Category Archives: General

The Promise of Clear Seeing . . . Not Clear Sailing

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. (Acts 9:18)

The conversion experience of the Pharisee Saul will be our focal point for what I hope will offer you a great word of encouragement today. Saul was persecuting the church and was traveling on the road to Damascus to ramp up his persecution of the believers even further. But then Jesus showed up, and we read in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts that the brilliance of the Lord’s glory brought Saul to his knees and blinded him. Three days later, Jesus sent one of His disciples, Ananias, to commission Saul for the spread of the Gospel; when Ananias laid his hands on Saul, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see clearly once again.

The account of Saul’s conversion brings me to our promised encouragement of “Clear Seeing . . . Not Clear Sailing.” For the very first time, Saul could see the truth clearly. He had experienced a saving encounter with the resurrected Christ; now he had been raised from death to life and was ready to begin his new life as the apostle Paul. Paul could now see clearly who Jesus was, what Jesus came to do, and what the cost was for being His disciple.

Not long after His conversion, Paul found that his Christian brothers and sisters feared him, and the Jews who had once been his friends were seeking to kill him. Paul now understood the truth that being a follower of Christ brings the promise of clear seeing, but not clear sailing. Paul’s writings make it clear that the Gospel he preached was no “prosperity gospel.”

I have been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles. (2 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The Lord Jesus never shrank from telling His disciples about the cost of following Him. Indeed, He told His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). “But take heart!” He continued. “I have overcome the world.” The more clearly we see this truth, speak this truth, and show this truth in love, the more we will be buffeted by the storm winds that blow. We must never forget that God’s promise to us is for clear seeing, not clear sailing.

What storms winds have you been facing lately? Have you been tempted to give in to discouragement or even despair? Remember these words from Paul, who lived a life marked by suffering and storms for the sake of the Gospel: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). And because He understood the promise of God so well, Paul was able to say, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12, 14).

Like the apostle Paul, the way for us to maintain through difficulty is to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, not on our circumstances, and to press on, with joy in our hearts and His praise on our lips, knowing that Jesus has promised to carry us safely to our final, glorious port of call.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Eternal Exchange Rate

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

You have probably heard the term “exchange rate,” which identifies the value of one country’s currency compared to that of another country. Today I’d like to offer a word of encouragement to you as we peer into the great depths of the eternal exchange rate . . . that is, the value of our eternal country’s currency compared to the earthly country of our present existence.

The deepest, most comprehensive view of our eternal exchange is best understood by looking at what took place on the cross at Calvary, where Jesus laid down His life for the lost. That exchange is set forth in our verse for today, 2 Corinthians 5:21, which tells us that Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our sin. Jesus Christ, the sinless Savior, stood in the place of the profoundly guilty — that’s you and me — and paid the penalty for our sin in full, redeeming us from our bondage to sin, Satan, and death by His perfect righteousness.

Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He remained sinless (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15). It would take a lifetime to grasp this unimaginable, eternal exchange rate graciously given to us by Jesus, and even then our finite, human understanding will fall short of comprehending this glorious truth. Jesus Christ willingly took off the rich, luxurious, sweet-smelling robes of perfect righteousness that are His by nature and by virtue of living a perfect life here on earth, and exchanged them for the vile, filthy, foul-smelling rags of sin that you and I wear by nature and by virtue of sinning countless times every single day we walk this earth. The key to living the life God has called us to live is to keep this incredible truth before us, always remembering that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

But that’s not all! Hear are three more incredible eternal exchange rates that should rock your world and fuel your desire to live for our Savior.

Jesus exchanged His blessings for our curses

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:14-15)

Jesus exchanged His perfect health for our diseases

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus exchanged His glorious riches for our poverty

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

To think that the sinless Son of God would provide this kind of eternal exchange rate for fallen and broken sinners like you and me boggles the mind. Yet this is exactly what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit planned from before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). When we keep in view what Jesus did for us on that cross, I am convinced that we will begin to embrace what it means to live the abundant life Jesus promised to those who believe.

So . . . have you cashed in on this eternal exchange rate from your Redeemer? Have you placed your trust in what Jesus Christ did on your behalf? If not, why not do so today?

