Tag Archives: grace

Pay more attention so you don’t drift away


We watched a foreign film the other night. As such films often are, it was filled with dynamic drama and the pursuit of living life with passion. The message was, “Wake up. Feel what it’s like to be fully alive.” It’s a tantalizing theme, right? I mean, who wants to go through life asleep to all it offers? But in the movie, as in so many messages that bombard us, the end justified the means. “I want to be happy and free whatever it takes, however it comes, and wherever it leads me.” The problem is, the pursuit of happiness as the end all of life and at whatever costs, often leads us to a very unhappy and empty place.


That was Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians 11. We are easily led astray by many false “gospels,” messages that appeal to our senses but lead us away from truth and real happiness, the contented peace of life lived well. He reminds us that we are easily led astray; “You put up with it easily enough. In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you.”


“Satan masquerades as an angel of light…his servants as servants of righteousness.” It sounds kind of right. It feels kind of right. But if it leads us astray to a place that confuses our minds and enslaves us to punishing thoughts, and meaningless appetites, if at the end you’re left empty, it’s not right. And it’s not the happiness we sought. What messages have you been listening to that leave you like this?


How are we to know the truth so we don’t fall for the lie? We have to compare it to the original, never changing truth, the standard that never fails.


“We must pay more careful attention therefore to what we have heard, so that will do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1


The reason we’re told to meditate on God’s Word day and night, to memorize it and keep it close to us is so we will recognize the counterfeit messages that seek to masquerade as truth. . . So we will not drift away from it’s truth.


Don’t be led astray by the frivolities of life, the sweet empty calories that offer happiness but leaving us empty inside. Instead, feed on the satisfying Word of God. Chew on it and savor it’s truth and grace. Let if fill you with all its goodness. Feel it strengthen your body, soul, and mind. Let it be your daily diet that nurtures your life and let’s you live well. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Do this and you won’t be led astray by the “happy meals” that promise enjoyment but leave you empty and wanting more.


Let’s pay more careful attention to what we listen to so we can stay the course and not drift away.


Like a river that flows unrelenting



Like a River That Flows Unrelenting

We lift our hands in worship.

We clap in joyful praise.

We swoon in waves of emotion.

Our hearts are set ablaze.


We listen as pastor preaches.

We put gifts in the offering plate.

We partake in accustomed communion

And pray with words ornate.


But where, O Lord, do you find

True worship that honors your name?

Where must our worship flow?

How will it spread your great fame?


Let it be found in a boundless river

That flows through the days of our lives,

Uncontained by a sanctuary,

Living water that brings new life.


Let Your truth bear its mark on our motives,

Our ambitions reflect your great grace.

Let your Spirit wash over our sorrows

And praise you in our troubling place.


Like a river that flows unrelenting,

May our hearts flow with humble refrains.

Let our worship be marked by our actions

That bring praise to your great name.


Like a river that flows unrelenting,

May our hearts flow with humble refrains.

Let our worship be marked by our actions

That bring praise to your great name.


(C) Bryan Thayer, 2015, All Rights reserved.

Let worship flow through your day.


True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23



When faith prevails



Faith prevails!


Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19


Whenever there is news of an impending storm, folks make preparation. They flock to the store to load up on food and other supplies. They make sure the flashlights are working. And if possible, they leave work early so they won’t get caught in the storm.


Doesn’t it make sense to also prepare for the storms of life that come unannounced? We can do that by building our faith every day, and especially when “all is well.” Faith is like a bank. You make deposits during the prosperous times so that there will be something to draw on during the lean times.


Faith teaches us to “delight and triumph in the Lord; for when all is gone, his God is not gone. Even when provisions are cut off, to make it appear that man lives not by bread alone, we may be supplied by the graces and comforts of God’s Spirit.” (Matthew Henry)


Even when the vineyards and fig trees of our life are destroyed, we can – and must – find that as a time to praise God who sustains us. He is the one who prepares and equips us for life’s storms. He is the one who heals our wounds and brings us hope in seemingly hopeless situations. When all else is gone, He is the one who remains.


When trouble comes, where will you run? Prepare your heart by building it up with faith that prevails. And rejoice in His faithfulness.



