March 21 – Faithfulness – He is for us

Read Romans 8:31-32

Romans 6-8 is probably some of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. Not only is Paul speaking of our life in sin, but he ends with speaking of the power over death and resurrection that Christ has over our lives. It is because of THAT that we cannot be separated from God’s love. It is because of THAT that we have the accessible Spirit of Christ dwelling within us. He fights for us, He covers us, He protects us, He guides us.

The truth of verse 31 goes so much deeper than what we might initially read.

When I was a child, teen, young adult (before I was a surrendered follower of Jesus) and I read this verse, I only thought of the physical harm that I could face. Such as an enemy, mean gossip, unkindness…etc.

However, after I became a follower of Jesus and I read the book of Romans, I found that it is filled with verses upon verses on the spiritual battle we face daily as believers. Paul is reminding us that, because we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within, we are loved beyond measure. No evil can stand against the power of Christ.

I think back to when we had a miscarriage years ago. It definitely and definitely challenged my faith. However, the beauty of being a follower of Jesus is that, even in those hard moments, hours, and days, Christ dwelled within Jake and I. He held us and continues to hold us. He understood/understands my heartache. He allowed me the space to be still and just reflect on what had happened. And then… something wonderful continues to happen.

I am reminded of His love and that not even my sadness and heartache will separate me from Him. That even though it is hard in this life, our baby’s life is where it was truly intended to be –  with Him. That in and of itself is Christ being for me and for our child.

I remember about 10 years ago, I loved the idea of being on the potter’s wheel. I craved conviction and revelation because I knew that, in the brokenness of my life, God was making something beautiful out of it. He doesn’t promise sunshine, rainbows and happy times…He promises Himself through it all.

He is faithful in showing up. No matter what happens, no matter what you are going through or whatever situation you are walking through, be reminded that He is for you. He is taking the brokenness you may be facing and helping you experience the beauty of His glory.

Kelly Lawson

March 20 – Faithfulness – He heals us – One person’s story

Read Psalm 34:17-19, Isaiah 41:10 and 1 Peter 5:10

In February of 2016 I was diagnosed with MDS, sometimes referred to as pre-leukemia. Let’s just call it cancer. In 2003 my sister, my only sibling, died of cancer and, after a few months of watching cell levels go lower and lower, I have to say I was afraid. I was confident that, when I died, I would be in Heaven with Jesus but I was afraid of the process of dying. I just plain didn’t want to die.

A good friend heard about my situation and came over to encourage me. He took my Bible and marked Psalm 34:17 – 19. This meant so much to me because I was “crushed in spirit”. This caused me to start writing and reading encouraging verses every day, memorizing many of them. This, in conjunction with so many people praying for me, started making a positive difference.

I needed a bone marrow transplant but the doctors couldn’t find an appropriate donor. They finally decided to use my youngest daughter and set a transplant date.

I had been battling depression through this process and knew I needed to hand it all over to Jesus, trusting Him completely. November of 2017, 3 months before the transplant, I was listening to a message on fully trusting Jesus. He said the first step was to have a pure heart. This caused me to literally get on my knees and start taking responsibility for things in my past, confessing and asking for forgiveness in a way I had never done before. It was literally as though a tremendous weight was lifted from my shoulders. I was no longer so down and I had much more hope. I since have prayed hundreds of times that He would lift me up and He always does (Isaiah 41:10).

This is really just the beginning of the story. I would love to spend hours giving much more detail of God’s faithfulness during my healing but here is the abbreviated version.

February 2018, I had the transplant, which requires a lengthy recovery period and a lot of faith as they wipe out your immune system and your body’s ability to produce blood cells. God brought me through the transplant and recovery amazingly well with few side effects. I was able to start working some about the middle of May.

All was well until early July when I contracted pneumonia and spent several weeks in the hospital. I found out later that all of the doctors but one had given up on me when I was in the ICU. But God healed me so quickly that they were amazed and couldn’t explain it. We knew it was God.

Another bout of pneumonia came in Jan of 2020 that had me back on quite a bit of oxygen. I left the hospital and came home, still needing oxygen. God did it again and I’ve experienced a complete 180 over the past year in spite of COVID. Praise God!

So, my advice, when you’re in trouble, is to turn to our Heavenly Father and trust Him completely. You may have to turn to Him every hour of every day but that’s OK. He will never leave you or forsake you (1 Peter 5:10).

