…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
We all go through life hitting some bumps in the road. Sometimes we get a flat tire, sometimes the weather is stormy and dark, but Jesus told us, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The italics are mine.
In Christ Jesus our Lord we will find peace and rest for our souls. The world and the devil will throw you around and try to get you off the path.
In the world we will have tribulation, but take heart, or be of good cheer, Jesus has already won. The victory is already ours. Satan my be pointing a gun at your head and threatening to pull the trigger, but the gun has no bullets. It’s empty just like Satan’s threats are empty. Ha can’t do anything to you.
We don’t operate toward the victory, we operate from the point of victory.
My friend, that makes all the difference in the world.
Live your life in the victory that Jesus Christ has already secured for you on the cross. You are a winner, and Jesus is now your new Master, and He wants to give you peace and rest.
Listen to this short video from Dr. Tony Evans. I pray it will comfort you, no matter what your situation is.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Are you weary and heavy with burdens?
Go to Jesus. Take some time away from everything and everyone, and spend some time alone with Him. He’s waiting for you. He wants to lift those burdens from off your shoulder, and He wants to give you His peace. he wants you to lean on Him and rest in His ever lasting arms.
May God help you to do that today.
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Believers often find themselves living in contradiction to the world, and we should. The runaway anxiety and constant fear that grips so much of the world does not have the same hold on us—or at least, it shouldn’t. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at anxiety from a biblical perspective, and examining God’s care and provision for His people, and how that should free us from worry.
Today we’re bringing our Attacking Anxiety series to a close with part three of our discussion on Paul’s prayer that we would know and rest in God’s lasting peace and grace. The apostle wrote, “May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. . . . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16, 18).
A final characteristic of God’s peace is that it is not subject to circumstances. Paul’s prayer was that we might continually enjoy it “in every circumstance” (v. 16). This peace is not subject to anything that happens in the worldly realm. It is not built on any human relationship, and it’s not dependent on human feelings, decisions, or situations.
Rather, God’s peace is built on a divine plan and promise from an unfailing God who will secure you in Himself, and who will do everything for your good. This peace is a product of an unchanging divine relationship, and it is unbreakable, unassailable, and transcendent.
As we noted earlier, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). He was saying, “There’s nothing to fear or be anxious about because I’m giving you a divine, lasting peace that cannot be fractured or damaged by the world.” We demonstrate that Jesus keeps His promises when, in the midst of worldly upheavals that would normally tear us up and trouble our lives, we remain calm.
Paul’s great desire was that we enjoy that kind of well-being, which is why he prayed toward that end. His parting wish was this: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:18). He wanted every man and woman who would ever put his or her faith in Christ to experience the abiding presence of God’s grace.
Grace is God’s goodness or benevolence given to those who don’t deserve it. “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). It was in the person of God’s Son that “the grace of God has appeared,” making salvation available to all (Titus 2:11). Once we embrace this saving grace through faith in Christ, we are blessed with God’s grace, enabling us to withstand any difficulty that would tend to make us anxious. Paul described this grace while confessing to a difficulty that brought him great anxiety:
There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. . . . Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians12:7-10)
As believers, we also are blessed with the grace that equips us for divine service. Paul expressed his appreciation for this grace in saying, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy . . . the grace of our Lord was more than abundant” (1 Timothy 1:12-14).
Grace is what enables us to grow spiritually in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). In the material realm, Paul appealed to God’s grace in encouraging the Corinthian church to be generous in giving to the Lord’s work: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God’s grace saves us, helps us cope with our anxieties, equips us for service, and enables us to grow spiritually and to be rich in God. Like God’s peace, it is always available, and there is no limit to it. And again, like God’s peace, the conditions for receiving it are trusting God, forsaking sin, enduring the refining process, doing good, and living by the Word. As we are what we ought to be, God infuses us with His peace and grace. And that has a wonderful way of crowding out anxiety.
I want to close this series on a personal note. Just a few days after preaching a sermon on the peace and grace God bestows on His people, I had an unprecedented opportunity to apply it to my own life: I was notified that my wife and youngest daughter were in a serious auto accident, and that my wife, Patricia, would probably die. Everything seemed like a blur to me, the details frustratingly sketchy—I was afraid she was already dead. During my hour-long drive to the hospital, I had a lot of time to reflect on the severity of the situation. Yet I experienced a deep and steeled peace simply because I knew God had not failed me—His grace was in complete control.
I am happy to report that God spared both their lives, and that Patricia recovered beautifully. If you too rely on God’s grace, He will see you through the most difficult trials.
We finished our last post with Romans 7:24; “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” That was Paul’s cry out from the frustration he was feeling. In his heart and in his mind he wanted to follow after God, but in his flesh he keep listening to beckoning and calling of the sin that was still present.
You’ve come to Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you and cleanse you from the sin that so easily dominates your thinking and your living. You want to follow after Him with your whole heart, mind, and soul, but there is still that ugly old boss that thinks he can still order us around. You hate him and you don’t want to live under his domain any longer.
Chapter six of Romans talks about us being free from the penalty of our sin. We have been set free, not only from the penalty of our sin, but also over the dominance of sin. It has no more authority over us. We have been redeemed, we have been bought back from sin’s domain and we now belong to Christ. We have been adopted into His family by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can now say yes to God and no to sin.
