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“PEACE”

GracePoint for Today – “PEACE” – 10/12/18
Romans 5:1-2 – “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
PEACEThere is a gentle breeze blowing, birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the air is a little cooler… in short, the scene from our back porch this morning is quite peaceful. Particularly when you compare it to the conditions just yesterday when the residual winds and rain from a weakening hurricane blew through! Then there are the pictures from the Florida panhandle in the aftermath of hurricane Michael, devastating! What is normally considered a very “peaceful” place (how often did those residents sit out on their porches and enjoy the gentle and tranquil scenery?) was transformed into a place of turmoil and horror with 150+ mph winds, torrential rain, and crashing seas! Today? Calm breeze and gentle surf. What a contrast! You see, the shoreline of the Gulf Coast is a beautiful and peaceful place, until there is a storm of course. But, in reality, it is still the same place, circumstances change, but the seaside is still the same.
Peace is also explained in contrast. The scripture verse above establishes peace in terms of “peace with God” while Paul also describes peace differently in Philippians 4:6-7 – “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Here Paul refers to the “peace of God”. And what a contrast there is between the two! Peace WITH God is like the shoreline itself, the bedrock of the continent, the place where land meets sea; it is there! Why? Because God made it that way! Peace with God for the Believer is always “there”, why? Because God through Christ established it and it will NOT fade away. However, peace with God is like the varying circumstance of the weather. There are times of great peace, times when we sense and know the abiding peace of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life. BUT, there are times when (whether through no fault of our own, or when we bring it on ourselves through disobedience) the storms of life are raging all around us. It is in those times that we may not experience the “peace OF God”, but even in the storm we must remember that storms rage but they also subside, and the bedrock remains… PEACE WITH GOD!
Friend He will never forsake you! He will always remain, faithful. Peace WITH Him has been established by the justification of faith in Jesus!
Draw near to the Lord today, rely on Him and experience the PEACE OF GOD today!
In His Amazing Love,
Pastor Ben

“HOPE”

“Hope”

1 Peter 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hopethrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which isimperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you”
 Last Saturday I was meeting Debbie and Lee at Lowes, when I received the following text from her: We are looking at Christmas decorations inside”
Christmas decorations! On October, 6th!! Really?! Sure enough, Christmas decorations lined up next to Halloween pumpkins, witches and goblins. And, despite the over-retailing of the “Christmas Season” it still made me think of the reason there is a “season” at all… God came down to man! Jesus, THE HOPE of all mankind was born into this world to bring Hope, love, salvation, and peace. The contrast of dark and mostly comically sinister colors on the one hand, and the bright and cheerful reds, greens, and gold on the other was stark. In the same way, regardless of how “dark” the world may seem, or how angry and divided everyone may seem to be, the Hope of Christmas… the Savior of souls… the “light” of the world… Jesus was born and He did die to bring LIFE to our fallen world. My hope is built on nothing less… is yours?
Praying you live in the Hope of His love today!
Pastor Ben

Contentment

“Contentment”

 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, withinsults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.– 2 Corinthians 12:10
Content [kuhn-tent]- “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.”
Contentment… Have you ever been around someone that just seems to exude a contented peace no matter what the situation or circumstance? Someone who always has a calm demeanor, a quiet joy, and a sweet disposition regardless of hardship, pain, or trial? If you’re like me, when you get around those people the first feeling is one of shame that my life falls so short of that ideal! Then, however, truth be told, to be around that person is infectious; it is calming and comforting just to be with them.
The temptation is to think that God just “hard-wired” them that way. God just gave them a supernatural “contentment gene” that makes it easy for them, a natural reaction because of how He made them. (If that were so it lets me off the hook you see, because obviously, God left that one out in my DNA!) BUT, here’s the truth, it isn’t “natural” for anyone. It is learned. Paul says in Philippians 4:11 – “Not that I speak from want, for I have learnedto be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
There it is, learned behavior. To have contentment comes from needing to “learn” contentment. “Practice” if you will. Trusting God in every circumstance, being in tune with Him, in communication with Him, resting IN Him.
The world scoffs at that concept. Our culture is programmed to drive us away from “contentment”. We need to have more. We need to earn more. We aren’t treated fairly. I’m a victim. And on and on…. Chuck Swindoll wrote the following: To learn and implement contentment, you’ll have to fight the popular, demanding urge to conform.”
Try to not conform today, but rather be transformed by God’s grace, and chose contentment. You’ll be glad you did!
In HIS Love,
Pastor Ben

“I’ve got that Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy…”

GracePoint for Today – 10-04-2018
Nehemiah 8:10 – Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
You know how sometimes you think of a song or catchy jingle and then you can’t get it out of your head all day long? Well, I am admittedly going to try to do just that!
“I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart. (where?)
Down in my heart. (where?)
Down in my heart!
I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart…
Down in my heart to stay!”
As Christians, we of all people are supposed to have joy. Joy in our salvation, joy in the Lord, joy in serving, joy in everything! Christian “joy” is that settled and often unexplainable peace deep down in our soul, that the Holy Spirit produces in us as He causes us to see life through the lens of the beauty of Christ. Joy… wonderful joy… explicit joy… amazing joy!
Stop today and appreciate the joy of the Lord. Then remember to sing: “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy….”
Together in His Grace,
Pastor Ben

“Infinite Grace”

01/18/2018
Looking out of the window this morning I saw the lingering patches of snow holding on in the shady places. The myriad of little footprints evidence of the excited squeals and joyful laughter of two days ago as the grandkids played with earnest fervor, all bundled up against the cold but undeterred in their quest to have fun! I love how where we live, snow brings such excitement and anticipation for young and old alike. Rare enough to be welcomed, melting away quickly enough to not become a huge nuisance! (At least for many people anyway.)
Another thing I observed, mixed with those little footprints, was the mud from the ground underneath turning the white of the snow a little dingy. Waking the other morning to the snow on the ground, and the beautiful glistening flakes falling softly down, I thought of the Scripture in Isaiah 1:18 which reads: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” It made me realize that snow that has freshly fallen is about the purest white there is. The contrast to any color laid against it is stark and vivid. It is the same with sin. The contrast between the “stain” of sin and the purity of blood bought forgiveness is intense and clear. Sin stains… the blood of Jesus washes “as white as snow!”
The final thing that comes to my heart and mind as I have pondered these couple of days is what I observed as the snow fell. The flakes were not those big beautiful fluffy, even heavy, snowflakes; but rather (although no less pretty) they were very small, powdery and tiny. So, what’s the big deal about that? Well, as the snow fell, even though the flakes were so small and numerous, just like the big fluffy ones, each and every one was unique! Different, individual, no two exactly alike! As they accumulated on the ground and trees and houses and cars… far too many to count, the thought occurred to me that God, omniscient, magnificent God, knew each one, each pattern, each unique difference… How much more does He care for and KNOW YOU!? Each of us unique, no two exactly alike, each one carefully and lovingly crafted by His Holy hand! Listen my friend, His love for you holds no limit, it holds no bounds, it is more infinite than the infinite number of unique snowflakes that fall everywhere every year for all time!! He loves you!!
One of my favorite songs of the faith goes like this:
“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

 O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song”

 Still amazed by HIS Grace,
Pastor Ben