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Casting Off Our Camouflage

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)

Perhaps you have heard it said that the only Bible some people will ever read is you. That is completely true, so the question we all must ask ourselves is, “What kind of God do they see in me?” I hope that today’s meditation will both comfort and challenge you.

The greatest need that everyone in the world has today is to see God. Now, all of humanity are receipients of God’s general revelation; He is visible in nature, the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), and He has set eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And yet, because God is love, the most recognizeabnle and compelling demonstration of God must come through His love in us that we share with others.

Jesus has told us that, after loving the Lord our God, the most important commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourself (Mark 12:31). And He has given us this exhortation: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). We cannot be “camouflage Christians,” hiding the indwelling Spirit by acting just like the world around us. Throughout my years of service as a pastor, I have often heard people say that they just can’t seem to love others as God wants them to; I always respond by citing 1 John 4:13 — “We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

Due to our sinful nature, none of us are truly loving people; any love we that demonstrate to others is actually self-love, which has the ultimate goal of satisfying our deepest need, which is to be fully known and yet fully loved. But when God reveals Himself to us in Christ and raises us from death to life, we are given the Holy Spirit, who begins the process of giving us the ability to love . . . a godly, sacrificial love that flows from a heart that beats for the glory of God and the good of others — all others.

You see, when the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, our camouflage is supernaturally cast off , because “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Now we are ready, willing, and most importantly, actually able to put God on display to the watching world. Our verse for today, 1 John 4:12, makes it clear that the best way for others to see our God is to see God’s love for them flowing through our lives. This Spirit-fueled love loves others at all times, with no thought of or desire for a return. We love simply because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and by loving others, we let the world see our loving God.

So let me ask you: Have you been camouflaging God’s love? Or have you been putting Him on display by loving others as Christ loves you? This is a choice we make moment by moment. And if you do indeed have the Spirit of God living within you, the choice is yours.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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No-Margin Misery

Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. (Exodus 23:12 ESV)

When you look at a printed page, you immediately notice that the space around the edges is white and without printed copy. This is known as the margin. If the words went all the way to the edges of the page, there would be no margin. For many of us, our lives are so completely filled with one activity after another that there is no margin . . . no room for down time, leisure, recreation, or rest. At this level of living, we are trapped in “No-Margin Misery.” But this is not for you! Read on and be encouraged.

In our passage today, we see what God thinks about margin, for He installed it into the weekly cycle of life. Notice that the Lord did not say, “Seven days shall you work.” Notice also that He did not say, “One day you shall work and rest the other six.” Our God who formed us in the womb knows exactly what we need, and He has installed margin around the borders on the pages of our lives.

And yet, in spite of God’s gracious provision, many people live marginless lives. Many people wear this marginless life as a kind of badge, because our culture exalts busyness and overextension. I know this from personal experience, because this I once wore this badge with pride. If you are way too busy and incredibly overextended, you assume that you are in a position of great importance and influence; you assure yourself that you are “indispensable.”

This fiction that feeds our ego, but in reality, when we maintain this marginless existence long enough, our lives begin to break down. We break down physically; we break down emotionally; we break down mentally; we break down spiritually. Worse still, everyone around us, especially those who mean the most to us, suffer . . . often in sorrowful silence. If you ask my wife, Kim, I’m sure she would frankly tell you that I carried this marginless mindset into my early years as a pastor, to the detriment of our family. Kim might wryly refer to my existence as “No-Margin Ministry.”

So what is the solution to No-Margin Misery? We must believe and trust that God’s plan for our lives is better than our plan. Remember, it is God who created us and it is God who knows best what we need. And we all need margin in our lives. As busy as Jesus was in His ministry to so many, He lived with the perfect amount of margin in His life. He often retreated to solitary places to pray. He took time for meals with others and attended wedding celebrations. On at least one occasion, He even took a nap! (Matthew 8:24).

Do you remember the instruction Jesus gave to Martha about margin? Both Martha and her sister Mary were busy preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples, but Mary knew when to shut down and sit at the feet of her Master. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen “what is better” — resting from her work to sit quietly in the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). May this be the confession of all our lives.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Offense and Defense

Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

When was the last time you considered the power of prayer? I want to encourage you today with prayer’s power from two perspectives: both offense and defense.