Do you want more?




Everyone wants more.


A  recent news story tells of a divorce settlement between an oil tycoon and his ex-wife. The court ruled she would get $1 BILLION dollars, but she is appealing the decision, saying she needs more, much more.


Sometimes we think we deserve more. Like the story of the man and wife who died and went to heaven. Waiting at the pearly gates, the wife leaned over to her husband and said, “Whatever you do, don’t ask to get everything you deserve!”


We think we are good people, especially when we compare ourselves to certain scoundrels. But measured against God’s standard of holiness, we ALL fall short. We’ve lied or cheated or thought wrongly of others. We’ve gossiped. We’ve turned an indifferent eye when others needed our help. We insisted on having more when others went hungry. We invested a lifetime in hobbies and recreation at the peril of those who’ve never heard the truth about Jesus. We’ve ignored a great God at the preference to our worship of lesser joys. We’ve lived for ourselves and wasted time that we can never regain.


And yet, despite our rebellion, while we were still sinners, God gave His Son to die for the forgiveness of our sins. He paid the penalty we deserved and extended grace to us. Instead of an eternity of punishment he granted us an eternity of abundant joy. But we still want more, don’t we?


If God’s loving grace doesn’t quench your thirst, if His guiding Spirit leaves you ungrateful, if His power and strength doesn’t fulfill, if His perfect peace doesn’t calm your soul, if His faithful promises don’t impress you, what do you think would be enough for you? If having an immediate any-time audience and personal relationship with the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, The Lord of Lords, Almighty God Himself doesn’t bring satisfaction to your soul, what will you find instead?


Would you be happy to hold a billion dollars in your hand for 10 seconds? That is about how long our lives are in comparison to eternity, if that. What if you could fulfill your favorite appetite for a full minute before your body dissolved in the grave? Would that be enough? What if you had your 15 minutes of fame, where the whole world knew your name before forgetting it forever? Would that fill your tank?


Maybe this is the day to start appreciating – and sharing – all we are given:
A hug from someone who loves us
An encouraging word from someone who cares
The opportunity to make someone smile and laugh
The time to share someone’s sadness and disappointment
A breath of fresh air
Clean water to quench our thirst
A bite of nutritious food
The amazing gift of a clear conscience
The contentment of being faithful
Quiet time with the one who created and loves you
Letting his light shine into other’s lives


We were designed to want more. . . More of God.

And He is waiting for us to say, “Ahh, THAT is quite enough!”



Every good and perfect gift




Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17


Do you like to receive gifts? According to Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, authors of The 5 Love Languages,  receiving gifts is one of the ways some people best express and receive love.


What comes to mind when you think of “the best gifts ever?” For some the answer might be jewelry. For others technological gadgets, new tools. It has been said that “the best things in life are free.” If you agree you might think of a quiet walk in the park, watching a beautiful sunset, spending time with someone you love, or watching a child in a moment of discovery.


Certainly, forgiveness and life itself would be included in your list of ‘best’ gifts. But how do we achieve these? Your world view will lead you to one of two conclusions: “best gifts” either result from our own efforts and deeds or they come as a gift of love from God. Sometimes we receive these gifts and sometimes it seems we are oblivious to them.


There is a fable of a man who died and went to heaven. Upon arrival he was given a welcome tour where he was shown many great mansions and wonders. Coming to one building with no windows, he asked to go in but was encouraged and his guide to not pay any attention to it. The man insisted on seeing it and once inside he discovered a huge trove of beautifully wrapped presents. Looking closer he saw that each one had a tag with his name on it. Asking why they were here, the man was told, “These are the blessings you were freely given in life, but never received; they are gifts you never opened and so never enjoyed.”


God describes His very best gifts in the love letter He wrote to us, the Bible. When we receive and open these we discover forgiveness, eternal life, love, peace, joy, and hope. We receive undeserved grace and mercy, compassion. We are filled with strength, wisdom, and courage. When we enjoy His gifts we are embodied with goodness, faith, perseverance, contentment, and the character of the living God. We don’t earn these by our own doing. They are free gifts from a loving God who knows the true desires of our heart and longs to graciously give them to us.


