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’s promises are on their way

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 everything is in its proper place so that when they do, it will be in a way that brings the greatest glory to 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 to come home to Him 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, may you remember and be moved by this truth.

God’s promises are on their way.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your guaranteed inheritance

For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  (Hebrews 10:34-35)

The world has its values system of what matters and what doesn’t, and it teaches us to safeguard what we hold to be most valuable.  Yet, in this life we have far less control than we imagine, and in light of this vulnerability, how do we deal with the inevitability of loss?

We fix our eyes on the one thing we can never lose: Jesus Himself.

It is Christ who is our cherished possession, and His love that is our greatest reward.  If the uncertainty of life has you down, you can be lifted up by re-orienting your values system around this one simple truth.

Jesus is your guaranteed inheritance.

–Pastor Phillip

The Time Came (Luke 2:6)

While they were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for [Mary] to give birth.  (Luke 2:6)

We live in a world of instant weather reports and apps that let us track every stage of a pregnancy.  Finding our way to a new place is as simple as tapping a button on a smartphone, and knowing what to expect when you’re expecting has never been easier.

Not so for Joseph and Mary.

For them, they simply had to wait, to wonder, and to pray.  No ultrasounds or sonograms, no regular checkups to see how the baby was doing; they had to sit in the darkness of uncertainty, trusting fully in God’s promise that the baby would come at just the right time.

And He did.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your ultimate inheritance

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Acts 13

JESUS IS YOUR ULTIMATE INHERITANCE

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this He has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus… (Acts 13:32-33a)

Inheritance rights are a big deal.  All throughout history and even in our own day, it’s more common than not to see families squabble and fight over who gets the most valuable items or amounts after a loved one dies.

Why is this?  Because we all want to have the best portion of the inheritance.

Make no mistake about this, though.  Above silver and gold, above lands and property, above stocks and bonds and heirlooms and memories and anything else you might receive, there is one thing you have coming to you that is far more valuable than anything else.  Not only that, but there is one thing you can pass on as a legacy that outshines anything else, too.

Jesus.

Maybe your family situation is pristine or maybe it’s problematic.  Maybe you have a great inheritance coming to you or maybe there’s nothing left but a string of unkept promises.  Maybe you have a great ability to leave an inheritance for those you love, or maybe you find yourself lacking in more ways than one.

Whatever your circumstance, don’t miss this simple but powerful promise from God.  If you’re in Christ, then Jesus Himself is God’s gift to you.  His presence is yours to experience, His power yours in which to walk.  His love is there for your peace, and His grace is yours in which to stand.

Rest in this promise today, and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: Jesus is your ultimate inheritance.

-Pastor Phillip

p.s. To learn more about God’s INCREDIBLE inheritance for you in Christ, check out my teaching series “Inheritance” by CLICKING HERE.


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Jesus is the one you are looking for

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 20

JESUS IS THE ONE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

“Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? ” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” — which means “Teacher.” (John 20:15-16 HCSB)

Her answer was right there, but Mary couldn’t see it. The person she was looking for was standing in front of her, but she was blinded by her grief and pain… until Jesus called her name.

Think about that for a moment.  Who is it that you are looking for?

A friend?

A partner?

Someone to believe in?

Someone to believe in you?

Someone you can trust who will never let you down?

Who is it?

Our first choice for all of these things is usually a person with flesh and blood.  Yet, in Christ, we have Someone far better, if we’re willing to listen to His call.

So listen… He’s calling your name.

May you hear and respond to Jesus today, no matter where your search has taken you.  As you do, may you find hope in this comforting truth: Jesus is the one you are looking for.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus has a deeper truth for you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 6

JESUS HAS A DEEPER TRUTH FOR YOU

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”  (John 6:52-55)

You can’t blame the people for being confused.

After all, what kind of teacher invites people to eat his flesh and drink his blood, and then goes on to say it’s “TRUE food and TRUE drink?”  It would be one thing to just assume Jesus is speaking poetically, but He goes out of His way to emphasize that He’s saying something more.  Yet, we know from the rest of the Gospel accounts that people did not literally eat His physical flesh and drink His actual blood, so He has to mean something different.

So what’s the deal?

