Groaning Because Of Sin … Glad Because Of Grace

Grace For The Journey


9Mar  Did you know that “groaning” is a great grace from God, and that it is to be the mark of the Christian on the way into glory?  The creation groans; the Christian groans; the Holy Spirit groans.  The Bible make it clear that groaning identifies those who are awaiting the glories of the life to come.  Between justification (the instant you were saved) and glorification (the time you enter into your eternal rest) groaning is to be the default language of every Christian.  Is it yours?

The Bible tells us that, because of sin, all of creation groans through deterioration, decay, and death, and is awaiting the day when Jesus will make all things new.  The Bible says in Romans 8:22, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

Under the divine decree of Almighty God, creation suffers – not because of anything it did, but because of what Adam did through original sin and what we do through our continual sin.

Next Paul confirms that not only is creation groaning, but believers are groaning as we wait for the return of our Lord.  The Bible says in Romans 8:23, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Sinners by both nature and habit, we groan because of the corruption and futility that exists in us and the world around us.  We mourn because we do not do the good we want to do, but the evil we do not want in our lives is what we keep on doing (Romans 7:19).  The difference between what we currently are (great sinners) and what we one day will be (sinless saints) causes us to groan even more.

Finally, Paul assures us that along with creation and the Christian, God’s Holy Spirit roans also, interceding for us with “groanings too deep for words.”  The Bible says in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

The Spirit of Christ testifies to the fact that something is terribly wrong with us and with the world around us, causing us to groan and long for the day when we will live with Jesus in the new heavens and the new earth.

The groaning the Scriptures speak about is a deep, inward, agonizing ache of the heart in response to the brokenness of this fallen world.  It is not the whining, grumbling, and complaining we frequently engage in when our plans are thwarted, our agenda is interrupted, and our preferences are put on hold.

Christians living in a broken world

Are to be groaning for the return of our Lord,

When He will make all things new.

If we are not groaning, we have grown too comfortable with the things of this life – and sadly this is the condition of far too many in the American evangelical church today. When we find fulfillment in things other than God we don’t groan!  Yet . . .

God in His grace wants to break the power our possessions have over us,

And this will only happen as we look more to our Savior than to our stuff

To meet our deepest needs and longings of the heart.

The life of the Christian is to follow the path of groaning to glory, which focuses our hope beyond a life defined by the earthly to a life directed by the eternal.  To be sure, the Kingdom of God has come, but it is not yet fully what it will be; therefore we groan!

And the only people who are groaning for the glory of God

Are those who have surrendered their will to His will . . .

Their goals to His goals . . . their desires to His desires.

They are living for the Kingdom of the Savior rather than the kingdom of the self.

What we need to remember is that “He who began a good work in us” is not finished with us yet (Philippians 1:6).  And that should make us groan with anticipation of what we shall one day be – like Him!

In a sermon preached on September 28, 1885, Charles Spurgeon said: “We cannot help feeling that we need somewhat more than this visible world can offer us.  Many of us find our greatest joy in the cultivation of that feeling, for it is to us the token of our spiritual nature and the prophecy of immortality.  To us, this life is mainly worth living because it promises to be the introduction to a better life.”

Godly groaning conforms our concerns and cares to the size of God’s concerns and cares, and this is the only place for the Christian to live.

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.”


“Seizing Moments that Shape Eternity

Grace For The Journey


“When Christ comes, I want to be

caught living the gospel.

I want to be surprised right in the act

Of spreading the faith and doing

Something for God”

Jeffrey R. Holland

The Bible account in Acts 8:26-40 of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch through the witness of Philip fascinates me every time I read it.  There are so many surprise factors in the story . . .

  • I’m surprised by an angel commanding Philip to go to the desert road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza.
  • I’m surprised by Philip running up to the eunuch’s chariot and overhearing the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah 53, a passage so clearly about the suffering of the Messiah.
  • I’m surprised by the eunuch’s question, “Is the prophet talking about himself, or someone else?” That simple question gave Philip an opportunity to tell the Ethiopian about Jesus.
  • I’m surprised that, on a desert road, at just the right time, there was enough water for the eunuch to be baptized on the spot.

The passage overflows with surprising providences of God.