It’s true. The best things in life are free: good and perfect gifts from our Heavenly Father – love, life, laughter, friendship, forgiveness, freedom, and so much more. Receive and open the gifts He freely offers you today and every day. Live thankfully and share them with others and discover yet another great gift, the joy of living.


Every good and perfect gift is from above.  James 1:17



A changed life – Caroline


image“I just went through life feeling like something was missing,” says Caroline, recently baptized at Niddrie Community Church. “My biggest fear was death. And my only release was cannabis.”


But that has changed.


“I have realized that I need to repent and put my trust in Jesus. I knew he was the only one who could change my life.”


“I’m learning to deal with my anger. And death isn’t as scary as I thought it was. I can’t thank the Lord enough for saving me. And now I’ve found that thing that was missing: Jesus.”


GLOW is involved with ministries across the globe that are focused on being a light to help others discover God’s best for them: Hope and grace, and power for victorious living. Caroline’s life was influenced by workers with 20Schemes. 20Schemes is a ministry to the poorest of poor in Scotland who live in housing projects (schemes). Following the model showed us by Jesus, they make disciples who make disciples. Caroline has expressed interest in becoming a 20Schemes intern, working at the church office and plans to start a new access course at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary.


Would you pray for Caroline and countless other women in Scotland’s housing schemes who not only need to hear the gospel of Christ but be discipled and encouraged to live purposeful and joyful lives.  This is one way you can partner with GLOW to bring hope and fulfillment to people across the world.



How then should I live?



Hebrews 13 offers good counsel for our daily living. Lest we get carried away by all sorts of distractions, and in view of such mercy we continue to receive, let’s ask. “How then should I live?

  • Hebrews 13:1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.
  • Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers
  • Continue to remember those in prison 
  • 4 Honor marriage keep the marriage bed pure
  • Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because (God will never leave or forsake you)
  • 6  Say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
  • Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Imitate their faith. 
  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Believe it and live it!)
  • Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. 
  • 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise. 
  • 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
  • 17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority,.
  • 18 Pray
  • 20 (Remember): The God of peace will equip you with everything good for doing his will, and will work in us what is pleasing to him,through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. 
  • 25 Grace be with you all.

There are so many things on your to-do list today. But none so vital as doing them in the manner God intended. Enjoy Him fully today and live well.



Finding the grace of God…in holiness



Grace, an undeserved gift, the exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor; the disposition to benefit or serve another. We all want grace.


Some try to secure the grace of God by doing good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 says that we are indeed created for His workmanship to do good, but it is only by grace that we are saved, the grace that comes as a free gift of God through His son Jesus.  We access this amazing grace by believing who Jesus is, the Son of God, by asking Jesus to forgive our sins, to turn away from sinful ways, and to invite Him to be Lord and Savior of our life.  If you have made this sincere commitment you know the natural response of a truly repentant and thankful heart receiving this amazing grace is to love others and extend grace to them.


Hebrews 12 offers both a warning and encouragement to us:

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless…” (v 14-16)


In this day and age holiness may seem a bit archaic and might even bring to mind certain legalistic and ‘goody two shoes’ attitudes. It may also bring a feeling of overwhelming frustration: “How can I be holy?!”  Holiness is our utmost calling, and He who calls you to it will equip you.  You see, holiness is not just the end goal of a maturing Christian’s life; it is at the beginning of our walk with God and essential to discovering the fullness of His grace and extending it to others in our daily lives. It is much more than seeking to live by moral standards. To be holy is to discover the Living God in us. (“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27)


Take some time today, maybe right now… ask God to reveal to you what stands in the way of you and holiness. Be it secret behaviors or secret thoughts, selfish ambitions to control your own life or that of others, or a bitter root separating you from others, the answer is also what keeps you distant from Him. Not only that but distant from experiencing the fullness of His amazing grace in your life.   Holiness is found by disciplining yourself to maintaining the presence of God throughout your day, constantly seeking the one who loves you most. It is as much a desire as a product of our lives.  It is revealed in discovering God living in you throughout all your activities.  Holiness is not some pious behavior. It is the outpouring of a thankful and grace-filled heart.


