October 21, 2020


Remember the story of the twin boys? One was an incurable pessimist, the other an optimist. The parents, seeking to balance the two, gave the pessimist a new bike for Christmas and the optimist a bag of horse manure.

Christmas morning came. The parents asked the pessimist, "Do you like your new bike?" He replied, "It's okay, but it will probably rust, and I'll have a wreck and cut myself and probably have to have a tetanus shot...."

Then they said, "Where's your brother?" To which he replied, "Oh, he got all excited and went outside saying something about trying to find his new horse!"

Everybody looks at life from the up or down side. Part of this is personality, but part is FAITH (one of the reasons we need each other.) Paul was a man of incredible faith. As he describes his ministry in 2 Corinthians 4:8-18, he could have taken just one side of the equation, which is what some people do to their great detriment.

I am...

  1. Afflicted in every way
  2. Perplexed
  3. Persecuted
  4. Struck down
  5. Always dying
  6. Constantly being delivered over to death
  7. Death is working in me
  8. Outer man is decaying
  9. Momentary, light affliction

Others view their lives from an eternal, heavenly perspective and say this about their situation.

I am...

  1. Not crushed
  2. Not despairing
  3. Not forsaken
  4. Not destroyed
  5. Life is manifested in my body
  6. Life is coming to others.
  7. Inner man is being renewed day by day


The best possible way to view life as a child of God is to join the two, just as Paul did. This acknowledges the reality of my current condition, but also the reality of God's abundant grace to "overwhelmingly conquer" through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I am...

  1. Afflicted, but not crushed
  2. Perplexed, but not despairing
  3. Persecuted, but not forsaken
  4. Struck down, but not destroyed
  5. Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
  6. So death works in us, but life in you!
  7. Outer man is dying; inner man is being renewed day by day.
  8. Momentary, light affliction, is producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

So how do we get there? How do we maintain a witness of great victory in the midst of the brokenness of the world and the press of ministry? The key is, as always to LOOK UP!

"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we LOOK not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

If your vision is not aerated by heaven's reality you will be overwhelmed and discouraged. The authentic man of faith is a realist—but in both directions. He recognizes the problems, but also the solutions. A realistic view of both earth and heaven makes for a robust faith and gives hope in any situation to everyone who observes us.

Father, thank You for giving us what we need. Thank You that there is no problem that I have that is too big for You—nothing for which You do not have a solution. You work all things together for good to those who are loving You. Help me give a FULL and accurate testimony of my circumstances to bring hope to those around me.


Also in Graceful Truth


October 13, 2021

One of the great hopes of all our lives as followers of Christ is that we can become MORE. More useful, more loving, more gracious, more like Christ, a better witness, etc. Apollos was such a man. We only have five verses in the whole Bible that describe him (Acts 18:24-28), but look at the phrases God uses.

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October 12, 2021

It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.

But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.

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October 07, 2021

My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.

To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.

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