Bitterness will kill your soul

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.  The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. (Revelation 8:10-11)

The imagery of Revelation is powerful and complex, and also multi-layered in its application.  Is this a passage about a cataclysmic event that will take place at the time of the end?  Yes.  But can we also find in it a principal for how we live our lives now?  Absolutely.

Jesus said that all who come and receive His life will find within them “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:14)  So, what happens when that spring becomes sour?  What happens when our inner life becomes poisoned with bitterness, unforgiveness, and all their friends?

We die inside.

If Jesus wants to give us water of life, then the enemy of our souls wants to deceive us into letting that source grow bitter.  Don’t give in to him!  Don’t give ground to it!

No matter what steps you need to take or how hard it seems to be, look to Christ and draw on His strength to help you forgive.  Let go of your bitterness and give it to Jesus.  Let go of your hurt and give it to God.  Release them today and receive the fresh water of life instead, because if you don’t, you can be sure of this truth.

Bitterness will kill your soul.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is a savior for all people

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.  They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)

God is not an old, gray-haired white man with a beard.  Jesus did not speak to the masses in English.  Yet, if we’re not careful, when we look around at the diversity of the world around us it’s easy to drift into feelings of racial or cultural superiority.

However, the Gospel is not good news just for some people, but for all people.  Forgiveness is not offered only to particular countries, cultures or backgrounds, but to everyone.

This means that nobody is beyond the reach of the Gospel!  Nobody has a background too divergent or a life story too dark for the power of Christ to redeem.

Make no mistake.  God does indeed lovingly choose His children, but we are a diverse family, and everyone everywhere must have the opportunity to hear and respond to the Good News.

So, as you have opportunity to share the message of Christ with others, may you be emboldened by this truth.

Jesus is a Savior for all people.

-Pastor Phillip

God is the avenger of injustice

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.  They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.  (Revelation 6:9-11)

For those who live in comfort, it is hard to imagine what true persecution is like.   A hurtful word or an unkind action from an unbeliever is usually all Christians in the west might suffer for their faith, but it is quite different in much of the rest of the world.

All throughout history and even in modern times, people have been beaten, imprisoned and killed because of their stand for Christ.

Some may ask, “If God is so loving, why does He allow His children to suffer?  If God is so good, why does He let His children die?  If God is so righteous, why does He ignore injustice?”

He has not forgotten.  He is waiting for the fullness of time.

Make no mistake.  All sin, all evil, and all injustice will be punished.  God has a cup filled with holy and righteous wrath, and it is prepared for all who violate His law and all who harm His people.  The only question is, who will drink it?

Do not forget that the glorious truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ, the only one with no sin of His own to pay for, has offered to drink the cup for all who trust and follow Him!

This means two things.  First, if you are in Christ, then the full measure of God’s wrath against your sin has been received by Jesus Christ, and there is no more left for you!  Second, when you see or experience injustice and persecution in this life, know that either it will be paid for in full as God’s wrath is poured out on the guilty, or it will have been paid for in full upon the cross of Christ.

Either way, when your soul cries out for justice as you see all the evil in the world, you can find peace in this truth.

God is the avenger of injustice.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus turns death into deliverance

“You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  (Revelation 5:9b)

Nobody watching Jesus bleed out on the cross had a chipper outlook for the future.

To be sure, Jesus had told His disciples He would rise again, but their astonishment when He showed up again reveals they hadn’t bought in 100%.

But Jesus has a way of changing insurmountable obstacles into unexpected blessings.

His life was a demonstration, but His death was the true deliverance.  Many people were helped by His words, but the real power was in His blood.

When your circumstances look like death, remember that Jesus changes everything, and let yourself be comforted by this truth.

Jesus turns death into deliverance.

–Pastor Phillip

God is eternally holy, so you can be, too

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!  (Revelation 4:8b)

From eternity since before the world began, God was holy, perfect, righteous and good.

Throughout every age of humanity, God has been holy, perfect, righteous, and good.

