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E-zine Volume 3, Issue 3

Be a Light!

Let your light shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Every professed believer in Christ maintains a public testimony before others whether we realize it or not. How we choose to live our lives is always under public review. Our chosen lifestyle continuously sends a message to others reflecting our personal relationship to Christ. Our works speak words long before we ever open our mouths to vocally share Him with others.  To maintain a constant awareness that we are being watched and live a life filled with good works will always result in shining a bright light upon our heavenly Father and His gospel. However, it is always good to open our mouths and speak.  

We are excited about the seventh annual Glimpses of Grace Conference coming up at the end of the month. We hope you will join us for worship, praise and fellowship. See the flyer below for more information,

Continue to pray for Mike Moore – the editor of our Ezine magazine. He is fighting a battle to recover from a serious back surgery.

Links to articles in this edition of the Glimpses Ezine:

Ducks – Jessica Moore Otto, in her “Front Porch Living,” says we can learn a lot from a duck

Copy That – Danny Forrest’s second article in his Kingdom Stories: Guardians of the Gospel

Buckets of Grace – Tanya Moore shares how God has revealed His grace in her life through difficult times

Moore Thoughts – Mike Moore reflects on his recent surgery and hospitalization

The Church in Decline – Dick Hill says that many believers are not willing to invest in the time and teaching necessary for growth

Well Said– notable quotes

Glimpses Conference 2019– Register today! We hope you will join us May 31-June 1. 

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Credits:

Richard J. Hill, Editor-in-Chief

Michael L. Moore, Editor

Linda Hill, Design Editor

Contact Info:

Glimpses of Grace, 2587 Attala Road 1153, Kosciusko, MS 39090

www.glimpsesofgrace.org

(662) 347-8291 (727) 458-1813

Glimpses of Grace Board Members:

Richard J. Hill, Linda Hill, Danny Forrest, John Howell Jr., Quinn Hill, Michael L. Moore, Ken Sheppard

Copyright 2019 by Glimpses of Grace, a 501(c)3 ministry.

 

 

Born into God’s Kingdom

There can be no birth without seed. God has given us a can’t miss over the top object lesson of the only way to get into His kingdom.  How does one get into this world after God’s creation of Adam and Eve?  One must be born into it. One cannot get into this world any other way. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply – and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). And they did and are continuing to do. So how does one get into God’s coming kingdom? As incredible as this may sound, one must be born into it. One must experience a new birth, a heavenly birth.   

Consider the now familiar conversation between an extremely religious and highly educated Pharisee named Nicodemus and a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus.  It is true that familiarity may cause us to read over and miss the important meaning of some parts of this meeting. The scene opens with Nicodemus (from now on I will refer to him as Nick), a religious ruler of the Jews coming to visit Jesus for an evening chat.

Nick most likely chose to meet with this stranger at night, because as a ruler among the Jews he may have been more than just a little uncomfortable with the idea of meeting publicly with Jesus. What would people say if the two were seen together. What would Nick’s family, friends, and fellow Pharisees think?

After all, Jesus was from Nazareth, which was in this elite Pharisee’s thinking, a backwoods shanty area. Nick on the other hand was from Jerusalem, the capitol city of Judaism. Jesus was poor, a carpenter, the son of a carpenter. Nick was a wealthy aristocrat. Jesus had no religious pedigree or formal religious training of any kind. Nick was a highly decorated member of the religious establishment. To say that there was a social barrier separating them would be an understatement. It was more like a chasm.  Meeting under the cover of darkness away from any possible appearance of befriending and, perish the thought, supporting this strange character, appeared to be a wise move on Nick’s part. 

Nick broke the ice by flattering Jesus. “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher come from God, for man cannot do the signs that you do unless God is with Him” (John 3:1-2).

He called Jesus a rabbi, a teacher. It was as though Nick was conferring on Jesus some complimentary status. By his use of the words “we know,” he implied that his fellow Pharisees also recognized that Jesus was from God. The reason? No one could perform the miracles that Jesus was doing without God’s help.  This reveals that the religious establishment knew that Christ’s miracles were not fake. This was a good way to start this meeting. 

Jesus no doubt stunned the Pharisee with the very first words out of His mouth. “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”(John 3:3). To say it like many in the south, Jesus cut right to the chase. There was no recorded positive gesture on Jesus’ part to Nick’s compliment.  He did not thank Nick for his gracious words. This was not the time for politics. Jesus knew the value of this meeting – a meeting that would be reviewed and re-reviewed countless times down through history.

He knew that every word would be hashed over and over, again and again. Jesus told the very religious Pharisee that unless he experienced a new birth, he would not enter the kingdom of God. It appears at first that Jesus words were harsh and abrupt. His words were not abrupt if, in fact, Jesus knew that Nick had been thinking about God’s kingdom. How is this possible? John had just before written that Jesus had no need that anyone testify of man because He already knew what all were thinking(John 2: 24-25). Surely this included Nick. Jesus stepped right into Nick’s thoughts.

