Your accuser has no power over you

God's Hope for Your Heart Header

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.  (Revelation 12:10-11)

War in heaven, the angels of God against the demons of the dragon: different scholars believe different things about when these events will take place and what exactly the images mean.  Yet, nestled in the midst of these descriptions of battle is a word of hope for every believer in Christ.

When Jesus died, His blood was shed on your behalf.  Like a sacrificial Lamb, His death was offered as payment to God the Father for all of your sin.  When Jesus rose, His victory was validated, His triumph secured and His Kingdom authority confirmed.

Now, look at the result of Jesus’ triumphant work on the cross…

“The accuser…has been thrown down…and they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death.”

This means if you’re in Christ, your sin can no longer be used against you because the prosecutor has been kicked out of court!

If you’re in Christ, your failures have no impact on your membership in God’s family because your accuser has been thrown down!

If you’re in Christ, then you have no need to wallow or worry because your guilt and shame now have no effect on your standing before God!

So, stand strong and free today as you trust the finished work of Christ on your behalf.  Don’t let your past sins or present struggles have any power over you, because they have no legal claim on you anymore.

Christian, if you feel the weight of failure and condemnation, push it aside and be released as you walk in this powerful truth today.

Your accuser has no power over you.

–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

More than Mary

As [Jesus] was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore you and the one who nursed you are blessed!”  He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.”  (Luke 11:27-28)

Some traditions venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They speak of the favor she had with God, the righteousness she had before God, and the blessing she received from God.

Yet, Jesus says that if you follow Him faithfully, hearing His words and obeying His commands, something incredible can be said of you.

You are more blessed than Mary.

–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

Jesus is your faithful forgiver

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

If you betray someone you love, you will discover that a barrier begins to grow between you.  There may be no retribution on their part, but the closeness of the relationship will suffer.

Christian, so it is between you and God.

Make no mistake, the cross of Jesus Christ provides the full payment for the penalty of your sin.  There is no more punishment for you, only loving discipline.  God has no more wrath for you, only grace!  However, though God will not bring retribution on you now if you sin, you can still bring barriers into the relationship.

God wants more for you than that!

When you stumble off the path of righteousness, remember this.  In Christ, your legal standing before God is totally righteous and completely loved.  So, don’t let fear keep you from coming back into loving fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

He is waiting for you with open arms, longing for you to return with a repentant heart so that He can restore your closeness with Him.

Open your mouth and confess where you’ve strayed, and open your heart to be encouraged by this truth.

Jesus is your faithful forgiver.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your firm foundation

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Timothy 2

JESUS IS YOUR FIRM FOUNDATION

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”  (2 Timothy 2:19)

“The Lord knows those who are His.”  There is no question or uncertainty about it.  There is no conditional element or termination clause in it.  Jesus doesn’t just have a good idea of who probably belongs to Him–He knows.

That means that if you’re in Christ, you’re in!  If you belong to Jesus, you’re set!  Nothing you do or don’t do can change the fact that Jesus has paid for your full acceptance in the family of God.

So, let this truth motivate your heart towards grateful obedience and strengthen your soul with peace: Jesus is your firm foundation.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your righteousness

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 5

JESUS IS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

For our sake [God] made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Only the righteous are accepted by God.  Over and over in Scripture we see this, that righteousness brings love and life from God and sin brings wrath and death.

That’s why it’s such bad news that all people are born sinful, and such good news to hear what God has done “for our sake.”

If you’re in Christ, Jesus took all of your sins on Himself at the cross.  Because He had no sin of His own, He was perfectly qualified to take yours.  Think of it.  Every bad deed, cruel word or wrong motive: gone, done away with, totally atoned for.

But there’s more.

Jesus didn’t just take something bad from you; He gave something good to you in its place.  He didn’t just make a sin withdrawal from your eternal account; He made a deposit of righteousness on your behalf!

This means that when God looks at your ledger, instead of seeing your sin, He sees Jesus’ righteousness!  He doesn’t see your past; He sees Jesus’ perfection!  When God the Father looks at you, He sees His Son, Jesus, in all of His glory, covering your life and giving His glory to you.