Want to experience real grace? Be holy…because He (in you) is holy.

(1 Peter 1:16)



Moving toward maturity


Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…”


Parents delight in newborn babies in all their innocence and fresh opportunities before them.  We celebrate a young person’s graduation milestone, recognizing their transition toward adulthood. We plant gardens and trees in the expectation and hope for what they will produce. While we sometimes wish we could pause time and remain in that special beginning moment, who would really want things to remain that way forever? A child who never moves on to forge his or her own life, a garden that doesn’t grow and produce food, flowers that never mature to bloom, a tree that produces no shade or fruit?


So it is in our lives, that we should continue to mature in the ways of life, the caring for others, and our mission which reaches way beyond ourselves. Paul encourages us to ‘move beyond the elementary teachings of Christ and be taken to maturity.’ Have you ever noticed that it is often easier to learn an elementary principle than how to consistently apply that toward a worthwhile outcome? Have you observed this in your own spiritual life, that you have learned the basics about Jesus but fail to find victory over life’s struggles? So it was also in Paul’s day. His students had learned facts about the Christian life but not how to apply the gospel toward living a mature life. (Hebrews 5:12).


Isn’t that true in our lives too? Just as rain falls on the land and produces both weeds and fruit (and veggies!) so God’s truth and grace falls freely on us so that we can mature in faith, experience victory over life’s trials, and bear fruit for His kingdom. Mature believers press on toward producing beneficial fruit while those who feel trapped by life’s circumstances produce weeds that choke out life.


But wait; there is hope! Paul says (Heb. 6:9), “Beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you.” Yes, we may have lived a careless, undisciplined, unfocused life up until now. We may have let circumstances govern too many of our responses. But it is not too late! Keep the hope (v11) that by God’s daily outpouring of compassion we will not be consumed by this world, but will find our way to move on toward a mature, purposeful life that counts for all time. This hope anchors us and holds our lives firm and secure in the midst of life’s most terrifying storms (v19).


Let us press on toward maturity. It is indeed granted by God’s provident grace (v3) but it does not occur at all without our intentional efforts to draw close to Him throughout each day.



Beyond bitterness to healing


Are you in a place where you are stuck in your life due to bitterness? Something happened a long time ago and you’ve held a grudge for so long it has paralyzed you, isolated you, and eaten you up from the inside out? And somehow, you think locking yourself up in your self-imposed prison will hurt the “OTHER person?” Isn’t it time to step out of that prison?

Take a look around. I suspect you will find there are no shackles holding you there, no locked doors restricting your freedom. Only the framework of your thinking keeps you imprisoned and punishes you for something someone else did.

Bitterness is like drinking poison, hoping it will hurt the other person. But instead, you are the victim of your own bitterness. The negative thoughts that are repeated over and over in your mind-set the tone for every interaction you have. They seem to rob you of the ability to see the best in all situations. Harboring resentment is like creating a storm over your head when you could choose blue skies instead. Resentment is like a never-ending detour when you could be enjoying the open roads. It is like sitting in a mud puddle when you could be enjoying a vacation by the sea.

So what keeps us from giving up that which hurts us? Pride seems like a most obvious suspect. We want to be in control. We want to exert our own judgment (which isn’t in any of our job descriptions). To be honest, we say we give the throne of our life to Jesus but too often we take it back to sit on ourselves. God clearly gives us that choice, but has choosing your way over God’s way ever played out well for you? Me neither.

Giving up bitterness and resentment is about putting on forgiveness. You can forgive the other person even if they don’t ask forgiveness, even if they don’t deserve forgiveness. After all, God forgives us when we confess our sins even though we don’t deserve it. It’s called grace, the one thing we all so desperately need.

Maybe it’s God that you’re mad at in the first place. Tell Him. (He already knows but wants to hear from you.) He is a great big God and he can take your complaints. Just keep talking with Him, even if you are stuck in a place where you aren’t even sure He is listening. Keep talking. He wants to see you healed. Don’t you want to be healed too?

“Forgive and the prisoner you set free is yourself!”