What Is This World Coming To?

From him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)

What is this world coming to? The answer can be expressed in one word: Christ. Regardless of how the world may look to us in the here and now, Christian believers have the confident assurance that this world came from our Lord, exists for our Lord, and will return to our Lord when He returns from heaven. Please let today’s message bring you joy unspeakable!

The Bible tells us what we are to expect in a world that has turned its back on God. By nature, no one seeks after God. Take in the truth presented in the passage below, which describes the condition of humanity before God brought the great flood upon the entire earth.

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become,

and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)

The world does not seem much different today than it was in the days of Noah, does it? And the Bible tells us that before Jesus returns things will get much worse, not better. Jesus Himself warned that, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). We know these things to be true, but we must not live in despair. Far from it! We are to live filled with the living hope that we have in Christ. The good news of the Gospel is still saving people today, when God in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, enters into human hearts.

Always remember that Jesus is on His throne and that the Gospel will continue to triumph over hard human hearts throughout this fallen and broken world. And when that day comes — when Jesus steps down from His throne for a second time and returns to this earth — He will put every enemy under His feet, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What is this world coming to? It is coming to Christ, and the question each one of us must ask ourselves and answer is this: Am I playing our role in this profound process? Are we busily engaged in expanding the cause of His kingdom in this world, rather than striving for our own cause? There is no greater joy we can experience than to be involved in expanding the kingdom of Christ, because this is the one thing that will return eternal value and live on forevermore. And so let us receive and act on the words of Paul: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6).

This world is coming to Christ; who are working to bring along with you?

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

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Yield-Sign Saints

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Our lives are marked by yield signs – whether we are yielding right of way in traffic, to yielding right of way to ourselves, to yielding right of way to our Savior. Today I’d like to encourage you with a word about “Yield Sign Saints.” When we yield to Jesus Christ, we grow and mature in our faith; when we yield to ourselves, we stunt our growth. And know this: We are the ones responsible for which yield signs we follow and obey.

To yield is to give up (or surrender) our right of way to another, and how well we yield will determine the consequences that will follow, whether we are out in traffic or inside the truth of God’s Word. In essence, yielding to our Savior means we are surrendering to His will in our lives rather than following our own will. We know that God is all-knowing, and we also know that He has promised to work all things — even the bad and painful things — for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).We can and should rest in this truth and fully trust that His plan and purpose for our lives is far better than any we could ever conceive.

There is no better example of yielding to the will of God than the one we find exhibited throughout the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said plainly that “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38), and that is exactly what He did. He lived a life fully surrendered life to God’s will, and God blessed everything He did.

You probably recognized that our verse for today comes from our Lord’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Having known from all eternity the horrific extent of the crucifixion experience that was now only hours away — so great was His anguish that Jesus was sweating drops of blood as He prayed — He still yielded completely to the will of His Father in heaven. His prayer is a wonderful example of how Jesus in His humanity was completely committed to living in alignment with the will of God, regardless of the cost or circumstance. And in yielding His will to the Father, Jesus provided the perfect prescription for how we are to think, pray, and live as yield-sign saints: “Not my will, but yours be done!”

May this be the confession of our lives in all things. Because we know that God is for us and working all things together for our ultimate eternal good, our prayers, no matter what we are currently facing, should echo that of Jesus in the garden. Is there any area in your life where you are saying, “No” to God right now? To be a yield-sign saint, we must be willing to say “Yes!” to Him, no matter what He sends our way, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). True freedom in this life is only found through fully and cheerfully yielding to our Savior.

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

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The Witness Of Our Weakness

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We all feel weak from time to time; when we do, we must hold tightly to the promise we have in Christ. Read on and be encouraged today, especially if this message finds you in a season of weariness and weakness.

As Christians, we know about the strength of Almighty God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He spoke everything into existence, and if He were to withdraw His hand at any moment in time, everything would cease to exist.

