Going Broke: How Does One Become Spiritually Poor” Part 3

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

3Sept “Blessed are the poor is spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is how Jesus began the most famous of all sermons, the Sermon on the Mount.  Yesterday, we learned that “poor in spirit” is not an economic condition.  Instead, it is a recognition of our unworthiness before a holy God, especially in light of the grace displayed in the gospel.  When we consider the complete “otherness” of God in light of His holiness, power, complete independence and infinite and eternal nature; and when we recognize our finite, dependent and limited nature, then we become poor in spirit.  And for this, Jesus says those who have this poverty are blessed because God favors them.  How then, do we ‘go broke’, so to speak?  How can we consciously move from the natural pride we have to the humanly unnatural condition of spiritual poverty?  Author Terry Johnson suggests three ways.

First, spiritual poverty comes by understanding the greatness of God. 

Above I mentioned the “otherness” of God.  Many people imagine God as just a bigger and holier form of us.  He’s called “the man upstairs,” pointed to by the athlete who scores a goal, or portrayed as a grandfatherly old man who can’t resist giving His “children” things; but these things could not be farther from the truth.

God is not a man (Numbers 23:19) nor is He impressed by what man does or can do (Psalm 147:10).  Yet, inspite of His complete otherness and His total independence (God needs nothing and no one), God has chosen to reveal Himself to the creatures He has made in His image.  Scholars put the attributes God has revealed about Himself into two categories called “communicable” and “incommunicable” attributes.   His communicable attributes are those He shares with us: His mercy, justice, love, and grace.  What we don’t have that God does, and what makes Him “other” from us are His attributes of eternality, infiniteness, omnipotence (all power), omniscience (all knowledge), omnipresence (able to be in all places at all times), and complete holiness.

When we begin to see the magnificence of the vastness of God’s eternal and infinite character and compare it to the drop of our finite existence we begin to come to spiritual poverty.  When we understand our dependence on God; that all we have or are He has given to us, and there is nothing that we have truly earned or acquired, and that, as Job discovered, He can take it all away if and when He chooses, then we become truly poor in spirit.  As Job exclaimed in Job 1:21b, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Second, spiritual poverty comes when we understand the holiness of God.

There are several examples in Scripture of how men responded when confronted with the presence and holiness of God.  Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah, and the Apostle John all fell on their face “as if dead.”  Isaiah’s experience is especially illustrative for us.  The Bible says In Isaiah 6:4-5, “And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”” (Isaiah 6:4–5, ESV).  Isaiah was of royal blood and Israel recognized itself as being in the “apple of God’s eye” (Deuteronomy 32:10).  Despite his standing as an Israelite, despite his lineage of royalty, in the presence of God, Isaiah suddenly understood the depth of his depravity and sin.  Not only that, he recognized the depravity of those who claimed to be God’s people.  Like Isaiah, when I come to recognize the sinfulness of my own heart and contrast it with the holiness of God, all spiritual pride, self-righteousness, and ‘good deeds’ are shattered against the mountain of God’s holiness and perfect righteousness.  Upon seeing that, I join a long line of believers, poor in spirit, who cry out “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Third, spiritual poverty comes when we grasp the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

The Bible is clear, no one seeks God, all have turned away, and all have sinned. (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Romans 3:11-12).  Although God “owes” salvation to no one, by an act of incredible grace, God the Father sent the Son to redeem sinners hopelessly lost, and incapable of redeeming themselves, while they were completely unaware of either God or their sin.  The Father sends the Spirit to move in dead hearts and bring them to life and by doing so, they believe, and the Father credits them with the righteousness the Son earned for them.  Every person of the Godhead is involved in an act to which each agreed upon fully in eternity past as an example of the infinite, marvelous grace of our Lord.  When we dwell on this amazing truth, we come to the end of our self-righteousness, our good deeds, and any thoughts we may have of our worthiness for such an act of grace.  That is when we become poor in spirit.

