GraceWaves Articles

A Forgetful God

“I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.” Hebrews 10:17 Certain statements in the Bible are so arresting, so startling, that every time you read them you have to stop and let them sink in. Did God really mean that? Hebrews 10:17 is one of those verses. It’s actually a quote from Jeremiah, a part of the wondrous “New Covenant” from the Lord (Jer. 31:31-34). The day would come, said Jeremiah (speaking for the Lord), when God would create a new covenant, completely unlike the old one. The writer of Hebrews (no it was not Paul, but that’s

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Got Contentment?

"I have learned whatever state I am in to be content.” Philippians 4:11 Do you remember your first job? Do you recall what you were paid? I do. My first job was at Rosemont Grocery, a little full-service grocery store, originally on the outskirts of town but long since having been swallowed up by an ever-growing Lexington. It was across the street from where we lived, and I had been going there on errands for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk ever since we moved there. The owner and clerks knew me and had watched me grow

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Becoming a Real Person

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 Humility is a slippery topic. To claim you have it is a pretty sure proof you don’t. Often we’re not even aware of our need for it. In many circles humility sounds weak, though no one would say that out loud. Jesus was a keen observer of humanity, and at a banquet one time he noticed how people scrambled for the chief seats not realizing how petty and small they had become, how “unreal” they were.. These little displays of ego inflation amused

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What Day Is It?

What Day Is It? “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 The Lord’s Prayer, or The Model Prayer, is Jesus’ gift to us. It is the answer to the disciples’ request “teach us to pray.” Typical of Jesus, He did not delve into the mysteries or problems of prayer. He simply gave us a 20 second “how to.”  Interesting. I preach a 10 week series on how to pray. Jesus sums it up in 20 seconds. The first actual request in the prayer is “give us this day our daily bread.” The word “daily” is a surprisingly obscure

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From the Storm? Or Through the Storm?

“And immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” John 6:21 If you are reading this you are either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to go into a storm sometime in the near future. Storms are simply a part of life. We have sunny days, but they will pass. We also have stormy days, and they too will pass. The key to surviving storms is to remember God's presence. He is not surprised by any storm. He will never leave you during the storm. The real question that

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You're Not the First Person to Do This

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 [I wrote the following back in 2010, before GraceWaves. Thought we could all relate.] I have a confession. Not anything nefarious, more along the lines of embarrassingly dumb. Last Monday I wanted to back my prized Ford Taurus about half-way into my garage, and, for reasons too complicated to explain, I hopped out, leaving the door open, and left the car in reverse. I’ll let that sink in for a moment . . . all right, let’s proceed. As I realized

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John Wayne, Prophet

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15 Turns out, John Wayne was a prophet as well as an all-American hero. He reportedly said, “Life is hard, but it’s harder when you’re stupid.” As with many aphorisms, I don’t know if he actually said this or if it’s merely attributed to him, but it certainly suits The Duke. [As a kid, I wanted to be like John Wayne when I grew up, but only made it a little past Don Knotts] Now I don’t recommend going around labeling anyone’s behavior as stupid. The

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Cheap Trophies? Or The Real You?

“For every one of you who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 I have in my files a story from the New Orleans paper dated December 8, 1986 about a contest held near New Orleans. It was called “The Cutest Kid in the World Contest.” More than five hundred children were entered. Prizes included a trip to Disney World. It was botched from the beginning. Delays in starting lengthened. Frazzled families grew increasingly impatient, and finally one mother jumped up on the stage and screamed at one of the officials, “Where

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What Do You See?

"And Jesus said to him, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' And the blind man said to him, 'Master, let me receive my sight." Mark 10:51 Helen Keller wrote a fascinating article entitled "Three Days to See" for the The Atlantic Monthly. You remember, of course, that Helen Keller was blind and deaf from a very early age, but overcame those barriers and learned to communicate. She learned about the world around her and helped us to see things that we often overlook. She began by writing, “I have often thought it would be a blessing if

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Mingling of the Spirits

"Pray constantly." 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Seriously? Most of you reading this meager offering are probably doing well to read this meager offering. Your prayers may have been hastily muttered over breakfast or in the car on the way to work, but I don't want to get too autobiographical. Without question I have room in my spiritual devotions for improvement. During this Lenten season I would do well to put aside all the scurrying little urgent things and give more reflective time to the important things. If it's important we need to set aside time for it, and I feel better

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Your Words Create

“Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold the Judge is standing at the doors.” James 5:9 Words. What’s the big deal? The deal is very big. According to a recent Pew Center report, the American teenager (13-17) sends an average of 3,339 text messages per month. Let that sink in for a moment . . . . yes, that’s more than 100 per day. And that’s just the average. Some teens have told me they hit 10,000!! Of course they said that while texting. Is there a carpel tunnel equivalent for thumbs? Moving

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A Burden Shared

“Share one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 Some friends you don’t hear from very often, but it doesn’t make them any less your friend. John is one of those friends to me. We were in seminary together, I was a few years ahead of him. Both of us received our doctorates in Greek. His wife was the secretary to one of the professors for whom I worked as a teaching assistant. After graduation, I became a pastor. He went into teaching. Occasionally he would fill in for me at churches, and occasionally I would

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What Voice Do You Follow?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27 Today you have a choice, a remarkable, life changing eternity shaping choice to make. What voice will you listen to? What will guide you? What or who will have your highest devotion and deepest belief? I love the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It illustrates the differences in the ways people live, the choices they make. The main point of the play is that most people do not live before they die. In fact, most people do not even realize that they were not

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The Core of Christianity

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 If we had only the first Beatitude I believe we could construct the entirety of the Christian faith. I’ll give it a try. First, we find that God wants to bless us. This Greek word, and its Hebrew parallel, mean something akin to happiness, but much more. God is not interested in cursing or smiting us, but blessing us. He longs to do that. At the very least that means that He is positively predisposed to us. He doesn’t look at us in disgust, but

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Pressing Ahead, Part 2

“I press on to make it my own…straining forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:12-13 Last week I noted the most important truth that enables us to press forward in life is the certain knowledge that God is on our side. We are not left to our own devices. We begin with God and His power in our lives. Abandoning ourselves to Him opens up the possibility of eternal consistency in a fluctuating life. But the other side of the coin is just as important. We must respond to God’s grace. We must ask, seek, and knock. James wrote, “faith

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