How To Win Every Battle!

Reading: Psalm 59:10 “My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”

Are you struggling with uncertainty, fear, discouragement, or just feel like the world is against you?

In the context of this Psalm, David is running for his life. King Saul is hunting him down like a criminal. At this point, Saul sent men to do a stakeout on David’s house with the intent of killing him as soon as he shows his face. Of course, David hasn’t done anything wrong. He is trusting God to make things right – to level the playing field – to defend him against his enemies that are unjustly prosecuting him.

In this moment of uncertainty, fear, and totally unfair treatment, David knows that God will meet him right there in that place. David draws on the revelation of God’s unfailing love. He taps into the steadfast love of God knowing that he’s not alone in his battle. He knows deep down that there’s a love from God that brings security, peace and justice. He knows that because he is loved by God with an unconditional and unending love, he will see victory over his enemies.

I know for sure I’m not perfect and neither are you. Sometimes we make choices that land us facing an enemy (problem, challenge, fear) with our backs against the wall. Sometimes we land there because of circumstances beyond our control. But in any case, it is possible to win every battle when you stand in faith with God! You win because God is with you. You win because God’s love for you is steadfast, immovable. You win because God always wins! 

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I know you want to beat it. I know you feel like you’re losing the battle, but you want to win. I know you feel like it’s unfair and hopeless. But I also know this; God will grant you to look in triumph over your situation. I know this because God never loses a battle. If your faith is in him, rest assured that he is with you and you will never lose either!

Keep REACHING FORWARD today! Victory is coming to you!

 

The Supreme Court on Marriage and Independence Day!

flagI join the ranks of many who are disappointed by the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage. Although there is no court in the land that can change the definition of marriage, they have certainly opened a door for a culture shift away from true marriage, which has served as a healthy foundation to our society for centuries. I’m amazed that such a change can come about from only five “unelected” individuals. As much as I honor the position and role of the Supreme Court, they do not speak for the majority of Americans nor should they. This decision is not about equality, I believe in equality. This decision is not about justice, I believe in justice. This decision is not about rights and benefits, I believe in both. This decision is about a fundamental shift in our culture that is revolting more and more aggressively against the moral values and beliefs our great country was founded upon.

Love Covers Sin and Reveals Truth!

In spite of the disheartening moral decline we see happening around us, we must stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That means we communicate and treat others with love and respect. It does not mean we zip our lips and pretend nothing is happening. At LifeBridge Tyler Church, we will have compassion and mercy for people far from God including those with whom we disagree, while living a life that represents the gospel of Christ. We will invite people to find salvation at the cross, which involves repentance and growing in relationship with Jesus. Love, in and of itself, is not enough. To come to Jesus involves repentance and we will never water down or compromise that message for the sake of love and “acceptance.” Truth is the highest form of love, because when you know the truth, the truth shall set you free (John 8:32). Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). No amount of humanistic love will ever change that truth. Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8), but it does not cover truth, it reveals it.

Only Jesus can Transform the Human Heart!

Nevertheless, we will not judge hearts or motives, we will not throw stones of condemnation, we will not stiff arm people who need Jesus. We will not communicate our passionate beliefs through insensitive and emotional knee-jerk reactions. We will open our arms and hearts to welcome those who are seeking forgiveness, love, and eternal life. Moreover, we will continue to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that serves God’s purpose of bringing people to salvation and repentance. Only Jesus can transform the human heart and it is to that end that we live and grow together.

Why our Country is the Greatest!

Finally, as we move into the celebration of our 239th Independence Day, I want to encourage everyone to reflect on the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world. It’s great because of the values and moral integrity that have served as its foundation. Our country is great because of great people who have had the courage to stand and fight in the face of adversity and persecution. Our country is great because of people like YOU who have a heart to see our country continue in greatness for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
So I urge all people everywhere to celebrate the freedom of our independence and what we stand for while upholding the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to do so in love and truth.
Keep REACHING FORWARD for God’s best in your life and help others do the same!
Scott Grizzle

Beyond Failure

Failure. We’ve all been there. We hate it when it happens and we never want to go back. But then it happens again. We find ourselves facing some of our worst enemies; shame, guilt, embarrassment, frustration, low self-worth and so on. In the face of failure, most of us ask questions like, who have I failed, how did I fail and why did I fail. However, the most important question we can ask is “how will I respond?” This question is the one that will affect your future.

