Category: Bible Reflection & Challenge

Living Out Your Heavenly Citizenship

Living Out Your Heavenly Citizenship

Many people all around the world want to get to America and eventually become citizens. Why not? I’ve heard many Americans say that the United States is the greatest country on planet earth. And that the poorest people in the United States are the richest people in third-world countries!

So, I get it. People, especially from third-world countries see America as a ticket to a better life. So much so that there are thousands of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border daily. I can’t blame them. Who does not want to live the American dream?

But if there’s one citizenship that every person on planet earth should want to have, it’s heavenly citizenship.

Bible Verse: Philippians 3:20, NLT

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.”

We must note that in his letter, the apostle Paul was addressing the Philippian believers. When he said, “We are citizens of heaven …” he was referring to himself and the church.

How did they acquire their heavenly citizenship? By acknowledging their sins, repenting, and trusting in Christ as their Lord and Savior.

If you did the very same thing that the church at Philippi did, then you are also a citizen of heaven. You may be holding a Philippine passport, British passport, American passport, etc. But you also have an invisible passport to heaven.

A Heavenly Citizenship

In the sight of God, there are only two kinds of citizenship: earthly and heavenly. Your earthly citizenship is temporary while your heavenly citizenship is for eternity.

God has already predetermined our race and nationality before conception. But that does not mean we can’t choose to become citizens of another country. God does not forbid you to move to another country and become a citizen there.

But God desires for everyone to become citizens of heaven just as He originally designed them to be.

Adan & Eve in the Garden of Eden

Before the fall, Adam and Eve held heavenly citizenship. Didn’t they enjoy intimate daily fellowship with God? However, things changed after they deliberately disobeyed God.

As a result, Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was broken and they forfeited their heavenly citizenship. The good news is that God wanted to restore that broken fellowship. He also wanted to open the pathway for all earthly citizens to become citizens of heaven.

John 3:16 tells us what God did to accomplish that.

How to Live as Citizens of Heaven

The moment a sinner repents and accepts the gift of eternal life from God, he acquires heavenly citizenship. But what does it mean to become a citizen of heaven? How should Christians live out their heavenly citizenship?

1. Do Not Live Like the World

Paul said this to the church in Rome:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind …” (Romans 12:2, ESV).

In the NIV translation, this verse reads, “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world…” This simply means Christians should STOP copying the lifestyle of the world.

Before coming into the knowledge of God’s truth, we were just like the people in the world. We conducted ourselves in the same manner and behavior, held the same beliefs and customs. And whatever the world dictates as acceptable, we also deemed acceptable.

Paul said the same thing to the believers in Ephesus but reworded and expounded on it. “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking” (Ephesians 4:17, NIV).

If we continue reading Ephesians 4:18-32, Paul enumerates all the things that the Gentiles do and tells them how they should live instead. To summarize, Paul said, “Throw off your old sinful nature and put on your new nature.”

Now that we’re no longer earthly citizens, we need to stop behaving just like the people of the world. Instead, we are to start living our new life in Christ as new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).

New Life in Christ

2. Do Not Love the World

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15, NASB

This does not mean we should loathe anything and everything that is in the world. Remember, God originally created everything “good” (Genesis 1:10, 12, 21, 25).

For instance, marriage and family which are earthly institutions are good. Scientific and advanced medicines are good because they help cure diseases and prolong human life. Technology is good because it connects people who are miles away from each other.

Wealth and riches are good because they allow us to have a comfortable life. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil. It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

The “good things” from God become “bad” only as a result of Satan’s perversion. So, there’s nothing wrong and everything right about enjoying God and the blessings He freely bestows on us in this life.

But let us be careful to not get too attached to this life and the things of this world. This is what it means to not love the world. It’s about setting our priorities straight.

The Word of God reminds us to not start obsessing about the wealth and pleasures of this world. This is because earthly pleasures are not from the Father (1 John 2:16-17, NASB).