I don’t know God’s timing on this for you, maybe not even in this life. But, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I know He will fulfill this promise for you!

Mike Molter

March 19 – Faithfulness – He heals us

Read Psalm 41:3

“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”

Psalm 41:1

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…”

Psalm 103:2 – 3

Does God still heal people?

Let’s start by looking at just a couple of His promises.

First, we need to look at who this was written to – It was written to Israel (God’s children). So, does this apply to followers of Jesus Christ? I believe it does. The Bible tells us that Christians have been “in-grafted” into the family of God and become adopted children of God (Romans 11:11-24).

So how does God do the healing?

There are many ways, one of which would be direct healing.

Another way, which I’m familiar with, is by using doctors and other medical professionals and what we think of as modern medicine.

I’ve also seen how God uses other people to help in the healing process. This can be as simple as just taking a meal, visiting someone and certainly praying for people. I’ve experienced God’s love through the caring and service of just “ordinary” people.

So why doesn’t God heal all of His children?

Well, I don’t know.

But what I do know is we can trust in His love and His plan. I completely believe He can take anything and use it for His glory and the good of those who love Him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who i have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

I’ve seen how God can use the trouble in my life to help others. When people know you have been through or are going through something similar to what they are going through, you can often be a much more effective helper, encourager and prayer. I also find that I’m lifted up when I’m helping someone else.

Another “benefit” of not being healed right away is growing much closer to God. My trust in God has really increased as a result of a recent and serious illness. This has been especially true when I didn’t know if I was going to be healed.

Something else is how I view the focus and purpose of my life. I’ve wrestled with Paul’s view of his life. “To live is Christ and to die is gain”. I’m closer to understanding that statement on a personal level.

So, if you’re in need of healing, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, please turn to Jesus. He went through much rejection and suffering so He can relate to your situation.

I believe He will lift you up.

If you’re doing well, please pray about who you can help and how.

You could be an instrument of God’s love!

Mike Molter

March 18 – Hard Questions 2.0 – How to answer hard questions

Read James 1:19 and Colossians 3:12

One of the worst failings of my Christian walk was how I handled an attempt to share the Gospel with a close family member. My attempt was indignation cloaked in understanding, and superiority masked as empathy. Not surprisingly, it was ineffective. The fallout from that was years of separation, accompanied by broken trust which may never be completely repaired.  As I reflect on that situation, the primary thing that I failed to understand was that my family member had been wrestling with extremely deep, complex, and significant questions. They were crying out for wisdom and understanding, compassion and attention, and I trivialized their questions and misinterpreted their intent.

In our Christian walk, when we come across hard questions, I believe there are best ways to handle them. 

To start with, we must NOT be afraid to ask hard questions, and as Christians, we MUST acknowledge them. We cannot be lazy, and must seek the answers! If God is who He says He is and all wisdom is found in Christ, then we need not be afraid of being stumped. Ask God to reveal truth to you… it is the promised work of the Holy Spirit! 

In today’s passage, we are instructed to be “Quick to listen”, and “Slow to speak”.  Before telling a fellow brother or sister how they should think about a tough question, command yourself to be silent and listen FIRST. Listen to God, listen to that person’s heart and perspective. You may see evidence of God already at work in their life, and it’s usually more successful when you are partnering with God as opposed to trying to run out in front of Him!  

Secondly, you MUST be familiar with, and seek guidance from His Word. The Bible is the PRIMARY way in which God has revealed Himself to us today.  Combined with Creation and the gift of Jesus, God’s desire to be known to us is wrapped up in His perfect Word. Any answer to any difficult questions MUST be grounded in Scripture, for it to bear any semblance to the truth.  

What if you aren’t all that familiar with Scripture and don’t know where to look? There’s instruction for that as well… seek WISE COUNSEL.  This means to find another person, be it a friend, family member, pastor, co-worker, who is perhaps more able to help discern the best way to minister to a question you or someone you care about is struggling with.  God designed us to live in community, and part of the beautiful design is how He uses His peoples’ lives to build experiences and perspectives that help the church minister to a hurting world… ask God to show you someone who can help!  