I read somewhere recently (forgive me for not recalling the source) that when Australia was being formed the leaders gathered to design a crest that would resemble who they wanted to become as a people. They chose two animals, a kangaroo and an emu, that would face on another on the crest. These two animals have something unique in common. Both are able to glance backwards briefly to get their bearing but they keep moving forward. In fact, it’s said they can run up to 30mph but can’t even walk backwards. Australia wanted to become a people who continues moving forward.

Failure can often keep us living in the past beating ourselves up for our mistakes. If we’re not careful, we can begin to define ourselves through the lens of our failures rather than through the lens of our potential. Here’s what I know that’s true for me and you…

You’re bigger and better than your last failure!

Consider the kangaroo and do these two things to get beyond failure.

1. Glance backward to learn from the experience. 

You have to know in your heart that failure is not about your worth or value as a person. Failure is most often about a decision, action and/or circumstance. We all make mistakes because mistakes are part of the process of growing our faith and increasing our potential. Glance back and ask God to show you what to take with you and what to leave behind, but don’t stop.

2. Keep moving forward. 

Don’t stop moving forward. Failure is not the enemy unless you stop moving forward. Allow failure to propel you forward into a fresh momentum that is now better informed, equipped and prepared for new opportunities. You have to live your life forward not backward.

Philippians 3:13 (NASB)
13  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Keep REACHING FORWARD in your failures and see them as part of growing your potential for great things to come.

Consider the kangaroo!

When Doubts Are Many

Doubts. We all have them and they are many. Doubt is nothing more than to be uncertain about something. It’s like standing on a frozen pond when you’re uncertain about the depth or strength of the ice. Will it hold me up? Will it collapse under the weight? What idoubtsf…? How will I…? Have you been there?

We are haunted by uncertainties because we live in such an uncertain and ever-changing world. We’re surrounded by injustice, betrayal, wickedness and disappointment. We question the solidarity of our relationships, jobs, health and future. What we know to be true one day proves to be false the next. Doubts. We all have them and they are many.

The longer you focus on the potential failure of the ice the greater the fear and doubt will become.

Followers of Christ have a different focus. We know that God never changes. He is always true and faithful and never effected by our circumstances. No matter who betrays us, God will never leave us. No matter what fails us, God will remain faithful. When we are weak, He gives us strength. When we are sad, He gives us joy.

When we have doubts, though they are many, He comforts our soul and brings us good cheer from the promises of His word and the faithfulness of His character.

Keep REACHING FORWARD today knowing that God is there when you have doubts. Take comfort in knowing He changes not.

How do I Give “IT” to God?

ImageEarly in my life as a Christian I would hear people say “you just have to give it to God!” I often wondered what it meant to “give it to God” and exactly how I should go about it. I can’t blame others since I’m guilty of telling people the same thing. Most people are sincere when they give us advice such as this with a heart that’s saying “only God can resolve your situation.” However, our sincerity doesn’t change the fact that we often give people advice using our “christianese” without ensuring that they really understand what that means.

As a pastor, I often talk to people who say they have tried to give “it” to God, but they just don’t know how. What we’re ultimately talking about is surrendering something to God that we have allowed to take his place. That could be anything from blatant sin to trying to control our circumstances and outcomes without trusting God as we should. Before we can know how to give “IT” to God, we first have to define what “IT” is that we need to give up.

Just What Exactly is “IT?”

Most people are trying to give their struggle, their heartache, their problems, or their pain over to God. The problem with this humanistic viewpoint is that we are still the ones in control. In order for us to obtain the power to give “IT” over to God, we have to relinquish control and embrace God’s grace. We have to first give up the need to control whatever “IT” is and allow God’s grace to enter our hearts. In other words, the “IT” that we need to give to God is not the “IT” that’s bothering us; rather, the “IT” we need to surrender to God is our own efforts to control “IT.” The problem with humanity from the beginning has been our own ideas and efforts of how to control everything in our lives. In other words, we make ourselves God. Therefore, in order to give “IT” to God, we have to relinquish control and do it God’s way.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel. ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

1. Repent

First we must repent and return to the Lord. Repent means to turn from our way of thinking and turn to the Lord’s way. The Lord’s way always begins with repentance. We repent (turn from) our attempt to control everything in our lives. We repent (turn from) doing things our way and allow God’s grace to fill our hearts. When we are struggling the most, repentance is the one thing that God promises will bring his presence and times of refreshing (see Acts 3:19-20).