“So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
Now for the first time in our lives we can say no to sin and yes to God! The door has been open and we can freely walk into a relationship with the God who created you and me and this entire universe…but sins influence is still there. The battle lines have been drawn. Who are we going to listen too and who are we going to obey?
That’s the battle that we see in Romans chapter seven. Read and re-read it. See if you don’t see the same battle and the same struggle, going on in your own heart and mind, that Paul is describing in chapter seven.
Then we come to the first verse of Romans chapter eight…“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
No condemnation means no judgement. You and I will never be judged for our sin, that penalty was paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He did it once for all of humanity, and if you have become a member of His family, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you are set free from the penalty and judgement of your sin. That’s been established and will never change.
But there is a war going on, and the old man still wants to boss you and I around.
Romans 6:4…”just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.”
How do we overcome this struggle and how do we live the victorious Christian life? By the power of the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Take a look at the apostles. They lived with Jesus, they were taught by Jesus, and they even performed great works for God, while Jesus was still on earth, but that was not enough. Jesus told them that it was important that He go away, and that the Father will send them another comforter.
The Holy Spirit means, one sent alongside to help. Despite the teachings and the things that the apostles had learned, they were not going to be able to do anything until the Holy Spirit would come, and make His dwelling inside each and everyone of them.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The word power used in this verse, is the same Greek word used in Romans 1:4. It’s the word dynamis, which we get our English word, dynamite. The dynamite power of the Holy Spirit, would come upon the apostles and enable them to spread the gospel, or good news of God, throughout all the world. In the book of Acts, Christ’s church was born and it still is alive and spreading the truth of God throughout all the world, by the same power that raised Jesus back to life again.
It’s by this same power of the Holy Spirit, in your life and mine, that we can live the new life that God wants us to live. You and I can’t live the Christian life, only God can live His life in and through you and me today.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
How to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit
1) INVITE: Make sure that you have personally invited Christ to be your Savior. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
2) CONFESS: Confess sin to God and ask for His cleansing.“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1John (1John 1:9).
3. YIELD: Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you (empower, control).“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, “be continuously filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 – literal translation). “Holy Spirit, I invite you to take control of my life. I ask you
to be the dominating influence in me. Produce your fruit in me. I can’t do it on my own.” “Holy Spirit, I ask you to empower me to accomplish what is beyond me. Show yourself strong in my life, so that I may bear fruit for God.” “Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray right now. Intercede
through me, Spirit, for you alone know the mind and will of God in this matter.” “Holy Spirit, I need you to help me put to the death the deeds
of the body. I can’t overcome this on my own. Give me the victory today.” “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1Corinthians 6:18).
Only a life lived by the influence, motivation, and power of the Holy Spirit, are we ever going to be walking the victorious Christian life. Which voice are you going to obey? You have a new master and He loves you with a love that no man can understand nor explain. His desire is to live in you and conform you into the image of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow by it.”
John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. ”
“So then,brothers and sisters,we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear,but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:5-17
If you walk around and take a survey of how many people claim to be Christians in our society today, you will get the majority of people claiming that they are Christians. 76% of American adults claim to be Christians today. That is down from 87% who made that claim back in 1990. The decline of people who are involved in organized religions is increasing every year, not just Christianity, but in any kind of organized religion. Times are changing in the world, both economically and in our views about God. When you hit people in the pocket-book, that definitely will get their attention.
After all, the only reason we ever stay in anything is to attain a certain level of change, when or if, that change never happens, we are looking for the first exit we can find. Patience and long-suffering are not character traits that you see very often anymore today.
Many people get involved with God or a church for a specific reason. They are going through a tough time in their lives, a loved one has died, or they are just experiencing some type of loss that they want an answer for and relief from.
All of us view God, and who we think He is, from the influences we had as a kid. Our parents, economic situation, and total environment, all shaped what we think of God today.
I have talked with many atheists and people from other religious back grounds, and the one common thread that flows through them all is their desire for the truth. Nobody wants to be mislead or bamboozled…we want the truth. If that is you, then what I’m about to say is for you.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
This promise was given to those who believed in Jesus. Jesus said to these believers and followers, that if they abide, or continue with him, that would mean that they are truly His disciples. If they are truly the disciples of Christ and they continue on with Him, they will discover what truth is all about, and this discovery will set them free. You want to know truth, then you might want to check out who Jesus Christ is?
Further down Jesus said in John 8:32, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freedom at last! But are you really free? Many of us find freedom from addictions, a nagging spouse, a job that is dragging us down, but real freedom comes when you know the truth.
For the Christian, Romans chapters, six, seven, and eight, are the hinges of the door that opens to what the gospel and salvation really mean.
Chapter six, we are free from the penalty of sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Romans chapter eight, we are free from the presence of sin. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
But in Romans chapter seven we find a battle going on inside of every single one of us. Paul expressed this battle that wages in us, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:22-24
Ever experience something like that in your Christian life? “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ” Romans 7:15-20
Sound familiar? If you are a child of God, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, then you definitely can relate to what Paul is talking about here. This is the battle of truth that goes on daily in our lives. It’s a constant power struggle over who we are going to believe and follow. Do we follow the sin that has so easily dominated most of our lives, or are we going to yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, that lives inside us, and follow the new person He is creating in us?