Friendship with the World

As citizens of heaven, we should not also be too friendly with the world. Friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God (James 4:4). Intimate friendship requires a commitment. When you choose to side with the world, you just chose to be in opposition to God. It’s because the world is currently ruled by Satan who is the archenemy of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

You can’t be loyal to two opposing parties. As Matthew 6:24 (NIV) says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Joshua said the same thing (Joshua 24:15), “Choose this day whom you will serve…”

The bottom line is, there is no middle ground, there is no gray area. When you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. If you are friends with the world, you become an enemy of God.

It’s a matter of choice!

James 4:4

3. Live as Pilgrims in a Foreign Country

“Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” – 1 Peter 2:11, NLT

Peter kind of echoed what King David said.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” – 1 Chronicles 29:15, NLT

A stranger or foreigner is a temporary resident or traveler in a foreign country, passing through on his way to his home country. This is what we are in this world. Thus, we have a different mentality about life as compared to the permanent residents of this world.

As travelers, we don’t live according to the customs and standards of the foreign country we are in. But for the sake of not offending the locals, we may temporarily adopt some of their customs if they are morally neutral.

For instance, women here in Saudi Arabia are required to wear abayas and keep their heads covered. So, foreign women must do the same when they come here. Also, during Ramadan which is the month of fasting for Muslims, we should not eat or drink in front of them.

4. Set Your Hearts & Minds on Heavenly Things

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2, NIV

To set our minds on things above means we should think of heavenly things; we should meditate on the things of God and His Kingdom.

But what about setting our hearts on the things above? What does this mean? In the Bible, the “heart” always stands for our affection, aspiration, desire, and passion.

Paul’s encouragement to the believers is that their desires align with God’s desires and be passionate about them. And also for them to develop a heavenly mindset – a way of thinking that goes far beyond what humans perceive.

We must note that everything on earth is temporary. Everything visible will come to an end while what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Billy Graham Quote

Know Your Priorities

However, to desire heavenly things and think about the things of God does not mean we should not live in fullness. It does not mean you should not get married and have a family just because our Lord never married.

Or if you have a family, you neglect your responsibilities to them and claim that you are focused on God’s work. And if you’re a mother, you need to take care of your husband and children.

As a man or woman of God, your first ministry is your family. Take care of your family first before attempting to take care of God’s business in the church. You cannot be effective in the church if you can’t even take care of your own family.

It’s the same thing at work. Whatever your job maybe you should, by all means, give your best. Always give it your 100%. As Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV) says, “We must do everything as working for the Lord…”

But as citizens of heaven, we need to always prioritize the Kingdom of God. We have to carry out God’s mandate known as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) – witnessing/evangelism and discipleship.

We are to keep building the church by using our God-given talents and resources to serve God and others.

Conclusion

Are you living as citizens of heaven?

We are aliens and strangers on this earth, heading as pilgrims toward heaven. We’ve got to adopt that mindset, which includes constantly remembering that we aren’t staying here for long. Our home is in heaven. We should live like it!

Although we are still in this world, we are not of this world. Many things could go wrong in this world but we shouldn’t get distracted.

As heavenly citizens, we are to remain faithful to God, live in righteousness, and anticipate the promised return of Christ. Philippians 3:21 tells us what happens when Christ returns.

“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” – Philippians 3:21, NLT

This is the third and final phase of our salvation – the glorification of our bodies. This will take place in the event known as the rapture, our blessed hope.


Recommended Resource: A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths about Your Eternal Home by Dr. Robert Jeffress

If any of us learned we were going to move to a foreign country, we’d do everything we could to learn about that place so that we’d be prepared when moving day arrived.

As Christians, we know someday we will leave our familiar country and be united with God in heaven. And yet many of us know very little about this place called heaven.

In this enlightening book, bestselling author Dr. Robert Jeffress opens the Scriptures to unpack ten surprising truths about heaven and explain who we will see there and how we can prepare to go there someday.

Perfect for believers or skeptics who are curious about heaven.

