Jesus chose you to conquer with Him

God's Hope for Your Heart Header

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

Jesus doesn’t change on you

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8)

So often in life, we start a journey of relationship with someone, only to see them change in ways we never expected.

Other times, we put our faith in people to be faithful to us, only to have them change their minds down the line.

Here’s good news, though.  Jesus isn’t like that!

When you trust Jesus, you can have confidence because He is perfectly trustworthy.  When you put your faith in Him, you can rest easy because He is perfectly faithful.

When Jesus says He loves you, He means it, and that is never going to change!  So, let this truth give you greater stability as you trust and follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t change on you.

–Pastor Phillip

Running Again

Running Again

(Or, “How the Worst Itch Ever Reminded me of the Best Fix of All”)

The itch was so bad I could barely stand it.

There I was, surrounded by the beauty of a fresh sunrise, sidewalk-jogging past a serene waterway and a meticulously trimmed golf course, and all I could think of was the fire under my skin.

It was my first time running in a while, and based on past experience, I knew exactly what this was: my blood vessels overheating because they simply weren’t used to that kind of throughput. The sensory result? Itch, itch, itch, itch, itch.

What made it worse was the fact that I knew a surefire solution that could stop the discomfort. I knew there was one simple action I could take that would completely stop the agony and return me to sanity: quit.

If I just stopped running, gave up on the whole thing and returned to a leisurely pace, the itching in my legs would go away.

Have you ever been there? Maybe not with jogging or physical activity, but have you ever been in a spot where you were in so much discomfort, so much pain even, that it seemed like quitting was your only option to make it go away?

The whole thing reminds me of a passage from a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians in the city of Galatia. He knew that following Jesus in their day –as in ours– definitely brought with it an element of discomfort. Yet, this seasoned saint also knew that when it comes to our walk with Christ, the prize is always worth the pain. Look at what he reminded them…

“So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.  (Galatians 6:9)

There it is, a simple reminder with staggeringly powerful implications: don’t give up.

When the discomfort threatens to derail you, don’t give up.

When the struggle feels like it will sink you, don’t give up.

When the pain eclipses your perspective, forget about what you feel, and simply remember to DO this: Don’t. Give. Up.

It may seem like quitting is the only option to deal with the pain, but that would mean ditching the prize. It may feel like stopping is the only way to survive, but failing to finish would mean relinquishing the reward.

You see, in that itch-filled moment on the jogging trail, I knew that quitting might fix the discomfort, but I would have surrendered the satisfaction of a job well done. I also knew that if I kept at it, not only would the itch eventually fade away, but in its place would be the power of better blood flow and the pride of an accomplishment, a much better “fix” indeed.

So, what did I do that day? I kept going until I hit my goal.

Where do YOU need to keep going today?

Maybe you have a relationship that’s seen better days, but don’t give up.

Maybe there’s a workplace conflict you can’t seem to resolve, but don’t give up.

Maybe it’s a habit or sin or addiction that feels impossible to break, but whatever it is: Don’t. Give. Up!

If you’ll keep on pressing forward, I can’t promise your circumstance will improve right away, but I can guarantee you’ll receive a breakthrough in the one place that matters most…

Your heart.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus will never give up on you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Philippians 1

JESUS WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6)

Jesus always finishes what He starts.

He didn’t begin creation only to get tired of it and abandon it halfway through.  He didn’t kick off His earthly ministry just to get burned out and go into early retirement.  He didn’t begin His journey on the road to the cross only to quit when things got tough.

Jesus always finishes what He starts.  So, if you’re in Christ, and still breathing, that means He’s not through with you yet!

He’s not tired of you.

He’s not bored with you.

He’s not quitting or abandoning you, and He never, ever will.  He is faithful, so have faith and take heart in this hope-filled truth: Jesus will never give up on you.

-Pastor Phillip

God will never reject you

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 66

GOD WILL NEVER REJECT YOU

Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!  (Psalm 66:20)

We live in a world full of rejection.  For all sorts of reasons, people will turn away from us or turn us away from them, sometimes without explanation.

Who hasn’t felt the sting of misunderstanding, the cutting words of unjust criticism, or the crushing weight of failure that closed the door of a relationship?

Yet, God never rejects His children.

Because of the blood of Jesus, if you have trusted Him as Savior and surrendered to Him as Lord, then you have been brought in to the family of God!  You have been sealed by a covenant promise from the Lord of the Universe, and He never goes back on His word!

That means if you’re in Christ, no matter how many or how often people turn away from you, you can find strength in the hope of this truth: God will never reject you.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s weapons will make you victorious

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 10

GOD’S WEAPONS WILL MAKE YOU VICTORIOUS

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  (2 Corinthians 10:4)

If you feel like you’re in a fight, it’s because you are.

Trials and temptation, disease and discouragement, conflict with others and conflict within ourselves; this is the fight of life.

The Bible tells us the struggle is not against the particular circumstances that bring us down, but against our enemy Satan, the one who brings these things against us.  The physical fight is just an echo of the spiritual war going on underneath.

