TESTIMONY: LESLEY GRINDROD

LESLEY NEW PHOTO

Lesley Grindrod

I haven’t often shared the testimony of my childhood years, but as I read the first chapter of Titus and prayed about what I should write for this blog, memories of those days came flooding back and I felt the Lord urging me to share some of them with you.
My two younger sisters and I were brought up in a God-fearing but extremely legalistic Christian home. My parents came to faith through the ministry of an older couple they met doing ‘street ministry’ in London. This couple didn’t belong to a church and were accountable to no-one. I came to realise many years later they had a very twisted view of what it meant to be a Christian. Unfortunately Mum and Dad believed everything they taught them.
Among other things, my parents were convinced that following the Levitical law as closely as possible would gain them extra ‘brownie points’ with God. My Dad even went to the extreme of being circumcised at 40 years old! We children were forbidden to play games or speak of anything other than scripture on Sundays. We were never allowed to listen to the radio or watch TV. We could not invite school friends to our home, or visit them in theirs.
Mum taught me to play piano, but the lid was often slammed shut on my fingers when my irate father overheard me playing anything he didn’t approve of -anything other than old hymns or choruses!
We kept the Old Testament ‘food laws’ rigidly, couldn’t wear clothing that mixed wool and cotton, weren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas or Easter (these were considered pagan festivals) and were never allowed to go on school trips or join ‘ungodly’ organisations like the Girl Guides.
Just before bed one night, aged seven or eight, my father taught us about Noah’s ark – that God judged the earth by drowning everyone that didn’t accept Christ. In panic, I tearfully prayed ‘the sinner’s prayer’ pleading to be saved from God’s wrath. After all, what child wouldn’t be terrified of drowning?
As you can imagine by the time I was in my teens I completely rebelled against this harsh and vengeful God. I left school and started work as a reporter on my local paper. With my first wage I rented a tiny flat, leaving my family home for good. My parents refused to acknowledge my existence for many years. At 17, I was alone, vulnerable and quickly embraced a completely heathen lifestyle.
But oh, how great is the mercy, kindness and compassion of God! After many years of living outside of his grace, He brought people into my life that would show me a completely different Gospel, one of mercy, forgiveness, redemption and overwhelming, undeserved love.
It’s taken many years to ‘unlearn’ the false teaching I received as a child. I still struggle at times with assurance of my salvation; that I don’t need to earn God’s love. Paul warned Titus about the horrible consequences of false teaching and the havoc it causes.
Sisters, we are so blessed to belong to a church where Bible truth is faithfully taught. Let’s be careful to guard our hearts against what is false, never take our leaders for granted and receive the teaching they bring with great gratitude and respect.

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GOD CANNOT LIE

 

LESLEY NEW PHOTO

Lesley Grindrod, contributor for today’s blog post

Since we CBC ladies are studying the little book of Titus together soon, I thought it’d be a good idea to ‘flick through it’ quickly ahead of our first study. After all, it’s only got three short chapters – 10 minutes and I’d be done, right? Wrong!! Just a few seconds into reading, five small words in the middle of second verse stopped me in my tracks: “….God, who does not lie…” My mind immediately went to Hebrews 6:18 where Paul says it is impossible for God to lie!
Wow! Let that sink in for a moment – our Heavenly Father doesn’t ‘choose’ not to lie – He simply can’t! He is incapable of being a liar, a deceiver or a trickster. It’s contrary to His nature because He is TRUTH. His perspective is never skewed or obscured. He cannot be bribed or deceived. This is what makes the foundation of our relationship with Him so solid. He’s given us His Word, which cannot fail. If we’re ever presented with evidence contrary to what God says, we can be certain it’s not true.
Can man or woman lie? Oh, yes! We’ve all met people who have lied to us. Who say one thing yet do another, make promises they never intend to keep, tell lies, deceive, deal falsely, or trick or cheat us for their own advantage. Perhaps you’ve encountered some very painful experiences in your past where people – even ‘God’s people’ – deceived or tricked you. You may have entrusted your love and affection to those who were very deceitful – they spoke one way, but their hearts were against you. There’s no wound more painful than the wound of betrayal by someone you loved, respected, reached out to, laid down your life for, or entrusted as a dear friend.
And if we’re honest, there’ve probably been times when we’ve been guilty of lying to others too. The Good News is that “God is not a man that He should lie …”(Num 23:19). Contrary to what the New Age Movement says – Man is not God, and God is not a man. He is the Creator, the source of all life and the only unfailing source of all we need. There is no way we can avoid being hurt in human relationships. Yet even if we’ve been hurt by our earthly father, we shouldn’t be afraid to approach our Heavenly Father. He is the perfect One who cares about us more than we could ever imagine, and He will never, ever lie to us.
God cannot lieHow comforting it is to have someone like the Lord Jesus to entrust our lives to! What security is ours to know Him personally and to be walking in daily fellowship with Him. We can surely trust Him. He won’t ever deceive us or lie to us. He won’t break a promise. He isn’t fickle or whimsical. He won’t change His mind or take back His words. Oh, that this Truth would saturate our being and transform our lives!
Oh, that we would never, ever fear again, worry, be anxious, feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, or feel lonely and depressed. We can trust Jesus. If there is anyone who we can trust, it’s Him. He cannot and will not ever ‘lie’ to us.

