God’s presence can heal your perspective

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 36


For with You is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.  (Psalm 36:9)

We live in a world of darkness and confusion.  We see things imperfectly, incompletely, and inconsistently.

Have you felt it?  The sense that you are looking for answers but nothing seems right?  The feeling that you’re seeking solutions but nothing seems to click?

This is the way things are, but not how they have to stay.

One of God’s gifts to His children is the ability to draw near to Him through prayer, worship, and the study of His Word.  The beautiful thing is that the closer you get to the One who is the source of light and truth, the more clearly you are able to see things in your life!

If you’ve been seeking answers on your own, maybe it’s time to stop.  Instead, seek the presence of the One from whom all truth comes, and as you do, you’ll discover the hope that flows when you walk in this truth: God’s presence can heal your perspective.

-Pastor Phillip

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God delights in your well-being

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 35


“Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”  Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.  (Psalm 35:27b-28)

Do you know that God loves to take care of you?

Sometimes He is portrayed as an angry task-master, enforcing a harsh set of commands on helpless people and waiting to punish them when they do wrong…but that is not the God of the Bible.

Sometimes He is painted as a distant deity, detached and disinterested in the daily lives of people so that we’re left to fend for ourselves…but that is not the God of the Bible.

The God of the Bible “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)  He paid an enormous price to redeem a people for Himself, and that means that if you’re in Christ, He paid that price for you!

The God of the Bible loves to demonstrate His righteousness by taking care of His children, so if you’re in Christ, you can be confident of this.  Though He may allow trials and tribulations in your life for a season, your Father is faithful to deliver, and He will never give up on you or abandon you in your hour of need.

May you rest in these things today, and as you do, may you discover fresh hope as you remember this fantastic truth: God delights in your well-being.

-Pastor Phillip

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Jesus is your prisoner exchange

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 18


[Pilate] went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in Him [Jesus]. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.  (John 18:38b-40)

In Hebrew, the name Barabbas means “son of the father.”  Yet, he was freed from his rightful punishment because the divine Son of the Heavenly Father took his place.

Barabbas deserved death, yet Jesus the innocent Son stepped in on his behalf so that this guilty son could live.

What if Barabbas refused the offer of substitution?  What if he said, “Nope, I’ll take care of my own crimes, thank you, release someone else”?  Then he would have paid the full price for the things he had done. Yet, Barabbas accepted the exchange, and because Jesus took his place, he got to go free.

Jesus offers the same thing to you.

The centerpiece of the Gospel is not that Jesus was a good teacher who lived long ago and had nice things to say.  It is that though He was sinless and innocent, Jesus Christ stepped in to pay the price for your sins and mine. The righteous Son of God substituted Himself for the unrighteous sons and daughters of mankind, and offered freedom to all who would receive it.

This means that no matter what you’ve done, you can be forgiven.  No matter how you’ve failed, you can be free to move forward!

May you trust Him fully as your Savior and surrender to Him completely as your Lord.  When you do, you can rest and walk in freedom both now and forever in the hope of this liberating truth: Jesus is your prisoner exchange.

-Pastor Phillip

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Knowing God will grow your love

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 17


“I have made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”  (John 17:26)117 J

Many people do religious things to try to “know God.”  They go to church gatherings, read the Bible, pray and more.  These are all wonderful things, but in and of themselves they are not the main point.  In fact, knowing God is pointless unless you realize there is a purpose for that knowledge that is bigger than yourself.

When Jesus makes the Father known to His disciples, He doesn’t do it simply so they will have some personal realization, but so that they may be transformed in the way that they act towards each other and the world.

Jesus wants His disciples to have greater knowledge, so that they will have great love.

What does this love look like?  Jesus describes it as the kind God the Father showed to Him, so think of how this love was shown at Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3.  Before Jesus ever preached a message or performed a miracle, God the Father declared over Him, “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)

The love the Father gives is based not on performance, but on position.  It is a love that is offered freely, not based on anyone else’s actions or accomplishments, but on their acceptance in Christ.  To love others like this is to give love regardless of whether or not you feel they deserve it.

If you’ve ever wondered what’s the point of knowing God, here is your answer.
If you’ve ever wished for a greater capacity to love, here is your solution.

Invest time in seeking God today, and as you do, you’ll discover the hope that comes through this truth: Knowing God will grow your love.

-Pastor Phillip

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Jesus is bringing you everlasting joy

God’s Hope for Your Heart John 16


“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”  (John 16:21-22)

Those who have experienced it say there is no pain quite like the agony of childbirth, yet there is also no joy like seeing and holding your newborn in your arms.

They say the joy is always greater than the agony.

In the same way, Jesus promises His disciples that life in this world will not be free of pain, a statement quickly confirmed by a look at the lives of His first followers.  However, both His word and their lives also bear witness to a powerful truth and a great hope for the people of God.

For every sorrow, there is a greater joy waiting.

For every pain, there is a greater reward.

For every dark, lonely night there is a bright morning of reunion for all those in Christ.

Your situation may not feel very hopeful right now, but no matter what you’re going through, remember this: after the sorrow, the joy of His presence and power in you will be far greater!  It will be so deep that the pain you feel right now will fade into the dusty archives of forgetfulness, and in its place will not be some cheap happiness that can slip away with circumstances.

