God wants to lift you up

Scripture Notes on Psalm 146

The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. The Lord loves the righteous.  (Psalm 146:7b-8)

Everybody gets knocked down sometimes. Everybody bears a burden at some point.

The question is not, “How can I keep from going down?”  The question is, “How will I get back up again?”

Will you try to get up on your own, to deal with your problems in your own strength? Will you seek restoration through your own self-effort and hard work?

God wants something better for you!

When you find yourself in a low place, yes use wisdom to see what things God might want you to change for the better.  However, don’t look to yourself as the source of true healing; look to the cross.  Don’t look to yourself as the answer to your problems; look to Jesus.

There may be seasons where you feel down, but in Christ, you never have to stay down when you walk in the light of this truth.

God wants to lift you up.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your power to overcome

Scripture Notes on 1 John 4

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  (1 John 4:4)

False doctrine and deceitful spirits are constantly at war against the children of God.

There is a battle raging at all times for control of your mind and power over your heart. Sometimes it may feel like nothing is coming against you at all, and other times, as if all hell is breaking loose.

Have you been there? Have you felt the discouragement and distraction, the confusion and concern, the doubt, the defensiveness, the fear?

Take heart, Jesus wants to give you victory!

No matter what spiritual forces come against you, if you’re in Christ, God has provided an even greater spiritual power within you. It is not just a set of principles, but the active presence of Jesus Christ living in you that will enable you to overcome lies with truth and despair with joy.

So, when you feel the heat rising and the battle intensifying in your life, be strengthened by this truth.

Jesus is your power to overcome.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus loved you with His life

Scripture Notes on 1 John 3

By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  (1 John 3:16)

Love is not just a feeling, it is a choice to act. It is a demonstrated desire to put someone else’s needs above your own. Love is an action, not just an attitude.

We know this because it’s how Jesus Himself demonstrated what love really is. He didn’t just speak, He sacrificed. He didn’t just compliment, He committed himself by what He did.

And He did this for you!

When your heart wavers and you wonder if Jesus really loves you, look to the cross. It is there that your hope and comfort are found, because it is there that you can discover this powerful truth.

Jesus loved you with His life.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your eternal reward

Scripture Notes on 1 John 2

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 John 2:16-17)

The world promises great rewards for those who will follow its ways. Money, power, fame, love, success, honor—all these and more will it give you if you bow down and worship.

But all these things are passing away.

Bank accounts bleed, power wanes, and fame is fleeting. Love grows cold, success gets old, and honor from others comes and goes with the changing of seasons.

How comforting, then, to know that for those who follow Jesus, there is a reward that endures forever—Jesus himself!

When you are abiding in Christ, you are connected to the source of all good things, of all joy and peace, of all meaning and fulfillment. When you are in Christ, you can let the world do what it will to you, because you are eternally secure in Him.

Christian, don’t let the trinkets of earth distract you from the treasure you already have. In Christ, you can find satisfaction in this glorious truth.

Jesus is your eternal reward.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your faithful forgiver

Scripture Notes on 1 John 1

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

If you betray someone you love, you will discover that a barrier begins to grow between you. There may be no retribution on their part, but the closeness of the relationship will suffer.

Christian, so it is between you and God.

Make no mistake, the cross of Jesus Christ provides the full payment for the penalty of your sin. There is no more punishment for you, only loving discipline. God has no more wrath for you, only grace! However, though God will not bring retribution on you now if you sin, you can still bring barriers into the relationship.

God wants more for you than that!

When you stumble off the path of righteousness, remember this. In Christ, your legal standing before God is totally righteous and completely loved. So, don’t let fear keep you from coming back into loving fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

He is waiting for you with open arms, longing for you to return with a repentant heart so that He can restore your closeness with Him.

Open your mouth and confess where you’ve strayed, and open your heart to be encouraged by this truth.

Jesus is your faithful forgiver.