Long after the cosmos have sighed their last breath, forever and ever God will still be holy, perfect, righteous and good…and that’s not all.

If you’ve been united with Christ in salvation, then you are being transformed into the image of Jesus who is the exact representation of God.  This means that if you’re in Christ, then you are being made holy, perfect, righteous and good as you surrender to the power of Christ within you!

No matter what you’ve done in the past, trust Him and follow Him today, and let this truth encourage you to keep growing in Christ.

God is eternally holy, so you can be, too.

–Pastor Phillip

God allows pain because you are precious to Him

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.  (Revelation 3:19-20)

Christian, do you ever wonder why God allows hard things to come into your life?  Do you ever feel like you’re getting knocked around and you can’t figure out what’s behind it?

Maybe it’s Jesus, knocking on your heart to get your attention.

Don’t miss the obvious truth of this passage, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”  If God never allows any pain into your life, either you are sinlessly perfect in all your actions and attitudes, or God doesn’t really love you at all.

Yet, don’t miss the incredible encouragement here, either.

When God disciplines us, it is never because He wants to push us away, but because He wants to draw us closer!

His correction is not condemnation.  It is an invitation to greater intimacy with Him!

This is why the Psalmist David can exult, “Let the bones that you have broken rejoice” (Psalm 51:8), because every hurt is another chance to be touched by the hand of the Healer.

Don’t run from or fear the hand of God’s discipline.  Embrace it, and as you do, let this truth fill your heart with hope.

God allows pain because you are precious to Him.

–Pastor Phillip

God is delighted when you delight in Him

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.  Let the godly exult in glory, let them sing for joy on their beds.  (Psalm 149:4-5)

God doesn’t get the most glory out of the submission of slaves, but from the celebration of sons and daughters.  His greatest desire isn’t that people would obey Him out of the fear of punishment, but that they would worship Him out of delight at the reward of His pleasure.

He is a loving Father who wants the greatest good and the deepest joy for His children, and He knows that these things only come when we walk in fellowship with Him.

So, let God Himself be your treasure today, and as you do, you can have confidence that you’re pleasing Him because of this truth.

God is delighted when you delight in Him.

–Pastor Phillip

God gives life to those who are strong in Him

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.  (Revelation 2:7)

God is a God of victory, so His people can be, too.  God sent His Son as the ultimate overcomer, so His people can overcome, too.

As Jesus persisted and resisted sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, so we who follow Him can do the same, and not only can we stand firm in the Spirit, we must!

Through Christ, God has given you power and authority to conquer anything Satan throws at you.  So, as you receive His strength by faith today, you can take courage in this truth.

God gives life to those who are strong in Him.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is completely in control

Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.  (Revelation 1:5)

The world is run by rulers of all sorts and kinds.

Some are elected representatives, and others, self-appointed tyrants.  Some lead by example and others rule by force and fear.  Some act in ways that honor God and benefit their people, while others use their authority for selfish ends.

Yet, none of the rulers of earth truly have the final say.  Jesus does.

Whatever the political landscape looks like today, remember this.  Above every earthly power sits the exalted throne of the risen Christ.  Above the authority of every grand emperor or petty politician is the rulership of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

He is infinite in power, boundless in wisdom and altogether good.  So, even when governments seem to run unchecked and societies seem to come unhinged, you can take comfort in this liberating truth…

Jesus is in complete control.

–Pastor Phillip

All of creation brings praise to the Lord

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling His word.
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!  Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!  Kings of the earth and all people, princes and all rulers of the earth!  Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted, His majesty is above earth and heaven.
(Psalm 148:7-13)

When you sing praise to God, you aren’t the only one bringing Him worship.

Right now, at this very moment, all of heaven and earth are giving glory to Him.  This means that when you sing praise to God, you are joining in the chorus of all the universe that has been flowing since time itself began!

Take time today to lift your head up out of the details of your little life, and be motivated by this truth…

All of creation bring praise to the Lord.

–Pastor Phillip