God will be your voice when you have none

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 38

GOD WILL BE YOUR VOICE WHEN YOU HAVE NONE

I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.  But for You, O Lord, do I wait; it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.  (Psalm 38:14-15)

Sometimes life can leave you speechless with sorrow.

Maybe the pain comes from unjust persecution.  Maybe it’s a consequence of your sin.  Maybe it’s divine discipline or simply the result of living in a broken world, but sooner or later you will get to that point when you don’t even have any strength left to protest.

And that’s where your God will step in.

He is a faithful Father who loves to come to the aid of His children!  He is a gracious provider who loves to look after His people!

So, when you find yourself in that place of stunned silence or speechless suffering, may you find courage in the hope of this truth: God will be your voice when you have none.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus is bringing you everlasting joy

God’s Hope for Your Heart John 16

JESUS IS BRINGING YOU EVERLASTING JOY

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”  (John 16:21-22)

Those who have experienced it say there is no pain quite like the agony of childbirth, yet there is also no joy like seeing and holding your newborn in your arms.

They say the joy is always greater than the agony.

In the same way, Jesus promises His disciples that life in this world will not be free of pain, a statement quickly confirmed by a look at the lives of His first followers.  However, both His word and their lives also bear witness to a powerful truth and a great hope for the people of God.

For every sorrow, there is a greater joy waiting.

For every pain, there is a greater reward.

For every dark, lonely night there is a bright morning of reunion for all those in Christ.

Your situation may not feel very hopeful right now, but no matter what you’re going through, remember this: after the sorrow, the joy of His presence and power in you will be far greater!  It will be so deep that the pain you feel right now will fade into the dusty archives of forgetfulness, and in its place will not be some cheap happiness that can slip away with circumstances.

It may not come today.  It may not come tomorrow.  But, no matter how long it takes, it will come, as surely as morning follows night.

Today, may you rest in the hope of this truth: Jesus is bringing you everlasting joy.

-Pastor Phillip


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Even through loss, God loves you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Luke 21

EVEN THROUGH LOSS, GOD LOVES YOU

And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”  (Luke 21:5-6)

The destruction of the Temple was a death-blow to the heart of the people of Israel.  For centuries it had been the focal point of their relationship with their God, and when it was laid waste by Rome in A.D. 70, the loss was devastating.

Jesus knew this when He prophesied the temple’s destruction forty years in advance.  He knew how painful it would be to God’s people to see something they loved and cherished and relied upon so quickly and violently removed.

And He knew it had to be done, because of love.

Jesus knew that with the temple still standing, it would be a great rival for the affection and devotion of God’s people, but that it could never truly give them what they needed.  Only Jesus could save them, redeem them and fulfill them, and if there was another “savior” in the picture they could never be truly saved at all.

So God, in His mercy, let the thing they loved be taken away.

Sometimes, when you experience great tragedy and loss, you may find yourself wondering, “How could a loving God let the thing I love be taken away?”  Many times, though, it is precisely because of His love that He lets things be taken from us, because He knows that if they remain they will prevent us from receiving and walking in the greatest blessing of all – Himself.

May you have the courage to ask Jesus to be always first in your heart and life, and may you have strength to endure when He removes those things that stand in the way of Him answering your prayer.  As you stay faithful, may you find the hope that comes from this essential truth: Even through loss, God loves you.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus feels compassion for your pain

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Luke 7

JESUS FEELS COMPASSION FOR YOUR PAIN

As [Jesus] drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her…  (Luke 7:12-13a)

When Jesus raises the dead like He is about to do in this passage, it gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so.

For most of us, though, it’s a little hard to imagine encountering Jesus in this way.  To be sure, there are testimonies even today of God still raising the dead for His glory, but it’s likely that most of us haven’t had it happen to us.

But there is another miracle in this passage.

Look again at the situation.  Jesus is walking along the road, headed to a town to preach like He always does, and something stops Him in His tracks.  No person comes up to Him and asks for help.  No request or interruption is even attempted, but Jesus stops in the middle of His journey to intervene because of this.

“And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her…”

Jesus saw the woman’s plight.  He saw her pain and her struggle.  He saw the helpless road that lay before her, the struggle of a widow with no one left to take care of her in a culture where women had very few options to survive on their own.  He saw her and stepped in to her hour of need because He had compassion for the pain before Him.

And He still does.

Whatever your pain today, take it to Jesus.  Whatever your struggle today, take it to Jesus.  Whatever your fear or frustration, wound or besetting sin, take it to Jesus, because He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

And that means that even though you may not experience the exact solution you want, He will come to your aid if you call on Him in faith.  So, as you do, may you find hope in this truth: Jesus feels compassion for your pain.

-Pastor Phillip


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God is your ever-present defender

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 14

GOD IS YOUR EVER-PRESENT DEFENDER

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.

(Psalm 14:4-5)

Everyone knows what it feels like to be attacked, but not everyone knows what it’s like to be defended.

Maybe your life has been filled with opposition and hardship, or maybe not.  Maybe you know what it’s like to feel the world is against you, or maybe you don’t.

One thing is for certain, though, regardless of your experience.  You do have an enemy who is against you, but if you’re in Christ, you have a defender who is for you!  Not only that, but meditate on this…

God is with you, so you’re not alone; not now, not ever, no matter what.

Pray and hope all you want for a life without conflict and opposition, it won’t happen.  However, in the midst of whatever struggle you’re facing, may you find confidence and hope in this inspiring truth: God is your ever-present defender.

-Pastor Phillip


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God still commands the chaos

Scripture Notes on Revelation 13

And the [first] beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months… Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them… and by the signs that [the second beast] is allowed to work in the presence of the [first] beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.  (Revelation 13:5, 7a, 14-15)

Ungodly authority, violence and conflict, deception and false miracles, persecution, state-sanctioned murder: this is chaos.

As the book of Revelation continues to unfold the unraveling of human society in the end times, it seems like things get darker and darker, worse and worse, and it seems like for the people of God, everything is falling apart.

Does your life ever feel like that?

Yet, even in the midst of such hardship and trial, note the common thread that runs through this entire chapter: “it was allowed.”

We may never understand in this life just why God allows certain things.  We may feel we would do it differently, or wish there would have been an easier way.  As we try to process the hard circumstances of our lives, this is a normal reaction and a natural place to start.  However, it doesn’t have to be the place we finish.

Know this.  No matter how crazy things look down here, God is still in control, watching over your destiny from above.  No matter how dark things appear from your perspective, God is still overseeing and working all things together for your good in Christ.  In the midst of whatever turmoil you may be facing, this is God’s word of hope to you, sent by the Holy Spirit through the prophetic pen of John.

God still commands the chaos.

-Pastor Phillip

God wants to keep His people from true harm

Scripture Notes on Revelation 9

Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.  They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  (Revelation 9:3-4)

As the world receives an end-times judgment of demonic attack, God gives the order that the only ones who may be harmed are those who are not His children.  So, what happens to those who are His children?

They are protected from the judgment.

Times and seasons of pain are inevitable for all of us, saints and sinners alike.  However, there is a crucial difference between the two.  For sinners, those who haven’t come to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness, their pain is harmful, serving as punishment for their sins in the end.  Yes, often God allows pain to wake us up to our need for salvation, but for those who don’t respond, pain in this life is a reminder that all that awaits them is eternal harm.

Believers, on the other hand, have a much different lot.  Pain in this life is our Refiner’s fire, cleansing and purifying us and drawing us closer to Him.  Not only that, but because a heavenly eternity with Jesus awaits us, we can have hope because we know it will get better.

How can we know this?  Because again and again in Scripture, we see this truth.

God wants to keep His people from true harm.

-Pastor Phillip

God allows pain because you are precious to Him

Scripture Notes on Revelation 3

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.  (Revelation 3:19-20)

Christian, do you ever wonder why God allows hard things to come into your life?  Do you ever feel like you’re getting knocked around and you can’t figure out what’s behind it?

Maybe it’s Jesus, knocking on your heart to get your attention.

Don’t miss the obvious truth of this passage, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”  If God allows no pain into your life, either you are sinlessly perfect in all your actions and attitudes, or God doesn’t really love you at all.

Yet, don’t miss the incredible encouragement here, either.

When God disciplines us, it is never because He wants to push us away, but because He wants to draw us closer!

His correction is not condemnation.  It is an invitation to greater intimacy with Him!

This is why the Psalmist David can exult, “Let the bones that you have broken rejoice” (Psalm 51:8), because every hurt is another chance to be touched by the hand of the Healer.

Don’t run from or fear the disciplining hand of God.  Embrace it, and as you do, let this truth fill your heart with hope.

God allows pain because you are precious to Him.

-Pastor Phillip

God’s blessing goes beyond your suffering

Scripture Notes on 1 Peter 3

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled… (1 Peter 3:14)

The reality of suffering is one that many people don’t like to deal with.  Even many Christians, uncomfortable trying to reconcile God’s love with His allowance of pain, gloss over the harsh truth that pain comes to all people, in all places, no matter what kind of relationship they have with God.

Think about it…

Jesus was crucified.  The Apostle Peter was crucified upside-down.  The Apostle Paul was beheaded, and the Apostle John boiled alive in oil then exiled when he didn’t die.

Throughout history and even to this day in countries across the world, countless millions have been and still are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, yet they continue to trust and praise Him through it all.  Why?

Because Jesus Himself is the greatest blessing of all.

The mighty presence of the risen Savior is a far greater gift than any change in circumstances could ever be.  The lavish hope of glory awaiting believers is a far greater pleasure than any removal of pain.  This is why generations of Christians have endured pain and suffering with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts and songs of praise on their lips.

Will you be one of them?

In the midst of whatever trial you are suffering, let the presence of Jesus bring you hope as you remember this powerful truth.

God’s blessing goes beyond your suffering.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your sovereign peace

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Colossians 3

JESUS IS YOUR SOVEREIGN PEACE

And let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

You never saw it coming.

It’s that phone call you never thought you’d receive, that news you never imagined you’d hear.  It’s that conversation you didn’t expect to have, that tragedy you thought could never happen to you.

But it did.

In times of shock and sorrow, it’s all too easy to surrender to the pain.  Despair creeps in, and fear rises up to take control of your heart.

But that is not what God wants for His children!

In Christ, God has promised that no matter what chaos goes on around you, you can experience His peace within you.  He has promised to never leave nor forsake you, so when darkness threatens to take control, you have a choice.

You can let fear rule your heart, or let faith take its place.  You can surrender to despair and let it drown you in sorrow, or surrender to Jesus and let Him lift you in His strength.

When tragedy strikes and you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart.  Remember that God is still in control, He is still good, and He still loves you.  Fix your eyes on Jesus and let this truth give you power to press on.

Jesus is your sovereign peace.

-Pastor Phillip

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