God’s Example of Gift-Giving

God’s Example of Gift-Giving

Christmas is just around the corner. And get this … Christmas celebration is not complete without gift-giving! I believe this is the part that makes most people, especially kids, excited about Christmas. This is the highlight of most celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Don’t you love gifts! Everybody loves gifts! I do not know of anyone who doesn’t.

Giving presents and exchanging gifts have become parts of our practices and traditions. And that is not a bad thing! The problem is this, we tend to be choosy.

We want something fancy and expensive. We want to get the best of all gifts. Little do most people realize that God has already given us the best gift. I’m talking about the greatest gift we’ve ever received mentioned in Ephesians 2:8-9.

We are saved by grace

God’s Greatest Gift to Us

This gift of God has nothing to do with our efforts. We didn’t earn it, deserve it, or purchase it. God gave it through His sacrificial gift so our salvation would not be our boast, but His kindness.

What is this gift? Our salvation!

We may not realize it but this gift from God is unlike any other gift that we can buy from the gift shop. Some people may think it’s cheap because it is available to anyone who wants to receive it. But it’s priceless; you can’t put a price tag on it.

It’s because God paid for it with His life. Jesus redeemed us with His blood (Ephesians 1:7). To redeem means “to pay off,” “to buy back,” or “to regain possession of.”

Originally, we belonged to God. But because of sin, we were separated from God. We’re on our way to hell and are destined to spend eternity there. But God did not want us to perish so He sent His Son to redeem us.

God’s Greatest Gift to Us

First of all, Christ did not come down to earth to start a Christmas tradition that includes the giving of gifts to one another. Christ came to offer His life as a ransom for many. He came to give us eternal life.

By doing what He did, God also exemplified the true meaning of gift-giving.

So, what are the things that God wants us to take into consideration whenever we give to others?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Giving Should be Motivated by Love

God had one reason and one reason only for giving us the greatest gift of all and that is love. We have no reason to doubt this. You see, God did not have to give His Son but He did it anyway.

Why? It’s all because of His great love. God is not only full of love; God is love (1 John 4:16). Everything God does stems from His great love for us. If God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us, how can He not also give us all things (Romans 8:32)?

What about us? What is our motivation in giving? In goal-setting, they call this “finding your why.” In other words, what’s your reason for doing the things that you do.

Giving Should be Motivated by Love

Why do you give to charitable institutions and orphanages? Is it because your friends are doing it? If your reason is that you feel sorry for them, that means your heart is in the right place.

Why do you give in support of God’s work? Why do you give birthday presents to your friends or other people on any occasion?

By the way, giving is not only in terms of material things, like money or anything tangible. It could also mean spending time with your friends and loved ones. Or taking a break from your busy schedule to comfort a colleague or friend who’s going through tough times.

Giving Should Be Unconditional

Unconditional means “no strings attached.” It’s just like how God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God was not expecting anything in return. All He wanted was to spare us from eternal condemnation.

But these days, when you offer something too good to be true, people are quick to ask, “What’s the catch?” And we can’t blame them. As they always say, “You don’t get anything for free. There are no free hand-outs and if there are, they’re most likely trash.”

When God gave us the greatest gift of all, He did so without condition. How do we know this? It’s because God did it out of love and God’s love is unconditional.

God did not say, “Hey, you need to be a good person first.” Neither did He say, “Turn away from your sin and then I will give My Son to die for you” (Romans 5:8).

God had expectations as some scholars argue, it’s that everyone would receive His gift by faith. And also, for them to share that gift with others. This is why Jesus gave the Great Commission.

But we need to emphasize that what God expects from the recipients of His gift is not for His benefit. Rather, it’s for the people who are still in darkness. Simply put, it’s about giving back or passing it on.

Do we give, expecting something in return? Isn’t it more blessed to give than to receive? This is why it’s always best to give to the people who are unable to give back to us.

This is not to say that the principle of “give and take” is wrong or bad. What is wrong is when a person who has the means to give prefers to be always on the receiving end.

Giving Should Be Unconditional

Giving Should be Sacrificial

When we hear the word sacrifice, it always involves doing something difficult and painful. It’s not going to be easy and it would take courage to be able to do it. It’s about setting aside your own comfort and happiness for the sake of others.

