Tag Archives: grace

Let Your Light Shine!

2tim 1 to 4 let light shine2a

Advent Series: 2Tim 1 Gifts!

The world is blind to the truth both visually and orally. We know that the enemy has blinded them so that they may not see the glorious Christ. They will turn away from the truth and turn to myths yet of all seasons, Christmas offers opportunities that open hearts. People are more open to the gospel message because it paints a picture of the many and beautiful gifts that God has promised to those who believe in him. Christmas gives us an opportunity for the three gifts that the Father has bestowed upon us of Grace, Mercy, and Peace to shine forth!  We have them in abundance because we know that every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In addition, God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control—which by the way is a Fruit of the Spirit!

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;  If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. God wants us to be open to the opportunities that he places in our grasp. We must be ready in season and out of season with the message and be ready whether it is convenient or not!

Pray that God uses your gifts this season to proclaim the truth of the gospel just as Jesus said: let your light shine before people so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. [Matt 5].



The Master Potter’s Work of Love

potter3ajpg-1Daniel 4 “Molded For His Purpose”

Daniel had been given the marvelous gift of interpreting dreams, not for his glory, but for God’s. Daniel knew his purpose in life and he used each opportunity to share His God. God has protected and delivered the Hebrew faithful. He has blessed Daniel with the gift to interpret dreams.  Daniel has seen the grace and mercy of the God Most High and now will see the fruit of his steadfast witness. Unlike Pharaoh, who hardened his heart and then God hardened even further, with Nebuchadnezzar there is hope for his salvation. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

God knows the heart is “deceitful more than anything else, it is incurably bad.” [17] God also knows the way it will turn. [Jer 17] Some, like Pharaoh, will resist to their own doom, and end up seeing his empire collapse in a wave of water. But some like Nebuchadnezzar, just need to be placed on the potter’s wheel for a time and feel His hands of love molding and shaping. Therefore, In His lovingkindness, God will once again give the king a lesson in His grace and longsuffering through a dream. As Daniel is dumbfounded, Nebuchadnezzar is cool as a cucumber. The interpretation will move the king from knowing “about” God to “knowing” God. To do that Nebuchadnezzar’s pride must be removed before the king will extol and praise God. God will mold him through adversity that may be a useful vessel for the Master.

Perhaps you are on the Master’s pottery wheel. Will you let Him have his way to mold you into a work of art so you can extol the God Most High?

Contentment is a Learned Exercise

contentment2I have struggled with what Paul wrote to the Philippians when he wrote: “I have learned to be content in any circumstance…I have learned the secret of contentment.” How does one “learn” contentment?

I think I found the clue here in 2Corinthians 12. The background: Some spiritually proud “super apostles” sought to lead the Corinthians astray. Paul knew what they were saying behind his back; he is not becoming in appearance and he isn’t eloquent. What they had not known, and up to this time Paul had not shared, was that 14 years prior to this he had (for lack of better words) an “out of body” experience. Consider this; these so-called super apostles often boasted about their so-called revelations, but, Paul did not. In fact it was not until he had heard enough that he shared what had transpired to keep him humble.

Paul is saying “fast forward” now 14 yrs later. Let me share with you what happened ‘after’ my experience. I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to keep me from spiritual pride; unlike these who had infiltrated the church.  It was real; it was painful.  I sought at least 3 times to have it removed but Christ said emphatically “no;” I have given you my grace of supernatural enablement.

And now Paul explains the secret of his contentment. He learned that a no answer is not the end but the beginning. A no answer meant that Christ would be his sufficiency in times he would need it most. It meant that the grace he had received was not ‘just enough’ but ‘more than enough.’ It is like the miracle of the loaves and fish. When in need, Christ provided not just enough but abundantly and that is what Christ did for Paul. And that is what Christ will do for you and for me.

The lesson for me, and perhaps you, is that Christ will provide just what I need at just the right time. Contentment is not a one time exercise but an on-going step by step, daily exercise. His grace is truly sufficient. 

Psalm 51 “Sin, Forgiveness and Grace”

psalm 51 forgiveness2Had King David remembered:  “sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it” he would not have experienced an adulterous affair with Bathsheba nor committed murder to cover it up. Yet David concealed his sin and why  God sent Nathan the prophet to him. As David realized this, a profound thought came to him as he confessed before a Holy God. “Against You, You only, I have sinned.”