What if you had a terrible boss, that no one liked. He was rude and critical and always was yelling at you and ordering you around like you were some incompetent child? He was your boss and you had to do what he said.
One day he gets fired. The office is totally relieved to know that never again will you have to take his orders or do anything that he ever has to say. He’s finished controlling you.
Say you and your spouse are out for a nice dinner. You are really enjoying this nice quiet evening, when in walks your old boss. Just seeing him again makes the hairs on your back stand up. You cower in hopes that he doesn’t see you, but here he comes and he’s walking right over to you.
He walks over to you and he tells you to go over and get him a cup of coffee, and automatically you get up and run to the coffee machine…but wait a minute…he’s not your boss anymore and you don’t have to do anything that he says, remember? He has no more authority or control over you. You can tell him…No! I’m not doing what you tell me to do!
That’s the way it is with sin in our lives. We are the battle ground and Satan and the Holy Spirit are vying for our allegiance. We play a part in all this. Who are you going to go after?
We have been set free, but there is an old master that is not going away. He wants to constantly influence you and me to continue to live life the way we always have, by obeying our sinful cravings and desires.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
That will be coming in the next article.
Where do you go when things aren’t going your way? Is there a well worn path to your favorite watering hole, or maybe a friend that will allow you to use their shoulder to cry on? Whatever you do or wherever you go, does it bring long lasting comfort and strength to see you through life’s storms?
I’m speaking to those who our children of God, those who claim that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and you’ve chosen to walk with Him through this life. If this is you then you need to listen to what I’m about to tell you.
Weather you’ve been in a storm or maybe you’re going through one right now, or maybe every thing is hunky dory for you and life is good, get ready my friend, because the storms will come. Jesus promised that when He said;
This world, and anything in it should never be a haven of rest for us, no matter if things are good or not going so good. Learn to run to your heavenly Father, and not to the things you used run to when you lived in the world.
“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossions 3:3
Remember we are not a citizen of this world anymore, we belong to Christ and our citizenship is in heaven. We have a new address and we are just passing through this one.
“But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
Living the Christian life, walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and living a life that is obedient and brings glory and honor to the name of Jesus Christ, is not an easy road.
Jesus gave us this warning, but He also gave us His promise to always be with us and will always give us what we need for this journey or the task at hand, and will never leave us nor forsake us. You and I are never alone.
Have you learned this in your walk with the Lord? Is it something that, through trial and error, you have experienced in your Christian life?
In Jesus earthly life, He learned this, just as we do. He was our example and He paved the way for you and I to walk in “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8
Listen to what Paul said, “Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29
These words, labor and struggling, don’t sound like very pleasant and easy words. The work that God had called for Paul to do was anything but easy and comfortable.
But don’t forget the rest of that verse…”according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Paul was just the channel for God’s work to be accomplished, just like you and me are today. We are God’s hands and feet in this world. We carry the fragrance of Jesus Christ wherever we go, to a lost and dying world.
“Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:29-30
Sometimes storms come because we have drifted away from God and He is lovingly and gently trying to bring us back, or it is God preparing us for something that is coming our way. Whatever it is, it’s always for our good and to bring God glory. That’s why we’re here, to bring God glory.
When I was a kid in school, my friend and I got into trouble and we were called down to the principle’s office. That only meant one thing. Back in those days you were allowed to get paddled by teachers and principles, and that’s exactly what happened to us, but I will always remember what my friend said to me when he came out of the office after getting his shot first. He told me, “when he starts, lean into him and it won’t hurt so much.”
My friend, when the storms come into your life, and they will, learn to lean into God, and it won’t hurt as much.
“Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects you.
Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.” Hebrews 12:3-13
Imagine if we lived in a world where people didn’t lie to one another because the reasons for lying were all removed. Imagine no more manipulating the truth so that I could put myself in the best position to win. Imagine people actually stopping to help one another out, no matter what the situation, and never requiring a payment for their services. Imagine people looking for opportunities to do good and not to hurt or malign someone else. Imagine no more criticism or personal attacks.
Sounds like a dream or a fairy tale right, but this kind of world does exist and it will be coming to where you and I live some day soon in the future. I don’t care how much you buff and shine this world that we live in today, it is on its way out and God is preparing for a new one to take its place.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
If you’re putting all your hope in this world and in this life, and what you think you will get out from it, even as a child of God, you hope is definitely misplaced.
“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitied.” Corinthians 15:19
There is a hope that the child of God has that cannot be applied to anyone else. You and I have an eternal hope that rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. That has been confirmed and established forever by the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:3-4
Don’t rest your hope in a job or a business, or circumstances, these are all things that are going to pass away, rest your hope in the eternal facts and evidences that God has given you. Our hope and faith isn’t a leap in the dark, as some would call it, it rests on the facts and evidences that God has given to us in His Word.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you.” 1Peter 1:3-4
Our hope is a living hope! It’s based on a the living Lord Jesus Christ. He is not dead, but alive and watching and orchestrating everything toward the end that He has planned, not what politicians or governments or terrorist organizations are planning.
“Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, being sure of things we do not see” Hebrews 11:1
There is a new world coming that is going to be full of God’s grace and truth, and God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4) The door is open for anyone who wants to come in but it won’t be opened forever. Are you in? Where is your hope and what are you looking for?
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf,” Hebrews 6:19
An anchor is only as strong as what it’s anchored too. Massive ships have extremely large anchors that hold these ships still, but it doesn’t matter how big the anchor is, it’s what it’s anchored too. If that anchor is hooked on a small rock and that rock moves and gives way, the whole ship will be adrift.
What are you anchored too? What is your hope in? Anchor your soul into Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the faith. He is unmovable, steadfast and sure.
Only God can give grace and truth and He wants to pour it into your life now, and the one to come. He is preparing a place for you, so you and I will be with Him forever.
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
This is where your hope should be, and this is where your anchor should be hooked too. We should be telling others of this great hope that we have, so that they too my enter into that blessed hope.
“Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Saturday, April 16, 2011, will be a day that the 25,000 people, who braved the rain and cold temperatures, pray will live on for years to come.
The first of its kind, prayer walk, was held at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan. Thousands of Christians came together to pray for their city, it’s leaders, and also to pledge a million hours of service to their communities.
This all started about two years ago and grew into the E.A.C.H. program. E.A.C.H. stands for; Everyone A Chance to Hear. To hear what you might ask? To hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
500 churches, from all denominations, came together in this massive event. There were singers and lots of umbrellas, but most of all, there was the hope and the hearts of thousands of people calling for God to move His mighty hand on this ravaged city of Detroit.
The news media came from all over the country. CNN, MSNBC, and national reporters came from every where to cover this event.
There has not been any kind of event like this since the days of Billy Graham and his crusades that covered all the major cities of America with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The EACH program will be a bit different. Instead of using one man, the entire body of Jesus Christ, His church, is being called on to go out and share the gospel of Christ in word and more importantly, in deed. One million hours of service to communities all over southeastern Michigan. Showing the love of God in the things we do and say to people. Going out of our ways to help out those who are in need with the things that we have.
Easter will kick off a one year program of service by the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
There are billboards, all over the city highways, that have just have one word on them, and after Easter, they will be replaced with two words. The two word story is coming April 24, 2011.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ has a story. It’s His story and how it has changed people from the inside out. My two word story is; Loved? – Loved. Go to the 2 word story link on April 24, 2011, and read more.
There were extra police officers that were working that day because of the crowd, but all they were doing was shaken hands and having pictures taken with the prayer walkers, and walkers thanking them for all their hard work that they do in laying their lives down for the people of the city of Detroit. They were dumb founded and didn’t know what to say with all the accolades that were being heaped upon them.
As I watched all this and taking all of it in, I thought…what would it be like if our whole city was like this? What would it be like if our whole state of Michigan were filled with people like this? What would it be like if our whole nation was filled with people of this nature?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, help get His story out in your town and in your city or state. That’s why we are here!
“Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
What if you were visiting Niagara Falls, and you saw a canoe with three or four of your family members, and they were just floating down the river, having a great time. Unfortunately the river emptied into the huge drop of the Falls, and if they continued on this route, it would surely end in their deaths, and they had no clue where they were headed… what would you do?
That may not be happening literally, but it is happening spiritually all around us.
Everyday we encounter hundreds and maybe even thousands of lives, people we see at the store, our place of work, our neighborhoods, and our friends. Thousands of people who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of people who our in the canoe of life, and heading for the falls, and don’t realize anything is wrong.
Do you care? Our you remotely interested that others are on their way to death and total separation from God for the rest of eternity?
If you are a child of God, you should care and you should be interested because that’s why Jesus Christ came to this world over two thousand years ago.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
God is on a search and rescue mission. He has lost something and He wants it back, and He has chosen you and me as His ministers of this mission.
God was the first missionary Himself. Go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, after Satan, through his craftiness and lies, stole the bride of Christ away, and you find Him walking and looking for His bride.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary, and He has been on a search and rescue mission ever since. He has been looking for His lost sheep and calling them back home. This is the theme all through the bible and if you don’t get this down, you will struggle understanding the rest of God’s word.
There is an incredible program going on in Detroit Michigan, called E.A.C.H. – everyone a chance to here. To here what? To here the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this program is growing rapidly. I would not be surprised if this spreads to our entire nation.
There are almost 500 hundred churches involved, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches, all with the same desire and effort…to get out God’s good news to mankind.
Ladies and gentleman, there is only One church, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Jesus Christ, that God the Father made for His son. Satan stole her away, and God wants her back. He paid the price for her redemption…the door is open and God is calling an army of witnesses to get the word out. The only reason there are divisions in His Church, is because of you and me, not God.
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
There is a time line that EACH is following and it starts with Easter. A prayer walk in downtown Detroit, and there is expected to be around 30,000 people there, maybe even more, and then the army of God is going to go out into the world and spread the good news by doing good.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
My friend is a missionary to Africa, and most of the people in his area are Muslim. He is a carpenter by trade and is building a school in Ghana. One of the Muslim villagers is working with him, and my friend and him decided to fix all the fences in the village.
