Resurrecting Hope In Our Hearts

What does God’s power mean to you? Do you think of thunder and lightning? Earthquakes? Floods? Forgiveness? God’s power is in all of these and more.

But wait a minute, someone asks. How do I know this is true? “God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:19-20. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead.” So, the next time you wonder if God can forgive you, read that verse again.

Remember, the power that raised Christ from the grave is the power that resurrects hope in our hearts.

Good news. Great news!

Have you ever wondered what kind of a righteous judge or fair judge is God? He doesn’t just pass over rape, murder, lying or other sins committed by man. Righteous judges don’t do that.

In other words, we feel outrage when God seems to simply pass over others sin and it would be good outrage if God were simply sweeping their sin under the rug. He is not.

God sees from the time of David and other biblical figures down through the centuries to the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, who would die in David’s place and in the future our place. God did that so our faith in God’s mercy and God’s future redeeming work unites repentant sinners with Christ. And in God’s all-knowing mind, David’s sins and future generations sins are counted as Christ’s sins and Christ’s righteousness is counted as our righteousness, and God justly passes over our sin.

The death of the Son of God is outrageous enough, and the glory of God that it upholds is great enough, that God is vindicated us when He passed over our sins and others. And, God maintains his perfect righteousness and justice while at the same time showing mercy to those who have faith in Jesus, no matter how many or how monstrous our sins.

This is good news. This is great news!

3 Examples of Fighting Faith

When Paul says that God fulfills our good resolves by his power through our faith, he means that we defeat sin and we do righteousness by being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ in the next five minutes, five months, five decades, and into eternity.

Here are three examples of how this might look in your life:

  1. If you set your heart to give sacrificially and generously, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). And the promise: “Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). And the promise: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all-sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

  2. If you set your heart to renounce pornography, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). “It is better that you tear out your eye than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Much better. Wonderfully better. All-satisfyingly better.

  3. And If you set your heart to speak out for Christ when the opportunity comes, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matthew 10:19).

May God increase our daily faith in his inexhaustible, blood-bought, Christ-exalting future grace.

Stunned By His Grace

I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment—but I’m still stunned by his grace! David the psalmist becomes David the voyeur, but by God’s grace becomes David the psalmist again. Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ. Zaccaeus, the crook… the cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered, but Jesus still had time for him.  The thief on the cross…hell bent and hung-out-to die one minute, but heaven-bound and smiling the next.

Story after story. Surprise after surprise. It seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it. Search the pages. Read the stories. Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. I dare you! You won’t find it!

(reblog from Max Lucado’s Upwords | 8.9.2017)

Staying Connected To Jesus

In the biblical passage John 15:4-6, it urges us to stay connected to Jesus. The image of Him as the vine and believers as the branches helps us understand that apart from Him, we can do nothing. It is possible to receive His salvation yet still act out of the flesh, distracted or separated from His direction and power. All believers find their focus wandering at times, but some have strayed so far that it’s hard to see their way back.

If you discover your heart is loyal to something besides Christ, it’s vital to acknowledge that this has happened. Identify which attitudes or activities are drawing you away from Him. Then repent and get whatever help is necessary to set aside diversions, insecurity, worldly desires, or anything else that draws your attention away from the Lord.

Once the distraction is gone, refocus on Jesus by reading the Word, praying, learning from biblical messages, and spending time with godly friends who will encourage you. After living outside of God’s best for a while, it can be hard to discipline yourself to function as the Lord desires. But remember that those who abide in God will bear much fruit (John 15:5).

Don’t delay. As Hebrews 12:1 urges, “lay aside every encumbrance” so you can run with endurance the race set before you. Acknowledge anything that is keeping you from living passionately and fully for Jesus Christ. Following His plan—in His strength—is the way to peace, joy, and contentment in life. Ask for His help and commit to action. There is nothing like living fully for God.

Changing Direction In Life

Changing direction in your life is not a tragedy—but losing your passion in life is! Something happens along the way. Convictions to change the world downgrade to commitments to pay the bills. Rather than make a difference, we make a salary. Rather than look outward, we look inward. And we don’t like what we see!

But God is not finished with you yet. Oh you may think he is. You may think you’ve peaked. You may think he’s got someone else to do the job. If so, think again! The Bible says, “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again” (Philippians 1:6 NCV).

Do you see what God is doing? A good work in you! Do you see when he will be finished? When Jesus Christ comes again. May I spell out the message? 

God ain’t finished with you yet! You’re still under construction and God doesn’t make junk.

God Are You Listening?

Have you ever wondered whether God is listening when you pray? I suspect all of us, which includes me, at one time or another have had our doubts. Having doubts is not such a bad thing because we are human and prone to listen to the enemy.

Yesterday, I was in severe pain in my back near my left kidney. The pain was almost unbearable. I could hardly move without being racked with pain. Of course, in the beginning, I did what any reasonable person would do, I took some Tylenol and went to bed early. I found that laying flat on the bed was the least painful position to be in.

Before I drifted off to sleep I said my prayers. But, this time it was different. I talked to God and reminded him that I am his child and as his child I know he doesn’t want to see me in pain. So, I asked God to remove or lessen the pain so I could sleep. I also told him that if he didn’t heal me to please give me the strength, physically and emotionally, to deal with my situation.

During the night I shifted in to different positions and kept experiencing pain. I kept telling myself that God is either going to heal me or give me the strength to go through this. As the night progressed I began to feel less and less pain. When I got up this morning the pain was all but gone. I have a few minor twinges but nothing compared to yesterday.

Does God listen to our prayers? In a word, yes! I think the difference in whether you get an answer to your prayer is how you approach the throne of grace. Be bold. Be confident. Just know that God loves you and wants the best for you but in those times when you really need him, you have to ask. Don’t beat around the bush but be straight up with God and let him know how you feel and what you need.

In the end, you’ll be praising God for his love, kindness, caring, and compassion because you know that he is listening to your prayers. Yes! Amen!