God modeled sacrificial giving 2,000 years ago. The Father endured the pain of having to watch His only Son suffer and die at the hands of His creation. But for man to be spared from hell, God had to experience pain.

We all know the story of Abraham who is about to offer his son Isaac on Mount Moriah? That was a foreshadowing of what God would do to His Son about 1,500 years later on Mount Calvary.

I can’t imagine the pain that a parent has to go through when his only child gets brutally killed in front of him. You are blessed to not have to go through this kind of pain.

Have you ever felt pain as a result of “giving” to your family or loved ones? You were saving for a new cellphone but your daughter needed money to pay her lease. Or you wanted to treat yourself to an expensive restaurant but your friend suddenly in need.

These are part of the sacrifice we have to make just so we can give to our loved ones or extend help to those in need.

Giving Should be Purposeful

Why did God give His Son to die on the cross? What was His purpose for sacrificing His only Son? For us to have eternal life! To provide salvation to all who will believe. Again, it’s for the benefit of the recipients.

If we read Isaiah 53:10, it says, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him (the Son), putting Him to grief.” Doesn’t that sound brutal?

But God did not just do this for nothing. God’s giving of His Son was for the sole purpose of saving us from the horrors of hell. It should be the same thing with us when we give anything to someone. It should always be for the benefit of the one who gets the gift.

Is what you’re giving beneficial to the receiver? Is it something they need? Oftentimes, what people want is not necessarily what they need. This is why when we ask God for something that does not benefit us, He won’t give it (1 John 5:14). God will not grant our requests that are harmful to us.

Giving Should Be Purposeful

On our part, when we give a gift or present, we don’t give something just for the sake of giving. We should give it some thought. Again, this comes down to our reason or motivation in giving. When we give out of love, we will surely give what we think is best for the recipient.

No matter how expensive your gift might be if it won’t be useful to the one who gets it, it’s useless. On the other hand, even if the gift is somewhat cheap as long as it’s exactly what the person needs, it will be valued and appreciated.

Bottom line is, it’s not the worth that counts but its usefulness.

Final Thoughts

God modeled the true meaning of gift-giving. God has not only given us so much; He’s also given us the greatest gift of all.

God gave us His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in the person of Jesus Christ, we find salvation, redemption, reconciliation with God, and eternal life (1 John 5:12).

The least we could do to pay back God for all He’s done is to strive to follow our Lord’s example. We are to share that gift with others as well.

So, to recap what God has taught us about gift-giving, remember the acronym P-L-U-S.

Christ's Example of Gift-Giving

Recommended Resource: Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ by Timothy Keller

From pastor and New York Times, bestselling author Timothy Keller comes the perfect gift for the Christmas holiday—a profoundly moving and intellectually provocative examination of the nativity story.

Even people who are not practicing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the nativity. Every Christmas displays of Baby Jesus resting in a manger decorate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air.

Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?

In his new book, Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of nativity. By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a deeper and more meaningful way.

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

Contrary to what others might think, the spirit realm is very real. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a battle going on in the unseen world. As believers in Christ, we are in a fight. But we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies. We are up against mighty powers in this dark world, and evil spirits in the heavenly places.

But do you know that Satan attacks Christians by first attacking their minds? You may have heard pastors say that the mind is a battleground between God and Satan. This is why we are to guard our minds.

Bible Verse: Philippians 4:6-8

6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Meditate on noble things

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Some Christians may not know this but the first person of the Trinity that a repentant sinner meets is the Holy Spirit.

At conversion, the Holy Spirit begins His residence in the life of the believers in Christ. He then transforms them from the carnal world of the flesh to the realm of the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit guides them to righteousness and obedience to God. In theology, this is called sanctification.

Sanctification is the process of living a Godly life, under the Holy Spirit. Hence, the nature of the new creature who was saved by the finished work of Christ. As we begin to mature in our faith, we realize that we are humans. Thus, we are bound to commit sins because of our flesh.