I think the main reason I am surprised is because, like many people, I underestimate God’s supernatural ability to order the daily details of our lives.

However, the biggest surprise by far is what happens at the end of the story.  The Bible says in Acts 8:39, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.”

Instantly, Philip found himself whisked away, and the eunuch traveled on, celebrating his newfound salvation, never to see Philip again.  It’s a reminder . . .

God can bring us momentarily into the life of someone

Just for the sake of bringing that person to Christ.

I remember a mission trip I took not long after I was out of seminary.  As our group went into schools, factories, and in the streets in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa witnessing to people, we were amazed at how receptive and hungry the people were to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   We, of course, were thrilled at this.  But I was also concerned and asked our translator, “Do you think their decisions are real?  And how can we know when we’ll never see them again?”  Cokie smiled and said, “We don’t have to see them again. God will work.”  Then he told us his story.  During his last year of business school, one of his requirements was to go to public schools and teach business principles.  He traveled across the city with his girlfriend, Anna and made the presentation at a high school.

After Cokie finished, he found his girlfriend, Anna, in the principal’s office.  The principal, a middle-aged woman, had been sharing the Gospel with his girlfriend while he was speaking to the class.  AnnaHis girlfriend had received Christ.  Cokie also wanted to hear the same message.  After sharing the Gospel, the principal asked our translator, “Would you like to ask Jesus to save you?”   Our translator said he, “Yes, yes, I’d like to pray.”  Just as they were bowing their heads, the principal looked at our translator and said, “You have to mean it with all your heart.”  He responded, “Okay, I will mean it with all my heart.”  As he told his story, he said, “Somehow, in that moment, I went from doing something just to appease that principal to really asking Jesus to save me.  And He did!”  Cokie said that they never saw the principal again.  He and his girlfriend wound up getting married and finding a church that helped them grow in their faith.  They have spent the rest of their lives serving Jesus.

When we seize moments to share the Gospel, God can use us just as He used Philip with the Ethiopian and that principal with Cokie and Anna.

Is there value in sharing Jesus with people you already know and can disciple?  Yes, without a doubt.  But God can also supernaturally bring you into the paths of people you’ve never seen before and may never see again to make an eternal difference in their lives.

Here are a few things we can do to seize moments for sharing the Gospel:

Pray for such moments.  Ask God to bring lost people across your path.  The truth is, He’s already doing that every day.  So ask for alertness, courage, and willingness to share with lost people when the moments arise.

Prepare for such moments.  When people ask, “What’s the best Gospel presentation?”  I like the answer one of my college professors gave, “The one you will actually use!”   One simple way to be prepared is to memorize verses that will help you share the Gospel – Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 8:1 and 10:13 are a great place to start.  Carrying a Gospel tract in your pocket or handbag will help prepare you and also remind you to share the Gospel consistently.

Present the Gospel during such moments. Consider how you might lead into a conversation with someone that can open an opportunity to share the Gospel.  Some “Gospel-conversation openers” that I have used are questions like . . .

  • “Can I pray with you about that?”
  • “What is your religious background?”
  • “Have you heard about the Good News of Jesus Christ?
  • “If you were to die tonight and stood before God and He asked you ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ What would you say?”
  • “If you were to die tonight do you know that you will go to heaven?”

These questions can create opportunities and lead to more in-depth discussion about spiritual and eternal issues.

Place such moments into God’s Hands.  Sometimes, the moment God gives you to share with someone will result in them trusting Christ as Savior.  At other times, your moment may be a time for planting or watering seeds of Bible truth that will come to harvest later.  And, sadly, some people will reject Christ not only for a moment, but for a lifetime.  Even so, you can trust God to keep working beyond the initial moment when you share the Gospel.

So, live to seize the moments and see how God uses them to shape someone’s eternity!

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.”


Not Just Permission, but the Privilege to Fail!

Grace For The Journey



I know, after reading the title of today’s blog, what you might be thinking:

Pastor Terry has lurched past the line of sanity

In linking the word “privilege” with “failure!”

Who in their right mind would consider it a privilege to fail at anything?!

I encourage you to read on.  I think you will find today’s blog a great comfort – regardless of whether you are experiencing victory or failure in your life.