While they were doing that, one of the Muslim Imam’s was watching them. He watched as they fixed the fences without being asked and without asking for nothing in return.
The Muslim Imam approached him and asked him, “are you a Christian?” He replied, “yes I am.” The Imam declared, “you are different from the others.”
You see, they have seen other people who have called themselves Christians, and they lied and cheated and have brought the name of Christ down.
It’s not by what you say, but by what you do that others will know you belong to Christ. Demonstrating His love and compassion to the world, through the actions we take, will demonstrate who we really belong too, and it’s the best way to spread the good news.
“So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’24 will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
” Matthew 7:20-21
That’s what EACH is all about. Demonstrating with your life and then give an answer of the hope that is within you, when someone asks.
What are you doing? Who will be in heaven because of what they saw in you or what you demonstrated in your life, or by what you said.
This is God’s program and we are just His tools. What kind of tool are you.
I don’t know how many of you are married but if you are married or you may be planning a wedding, you remember that there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes on to make sure this very special day goes on without a hitch.
God is planning a wedding and He is preparing for a marriage feast. Now when God puts things into motion, I guarantee that they will go on without a hitch. There won’t be any last minute complications that will throw His plans off.
The greatest romance novel is the Bible. If we go back to the beginning, the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God talking to someone when He said,
“Then God said, “Let us make
humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
There is a very distinct difference that we bear from all the rest of God’s creation. We bear the image of God Himself. We are image bearers for God as we walk in this world.
You see, God made the world for us and He made us for Himself. We bear His image because we belong to Him. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “you look just like your father.” Well we can say that about all of us, because we bear His image. Now Satan comes along.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd
than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ ” Genesis 3:1-5
Satan comes along and he challenges God’s love for Adam and Eve. He tells her that God is holding back on you. He’s not telling you the truth. How can He love you if He would do this to you? I won’t do this to you. I will give you everything. You can trust me. Come with me, and Adam and Eve ate from the tree and plunged all humanity into sin.
That tree was kind of like a wedding ring. We were betrothed to God and we ran off with another lover…Satan. Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us. The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary looking for the lost. Did He know where Adam and Eve were? Yes He knew. He knows where you and I are today my friends. This is the whole theme of the Bible. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand the rest of the Bible. God lost something and He wants it back!
“And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:15
God became the first prophet and made the first promise that He would fight to win back our love.
“The LORD God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
God becomes the first priest to offer a great sacrifice to remove the sin problem. God could as easily walked away and said, “you’ve run off with another lover, I will go make me a new one. I don’t need you. You’ve made your choice.” He didn’t do that. He told Satan, “You’ve stolen from Me what was mine and I will win her back.”
“You were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
There is going to be a great wedding feast that God is preparing for His bride. You can read all about at the end of the book of Revelation. He has already paid the price, He has already bought us back from the Evil One, and now His offer goes out to everyone.
Are you getting yourself ready for the wedding day? Are you inviting your friends, family, and everyone you know to this great celebration?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
The world rests uneasy.
Just a few weeks ago, artillery shells from North Korea sailed across the Yellow Sea and struck a South Korean island, killing four and injuring 18. Shortly afterward, the U.S. announced it was holding joint military exercises with South Korea and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the volatile region.
Within days of that incident, hundreds of thousands of confidential cables from U.S. diplomatic sources were published, revealing the backstage drama and tension of seeking to maintain peace and security in an increasingly unstable world.
The cables highlighted the growing concern over the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. Blunt remarks from several prominent leaders in the Middle East and Israel warned of the menace posed by a nuclear Iran, with one Arab leader referring to Iran’s president as “Hitler.”
This month, South Sudan will hold a referendum to decide whether to become an independent nation. If that happens, it will no longer be under the rule of the Muslim-dominated North. Many expect conflict to break out again, resuming the violence of two decades of civil war that killed more than 2 million civilians in the South.
None of this should surprise anyone who follows Christ and has a biblical worldview informed by the Scriptures. The Bible says that the heart of man is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and from that depraved heart flows unending greed, lust, and desire for power. Mankind is lost in sin, alienated from God, at enmity with Him and with each other.
Jesus told us that while wars and natural disasters have always characterized this present evil age, these symptoms will increase at an alarming rate as the Second Coming of the Messiah draws near (Matthew 24).
However, none but the Father in Heaven knows when that will occur. Until that time, we are to be busy proclaiming and sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
While the world relentlessly and unsuccessfully pursues political and economic solutions to our problems, followers of Christ are to be busy sowing the seeds of the Gospel found only through faith and repentance in Him. Lasting peace and security will only come when the King returns and sets up His Kingdom.
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we will be busy proclaiming that Gospel of the Kingdom around the world in this new year, starting in Haiti this month, followed by Liberia, the Philippines, Lithuania, India, Canada and the United States.
As the world sinks into increasing depravity, violence and turmoil, nothing is more critical than growing our roots deep into a stable faith in Jesus Christ, and making Him known to those around us. And be encouraged that as the world grows darker, the light of the Gospel shines ever brighter.