My Thoughts and Reflection

I believe that one of the most vital keys to spiritual maturity is to realize that as humans living on this Earth, we have an enemy (Satan), whose goal is to try everything to get us off course in our journey with Christ. Sometimes, our thoughts are not our own.

In this presentation, I will share with you some ways in which Satan uses our thoughts to plant evil seeds through the mind. I’m going to use a real-life example where I will provide insight into these biblical encounters.

Brethren, I am currently working on a series in which I share what I have learned as a follower of Christ living through the pandemic. My goal is to ensure that other fellow brothers and sisters in Christ understand the significance of Christ’s wonderful sacrifice at the cross in our fight against the kingdom of Satan.

What is the Mind?

Think of a construction worker who wants to build a house. Without the correct foundation, the house will collapse. Similarly, for the desire to commit evil to take place, there needs to be an activity within the brain, the inner section of the head.

God gave us the wonderful gift of knowledge. He uses our minds and our hearts to give us spiritual insight on matters on the mysteries of godly living. Now, how does the desire to do evil start? It is a seed sown by Satan, which starts in the mind. This is the foundation of what comes out of the lips and our hands, which grows from our hearts.

Many Scriptures make it clear that the primary battleground in spiritual warfare is our hearts and minds. Satan attacks with thoughts—evil suggestions, sinful ideas, false philosophies (doctrines), temptations, various lies, and so on.

Our means of defense are knowing, believing, and acting upon the Word of God.

Guard you mind, guard your thoughts

The Mind and External Sources

It is vitally important that you understand that every thought you think does not necessarily originate from within yourself.

Satan has many spokespersons who help him plant his thoughts in people’s minds. He works to influence us through newspapers, books, television, magazines, radio, through friends and neighbors, and even through preachers (false prophets.)

Even the apostle Peter was once unwittingly used as a spokesman for Satan. In Matthew 16:21-23, Peter suggested to Jesus that it was not God’s will for Him to die. Satan and his legions also work directly on human minds, without any human intermediary.

All Christians will at times find themselves under direct assault. That is when the warfare starts.

Dealing with Satan’s Attacks

A Christian encountered a woman who would frequently experience blasphemous thoughts in nature while engaging in prayer with God. She was a very sweet, dedicated woman who was actively involved in church. One day, she stopped praying every day because she was afraid that she would have these evil thoughts again. Eventually, the woman started to counteract those evil thoughts with the truth presented through the Word.

What can we learn from this testimony?

It was revealed to the woman that those blasphemous thoughts against God were not her own, but rather, they came from Satan. By being afraid that we might think wrong thoughts, we are inviting them, as fear is the opposite of faith.

Learning from experience, I have learned that fear is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against believers in Christ. Instead of trusting God and His promises, we trust in the lies that Satan feeds in our minds. By trying not to think about something, we have to think about it to try not to think about it.

In other words, we must substitute what is false and evil with something good, honorable, and pleasing to God. For example, if a thought suggested that Jesus was an idiot, we would replace that thought with the truth. We declare that Jesus is the divine Son of God and died for our sins because of His great love.

we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

A Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, I recognize that these tormenting, violent thoughts are not of you. I now choose to submit my mind completely to you and refuse to allow these thoughts to torment me any longer.

Satan, I now recognize that you have put these violent, tormenting thoughts in my mind. I refuse to allow them to enter my mind any longer. Your powers were broken at the cross 2,000 years ago. You have no power over me. My mind is now completely free of your plans or attacks. I now submit my mind completely to the Lord Jesus.

Lord, fill my mind with clean and holy thoughts. Help me not allow any demonic thoughts to enter by guarding all that I see on TV, movies, books, news, or magazines. Convict me when I am tempted to look at something impure.

Finally, I ask that this presentation has touched others as they are going through dark seasons in their lives. I pray that I would be a role model who strives to emulate your love, compassion, gentleness, and your holiness. Help me to continue shining Your light to edify Your glorious kingdom.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.


