God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy

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So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image…  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues.  They did not repent and give him glory… and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores.  They did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:2, 9, 11)

The escalating judgments of Revelation are pictures of the perfect justice of God and the total depravity of those who refuse to worship Him.

Like swimmers in a flood who refuse to accept life jackets and boats, these people refuse to repent, to turn away from their wickedness and thus be saved from the rising tide.  Like a person who provoked another to violence by repeated assault, then got angry at being hit back in return, these people curse God for allowing them to receive the consequences of their actions, and blame Him for the suffering they brought upon themselves.

Have you ever done the same?

Be very careful not to blame God for the pain caused by your own sinful and foolish choices.  Jesus is full of mercy and love and forgiveness for you, but it makes no difference if you don’t accept responsibility and come to Him humbly to receive.

God does not delight in your suffering, but in your salvation!  (Ezekiel 18:23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4)  Don’t push Him away when you think He’s being unfair.  Draw close to Him in humility, accept the fruit of your actions, and receive His forgiveness and restoration.

It is only when we grasp and accept the rightness of God’s justice that we can truly appreciate the beauty of His mercy.  So, be honest with yourself and let this truth lead you to peace.

God’s justice is a pathway to His mercy.

–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

What kind of person…really? (Luke 6:45)

A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart.  An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.  (Luke 6:45)

“I know he’s done some terrible things, but he’s really just misunderstood.”

“Yeah, he cusses and yells and lies sometimes, but he’s really a good person.”

“Okay, so he cheated once and got violent a couple of times, but I know he’s got a good heart.”

Do you know what I think Jesus would say to all of that?

“That’s just silly.”

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus is your conduit of mercy

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  (Hebrews 8:12)

Guilt is a powerful motivator.  It can change habits and open handbags, clean up words and free up wallets.  Yet, in the life of a Christian, guilt is not of God.

Conviction is the sorrowful sense that something is not right in your life and that a change must take place, but conviction differs from guilt in a very important way. Fear.

Guilt brings fear of punishment, but conviction carries with it this blessed assurance: In Christ, God has full forgiveness for you!  In Christ, God has unstoppable love for you!

In Christ, nothing you could ever do would make God cast you away, so let this truth set you free to live a life of holiness without fear.

Jesus is your conduit of mercy.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus understands your struggle

For because He himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.  (Hebrews 2:18)

Do you ever struggle with temptation?  Jesus understands.

Do you sometimes wrestle with desires to meet God-given cravings in ungodly ways?  Jesus understands.

The particulars of a temptation are not its most powerful element.  Underneath every specific draw to sin is a root cause, a deeper desire that drives it.  Comfort, pleasure, pride, accumulation of power or avoidance of pain; with all of these Jesus is quite familiar.

Yet, not only did Jesus have the strength to resist temptation, He also has an abundance of that same strength to share with you!

When you are tempted, turn to Jesus, be at peace, and find hope in this powerful truth: Jesus understands your struggle.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus cleared your debt completely

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Colossians 2

JESUS CLEARED YOUR DEBT COMPLETELY

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.  This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.  (Colossians 2:13-14)

Creditors do not simply give up on collecting debts that are owed to them.  Judges do not simply toss aside convictions because they feel like it.  No, consistency and justice in finance and the law are vital components to an ordered society.

This reality is a reflection of the character of God, because He is a God of order.  He is a God of justice.  He is a God who rightfully and righteously demands that all debts must be paid, and all sins must be punished.

Yet, God is also a God of compassion.  He is a God of mercy, the Lord of love who takes no pleasure in suffering and pain.

So, Jesus paid the price to reconcile all these things together.

Jesus endured the full wrath of God the Father, suffering the full penalty for sin.  He paid the debt that you and I owed for our own sin, so that our record could be made clean in Christ.

This is astounding news!

This means that if you are in Christ, you have no more debt to God for your failures and flaws.  Your sins have been forgiven, both now and forever more, and your wicked heart has been replaced with a clean heart that is spotless and new.

