Saturday, January 2, 2016

Faulty Faith

Why would we, why do we, so easily place our security in the "things of the world", albeit things we can touch, reference, etc. Surely, we KNOW that these, too, are perishable things, dying things? There is some sense of security (false, as it may be) in familiar things, things we can see, touch, or know someone who, very recently, has.

"And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham."
(Matthew 3:9 ESV)

John the Baptist, this wiley, kinda' wild, unorthodox, outcast of a character says it right... "So you have Abraham as your father. That's great. Can he secure your eternity?" I wonder,  did they ever ask, and really consider... who was Abraham's faith in?

God used Abraham in an amazing way. He is part of God's story. Frankly, I'd like his autograph. But he's NOT God!

What faith do you place your eternal answer in? Warren Wiersbe said it best.... "Like Nicodemus in John 3, they stumbled at the truth that they needed to be born again." There's the problem! Recognizing, admitting, that we are needy.

John continues, with more of what I call "spiritual common sense"...
"Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
(Matthew 3:10 ESV)

I have to quote Wiersbe again... "the root determines the fruit". It's not about what we can do to impress God. We cannot. But, we don't have to. Instead, with our faith rightly established, in the One who does affect our eternity, we will "then" bare fruit that is worth sharing.

Blessings,
Steve Terrell

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Our Most Basic Calling

"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
(Romans 1:20 ESV)

I cannot read this truth enough. I struggled with the idea of... "a calling". That is ...knowing if, what, or when God has called me to...  something, anything! Catch-phrases and church-speak, though surely well intended, often create confusion. Too, we (the recipient) must take some blame for this confusion ...and each individual, to be sure, must take responsibility for his own thoughts and understandings. A mentor once summed it up for me. He said... "You are not called to a vocation, or to be this or that. This is God calling you back to Himself." I grew to understand that what he was saying was... whatever we do, and by what means we do them, are free choices God has given us. True for both redeemed and the lost. Faith in Him "drives" our decision of "why" we do!

Whatever else, whatever to-dos, or things we conclude God has asked us to ...there is a most basic calling on each of us. BELIEVE! With belief, through faith, our journey begins.

I love what Paul expresses in his letter to the church in Rome. There is simply no good excuse not to believe, in this most basic way. Just open the front door and look around. Yes, there is war, and rumor of war. There are homeless, sick, needy. Yet.... consider what just happened in your body. You took a breath, then exhaled it. PRAISE GOD! This is what Paul was expressing! He wasn't being rude, or snarky. Simply saying... come on folks... be reasonable! Who is the base cause of that breath? I can find no excuse. Awesome, mighty, living, loving, Creator, God! And when we take our final breath ...know this too, is in God's ultimate plan. Paul also stated this perfectly. " For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

Know, believe, Jesus.

Steve Terrell

Thursday, September 3, 2015

True Joy, In Christ, In Living

Are you grateful for where you are in life? I mean truly grateful, and content? Or, are you craving, driving for more?


I believe Hebrews demonstrates how we can be content by seeking holiness, and this contentment will strengthen our worship.

  1. JOY COMES FROM DETERMINATION

  2. JOY COMES FROM DISCIPLINE

  3. JOY COMES FROM PEACE

  4. JOY EXPRESSES IN WORSHIP


"Therefore"... What's the saying ...anytime you read 'therefore', there is something there before. Hebrews 11 is what we refer to as "The Hall of Faith". The faith of things to come; maybe not in the same lifetime.


"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Hebrews 12:1 ESV

JOY COMES FROM DETERMINATION:

Why should I persevere? Is there a time in your life when you weren't sure you could / would?...


James 1:12 says... "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."


1 Tim. 4:1 says... "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."


Luke 21:19 says.... "By standing firm you will gain life."

--------------------------------------

"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Joy? How could Jesus see "joy", with what He was facing?


Godly "contentment" is a thing to be desired, for sure.


Is it only for the joy of eternity with God? That is certainly foremost in our thinking. But can a Christian truly be joyful in this life?