Recommended Resource:

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron Rhodes

Understand the Battle Before You Enter It

When you think about the end times, you’ve probably already considered the rapture, the tribulation, and the Antichrist. But are you prepared for the spiritual warfare that is already escalating around us as we draw closer to the final days?

Now more than ever, it is essential to equip yourself with God’s truth so you can stand against the encroaching darkness.

In Spiritual Warfare in the End Times, bestselling prophecy author Ron Rhodes powerfully exposes Satan’s most destructive and effective tools of spiritual injury—and the means of rendering them ineffective. Ron will help you understand…

  • the identity, tactics, and dominion of Satan—and the spiritual armor God has given you for protection
  • the pivotal roles the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in your spiritual victory
  • the sheep (Christians) who keep close to the Shepherd (Jesus) are safest from the predatory wolf (Satan)

Though Satan will always want to diminish your capacity to serve in God’s kingdom, God promises you’ll never fight him alone.

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times will provide you with all you need for victory both now and in the future.

Judaism and the Synagogue of Satan

Judaism and the Synagogue of Satan

Imagine that your family and friends are gathered together on a Saturday morning to worship and study the Torah. Or just looking forward to enjoying the night when you would come together to fast during the season of Passover. Can you imagine losing eleven relatives to a murderous man going on a shooting rampage? Or sitting at home alone?

One of the most common stereotypical qualities I have seen being spread around among Jewish families is the tendency for Jews to be morally corrupt and evil. Two of the most common justifications for this claim originate from John 8:44 and Revelation 2:9.

Today, we will look at Revelations 2:9. What could be the true meaning behind a phrase that is explicitly mentioned at the end of the verse?

Bible Verse: Revelation 2:9

“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

Seven months into a global pandemic that has changed the way we live our lives. Suddenly, your computer screen is filled with antisemitic threats and violent images of the Holocaust, just for expressing your faith. Since the clash between Israel and Gaza in late April of 2021, our nation has witnessed a dramatic spike in incidents of hatred and bigotry. What is more disheartening is that this happened within the Judeo-Christian communities.

Unfortunately, these antisemitic conspiracy theories continue to foster a hostile environment for so many families. It is so sad to see how the Bible is used to satisfy one’s wicked agendas against their neighbors because of their faith.

Anti-Semitism

As a young Christian teenager, I firmly believe that God has created us in His image. He gave us unique gifts, talents, characteristics, appearances, and styles of living life. My goal in writing this essay is to not only expose and deter the evil that is being done in this world. I also would like to encourage every one of you to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to not judge one another based on their outward appearance.

I pray that this essay will inspire you, and will convict you of any flaw, misunderstanding, or deception that we have all experienced in these dark days.

A Message to the Church

So, the question is: What is this “synagogue” that is being referenced in this passage? To fully understand this analogy requires an analysis of the context and the meaning behind the phrases used.

How are Jesus and the Holy Spirit described? Who is the regenerated “Jew?” What are the standard Jewish traditions, and the nature of Satan?

The first three chapters of the book of Revelation contain a series of letters addressed to the Seven Churches. The phrase “synagogue of Satan” is written twice (once in chapter 2 and then in chapter 3). These two chapters are specifically being addressed to the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. This was during the time of the Apostle John, whose descendants (daughter churches) are described in detail later in Revelations chapter 17.

Now, the term “Jew” in this context is rather spiritual in nature (rather than a physical trait). Paul describes a “Jew” as a man whose “circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter. It refers to those whose praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:19). The term “Jew” can also extend to the nature and qualities of a true Christian.

A true “Jew” [Christian] exhibits an ongoing inward regeneration through the working of the Holy Spirit, and does not focus solely on the outward appearance of being “righteous.”

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Satan’s Strategy: Deception

Now, look at this passage from 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

One of Satan’s most common strategies he uses against us is to disguise his servants as agents of God. They appear holy, upright, and moral when inwardly, they are ravenous wolves consumed with iniquity.

