Tag Archives: grace

I Will Praise Him! Will You?

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m about to go to church. I’m looking forward to preaching about Jesus.

I’m on this computer, however, just to share this song.

I am literally wiping the tears away from my eyes…the keyboard and screen are blurry.

The following song by Mountain Faith Band is one of my very most favorites…because it is my life…and every REAL Christian should understand its message.

I’m so unworthy, but I’m so thankful for God’s mercy and grace!

 

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Filed under Church, Faith, God, grace, Love of God, salvation, worship

Things to Do In 2019: More Mercy, Compassion, and Grace

I Broke the Law

Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking. Being that I am a Christian, a preacher, and “the recovering legalist,” by breaking the law you think I’m referring to something of a spiritual or biblical nature, like eating pork, or smoking a cigar.

No, I literally broke the law! Like as in a statute recorded in a City Hall – the kind for which a police officer can arrest someone.

What did I do?

Well, this morning I drove my daughter Katie to where she is student teaching in Dayton, Tennessee. She directed me off the main highway and through a part of the town where I rarely visited.

As I came to a 4-way intersection, I looked all over for a stop sign, then up for a traffic light, but I saw nothing (which I thought was odd), so I proceeded cautiously, looking to my left, then right.

That’s when I saw the bright red light. I had just run a red light! I’m a professional driver – I don’t do that kind of thing!

And when you’re in a little 2-horse town, that’s NOT a good thing to do, especially when there’s a budget crunch!

So, why didn’t I see the light? It wasn’t where I expected it to be – nowhere close. It was on the other side of the intersection, about 6-ft off the ground. I just didn’t see it until I crossed the intersection and there it was on my right, shining at me through the passenger-side window.

Breaking Our Laws

Thankfully, there was not a police car anywhere close. I can only hope there were no traffic cameras, or else I’m going to have to pay a fine, for I did, in fact, break a law, and ignorance is no excuse.

But how often do people break OUR laws? And by that I mean the kind of regulations and legalistic standards we all have; the kind that lead us to judge others’ spirituality based on how they dress, the tattoos on their face, or what’s in their glass at the restaurant.

Even when our standards of conduct and demeanor are biblically justified, what if the other person just missed the light at the intersection? What if they never read that verse?

When you have the time, I would encourage you to read or re-read the whole chapter of Romans 14.

If the truth be known, much of the time we find ourselves judging others based on OUR laws and regulations, not the ones the Lawgiver has written. So, in reality, who are we to hold them accountable? It’s not our job.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4 ESV

This year I want to criticize less, be less judgmental, and show a little more mercy, compassion, and grace.

I know that’s what I would have wanted when I ran that red light.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Christianity, Do not judge, grace, legalism

Who Was that Young Man?

I saw a picture of a younger me and wondered what ever happened to him.

Oh, I know what happened to him! He learned what it was like to fall flat on his face, fracture every thing worth treasuring, and fail in his efforts to fix it all with God.

In short, he learned the hard way what Grace was all about.

I’m glad he did.

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Not Just for Americans

As I sit in bed with a laptop on my… lap…duh… I can’t help but wonder if anyone will have the time to read this post. I mean, really, it’s Thanksgiving!

Oh, I just said I’m lying in bed, but don’t think for a moment it’s because I’m being lazy; I was up with my wife, daughters, and sister till 2 a.m. getting ready for today’s Thanksgiving meal.

People talk about how many calories we consume on Thanksgiving, but when you think of how many calories are burned during the preparation, I think it all evens out.

But the whole reason I’m taking a moment to write is because Thanksgiving shouldn’t be an exclusively American holiday. Sure, the historical basis for the actual Thanksgiving holiday is unique and should be celebrated, but the call to be thankful should be heralded across every land.

Without question, Americans will consume more food today than much of the world will see all year. Unfortunately, the whole idea behind having a feast to celebrate God’s blessings will be lost on most. As I have heard just this morning, the main thing people have been stating as the meaning of Thanksgiving is “to gather with family” and be “thankful for friends.”

However, if nothing else, what we should be being thankful for are blessing that span every continent and people group. Both the poor and the rich, the slave and the free, the sick and the well, the forgotten and the famous have plenty to celebrate.

We are loved by God. So much so that He made a Way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.

We are the recipients God’s mercy. How often has the Righteous One withheld His hand of judgment? Do you ever stop to think how close to hell each of us really could be if not for the mercy of God?

Grace! Amazing grace! It doesn’t matter where you are from, America or Zimbabwe, even Paradise, California, God’s grace is there and in superabundance. Where mercy is not getting what we deserve, grace is God’s unmerited favor shown toward those who can offer Him nothing.

The ones sitting around a table eating turkey are not different than the child in Haiti eating mud cookies: without God’s grace we would be eternally lost. This world is not all there is, and what is waiting on the other side will far outweigh the sufferings and sorrows endured during this life – and the only reason we have hope is because of God’s grace.

Yes, I’m thankful for the fact that today I can sit at a table with my wife, all three of our daughters, my sister who’s here visiting from Germany, my son-in-law, and a friend or two. I’m thankful for the fact that we are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a large meal, including turkey and dressing. But even if all we were having was a cold bowl of cereal and decaffeinated coffee, God has been good.

Thank you, Lord, for all you have provided, but thank you most of all for your grace. May you be praised.

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Filed under America, Thanksgiving

Five Things About God’s Hands

Maybe you are at a point in your life where you doubt God. Maybe you doubt He cares. Or, even if He cares, you wonder why you can’t see it.

I hope the following list of what God’s hands do will bring you some comfort and encouragement.

  1. They Created Man (Gen. 2:7). As much as we would like to think that we are self-made, there is a Hand that formed us from the dust of the earth. We are not like the rest of creation which was simply spoken into existence; we were fashioned by the loving, artistic hand of the Creator, and His fingerprints are all over us.
  2. They Contain the Believer (John 10:27-29). The believer should never worry about his salvation. He should never worry about being stolen away. Thank God that we are in His hand, and nothing, not even ourselves, can remove us from His omnipotent protection.
  3. They Chastise the Child (Prov. 3:12; 13:24; 22:15; 19:18; Deut. 8:5; Rev. 3:19). God is not a Father who encourages “timeouts;” He knows how to apply loving discipline to our seats of instruction. If more parents would worry less about the world’s wisdom and suggestions and follow the wise instruction of Scripture, we might not have as many entitlement-claiming, over-grown bratty children running the streets demanding their own way.
  4. They Carry the Broken (Isa. 40:11). Praise the Lord for His mercy and love! As the gentle shepherd who must sometimes break the leg of the wandering lamb, God must discipline us. However, it is then that He carries us close to his bosom where we learn to love being in His presence.
  5. They Catch the Stumbler (Psa. 37:23-24). There are times when we stumble, but because He is holding our hand, we will not “utterly” fall.

Jonathan Edwards preached in 1741, it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.” But as a child of God, there is no better place to be!

David said, even after he had sinned, “Let me fall into the hand of the Lord…” (1 Chron. 21:13). He knew the truth that brought comfort, a comfort the world does not know: “The LORD will not cast off his people…” (Psa. 94:14).

Praise God for His loving, providing, protecting, parenting, and guiding hand! 

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A Sermon On Legalism

You can go to other posts I’ve written and read why some people choose to be legalists. This, however, is a message I preached this past Sunday morning.

Maybe some of you will find it encouraging or helpful.

Click here to listen to “Romans 14: A Sermon On Legalism”

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Church, legalism, Preaching

It Only Happened Once

“Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once…and He volunteered.”

Livingwaters.com

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Filed under Christianity, grace