Fear of Man

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Fear of man is a snare.  (Proverbs 29:25)

The Gospel frees us from the insecurity of needing other people’s opinions to validate our worth.  It frees us, therefore, from needing to manipulate the perceptions and impressions of everyone around us.

This means that when we receive the truth of the Gospel and embrace who God says we are in Christ, we no longer have to use people for their accolades.

Instead, we can love them authentically and serve them for their benefit… rather than using them for ours.

–Pastor Phillip

Your accuser has no power over you

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And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.  (Revelation 12:10-11)

War in heaven, the angels of God against the demons of the dragon: different scholars believe different things about when these events will take place and what exactly the images mean.  Yet, nestled in the midst of these descriptions of battle is a word of hope for every believer in Christ.

When Jesus died, His blood was shed on your behalf.  Like a sacrificial Lamb, His death was offered as payment to God the Father for all of your sin.  When Jesus rose, His victory was validated, His triumph secured and His Kingdom authority confirmed.

Now, look at the result of Jesus’ triumphant work on the cross…

“The accuser…has been thrown down…and they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death.”

This means if you’re in Christ, your sin can no longer be used against you because the prosecutor has been kicked out of court!

If you’re in Christ, your failures have no impact on your membership in God’s family because your accuser has been thrown down!

If you’re in Christ, then you have no need to wallow or worry because your guilt and shame now have no effect on your standing before God!

So, stand strong and free today as you trust the finished work of Christ on your behalf.  Don’t let your past sins or present struggles have any power over you, because they have no legal claim on you anymore.

Christian, if you feel the weight of failure and condemnation, push it aside and be released as you walk in this powerful truth today.

Your accuser has no power over you.

–Pastor Phillip

God’s promise to you is peace

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.  (2 John 1:3)

Sometimes the greatest truths of God are also the simplest.  Sometimes the deepest revelations don’t come from more books, but more belief.

Do you believe God has grace for you?  Do you believe God has mercy for you?  Do you believe God has peace for you?  You must!

If you’re in Christ, that means all of Jesus’ obedience is credited to you and all of the favor He deserves from the Father now rests on you.  Grace doesn’t always mean pleasant circumstances, but it guarantees purpose and power and peace to all who will receive it by faith in Christ.

Trust Him today.  Believe His word, and rest in this truth.

God’s promise to you is peace.

–Pastor Phillip

God is your gracious rescuer

…and if [God] 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 calms the anxiousness of the humble

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.  (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Anxiousness creeps in when we take upon ourselves the burden of having to figure things out on our own.  Worry takes over when we dwell on all the circumstances beyond our control.

This is a subtle form of pride, and it is a cancer of the soul.

The cure is to humble ourselves before God, to think and act in a way that acknowledges and embraces this simple fact: God is in control, not us, and that’s a good thing.  Humility frees us from our addiction to control and instead, repeatedly and joyfully hands over the reigns to God.

This is why God can take away the anxieties of the humble, because they let Him.

Don’t hold on to your worries and fears.  Turn them over to Jesus and let Him give you peace through this glorious truth.

God calms the anxiousness of the humble.

–Pastor Phillip

Nightmares [An Encouraging Word]

It was 4am when my son’s little hand rapped loudly on our bedroom door.

The “shave-and-a-haircut, two bits” pattern I taught him echoed through the caverns of my subconscious mind, dragging me up from a deep, clear sleep into the  groggy fog of a much-too-early morning.

“Come in” I moaned, loud enough for him to hear through the white wood, but hopefully soft enough to not wake my still-sleeping wife.  Lucky her.

“Daddy,” he said with the adorable pleading tone of a seven year old boy, “I had nightmares.  Can I sleep in your bed?”

Now, for some people this request might be a no-brainer, but for us it’s a problem.  You see, my son is not a stationary sleeper.  Like a fish out of water or a presidential candidate, he flips and flops and shifts positions all over the place; not exactly the kind of bedmate that is conducive to quality R.E.M.

I knew, too, that not only did I need to sleep, but more importantly, my wife would be waking up early for a long day at work, so she needed as much rest as she could get.

The answer was clear.

“No, son, you can’t sleep in our bed tonight… but I’d be happy to come stay with you in yours.”

After a quick trip to the bathroom, we padded our way quietly back through the dim blue landscape of the night-lighted apartment, grateful that all the Legos had been picked up before bed and weren’t waiting for us like foot-stabbing landmines.  He climbed up to his wooden bunk bed, and I slowly and carefully made my way after him, up the creaky ladder and under the “Star Wars” sheet and comforter.

