GraceWaves Articles

Living Without Fear

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 Fear is debilitating and lies at the root of a great many spiritual, emotional, and even physical ills. It solves none of tomorrow's problems and steals all today's joys. God did not create us to be fearful creatures, so not surprisingly the Bible actually has a great deal to say about fear and how God wants to relieve us of it. Psalms 113-118 are called

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Living As If

“I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 We have a problem with grace. In my experience most people long for grace, believe in grace, and are astounded by grace. Grace is both amazing and puzzling. It is beyond my comprehension, but personally I accept its reality and presence in my life. I no longer have nagging questions. But I increasingly sense that this is not typical even for faithful Christians. Here is the problem in a nutshell: Most people do not for a serious moment believe that the

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You Have a Place In God's Family

“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Matthew 1:7 It’s the middle of June. How about a lesson from the Christmas story? The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy, tracing Jesus’ ancestry back to Abraham. The dizzying list of names threatens to lull the casual reader into drowsy nap through the begats. Nothing here. Let’s move on to the real story that begins with Mary and Joseph. However, if you slow down and look closely at the genealogy, you will find some very interesting details. For example, Matthew noted especially for us that Solomon’s

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Perseverance Is Victory

“We felt we had received the sentence of death, but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 In the opening paragraph of his second letter to the Corinthians Paul referenced a particularly difficult time he encountered in Ephesus. He wrote that he felt that he had received the sentence of death while in Asia. He was utterly and unbearably crushed, despairing of life. We do not know the specifics, these details do not fit any particular period we know of in Paul’s life. What we do know is

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Take Another Street

“I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 Sometimes I’m very tired of me. I commit the same sins, have the same defects of character, and get myself into the same kind of trouble I’ve had for years. There is nothing new under the sun. I’m not being pessimistic, and I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I also don’t need those of you who know me to agree too enthusiastically. I’m just being honest. In my journey upward I fall and fail

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Grace to Remember

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7 The Memorial Day weekend has prompted me to consider the importance of remembering, and the grace God gives us to remember. Remembering is a minor feature of our early years when we see the future spread out before us and imagine all the awaiting possibilities. As we grow older the focus shifts to the past by a few percentage points each year. This is not a bad thing at all, for as we gather experiences, as families grow, and as friends sift in and out of our lives we simply

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Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 The Lord’s Prayer should be a part of your morning devotion. This prayer is Jesus’ gift to us, His answer to our request “teach us to pray.” Therefore, part of what we should pray every day is “give us this day our daily bread.” The key to understanding this initial request in The Prayer is the word “daily” a surprisingly obscure word in the NT (found only here and in the parallel in Luke). Outside of the NT we find only one example, in a shopping list or list of expenses.

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Do You See?

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 This beautiful text comes from “The Book of Comfort” in Isaiah (chs. 40-66), a theme of which is seeing God’s will and learning to discern His ways. In these chapters we often find the question, “do you not see?” or “do you not perceive?” The text for this week’s GraceWaves reminds us of four important truths. First, stop

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What About Non-Christians?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6 When traveling the common conversation starter is “what kind of work are you in?’ My reply, “I am a Baptist minister” elicits either slightly nervous silence the rest of the trip or opens the door to some interesting discussion. I had the latter experience last week on a trip. My companion said, “I am struggling with faith. I was raised a Christian, but I wonder about all the other people of different faiths. What happens to them?” It’s an uncomfortable

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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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