There are countless places in Scripture where we can go to learn about this truth, but I have chosen the passage in the Bible where Jesus foretells Peter’s denial in Luke 22:31-34, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’  Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.’  Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know Me.’”

In this passage we can clearly see that Peter was not only given the permission to fail, but it was a privilege to do so!  Now . . .

I am not suggesting that

We go out and do our best

To fail in living for

And serving our Lord.

What I am suggesting is that when we do fail Jesus, we see it as a privilege.  Why? Because of the One we are failing!  Jesus called Peter into service, knowing from all eternity that Peter would fail.  In the above passage we see both the permission and the privilege in our failure.

Permission means .. .

Jesus knows we are going to fall short of the mark at times . . . many times.

Privilege simply means . . .

 Jesus is the One we are serving, and we should always see it

As a privilege to serve Him, whether we are succeed or fail.

How often we are like Peter!  We resolve to win the day for Christ, no matter what hardship or opposition may come, but along the way we stumble or fall in hopeless defeat.  We set out to walk on water, but all too quickly we take our eyes off the Lord and quickly sink into defeat and despair.

Our failures do not catch Jesus by surprise.

He told Peter exactly what was going to happen before it happened.  He is telling us the same thing today.  There will be times when we fail.  Failure is a part of daily living for sinful, broken people living in a sinful, broken world.

But our failure is never final.

Satan asked for Peter but Jesus said no.  Final, complete failure is not an option for those who are in Christ.  And that is what makes it a privilege to risk for Jesus, regardless of the outcome.

The privilege to fail brings with it the grace of forgiveness and permission to try again, and again, and again.  We serve the God of second chances . . . and third chances . . . and so on.  The unconditional and eternal love of God removes any dread we might feel about a mistake or a failure . . . We have His eternal promise in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Permission to fail is always accompanied with the promise of forgiveness.  This frees us to reach and risk – to advance the cause of Christ without constantly looking over our shoulder to see if God is coming after us for past errors.

Remember, after Peter’s abject failure – calling down curses on himself in an attempt to convince a servant girl that “I do not know the man” – Jesus restored him to fruitful service . . . but not perfect service!

The Bible relates the occasion when Paul rebuked Peter for refusing to eat with Gentile believers because of the disapproving scowls from certain Jews (Galatians 2:11-14)/ Jesus was not angry with Peter’s failure at that time either, and He did not send Peter away.  He urged him and encouraged him to continue to strengthen his brothers.  Jesus loved Peter and died for Peter’s sins – all of Peter’s sins, just as He loves you and me and died for all the sins you and I did, do, and will commit.

The Bible doesn’t explain why, when Jesus appeared to Peter after His resurrection, He asked Peter three times if he loved Him.  Many scholars believe it was because Peter had denied Jesus three times.  I think the main thing Jesus is doing is sending Peter a powerful message:

“Regardless of the number of times you fail Me,

I want you to remember that you are never disqualified

From serving Me and feeding My sheep.”

Now that is a comfort we need to be reminded of daily: we don’t only have permission, but the privilege to fail the One who has forgiven every failure.

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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


The Bible’s Blow

Grace For The Journey



It would be a great disadvantage to see the Bible only as a book designed to bring constant comfort to the soul.  Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the things the Word of God does in the lives of all those who read Scripture through the eyes of faith.  But the prophet Jeremiah declared that the Bible also strikes a blow like a holy hammer, breaking a rock in pieces.  The Bible says in Jeremiah 23:29, “’Is not My word like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ declares the Lord.”  What is that “rock”?  It is your rock-heart, and my rock-hard heart, with all its self-righteousness and sinful pride.

The problem in far too many pulpits today is that the preacher is more concerned with pleasing man than he is with pleasing God.

Messages designed to tickle the ears and minister

To felt needs dominate the theological landscape.

But when the whole counsel of God is preached, it wields a holy hammer that begins breaking away pieces of our pride and self-righteousness, for the purpose of exposing more and more of the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are many false prophets who preach “Peace, peace,” but God would have us know there is no peace for those whose eyes are fixed on self, rather than the Savior.

The natural man craves this false peace,

For his greatest goal in this life is to be happy.

But God desires so much more for His people!

God’s perfect plan for our imperfect lives is holiness, not happiness.