“In this world you will have tribulation,” Jesus said, but we can be of good cheer, for He added, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
This is an old hymn, that you don’t hear very much anymore in church. I just had to print it out here for you. Read the verses and take in the message of the song. There is a little side note at the end, about the song, that I didn’t know.
As you read the lyrics, think about the extreme love that God lavishly pours out on you and me every moment of every day of our lives. This incredible love can never really be understood be the unregenerate heart and mind. We can only begin to come to the very fringe of understanding God’s great love for us, as He comes into our lives and starts to change us to be more like Him. It is this great love of God, that even starts to take this tremendous task of changing your heart and mine, as His gracious gift to you and me.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.
Here is a link to the song with the words right in front of your eyes to read along. Be blessed
As I was getting ready for an appointment that I had this morning, I thought I would help my wife out as she was getting ready for work. I had some extra time, so I made her lunch and then went back to getting myself ready. I saw she was in a little rush so I told her that I would start her car for her and get it warmed up before she had to leave. The temperature was twenty degrees that morning, as we live in Michigan, and the winters can get cold.
As I was finishing brushing my teeth, I saw her getting her keys and running out into the cold to start her car. I yelled out, “honey, I will do that for you”, she said back to me as she ran by, “I need it done now”.
I was hurt. I thought to myself, she doesn’t believe me when I said that I would start her car and it would be all warmed up for her, before she had to leave. She didn’t trust me to handle that one simple little task. Have I ever let her down before? Well, yes, I guess I have at times, but not with something as simple as this was. I had already made her lunch and got the coffee ready this morning.
Then it hit. God was tapping me on the shoulder and He said to me, “Brian, that is an all to familiar scene with Me. How many times has you done that exact thing to Me.” I thought, ” you’re exactly right God, as You always are.”
How many times have I read in God’s Word, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Do I believe Him? Do I really trust what He says to be true? Has He ever let me down before? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will show up in the way I live and respond to the circumstances in life.
When I respond to God as my wife responded to me, that really shows that I don’t trust Him. By my actions, I’m calling Him a liar. I’m saying that He can’t be trusted completely, and that’s what Satan did to Eve. He called into light the validity and truthfulness of God’s Word.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
When God says He’s got your back, that should take that burden away. I shouldn’t worry about that anymore. That’s the whole purpose of trusting someone. When I told my wife, I was going to start her car and have it all warmed up and ready to go, she should have said, thank you. That is something that I don’t have to worry about anymore. You have lifted that burden off of me and have taken it upon yourself. I can now move forward with one less task to carry, but she didn’t do that. Like I do with God, she continued to worry and carry that burden herself.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You see, love is an action word. God just doesn’t say He loves us, He showed His love for all humanity, by dying on a cross for your sins and mine.
“but He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8
There is every reason my wife doesn’t totally trust me. I have let her down and have not always come through like I promised I would, but thank God, He is not like us. God is the One who is faithful, not you and me. He always comes through and He will never let us down. We need to quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“casting all your anxiety onto Him,” because it matters to Him concerning you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 5:35
He is faithful and true, and yes, we can trust Him completely for everything in this life and the next.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11
We live in a world of deception and untruths. There was a time when a man was as good as his word. Two people would agree, shake hands, and it was as good as done. Today, we need attorneys, meetings, and clarifications on every single little point, so that we won’t get taken down the primrose path and get stuck holding an empty bag. People live today in very tight quarters, and we are so afraid to come out, we are so afraid of getting taken. This is the world we live in today.
It’s OK to lie, as long as you get what you want in the end. We cheat on our spouses, taxes; lie to our bosses and business partners. Banks lie and cheat their customers and governments make laws to legalize their thievery, so they can vacation in one of their four homes that they own. Congressman and the President’s cabinet members forget to pay their taxes and they get a slap on the wrist, while you and I go to jail.
The point I’m making, is that it is an accepted practice to lie and cheat, in our society today, were as your grandfather and great grandfather would be rolling in their graves, if they could see the world as it is now.
I have a friend that works in a bank and they have to go through extensive training to teach them how to spot a counterfeit bill. The biggest part of the training is to know all the marks and identifying traits of a real bill first. You see, when you know what the real one looks like, you won’t fall for the counterfeit.
The same truth applies to our walk with the Lord, Jesus Christ. Many people have met Jesus, but not a lot of people know who He is. These are the ones that will fall quickly to those that are false teachers of Christianity. Those that believe only parts of the bible, those that say Jesus was just another prophet. These are deceptions and deception is just another word for not telling the truth or lying.
Have you ever heard the story of how to boil a frog alive? You put him in a pot of water and every hour, you turn the temperature up one degree. The water will gradually get hotter and hotter, but the frog will never notice because it is such a slow increase. The frog will adapt to the heat at first, but by the time he realizes it’s getting really hot, it will be to late, and their will be frog legs for dinner that night.
So it is with the deception and untruths of false teachers of Christianity. They tweak a little bit here and there, and to those who don’t know the real thing, they will be lead down the wrong road. After all, “there are lots of people there, and many of my friends are going that way also”.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:11; “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”
Can you tell when someone has erred from the truth of the scripture? Do you know what you believe? Can you give an answer to those who would argue with you, that the Bible is not the very Word of God? If you can’t, then perhaps you need to take another long look at your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 17:3; “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Do you know Jesus Christ? You see, many people have met Him, but not many know Him. You will only know who He is by taking into your heart and mind the very living word of God, the bible.
