God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy

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So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image…  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues.  They did not repent and give him glory… and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.  They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:2, 9, 11)

The escalating judgments of Revelation are pictures of the perfect justice of God and the total depravity of those who refuse to worship Him.

Like swimmers in a flood who refuse to accept life jackets and boats, these people refuse to repent, to turn away from their wickedness and thus be saved from the rising tide.  Like a person who provoked another to violence by repeated assault, then got angry at being hit back in return, these people curse God for allowing them to receive the consequences of their actions, and blame Him for the suffering they brought upon themselves.

Have you ever done the same?

Be very careful not to blame God for the pain caused by your own sinful and foolish choices.  Jesus is full of mercy and love and forgiveness for you, but it makes no difference if you don’t accept responsibility and come to Him humbly to receive.

God does not delight in your suffering, but in your salvation!  (Ezekiel 18:23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4)  Don’t push Him away when you think He’s being unfair.  Draw close to Him in humility, accept the fruit of your actions, and receive His forgiveness and restoration.

It is only when we grasp and accept the rightness of God’s justice that we can truly appreciate the beauty of His mercy.  So, be honest with yourself and let this truth lead you to peace.

God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy.

–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

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

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

God’s heart is for the helpless

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 82

GOD’S HEART IS FOR THE HELPLESS

How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?  Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. (Psalm 82:2-3)

All throughout Scripture, God has harsh words and strong judgments for those in authority who use their power to oppress.  The same is true for those who have the ability to help the needy, but refuse.

This is both a convicting and comforting thing.  Convicting, because this means He also wants you to help the hurting in some way.  Comforting because we all go through seasons of hurt.  If not right now, then eventually you will be weak and afflicted, and in that moment take heart.

God is for you, because God’s heart is for the helpless.

-Pastor Phillip

Your father wants you to come home

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 78

YOUR FATHER WANTS YOU TO COME HOME

Their heart was not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant.
Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them;
He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

(Psalm 78:37–39)

Your failures are no surprise to God.  When your love for Him grows cold, when serving Him gets old, when following gets wearying and your heart drifts towards other things, God is not caught unaware.

Yet, He still loves you just the same.

God’s mercy is so great that through Christ He has already atoned for your lack of love towards Him, and now He simply wants you to come back to where you belong.  He remembers you are weak and He wants you to remember how He is strong so that instead of continuing to run from Him, you’ll run to Him.

Whatever the state of your heart or your life, be encouraged to respond to this truth today: Your Father wants you to come home.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your overflowing grace

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Timothy 1

JESUS IS YOUR OVERFLOWING GRACE

And the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  (1 Timothy 1:14)

Paul killed Christians, yet Jesus gave him overflowing grace.  Paul opposed the name of Christ as strongly as he could, yet Jesus gave him overwhelming mercy.

Why?  Because that’s the kind of savior Jesus is!

Is your faith weak?  Come to Jesus.

Is your love cold?  Come to Jesus.

Is your obedience lacking?  Come to Jesus, and let Him work His power in your life.

Whatever the state of your heart, Jesus can make it holy by His blood.  So, trust and obey Him today and let this truth be your motivation: Jesus is your overflowing grace.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is committed to you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 11

JESUS IS COMMITTED TO YOU

The Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  (1 Corinthians 11:23b-25)

Maybe you’ve read or heard these words before, or maybe you haven’t.  Maybe they are old news to you, or maybe brand-new.  Either way, see them again.

He was betrayed…for you.

He gave His body…for you.

He shed His blood…for you.

He made this covenant…for you.

No matter how well you’ve succeeded or how badly you’ve failed, rest in this reality.  Jesus did not give Himself for you because you earned it, but because He loves you.  He did not offer this covenant to you because He knew you would keep it, but because He knew you couldn’t, and so you would need Him to keep it for you.

Jesus’ love for you has never rested on your faithfulness; it’s always rested on His.  That’s why you can have peace even when you fail, because His great sacrifices for you are evidence of this life-changing and hope-giving truth: Jesus is committed to you.

-Pastor Phillip


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God thinks of you with mercy

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 40

GOD THINKS OF YOU WITH MERCY

As for You, O Lord, You will not restrain Your mercy from me; Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness will ever preserve me! … As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.  (Psalm 40:11, 17a)

David was a man who knew his need.  He was a man who felt the weight of his failure and sin.  David was a man who was well aware of just how far short he fell of God’s perfect standards.

How about you?

Do you know the depth of your need and feel the weight of your sin?  Do you recognize just how great a gap there is between your performance and God’s perfection?

David did, but David also knew something else that made all the difference in his life.

He knew that because he was a member of God’s covenant people, the default position of God’s heart towards him wasn’t punishment, but mercy.  David knew that God thought about him all the time, and when He did, God’s thoughts weren’t filled with anger and judgment, but with grace and love.

How about you?

If you are a member of God’s covenant people through faith in Christ, it doesn’t matter what you have done or failed to do.  It doesn’t matter how far short you’ve fallen of God’s perfect standards.  It doesn’t matter what sins you’ve committed or how wrong your life has been, because if you’re in Christ, God looks at you through the lenses of His perfection.

That means that God thinks of you regularly, and when He does, it’s not with anger or disappointment, and it’s not to figure out ways to make you pay for what you’ve done.

Jesus paid it all for you, and that means that even when you feel the most undeserving, you can have hope in this soul-freeing truth: God thinks of you with mercy.

-Pastor Phillip


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