The Greek words for “born again,” are genesia anathen,or a birth that comes from above, or said another way, a heavenly birth. There may have been a sudden spike in Nick’s blood pressure. Not necessarily because of what Jesus said, but because of the fact that Jesus had read his mind.

Our Lord’s deep underlying point behind His born-again words is that a natural fleshly sinful person affected by the fall of Adam must be made a heavenly spiritual person in order to enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). 

One will never move from the realm of this human flesh and blood world into God’s spiritual unseen world without this birth. We are born into this world having a physical body.  Within our bodies God has placed an invisible soul and human spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The soul and spirit are the real “us” within our human frame. It is the part of us that no one can truly understand but us and God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

This human spirit is God’s image implanted within us. This invisible image remains locked in this earthly shell until we die.  One day we are destined to shed this earthly tent – this body – and be jettisoned from this earthly world to spend eternity in God’s kingdom or in hell – forever.  Our spiritual destination is determined by the truth unpacked by these powerful words of Jesus Christ. “Unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  

Overwhelmingly implied is that one cannot earn his way to God’s kingdom by becoming a better person, or keeping God’s commands, or joining a particular religious group, or having a religious experience, or giving money to the poor, or saying prayers, or doing many wonderful works. I mention these things because being a Pharisee, keeping God’s law, was never far from Nick’s thinking. He probably loved God’s law and was depending upon that love to get him into God’s kingdom.  

Expanding further on what many have come to believe will get us into God’s kingdom are the teachings of Islam, or Buddha, or becoming a devout Hindu, or a Mormon, or a Jehovah’s Witness, or even following the example and teachings of Jesus Christ Himself.

Nor can a person get in by joining a Baptist church, a Presbyterian church, a Catholic church, a Lutheran church, an Episcopalian church, a Pentecostal church, or the Church of Christ, or any church.  One must be born of God. This is precisely what Jesus said. He never misspoke. He never said a word that He did not mean. Christians are people who become connected to Christ by a supernatural birth.

Jesus is telling this very religious person that all of his human achievements – no matter how great – will not get him into the kingdom of God. There is only one way to get in and that is through a new birth – whatever that means. 

Nick was obviously amazed by the fact that this strange man had read his thoughts, but while he was trying to mentally recover, he responded the only way he felt he could. “What, can I enter a second time into my mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4). He had no doubt heard the word’s born againloud and clear. He quickly retreated to the only birth that he knew anything about.

Our Lord, a master teacher, was not trying to confuse Nick (John 7:46). In fact, Jesus had mentioned a truth that should not have been foreign to Nick’s thinking. Jesus was challenging Nick to stop thinking earthly thoughts and to begin to think heavenly.  He said that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, one cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Do not marvel (be amazed) that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit.” This should not have been incredible to Nick. He needed to leave his earthly fleshly thoughts and concentrate on heavenly spiritual things. And so must we, if we are to be born of God.  

 

 

E-zine Volume 3, Issue 2

Just a reminder

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn [Manthano– to endeavor, to desire, to seek, to know more fully] from Me, For I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest [Anapausis– cessation from toils] for your souls. For My yoke is easy [Chrestotes– having nothing harsh or galling about it] and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please pray for Mike Moore, our Ezine editor. He is recovering from serious back surgery.

Links to articles in this edition of the Glimpses Ezine:

Addiction – Jessica Moore Otto in her “Front Porch Living” addresses an issue that affects almost every family 

An Answered Prayer – Danny Forrest, in his new series of Kingdom Stories: Guardians of the Gospel, explores how life in the kingdom relates to life today.

Happiness is a Choice – Taking ownership of your “this” by Tanya Moore

The Importance of Prepositions – by Ken Sheppard. Little words make a big difference.

The King is Coming– deep insight into why Jesus will return to earth and set up a literal thousand-year kingdom by Dick Hill

When Fear Turned to Joy– an Easter message preached by Justin Moore

Well Said– notable quotes

Glimpses Conference 2019– Guardians of the Gospel is our theme. We hope you will join us May 31-June 1. Register now!

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Credits:

Richard J. Hill, Editor-in-Chief

Michael L. Moore, Editor

Linda Hill, Design Editor

Contact Info:

Glimpses of Grace, 2587Attala Road 1153, Kosciusko, MS 39090

www.glimpsesofgrace.org

(662) 347-8291 (727) 458-1813

Glimpses of Grace Board Members:

Richard J. Hill, Linda Hill, Danny Forrest, John Howell Jr., Quinn Hill, Michael L. Moore, Ken Sheppard

Copyright 2019 by Glimpses of Grace, a 501(c)3 ministry.

 

 

The Mind’s Eye

“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

These intriguing words of Paul became the motivation behind my life’s ministry. He said that as we read God’s Word, we are to begin a journey of looking beyond things that human eyes can see and begin to peer into God’s unseen world. Things that I see with my physical eyes are destined to pass into oblivion. They are just temporary. The truths found in the Bible that I cannot see with my human eyes are eternal.