This is the path God intends for us to travel.  And the pathway leading to holiness is not lined with peace, but rather, persecution.

There is a phrase I learned many years ago that I committed to memory and on many occasions remind myself of:

As a minister of the Good News of Jesus Christ,

God has called me to comfort the afflicted

And to afflict the comfortable.

The Christian life is not designed to be lived within a “safe space” of comfort,

or a comfort zone is not conducive to conformity to Christ.

The Bible’s blow is the believer’s blessing.

Comfort must be mixed with challenge; Peace must be mixed with pain.

On more than one occasion, the apostle Paul used the athletic metaphor to describe the life of a disciple of Christ.  One of those metaphors is that of a runner, who will never reach the goal of winning a race without developing the discipline required to push past the pain and discomfort of training.

We are not called to comfort;

We are called to Christlikeness.

The Word of God is designed to train us up in the way we should go, and that way is marked by discipline and struggle as much as, if not more than, by rejoicing.

The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

When was the last time the Scriptures caused you to be uncomfortable?  When was the last time you felt the Bible’s blow, hammering away at your old sin nature within, penetrating to the essence of your soul and laying bare that which is displeasing in God’s sight?

Remember . . . Jesus promised that the truth would set you free.  The truth of God’s Word is designed to change you . . . To turn your life inside-out and upside-down as God reshapes and redesigns His image in you.

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.”



Lions And Tigers And Bears . . . Amen!

Grace For The Journey


5Mar  You may recognize the title of today’s blog as a play on the words from one of the most memorable lines of the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy and her companions she met along the yellow-brick road that led to Oz were confronted with many dangers.  At one point during their journey they cried out in fear, “Lions and tigers and bears!  Oh my!”

We Christians face many dangers on the road to our heavenly destination, but unlike the characters in Dorothy’s dream, the Gospel empowers us to cry, “Lions and tigers and bears, Amen!”  We will walk “through many dangers, toils, and snares” on this side of the grave, but the Christian is empowered to cry “Amen” instead of “O my!” for two important reasons: the promise of the dangers and the power in the dangers.  I want us to look at these tremendous truths in today’s blog.


The first thing every Christian must remember is that we have been promised to encounter a lifetime of lions, tigers, and bears.  We should not be surprised by the dangers and difficulties that beset us, because we live in a fallen and broken world as fallen, broken people.  If our Lord was despised and rejected and experienced pain and suffering for the life He lived, should we expect to receive a crown of glory for ours?

  • He was betrayed; we will be betrayed.
  • He was falsely accused; we will be falsely accused.
  • He was slandered; we will be slandered.
  • He was abandoned; we will be abandoned.
  • He was mocked; we will be mocked.

The Bible never promised us a walk in the park!  Jesus reminded us about that truth in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation: be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Also, in Philippians 1:29, God tells us through the apostle Paul, “For to you It has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,.”

And in 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

We should not be surprised by the many dangers and difficulties we face on a daily basis because we have been promised them in Scripture.

The Christian faith is forged in the fiery trials of life.

We need not fear them nor flee them because of . . .


Once we understand the promise of life’s challenges, we need to rest in the God-power to face them.  We do not face our problems, challenges, and difficulties alone and we do not fight them in our own strength.  Our power is in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in Romans 8:37, “What shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” … “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yeah, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

The Bible also says in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Again the Bible says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives I me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who love me and gave Himself for me.”

So . . . what lions, tigers, and bears have you been facing lately?  Have you been surprised by the number of them or their ferocity?  Faith in the focus of our faith (Jesus Christ) will help us overcome our fear of every opposition to our faith.  Because God has ordained all things (Romans 11:36), no matter what storms beset us, we can rest in Him.

He is not only with us in the storm,

He sent the storm for two important reasons:

For His glory and our good.


We can stand on God’s promises


Be victorious through the power of Christ

By the way, did you notice what Jesus does in John 16:33?  He not only said, “In the world you will have tribulation.”  He went on to say, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  That is a promise that equips us to move from “Oh my!” to “Amen!” . . . no matter how fierce the trials facing us!

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



The Bible records a time in the life of Mary and Joseph when they were returning home from a trip to Jerusalem and they lost Jesus.  The Bible says in Luke 2:45, “When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for Him.”