I knew that for him, being in his room alone would have been difficult, because for this moment it was associated with his nightmares instead of a good night’s rest.  So, nestling close to my son, I settled in for a sleepless hour that I knew would be well worth the sacrifice.

My little boy needed me in his season of fear, and it was my joy to be by his side.

Did you know that’s how your heavenly Father feels about you?

Speaking to the worries and anxieties of the people of His day, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)  Sometimes we think of the “Kingdom of God” as only a future destination, but Jesus taught that it’s also a present experience of God’s presence and power on earth.

What does that mean for you?

It means that wherever you’re afraid today, God wants to speak words of courage to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re in turmoil today, God wants to speak words of calm to you, because He’s with you.
It means that wherever you’re anxious today, God wants to speak words of peace to you, because He’s with you.

“Don’t be afraid, little child,” He wants to say to you.  “It’s my joy to be by your side.”

Will you listen?

–Pastor Phillip

God will be your confidence in times of trouble

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 56

GOD WILL BE YOUR CONFIDENCE IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?
(Psalm 56:9b-11)

David is a fugitive in enemy territory.  He writes this Psalm as he finds himself taken captive by Philistines, the enemies of Israel.

Yet, in the midst of honest lament about his plight, David does not lose hope because he sets his heart on one thing.

“This I know, that God is for me.”

He doesn’t say, “This I hope,” or “This I think,” he knows, and that makes all the difference.

When you know God is for you, you don’t have to be afraid, and because Jesus secured your acceptance and ensured your favor in God’s eyes, rejoice!  God is always for you, which means that no matter your circumstance, you can find hope because of this truth: God will be your confidence in times of trouble.

-Pastor Phillip


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God is your refuge in times of trouble

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 43

GOD IS YOUR REFUGE IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

In the wake of an historic Supreme Court decision that has left so many believers saddened and afraid for what’s to come, the best thoughts of all are not those I could share from my heart, but those God would share from His.

In the calendar of content that guides this devotional series, today brought us to Psalm 43.  I invite you to read it slowly and prayerfully, and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: God is your refuge in times of trouble.

-Pastor Phillip


PSALM 43

“Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause 

against an ungodly nation; 

rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man. 

For You are the God of my refuge. 

 

Why have You rejected me? 

Why must I go about in sorrow 

because of the enemy’s oppression? 

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. 

Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, 

to Your dwelling place. 

Then I will come to the altar of God, 

to God, my greatest joy. 

I will praise You with the lyre, 

God, my God. 

 

Why am I so depressed? 

Why this turmoil within me? 

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, 

my Savior and my God.”

http://ref.ly/Ps43.1-5;hcsb



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God delivers those who hope in Him

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 33

GOD DELIVERS THOSE WHO HOPE IN HIM

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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Sometimes Jesus works in secret

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 7

SOMETIMES JESUS WORKS IN SECRET

[Jesus said] “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”  After saying this, He remained in Galilee. But after His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for Him at the feast, and saying, “Where is He?”  (John 7:8-11)

Have you ever found yourself asking, “Where is God?”

To His brothers and sisters, Jesus had been behaving rather oddly for someone who was supposed to be a public speaker.  They told Him that He should go make Himself known to the crowd, start building a name for Himself, get some good publicity, but Jesus had refused.

Now, however, He goes up to the feast without telling anyone!  Here He is, being sneaky, showing up quietly then standing up publicly in the middle of the occasion later on (verse 14).  Why?

Because Jesus knows details that we don’t.

He had told His siblings flat-out, “My time has not yet fully come,” basically letting them know that there is a proper order to things that depends on lots of factors that they don’t know about, but that He does.  He refused to follow their timetable because His timetable is always the better option in the big picture, and He’s the only one who can see the big picture.  Then, when the time was right, He took action at last.

He does the same thing in our lives as well.

Maybe you’re wondering “Where is God?” in your situation.  Maybe you look back at a time of pain and question where He was then.  Maybe you look ahead to something that brings anxiousness and wonder if He’ll be there for you in your hour of need.

Don’t let your senses take priority over your spirit.  Don’t let your feelings take over your faith.

God is not absent or uninterested.  He has not abandoned you.  He has not left you to fend for yourself.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  He is working out the details that you don’t know about, smoothing out the situations you can’t see, and when the time is right, He will take action at last.

May you trust Him today, and as you remember that His ways are higher than yours, may you find hope in this truth: sometimes Jesus works in secret.

-Pastor Phillip


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