Notice the nuance in Jesus’ words.  He doesn’t say “real food” and “real drink,” He says they are “true.”  Part of what He’s talking about is that we are not bodies with spirits, but spirits with bodies.

The spiritual is deeper than the physical.

Things which appear so certain and “real” in the physical world may not always line up with what is “true” in the spiritual world, and in a conflict between the two, the spiritual must take priority, because that is the deeper layer of the two.

Many people may walk the earth alive in body but dead in spirit.  Many may be perfectly fit and healthy on the outside, but weak and lifeless on the inside.  For Jesus to say His body and blood are “true food and true drink” is a reminder that He alone is the source of nourishment and life to our spiritual selves, and that only by maintaining our connection with Him will we be truly alive in the ways that really matter.

Not only that, but for those who follow Christ, it’s a reminder that just because something is “real” doesn’t make it true.  Just because something looks certain to natural eyes doesn’t mean there isn’t a better reality just waiting to be revealed.

It means the door may look closed to you now, but if Jesus says it’s open, it is.

It means the relationship may look over now, but if Jesus says it will live again, it will.

It means the body may look sick now, but if Jesus says you’re healed, you are.

In reality, nobody ever took a table setting and feasted on the body in which Jesus walked, but the truth is that billions have been fed by His life-giving Spirit for millennia, and when they left behind this life of shadows, they discovered that even though they didn’t see it here like they expected, God’s final Word was waiting for them all along.

Whatever your struggle today, and whatever your reality looks like, may you take heart and find hope in this truth:  Jesus has a deeper truth for you.

-Pastor Phillip


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God is preparing the perfect answer for you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 2

GOD IS PREPARING THE PERFECT ANSWER FOR YOU

I am struck by how an angel appeared to Joseph not just once, but four times (at least) to ensure the safety of Jesus: once to confirm Mary’s pregnancy really WAS from God (Matthew 1:20), once to warn Joseph and Mary to flee Herod’s coming persecution (Matthew 2:13), and twice as they returned from Egypt to eventually settle in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19, 22).

Are you asking God for guidance?  He is quite capable of being thorough and precise.  If you aren’t hearing God clearly, it could be a hard heart or dull hearing on your part, or it could simply be God’s way of helping you learn to get through seasons of uncertainty by trusting and resting in Him.

As you seek His guidance for your life, know that He is totally capable of giving you precisely what you need.  So, if you’re not yet getting the answer you want, it doesn’t mean He hasn’t heard you.  In fact, it means quite the opposite.  So, let this truth birth fresh hope in your life: God is preparing the perfect answer for you.

-Pastor Phillip


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God always keeps His promises

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 1

GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  (Matthew 1:1)

For thousands of years, God’s people had waited for His promises to come true.

He had told Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)  Yet, they had been through so many ups and downs, triumphs and trials, and here they were under Roman occupation with no hope for deliverance in sight.

But God always keeps His promises.

David, the greatest king of Israel, had been promised a kingdom that would last forever when God spoke this through the prophet Nathan: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and he shall be to me a son…and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12b-13, 16)

David’s son Solomon seemed like a good candidate for this promise.  After all, he did, indeed, “build a house” for the Lord, the temple of Jerusalem.  But Solomon died, his sons were evil, and Israel’s kingdom eventually fell apart. Even the temple, that great house Solomon built for God’s name, was destroyed.

But God always keeps His promises.

Now, enter Jesus.  Matthew records the family history of this Savior, this Messiah, and the first thing he mentions is that Jesus is “the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Matthew knows the truth: that Jesus is the promised heir of David.  This was the message of the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary, “The Lord God will give to [Jesus] the throne of his father David… and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32b-33)

Matthew knows the truth: that Jesus is the promised offspring of Abraham.  This was the message the Holy Spirit spoke through Jesus’ relative Zechariah, that the Lord “has visited and redeemed His people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David…to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father Abraham…” (Luke 1:68b-69, 72-73)

Jesus came because God always keeps His promises.

If you’re still waiting on God’s promises in your life, may you take strength and find hope in this truth: if you are in Christ, God’s greatest fulfillment is already yours, and the rest will come in just the right time…

Because God always keeps His promises.

-Pastor Phillip


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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