Jesus said that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  In other words, He has promised to always be with us.  So how could it be possible to lose the presence of the Ever-Present One?  That is what I want to talk about in today’s blog

As disciples of Christ, we must understand the difference between the word “union” and “communion” as it relates to our relationship with Him.  Our union with Jesus is the fountainhead of life and the source from which all the blessings of God flow.  Whatever is true of Jesus is also true of us because of our union with Him.  His death is our death. His resurrection is our resurrection.  The love of the Father to the Son also flows to all those who are in union with Christ, making us sons, as the Bible says in Galatians 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  What a powerful word!  Do you see what God is saying?

Our union with Christ is as unwaverable as it is undisturbable.

Nothing can separate us from the love God has for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

But our communion with Christ is another thing altogether.

Inasmuch as Jesus is always with us, there are times when His presence may seem far from us.  We can lose the sense of His presence, just as Mary and Joseph lost Jesus’ physical presence when they were returning home from Jerusalem with.  How can this happen?

Jesus vanishes from our vision as we begin to focus on anything other than Him.

We begin to neglect our alone time with Jesus.  We begin to neglect our community time with Jesus.  Nothing major, just a little neglect here and a little neglect there.  But what starts as an infection winds up a disease, cutting us off from any real sense of our communion with Christ.  To be sure . . .

Our union has not changed in any way,

But our communion has become transient,


Transient communion will never satisfy the soul.

So how do we keep from losing Jesus and the communion we so desperately need?

We don’t assume, as Joseph and Mary did, that Jesus is in our company and that our communion with Him is as secure as our union with Him.

We must continue to seek Jesus in all things.

We cannot get caught up in the cultural chaos, confusion, and commotion around us, or we will cut ourselves off from our communion with Christ.

We must continue looking for Jesus, listening to Jesus, and leaning on Jesus.

At this level of living, our communion with Jesus will be every bit as constant as our union with Him.  Remember what God’s Word says . . .

Draw near to the Lord . . . and He will draw near to you.

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.”



Treasure Hunters – Part 3

Grace For The Journey


28Feb  Today is the last of my 3-part blog on Treasure Hunters.  We have been looking at what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  In this brief but penetrating passage, Jesus sets forth four powerful truths that relate to treasure hunting.  Today we will complete our study with the third and fourth truth.

TRUTH #3: The Divine “Abstain/Advance” Imperative From Jesus.

Jesus warns us to abstain from pursuing earth-bound temporary kingdom treasures and to advance in the direction of pursuing heaven-bound eternal kingdom treasures

The conclusion of the whole matter is “No man can serve two masters (Verse 24).”  The Bible says in James 4:4, “… Do you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

There is a choice to be made.

Because it is impossible to have two masters, a choice must be made as to who we are going serve. Are we going to serve the God of heaven or the world?  One or the other has to be demoted to a lower position.  One has to be relegated to a secondary position in our life.  The pursuit of one or the other has to become a lower priority than the other.

God’s Word helps us to understand this:

1 Kings 18:21, “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him…’

Joshua 21:1, “And if it seems evil to you t serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods witch your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

There is also a cost to be paid.

Making a choice between the God of heaven and the world will prove to be costly either way.

Should we choose to pursue the eternal things of God, we will have less than what we could have of the things of the world.  We will be called upon to make sacrifices in terms of temporal pleasures and possessions.

Should we choose to pursue the temporal things of the world, we will have less than what we could have had of that which is eternal.

The decision that we are called upon to make every day of our life is . . .

Which is the greater loss,

The temporal things of earth


The eternal things of heaven?

TRUTH #4: What We Pursue And Possess Ultimately Pursues And Possesses Us.

Jesus reminds us that it is a matter of the heart; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It was a matter of the heart for both Adam and Eve.  With hearts made for God, they both sought to satisfy their deepest longings in something other than God, something that could never satisfy them, and all humanity has been on a downward spiral ever since.

Satan promised Adam and Eve something they already had – life,

And instead

They received something they were never intended to experience – death.

This is always the result of chasing after the wrong kind of treasure.  The promise on the front end is attractive and enticing, but at the end of the day, it inevitably leads to some kind of death.