The idea of prayer as both an offensive and defensive weapon is not my own. When the apostle Paul described “the full armor of God” that allows us to take our stand against all Satan’s onslaughts, the final piece of the believer’s armor he described was prayer. Paul wrote: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). We can and should use prayer both to go on the attack against the devil and to defend against the insistent, insidious attacks of the evil one.

The ninth chapter of Mark’s gospel tells us that while Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, a man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples, who were unable to heal the boy. When Jesus returned from the mountain, the man came to Him, and Jesus promptly cast out the demon. Later, when the disciples were alone with Jesus, they asked Him why they could not cast the demon out; Jesus responded, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29).

Jesus was telling the disciples that they were not doing enough “offensive” praying – that is, praying in advance to be used by God. I believe it’s likely the disciples had prayed over the boy, but Jesus was warning them that their prayer life was insufficient. Without persistent prayer, we will not mount the necessary offense against the spiritual battles which will inevitably be part of life on this earth.

As for using the power of prayer to maintain an effective defense, recall what Jesus said to his disciples as He entered the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14:38).

The apostle Paul gave a very similar exhortation to Christian believers in Colossians 4:2, saying, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” The editors of the outstanding ESV Study Bible offer this commentary on that command: “Thanksgiving leavens prayer, so that it does not become merely a selfish pleading to have one’s desires fulfilled.” Defensive prayer prepares us to stand firm the ongoing assualts launched against us by the world, flesh, and the devil.

When you put both of these postures together — praying on offense and on defense –they show us how we are to fulfill the mandate of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray continually.” The Christian life is to be marked by prayer and continual communion with our God.

Let’s close out today’s mesage by returning Mark’s account of the healing the demon-possessed boy. Mark 9:25 tells us that Jesus commanded the demon to come out of the boy, and the demon immediately obeyed. There was no prayer involved. Why? Because Jesus was in constant communion and prayer with His Father in heaven. There were times He spent all night in prayer. Our Lord lived in the posture of prayer, and this is how we are to live as His disciples: praying on offense and on defense, which gives us strength to stand firm in the power of the Spirit of God.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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The Undoing of Living Unreflectively

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. (Psalm 119:67)

When the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and the sun is brightly shining, you and I have a tendency to live unreflectively. When things are going well, we have a natural tendency to settle into unreflective ruts of routine. But God wants us to live reflectively, and often He will send a seasonal storm to recenter our attention on what matters most in life. Read on, and I hope you will be greatly encouraged this day!

Storms come in all sizes. Some are quick and mild, while others rage on and on and on. From losing a sale to losing a job to losing a loved one, storms are promised to come our way. Some of the storms are terrible, like what Paul and Timothy suffered, and their despair was almost palpable.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

We are not given any inspired insight into what the hardships Paul and Timothy suffered actually were, but they were enough to drive them to despair even of life itself. But Paul did not stay mired in the “Slough of Despond.” He immediately provided us with the necessary instruction to help us get through any storm we are facing today.

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

The storms Paul and Timothy faced were ultimately for God’s glory and their good, and those storms caused these two men of God to rely more and more upon their God and to fix their thoughts on Him. It never ceases to amaze me just how much more reflectively I live my life when the storm winds begin to blow. They have a tendency to set my priorities straight. Storms show us what matters most, and they are designed to lead us back into the shadow of the cross to reflect upon all that God in Christ has done and is doing for us.

In short, storms are the undoing of living unreflectively. But we need not wait for storms winds to redirect our attention; we can decide in advance that we will set our hope not on what is seen, but what is unseen. Remember, Christian, regardless of the trials we face in the here and now, there is a “city that is to come whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10), a divine dwelling where all storm winds we be stilled and despair will be as far from us as the east is from the west.

So . . . what should you be reflecting upon today?

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Certified Strong

I will strengthen you and help you. (Isaiah 41:10)

Today’s word from the God who so loves us is a wonderful guarantee that is designed to both comfort and challenge every one of His children. Let’s take a look.

First, notice who has given us this promise of strengthening . . . it is none other than God Himself. Omnipotence has promised us strength; who would dare doubt such a guarantee? The Lord God Omnipotent possesses an endless stream of strength that is not diminished in any way when He gives us a portion of it. 