No matter who the persons are involved, the sin is in reality against God and Christ who saved us and washed us from our sin.  Like David, we think our sin is concealed or it does not impact anyone other than ourselves but this is a lie out of the pit of hell. Galatians reminds us that God will not be mocked and we reap what we sow. God told David, “ Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.[ 2Sa 12:10]

When David repented he heard Nathan the prophet say, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” Reflecting on this, David entered the house of the Lord and experienced God’s  greatest gift and mystery called forgiveness. All we have to do is to ask God to “Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin!” Open hearts are ready to receive God’s grace and lovingkindness and understand more clearly God’s grace.

How do we know that transaction of forgiveness has taken place? Like David, we will experience peace and joy even as we face the consequences that follow.


What is Your Standard?

romans 7 god's grace dreamstime2Have you ever tried to talk to a non-believer about sin? We might say “they just don’t get it” and part of the problem is that an unbeliever’s standards are others but the believer’s standard is Christ. As Paul noted he too “would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”  And that Beloved is the starting point for all of us. The Law revealed that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The master of sin, Satan, “ has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God” [2Co 4] and the consequence is spiritual death. But, Beloved, when the Holy Spirit revealed to us our depravity we fell upon our knees and sought God’s forgiveness which was freely given to us and then we embraced His grace like a man dying of thirst who finds an oasis.

Do we still struggle? As Paul noted the struggle will continue until we go home to eternity or Christ returns for us. One saving grace is this: “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” [1Jn 1]

Photo: Trudywilkerson | Dreamstime.com

Treasures…Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…OR???

2peter 3 treasure2sIn the last days blatant scoffers will come into our midst proclaiming that which is contrary to the Word of God. They say time marches on just as it always has from creation but choose to deny the effects of sin upon this earth and mankind. They heap unto themselves treasures of silver and clothes which moths and decay will turn to dust or to be given to charity for another. [Job 27]. Yet, we who believe in the power of the risen Christ are commanded to be heaping treasures which will last for eternity. In reality Peter is telling us what we really already know but need reminding: the only things we can carry into eternity are holiness and godliness for riches are uncertain but good deeds, generosity to others and sharing of the truth of the gospel are untouched by the taint of this world.

In addition the scoffers of this world fail to see the mercy and grace of God’s patience in waiting for them to repent and turn to Him. Sadly one day they will stand before God and will hear “depart from me, I never knew you.” May we yearn instead to hear “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Beloved, where your heart is are your treasures. Are you sending your treasures on ahead to eternity or heaping them up here in a world of rust and decay?

“The Father’s Soul Surgery” Ps 51-53

ImageKing David wrote all three of these psalms at different times in his life. One truth jumps off the page and onto our radar screen: When we sin it does not just affect us but it affects everyone. In fact, as David reveals to us; when we sin we are sinning, despising, rebelling, and are walking independently against The Lord God Almighty. Just as David had allowed his affection to turn inward, we do the same more often than we would like to admit. He had fallen: lust of the eyes led to adultery and then to murder of an innocent man. For a year he had been silent but then when continually unrepentant, God used the prophet Nathan to confront him. Hearing he was “the” man David confessed his sin and opened his heart gate to God. These psalms reflect his thinking and his actions. May we learn from him so we do not have to “do another lap around the wilderness.”

One truth comes forth from David’s repentant heart: 51:4 Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. Notice David recognized where he was spiritually and that is key for us as well and that God was just in His confrontation through Nathan. David’s heart was soft to hear the words of God. Are our hearts the same?

Secondly, David sought cleansing and a renewed heart which is key to restoration: 51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do we pray and ask God to change our heart?

Thirdly, David sought help from God: 51:12 Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! How often do we admit our sin, seek cleansing but fail to implement this third step?

Fourthly, when we are restored, God does not want us to waste this experience but to teach others, to testify: 51:13 Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and that is what God wants for us. Do you have a story of restoration that you can share to encourage others who are going through these steps?

A practical side benefit to this psalm is that if we are open to walk through these steps, God can and will use us in His service to carry forth His message of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace.