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

God still commands the chaos

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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 are getting 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?

Take note, then, that even in the midst of such hardship and trial, there is a common thread running 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 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.

Christian, 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.

So, in the midst of whatever turmoil you may be facing, this is God’s word of hope to you today, sent by the Holy Spirit through the prophetic pen of John.

God still commands the chaos.

–Pastor Phillip

God is the avenger of injustice

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.  They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.  (Revelation 6:9-11)

For those who live in comfort, it is hard to imagine what true persecution is like.   A hurtful word or an unkind action from an unbeliever is usually all Christians in the west might suffer for their faith, but it is quite different in much of the rest of the world.

All throughout history and even in modern times, people have been beaten, imprisoned and killed because of their stand for Christ.

Some may ask, “If God is so loving, why does He allow His children to suffer?  If God is so good, why does He let His children die?  If God is so righteous, why does He ignore injustice?”

He has not forgotten.  He is waiting for the fullness of time.

Make no mistake.  All sin, all evil, and all injustice will be punished.  God has a cup filled with holy and righteous wrath, and it is prepared for all who violate His law and all who harm His people.  The only question is, who will drink it?

Do not forget that the glorious truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ, the only one with no sin of His own to pay for, has offered to drink the cup for all who trust and follow Him!

This means two things.  First, if you are in Christ, then the full measure of God’s wrath against your sin has been received by Jesus Christ, and there is no more left for you!  Second, when you see or experience injustice and persecution in this life, know that either it will be paid for in full as God’s wrath is poured out on the guilty, or it will have been paid for in full upon the cross of Christ.

Either way, when your soul cries out for justice as you see all the evil in the world, you can find peace in this truth.

God is the avenger of injustice.

–Pastor Phillip

God’s blessing goes beyond your suffering

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 and 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 praise on their lips.

Will you be one of them?

In the midst of whatever trial you’re facing, let the presence of Jesus bring you hope as you remember this powerful truth.

God’s blessing goes beyond your suffering.

–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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God is your refuge in times of trouble

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 43

GOD IS YOUR REFUGE IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

In the wake of an historic Supreme Court decision that has left so many believers saddened and afraid for what’s to come, the best thoughts of all are not those I could share from my heart, but those God would share from His.

In the calendar of content that guides this devotional series, today brought us to Psalm 43.  I invite you to read it slowly and prayerfully, and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: God is your refuge in times of trouble.

-Pastor Phillip


PSALM 43

“Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause 

against an ungodly nation; 

rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man. 

For You are the God of my refuge. 

 

Why have You rejected me? 

Why must I go about in sorrow 

because of the enemy’s oppression? 

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. 

Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, 

to Your dwelling place. 

Then I will come to the altar of God, 

to God, my greatest joy. 

I will praise You with the lyre, 

God, my God. 

 

Why am I so depressed? 

Why this turmoil within me? 

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, 

my Savior and my God.”

http://ref.ly/Ps43.1-5;hcsb



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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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God will bring you justice in the end

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 37

GOD WILL BRING YOU JUSTICE IN THE END

In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.  (Psalm 37:8-9)

Have you ever looked at the world and thought, “This isn’t right; it’s not supposed to be this way!”?

Have you ever looked at your life and felt like you were being persecuted or treated unfairly?

Here’s good news: God’s going to take care of it!

Often it’s so hard to wait, so hard to stay patient.  It’s often difficult to maintain hope when the world looks dark, or to respond like Christ when we’re being treated unfairly, but for everyone who does keep their heart set on Jesus in humility, there is a two-fold promise.  “In just a little while, the wicked will be no more,” and “the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

Are you willing to wait for the promise?

God is not asleep.  He is not on vacation.  He is not ignoring your calls or turning a blind eye to your calamity, but His timing isn’t always what we’d like it to be.

Yet, it’s always perfect.

May you have strength to endure today, and may you take heart and find hope in this truth: God will bring you justice in the end.

-Pastor Phillip


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God wants to turn your weeping into worship

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 30

GOD WANTS TO TURN YOUR WEEPING INTO WORSHIP

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. 
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
(Psalm 30:11-12)

Every family has their problems.  Every person has their pain.

Every lifetime has its struggle.  Every season has its tears.

In the middle of these difficult times, it’s easy to lose hope.  It’s easy to lose heart and resign ourselves to the thought that maybe this is as good as it gets.  Maybe our days in the sun have passed, and all we have now is night.

But God wants something better for you.

It is true that “weeping may tarry for the night,” but it is just as true that “joy comes with the morning,” and if you’re in Christ, here’s good news: morning ALWAYS comes!

Not only that, but you can have confidence that God will bring better things into your life because of two things.  First, He loves you more than you could ever imagine!  Second, He knows that the hearts that praise the greatest, are the ones that have felt His deliverance the deepest.

Whatever season you’re in right now, may you look past it to discover the hope of this truth: God wants to turn your weeping into worship.

-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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