And Satan achieves his goal through the use of Scriptures. Therefore, there is the possibility that this verse has been used for deception and condemnation. Now, what does a person who practices the Jewish faith do regularly? They attend synagogues every Saturday for praise and worship. But the problem is the HEART.

If anyone practices a certain tradition or ritual but does not show genuine spiritual maturity and moral development, then their label is useless! (Ouch!) We can attend ten services a week, but our hearts can be corrupt and filled with hatred against one another. Doesn’t that sound just like the very people spreading this conspiracy theory?

Surprisingly, most of these people who cite this passage are professed Christians (what a shocker!) News flash: Deception is NEVER original. Congratulations, Satan! You’ve been exposed to the core!

Satan's Deception

What is the Synagogue of Satan?

The “synagogue of Satan” is an analogy referring to the spiritual condition of a congregation, and the heart of the professed believer.

In other words, they may outwardly appear holy and righteous. But in their hearts, they are working for Satan, sowing deceit, division, and discord among the body of Christ. The main takeaway is to understand that this passage is not referring to all Jews and all synagogues in a literal sense. Rather, it refers to those who are hypocrites and do not practice what they profess to the public.

Closing Words

If you would like any more resources on the rise of antisemitism and this deception, I will be happy to provide you with additional links to some articles and videos from news outlets and Christian communities, and forums.

Just reach out to me, and I will be happy to provide you with any more insight after conducting further study and spiritual revelations.

Also, feel free to show your support for our final series of this virtual movement. You can send me any additional ways to incorporate inclusion in our new program embedded into this movement. I pray that we will continue to seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom, knowledge, and insight on these moral issues affecting our generation.

I also pray that we will continue to guide each other in love, patience, and gentleness. I, in turn, will continue to use my positive, loving heart to encourage others, to pray for others, and to expose all of the workings of Satan!

As always, I am open and willing to uplift you and give you hope in these dark times. I am patiently waiting for you to contact me at any time, ready to shine in love, grace, and humility. I love you, and I wish you the best in everything!

Salute!☺


Recommended Resource:

Revelation (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries) by John F Walvoord, edited by Mark Hitchcock

The book of Revelation has long fascinated and even confused readers and students of the Bible. Yet the Bible is written to be understood, and Revelation is no exception. Who better to help you understand the seals, trumpets, vials, woes, and plagues than John F. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent leaders, and Mark Hitchcock, today’s leading Bible prophecy expert?

In this first in a renewed series of commentaries from Dr. Walvoord, he points out that much of the book’s symbolism can be interpreted literally. At key points, different views and approaches to interpretation are explored. Walvoord devotes special attention to textual and doctrinal issues while avoiding technical language.

Refined, updated with the English Standard Version (ESV), and streamlined, this classic text is set to help you interpret the last book of the Bible and gain a better grasp of current trends and the climax of history!

Our God is a Mighty Fortress

Our God is a Mighty Fortress

Being a Christian does not mean we are free from troubles and problems. There will come a time when we would need a fortress, a place of refuge, to survive the storm. What a comfort to know that God is not only our refuge and strength. He is also always ready to help in times of trouble.

Bible Verse: Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Psalm 46 begins with the poet depending on God for help in difficult times and finding it. So, he could say these things with confidence:

  • God alone is my refuge!
  • God alone is my strength!
  • God is my ever-present help in trouble!

Be still and know that I am God

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Martin Luther, a leader in the Reformation, wrote the powerful words, “A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing. Our helper He, amid the flood, of mortal ills prevailing.”

Luther faced death threats from the pope for his opposing view that salvation is by grace through faith alone. He went into hiding for 11 months in Wartburg Castle. He was pressured from every side to back down but he stood firmly for the truth.

Whenever fear and discouragement struck, he would encourage his friend and co-worker to sing the 46th psalm. He wrote, “We sing this Psalm to the praise of God because God is with us. He powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends His church and His word, against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and all the assaults of the world, the flesh, and sin.”

Whatever problems rage against us, know that God is our mighty fortress. God’s Spirit is the ever‑flowing river that sustains us and gives us gladness even while we’re under siege.