The greatness of God, the holiness of God, and the grace of God . . . It is essential to understand and acknowledge these attributes in their totality to achieve the poverty of spirit necessary to receive the blessed favor of 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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Christian Virtue: Can You Be Happy By Being Poor? Part 2

Grace For The Journey

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3Sept  In yesterday’s blog we began to look at the Sermon on the Mount.  This is probably the most recognized and studied series of truths from the teaching of Jesus.  Over the next several days we will look at these biblical principles and learn much about what they teach about being a Christian.  The heart of the message Jesus delivered to His disciples and a crowd of interested people, on a hill just west of the Sea of Galilee, is eight sayings, each of which He prefaced with “Blessed are…”.  Each of these eight beatitudes points to a way of living that results in the deep-seated and continuing happiness that comes from being favored or approved by God.  The first Beatitude is found in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What does Jesus mean by the words “poor in spirit?”  He does not mean those who lack material possessions.  His Jewish hearers would have an Old Testament understanding of what it meant to be “poor.”  In the Old Testament, the poor are those who, because of their trust and obedience to God, are oppressed and persecuted (Psalm 34:6; Isaiah 41:17-18).  By “poor in spirit” Jesus means those who recognize their complete lack of spiritual capital independent of their economic standing.

A study of this phrase

Leads us to understand

That the term does not

Refer to a lack of currency or possessions

But an acknowledgement

Of being spiritually bankrupt.

It is one’s confession

Of unworthiness before God

And his utter dependence upon Him.”

We see throughout Scripture that being poor in spirit is a characteristic of God’s most effective servants throughout the course of redemptive history.  Moses, Joshua, Gideon, King David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah all demonstrated a poverty of spirit and acknowledged their condition before God.  And in each case, God used them in mighty ways.

We see the same characteristic in the actions of the men and women recorded in the New Testament.  Peter and Paul were both, at one time, bold and confident men.  Yet, it wasn’t until Peter saw his spiritual poverty firsthand as he denied Jesus three times on the night He was arrested, that Jesus could use him in a mighty way.  It was the same for Paul, first known as Saul.  Saul was on the fast track toward the position of High Priest when he was knocked to the ground and confronted by the living Christ.  Only then could Paul become a brilliant and unmatched evangelist for Christ.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Spiritual poverty is the cry of the prodigal son in Luke 15:21, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  The gospel of grace brings spiritual poverty to those who believe because the light of the gospel shines into the darkest corner of our souls to reveal just how fallen we truly are without the righteousness of Christ.

When we carefully consider the redemptive story God has revealed in His Word, through the illumination of the Spirit of God, our only reasonable response is to fall on our face in worship and humble gratitude.  This is why Paul closes the doctrinal section of his letter to the church at Rome with these words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  (Romans 12:1)

Jesus’ message of the blessedness of spiritual poverty is, once again, found to be completely countercultural.  Jesus stands the world’s wisdom on its head because the world cannot understand what could possibly be “blessed” about spiritual poverty and grateful humility.  But the truth is, the Kingdom of God is not for the rich and powerful, not for the self-righteously religious, and not for the self-acclaimed moral.  Instead, God favors or blesses the poor in spirit.  It is to them that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs as Jesus says in Matthew 5:3.

It’s interesting to note that only this first and the last of the Beatitudes are in the present tense.  Look at verse 3b: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”; and at verse 12a, the conclusion of “Blessed are you when other revile you…” where Jesus says; “Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven….  These present tense statements show us that the Kingdom of God which is the rule of God, is something that one begins to possess in this life.  We enter into the benefits of God’s kingdom while were are still here on earth.  How does that happen?

While the Kingdom of God is not now fully realized, those who are poor is spirit gain the immediate benefit of knowing God more intimately because they understand who they were before God redeemed them and what they have become.  Consider Solomon’s instruction in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

John Calvin said it this way: “Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

To be poor in spirit is a blessing not only because it points to being saved for eternity, but because there are physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to be found in your life now, regardless of the circumstances.   Blessed are the poor in spirit for they share in the kingdom of heaven even now.

