God Doesn’t Need Your Good Works!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

If the title of today’s blog is true, and it is, then why serve God at all?  Why should we attempt to do any good deeds, from serving in the church nursery, teaching a small group Bible Study Class, feeding the hungry, to building an orphanage or a hospital?  The answer is really simple . . .

God doesn’t need your good works;

But your neighbor does.

Let’s spend some time looking into this idea . . .

First, we need to see that our good works really aren’t all that good.  The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, “We have all become like one who is unclean and all our good works are like filthy rags.”

The Bible also says in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written: ‘there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.  They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.’”

All that we are and do is influenced with mixed motives, selfish ambition, and our sin-stained hearts.

Second, we need to see living the Christian faith as an outward expression of an inward reality.  Because God in Christ has reached down to us to save us and change us, we are to respond by reaching up to God and out to others.

Jesus says in John 15:12-17, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heart from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Thirdly, we need to see our good works as an opportunity to put on display the glory of the Gospel by reflecting the character of the One who saved us.

The Bible says in Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.  He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Our neighbors need to see an accurate picture of the God whom we love and serve.  This is best done when our faith has hands and feet.  It is a supernatural result of the work of God’s grace in our lives after we accept Jesus by faith.

The more we know, and are conformed to our Lord Jesus Christ,

The more we will look like Him.

 When we deliver good works for

The glory of God and the good of others,

We make our God attractive to the watching world.

One final point: we don’t perform good works in order to gain our acceptance from God.  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” 

We go about doing good because we are already accepted;

And in our completely unconditional acceptance,

Our good works become the fruit of our 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.”

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Fathomless!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

21Jun  I’m going to try to capture the meaning of the psalmist, who describes the greatness of God as something no one can fathom.  The Bible says in Psalm 145:1-3, “I will exalt You, my God. O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable (no one can fathom).”

A fathom is a unit of length equal to 6 feet, used principally in the measurement and specification of marine depths.  To be “fathomless” is to be too deep to be measured; to be bottomless.  Think about that for a moment.  The depth of the greatness of our God is beyond measurement.  It is, in a word, fathomless!

  • His holiness . . . fathomless
  • His glory . . . fathomless
  • His love . . . fathomless
  • His mercy . . . fathomless
  • His grace . . . fathomless
  • His goodness . . . fathomless
  • His kindness . . . fathomless
  • His forgiveness . . . fathomless
  • His forbearance . . . fathomless

Of course, we could go on forever.  The fathomless Father who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) has given us a fathomless faith.

Faith in Christ is a bottomless sea of unimaginable joy,

One that we need only to dip our toes into each day to be swallowed up by it.

Imagine diving in with wholehearted abandon and the fathomless joy that should be the confession of our lives.

If we would dare to do such a thing:

Everyone who knew us would know we know Jesus;

Everyone who lived with us would know we live with Jesus;

Everyone who worked with us would know we work for Jesus.

Faith in Christ has called us into a fathomless future where our hearts beat to tell His story and our lives are poured out for His glory.  Someone has said that “the future is so bright, you gotta wear shades!”

The care of our Lord for every aspect of our lives is so immeasurable

That nothing we do is insignificant to Him.

  • No labor is menial when it is done for Jesus.
  • No act of kindness goes unnoticed.
  • No ministry of mercy is ignored.

If the number of hairs on your head matters to God so much that He actually counts them (Matthew 10:30), then surely there is nothing you can do for Him that doesn’t matter, regardless of how inconsequential it might seem to you.

The fathomless greatness of our God should get us out of bed each day, rejoicing over the privilege we have in knowing and serving so great a God.  Who can measure the depth of the love that has been showered upon us by the One who took our place on that cross?  Shall we return it lukewarm, served up with half our heart?  God forbid!

Whether we find ourselves journeying through sun-filled days or storm-filled nights,

May our lament be that we have not loved Him enough,

No matter how hard we have tried to convince ourselves

That we have done so with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Thank God for the fathomless faithfulness of our Lord . . . even when our faithfulness is only six inches deep!