Grace Church is here to walk with you through these types of situations!  There are small groups, Sunday school classes, ministries, and multiple pastors at Grace Church available to help find God’s will in everyday life, and to encourage those seeking God’s way in their life. Let’s not be afraid to ask tough questions, let’s be diligent and zealous in seeking answers, and let’s help those around us find peace through the wisdom offered by Jesus!

Craig French

March 17 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why should I think that Heaven really exists and that God sends people to Hell?”

Read Ecclesiastes 3:11, John 14:2-3 and Matthew 13:41-43

As I write this, I reflect that yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my dad’s passing from this world into his glorious new life with his Savior, Jesus. I opened my Bible to read today’s reading and, in the margin of John 14, I had written the name “Dad” as this was one of his favorite passages.

The Bible speaks countless times on the subject of both Heaven and Hell. There is no disputing that life on earth is temporary. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 5 and the writer of Hebrews (9:27) says that it is appointed unto men once to die.

But what lies beyond the grave?

How can we know for certain that Heaven and Hell exist? How do we know where we will spend eternity?

On the eve of His death, Jesus explained to His disciples that He would not be with them much longer. Peter, in his eagerness, questioned where Jesus was going and why he couldn’t come with Him. In this context, Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of Heaven, assuring them that where He was going, they would be also. Thomas, the evidence seeker of the group, wanted to make sure he knew the way. Jesus said to him:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

There is no other way to Heaven than through His son, Jesus. Jesus is not a way. He is the way. Paul says that although our earthly house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1,8). 

However, because of sin, we all deserve the wrath of God. For all have sinned (disobeyed God) and have fallen short of God’s glory. And the wages (consequences) of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).

Perhaps the question we should ask is why wouldn’t God send people to Hell? What incredible grace (getting what we don’t deserve) and mercy (not getting what we do deserve) has been given to us through Jesus!

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5:8

His death satisfied God’s wrath and His resurrection from the dead conquered death and gives us new life – not only here on earth, but life eternal with Him after the grave.

For the past nine years my dad has been living in a very real place- Heaven. The day of his memorial service we sang one of his favorite hymns and, for the rest of my days here on earth, I, too, am living in “Blessed Assurance”.

How does what you read influence your view of God? Grace? In what way can you be joyous about our future in Heaven, as believers, and still be evangelistic towards the lost?

Charlene Engle

March 16 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “How can I trust in Christianity when so many Christians are hypocrites?”

Read Romans 3:23, Hebrews 12:2 and Matthew 23:1-36

The 2020 census taken by the US government tells us that over 70% of Americans identify as Christian. That means that when someone cuts you off in traffic, or is unkind to you at the store, or gossips about you online, there is a 70% chance that person is a Christian! With the wrong behaviors seen in our communities on a daily basis, it becomes quite clear that everyone, even Christians, are frequent offenders.

What does this say about the Church? What does this say about God?

Why should one trust the Christian church when it doesn’t seem to be working?

For starters, let’s remember another one of today’s verses; ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. “All” means “ALL”, as in “everyone”.) It’s important for those in the church to remember that passage to avoid notions of moral superiority and the need to condemn non-church-goers.  Christians should be screaming from the mountaintops; “I’M KNOW THAT I’M NOT PERFECT! I JUST KNOW THAT I’M FORGIVEN!” It’s important for those outside the church to understand that Christians identify as SINNERS saved by God’s grace. Expecting Christians to be morally perfect is unfair; it reveals a profound misunderstanding of who Christians are and how Christianity works.

Christians were sinners FIRST! 

In today’s lengthy passage in Matthew, try to imagine how cutting Jesus’ words were to the religious leaders of the day.  He repeatedly called them “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, “blind guides”, “blind fools”. These were political and religious leaders of the day; people who believed in God, endeavored to live for Him.

Jesus lit them up!

It’s easy to identify the sin of previous generations when we read about it in a book, or hear a description of a people’s past moral failing. C.S. Lewis calls it “chronological snobbery”. In 2023, are we so arrogant to think that any American church isn’t deserving of the same tongue-lashing?  

So then, why is this belief system to be trusted? How can Christianity be the solution, when those who know the solution seem so screwed up?  It’s because of the One who authored our faith – JESUS! HE said that He was the way to the Father, in spite of our sins. He lived a perfect, sinless, earthly life, and was crucified as a criminal anyway. He promised to defeat death, and rose back to life. Christians aren’t Jesus; they POINT to Jesus. The church isn’t the authority, it shows us in whom real authority resides.  Sin doesn’t point to an absence of God; it points to the NEED for God.  