Do you know when God’s strength is demonstrated most vividly and effectively in our personal lives? It is when His strength intersects with our weakness. Our human frailty has been a fact of life from the moment sin entered into our humanity in the Garden of Eden. Because of Adam and Eve’s dreadful act of cosmic treason, we all received the wages of sin, which is death. We are all dying at the rate of sixty minutes an hour.

Sometimes our weakness presents itself in our distress and difficulties; at other times it appears in our struggles and storms. But regardless of the challenges we may be facing, we possess the source of supernatural strength to rest in and rely on, because when we are weak, He is strong to work in our lives (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Here is a very important point for you and I to remember: The promise of His strength in our weakness does not mean that God will remove the source of our struggle. Jesus assured us that we will experience trials, troubles, and tribulations in this world. We read in the Scriptures that our Lord was “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). But in the midst of our struggles, we must remember that He also assured us that He has overcome this world, and so we have a greater power at work within us than any power that can come up against us. Jesus does not remove the storms from our lives, but He strengthens us in the middle of them. That way, when we emerge on the other side of the storm, we are more conformed to His image than we were before.

Are you being buffeted by storm winds today? How would you describe the witness of your weakness? Please understand that there is nothing wrong or unbiblical about asking God to remove the storm. Paul prayed three times that God would remove his “thorn” (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). But when God does not remove our own thorn, whatever it may be, we must understand and accept that the storm has been delivered to help us decrease and for Jesus to increase in our lives. This is the process of sanctification; God is bringing us to the end of ourselves as we make our way through this life and making us more and more like Jesus.

Let your heart be filled with hope, because you can rest in God’s promise that “My grace is sufficient for you” — regardless of the storms you are facing!

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

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The Undoing Of Unforgiveness

“Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

There is nothing more damaging to the soul than a heart that is unwilling to forgive. Unforgiveness is the undoing of the Christian life, leaving behind a shell of the person God has called that individual to be.

Here is a wonderful story about the undoing of unforgiveness; I cannot confirm that these events actually happened, but, true story or not, the principle expressed is true for all people in all ages and in all places.

Leonardo da Vinci painted his famous “The Last Supper” fresco in a church in Milan. At the time that he was working on the painting, Leonardo was angry because of a bitter argument he had had with another painter. Da Vinci despised this man, and when he painted Judas Iscariot sitting at the table with Jesus, he used the face of the man he had argued with so that everyone who saw the painting would see the face of his enemy representing the man who betrayed Jesus. Da Vinci is said to have taken great pleasure in knowing that others would actually see the face of his enemy in the place of Judas.

As he worked on the faces of the other disciples, Da Vinci often tried to paint the face of Jesus, but he couldn’t make any progress. Da Vinci grew increasingly frustrated and confused. Over time, he realized his own fault. His hatred for the other painter was holding him back from finishing the face of Jesus, who had told us to love our enemies . . . just has He had loved us when we were still His enemies (Romans 5:10). It was only after he had made peace with his enemy and repainted the face of Judas that Leonardo was able to paint the face of Jesus and complete his masterpiece.

Having counseled with countless people as a pastor over the years, I am convinced that the main reason we have a difficult time accepting God’s forgiveness is because of the undoing of unforgiveness that lives in our own hearts. I must admit that I am speaking from my own experience in this matter. In our sinful nature, we have a tendency to remake God in our own image; we imagine a God who holds grudges and withholds forgiveness. But, like Da Vinci, when we let go of our past pain, resentment, and anger and offer forgiveness to others just like the grace we ourselves have received, we free ourselves to see the face of our Lord Jesus more clearly, and His face reflects the twin truths that we are unconditionally loved and completely forgiven.

How are you doing in the area of forgiveness? Is there anyone in your life right now that you need to forgive? It has been well said that “Unforgiveness does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than to the object upon which it is poured.” Remember, offering forgiveness is not condoning wrongdoing, and forgiveness is not equal to trust. Wrong behavior is wrong behavior, but you and I have been called to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

May we be the fragrance and the aroma of Christ — and may that sweet fragrance permeate out own hearts — as we release any lingering bitterness and unleash the forgiveness that God lavished on us.