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.”

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What’s On Your Mind?

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

20Jun

When your mind is not focused on anything in particular, where does it go?  What do you find yourself thinking about?  Because God is renewing our minds, which in turn enlarges our hearts and ultimately bends our will to align with His, we should be able to say that our minds turn (more often than not) to God.  To be sure, from time to time our minds drift on to the mudflats of life and we think what we ought not to be thinking.  But as the Gospel becomes more real in our lives, our minds begin to dwell more and more frequently into Gospel gardens.

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

The great musician Franz Joseph Haydn of the classical period understood this exhortation and lived it out because of his faith in Christ.  When asked why his church music was so cheerful, Haydn replied, “When I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen, and since God has given me a cheerful heart I will serve Him with a cheerful spirit.”  Haydn’s joy was rooted in God; the more he thought about God, the more joyful was his experience in life.  Haydn knew what to think about . . . and His name is Jesus Christ.

How often we should be able to say to others, “When I think upon God, my heart overflows with thanksgiving for all He has done for me.”  The challenge for all of us is we do just the opposite of what Paul instructs us to do.

  • We think about whatever is wrong, what is defiled and unlovely.
  • We reflect on what we don’t have rather than what we do have.
  • We focus on what we have done wrong rather than what He has done right.

This is precisely where the devil wants to direct our thoughts – toward that which is false and fleshly, rather than toward Him who is true and triune.

But this is not what God wants for you!  And Paul confirms it with another inspired instruction from the Word of God: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:2)

When we set our minds on things above, we won’t be pulled down by things below.

  • Regardless of how strong the storm winds blow, we remain upright and on course.
  • Regardless of how hot the fiery furnace of affliction flares, we are unharmed.
  • Regardless of how deep the current of corruption surges, we are unmoved.

When we think about the things of God,

We are strengthening our minds to rise

Above the challenges of daily living.

Sure, the fight is fierce and the battle rages.  But we already have the strength we need to become more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) . . .  we have that strength in Jesus.

We need only to focus our attention more and more on Him,

And we will be less and less affected

By whatever is going on around us.

The next time you catch yourself doing the opposite of what Paul instructs you in Philippians 4:8-9, pause and reflect on the finished work of Christ.  He has already won the victory over whatever trial or temptation you are facing.  Paul said, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).  The more time we spend thinking about the victory Jesus has already won for us on the cross, the more we will live like victors rather than victims.  Think about these things . . . won’t you?  Then you will be able to say with the hymn writer:

Oh, Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and he bought me with His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to Victory, beneath the cleansing flood.

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.”

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There is Something Better Than Life!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

19Jun  That statement is hard to imagine in the culture we live in today, isn’t it?  The wisdom of the world tells us that there is nothing better than the life we are currently living.  How did the old commercial say it?  “Fellas, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”  With the belief that this life is all there is, we are told to eat, drink, be merry, and “grab for all the gusto” on this side of the grave, because there is nothing on the other side.

Well, the wisdom of the Word declares

That the world’s wisdom is folly,

Because there is something on the other side of the grave.

There is a judgment . . . there is a heaven . . . there is a hell . . .

And there is something infinitely better than this life and what it has to offer!

The Bible says in Psalm 63:3, “Your lovingkindness is better than life.”

What would it take for you to be able to say what King David said in this psalm . . . and mean it?  Is there anything you are holding on to more tightly than Jesus?  Is there anything you have right now that if you lost it, your life would be turned upside down?

Only the truths of the Gospel can ravish us to such an extent that we are ready, willing, and able to forsake everything this life has to offer for the One who has given to us everything we have.

Only the truths of the Gospel can convince us that

Only God can satisfy us – fully, finally, and forever.