Friend, the righteous are always accepted and loved by God, so if you’re in Christ, you can rejoice in this hope-inspiring truth: Jesus is your righteousness.

-Pastor Phillip


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In the Kingdom, your labor is never in vain

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 15

IN THE KINGDOM, YOUR LABOR IS NEVER IN VAIN

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)

Do you ever get tired of sharing God’s love with others, or doing the things Jesus has called you to?  Do you ever grow weary in serving the church or doing the work of the ministry?  If you’ve ever been in that place, here’s some good news…

Your labor is not in vain, because God gives you the victory.

Your labor is not in vain, because Jesus is the guarantee of your success.

Your labor is not in vain, because nothing matters more than the Kingdom of God, and no other enterprise is closer to His heart.

Your labor is not about growing an organization, it’s about building a Kingdom.  It’s not about keeping rules, it’s about resting in relationship with Jesus and sharing that love out of the overflow.

Be encouraged, because if you’re in Christ, you are already victorious!  This means that you can rest in the hope of this simple truth: in the Kingdom, your labor is never in vain.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s Kingdom is your community

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Romans 14

GOD’S KINGDOM IS YOUR COMMUNITY

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  (Romans 14:17-19)

Have you ever felt alone in your walk with Christ?  Have you ever felt isolated, like it was just you and Jesus and nobody else understood?

God wants more for you than that!

The Christian life isn’t supposed to be about rituals, but relationships.  It’s not supposed to be about performing moral duties, but about experiencing the presence of God in the life and community of fellow believers.

It’s easy to get so focused on the do’s and don’ts of our faith that we miss the delight of being filled by the Holy Spirit.  Yet, that filling will bring you not only the ability to serve Jesus effectively, but also the joy that comes when you do God’s work, God’s way.

The Bible is not a tax code; it’s a ticket to a life of peace filled with the joy of Jesus and covered with the righteousness of Christ.  Not only that, but as you walk in His Word, the result is an overflow of community with other believers.

That peace Jesus offers?  It’s not just for you to feel in your own heart, but for you to share with fellow travelers.

That joy Paul talks about?  It’s not just for you to keep to yourself, but to experience with others.

That righteousness that leads to right living?  It’s not just for you to get a merit badge for good behavior, but to make something beautiful with other believers.

Don’t let the enemy isolate you in your walk with Christ.  Let the Holy Spirit connect you with others, and as you do, you’ll find the hope that comes from this truth: God’s Kingdom is your community.

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus brings you close to God

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 24

JESUS BRINGS YOU CLOSE TO GOD

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  (Psalm 24:3-4)

Do you ever feel far away from God?

Maybe you’ve done something you’re not proud of.  Maybe you’ve done something right, but with motives that make you ashamed.  Maybe you’ve tried to do the right thing or have the right attitude, but you keep slipping and tripping over your own attempts.

Clean hands and a pure heart?  You’re grateful to just avoid catastrophe.

The reality is that in your own strength, you can never truly have clean hands–right actions–and a pure heart–Godly attitudes–all of the time.  If it were all up to you, then you would never be able to draw close to God, to stand before Him with confidence and peace.

But Jesus changes everything.

If you’re in Christ, then His perfectly clean hands and totally pure heart have been accounted to you!  That means that when God the Father checks the entrance requirements of those who would draw near to Him, He doesn’t see you as a failure, but as family.  He doesn’t see you as imperfect, but as immaculately clean because of the blood of Jesus shed for you.

You may feel like what you’ve done and desired have pushed you away from God, but if you’re in Christ, here’s good news: restoration is waiting for you, and all you have to do is receive it.

Friend, don’t let the enemy load you down with guilt and shame for your human lack of perfection.  Instead, let the Holy Spirit remind you of your divine destiny as a child of God.  Rest in this, and come back home to fellowship with your Heavenly Father.  As you do, let your hope be found in this life-changing truth: Jesus brings you close to God.

-Pastor Phillip


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