How we gain God’s favor through a spirit of poverty is the subject of tomorrow’s blog.  I hope you’ll stay tuned.

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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On Christian Virtue – What Does It Mean To Be Happy?

Grace For The Journey

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3Sept  Things are different today, the Rolling Stones said in 1966, but I doubt even they had an inkling of just how different things would become.  Where graciousness, manners, respect, and humility were once celebrated as virtues to be cultivated, now society has abandoned all pretense of civility and instead openly celebrates narcissism and selfishness with parades that declare some sort of pride.  Yes, things are different today.

But for the followers of Jesus Christ, things are not different; they remain the same as the day Jesus kneeled to wash the feet of His disciples In John 13.  When Peter objected, Jesus told him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.”   Jesus was giving one of His final lessons before He would ascend to His Father in heaven.  To drive home the point, He told them this; “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:15–17, ESV).

By this example . . .

Jesus demonstrated what God

Demands from His children.

God’s children will,

With humility,

Lovingly serve others.

Jesus says, “You will be blessed if you do.”  These words would have likely reminded the disciples of the time Jesus instructed a group of people on a mount above the Sea of Galilee at the beginning of His earthly ministry.  Called the “Sermon on the Mount” by the church father Augustine, in the 4th century A.D., this teaching sermon by Jesus is, without a doubt, the greatest, most profound and most useful and influential sermon ever preached.  And central to this sermon are eight virtues, described up front, that are called “the Beatitudes.”

The Beatitudes describe how true Christian virtue is to be lived out in the life of every Christian.  The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin word “beatitudo” that translates the Greek word “makarios” used by Matthew in his Gospel (Matthew 5:3-11).

People often associate the term “blessed” with happy;

Some have even called the Beatitudes

The “be happy attitudes.”

But that is not the meaning

That Jesus intended.

The word happy is used today

To describe a temporary

Feeling of the joy

That comes from

Achievement, or possession

But that is not how this word

Is intended in a biblical sense.

When Jesus says, “blessed are…” He is referring to the deep-seated and continuing happiness that comes from being favored or approved by God.

Blessed is a state of being

Or status in relation to God

Rather than a subjective

Feeling of the heart.

The true meaning of the term

Describes what God thinks

Of those He favors

And what He does for them,

Not how they feel in response.

Christians should be markedly different from the culture in which live.  Therefore, “while things are different today” in the culture, they remain the same for the Christian, who desires to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And that desire will result in someone who is truly different.  How the Christian is different is the central subject of the Beatitudes.  In them, we find the most complete description of how Jesus works from the inside out to focus on the heart and to bring about behavior that flows from a radically changed heart.  The picture that emerges is that of individuals and communities that are truly different.

Transformed from within, the disciple of Christ is distinctive in moral purity, love for others, faith, and a desire to serve Christ by serving His people.  The key to all of this begins with the virtues of the heart as defined in the Beatitudes.  Over the next several weeks, we will look at the eight Beatitudes to discover how those who will allow their hearts to be transformed by the Spirit of Christ will be “blessed.”

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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Labor Day … Don’t Just Rest From Your Work – Remember The One Who Is Working For Your Behalf Every Day

Grace For The Journey

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2SeptToday is Labor Day, the first Monday in September, when we celebrate the American labor movement. Well, that is the history of Labor Day in the United States. In reality, it is little more than a three-day weekend for many. Labor Day was commemorated and established as an official holiday in 1886, under the presidency of Grover Cleveland. It was intended to pay tribute to the contributions of the American workers, who make this country the greatest country on earth.

It is my prayer that today you are able to rest from your labor, and as you do, that you will meditate upon the One who is laboring on your behalf even now.  The Bible says in John 5:17, “Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

Think about that for a moment.  The One who is unparalleled and unprecedented is unrelenting in His gracious work on your behalf.   He blesses the weak and beautifies the meek, working everything for your eternal good.  Nothing will stop Him or slow Him down in bringing you all the way home into glory, in His perfect time and in His righteous way.