God impressed upon me that I am to use the eyes in my mind to see the unseen. My thoughts went quickly to the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” He was obviously not speaking of human eyes or human ears. My mind raced on to another passage that I had recently studied. Contrasting human wisdom with God’s wisdom, Paul wrote these incredible words that God etched forever into my mind:

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)

God’s wisdom is knowledge that cannot be seen with human eyes or heard with human ears. That sounded familiar. In fact, God’s wisdom has never entered a human mind before. Incredible! That means that God’s wisdom is not some rehashed human understanding coming from the mind of man.

Paul then wrote something that has become the motivation for Glimpses of Grace Ministries and the day-by-day church ministries that God has led me to. He said that God has revealed these hidden things to us through His Spirit.

Hold it! Is this saying what I think it is saying? Is Paul saying that God’s Spirit opens to our human spirits the deep things of God, the hidden wisdom of God? Is he saying that we can know the things that human ears have never heard or eyes have never seen? We can know the things that no human mind has ever thought? That is exactly what he is saying. This is fascinating!

How is this possible? The next line reads, “What man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?” I alone know my own secret thoughts. Likewise, the Spirit of God alone knows the deep things of God. My mind began to race. We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit who is from God! Why? So that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The Spirit of God lives in me. He has a purpose for being there. He can teach me the deep things of God. We can know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The final words of the passage “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” actually sent me into another world. The Holy Spirit brings to my mind spiritual thoughts as I read the words of Scripture. As I study the written words of the Bible, verse by verse and line upon line, God the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my mind to see and understand the deep, fascinating wisdom of God. This is absolutely incredible. We can know the mind of God!

But there’s a catch. These glimpses into God’s unseen world cannot be found by searching for them. God opens them to us at His pleasure as we study the Bible word-by-word and line-by-line year after year. These glimpses are not unique to only one Christian. They are open to all. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we meet the criteria to receive these spiritual nuggets. There are not different glimpses for different people. Every believer receives the very same truth.

God has not taught me everything that I have desired to know about His plan, but He has been pleased to give me small insights, little glimpses. These insights placed together began to etch a beautiful portrait in my mind. God has opened to me His incredible salvation plan, the true identity of Jesus Christ, the immense value of His death and resurrection, and the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit, to name a few. These are glimpses of grace.

Dick Hill is director of Glimpses of Grace

 

 

Do Not Lose Heart

by Dick Hill

 

I went to a pastors’ meeting and overheard two brothers questioning their call to the ministry. Think of this! They were wondering aloud why in the world they did not pursue a different educational path that would have given them a career to fall back on. This caught my attention, and I settled in to listen more carefully. Both men were discouraged about the ministries that God had placed them in. They were not sufficiently motivated to stay the course amidst all the obstacles they were facing.

I consider God’s call to preach His Word to the world as the highest calling a human being can have. However, some find it hard to remain faithful amid the many pitfalls in ministry: the money that does not come in to pay the bills, church leaders who feel obligated to take a stand against everything the pastor suggests, disgruntled church members who think it necessary to keep something negative stirred up all the time, not to mention the personal family pressures. I wanted to say, “Fellows, don’t you remember how and why the living God called you to Himself in the first place?”

I thought back to my own reasons for hanging tough through the years. How had I been motivated to hang in there through it all? I am drawn back to the amazing glimpse of grace I received in 1989 during a morning walk. God used it to change the course of my entire ministry. I was going through a particularly rough time with the congregation I was leading. I was looking to God for answers and pondering some passages I had recently studied.

Centuries ago, Paul faced the same opposition that I was facing in preaching the gospel. He found that he had to defend himself before the very people who should have trusted him. I identified with that! Some even accused him of using the gospel to serve his own selfish desires. Quitting was never an option for Paul or for me. Paul said that we are hard-pressed on every side yet not crushed. We are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, and struck down but not destroyed.

What enabled Paul to persevere in the face of such suffering? He thought back to the day of his own dramatic Damascus Road conversion when he met Jesus Christ face-to-face. It has always been fascinating to me that God blinded Paul so that he could really seefor the first time. From that day on, his ministry was to advance the cause of Jesus Christ rather than his own agenda.

 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

 

I am painfully aware that my outward man is perishing. My body is growing older and wearing out. I do not have all the time in the world to finish the purpose for which God has set me apart.

Yet, we are not to lose heart, because the spiritual man inside is being renewed day by day. This is a comforting thought. No matter what is going on around us, the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing our minds and conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. What an encouragement!

 But how is this possible? Paul made an amazing contrast. He said that our momentary light affliction is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. What exactly did Paul mean by “momentary light affliction”? He tipped his hand in the same book by relaying his own personal testimony.

 

In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comesupon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23b–27)

 

This is momentary light affliction? Thanks Paul, I needed that. Up against that backdrop, my problem with the congregation didn’t appear to be so bad. Paul said that all he was going through in this life paled in significance when compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaited him. Seeing Christ face-to-face and being in His kingdom far outweighed the effects of an aging body, the suffering, the defeats—all the heartaches in this life.  Being with Christ throughout all eternity will make every obstacle in this life, worth it. So, do not lose heart!