It may not come today.  It may not come tomorrow.  But, no matter how long it takes, it will come, as surely as morning follows night.

Today, may you rest in the hope of this truth: Jesus is bringing you everlasting joy.

-Pastor Phillip

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Jesus wants to give you fruit that lasts

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 15


“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”  (John 15:16a)

If you’re like most people, at some level you want to make an impact on the world.  You want to feel that your time on earth has meaning, that your life is one of consequence, that at least someone or something will be better off because you were here.

Jesus wants the same for you!

Of course, it is neither helpful nor Biblical to live in a state of restless worry about whether or not you’re “doing enough for God.”  If you know that feeling or if you’ve been in that place, though, here’s some good news.

If you’re seeking Jesus and loving Him, HE will accomplish through you all that He wants done, and HE will ensure that the fruit actually lasts.  Because it’s all about Him, it all depends on Him, and He’s very, very dependable.

So, trust God today to do His job, and let yourself be free to rest in Him.  Relax.  Remember that God’s got it covered, and as you do, you’ll discover the hope found in this truth: Jesus wants to give you fruit that lasts.

-Pastor Phillip

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Because Jesus lives, you will, too

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 14


“Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.”  (John 14:19)

The world can look so dark sometimes, so broken, and it’s easy to lose sight of Jesus if we’re not careful.  Even our own lives may go through seasons of darkness where it’s hard to see Jesus in our circumstances.

Yet, Jesus tells His disciples they will see Him.  Not only that, but He tells them that with that vision will come an even greater blessing: life.

Now, if you’re in Christ, He’s telling you, too.

Let your faith win out over your natural eyes today.  Let the Spirit show you the truth that no matter how alone you may feel, Jesus is there!

No matter how strong the power of death seems to be right now, may you stand firm in faith as you remember this reality.  You can have hope today because of this truth about tomorrow: because Jesus lives, you will, too.
-Pastor Phillip

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God wants to take away your shame

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 34


I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  (Psalm 34:4-5)

Shame.  Sometimes it creeps in quietly, growing like an infection in our soul.  Bit by bit, every time we fail, every time we fall, every time we miss the mark, the shame just grows.

Sometimes, though, shame doesn’t creep, but crashes in to our lives all at once.  A horrible thing was done, either by us or to us, and the result is a gaping wound in our self-confidence and an ever-present feeling of being soiled, small, and alone.

Have you been there?

Here’s the thing.  Whatever the specific source of your shame, underneath it all is a fear that because you have been found wanting, you will be unwanted, and that the dark stain on your inner-self will make you ugly and unloveable.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way!

If you’ve ever felt any of these things, here is good news.  God can take away your shame!  When you look to Him in faith, His brightness will burn away your darkness.  When you trust in Him, His love will overcome your feeling of unloveliness.  When you come to Him just as you are, His healing will cure the shame of your soul, and make you clean, no matter what you have done or what’s been done to you.

May you look to Him and trust Him in faith today, and as you do, you’ll be able to rest in the hope of this truth: God wants to take away your shame.

-Pastor Phillip

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God delivers those who hope in Him

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 33


The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 
The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. 
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, 
that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.  (Psalm 33:16-19)

Do you ever feel like you’re in a battle?  Like even the daily routine of life is a fight for the survival of your soul?

We all get to those places in our lives when it seems like a struggle just to hang on and we desperately wish someone or something could get us out of our plight.  When you find yourself there, though, remember this.

The people you’re relying on can’t save you.

The personal strengths you’re counting on can’t save you.

The technology or technique you’re trusting in can’t save you, er.

The only sure hope for deliverance we have is given to us freely, shown to us right here in this passage.  “The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul…”

We don’t come to God like spoiled children, demanding our way.  We come as humble servants of the great King, with respect and awe of His majesty and goodness.  We also don’t come like cowering slaves afraid of being punished or denied, but with confident hope that even though we don’t always know what form His deliverance will take, our God is going to deliver us because He is kind and compassionate and abounding in steadfast love!

Maybe people have failed you.  Maybe your strength has left you.  Maybe your strategies and support structures have collapsed around you.

Whether they have or not, that day will come.  When it does, though, may you rejoice and find renewed strength as you rest in the hope of this truth: God delivers those who hope in Him.

-Pastor Phillip

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Jesus wants you to be blessed

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 13


“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”  (John 13:17)

Jesus loves to bless people.

Again and again, He not only speaks about His love, but He shows it in practical ways.

Here, in this upper-room moment with His disciples recorded in John 13, Jesus once again shocks them by His unorthodoxy, this time with a simple act that carries deep significance.  By washing the feet of those “lower” than Him, Jesus demonstrates the true nature of love: elevating someone else above yourself.

Why does He do this?  Is it to show off His godliness or draw attention to how good He is?  Not at all.

Jesus shows His love because He wants His disciples to be blessed.  He gives both an example and a promise of what Kingdom love looks like in real life.  He demonstrates the way to love others, and with His practical example He gives a powerful promise to those who now know what to do.

“If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

May you follow Jesus in action today, and as you do, may you discover the hope found in this love-inspiring truth: Jesus wants you to be blessed!

-Pastor Phillip

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