If you are in a church, or are watching a church where hypocrisy is ripe, remember that the failings of the Christians are not the failings of the Christ. There’s no magic morality pill that fixes a person’s bad attitudes, bad habits, or wrong behaviors. What can be trusted is our Lord Jesus, “who endured the cross, despising the shame” made necessary by the past, present, and future failings of Christians worldwide.

Don’t judge Christianity by the temporal failures of its Christians; instead, judge it by the perfect sacrifice of its Savior!

Craig French

March 15 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why do you condemn homosexuality? I thought God created and loves everyone?”

Read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and Genesis 2:24

A buddy of mine is a die-hard sports fan and once asked me to go to one of his favorite team’s games. Now, I personally could care less about who won but thought it would be a fun experience. This particular game, his team lost to a team they should easily have beat, leaving fans frustrated and even enraged.

As we were walking to my car in the parking garage, my friend was irate to say the least. He was yelling at the team, the city, the stadium…the whole 9 yards. The game’s outcome led him to condemn this particular city and the team within it.

It genuinely makes me sick to my stomach that many Christians have the same approach to dealing with homosexuality. We picket physically and blast digitally to the point that you can’t blame people for having a sour taste in their mouths whenever they think or hear about Christianity. We even take it upon ourselves to condemn people to Hell.

Logically, people are led to ask why we, as Christians, condemn homosexuality because, after all, God created and loves everyone.

First, I want to answer the question directly and then talk about what we believe about homosexuality and why.

The answer to the question is very simple:

It’s not our job to condemn anyone.

To take it a step further, consider the words of John 3:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Jesus wasn’t even sent to condemn the world, so why would we think that’s our job?

People quote the truth of Genesis 2:24 and use it as ammo to attack other people:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

While, yes, that is what we believe, it is easy for us to lose sight of our goal when interacting with people with different viewpoints, which is to close the gap between God and them…not push it farther away.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

God wants people to come to a knowledge of truth, period. Us berating people, either online or in person, is not going to accomplish that goal.

It’s only going to further the gap we are fighting to close.

The goal is to fight against sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Lust is a sin. Anger can be a sin. Using your words to tear others down is a sin. Binge eating is a sin. Self-harm is a sin. Pride is a sin.

Our job isn’t to condemn. Our job is to draw others to a personal relationship with Jesus.

Who can you reach out to today and encourage to pursue such a relationship? Who have you condemned, regardless of the sin, that you need to ask for their forgiveness? How can you fight for godly relationships and encourage others to do the same?

Jake Lawson

March 14 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”

Read Genesis 1:26-27 and Psalm 139:13-17

We live in a world where we are told we can be whoever we want to be and can change our bodies however we feel fit. Whether it be social media, news or television, this notion of “do whatever makes you happy or makes you feel like your authentic self” is such a loud message.

When answering the question, “Why can’t I be left alone to make my own choices for my own body?”, we have to remember that our bodies are not our own and so much more is at stake.

When you are a follower of Jesus, His Word is our guiding light in this broken world and there are certain standards set before us.

Observing what is written in Genesis and Psalms, we have to notice that there is a sense of authority which begs this question:

“Whose are you?”

There is such power in both of these verses because the Lord looks at His creation and, after calling it good, acknowledges there is need for more. He creates man with a standard, a purpose and authority over His creation. With creating man, Psalm 139 reminds us that He knew us before we were even a thought in our parents’ minds.

There is such care and love in these perspectives that it is hard to not see that God knows us best. With knowing us best, He also sees the purpose that our lives hold.

I remember sitting in Bible school when studying Leviticus 19 and the topic of tattoos came up.

Our pastor and teacher went on to give us the perspective contextually what the Lord was telling Moses, but gave us a principle from that passage that stays with me to this day.

He stated, “We must understand that every choice we make with our body will have consequences. Good or bad. We need to remember that our definition of good and bad is different than God’s. If you were called to be a missionary in a certain country and you had tattoos, that would cause a barrier between you and the purpose God called for your life. It limits what He can do with you.”