The author of The Pilgrims Progress knew this truth and lived it out at great cost.  For more than 12 years, English Christian writer and preacher, John Bunyan, was imprisoned while his second wife Elizabeth cared for their six children.  His crime for which he was put in chains: preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ without state sanction.  On a number of occasions the magistrate would have let him go if he had promised to stop preaching.  But he would not.  John said he would remain in prison until the moss grew on his eyelids rather than fail to do what the Almighty had commanded him to do.  He said that parting from his dear wife and children, “has often been to me in this place as the pulling of the flesh from my bones.”  This was especially true with regard to his eldest daughter who was blind and was given to him through his first wife who had died.

For John Bunyan, there was something indeed better than life:

The loving-kindness of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • He chose the loving-kindness of his God over his freedom.
  • He chose the loving-kindness of his God over being with his family.
  • He chose the loving-kindness of his God in spite of intense persecution and prison.
  • He refused to deny his God, though to do so would have brought him great worldly benefit.

It’s hard for us, living in this day and age, to imagine living with that kind of personal peace and security in the midst of such persecution.  But here was a man so sold-out for Christ that the confession of his life proclaimed that it was better to live in the love of God than to live with his wife and children!

Only the love of God can satisfy your deepest longings.

Only the loving-kindness of God can

Answer your prayers,

Solve your problems,

And

Overcome your obstacles.

It is only when we want the presence of God more than anything else in life that we will be able to hold loosely everything we have at present . . . because we are looking forward to all that has been promised us in the future.

Because the best is yet to come, what we have now is only a shadow of what is to come.  Our greatest joy, our deepest affection, and our highest love in this life pales in comparison to what awaits us when we get home and stand in the presence of the One whose loving-kindness truly is better than life.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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What Kind Of Father Is God?

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

18Jun  Yesterday was Father’s Day.  Across America, we celebrate Father’s Day in June.  For some, the word father is painful or even meaningless.  Yet, it is a sacred trust and responsibility to be a father.  The Lord Jesus was radical in referring to the Almighty God as Father.  Therefore, I pray today’s blog will be an encouragement to earthly fathers, as well as point all of us to our eternal Father.

In the entire Old Testament over thousands of years, God is only referred to as Father seven times.  Jesus referred to God as Father seven times in Matthew 6 alone.  In His life and in the gospels, He talked about God being our Father over 150 times.  He taught us about how God wants to relate to each and every one of us.

The Bible is full of wonderful truths about our heavenly Father.  May your heart be instructed and encouraged as you read the following verses:

1 John 3:1“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Psalm 103:13 – “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

John 16:27 – “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

1 Corinthians 8:6 – “There is one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live.”

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 – “The Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.”

With the above verses as a backdrop, let’s consider these biblical truths . . .

God is a CARING and COMPASSIONATE FATHER.

Jesus’ example of prayer in Matthew 6 is a beautiful picture of God – He is compassionate, loving, gracious, and He cares about you.

In fact . . .

He loves you more than you will ever know!

He loves you more than you will be able to experience!

You can’t even understand how much God loves you because your brain isn’t big enough to handle it.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 103:13, “As a father pities (has compassion) on his children, so the Lord pities (has compassion) on those who fear Him.”  The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are yo not of more value than they?” 

God is caring.

God is compassionate.

God is a CONSISTENT FATHER.

He’s always dependable – entirely consistent in who He is.  God is worthy of our trust.

You can count on Him every time.

He never lets you down.

The Bible says in James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

The truth is, earthly fathers are unpredictable.  God is always consistently loving, gracious, kind, merciful, and understanding.  God is never moody.  God never has a bad day.

God is a COMPETENT FATHER.

He can handle any problem you give Him.  Nothing is beyond His ability.  Nothing is beyond His resources. The Bible says in Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing is impossible.”  Did you hear that?  Nothing is impossible.  He can handle it all because He is competent.

May the earthly fathers in our churches and communities be strengthened as they seek to know and live for their eternal Father.

To God be the glory … Great things He had done!