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

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From Excuse To Use

Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites our of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)

Moses had spent forty years tending sheep on the back side of the desert; now God was ready to use him to deliver the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Moses started well. When God called to him from the burning bush, Moses responded willingly, “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4). But as soon as God revealed His plan to use Moses as the divine deliverer of His people, Moses began to exchange God’s use for his excuse. Let’s take a closer look, and I promise you will be as comforted today as you are challenged to answer whatever call God has placed on your life.

When Moses asked, “Who am I . . . ?” he was acknowledging the truth that he was not qualified to carry out God’s call to do anything, at least from his perspective. Forty years earlier, he had killed an Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew slave. When it becamse known that Moses was a murderer, he fled Egypt and spent the next forty years as a shepherd in Midian. We can only imagine that in the intensity and intimacy of his encounter with God in the burning bush — God the Lord, who instructed Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground — that Moses remembered just how sinful he truly was. He had lost his temper and committed murder, supposing that the people of Israel would recognize him as the great deliverer of their nation (Acts 7:25).

But here is the comfort for you and me . . . and also the challenge. To be sure, God knew who Moses was. God knew that Moses had tried, in his own strength, to free his countrymen from slavery in Egypt. Moses had gone about things in the wrong way: he had trusted in his own strength rather than the strength of the Almighty. And Moses was under no illusions about how sinful he was; he had committed murder, killing one who was made in the image of God, the most heinous act imaginable. Yet here was God, calling Moses the murderer into His service to deliver His people out of their bondage in Egypt!

This is one of the greatest comforts we find throughout sacred Scripture: God sees past our past, all the way to our current potential as an instrument of usefulness in His mighty right hand. This was true for Moses, and the same is true for me and you.

Have you ever wondered why God chooses to use such messed up people in His service? It’s because we are all He has to work with! We are all messed up. We are all sinners with a past that would embarass us terribly if those closest to us knew what God knows about us. And yet, in His magnificent mercy, God raises us out of the pit of our sinful past and into His promised plan and purpose for our lives. And that is why God refused to accept Moses’ excuse that he was not good enough to answer God’s call. Moses was absolutely right to believe that he was not good enough in his own strength, but in the strength of the Almighty he was more than good enough; he was God’s ordained instrument of usefulness.

By the way, if you continue reading in Exodus, you’ll see that Moses made a few more excuses, and God simply moved Moses from excuse to use, and that is exactly what God wants to do in each of our lives.

Does that knowledge comfort you? Here is the challenge: Have you answered God’s call in your life? Remember, God knows everything about your past, and he still wants to use you in the present for His glory and your ultimate good. So when you sense His call, don’t object “Who am I?” Say “Here am I!”

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

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It’s a Cosmic Comma, Not a Personal Period

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

When was the last time you were convinced that God had slammed the door on some dream or desire in life? When were you tempted to give up on yourself and simply throw in the towel? Because our view is limited, we have a tendency give in to discouragement time and time again, only to realize that God is not finished writing our story. You see, God is in the business of inserting a cosmic comma where we expect Him to apply a personal period.

Here are just a few biblical examples that make this truth gloriously clear:

Abraham and Sarah placed a period on their ability to give birth to the promised child because of their age, but God inserted His cosmic comma, and Isaac was born to them when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 years old.

Moses killed the Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew and then had to run for his life to escape the wrath of Pharaoh. Living on the back side of the desert, Moses put a period on his usefulness to God, but God inserted His cosmic comma and sent Moses back into Egypt to deliver His people out of slavery.

Martha and Mary sent for Jesus because their brother Lazarus was ill, but Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus had died – period. But Jesus was not finished writing their story; He inserted His cosmic comma and brought Lazarus back to life.  

Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and believed his days as a disciple were over – period. But Jesus showed up on the beach after His resurrection and used His cosmic comma to restore Peter to ministry.

When we are writing our own story, it only makes sense to put periods when doors close, opportunities vanish, and loss comes into our lives. When we are living out our plan in our strength, we believe that periods are appropriate punctuations to our story. We find ourselves in a relationship that is coming apart at the seams – period. A career we have pursued for years is suddenly terminated — period. We face a crisis in our health when the doctor tells us the tumor is malignant – period.

But when we are living God’s plan and purpose for our lives, He is writing our story, and He inserts one cosmic comma after another in His time and in His way. When one door closes, Jesus opens another. When one pathway is blocked, He makes another way. If you are feeling defeated and hopelessness has hemmed you in on all sides, remember this: What is impossible from a human standpoint is not impossible for God. And that is why we need to make sure we leave the pen that is writing our life story in the hands of Jesus, because He always writes a better story!

Even at the moment of our death, Jesus replaces our period with His cosmic comma. No one expressed this better than C. S. Lewis in The Last Battle:

All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

When we close our eyes for the final time in this world, we will immediately open our eyes in the next. As Paul wrote, when we are absent from the body, we will be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). When Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” He was announching that He had finished His work of inserting history’s greatest cosmic comma, a comma which means that all who have trusted in Him can be absolutely sure that all of this life is only a brief prelude to an eternal existence that will be spent living in the light of the One who wrote the greatest story ever told.

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

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My Gain? Or God’s Glory?

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name. (Isaiah 25:1)

There are only two reasons to do anything in life: One is for personal gain and the other is for God’s glory. The Scriptures are filled with examples of men and women acting out of both motives, and it is always a good idea to inventory our own hearts to see just what motivates us to do the things we are doing.

We can sum it all up this way: are we using God as a means to attain an end? Or is the end we are seeking God Himself? The first mindset has us pursuing God for personal gain; the second has us pursuing God for His glory. Often we can be sailing through life without ever noticing the difference . . . until the storm winds begin to blow. When they do, we will know the true motives of our heart, which will be indicated either by our shrinking back from difficulty or standing firm.

Let’s take a brief look at these two categories of professing Christians. The person working for personal gain thinks about his or her relationship with Jesus in terms of the great gifts He can give. Such people come to Jesus for hope. They come to Him for happiness. They come for health. They come for a better home life. These are just a few of the personal gain reasons, all of which make it clear that Jesus is not their Messiah, but rather He is the means to their desired ends. However, the person working for God’s glory looks to Jesus as the end itself. Jesus is not the vehicle to victory for these people; He is victory Himself. Jesus is not the way to wealth; He is our wealth. He is not the way to happiness; He is our joy.

How would you describe your walk with Jesus right now? Is your relationship with Jesus merely the means to a desired end? Or is Jesus the end Himself?

Christian, you were created for relationship with Jesus, not for the rewards you receive from Him. Perhaps the best portrait in all Scripture that displays this truth lived out is the book of Job. God allowed His servant Job to suffer unimaginable loss: his health, his wealth, and all ten of his children. His own wife ridiculed him for staying committed to God. In essence, had Job lost every reason to stay in a right relationship with God . . . except God Himself.

It is clear from the biblical account that Job loved God more than all the good gifts God had given to him. Yes, Job loved his wealth, health, and children, but He loved God more. “‘You are talking like a foolish woman,'” he replied to his bitter, mocking wife. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Scripture states that, “In all [his trials], Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:21-22, 2:10). For Job, God was not the means to a desired end. God was the end Himself.

May this be the confession of your life and mine, that our relationship with God is based solely upon a shining vision of His glory and not our gain, because ultimately His glory is our greatest gain.

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

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The Hope In Hardship

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. (Hebrews 12:7)

There is a special hope contained within every hardship, and the book of Hebrews both comforts us and challenges us with this truth. Now, I will be the first to admit that I have never found the divine discipline of hardship delightful. I cannot remember a time when I was experiencing some form of hardship and thought to myself, “This is so helpful to me!” Hardship never seems to be helpful; it usually feels hurtful, doesn’t it?

