A Legacy of Faith

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I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure, dwells in you as well.  For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.  (2 Timothy 1:5-7)

For what reason does Paul remind Timothy to press on and increase in the power of God?  Because of Timothy’s godly heritage.

A legacy of faith is both an opportunity and a responsibility.  It provides a set of shoulders on which to stand, and a charge from God to rise to the occasion so that others may stand on your shoulders, too.

If you come from a long line of believers, may God give you strength and will to follow the path they started.  If you don’t, may He give you courage to blaze the trail for those who will come behind.

–Pastor Phillip

God gives life to those who are strong in Him

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.  (Revelation 2:7)

God is a God of victory, so His people can be, too.  God sent His Son as the ultimate overcomer, so His people can overcome, too.

As Jesus persisted and resisted sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, so we who follow Him can do the same, and not only can we stand firm in the Spirit, we must!

Through Christ, God has given you power and authority to conquer anything Satan throws at you.  So, as you receive His strength by faith today, you can take courage in this truth.

God gives life to those who are strong in Him.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is completely in control

Jesus Christ [is] the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.  (Revelation 1:5)

The world is run by rulers of all sorts and kinds.

Some are elected representatives, and others, self-appointed tyrants.  Some lead by example and others rule by force and fear.  Some act in ways that honor God and benefit their people, while others use their authority for selfish ends.

Yet, none of the rulers of earth truly have the final say.  Jesus does.

Whatever the political landscape looks like today, remember this.  Above every earthly power sits the exalted throne of the risen Christ.  Above the authority of every grand emperor or petty politician is the rulership of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

He is infinite in power, boundless in wisdom and altogether good.  So, even when governments seem to run unchecked and societies seem to come unhinged, you can take comfort in this liberating truth…

Jesus is in complete control.

–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 is your eternal reward

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 John 2:16-17)

The world promises great rewards for those who will follow its ways.  Money, power, fame, love, success, honor—all these and more it promises you if you bow down and worship.

But all of these things are passing away.

Bank accounts bleed, power wanes, and fame is fleeting.  Love grows cold, success gets old, and honor from others comes and goes with the changing of seasons.

How comforting, then, to know that for those who follow Jesus, there is a reward that endures forever—Jesus himself!

When you are abiding in Christ, you are connected to the source of all good things, of all joy and peace, of all meaning and fulfillment.  When you are in Christ, you can let the world do what it will to you, because you are eternally secure in Him.

Christian, don’t let the trinkets of earth distract you from the treasure you already have.  In Christ, you can find satisfaction in this glorious truth.

Jesus is your eternal reward.

–Pastor Phillip

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

Priorities [Luke 6:10-11]

After looking around at them all, [Jesus] told [the man with a paralyzed hand], “Stretch out your hand.”  He did so, and his hand was restored.  [The Scribes and Pharisees], however, were filled with rage and started discussing with one another what they might do with Jesus.  (Luke 6:10-11)

The religious leaders were more concerned about maintaining their protocol than experiencing God’s power.  Rather than rejoice that God showed His glory by making a man whole, they were enraged that He didn’t bow to their tradition.

These people were so hyper-concerned with practicing their religion “rightly” that they wanted to stop Jesus from changing a man’s life because it didn’t fit their box.

Some people still do.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus’ first ministry: the WONDERS (Luke 4:42)

When it was day, [Jesus] went out and made His way to a deserted place.  But the crowds were searching for Him.  They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them.  (Luke 4:42)

The people were astounded at the miracles Jesus did.  When He healed, it was authentic.  When He cast out demons, it was dramatic.  The people simply couldn’t get enough of it.

Those same people would feel very differently later on when Jesus began to call them to repent of their sins and selfishness and follow Him instead, but for now, they were transfixed and hungry for more.

Perhaps one reason we don’t see more people flocking to church gatherings is because we’ve emphasized the second part of Jesus’ ministry but nearly forgotten the first.

What do you think?

–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

God’s Word prepares you for God’s work

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Timothy 3

GOD’S WORD PREPARES YOU FOR GOD’S WORK

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God has a goal for all creation.  The universe was created to bring Him glory, and even though sin has stunted the process, His desire remains the same.

In order to accomplish this desire, God could have chosen to micro-manage the process, but He didn’t.  Instead, He chose His people to make it happen, despite our inherent lack of worthiness for the job.

But Jesus made us worthy.

Not only that, but God gave us a guide, a toolkit, an empowering resource that contains all the knowledge and power we need to accomplish all the assignments He’s given us.  What is that resource?  It’s His Word, inspired and illuminated by His Holy Spirit.

If you find yourself feeling unqualified for great things, turn to Scripture as your source.

If you find yourself feeling unprepared for good works, turn to Scripture as your supply.

No matter what your background may be, the Bible can give you the tools you need for Kingdom success.  So, rest in God’s provision and read God’s Word, and let this truth set your mind at ease: God’s Word prepares you for God’s work.

–Pastor Phillip

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