2. Trust

Once we have repented and relinquished our attempts to control our circumstances, then we can trust God to catch us! We can trust God to catch us when we let go and venture into the unknown. Once we repent and experience His grace, we can freely trust His timing, provision, and direction for our lives. The one thing we can completely trust God with is our future because He wrote it!

If you need to give “IT” to God today, I encourage you to start with repentance and allow Him to fill you and empower you by His grace! You will experience the presence of the Lord, a time of refreshing and the ability to trust Him with your life!

Keep REACHING FORWARD in your journey and allow Him to be in the driver’s seat! Trust Him! You’ll never regret it!

Feel free to share!

Why Faith in God is Foundational to Health and Wholeness

believeThe older I get the more aware I become of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t take one long to realize the epidemic proportions of various illnesses and diseases that plague our society. In fact, my guess is that most people need not look any further than their own family to see evidence of the top three causes of death in 2011. The top three causes of death in 2011 according to the National Vital Statistics Report released on October 10, 2012 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are (1) heart disease, (2) cancer, and (3) chronic lower respiratory diseases. Also included in the top 12 are stroke, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia and chronic liver disease.

Every day at any given time you can turn on the radio or television and tune in to a program that is discussing strategies for living a healthy lifestyle. In a matter of seconds, the internet can deliver more information pertaining to health and fitness than one can reasonably absorb. It is true that not all information publicized on the internet or in any other form of media can be reliable and trustworthy. Nevertheless, all people with a little due diligence can obtain the information necessary to live a relatively healthy lifestyle. However, this discussion is not geared toward the wealth of information that is at our fingertips regarding healthy living; rather, it is designed to highlight how faith in God is foundational to health and wholeness. Please note that I am not suggesting that faith in God is somehow a “magic answer” to sickness and disease; nor am I suggesting that lack of faith is the cause of such illnesses.

Understanding the source of sickness and disease

It is necessary to have a general understanding of the source of sickness in order to fully understand the role that faith in God plays in the context of sickness and disease. Most people will agree that sickness and disease comes from the chemicals in our foods, eating the wrong kinds of foods, genetics and lack of exercise. I agree that these are all contributing factors; however, none of them are solely responsible for the sickness that people endure.

The problem with sickness began when sin entered the world through the disobedience of man causing separation between God and man and the corruption of all things. Genesis 2:16-17 records “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The story continues in Genesis chapter 3 when the serpent deceived Eve into eating of the so called forbidden fruit. Adam was enticed by Eve and he also ate. This act of disobedience caused sin to enter the world, which resulted in two types of death: spiritual and physical. Adam and Eve did not experience immediate physical death, but the process of physical death began. Genesis 3:19 records “…till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Sin caused sickness and disease to enter the world and bring corruption to our bodies. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Moreover, Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is where we shift to the good news!

The source of health and wholeness

In spite of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, God immediately extended his grace. The process of redemption began by the grace of God, which was fulfilled in the sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 says “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

Jesus purchased the solution to sin and death and provided freedom and wholeness. Jesus is the only answer to health in the whole person; spirit, soul and body. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith in Christ for health and wholeness includes exercising wisdom and doing the things that knowledge and common sense dictate. Having faith means taking care of ourselves to glorify God in our bodies.

The reason that faith in God is key to health and wholeness is because our faith dictates that we do what we are supposed to do while trusting God for the outcome.

Moreover, faith continues to believe even when the outcome is not what we expect. Faith will only work if we understand that it’s the Lord we believe in and not the reward. When our trust is in him, he will give us the wisdom and the power we need through faith to live life in health and wholeness.

The overall point is that God is our source!

1. God is the source of all wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The wisdom we need to take care of ourselves and obtain healing comes from faith in the one who possesses all wisdom.

2. God is the source of all healing. (Psalm 103:3) God not only forgives all of our sins, but he heals all our diseases. Here we have to understand based on the source of sin and sickness that God is the only full and final solution.

3. God is the source of life. (John 14:6) Jesus said clearly that he is the way, the truth and the life. This means that faith in Christ not only results in eternal life, but abundant life while on this earth.

Although there are things that happen beyond our control that cannot be explained, we can trust that the word of God is true and his love will never fail us. Keep REACHING FORWARD for health and wholeness in your life.