John 1:1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.
Genesis 1:3; “And God said, ”Let there be light; and there was light”.
I am known by the words that I speak. In my mind are the thoughts formed from the feelings and emotions that make me who I am, and those are expressed to you through the words that I speak to you. Right now, you are reading my words, and if you were standing right here in front of me, you would be hearing my words, but it is by my words that you know who I am. It is the same with God.
Hebrews 1:1-2; “God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds...”
He looked down at this pile of muck and sin that we live in, He loved us and came here to die on the cross and save us from the penalty of our sin, but He also wanted us to know who He is. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to communicate Himself to you. He did that through Jesus Christ, the living Word, and through the Bible, the written Word of God. Jesus Christ has put God on display to the whole world.
John 1:18; “No one has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.
There is the true, and there is the false. Can you tell the difference? This battle between truth and lies has been going on since the dawn of time.
Go all the way back to the book of Genesis and you will find Satan questioning God’s Word to Eve. He was telling Eve, that you can’t believe what God says. He doesn’t have your best interests at heart. He’s not giving it to you straight.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Listen to what Jesus says about the devil to the religious leaders back in those days. John 8:44; “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
My friends, he is still doing that today. There has always been a war on the truth of God’s Word and who God is. Satan does not want you or me to know God. The longer he can keep you out of the truth, the better he has at taking you and me down.
1Peter 5:8; “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Have you met Jesus Christ? Are you one of His children? Then get to know Him by taking the time, every day, to get into His word. Make a quiet time where you can read God’s Word and talk with Him. Tell Him what’s on your heart. Open yourself to Him. Discover what the true looks like, and you won’t fall for the false.
He’s waiting to hear from you.
Matthew 11:28-30; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus Christ saved me and came into my life to change me forever, way back when I was about ten years old. My mother and father were catholic and they would always watch Billy Graham on TV. Well we would all have to watch it if they were watching it, but this one night was different. I felt like Billy Graham was talking directly to me. I never told anyone, but that night before I went to bed, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me and and come into my life. He did and the journey began.
The story below is from Billy Graham;
Although thousands were present, he seemed to be speaking directly to me—even when I hid behind the large hat of the woman in front of me! I realize now that God’s Spirit was working in my heart, convicting me of my sins and convincing me of my need for Christ.
One night as he gave the invitation for people to commit their lives to Christ, I knew I had resisted long enough, and I finally went forward (although I held out until the final verse of the last hymn). A kindly man explained how I could invite Christ into my life, and at his suggestion I prayed a simple but sincere prayer of repentance.
When I got home, I went upstairs to my room, sensing something important had happened to me—although I wasn’t exactly sure what. I didn’t feel any strong emotion or dramatic change, but looking out over the moonlit fields of my father’s farm, I thought about the step I had just taken. Then for the first time in my life, I spontaneously got down on my knees and prayed: “Lord, I don’t know what happened to me tonight, but You know.”
Only gradually would I understand my commitment and what it meant. Decades later I am still learning, for the Christian life is one of constant growth.
What really happens to us when we believe in Christ? Let me list seven gifts God gives you when you commit your life to Christ.
A New Relationship
The first thing that happens when we give our lives to Christ is that God gives us a new relationship.
Once we were separated from God because of our sins—and not just separated, but alienated from Him. The Bible says we were “excluded. … without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
But Christ took away all our sins—not just part of them, but all of them! You are forgiven! The one thing that separated you from God—your sin—has now been removed, and therefore you are reconciled to Him. Instead of being God’s enemy, you are now His friend. The Bible says, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We aren’t only His friends, however. We are also His children.
The Bible uses two vivid images to illustrate this. First, it tells us we have been born again. A second image the Bible uses is adoption. If we have given our lives to Christ, God has adopted us into His family. He is now your loving heavenly Father, and you are now His child, spiritually born into His family.
A New Citizenship
The second thing God gives you when you commit your life to Christ is a new citizenship. You are still a citizen of a particular country—but now you are also a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
In Jesus’ day, one of the most coveted privileges a person could have was Roman citizenship. A Roman citizen paid fewer taxes, and if he went into the army, he automatically became an officer. A Roman citizen couldn’t be flogged or put to death by crucifixion (except in very rare cases, such as treason). If found guilty in a Roman court, he had the right to appeal directly to Caesar.
But Jesus said His followers possessed something far greater than Roman citizenship—and that was citizenship in the Kingdom of God. In His first recorded sermon, Jesus declared, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). God’s Kingdom, He made clear, wasn’t an earthly political kingdom, but a heavenly spiritual kingdom—the realm over which God rules. The Bible says, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
As long as we are on this Earth, we possess dual citizenship. On one hand we owe allegiance to our nation and are called to be good citizens. But we are also citizens of the Kingdom of God, that invisible Kingdom of which Christ is the head. Our supreme loyalty is to Him, and if someone demands we do wrong, “we must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). And someday, the Bible tells us, this world’s kingdoms will become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
A New Family
God also gives us a new family. You aren’t just related to God; you are now related to other believers. Everyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ is now your spiritual brother or sister. We are bound together in God’s family, not by an organization but by a spiritual relationship. The Bible calls us “members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). One of the most frequent terms for Christians in the Bible is “brothers,” underlining our family relationship.
