God has granted you the ability to grow

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence…  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…”  (2 Peter 1:3, 5a)

God’s amazing grace is the most incredible gift imaginable.  It is His undeserved favor, His unbreakable love, His unstoppable redemption, and if you’re in Christ, it is His irrevocable gift to you.

But it gets even better than that.

God has not only given you right standing with Him, but also the power to stand for Him.  He has given you the ability to learn and grow, to increase your knowledge of His love and amplify your experience of His power.

God’s plan for you is not that you would become a weak recipient of spiritual welfare, but a strong participant in spiritual warfare.  His grace is not the enabling force for you to sit back and do nothing, but the empowering strength for you to stand up and do something that matters with your life.

Never forget that you have great power in Christ, and with it, a great opportunity and responsibility to follow Him in deeper and deeper ways.

Rest in His grace, then work for His glory as you are strengthened by this truth.

God has granted you the ability to grow.

–Pastor Phillip

God gives you discipline to bring you peace

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  (Hebrews 12:7-8, 11)

Think of the ruin that comes from a flood.  Torrents of water can cause great harm as they rise, undirected and spilling everywhere.  Dams and riverbeds restrict the water, but in doing so they channel it into something useful, something good.

So it is with our lives.

When God disciplines us, it is not intended for our punishment, but for our peace.  It is God using any means necessary to channel our lives and hearts into the good purposes He has for us, purposes that sin will inhibit if not dealt with.

God may allow or even cause pain in your life, but it is always because He loves you, and it is never His first choice.

Listen to His whispers and pay attention to His Word today so that you’ll have no need of stronger discipline.  If and when it comes, though, don’t lose heart, and don’t misunderstand what your Heavenly Father is doing.  Far from showing you His wrath, God is showing you His love, so be encouraged by this truth.

God gives you discipline to bring you peace.

–Pastor Phillip

God has greater truths for you

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  (Hebrews 5:14)

Good parents don’t give car keys to their toddler and put them behind the wheel on the freeway.  Yet, certainly they hope their child grows up to drive someday, and they surely help along the way.

So it is in Christ.

God desires growth for His children, an ever-increasing depth of Scriptural knowledge and spiritual power and understanding.  He has great treasures of wisdom and insight that He wants to give, but they can only be received by those with enough depth and strength to handle them.

This means that your everyday decisions matter, because they are either preparing you for or preventing you from receiving greater and greater power in your walk with God!

As you follow Jesus, let Him grow and deepen you, and surrender yourself to the process. Though it may be hard sometimes, don’t give up, keep digging deeper, and be encouraged as you remember this reality: God has greater truths for you.

–Pastor Phillip

Wisdom, Stature, and Favor (Luke 2:52)

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.  (Luke 2:52)

Would you increase in your stature and standing in the world?  Would you maximize and take advantage of every opportunity to grow stronger in body, mind and spirit?

Seek God’s wisdom, and the stature will follow.

Would you grow more highly favored by the people around you?  Would you be looked on with deference and high regard by those who cross your path?

Receive and rest in the incredible favor of God that you have in Christ, and the confidence that comes from walking in God’s favor will produce an incredible result.

It will cause others to favor you, too.

–Pastor Phillip

God will take care of the end result

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 3

GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THE END RESULT

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  (1 Corinthians 3:6)

We live in a fast-paced, results-oriented world that prizes achievement above most everything else.  So, we go go go, push push push, trying to get ahead and get the results we need.

But the Kingdom is not like that.

In the Kingdom, we all have our own parts to play.  Some plant, some water.  Perhaps one could say some fertilize and others help with pest control.  However you see the analogy, though, one thing is sure.

God, not us, ultimately makes it grow.

This is great news because it takes away the pressure of the end product!  You’re not in charge of the final outcome, God is.  You’re not on the hook for the ultimate goal, God is.  Your responsibility is simply to do your best to serve with excellence in whatever way He’s called you, and leave the results to Him.

So, relax.  You can be free to serve with joy and peace because of the hope of this truth: God will take care of the end result.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

God’s love makes you steadfast

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 52

GOD’S LOVE MAKES YOU STEADFAST

“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
(Psalm 52:7-8)

The world has its way of seeking security, but it will always ultimately fail.  Power and wealth may bring stability for a season, but eventually they only produce bitter disappointment.

On the other hand, look at those whose hope and security are found in the Lord.  You will find stability in their heart.  You will discover joy in their life.  They are steadfast, because their trust is in something that never fails: the steadfast love of God.

May that be your trust, too, and as you keep your eyes fixed on Him, may you experience the hope found in this truth: God’s love makes you steadfast.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

Knowing God will grow your love

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 17

KNOWING GOD WILL GROW YOUR LOVE

“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


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

Jesus wants to give you fruit that lasts

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 15

JESUS WANTS TO GIVE YOU FRUIT THAT LASTS

“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


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

Small things grow big in the Kingdom

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Luke 13

SMALL THINGS GROW BIG IN THE KINGDOM

He said therefore, “What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”  And again He said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?  It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  (Luke 13:18-21)

It’s easy to judge based on appearance.  We know the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but most of us do it anyway.

However, in the Kingdom of God, all is not what it may seem at first glance.

When Jesus wanted to illustrate the qualities of the Kingdom, He used examples of seeds and yeast, small things that become big things when put in their proper place.   His point is that when it’s put in its proper place in your life, even the smallest seed of the Kingdom can grow into something great.

Maybe you don’t see great things in your life right now, but give it time.  Maybe you don’t see many results from your prayers right now, but give it time!

With time and a persistent heart that sows the small bits of the Kingdom into a place of priority, you will see something significant happen in and through your life.

Keep trusting and following Jesus, and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: small things grow big in the Kingdom.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

God wants to help you grow

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 13

GOD WANTS TO HELP YOU GROW

Matthew 13:1-50…

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells four parables about things that grow, three about sorting good results and people from bad, two parables about the great value and worth of the Kingdom of Heaven, and one about those who understand it.

So many stories!  So many applications!  Yet, there is a thread that runs through them all.

In the Kingdom, everything grows.

Those who know God and are known by Him grow in righteousness, influence and impact.  Those who don’t truly belong to the Kingdom grow in unrighteousness and hardness of heart.  Over time, the differences and distinctions between true followers of Jesus and those who are Christians in name only grow as well.

The more we observe the Kingdom and understand it, the more valuable it grows to us.  Then, as we seek understanding and keep walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we grow in our ability to share that value with others, too.

Maybe your walk with Christ or your life in general feels a bit stagnant.  Maybe it feels like not much has grown in you during this season.  Maybe you just stopped believing anything could.

If that’s you, then be encouraged today!  If you’re in Christ, then that means you are a part of the Kingdom of God, and He is the Lord of the harvest.  What does that mean?  It means that since He invests in the growth of His Kingdom, you can find hope in this truth: God wants to help you grow.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)