The great “I AM”

Is for you,

With you,

And

In you.

WOW! Let that truth minister to your heart on this Labor Day!

God is not finished with you yet.  The Bible says in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  So have patience in His process, not only with yourself, but with all others.  We are all works in progress; the great good news in that is that “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).  No matter your age or station in life, no one has “arrived” on this side of the grave.  Fruit may ripen and flowers may bloom, but God will not be finished with you until that moment that He has ordained, when you will be brought into glory on the other side of the grave.

So trust in the One who is growing you to maturity and be fully confident that even when you cannot trace Him in your life, you can trust His heart – He is still there, orchestrating every event that is ultimately working together for your good and His glory.  Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light; regardless of whatever you are going through right now, He is going through it with you.

His reign is as righteous

As His rescue of you is relentless!

May you rest in Him on this Labor Day and respond to Him as He takes your mess and turns it into His masterpiece.  And remember, He may not always give you what you want, but He will always give you what you need to work out your salvation, step by step, all the way to your eternal rest.

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 Faith That Saves

Grace For The Journey

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30Aug

There is faith

And then

There is saving faith.

What, you ask, is the difference?

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

Faith by this definition –

As a belief that things

Will continue as they

Have always proven to be –

Is something that

Everybody exercises day.

But according to the Bible,

That is not a faith that saves.

There is a big difference

Between human faith

And saving faith.

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

It is this God-given faith

That resides at the very heart

Of the gospel and

The center of Christianity.

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

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

But what underlies that story

Is that Abraham believed God’s promise

And God “counted it to him for righteousness.”

A word that means “innocent.

Made right, or

Being in right standing

From a legal perspective”

(Genesis 15:6).

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

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

In summary . . .

Every human person

Has a type of faith

That comes from life experience

That enables all people to live, work,

Hope, and have dreams of a better life.

No one is truly without “faith.”

But . . .

Until the gift of saving faith comes from God,

Ho one has the type of faith

Necessary to believe in Jesus Christ

And gain the promised peace

With God mentioned in Romans 5:1.

Everyone has faith,

But not everyone believes in Christ.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit

That brings dead hearts to life

And gives saving faith.

When that happens Hebrews 11:1 says,

We gain a faith that:

“… Is the assurance of things hoped for,

The conviction of things not seen.

This faith is saving faith

And is a gift from God

By His grace.

(Ephesians 2:8-9

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Exalting Christ, Part 3

Grace For The Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why would God do this?

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

The answer is

So that He could

Fulfill all righteousness.

Only Jesus, the eternal, infinitely holy,

Second person of the Trinity

Could take come to earth

By taking the form of a man

And perfectly keep the law of God.

Only the Son, who was

One with the Father for all eternity;

Who was with His Father

At the moment of creation

Had the power to be totally

Obedient to His Father for every second

Of every day of His earthly life.

And in so doing,

He fulfills the requirement

Of trusting in the provision

And goodness of God fully.

This is what the first Adam failed to do.

This is what the last Adam accomplished.

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

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

Jesus was the only qualified individual

To give His life for the remission of sin

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

And in doing so, Jesus redeemed

All those who trust in Him for salvation.

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

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

This title is the final reason

We should put Christ

First in our lives.

His gift of fulfilling

The Covenant of Works

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

That fulfillment through Christ

Is the reason we exalt Christ.

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Exalting Christ, Part 2

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

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

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

This title helps us understand

The meaning of His first coming

And gives us confidence

That our Redeemer and Savior

Is worthy of our

Allegiance, worship and exaltation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And while the term pointed

To the suffering

Of this Son of Man

And His people (Daniel 7:25),

It also points to

The vindication after His suffering.

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

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

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

We exalt Christ because He is God.

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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Exalting Christ, Part 1

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

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

What do we mean by exalting Christ?