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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The Grace of Discomfort

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

15Jun'  Now that title screams oxymoron doesn’t it?  If God is gracious … and He is … shouldn’t His grace seek to remove all of my hardship and replace it with innumerable pleasures?

How in the world could the grace of God be discomforting

In a culture that seeks personal comfort as the ultimate end?

Even in the church we are inundated with messages from theologically barren pulpits that preach the life of the Christian is supposed to be lived . . .

Within a region bound on

The north by material prosperity,

The south by relational success,

The east by physical health and well-being,

And on the west by every comfort and convenience Western society can offer.

Yet, God’s grace is a discomforting grace and it must be because we have a comfort agenda that consumes our minds and controls our hearts.  We will do anything in our power to trade a life of rigorous activity for relaxing ease regardless of the cost, even when the cost is communion with God.  To be sure, we are rebels by nature on the run from God.  Someone has said, “When we run from God, His response is more likely to be stormy and upsetting than quiet and subtle.”  This is the grace of discomfort.

Our desire to live lives within a zone of comfort causes us to seek security and safety at the expense of service and submission to the will of God.  God’s will more often than not, forces us out of our comfort zones by leading us down the road of discomforting grace.  God knows that we will by nature seek the path of least resistance which is often in the opposite direction from the path God would have us travel.

Therefore, He will make us as uncomfortable as we need to be made

In order to make us zealous for the only Comfort in both life and death

. . . The Lord Jesus Christ!

God will tolerate no rival.

Life with Christ is not a comfortable life.  It was Jesus who said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).  We have been promised a life of discomfort not because the One who promised it is unable to keep it from happing.  Omnipotence is sending us His grace of discomfort to drive us to Christ and the cross where we find a greater rescue than a rescue rooted in nothing more than a life of predictable pain free pleasure.  The grace of discomfort dislodges from our grasp everything except our desperate need for God.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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The Grace of Divine Dulling

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

God will tolerate no rival.  Nor should He!  What this means is that you will experience the grace of “divine dulling” in two ways:

God’s grace will “dull” the excitement and enticement of the pursuit of your sin.

OR

God’s grace will “dull” the excitement and enthusiasm of the pursuit of your Savior.

Regarding the first truth . . .

God will not allow His people to be driven into the ashes of defeat as it relates to the pursuit of sin.  He will, in His perfect timing, dull our selfish ambition.  He will, in His timing, dull our desire for sinful gain.

God is in the business

Of removing the enjoyment and enticement

Of the sinful desires of our heart.

He will do whatever it takes to “dull” the spell they have cast over us and reorient our hearts back to our first Love.

God tells us in Hosea 2:11-13, “’I will also cause all her celebrations to cease, her feast days, her new moons, her Sabbaths – all her appointed feasts.  And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, of which she has said, ‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’  So I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.  I will punish her for the days of the Baals to which she burned incense.  She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers; but Me she forgot,’’ says the LORD.”

The prophet Hosea paints a stark picture of the grace of “divine dulling” that God will bestow on us when we indulge ourselves in illicit affairs of the heart.  Look closely and you will see that God. . .

Will remove the expected return on our sinful investment,

Which will ultimately drive us to our knees in repentance.

And the desire to return to our first Love.

Regarding the second truth . . .

God will also dull the excitement and enthusiasm of our pursuit of Him.

You may be wondering how that could possibly be an act of grace!

When we have divided affections He will dull our affections for Him to open our eyes to the fact that the proverbial wheels are coming off the tracks of our lives.  He will not allow us to experience the rich relationship of intimacy and affection with Him when He is not on the throne of our lives.  And why should He?  He will tolerate no rival and will never affirm our affections for anything other than Himself by letting us think that all is well.

I often hear statements in counseling sessions such as, “I’m not really enjoying my time of worship right now” or “I feel distant from God when I’m reading the Bible or even praying.”  People look at me in astonishment when I tell them, “Perhaps God has sent you the grace of divine dulling to reorient your heart back toward Him.  Could it be that you have settled for lesser loves that have captivated your heart?  That will block you from the right relationship you should be experiencing with your Savior.”