But in this war, we have the upper hand!

We know the strategies of the enemy and we can see when he’s moving.  We have powerful defenses against his devices: the armor of God.

Not only that, but we have been given the gift of superior firepower.  The Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit are our perfect arsenal for this persistent warfare!  These weapons are effective, empowering, and ever-present for the children of God.

Do not let your enemy dupe you into believing that you are a helpless victim.  If you’re in Christ, you are a heavenly victor!

Whatever level of spiritual warfare you’re facing right now, be strengthened in the fight as you receive the hope of this glorious truth: God’s weapons will make you victorious!

-Pastor Phillip


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It’s not over ’til God says it is

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 4

IT’S NOT OVER ‘TIL GOD SAYS IT IS

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.  Then each one will receive his commendation from God.  (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Have you ever tried to do something for God, maybe a ministry or service project, perhaps an event or program, but nothing really seemed to come of it?  It’s not over ’til God says it is.

Have you ever invested in another person, hoping to bless them and make an impact for good in their life, only to feel like you’re not making a difference at all?  It’s not over ’til God says it is.

Have you ever worked on something that mattered to you, a relationship, a calling, a child, a dream, but felt like nothing you did seemed to work?  It’s not over ’til God says it is.

Don’t be too quick to call the game just because of a little rain.  Don’t be too hasty to throw in the towel because you’re behind in the score.  Don’t be too eager to get out of the ring because you took a few hits or give up on the race because you fell a few times.

You see, only God knows how much impact you’re really making behind the scenes, so keep doing it!  Only God knows how the seeds you planted are going to grow, so keep planting!  Only God knows what sort of return your investment will bring, so press on!

Trust Him.  Seek Him.  Listen to the voice of Jesus, not the voices of failure and fear.  Hang in there, and keep going, and as you do, you’ll find hope in this empowering truth: it’s not over ’til God says it is.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s love makes you steadfast

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 52

GOD’S LOVE MAKES YOU STEADFAST

“See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
(Psalm 52:7-8)

The world has its way of seeking security, but it will always ultimately fail.  Power and wealth may bring stability for a season, but eventually they only produce bitter disappointment.

On the other hand, look at those whose hope and security are found in the Lord.  You will find stability in their heart.  You will discover joy in their life.  They are steadfast, because their trust is in something that never fails: the steadfast love of God.

May that be your trust, too, and as you keep your eyes fixed on Him, may you experience the hope found in this truth: God’s love makes you steadfast.

-Pastor Phillip


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This is God’s love for you in Christ

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Romans 8

THIS IS GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU IN CHRIST

When it comes to God’s Word, sometimes what we need most is not for someone to explain, but for our souls to fully engage.

In that spirit, the passage below has been divided up into five key thoughts.  Take time to read each one slowly, carefully, letting each idea sink in.  Don’t bypass things you’ve heard before, focus on them.  Meditate on them by turning them around in your mind and exploring them from different angles.  Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate them for you so that you might see more clearly the brilliance of the light of Christ.

Be encouraged as you read this passage, and as you do, may you be filled with hope because of this truth: this is God’s love for you in Christ!

-Pastor Phillip

Romans 8:31b-39

THOUGHT 1
If God is for us, who can be against us? (31b)

THOUGHT 2
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (32)

THOUGHT 3
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (33-34)

THOUGHT 4
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (35-37)

THOUGHT 5
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (38-39)

AMEN.


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Jesus is your steadfast resolve

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Acts 21

JESUS IS YOUR STEADFAST RESOLVE

When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?  For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”  (Acts 21:12-14)

Paul knew trouble awaited him in Jerusalem.  He was under no illusion that he would have an easy time ahead, but he resolved to press on because he knew Jesus was worth it.

Paul’s friends had only his best interest in mind.  They were only seeing their grief and concern for their friend.  It’s not that they were wrong for that; they were simply missing the bigger picture.  They had their eyes on the short-term reality of personal pain, but Paul had his eyes on a higher priority.  They were trying to persuade Paul away from his purpose, but he wasn’t having it.

Paul knew that in the scope of eternity, suffering matters nothing compared to the Savior.  Hardship is irrelevant compared to the joy of knowing Jesus!  Paul knew this and believed it and stayed faithful to his mission because of one simple truth.

When you keep your eyes on Jesus, nothing can shake your resolve.

Maybe you have hardships or struggles right now because of your walk with God.  Maybe there are people opposing you externally, or worries besetting you internally.

Maybe you feel like giving up.

No matter what you face today, remember this.  Jesus loves you, He’s with you, and He’s for you if you’re in Christ!  Even when you feel like letting go, He is never letting go of you.

Dwell on these promises instead of your problems today, and you’ll be strengthened to stay the course, hold the line, and keep moving forward in His plan for your life.  As you do these things, you’ll discover the hope found in this truth: Jesus is your steadfast resolve.

-Pastor Phillip


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