GraceWaves Articles

Making Molehills Out of Mountains

“The Lord will deliver me.” 1 Samuel 17:37 We have all heard the saying, “you’re making a mountain out of molehill.” Today I want you to see how you can do the opposite. With God’s help you can make a molehill out of a mountain. That is what David did when he faced Goliath. David did not deny reality. Goliath was a real giant that would have made Shaq look small by comparison. In the same way, you are facing a real giant. Your challenge is real. The disease is real. The relationship is troubled. The financial challenge is obvious.

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The Most Important Truth

"I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints the length, width, height, and depth of God’s love; and to know that Christ’s love for you surpasses all knowledge and fills you with the fullness of God.” Ephesians 2:17b-19 God loves you. You know that don’t you? But you have heard it so often that it risks sounding trite or maudlin. What is indisputably true is that most Christians live as if they are unaware of God’s love. Your challenge this week is to recapture some of the grandeur

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You're Being Shaped for Eternity

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 The movie Titanic came out in 1997. My daughter at the time was nine years old and according to her was “the only person my age not allowed to see it!” Despite her indisputable accuracy, and due to the fact that we, her parents, were obviously social Neanderthals, I would not allow her to go see the movie due to a few racy scenes. Besides I ruined the story for her when I quite

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Laying Aside the Questions

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without wisdom’” Job 38:1 The picture of the wildfires in Texas was another final straw. As the man looked at the picture of smoke and flames and read of destruction of property he groused to his wife, “where is your God now?” I hear this kind of response to bad things, and it’s often uttered as the coup de grace for any fading attempt to believe in God. The underlying assumption is clear enough and somewhat plausible. A caring, good, and all-powerful God

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Live With Joyful Confidence

"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21 Paul was in prison when he wrote these remarkably optimistic words. He faced the very real possibility of execution, and while he indicated elsewhere in the letter his expectation of release he could not be sure. Even if he were to once again evade capital punishment his long and varied experience with prisons, shipwrecks, beatings, and general privation I’m sure he knew that, from a worldly point of view, his life was not going to end easily or comfortably. He did not care. All death meant to

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When God Feels Distant

“For through Him we both have the right of entry in one Spirit to the Father.” Eph. 2:18 Ephesians is Paul’s most lovely and soaring letter. He touches on themes of such grand and sweeping importance that even he gets caught up in the excitement. The longest sentences in all of Paul’s writings are in Ephesians. Two of his main themes are in the verse for this week’s GraceWaves. First we see unity. Paul was formerly a dedicated schismatic. For him the world consisted of two groups: the Jews and the Gentiles. To be fair from the other side, the

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The Wise Foolishness of Christianity

“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” 1 Cor. 1:27 I collect stories of how reluctant people come to believe in the existence of God, or at least acknowledge the tremendous value of faith. Let me share four with you. First, Dr. Anthony Flew (d. 2010) was a philosophy professor at Reading University in England, author of numerous works and also the world’s leading atheist. As recently as 2001 he reiterated that position in a paper entitled, “Sorry to Disappoint, but I’m Still

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The Antidote to Envy

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 1 Samuel 18:7 Saul was Israel’s first king. David would succeed him, but only in God’s timing. David served Saul faithfully, and never sought glory for himself. The verse above is a song or cheer from a group of women after David returned from an especially successful military encounter. David did not instigate it, but when Saul heard it, envy stirred in his heart. He soon tried to kill David, more than once. His reign ended in ignominy. You don’t have to be a king to compare yourself with others,

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The Difference in Christian Faith

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” John 3:16 “Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:39 These three verses summarize clearly and powerfully the uniqueness, attraction, and promise of your faith. Let’s look at each one individually, and then note how different this theology would have been to people in the first century. “In the beginning God created.” The Genesis creation story has nothing about wars among competing gods as in the Enuma Elish. The first

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Forgiving Yourself

Jesus said to him a third time, “Do you love me?’ And Peter said to Him, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:19 The scene for the verse is a stretch of shoreline on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had prepared breakfast for the disciples. The time is several days to several weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, and after He had given them the gift of the Holy Spirit (20:22) to go out and share His story. We are also several days to several weeks after Peter denied

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Serving God Eternally

“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.” Isaiah 38:5 When Hezekiah was terminally ill, he prayed, and God responded by adding 15 years to his life. This prayer is natural and normal. We all would pray in this way and be grateful to God for any healing that He provides. However, we have a great advantage over Hezekiah. He feared “going down to the pit,” (Isa. 38:18), or Sheol, the hopeless place where

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Facing Fear With Faith

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2-3 A friend of mine once told me he struggled with fear. I had never suspected that about him, and, what’s more, I had never really thought about fear as a common, ongoing challenge. However, as I began to ask people if they struggled with

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When the Hurt Keeps Hurting

“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28 Last week I wrote about the very real possibility that the people who have hurt you may be the ones through whom God brings healing. As Joseph was reconciled to his brothers, I have seen fractured relationships restored. Husband/wife, parent/child, friend/friend, etc. God has a remarkable way of bringing people around, working His grace into their lives, “softening” them, so that they come to a point where they ask for forgiveness or offer it where previously it was withheld. Whenever I have written about this topic I

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Harm and Healing from Those Closest

“So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, I pray you.’ . . .  And he kissed his brothers and wept upon them, and after that his brothers talked with him.” Genesis 45:4, 15 These words come from one of the most moving scenes in all of scripture. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. He had endured terrifying threats but had ascended to the right hand of Pharaoh. All the while his brothers thought him gone forever and probably dead. During a famine in Canaan, the brothers journeyed to Egypt for grain and probably were baffled by having

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Listening to Jesus

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 As I was traveling alone a few years ago I stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Tennessee for an evening breakfast. To pass the time while waiting for food I like to watch other people and try to guess where they are from, or where they are going. I watched an elderly man full of smiles talking to a little girl about 10 at the table next to me. I guessed they were on a special outing together and the Cracker Barrel was her chosen

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