Nothing remains to be done, because Jesus paid it all.  So, be at peace.  When you see your imperfections, or Satan reminds you of your past, you can rest in the hope of this truth from God’s Word: Jesus cleared your debt completely.

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus came to set you free from sin

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Galatians 1

JESUS CAME TO SET YOU FREE FROM SIN

[The Lord Jesus Christ] gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.  (Galatians 1:4-5)

Sin is slavery, but Jesus came to set you free.

Sin separates from God, but Jesus came to unite you with the Father.

Sin brings death, but Jesus came to bring you life.

Sin produces bondage to the patterns and principles of a broken world, but Jesus came to provide deliverance.

When sin is enticing you, remember, it’s only entrapment.  When God seems restrictive, remember, He is releasing you to a greater freedom.

When temptation seems too strong for you to bear, you will find the strength you need to stand as you keep your eyes fix on the hope of this truth: Jesus came to set you free from sin!

-Pastor Phillip


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Jesus wants to free you from regret

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 7

JESUS WANTS TO FREE YOU FROM REGRET

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting.  For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Everybody has their scars.  As travelers in a broken world, nobody makes it out without some pain, some hurt, some mistakes.

But you don’t have to live there!

When we look at our lives and see clearly the wrongness of our sin, sometimes a sadness settles in and fills our hearts with guilt.  We are ashamed of what we’ve done.  We’re afraid of doing it again.  We are anxious that people might find out and turn us away.

But God has a different plan for His children!

When the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see your own sin, His purpose isn’t for you to be frozen by regret, but for you to find freedom through repentance!

Worldly grief will drive you down into isolation, but godly grief will spur you up into the presence of God and motivate you to lay your burdens down to be forgiven and healed.

Godly grief will help you deal with your failures by moving you to bring them to the cross of Christ.  There, repentance will keep you from crucifying yourself over and over again for sins that Jesus already died for.

Don’t harden your heart and deny your sin, but don’t let the enemy use it to destroy you with regret, either.  Take it to Jesus.  Let Him redeem it.  Let Him restore you.  Let Him remind you of the forgiveness you have in Christ.

Run to Him in faith and surrender today as you walk in the hope of this truth: Jesus wants to free you from regret.

-Pastor Phillip


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God is for you when you’re tempted

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 10

GOD IS FOR YOU WHEN YOU’RE TEMPTED

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God is never disappointed in you when you’re tempted.  He doesn’t look at you with frustration and think, “They should be above this by now.”

In fact, in the Bible we see that Jesus Himself was tempted.  We see that all people are tempted.  We discover that temptation is simply our enemy, Satan, taking a good desire and twisting it out of its proper proportion, direction, timing or priority in our lives.

When God sees you being tempted, He doesn’t get annoyed; He goes into action!  Angels are dispatched to help you.  Circumstances are aligned to assist you.  Escape routes are opened and heaven itself glows with the anticipation of your victory over sin!

When temptation comes your way as it does to all of us, don’t believe for a second that you’re facing it alone.  Don’t accept for a moment the lie that you have to prove yourself to God or that He is displeased that you have struggles.

Jesus’ finished work on the cross paid the full price for your acceptance by the Father and provided you free access to His power.  So, when you find yourself in a struggle, let your heart be strengthened to walk in righteousness and resist the deceitfulness of sin, as you remember the hope of this truth: God is for you when you’re tempted.

-Pastor Phillip


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You are completely clean in Christ

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 6

YOU ARE COMPLETELY CLEAN IN CHRIST

And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Corinthians 6:11)

“Such were some of you.”

Paul gives a list of sinful actions and attitudes and he reminds the people of the church at Corinth, “This is who you were, but it’s no longer who you are.

He reminds them, “You used to be defined by your sins, but now you are defined by your Savior.”

He reminds them, “These are the ways in which you used to be dirty, but Jesus made a way for you to be clean.”

Paul reminds them, and so God is reminding you, that no matter your past sins or present struggles, Jesus changes everything.

May you be encouraged today as you remember the hope of this truth: you are completely clean in Christ.

-Pastor Phillip


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