last time you enjoyed waiting for ANYTHING?  From the check-out line in the grocery story . . . to the doctor’s office . . . to the fast food drive-through line . . . to that check you have been told is in the mail.  None of us likes to wait for anything!

But what about waiting on God?

The verses above are just a tiny sampling of the scores of biblical admonitions for the people of God to wait upon their Lord.  We must be careful never to thoughtlessly put God in any of our other “hate-to-wait” categories.  Why?  Because . . .

Often the blessing God has ordained for us

Will only be found on the other side of waiting.

WAIT is a “faith-filled four- letter word” when we are waiting on God, because His timing is always perfect.  God knows exactly what we need and precisely when we need it!

He has ordained waiting

As one of His ways

To increase our faith

AND our appreciation

When we actually do get

What we have been asking for.

Anyone who has been following Jesus for some time knows there are times we pray and God says “No.”  Yet, if we wait (there’s that word again!) and watch, when we look back on that situation we will see why . . . because God had something better!  Then there are those times God says “Yes” . . . but that faith-filled four-letter word is attached to the “Yes.”  Frequently what we were asking for comes to us in a completely different way than what we were expecting.

Waiting on our Lord

Is nothing more

– And nothing less –

Than putting our trust in Him

For what we need,

Knowing that it will

Be delivered to us

In His way and in His timing.

We can all look back in life and thank God for the times He said “No” to our petitions, as well as those times He said “Wait” . . . because God alone knows what is in the best interest of His children.

Let us prayerfully seek to develop the patient understanding of the psalmist who knew God’s timing is perfect:

“I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hands.”  (Psalm 31:14-15)

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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


Loving Others … Definitely A Fault, But Not Without Grace

Grace For The Journey



I want to use my blog today to talk about an aspect of Valentine’s Day that is not considered very much when we talk about this subject.  Valentine’s Day focuses on couples sharing with each other in ways that communicates their deep and abiding love to one another.  Yet . . .

For the Christian,

We are called

To live each day

In such a way

That reflects Christ’s

Love to everyone.

In my daily devotions the other day, I read the account in Scripture where some disciples were having a very real conflict with one another.  Actually, there are four accounts of the disciples dealing with this subject – Matthew 18:1-5; 20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37; 10:35-45.  Luke also records a similar account in Luke 946-48 but it is similar to the Matthew 18:1-5 passage.  The disciples seemed to be preoccupied with jockeying to determine which one of them was to be viewed as the greatest in the Kingdom.  The Bible says in Luke 9:46, “An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.”

More than once, I have heard a pointed message surrounding this low moment of the disciples.  I have preached on this scene a couple of times myself.  Invariably, whoever is teaching or preaching it gets around to slamming the disciples for their overt arrogance, blind pride, and deep presumption.  Could you imagine the audacity of any of us carrying on a conversation like this today?  Can you conceive of declaring to other believers that you are the greatest in the group?  We are far too pious to engage one another concerning who is a superior asset in the Kingdom.  We would blush to be engaged in such a conversation – to exalt our position, our gifting, our education, our pedigree – never!  Right?

Yet, I suggest that it is possible that we actually do this far more often than we might think.

  • When you talk negatively of another in their absence, you are emulating the same spirit the disciples did in Luke 9:46.
  • When your inner thoughts or your spoken words lend themselves to lowering the value of another person in your own eyes, or in the eyes of the people with whom you are speaking, you are mimicking the disciples in Luke 9:46.
  • When your critique of what another brings to the Kingdom by way of service, gifting, offering, or investment is made in contrast to what you bring to the Kingdom, you have fallen into the same hole that the disciples did in Luke 9:46.
  • In each and every instance wherein we find ourselves lowering the value of another in order to elevate the value we assign to ourselves, we have become the thirteenth disciple in that infamous dialogue in Luke 9:46.

We are far too sophisticated to come right out and declare to another believer, “I am greater than you are.”  Yet, if we listen carefully to our own thoughts and dare to analyze our own words, I believe we will find ourselves made aware that we are occasionally no different than the twelve disciples; men who jousted with one another for the rank of superiority in the Kingdom.

Here are some things I have learned over the years that help me to tame that kind of undesirable spirit that lurks within all of our hearts:

  1. There is always someone far more capable, noble, spiritual, wise, gifted, and sincere than me.  I accept that to always be true.  I am not the best, the greatest, or the highest example against which others should measure themselves.  There is always someone greater than me.
  2. We are taught in 2 Corinthians 10:12 that it is always unwise to compare ourselves with others.  Typically, when we do this, we make sure we are comparing ourselves with someone we deem to be less than we are.  This is the exact opposite of loving that person.
  3. Nobody has to be devalued in order for me to understand my own value.  I do not become greater by thinking or speaking of them in ways that deflate their worth.
  4. The only valid comparison in the Kingdom is when God compares us to His holy, righteous, and perfect Son, Jesus.  When that comparison is made in Scripture, the conclusion is that we are dead, unrighteous, ignorant, blind and condemned sinners worthy of eternal judgement.  That comparison is worthy of all of our attention.  If we keep that comparison in the forefront of our thinking, we will not be susceptible to devaluing others.
  5. God has, in spite of all that is lacking in us, made us complete, accepted, and treasured in Jesus. The Father actually foregoes His judicial evaluation of us once we are in Christ.  He views us completely on the imputed merits of His perfect Son.  In light of this, how in the world can I not accept His other children in that exact same manner?
  6. Solomon taught that hatred stirs up division while love compensates for weaknesses and sins (Proverbs 10:12).  Peter declared that, when we love one another, we will act in ways that do not disclose others’ sins, weaknesses, or failures (1 Peter 4:8).  The great revelation of love in 1 Corinthians 13 clearly shows that love goes out of its way to elevate the other person, to seek their highest good, and to interact with the other person in kindness and humility. When we critique, slander, gossip, or compare others, we are not operating in love.  We are in the flesh.

These guidelines have helped me over the years to keep my heart in check.  More times than I can count, these same principles have enforced a silence upon me when I am around others who are taking verbal shots at one of their Christian brothers or sisters. When that nasty-little-something wants to rise up in me in order to declare that I am greater than another, the Holy Spirit consistently brings me back to that place where I am reminded very clearly that . . .

God has accepted me

Not because of

Who I am or

What I have done,

But because of

Who Jesus is and

What He has done –

Nothing more


Nothing less.

He doesn’t constantly critique me to keep me in my place.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do not get together to gossip about all that is lacking in me as they rest in their absolute perfection and clear superiority to me.

In fact . . .

When God deals with me


He is not above correcting me but, truth be known, the vast majority of those corrections are brought to me privately – just between Him and me.  He never demeans me to another one of His children.  He has no need to knock me down a few pegs in order to preserve His greatness.  Actually . . .

He displays that greatness and superiority

By stooping in grace to meet me

In the midst of all that is lacking in me.

That’s how God interacts with me . . .

I want to be like Him

In my interactions with you.

I am to endure what is lacking in others as they endure what is lacking in me.  I am to build them up, not criticize them to others.  When we gossip, we are partnering in that moment with Satan himself – who is “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). We literally join up with the enemy when we belittle others.  When we bless, encourage, edify and speak well of others, we are partnering with God himself.

Maybe the twelve strutting disciples in Luke 9:46 were not as different from us as we think.  Maybe we would do well to not criticize them for doing openly what we do in shadows of pious religiosity.

We certainly are not without guilt

Yet . . . hallelujah . . .

We are not without grace

 That will lead us change.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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