Remember, if your time with God seems distant or dull, you can be sure that God did not move away or suddenly become a bore.

God does not move away from us; we drift away from Him.

God’s Word does not become dreary or stale;

Our desire to search the Scriptures cools.

When we give our hearts to something other than Jesus, that idol will drain us of our passion for the only One who is worthy of our love and devotion.

This is why we need to be reminded of the truths of the Gospel every day.

We need daily reminders of the love we have in Christ

And how everything else in this world

Pales in comparison to the fulfillment we find in Him.

Let the grace of “divine dulling” drive you back to the only One who will meet you in your place of need and satisfy you beyond all you could ever ask or imagine.

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.”

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Grace Abused Simply To Excuse!

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

13June  Jesus’ sermon on the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, provides a wonderful picture of God’s amazing, unconditional grace.  I had a person inquire about this Parable and asked the question “Is it possible to take this grace message a bit too far?”  This was not an accusation coming from a cold legalist; it was a sincere question from a concerned, mature Christian.

I understand this well-meaning person’s concern.  The Apostle Paul was anticipating that very objection when he wrote in Romans 6:1-2, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!”  To be sure, there are those in the church today who abuse grace in order to excuse their sin and coldly refusal to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  But just because grace is abused doesn’t mean we should shroud it with half-truths in order to coerce others into obedience and holiness through guilt and fear.  This is not the Gospel.

Grace is not opposed to obedience. As a matter of fact . . .

Grace produces obedience!

Grace is the fountain from which obedience flows.

Grace is the fuel that ignites the fire of our obedience

And keeps it burning brightly, albeit imperfectly.

Preaching the grace of God and His unconditional love in spite of our sin might lead some to think lightly of sin and to misuse and even abuse grace.  But that is only because their understanding of the Gospel is inaccurate or incomplete.  That is why we must clearly, concisely, and continually preach the Gospel in all of its glory.

God does not make our obedience a condition for His acceptance.

But grace does NOT free us from the demands of obedience.

The Bible says in Romans 6:12-14, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

God wants us to be holy because He is holy, and if we desire to accurately reflect Him to a watching world, we must strive to reflect His holiness.  And that desire is driven by the grace of the Gospel.

Our obedience, therefore,

Is a result of our relationship with Jesus,

Not a requirement for our relationship with Jesus.

So is it possible to take this grace message a bit too far?  No, no, a thousand times no!   We cannot take it far enough!

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.”

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Grow Where You Are Planted

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

12June  We live in a society that is in mad pursuit of the good life.  Never fully satisfied with what we have, we are always on the lookout for something better.  Restlessness is the daily reality for many people—both outside and inside of the church.  James identified this problem in stark language.  He is led by God to write in James 4:1-4, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

There’s really only one thing that will cure us from this grasping for “more.”

When we have a clear vision of what God has called us to

And the courage to walk into it,

We will find contentment, regardless of the cost or circumstance.

Years ago, when the Standard Oil Company was looking for a representative in the Far East, they approached a missionary and offered him $10,000 to take the job.  He quickly turned down the offer.  They raised it to $25,000, and he turned it down again.  They raised it to $50,000, and he rejected it once more without giving it a second thought.  “What’s wrong?” they asked.  He replied, “Your price is all right, but your job is too small.”  Every job is too small when it is not the job Jesus has called you to do to expand the cause of His kingdom in this world.

Now, don’t run off thinking I’m telling you to be a missionary because everything else is too small.  The job at the oil company would have been a wonderful job . . . if it had been God’s calling for this missionary.  But it was not.  This man knew so well what God had called him and equipped him to do, and he was so focused on doing it, that he had the fortitude to refuse a job that would have made his life a whole lot more comfortable and secure.

