Dear Grace Family,

     Why have telemarketers not yet learned that when you pick up the phone and hear “this is an important message – don’t hang up,” the first thing we’re going to do is hang up! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. Or does it?

In truth, even when we actively try to separate fact from fiction, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of believing the loudest or most persistent voice. Why do you think telemarketers call us so many times? They know the odds are that, on some level, we’ll eventually start to listen and question if they pound the same message over and over again. And they are masters are mimicking the legitimate.

     Statistics show that the most successful telemarketer has a 96% turn-down rate. That means that, for every 1000 calls they make, only 40 will listen to them at all. The number dwindles even further because just “listening” doesn’t mean they make a successful sale. But they know that if they can just get you to hear their message, they have a chance to convince you that - more than anything in the world - you need whatever they’re selling.

     That’s a lot how Satan works too. Now, I don’t mean to compare telemarketers to the devil – and I’m not saying they are all evil. There are many legitimate companies and organizations out there, mine included, that believe in what they’re offering and know that, thanks to the scammers and the jammers, they have to make a lot of phone calls and hear a lot of abuse to get their job done and their message out.

     But I am talking about those who have nothing legitimate or useful to offer. All they want to do is take your money, your peace of mind, and trick you into believing whatever gives them the most payback. Most operate by either terrifying you into thinking that you need them to save you from disaster, or that they’re offering the one thing that is going to give you so much delight and happiness you can’t possibly turn them down. Either way – they are truly Satan’s instrument, because that’s just how he works.

     So then the question becomes, how do you know the difference between a legitimate offer and a scam? In this world, as in the spiritual realm, the answer is always “test the source.”

     1 Chronicles 16 tells us that “every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God’s will for us, and His desire for our happiness, is the same today as it was when He had to close the doors of Eden to Adam and Eve. And as much as He loves one, He loves all. So what He won’t do is allow an individual to prosper by hurting someone else. If what you’re being offered is “only for a lucky few” it isn’t sourced from God. He’s not a respecter of persons and wants good things for every one of His children.

     Be reminded that Jesus promised us that His “sheep know His voice” [John 10:27]. If you’re questioning the source, it’s probably because it’s not the voice you need to be listening to. Once we’re committed to His flock, we instinctively know our Shepherd’s voice.

     But can I just warn you of an easy trap? If you think God is only going to speak to you in the big situations, and in a huge grandiose way, you’re going to miss the small blessings that He showers on us all the time. In 1 Kings 19, we’re told about the prophet Elijah who, in abject discouragement, just wanted to die. He desperately needed to hear from God.

     First there was a great strong wind that broke apart the landscape, but God wasn’t in the wind; after the wind an earthquake and then a fire – but the Lord wasn’t in either place. But then, in verse 12 we’re told Elijah heard a still small voice. And that’s where God spoke to the Prophet and set him back on his feet again.

     We can only know the voice of our Shepherd by seeking His sound. And we can only know the will of God, by letting Him softly whisper to us. When faced with questions, confusion or fear, we can’t separate His voice from the noise unless we’re used to listening for it. He speaks all the time – not only working through our circumstances, but in the very words of Scripture. We just have to learn how to hear it.

     God knows that Satan is working to be the only chatter we hear – the most successful Telemarketer. So instead of pummeling us with shouts that try and convince us of what we need for survival, He gently speaks to us of blessing and the bounty of what He will provide simply because we are His. Even in the chaos and noise, His will be the voice that cuts through with love and hope. We just have to spend time learning to listen for it.


Be blessed my Grace family. God is on the throne!


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

As you know, given the recent spike in Covid-19, and our Governor’s new mandates, we have suspended services until the situation is under control. We do this out of an abundance of love for our Grace family. While we know that God is completely in control and will cover us with His great protection, we also know He gave us a sound mind and good shepherds to make the tough decisions. We love you and are so looking forward to a time when we can return to normal worship. We love you! Hope you will join us on Facebook at 10 am tomorrow! We might have to take the worship out of the church, but no one can ever take the worship out of God's people.


Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your tithes and offerings so we can maintain our ability to reach out to a needy world. You can give online here, or mail your checks to 3144 N G Street, Suite 125 PMB 308 Merced, CA 95340. 

  



Sr. Pastor Eric Domen has been in ministry for more than 15 years, having worked as an assisting Pastor and Youth Pastor at Victory Life Center in Merced prior to coming to Grace. He was recently honored with Ordination through the ICFG, and has made a smooth transition into his position as Senior Pastor. He holds a degree in Counseling, and has a heart for the people of our community. Pastor E resides in Merced with his wife and children.

Pastor Bobbie Frye is our Administrative Pastor. She has been in ministry for more than 20 years, and is a 3rd generation Foursquare Pastor. She is a writer and musician, and takes care of Womens Ministries and Worship Arts. She has a background in Procurement and Marketing, in addition to her pastoral experience. Pastor Bobbie resides in Merced.