There is, however, hope in every hardship because of the One who sends difficulty to us as discipline. If God did not love us, He would not care what we are doing. He would watch from a distance as our wheels came off the track and we drove ourselves into a ditch. But throughout the pages of Scripture, we see how God cares for His children and refuses to allow us to shipwreck our lives. When we begin to veer off course, God sends some holy hardship to get our attention and get us back on track.

Take notice of the second half of today’s verse: God is treating us as His children. Which parent loves their children more? The one who wants to be their children’s best friend and allows them to do whatever they want? Or is the truly loving parent the one who understands the profound responsibility a parent bears to course-correct when the child is heading in the wrong direction? The answer is obvious. When we are being disciplined by God, we should see hardship as His loving guidance and look for the lessons He is trying to teach us. The hope in hardship is a holy hope, because is comes from our Holy God, who is conforming us to the image of His Son by any and every means necessary.

It is important to remember that when God is disciplining us, He is not delivering a punishment or penalty. Jesus took all our punishment and paid the full penalty for every one of our sins on the cross on the hill Golgotha. Because of this, we can trust that God’s discipline is not punishment, but protection; our gracious, loving God is protecting us from our sinful self and sheilding us from the damage we do to ourselves and others when we drift away from His plan and purpose for our lives.

If you are in the midst of a season of hardship right now (or the next time you find yourself in such a season), let these three benefits of divine discipline both comfort and encourage you:

  • Hardship as discipline is proof God loves you.
  • Hardship as discipline is proof you are His child.
  • Hardship as discipline is conforming you to Christlikeness.

This is why Paul could write to the Christians at Rome that, in addition to rejoicing in the glory of God, “We also rejoice in our sufferings.” And Paul did not stop there. He explained why:

Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)

Our loving Lord, He who is our gracious, heavenly Father, is working all things together for our good, just as He has promised (Romans 8:28). There really is some holy hope in hardship, wouldn’t you agree?

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

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Removing The “Un” From Uncertainty

Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. (Psalm 115:3)

I know from personal experience that uncertainty is one of the worst feelings we can experience, especially when the uncertainty involves someone we deeply love or something we care about a great deal. So how do we remove the “un” from uncertainty? Read on, and be both comforted and challenged this day.

Let’s start by taking a look at what we are not to do when facing uncertainty. By nature, we have a tendency to dig in our heels, hold on even tighter with a double-white-knuckle grip, and try to force the outcome we desire. We try desperately to establish control of people or circumstances that are clearly beyond our control, and uncertainty threatens to seize us as the currents of chaos hold us captive.

So how do we shake off the shackles of our bondage to uncertainty? Sovereignty! That’s right; God’s sovereignty shatters our shackles. We simply remember the sovereignty of our God and trust that He has everything in complete control. We respond to every uncertainty we face in this life by rccalling the certainty of God’s eternal plan and His perfect purpose for our lives. This is how we remove the “un” from uncertainty.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

You see, God’s plan is better than our plan, and God is in complete control of His plan for our future, regardless of what it looks like to us. Life from our perspective is a bit like looking through a small hole in the side of a wooden fence; we can only see what is right in front of us. But God sees everything; He is in control of all things, and He has promised to work all things for His glory and for our ultimate good. In every uncertainty we face, we hold fast to the certainty of the sovereignty of God, knowing that “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations (Psalm 33:11).

Are you facing uncertainty in life at this time? Again, the key to removing the “un” from uncertainty is to focus on the sovereignty of God. He assured Isaiah, “When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13). When things seem darkest, we must remember that we have the Light of this world, who is leading us into His perfect plan and purpose for our lives, even when nothing that is currently happening would convince us of this truth. But it is the truth, Christian; hold to it in faith.

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

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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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