TITUS: GRACE FOR LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

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Sharon Durant, lead teacher for this year’s bible study on Titus and today’s blog post contributor

The good life: Colourful cocktails? A deserted beach? Organic food? A TV series?

This year we’re going to be studying how God’s grace helps us to live the real good life – a life full of good works, done with a thankful, rejoicing, hopeful heart, confident of God’s love and walking in his light. This is the best way to live, the ultimate good life.

Why Titus? Because in the letter to Titus, Paul brings together the two essential ingredients of the good life – grace and good works.

These two might sound like opposites. Don’t we spend ages as Christians reminding ourselves that only God’s grace can save us? That all our good works won’t add anything to Jesus’ completed sacrifice on the cross? If grace is so amazing, why do we try to live a good life?

Well, as one preacher put it, “Jesus did what we can not do, so we could do what we can do.”

I’ve been so blessed by this truth. The grace of God poured on through Jesus did what I can’t do – it paid the price for me and freed me from my sin. But the purpose of this grace was so that I could do what I can – freed up to do good works, to live the good life.

We’re not set free so we can run riot like stray dogs; we’re set free to live purposeful lives that glorify God and bless others.

So, be ready, girls! Over the course of the year, it’s going to get painfully practical. In Titus, Paul applies grace thoroughly to our lives at home, church and in the world.

There’s a lot of momentum already, building on last year’s studies in God’s grace and the (now legendary) weekend away.

Plus this year there are going to be new faces and new voices speaking, sharing from God’s Word about grace for living the good life.

I’m excited. More than I usually am! Because this year the Holy Spirit is leading us forward in living the good life; we’re not being complacent and letting God’s grace go to waste.

I’m praying. I’m praying for you and your study buddy (Don’t have one? Talk to Anne Holmes ASAP so you don’t miss out on the full impact of Titus) that God would prepare your hearts and make you teachable by his grace.

I’m praying for our team of speakers this year as they study and prepare God’s Word.

Please pray with me – for each other, for those preparing the studies and talks… but most of all, please pray that more and more women in Corsham and the surrounding areas would be drawn into God’s grace, begin to live the good life, and study God’s Word together with us.

See you on 24th September!

A PRAYER ABOUT HEART GUARDING

everyday prayers scotty smith“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 NIV

Gracious Father, how I long for the day when I will no longer be temptable, deceivable, or capable of worshiping any other god but you. I so look forward to an eternity of giving you the adoration, affection, attention, and allegiance of which you alone are worthy. No one redeems us like you. No one loves us like you do. No one cares for us like you. No one understands us like you. There is no God but you.

In Jesus, you’ve already given us a new heart and have placed your Spirit inside us. In Jesus, you’ve already turned our heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-27). In Jesus, you’ve already given us a heart to know and love you (Jeremiah 24:7). In Jesus, you’ve already written your law upon our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).

Indeed, Father, you’ve already given me a perfectly forgiven heart-yet it is far from being a fully perfected heart. The battle for my heart’s worship continues, daily and relentlessly. This conflict will persist until the day Jesus returns to finish making all things new. Thus the warning to keep myself from idols is not going away.

Father, there are some idols I run from like the plague, but others I don’t even recognize as idols. It’s easier to see the idols outside of me, but help me to discern the ‘idols of the heart’ (see Ezekiel 14:4) Help me to know when I’ve made a good thing an ultimate thing. When I don’t think you are ‘enough,’ where do I take the trust and worship you deserve-where do I go for life, deliverance, and salvation?

I praise you for the assurance that I am already one of your ‘beloved children.’ You cannot love me more than you already do, and you will never love me less. Surely the gospel, this gospel, will win the day, my heart, and the entire cosmos. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”