Only a small percentage of Christians are called by God to be missionaries in the sense of traveling to a foreign land.  To be sure, we are all on mission for God, declaring and demonstrating the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And for most of us, that mission is to be lived out right where we have been planted . . . whether we have been called to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker.  Our calling is the place where we are growing and serving our Lord, regardless of the offers that come our way and no matter how much greener the grass may look on the other side of the fence.  This missionary who turned down Standard Oil knew . . .

That nothing less than God’s call in his life

Was worth contemplating, considering, or carrying out.

What about you?  In what vineyard has God planted you to grow and flourish and expand the cause of His kingdom?  If we have never thought much about our calling and where we fit into God’s perfect plan, we may find ourselves careening from wall to wall throughout life, going from one job to another job.  I have spent many hours counseling men who have lived this reality, which has left them reeling.  Only when we are doing what God has designed us to be doing, based on the way He has hard-wired us, will we be able to say in the face of a seemingly better offer: “No thanks, it’s too small!”

Someone asked Dr. D. James Kennedy, if he had ever considered running for president of the United States.  He promptly replied, “Why would I want to take a step down from the greatest job in the world?”  Dr. Kennedy knew what God had called and gifted him to do, and once that truth seized him, he could not consider any other place of service in the world, even if that place was located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  It simply would have been a job that was too small!

When you are doing what you have been created to do, there is nothing that can pull you away from it.  At this level of living . . .

You are not only in your calling,

But your calling is in you.

Remember, every job is too small when it is a job you have not been called to do or you are not doing for the glory of God.  Someone once asked me if I considered any job to be menial labor.  “Absolutely!” I said emphatically.

“It is the job you are working at for your own glory,

To expand the reach of your own little kingdom,

And where Jesus simply cannot be found.”

If Jesus is not calling you away from your current station in life, grow where He has planted you.  This will be for your good and for God’s glory and to the benefit and blessing of everyone you meet.

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.”

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Christian Commitment, The Christian Condition and the Un-Christian Culture

Grace For The Journey

11June  I would like to begin this week with a word of encouragement on the need for continual commitment when it comes to pursuing a life of holiness and obedience to our Lord.

In our ongoing battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, we must be serious enough to make specific commitments to stand against the temptations that we face every day. Here are two wonderful examples from the biblical record that are a source of great encouragement and strength for every Christian in the middle of the battle.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”  (Job 31:1)

“Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”  (Daniel 1:8)

In his book, The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges wrote, “We are vulnerable to [two] kinds of temptations. Some arise from indwelling sin that still resides in our hearts; others come as a result of the environment in which we live or work.”

Job, who lived centuries before the time of Christ, provides insight into the Christian condition, a condition that remains sinful even after Jesus comes into our lives.  Sin no longer reigns in our lives, but it certainly remains, and we are to take the sword to it every day. The temptation Job battled is one which all men and women face today: the inclination to look lustfully at someone. The ongoing temptation to do this is simply a result of the indwelling sin that remains in us.

Daniel, on the other hand, made it clear that we face temptation because we live in a sinful culture. Daniel lived in an unholy environment; but instead of giving in to it, Daniel resolved to remain holy, regardless of the cost.

Some people mistakenly think that making such commitments is “works of the flesh” and we ought not to be doing such things. We need only trust in God, they say. Well, let me provide a news flash. To be sure, we must trust in God and His empowering grace to provide the strength we need to resist temptations. But we must make the commitment to resist them! Resisting temptation must be our serious commitment if we are ever to make progress against it. We must pray and work, as much as it is within our power to do so. Job and Daniel remind us that the battle is both within and without, and we must be on guard on both fronts.

So . . . in what areas do you need to consider making specific commitments to fight against temptation? Are you willing to do so? Make no mistake; God has given you the greatest motive and motivation for sustained effort against temptation: His name is Jesus Christ. Keeping in view what Jesus has done on our behalf and will do in our future is the fuel that ignites the fire of our faith and inspires continual commitment to fight against all temptations—within and without.

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.”

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