Next, notice that God does not specify in which season we will be strengthened. Therefore, we are to take this promise to mean all seasons. God has promised to strengthen us in our seasons of serene, successful service and He has promised to strengthen us in our seasons of stormy, sorrowful service. Regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, at all times we have this guarantee from God: I will strengthen you!

Clearly, this guarantee from God should be a source of unimaginable comfort, but the living and active Word of God does not stop there; it goes on to challenge us to rise above any obstacle that stands in our way. And we can rise because our strength does not come from within, but from above. Human weakness is no impediment to divine strength. In fact, Paul tells us that when we are weak, our God is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). We can trust Him to strengthen us when we have no strengh of our own.  

  • The fearful are given courage.
  • The doubting are given conviction.
  • The lonely are given company.
  • The weak are given confidence.
  • The broken are given compassion.

These seasons of fear, doubt, lonliness, weakness, and brokenness are just a few of the obstacles we face in this life; in these and all others God has promised to give us the strength we need to see them through.

So let me ask you a very important question right now: What strength are you in short supply of today? Fear not! Go to your Savior and ask Him, “Strengthen me supernaturally according to your Word!” His mercies are new every morning; His faithfulness knows no boundaries (Lamentations 3:22-23). Ask, and you will receive His strength and His help.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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How To Forsake Fretting

Trust . . . Delight . . . Commit . . . Be Still . . . (Psalm 37:3, 4, 5, 7)

Psalm 37 is filled with words of inspired instruction, teaching us how we can rise above our natural tendency to fret.

There are many ways to define the word fret: to worry; to eat away at; to gnaw at. Fretfulness is something that plagues every one of us from time to time, and the results can be devastating in the life of the Christian believer — emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Fretting starts as an infection and winds up a disease if we do not heed the exhortation set before us in Psalm 37.

The first command is to trust. To trust is to simply place your problem in the hands of your Savior. Give it all over to your Lord . . . all of it — your problems, your worries, your sorrows, and your fears. You might well express this trust with a prayer which leads you to cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

The second inspired instruction is to delight. To delight is to enjoy the Lord — not because of what He has done for you, but simply because He is God. True delight is to focus on the Giver of every good and perfect gift, not the gift itself. Gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and delight in Him!

The third instruction is to commit. To commit to the Lord is to be “all in” with God in every aspect of your life. Do not withhold anything from Him as you surrender yourself to His wisdom, will, and way. We know that God holds our very breath in His hand and owns all our ways (Daniel 5:18 NKJV). Why would we not willingly and delightedly commit all that we have and all that we are to Him?

Finally, the fourth instruction is to be still. To be still is to center your heart on home. By home I mean the eternal dwelling that God has prepared for you in the light of His presence and His love — and remember who is in charge of everything. God is on the throne of your life every moment of every day. He is in complete control of the entire universe, and that includes whatever it is you are currently experiencing.

Many have been blessed over the years by following these inspired instructions. What about you? Are you ready to forsake fretting? Regardless of what it is you are facing, are you ready to trust, delight, commit, and be still, knowing that He is not just God, but your God? He has promised to bring you safely through any storm you are facing . . . now or in the future.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Forward . . . March!

Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

In Wednesday’s article, I suggested that you take a “Backward Glance” to ponder the wonders of all that God has done in your life throughout 2020. Today I’d like to encourage you to consider how you will “forward march” as we launch out into 2021.

I’m sure that in recent days many of the people you came in contact with have greeted you with, “Happy New Year!” However, if that was all we had as believers to begin a new year, it would be a scant portion indeed. But thanks be to God, Christians have a great deal more than a mere “hopeful greeting” given to us by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Today’s verse records the promise given to Joshua by God: I will be with you wherever you go.

You probably remember that Joshua was preparing to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land after Moses had completed his ministry of service to God. Joshua knew quite well the challenges he would inevitably face in leading God’s people. He had learned from Moses just how difficult the task would be. But he also knew, just as Moses had, that he would not be alone in the work God had called him to. And the same is true for you and me today as we begin our forward march into the new year.

To be sure, the new year brings with it both questions and concerns . . . doubts and fears . . . obstacles and opportunities. Will we hear a less than positive report on our health from the doctor? Will we find ourselves facing professional challenges? Will our marriage of many years march on for many more? Will we suffer the loss of a loved one? Will life ever return to normal after the onslaught of the coronavirus?