Think about that. If we did whatever we wanted with our bodies, it has the potential to limit what the Lord’s intent on our life is.

When you look at your body without the perspective of the Lord’s authority, it can very easily be difficult to not understand that His standards for your life and your body are holy.

So, I ask again, whose are you?

Who holds authority over your life, your choices, your body? Are you being a good steward of it?

Kelly Lawson

March 13 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “How can a good God allow evil, pain and suffering? Doesn’t He care?”

Read Romans 1:18-32, 6:23

If we’re all honest with ourselves, pain and suffering amongst God’s people is one of the most difficult concepts to reconcile with a just and loving God. On one hand, we hear that God promises to wipe every tear from our eye, and mend every broken heart. 


Ok; turn on the news. Hear about a bad medical diagnosis. How can a loving God allow all of this? If God is good, and God is love, then how is there so much evil and brokenness?  

Our passage today answers the question very succinctly.  SPOILER; it’s because SIN is not God’s way, and time and again, mankind has chosen OUR way over GOD’S way.  Here are a few highlights from Romans;

“God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…”

“(We) worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator”

“God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done”.

The beginning of understanding evil, pain and suffering begins with our SIN.  When God gives us directives, it is for OUR GOOD.  When we miss God’s mark, when we choose our own way over HIS way, there are natural consequences.  When looking at a broken, hurting world, remember that all of that brokenness is the result of people’s sin; choosing something opposite of God’s way. 

This still doesn’t explain why God allows sin. Think back to the garden with Adam and Eve.  They knew they weren’t supposed to eat the fruit, and ate it anyway. 

Did God allow them that choice?

God has many attributes; one is that He is JUST; and that means that God is RIGHT when he makes a judgment. God’s perfect justice implies that there is right and wrong to choose from. We also know that God desires relationship; what God desires most from us is our heart; our devotion. His desire to relate to us is part of the reason that we pray, part of the reason He sent His son to dwell amongst us, part of the reason He gave us His creation to enjoy. God allows sin as a means of teaching us that His way is BETTER.  The Holy Spirit uses sin to orient us towards Jesus…a broken, fallen world is part of what points to a BETTER WAY.

If you are struggling with this concept; start by acknowledging that you are NOT God, and, thus, need His wisdom and grace. Remember that He planned for evil, pain and suffering…His promises to walk through it WITH us are proof of that! If you are enduring something horrific, remember God has promised to “work all things for the good of those who love Him.” Evil and suffering isn’t proof that God is non-existent; rather, the good that flows out of the horrible circumstances shows the true character of an all-powerful, gracious God who wants us to trust Him. 

Stop looking at the pain, and start looking for what God is doing with it! 

Craig French

March 12 – Hard Questions 2.0 – “Everyone knows Jesus was a good man and wise teacher…but Son of God?”

Read John 10:25, 33 and Mark 14:61

I’ve heard it said, more than once, that Jesus was a great man, teacher and prophet.

However, Jesus clearly claimed to be God in many places in the Bible!

In John 10, there is a group of Jews around Jesus and they say to Him: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” In verse 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” Then in verse 33, in answer to Jesus asking for what miracles were they stoning Him, their answer was “We are not stoning you for any of these” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

Another time Jesus claims to be God is in Mark 14 when standing trial before the religious leaders. In verse 61, the high priest asks Jesus “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?”

“I am” said Jesus. The people listening all knew Jesus was claiming to be God so they condemned Him to death.

These are just two examples of Jesus claiming to be God, there are others.

So, what do we do with this?

Jesus didn’t say He was a teacher or a prophet, He says “I am God!”

If I were to tell you “I am God”, what would you think of me? You’d probably think I was crazy and you would be right. With Jesus, there is no middle ground, He either was and is God OR He was a lunatic!

Enough with this stuff that He was just a good man and a good teacher. Jesus claimed to be God and He proved it by dying on the cross and then raising from the dead after three days, just as He said He would!

Jesus also said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

So, the ball is now in our court. We can choose to believe that Jesus is God or that He was just a man. Not deciding is the same as not believing.

Our eternity hangs in the balance and if Jesus is God, which I totally believe He is, then He is the only way to peace with God the Father and therefore the only way to heaven.

What are YOU going to do with Jesus? What place is He going to have in your life? What impact does Jesus being God have on your outlook on faith?

Mike Molter