When we hunt for treasure

Outside of the only treasure

That was meant to satisfy us,

We are never satisfied.

King Solomon is an example of this (read the Book of Ecclesiastes for his personal account).  He lived to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, education, material possession, and all the pleasures that the heart seeks.  The result is that he eclipsed all other kings and rulers who have ever lived, yet his heart was led astray from God. His sad testimony is recorded in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 is instructive:

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Apart from God, everything is hollow, empty, and woefully less than God’s best for our lives.  Settling for something other than God is settling for a life that is less than God intended for us to live.  It is living a life for nothing bigger than life itself.

C.S. Lewis rightly observed in Mere Christianity:

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next.  The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one. 

Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’;

Aim at earth and you will get neither.”

It all comes down to identifying what we are living for in this life.”

When we seek the treasures of earth, we live for nothing more than the life we are living.  When we seek the treasures of heaven we live for something so much more than the life we are living.

Living in the light of eternity causes us to pursue treasures that create eternal investments.  This is living a life shaped by Christ and His kingdom, which brings a satisfaction that transcends anything we could ever find in the pursuit of anything other than God Himself.

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.”







Treasurer Hunters, Part 2

Grace For The Journey


27Feb  Today is the second of a three-part blog on Treasure Hunters.  Jesus cautioned His disciples in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

In this brief but penetrating passage, Jesus sets forth four powerful truths that relate to treasure hunting.  Yesterday I talked about the first truth – that everyone is a treasure hunter. Jesus assumes treasure hunting as a mark of all humanity; we are all seeking value.

Today we will confine our focus to the second truth . . .

TRUTH #2: We Pursue Two Different Types Of Treasure

These two different types of treasures are:

  • Earthly and heavenly
  • Carnal and spiritual
  • Important and unimportant
  • Little and big
  • Temporal and eternal.

We always have two choices in treasure hunting.

We can hunt for the stuff we want


The stuff God wants for us.

It’s important to note that we could, in fact, be pursuing the treasure God wants us to pursue, but for the wrong reasons, like personal power or self-centered glorification.  A church pastor, for example, who enjoys the prestige of authority rather than the fulfillment of serving is pursuing godly treasure, but with the entirely wrong motive!   Another wrong (but not uncommon) motive for pursuing godly treasure is found in the Christian who is seeking the applause and praise of man for his charitable deeds.  The ultimate goal here is status, not service – shrinking your life down to the size of your life and nothing more.

As treasure hunters we not only need to be pursuing the right stuff,

We must be pursuing it for the right reasons.

At this level of living, we are being shaped by the Savior in all we desire, decide, and do.  We have been created to seek treasure that truly matters, treasure which is rooted in a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  We simply cannot deny the powerful pull of both classes of treasures, earthly and heavenly.  The one that rules your heart will ultimately shape your life.

Jesus concludes the whole matter by saying that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (verse 21).  Whatever we see as the passion and priority for our lives (earthly riches or spiritual riches) will cause our heart to be are drawn toward that “treasure.”  It will cause us to make pursuing that treasure more than God, His Word, or His will.  It will cause us to fret about that treasure and measure other things (and other people) by those treasures.  Our whole lives will drift relentlessly toward the spot             where our treasures are stored because our hearts will take us there.  An honest examination of our deepest desires will quickly reveal what our treasures are.

The result will be that our lives will end up far from the real treasure.  The Bible says in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above; where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on thing on the earth.”

If you continued reading this sixth chapter of Matthew you would hear Jesus this in verses 22-23.  In these verses Jesus teaches about the need to have correct vision rather than corrupted vision.

The correct vision is seen in verse 22.  The word “lamp” or “light” when used in the Bible generally speaks of that which is good, that which is godly and righteous.  In the sense in which it is used here, it speaks of our conduct in regards to “treasure.”  The word “good” is used to mean “singleness of purpose, focused, clear.”  The correct vision, according to the teaching of our Lord, is that which is clearly focused on eternal things.  If our vision is focused on one single purpose, that being the pursuit of heavenly things, our whole body will be full of light. That is, our conduct will be good, godly, and righteous.