Let me ask this... do you have to be "entertained"? Or, can you be content in just meditating on God's goodness?


Yesterday, as I was praying, it occurred to me to be thankful both for what God has given me, AND what He has denied me. I would not know the joy of long1suffering, of patience, of endurance, were it not for being denied what I've often wanted. I see life through a different lens.

Let me give an example, which may sound trivial....

I was thanking God for my automobile situation in life. This is very "practical", both in a worldly sense AND an eternal sense. I was talking to my 18 year-old about how I had to plan, starting several years ago, to ensure he and his brothers have automobiles to get started in. This turned into a blessing for both them, and Cindy and myself. Let me explain.... determining, way back, that I was going to pay-off both of our automobiles not only provided the boys with wheels; it provided me with better credit, which provides my wife the ability to drive a newer, more dependable, car. It provided us with the ability to be just a little less dependent on earning more money, but also helped us balance our budget, which allows us the ability to give more. Too, it provided the boys something to look forward to.


Do you get how this isn't trivial? Do you see the trickling effect? This is not about worldly prosperity. It has nothing to do with the "things" I just spoke of. Instead, it has to do with laying aside things which entangle us.


"Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."
Hebrews 12:3-4 ESV

JOY COMES FROM DISCIPLINE:

"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons."
Hebrews 12:5-8 ESV

"For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Hebrews 12:10-11 ESV

JOY COMES FROM PEACE:

"Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal."
Hebrews 12:12-16 ESV

JOY EXPRESSES IN WORSHIP:

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,"
Hebrews 12:28 ESV

Live on-purpose! If we don't decide our purpose, the world will decide it for us, Make glorifying God your purpose. He WILL reward you. Not with things, but with JOY, and a PEACE that goes beyond our understanding.


A Confident God

In today's culture, many aren't confident about God, but rest assured my beautiful friend ....God is confident about us! Let that sink in. For all our flaws, any of our goodness, all our nastiness, we surely haven't shocked God's socks off either way. If He is Lord of all, at all, He is most assuredly ...confident of His love for us. His redemption is THE topic that matters. Don't be confused by the topic of the day, or the Christian hypocrite of the day. Let's be clear.... that is all of us in greater or lesser degrees. Throw the darts. We deserve 'em. But don't confuse that with God's confident will for ALL of us. WOW GOD!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Waiting Patiently

"So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help."
Isaiah 30:18 NLT

As the context around this passage of scripture makes clear.... we are naturally rebellious. We don't like being instructed. We don't need it. Again, we live in the land of plenty.

As a result of our pridefulness, and God's patient, loving-kindness, He will not push a relationship on us. He wants us to want Him.
~Steve Terrell

Lalalalala

Remeber when you were a kid,  and didn't want to hear something being said? We would plug our ears and loudly say.... "lalalalala", just to shut out whatever it was. Not unlike many people in times of the Old Testament, in today's post-Christian, post-church, culture ...we don't want to be burdened with things like wise counsel, righteousness that comes only from God, nor depend upon the Lord for our daily living. No, we desire or own way, our rules, our freedom, our rebellion. A day will come that we'll be grateful for God's instruction. But not now. We live in the land, the time, of plenty.

~Steve Terrell

"They tell the seers, "Stop seeing visions!" They tell the prophets, "Don't tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your 'Holy One of Israel.'" This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: "Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly— like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down. You will be smashed like a piece of pottery— shattered so completely that there won't be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well."
Isaiah 30:10-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/isa.30.10-14.NLT

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hope and Restoration

Reading in Isaiah 23 today... "For seventy years, the length of a king's life, Tyre will be forgotten. But then the city will come back to life..."

There is a theme throughout all of God's word, a theme of HOPE and RESTORATION. If God destroys, it is His to destroy. But His goodness, His loving-kindness, His mercy, His very nature ...is to restore! It is NOT His will that any should perish. He is a "refiner", Who saves us from sin. If your life seems "under attack", please know that this refining God desires to re-build you, in His likeness. Never leaving, nor foresaking you. I trust that someone needs to hear that truth today.

~Steve Terrell