The list of uncertainties is long indeed. Yet we can hold on to something far greater than a hope for a “Happy New Year.” Why? Because we have God’s sure and certain promise that wherever we go, He goes with us. “Surely I am with you always,” Jesus says to His followers, “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “I will strengthen you and help you,” our Lord has promised us; “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”: (Isaiah 41:10).

In that promise, I want you to remember something. “Going with God” is not a going by chance. It is not a random roll of the dice. God is guiding, governing, and directing your every step. He is in sovereign control of everything; nothing is left to chance or whim. So do not be discouraged! His promise to us — and it is impossible for God to go back on a promise (Romans 11:29) — empowers us to set aside every fear as we “forward march” into God perfect plan and purpose for our lives.

One final point: as we took a backward glance at the year of 2020, I made mention of the fact that it was a very difficult year, an unprecedented year in many ways. And for some of you reading these words, it may well have been the most awful year you can remember. You may have been battered by the loss of your job and resulting financial hardship; you may have lost a loved one. Your heart may still be aching from 2020, and the “march” forward I speak of here may feel like little more than a dismal “trudge.” I know this is true for some; I’ve spoken to some of you and prayed with you.

Just know that your loving Lord has not turned away from you, and He never will. Scripture tells us that, during His time on earth, Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). We know too from Scripture that He was “tempted in every way” (Hebrews 4:15), which means that he was tempted to give in to discouragement and despair, just as you may be tempted to do this day.

But our Lord is not disinterested in your plight! “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). He is ready, willing, and more than able to lift you up when you feel that your strength is at an end. In fact, He wants you to live in His strength, not yours, because His supernatural strength is infinitely and eternally greater than our own puny, human strength.

“Let us go over to the other side,” He said to His disciples (Luke 8:22), knowing that they would encounter a terrible storm on the way. But He also knew He would take them through that storm and past it. He stands ready to do the same for you.

“Forward . . . March!” Christian. Your Master is at your side!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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Backward Glance

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. (Psalm 105:4-5)

Today and Friday we will close out yet another year of Grace for the Race articles. I want to encourage you today to take a backward glance at this year that is coming to an end to remember and reflect on the many and multiplied wonders God has done in your life. On Friday we will stand at the starting line of another new year and discuss how to begin from a spiritually strong foundation . . . and, Lord willing, cross the finish line even stronger than when we started.

Someone wisely said, “It is difficult to climb to the summit of the mountain when you are always looking over your shoulder.” True indeed, and yet a backward glance is beneficial for believers so that we can be reminded of all that God has done on our behalf. To be sure, a “glance,” by definition, is brief, and it must be so if we are to make forward progress throughout 2021. But make no mistake, taking a backward glance is the best way to close out another year of blessings that God has bestowed upon us. 

Please understand that a backward glance is not the same as walking backward. We cannot go back, nor should we want to. God is moving us forward into His perfect plan and purpose for our lives, inasmuch as we live it out that plan imperfectly. It is vitally important to remember that we must always treat the past as a school; I often tell our congregation that we are to learn the lessons from our past but not live in our past. Far too many live in the past, dwelling on past triumphs or tragedies, which prohibits any measurable forward progress. But this is not for you!

Take some time during the next few days to reflect on the past year, and make sure that backward glance includes recalling both your successes and your storms. There is much to glean from both life experiences, because God has delivered both to us in order to conform us into the image and likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Let your “backward glance” bring to mind our Lord’s . . .

  • Faithfulness and Friendship
  • Discipline and Devotion
  • Mercy and Ministry
  • Love and Leading

I will be the first to acknowlede that the year 2020, with COVID-19, all the bitter political turmoil, and even violence in our cities, has been deeply distressing and discouraging. But know that the God of grace is still in complete, sovereign control of all things; not a bird falls to the ground apart from His perfect will (Matthew 10:29). We are not to be afraid, but trust in Him with all our hearts and ackowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). If you take your brief “backward glance” from that vantage point of faith, you will be encouraged and strengthened to launch out into 2021 with Jesus sitting upon the throne of your life, guiding you and growing you through every twist and turn, every up and down, and always walking by your side every step of the way.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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