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

You are the beloved of God

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for [and by] Jesus Christ; may mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.  (Jude 1:1b-2)

Are you in Christ?  Then God wants multiply His peace in your heart and His mercy in your life.

Are you in Christ?  Then He is keeping you secure in His love, holding on to you as His precious treasure that nothing can ever snatch out of His hand.

Are you in Christ?  Then remember this.  No matter what you’ve done, no matter where or who you’ve been, Jesus has made a way for you to find hope in this truth…

If you’re in Christ, you are the beloved of God.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your guarantee of eternal life

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.  (1 John 5:13)

Scripture is not given to us only for equipping, but also for encouragement.  God’s Word isn’t brought to us merely to teach us to follow commandments, but to help us find confidence in the status of our relationship with God!

If you’re in Christ, God doesn’t want you to think you have eternal life in Him – He wants you to KNOW it!  He doesn’t want you to just hope for a better future, but to have the kind of confidence in Christ that produces a better and more joyful life right now.

Christian, if you’ve trusted Jesus for salvation and surrendered to Him as Lord, then no matter what you do or is done to you, you can have confidence in this truth.

Jesus is your guarantee of eternal life.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your faithful forgiver

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

Jesus offered himself for you

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.  (Hebrews 9:14)

There were powerful people who conspired against Jesus, but they were not the ones that put Him on the cross. Many enemies wanted to see Him dead, but it was not their will that won the day.

Jesus gave His life willingly on your behalf.

When you are confronted with your own inadequacies and sin, do not despair.  When you are brought face-to-face with your failures, do not lose heart.

Remember that Jesus loved—and still loves—you exactly as you are, and that He loved you so much He was willing to die.  As you dwell on this, may you be encouraged by this truth.

Jesus offered Himself for you.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your conduit of mercy

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  (Hebrews 8:12)

Guilt is a powerful motivator.  It can change habits and open handbags, clean up words and free up wallets.  Yet, in the life of a Christian, guilt is not of God.

Conviction is the sorrowful sense that something is not right in your life and that a change must take place, but conviction differs from guilt in a very important way. Fear.

Guilt brings fear of punishment, but conviction carries with it this blessed assurance: In Christ, God has full forgiveness for you!  In Christ, God has unstoppable love for you!

In Christ, nothing you could ever do would make God cast you away, so let this truth set you free to live a life of holiness without fear.

Jesus is your conduit of mercy.

–Pastor Phillip

The Father’s Delight (Luke 3:22b)

You are my beloved Son.  I take delight in you.  (Luke 3:22b)

The steadfast, unchanging posture of God the Father toward God the Son is not dutiful acceptance, but glorious delight.

The scandalous, unbelievable truth of the Gospel is that for those who are united with Jesus by grace through faith, the position He has before the Father is now given to us.

That means if you’re in Christ, God doesn’t just forgive you out of duty.  He deeply loves you out of delight!

He doesn’t just take away your sin.  He takes pleasure in your salvation.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus has a crown of righteousness for you

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Timothy 4:8)

Judgment Day is coming.  Only God the Father knows the exact hour, but the time is approaching when all people everywhere will be repaid according to God’s heavenly record of their earthly life.

For some, this will be terrible as all of their sin is paraded out before the eyes of eternity and they then receive their just penalty.

But for those in Christ, it will be a different experience entirely.

Christian, on that day of judgment, the book will be opened and your life examined and this is what your record will say…

RIGHTEOUS, REDEEMED, AND TOTALLY CLEAN.

If you’re in Christ, your sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, and judgment day will have no punishment for you, only reward!

So, as you follow Jesus in gratefulness for His grace, let this truth spur you on with good cheer: Jesus has a crown of righteousness for you.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus cleared your debt completely

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Colossians 2

JESUS CLEARED YOUR DEBT COMPLETELY

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.  (Colossians 2:13-14)

Creditors do not simply give up on collecting debts that are owed to them.  Judges do not simply toss aside convictions because they feel like it.  No, consistency and justice in finance and the law are vital components to an ordered society.

This reality is a reflection of the character of God, because He is a God of order.  He is a God of justice.  He is a God who rightfully and righteously demands that all debts must be paid, and all sins must be punished.

Yet, God is also a God of compassion.  He is a God of mercy, the Lord of love who takes no pleasure in suffering and pain.

So, Jesus paid the price to reconcile all these things together.

Jesus endured the full wrath of God the Father, suffering the full penalty for sin.  He paid the debt that you and I owed for our own sin, so that our record could be made clean in Christ.

This is astounding news!

This means that if you are in Christ, you have no more debt to God for your failures and flaws.  Your sins have been forgiven, both now and forever more, and your wicked heart has been replaced with a clean heart that is spotless and new.

Nothing remains to be done, because Jesus paid it all.  So, be at peace.  When you see your imperfections, or Satan reminds you of your past, you can rest in the hope of this truth from God’s Word: Jesus cleared your debt completely.

-Pastor Phillip

God has a lavish redemption for you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Ephesians 1

GOD HAS A LAVISH REDEMPTION FOR YOU

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight…  (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Jesus is not a stingy Savior.  He doesn’t step in to do the bare minimum in your life, to give you just enough grace to get by.

No, Jesus shed His blood extravagantly, overwhelmingly, generously on your behalf.  No matter how deep your debt of sin may be, the river of God’s grace poured out in Jesus’ blood is far, far deeper.  No matter how wide your guilt or shame may be, Jesus’ arms are stretched wider still.

Rest in this.

Rejoice in this!

Respond to this with a life of worship and gratitude.

No matter what your past or present may look like, remember the hope of this truth: God has a lavish redemption for you.

-Pastor Phillip


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