The corrupted vision is seen in verse 23.  The word “evil” or “bad” eye is one that is not “clearly focused on one single purpose.”  Jesus is speaking here of what we might call “double vision.” A person who possesses double vision is not very stable. Spiritual double vision would be having one eye fixed on heaven and another fixed on earth

That person who thinks they can pursue the things of this world and those of heaven with an equal amount of passion is only fooling themselves.  The conclusion of the whole matter is in verse 24 “No man can serve two masters.”

We will look at this in tomorrow’s blog.

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.”



Treasure Hunters – Part 1

Grace For The Journey


26Feb  Today is the first of a 3-part blog on Treasure Hunters.  The adventure film National Treasure has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in 2004.  It is loosely based on the myth of a secret code inscribed on the back of the Declaration of Independence by its signers.  The deciphering of this secret code would lead the treasure hunters, led by Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), to the discovery of a fantastic collection of treasure that had been protected and passed down by the Knights Templar and Freemasons for centuries.

I am convinced that films like National Treasure and the hugely successful “Indiana Jones” series are so popular because they connect the viewer with the “treasure hunter” inside of all of us.  If, indeed, we are all treasure hunters, the question that must be asked and answered is:

“What kind of treasure are we spending our lives to discover?”

Jesus cautioned His disciples, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

It is important to understand the context in which these words were spoken.  In the first eighteen verses of Matthew 6 it’s as if we have been in the sanctuary of the Lord communing with Him who “sees in secret.” Beginning in verse 19, we leave the safety and security of communion with the Lord, and immediately find ourselves combating the temptations and trials of the world.

It is no mistake that the Lord Jesus teaches first about communion and then combat. The amount of time we are willing to spend personally and privately seeking the Lord, surrendering to Him, and satisfying our hearts with Him will determine the amount of victory we enjoy over the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We are living today in what is perhaps the most materialistic society that has ever existed.  It seems that when we are materially prosperous we are most in danger of spiritual poverty.  Today more than ever, Christians need to heed these words of Matthew 6.

In this brief but penetrating passage, Jesus sets forth four powerful truths that relate to treasure hunting.

Today we will confine our focus to the first truth . . .

TRUTH #1: Everyone Is A Treasure Hunter.

Jesus does not leave room for any other option.  He assumes treasure hunting as a mark of all humanity.  Anything of value is a treasure, and we are all seeking value.

  • It may be the value of a certain amount of income.
  • Perhaps it is a style of living, or ownership of certain possessions that indicates you have “made it.”
  • Maybe it is a position of power and prestige in your company, community, or church.

Generally speaking, when we speak of “treasure” we tend to limit the term to money. But the Lord’s use of the word “treasure” is intended to mean “anything that is of value to man and that is perishable or can be lost in one way or the other” (houses, lands, fame, position, power, clothes, cars, etc.)

When the Lord speaks of laying up treasures for ourselves on earth, He is addressing the sin of excessively pursuing worldly wealth and material possessions.  Many today are possessed with an insatiable appetite for “treasures” that drives them to many types of excessive behavior.

While we need to understand clearly what is condemned in this verse, we also need to know what is not condemned. I n the words of verse 19 . . .

  • The Lord is not condemning hard work which results in man’s provision for both himself and his family.
  • The Lord is not condemning is the possession of goods and riches, provided they are acquired honestly and used rightly.
  • The Lord is not condemning saving for the future.

Instead of making the things of this earth a priority and excessively pursuing those things, we would do well to pursue things that are of eternal value.  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:18“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 

Instead of trusting confidently in the material things we possess, our trust and confidence is to be in the living God.  The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

The sad thing about all of the excessive, covetous, selfish behavior is that it comes as the result of pursuing things that will never completely satisfy in the first place.  All of our earthly possessions are things that possess a certain element of decay.  They will all eventually perish.  The only things that will last will be the spiritual possession we gain through pursuing God and His eternal life..

In his book, A Quest For More, Paul Tripp writes, “If I watched the video of your last year, what treasure would I conclude you’re after?”

What is your answer to this penetrating question?

What is the testimony of your treasure hunting life?

Take some time to prayerfully consider both your personal and professional life regarding what you are seeking and pursuing.  Check back tomorrow for our second 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.”


