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Monday, March 12, 2018

What Will You Find?


I found myself feeling a bit empty and sad last Friday after listening to a discussion on one of the two Fox News shows that my wife and I usually watch each day.  The panel was debating the latest update on the TV personality that had made fun of Vice President Pence’s strong Christian faith a few weeks ago. 

It seems that the head of Disney, which is the parent company of ABC, personally requested that the individual who made the comments on national TV call the Vice President and apologize for her words.  The President in his normal gracious manner accepted her apology but also asked that she would make a public apology to all the sincere Christians that she offended.

When they broke off for a commercial, I told my wife that I felt that the Fox panel missed a golden opportunity to talk about their own personal Christian faith and what it has meant to them, but… 

I know that at least three of the regular hosts on the Fox show are church-going people and would profess to be Christians.  But by the time they went around the table and each panelist shared their thoughts, all I could do was lower my head with that same sense of emptiness that I had felt at times before I met my wife in high school and began to have my eyes opened through her life, to a vivid example of what it is to have a joyful, satisfying and victorious life in Jesus Christ.

What I saw and heard instead, was people who have an intellectual knowledge of who God is, and with a respect of God, try to live in agreement to Biblical teaching and Christian principles.  What I didn’t see was a deeply held personal connection with the One who came to this earth some 2000 years ago and forever changed the course history!

I don’t know… maybe my wife and I are just a little different or strange when it comes to the way we have lived our lives… but yet on the other hand, we know quite a few others who live their lives with the same excitement for the things of God as we do.  What do you think?  When we step into a situation that is overrun with difficulties, most times we don’t see a problem but an OPPORTUNITY for God to be God in it! 

When speaking of receiving salvation and any other promise of God for that matter, the Apostle Paul explains that “Therefore it is of faith that it may be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those of the law, but also to those of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” (Romans 4:16 EMTV)  In other words, we are able to take hold of the things of God by faith… because of or based on  His Grace toward us.  Not through our own good works, sweet words or kind thoughts, but because Papa God provided for our righteousness before Him through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross!

Grace is normally defined as God’s extreme and unmerited favor toward us.  But when I think about God’s grace, all I can think about, see and feel is His LOVE toward us!  When some folks around us came down rather hard against Piper’s and my faith-based actions in the care for her failing health, it was God’s LOVE, through His grace, that picked us up and carried us through some of the most difficult times in our lives.

When things get tough in your life and everyone and everything seem to be turning against you, trust me when I say… it will be your intimate experiential knowledge of God’s LOVE and His grace FOR YOU PERSONALLY that will get you through. (See Ephesians 3:19)  That’s what made me feel a little empty for the folks who were attempting to share their Christian beliefs on TV the other night.  That strong foundation of personal experience with the deep things of God just didn’t seem to be there!

I’ve also seen that same void in the lives of people that I always thought to be mature Christians when hardship touched their lives.  It’s easy to be a Christian and operate on the emotional outside of a situation while sharing some of the wonderful promises in the Word with others who are experiencing difficulty in their lives.  But it is a whole different story when difficulty hits home and becomes a very personal experience…

How do you think that you would respond?  Would you find His Hope, His Love and stand with the EXPECTATION of His Word working for you, or would you find an inner void where His Word and His Love should call home?  The best way to guarantee the discovery of His Word and the experiential knowing of His LOVE and grace inside of you is to keep stuffing His Word into your heart on a daily basis!

Like I KEEP saying… His Word in Piper and I has been the ONLY thing that continues to keep us strong and focused when everything else is screaming DEATH!  Sound harsh?  I guess it is… But His Word and our experiential knowing of His Love and His Grace destroys the harshness of a life without Him!

Have a wonderful week!  We’re supposed to get some snow this afternoon… Whoopee!  I might even have to put on some long pants before Fiver and I go out and play in it…  But whatever your weather forecast… keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to find in me when difficult times come?”

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