Your weakness is a gateway to God’s strength

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 12

YOUR WEAKNESS IS A GATEWAY TO GOD’S STRENGTH

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

The world says when you are weak, you are weak, but God says when you are weak, you are strong.

The world says when you can’t, you can’t, but God says when you can’t, you really can.

The world says when your strength stops, you stop, but God says when your strength stops, keep going!

What’s the difference?  Simple.

The world says what it says because it sees what it sees, just you, all alone in your problems.  God says what He says because He knows what He knows, that if you’re in Christ, it’s never just you in the midst of your problems.  Jesus is always right there with you!

When you can’t go on, Jesus can.

When you don’t have what you need, Jesus does.

When you are weak, Jesus is strong, and He makes all the difference.

So, no matter how you feel about your situation today, you can press on in faith because of this hope-filled truth: your weakness is a gateway to God’s strength.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]


 

God will hold you up

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 63

GOD WILL HOLD YOU UP

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water…
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  (Psalm 63:1, 8)

David writes this Psalm while in the wilderness.  He is in a barren place, a lonely place.  He’s in a place where he finds himself weary and worn out from the journey.

Have you been in that place?

Maybe it’s a season of turmoil in a relationship.  You try and try but reconciliation seems out of reach.  Maybe it’s a season of dryness in your spiritual life.  You read and pray but it feels like nothing’s happening.  Maybe it’s a season of pain in your body or your mind, and you don’t know how much longer you can stand.

You’re not alone.

In this moment, your Heavenly Father is close at hand, closer than you know.  He loves you, and wants to meet your needs in the best possible way, in the best possible timing!

Yet, it’s not His answers that will bring you the deepest peace, but God Himself.  The greatest news of all is that when you seek God’s presence not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself, you’ll find that everything else will take its proper place.

No matter your circumstance today, turn your heart towards the One who loves you more deeply than you can imagine.  As you do, you’ll find hope in this truth: God will hold you up.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION
[click here for today’s. | click here to subscribe via iTunes.]


 

Jesus Loves You When You’re Weak

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 18

JESUS LOVES YOU WHEN YOU’RE WEAK

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 18:1-4)

Do you ever feel like you just don’t have what it takes to be a “good Christian?”

You work hard to do what’s right but instead you fail.  You struggle to stand but you instead you fall.  You try and try but keep coming up short in your efforts to please God.

The Good News is, Jesus LOVES people like you!

You see, children don’t carry their own weight, they need help.  Children don’t do everything right, they need assistance.  Children simply must trust their parents to love and look after them, and to cover their bases when they fail.

And that’s exactly the type of person Jesus is looking for; people like you, and people like me.

If you want to live a victorious Christian life, YES, devote yourself to godliness!  YES, develop good habits and disciplines.  YES, act in wisdom and stay as far from temptation as you can.

But, remember that if you’re in Christ, God accepts you not based on religious knowledge or moral performance, but because of the perfect sacrifice of Christ on your behalf.

If you think you’re more loved than others because of your good behavior, if you think you’re on a higher level than “those people” because of your morality, then according to Jesus, you will “never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

On the other hand, if you stumble, if you struggle, if you slip and fall sometimes but look to Jesus for help, He says that if you’ll just trust Him, He’s got you covered.

So, if and when you realize you aren’t all you should be, may you rest in hope as you remember this truth: Jesus loves you when you’re weak.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

God wants to lift you up

Scripture Notes on Psalm 146

The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. The Lord loves the righteous.  (Psalm 146:7b-8)

Everybody gets knocked down sometimes. Everybody bears a burden at some point.

The question is not, “How can I keep from going down?”  The question is, “How will I get back up again?”

Will you try to get up on your own, to deal with your problems in your own strength? Will you seek restoration through your own self-effort and hard work?

God wants something better for you!

When you find yourself in a low place, yes use wisdom to see what things God might want you to change for the better.  However, don’t look to yourself as the source of true healing; look to the cross.  Don’t look to yourself as the answer to your problems; look to Jesus.

There may be seasons where you feel down, but in Christ, you never have to stay down when you walk in the light of this truth.

God wants to lift you up.

-Pastor Phillip

God still loves you when you’re weak

Scripture Notes on Psalm 103

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14)

Nobody really has it all together. No one is strong all the time. Nobody can always be at their best, always be on top, always bring their A-game.

We get tired. We get distracted. We get discouraged. Life takes its toll, and we don’t always have the strength to do everything we should.

This should be no surprise to us, and it’s no surprise to God.

Yet, in those seasons when you are weak, you know what God is NOT doing? He’s not getting angry with you for not being good enough. He’s not getting frustrated with you for not being strong enough. Instead, He is filled with compassion because He knows you and He loves you just the way you are.

This doesn’t mean you don’t seek to improve. It doesn’t mean you stop trying to grow in those areas in which you are weak. It means that God Himself wants to help you succeed!

Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Instead, let this truth give you greater strength to get back up and keep going. God still loves you when you’re weak.

-Pastor Phillip

Islam is “Strong” & Christianity is “Weak”

Thursdays are usually geared towards answering theological questions I receive in my role as a pastor.  However, today I wanted to share a piece that takes a brief look at one of the fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity.  May it be a helpful tool for discussion and an encouragement to your soul.
—Pastor Phillip


Islam is a religion of strength.  Christianity is a religion of weakness… and that’s a good thing.

Allah shows his deity by overwhelming force,  while Yahweh shows His by self-sacrificing love.

Both call their followers to act in the same way as their god.

Yet, while the world magnifies strength as the surest path to victory, strength will always eventually fail.  Force will eventually reach the end of its capability, and if it is on strength that salvation and victory depend, it is sure to fail as soon as the well of strength runs dry.

But, if victory is gained through weakness, then it is eternally available and always close at hand.

The beauty of Christianity is that if salvation comes through surrender, then deliverance can be had in any circumstance by any person who will lay down their claim to capability and embrace the sufficiency of the cross of Christ and the love of the Christ of the cross.

That means that as a follow of Christ, you don’t have to be strong all the time because Jesus will be strong for you.

May you surrender to Him today.

– – – – –

(NOTE: Islam also teaches the importance of surrender to the will of Allah, but the most fundamental difference between the two faiths is in the action and character not of their disciples, but of their deities.)

Victorious Vulnerability

What if “standing strong” was your greatest weakness?

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn–fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.”  -2 Corinthians 7:5-7

How encouraging to know that even a great man of God like the Apostle Paul had struggles and seasons of fear.  How validating to know that opposition is normal in the Christian life and that fear comes after the best of us.

Here’s what Paul knows, though, and what can become a huge key to our freedom. God uses our admission of vulnerability as a doorway through which He sends people to let us know we’re not alone.

The religious spirit takes a “just me and Jesus” attitude, partly out of pride, and partly out of the fear of being judged for not having it all together.

“I’m just trusting God” can sometimes be merely the Christian way of saying “I can handle it, so leave me alone.”

How good is our Father, then, that He would continue to send people to break down our walls of self-imposed isolation and step in to our hurt so we can walk out of it together!

Christian community doesn’t promise all the answers and understanding.  It gives us the freedom of knowing we don’t have to struggle alone.

GET YOUR LAUNCH LIST BONUSES NOW!

Let's do this together.

WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION IS THIS FOR? (Primarily)