Might Not Know Where Heaven Is … Can Know What Heaven Is Like

Grace For The Journey


26Feb  When news of Billy Graham’s death began to circulate last Wednesday my first thought was that Dr. Graham was anything but dead.  He is more alive now than ever before, and he is living a life that will never end.

That was the message of Billy Graham’s life.  It didn’t matter if he was talking to Presidents, Popes, Prime Ministers, or ordinary people he stuck to the very simple Gospel message that we are all sinners and Jesus Christ is our only hope to be rescued from our sins.

He was criticized and sometimes mocked by the social elites and academia’s for such a simple message, but while the critics came and went, Billy Graham never turned to the right or left, but kept his eye and his message on the Cross.

His personal life was one of financial and personal integrity.  Constantly under assault by those who tried to catch him in either a financial or moral failure, he lived a circumspect life and went beyond reason to stay pure in his life so that his message was never compromised.

Many have hailed him as the greatest man of our time. Certainly, his influence was bigger than any of the people who temporarily held an office or had money or status to influence public policy.  His power was never his, but that of Christ, and his fortune was massive, but not on earth, but stored in the incorruptible vaults of Heaven.

Some have said that there may never be another evangelist him and for that we should be saddened.  But for that same reason, we should be grateful to God to have lived during the time of the most influential human being in our lifetime and the most potent force of Christianity since the Apostle Paul.

To his family, we extend our profound condolences, but to God we extend our profound thanks for sending this man to earth and working through him in such an unmatched manner.

Billy Graham’s greatest concern was that people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord so they may spend eternity with God in Heaven.

People today do not often think of Heaven.  They are too busy living for this life to be concerned about the next.  Yet, I have been asked more than once where exactly Heaven is located . . .

Is it in our universe?

Is it up, beyond the sky?

Are there boundaries to Heaven?  

Is it more of a mystical realm or a physically existing place?

From a biblical perspective I respond by explaining that Heaven does not exist in our universe because, if God’s eternal abode was Heaven, then He and His angels were there before the universe existed.  The Bible talks a “third heaven” and “Paradise” when speaking of where heaven is (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

I can say this for certain . . .

I don’t know the direction of Heaven

But I do know its Delight.

The Bible says in Revelation 21:1-8, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.   He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I am drawn to think of heaven more and more because, the older I get, the more Heaven become populated with people I knew while they were with me here.  My mom and dad are there.  Our daughters, Cathy and Ashley are there.  So many whom I have pastored are rejoicing in that beautiful realm right now.  Billy Graham is another one of God’s servant who has entered the glories of heaven and has received the fullness of his inheritance.

When a child of God dies, a new era begins for them – unspeakable, immeasurable wholeness and happiness has become their everlasting reality:

  • Each leaves time and enters into eternity
  • Each leaves a world of toil and enters a world of rest
  • Each vacates a body of weakness and receives a body of glory
  • Each departs from dimness and arrives in light
  • Each exchanges a walk of faith for a reward of sight
  • Each was taken from those they loved on earth and reunited with those they love in Heaven
  • Each of their groans of sadness and pain has been replaced with shouts of ecstasy and delight
  • Each of their tears from life’s difficulties are now supplanted by joy and praise
  • For them, all of life’s mysteries have given way to all of Eternity’s answers
  • They have all seen the face of Jesus
  • They have beheld those mysterious creatures called angels and have heard their songs
  • Each has beheld the throne of God
  • Each has received the fullness of his unfathomable inheritance in Christ
  • Their lifelong thirsts have been satisfied forever
  • They are today perfected and are for complete and whole eternity.
  • They are exactly as they were ever meant to be
  • They will be there to welcome us when we arrive

This is just a small glimpse of what heaven will be like!  No, I do not know the where Heaven is . . .

Heaven is not desirable because of its direction or location.

The Christian wants Heaven because of its King.

Heaven is all about Jesus and that is why the Christian wants to go there some day. Jesus has made that possible for you and me.  Heaven’s King hung on the cross with His arms spread open in a posture of eternal embrace.  Come to Jesus today.  Run to Him today.  Accept Him as Savior and acknowledge Him as Lord.  When you do, you will be able to stand on the solid-rock promise that you will be with Him forever, and you will never regret that you said “Yes” to Him.

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.”