-Pastor Phillip

God’s promises are on their way

Scripture Notes on 2 Peter 3

The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  (2 Peter 3:9)

Sometimes it can seem as if our prayers go unanswered.  Sometimes it can seem as if God has forgotten us, or gotten distracted or delayed. Have you ever felt that way?

Take heart! Nothing could be further from the truth.

God’s promises are perfect, and so is the timing of their fulfillment.  If you’re not seeing them come to pass, it means that He is making sure that everything is in its proper place so that when they do, it will be in the best way for the greatest glory for Him and the most good for you.

This also means that for those who are not in Christ, God’s promise of judgment is sure to come, as well. Yet, in His great love and mercy, He is giving more time, more chances, and more opportunities to repent!

If you’re not fully right with God, let His kind patience move you to turn away from sin and turn to Him for salvation.  If you’re in Christ and waiting for His promise to you to be fulfilled, let His faithfulness move you to keep trusting, keep hoping and keep walking forward in Him.

In whichever position you find yourself, remember and be moved by this truth.

God’s promises are on their way.

-Pastor Phillip

God is your support when you’re slipping

Scripture Notes on Psalm 145

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.  (Psalm 145:14)

Nobody stands up straight all the time. Life in a broken world assures us that in every life there will come times when we find ourselves slipping in one way or another.

Then what?

That’s when God loves to step in to help His children!

When you find yourself slipping into sinful actions or attitudes, God wants to lift you out if you’re willing. When you find yourself slipping into despondency or despair, God wants to lift you out if you let Him.

You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. If you’re in Christ, you can be lifted up by this truth.

God is your support when you’re slipping.

-Pastor Phillip

God gives you strength for your battles

Scripture Notes on Psalm 144

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle… (Psalm 144:1)

You are in a fight.

Christian, your life is part of a cosmic struggle between light and darkness, and though Jesus has guaranteed your victory in Him, there is still much to be done in the meantime.

That’s why He wants to strengthen you here and now!

As you read His Word and receive from His Spirit in prayer, God is pouring into you all the power you need to win the battles you face. He is building you into a warrior of righteousness, and as you continue to grow in Him, you will discover more and more victories ahead.

When you feel under attack, take courage in this life-giving truth.

God gives you strength for your battles.

-Pastor Phillip

God is your gracious rescuer

Scripture Notes on 2 Peter 2

and if He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials… (2 Peter 2:7-9a)

The story of Lot in Genesis 19 is one of a man who was deeply flawed. He was foolish in where he chose to live, argumentative with God, and was willing to all but sacrifice his own daughters for the sake of his reputation.

Yet, God rescued him anyway.

Christian, God’s call to you is to live a life of holiness according to His Word, but know this. Even when you totally fail, if you’re in Christ, God’s grace still remains on you!

Always do your best to follow Him and obey His Word, but remember this, too. No matter how well or poorly you perform, you can find comfort in this truth.

God is your gracious rescuer.

-Pastor Phillip

God has granted you the ability to grow

Scripture Notes on 2 Peter 1

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence… For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…”  (2 Peter 1:3, 5a)

God’s amazing grace is the most incredible gift imaginable. It is His undeserved favor, His unbreakable love, His unstoppable redemption and if you’re in Christ, it is His irrevocable gift to you.

But it gets even better than that.

God has not only given you right standing with Him, but also the power to stand for Him. He has given you the ability to learn and grow, to increase your knowledge of His love and amplify your experience of His power.

God’s plan for you is not that you would become a weak recipient of spiritual welfare, but a strong participant in spiritual warfare. His grace is not the enabling force for you to sit back and do nothing, but the empowering strength for you to stand up and do something that matters with your life.

Never forget that you have a great power in Christ, and with it, a great opportunity and responsibility to follow Him in deeper and deeper ways.

Rest in His grace, then work for His glory as you are strengthened by this truth.

God has granted you the ability to grow.

-Pastor Phillip

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