It means giving Him the place

Of preeminent power, praise, and authority

In your heart which He deserves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This did not change

When He wrapped Himself

In humanity 2,000+ years ago.

He became fully man

While remaining fully God.

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

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

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

Cosmologists call it “dark matter,”

But the Bible calls it

The sustaining power of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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The Genuine Gospel Needs To Go Viral

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

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

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

Preachers of this false gospel

Use God as a genie

Who is dispatched

To give us stuff;

As a result,

The gospel gets reduced

To getting more stuff.

This message is primarily

Physical rather than spiritual

And is about this life now

Rather than the one to come.

And most damning of all,

It is about us rather than God.

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

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

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

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

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

We find ourselves looking

For that perfect place for us

Rather than the faithful place

That God has ordained.

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

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

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

We must remember

That the blessings are not the end

But a means to an end;

Blessings point us to God.

It is God Himself that

Is the ultimate blessing.

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

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

Let’s get right down to it . . .

Christianity is spiritual before it is physical.

If you are restless about what you see

Then you will never be content

In the One whom you cannot see.

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

(4) You’re exhausted.

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

The weariness of the soul and body

From the endless pursuit of stuff.

Life is a sprint from one thing to the next.

The whole day is filled with

The pursuit and pleasure of things.

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

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

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

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

The Christian, of all people,

Should know that suffering

Is part of the Christian life

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

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

Far from an intrusion,

Suffering is an instrument from God

For our ultimate good and His glory.

(7) You could just live here forever.

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

The very thing

That makes heaven

So heavenly

Is God.

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

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

We want fellowship with God

Unhindered by our sinful flesh!

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

The Gospel Message Needs To Go Viral

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

That many Christian have lost the sense

Of the value and worth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

And are so wrapped up in themselves

That they see no need to share it with others.

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

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

Folks . . .

The gospel message is profound and life-changing!

It not only has perceived value,

But it has real tangible value.

It is the power of God

That brings salvation – Romans 1;16-17.

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

So . . .

We have the

Most compelling,

Most powerful,

Most life-changing,

Most eternal message

That we have been

Commanded by the most

Amazing person to

Share with everyone.

Why not pass it on?

Could it be that

The prosperity gospel

Has distracted us

And pulled us away

From our main task?

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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What Does It Mean To Wait On The Lord?

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme

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

It is about waiting expectantly and with hope.

Fundamental to being able to wait is

Trusting God’s character and goodness.

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

Waiting on the Lord necessitates two key elements:

A complete dependence on God

And

A willingness to allow Him

To decide the terms,

Including the timing of His plan.

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

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

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

We have ceased from following our own agenda or ingenuity;

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

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

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

God does not remove the thorn;

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

Paul learned to be still and wait on the Lord.

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

The heavenly perspective comes

As we focus not on the trouble

But on the Lord and His Word.

When it seems God has painted us into a corner,

We have an opportunity to set aside

Our human viewpoint and wait upon the Lord

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

Any time we fail to wait on the Lord

And take matters into our own hands

–  Even when we’re trying

To bring about something God wants

– It leads to problems.

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

This doesn’t mean we sit idly by

As we wait on the Lord

To act on our behalf.

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

The idea of waiting on the Lord

Is not like waiting for the dentist

In the waiting room (thank goodness!).

Rather, the sense of waiting on the Lord

Is somewhat akin to what

A waiter or waitress does in a restaurant.

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

Our waiting on the Lord is not biding our time

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

It’s filling our time with discovery of,

And service to, the Master,

Always on our feet, ready

To know and do more.

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

Waiting on the Lord involves

The confident expectation

Of a positive result

In which we place

A great hope – a hope

That can only be realized

By the actions of God.

This expectation must be based

On knowledge and trust,

Or we simply won’t wait.

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

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

To wait on the Lord

We need a heart responsive

To the Word of God,

A mind focused on the things of heaven,

And a will that is rooted in faith.

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

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

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

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

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

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