Jesus chose you to conquer with Him

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In Revelation chapter 17, ten mysterious kings rule for a short time, then consolidate their power in the hands of a great beast.  They then rally their forces, all their might and power, and make war upon Jesus and His people.

Not only that, but in this endeavor they are guided and overseen by a cryptic character whose description is as disturbing as it is exotic, “She had a gold cup in her hand filled with everything vile…” and she is “drunk on the blood of the saints…and the witnesses to Jesus” (vv 4, 6)

Where is the hope in this chapter filled with blood and chaos and confusion?  It’s found in one little verse with big implications.

These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lord and King of kings.  Those with Him are called and elect and faithful.  (Revelation 17:14)

You see, if you are in Christ (WITH Jesus) that means you’ve been called by God!  He has desired to draw you to Himself because He wants to show you His love.

Not only that, but you are elect, chosen specifically before you were even born, because God wants to give you His salvation.

Finally, this passage shows that if you’re in Christ, you are faithful, able to stick with Jesus because He is sticking with you, giving you the power to be faithful to Him.

What does this all mean in a practical way?  It means that no matter what your enemy the devil throws at you, you can be confident in the hope of this truth.

Jesus chose you to conquer with Him.

–Pastor Phillip

In Christ, Your Difficulties Are Deposits

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 4

IN CHRIST, YOUR DIFFICULTIES ARE DEPOSITS

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Do you sometimes find it hard to follow Jesus?

Do you struggle with opposition or discouragement from others, or from yourself?

Is it difficult sometimes to obey what God commands, even though you know it’s for your good?

Take heart, your effort is not in vain!

In your walk with Christ, the roadblocks you face and the hardships you endure are not wasted; they are invested.  Each one is adding to your reward in heaven and your spiritual strength here and now.

You may not feel it.

You may not see it.

However, something is happening each time you obey.  Out of every struggle in which you are faithful to Jesus, a deposit is made into your heavenly account.  When you choose Jesus first and remain in Him, glory is added to your eternal reward.

It may be hard, but push forward and keep following in faith.  As you do, you’ll find the hope that comes from this truth: in Christ, your difficulties are deposits.

-Pastor Phillip


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The Holy Spirit is your boldness

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Acts 14

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS YOUR BOLDNESS

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.  But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.  When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch…  (Acts 14:19-21)

Paul and Barnabas had been rejected at Antioch, kicked out of Iconium, and Paul had just been stoned by the people of Lystra and only survived by the grace of God.  Now, after a brief stop in another city, here they are going back.

What’s the deal with that!?

You’d think they would have learned the first time.  You’d think they would have gotten the hint that there was high opposition to the Gospel in those cities.  You’d think they would have looked for other places to minister where the work wasn’t quite so challenging.

However, in this passage we see that Paul and Barnabas don’t think that way.  They don’t feel that way.  They don’t work that way, because they have something that is working in and through them that is far more powerful than any opposition they may face.  That something is a someone, the person of the Holy Spirit.

Because they are empowered by the Spirit, they are emboldened for the Gospel.  Because they follow His command, they are filled with His courage and nothing can hold them back from spreading the Good News.

You know what’s even more exciting?  If you’re in Christ, that same power is available to you.

Don’t let the world’s resistance hold you back from the wonderful things God has planned for you.  Don’t let fear and uncertainty cripple the faith and confidence God wants to give you.  Trust Him today, follow His leading where ever it may take you, and as you do, you’ll be filled with hope as you walk in this truth: The Holy Spirit is your boldness.

-Pastor Phillip


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Nothing can cancel God’s plan for your life

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Acts 5

NOTHING CAN CANCEL GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

“If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You might even be found opposing God!”  (Acts 5:38b-39a)

The Jewish religious leaders were not happy with Peter and John.  These disciples of Jesus had blatantly disregarded the orders of the council to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, and more and more people were listening to them.

In the midst of a heated debate over what to do about it, an old and wise Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up and reminded them of other so-called “messiahs” who had come on the scene with a flash and faded away just as quickly.  What he told them, though, was not just the opinion of an old man.  It is the truth of God.

Gamaliel said, “if this is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.”

He knew that no matter how great the opposition becomes, God’s plans are greater.  No matter how strong the adversity seems, God’s people are stronger!  No matter how unlikely success may be, if God is in it, victory is assured!

So, if you’re following Jesus and pursuing what He’s called you to do, you can press on in confidence today, because of the hope found in this truth: nothing can cancel God’s plan for your life.

-Pastor Phillip


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God has given you the tools to stand

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Mark 13

GOD HAS GIVEN YOU THE TOOLS TO STAND

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.”  (Mark 13:22-23)

Jesus told His disciples what to expect at the end.

He told them about circumstances, about characters, about creation itself falling apart. He told them about destruction, deception, and the demonic opposition they would face.  He told them what to do and what not to do. He told them how to stay strong, how to prevail.

In fact, He told them “all things beforehand” so they would have everything they needed to stand firm when it mattered most.

He’s done the same for you.

Whether physically or spiritually, internally or externally, you will encounter opposition if you are truly following Jesus.  The good news is that for every situation you may face, Jesus has already prepared the tools you will need!  His Word and His Spirit are ready for you to take hold of.  His people and His power are waiting for you to connect with.

No matter what obstacle or persecution comes against you, Jesus is for you and He’s given you all you need to prevail!

May you have eyes to see His deliverance today, and hands ready to take hold of all He has given for your freedom.  As you do, you’ll find hope in this truth: God has given you the tools to stand.

-Pastor Phillip


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Spoken Against

When sharing Jesus gets you in trouble, what’s THAT about?

“With regard to this sect [the Way of Jesus] we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” -Acts 28:22

When Paul comes to share the Good News in Rome, he’s told what he probably already knew: what is “good news” to those who know their need is a threat to those who don’t.

This was foretold, in fact, by a prophet who encountered Jesus just after His birth.  Speaking by the Spirit, Simeon said of Jesus, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)

When the Truth of God comes to broken people (and we are all broken people), some will receive it with gladness because their hearts are ready to be healed.  Others will receive it either with indifference or anger, because their pride is still greater than their pain and they are not willing to lay down sword and shield to be released from their bondage.  In fact, they might even turn the sword on you for daring to threaten the shield of their own strength and choices.

When someone speaks against and opposes you when you share the message of Jesus, take heart.  It’s likely that this has much less to do with you, and much more to do with them.