In my travels, I have often met men and women who were very different from me. And yet after a few minutes it was almost as if we had known each other all our lives. Why? Because we both knew Christ. Our common spiritual bond cut through the barriers that separated us, and we enjoyed fellowship as members of God’s family.
A New Purpose
When we come to Christ, God gives us a new purpose. Now we want to live for Christ and not just ourselves. We begin to see other people differently—not for what they can do for us, but for what we can do for them. The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
When I came to Christ, I had little inkling of what I might do with my life, but I knew something was different. Before my conversion, for example, I tended to be touchy and irritable. Now I deliberately tried to be considerate and courteous. Some may not have noticed, but my parents did—and so did I. Little by little I was beginning to have a new purpose in life: a desire to live for Christ. I was learning that “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
A New Power
One of the Bible’s most comforting truths is that when we come to Christ, God Himself comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit. We are not alone; God is with us!
The Bible says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). If you know Christ, you don’t need to beg for the Holy Spirit to come into your life; He is already there—whether you “feel” His presence or not.
But why has God given us the Holy Spirit? One reason is to help us live the way we should. God has given us a new purpose—but without a new power we’ll never be able to achieve it. We are too weak!
But the Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26). Jesus promised, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). We aren’t meant to live the Christian life in our own strength. God has provided His Spirit to help us.
A New Destiny
The word conversion means “change” —and the most radical change of all when we come to Christ is that God gives us a new destiny. Once we were headed for hell; now we are headed for Heaven. Once we were bound for eternal separation from God; now we will live with Him forever. Once we had no hope of eternal life; now we do. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Note carefully what this verse says: Eternal life is a gift. Many misunderstand this (even some Christians). They still think they must earn their salvation by their own good works.
But we can never be good enough to earn our way into Heaven, because God’s standard is perfection. Our only hope is Christ, who purchased our salvation at the cost of His own blood and now offers it to us as a free gift. The Bible says, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4). What a gift!
A New Journey
God gives us one final gift: a new journey—a whole new path to follow until the day He takes us to Heaven.
In other words, your decision for Christ isn’t an end but a beginning—the beginning of a whole new life. We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are also called to be Christians. Don’t ever think that faith in Christ is just a type of “spiritual life insurance,” something we obtain and then put away until we need it to get into Heaven. The Christian life is a new journey—one that will take us the rest of our lives.
And the best part is this: We never walk it alone, for Christ walks with us.
1. He plants you according to His plan.
Read Romans 8:28-29
2. He walls you in with His grace.
How has He protected you this week?
3. He tends you with His love.
No one loves you like God loves you.
Read Isaiah 40:11
4. He weeds out your unhealthy branches with His loving discipline.
Take Hebrews 12:11 to heart, and prepare yourself for new fruit.
5. He protects you with His divine power.
Nothing touches you that God does not allow. Trust Him to grow His best fruit in you today.
I want to just share what I’ve been learning in the past year. My life was always in conflict from what I knew the Bible said and the reality of my life.
Jesus said His burden is easy and yoke is light. That certainly wasn’t a picture of my Christian Life. The biggest frustration with my Christian life is that it wasn’t any different than that of a non-believer, “gutting out” my Christian walk. Kind of God helps those who help themselves. I was living a powerless life trying to “live the Christian life.”
I was under the belief that I had to do something to gain God’s favor ( to get Him to listen to me) Go to church more, pray more, read my Bible more, blah, blah blah!
Here is the TRUTH about our relationship with Him:
My Christian life was like someone buying me a first class ticket on a luxury liner with all the amenities and I’m down in steerage living on soda crackers.
Now when I fall short I say, thank you Jesus for your perfect sacrifice. I realize I can’t out sin God’s Grace! He will never leave me or forsake me. Never, never, never, never!
Not only has he forgiven my sin but has given me a clear conscience before Him. My walk now is practicing who I am and entering into His rest, That is what growing in grace is all about.
My life is now living and doing out of a thankful heart for what He has done for me. I appreciate his deep unexplainable love for me. That is what motivates me to appropriate His power in my life. Every time Satan brings up my past I say, I am perfect in Him the One who paid my price for my sin (past – present – future) So when the accuser uses my past to try to discourage me I just thank God that have His righteousness forever!! I am perfect before God, always!
Yes, I take advantage and abuse God’s grace every day. Should I say I can sin and do what ever I want with my life? No, when I realize what He has done for me it motivates me to move closer to Him and His will.
Falling from grace is when we substitute God’s grace and substituting “doing something” to earn His favor. My heart is established by His Grace!!! We were taught that sinning causes us to fall from His grace. (Blasphemy!)
Forgive my ramblings but let me ask you a few questions.
Here’s what my prayers are like these days. Lord, You said it, I didn’t, I’m not making this up.
Do you see the change in the focus away from me to Him? That’s where He wants it!
I could go on and on but hopefully this addresses what I wanted to share.
” But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18