When Trouble Strikes the Godly

The word trouble describes people in tight places, in a corner, and unable to get out. But there is no problem (physical, emotional, or spiritual) that is too big for our God. If we will learn to trust God and take refuge in Him, we can tackle even the most difficult crisis with confidence. It’s because God is with us and we can confidently lean on Him alone for strength.

The psalmist mentions catastrophic and troubling global changes: storms, severe earthquakes, and wars (Psalm 46:2-3, 6, 9). Yet, he says all things are in the control of our sovereign Lord. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalm 46:10-11).

Hebrews 11:35-38 talks about all the terrible trials that faithful Christians have to face. God does not always prevent bad things from happening to His people. But when trouble strikes, we don’t have to seek help somewhere else. God will enable us to face every storm of life head-on.

Be Fearless in God’s Refuge

In 2 Chronicles 32, Hezekiah led the men in digging a 1,777 feet long tunnel, passing to the Gihon Spring in Kidron Valley. The clear, cool water of the spring flowed inside the walls of Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah completely covered the spring to keep the enemy from finding it (2 Chronicles 32:1-6).

As the Assyrians stood in the sweltering heat every day, they kept waiting for the people of God to surrender. Inside the walls, the people did not panic or fear because they knew that God’s refuge would stand.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).

When the Assyrian officials threatened Jerusalem, Isaiah told the king, “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me” (2 Kings 19:6). Inside the fortress, God provided for the Israelites’ needs by supporting them with a river.

In the same way, we need not be fearful when faced with a catastrophe. God is bigger than our problems. In the worst disaster that we can imagine, we can always have immediate comfort with God who is our refuge and strength.

God Never Fails

Some people place their trust in wealth, but money can never buy happiness. Others trust knowledge, but the smartest minds cannot agree on the simplest things. Some trust the military for protection, but there is no perfect peace. Still, others trust the company they work for to provide long-term security, but there is no such security.

God is our refuge and strength. We do not have to fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. When we search for answers, He will provide them. When we need shelter, He will provide it. When we need protection, He will provide it.

Believers in Christ have a very present help in trouble. Standing at the cross of Calvary is the Lamb of God with His nail-pierced hands extended. He is our Rock and our Fortress (Psalm 18:2; 31:3; 71:3). He will provide for us a refuge in the storms of life.

God is faithful and He never fails!

Conclusion

The Christian life is not a trouble-free life. Many false teachers may claim that it is God’s will for every believer in Jesus to enjoy a perfect life. But the Bible teaches no such thing. It’s not that God will exempt us from trouble but that God is our help in trouble.

Luther’s song ended with these words, “Let goods and kindred do, this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever.”

When we feel as though life is falling on top of us, we need to run to God’s refuge. Inside we will find safety, security, and love in His shelter that will survive any storm.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

God’s Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms by Ben Patterson

There is no better place in all of Scripture than the Psalms to learn to be with God and see with the eyes of faith the face of the One who longs to form us fully in his image. The psalms often stretch and perplex as they teach, but they open a divine window on prayer. How could it be otherwise?

The Psalms are God’s prayer book, and they teach us to talk to God in His own language.

Features meditations for more than 75 psalms, arranged in numerical order, Scripture, and topical indexes. Each devotional includes the complete text of the Psalm(s) from the New Living Translation, a “devotional window” (brief meditative thoughts and/or background on the Psalm), a prayer route (one or more key phrases or verses from the Psalm, followed by suggested ways to use the Psalm in prayer).

Blessings for Being a Christian

Blessings for Being a Christian

Have you ever had someone asked you why you’re a Christian? Most people may think that believing in God is just all about going to heaven when you die. But as wonderful as that may sound, there’s more to life in heaven for a follower of Jesus.

There are wonderful blessings for being a Christian which we can enjoy even while we are still on this earth. I’m talking about some specific blessings that Paul mentions in his letter to the Romans.

Bible Verse: Romans 5:1-11

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3 And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

The Blessings of Justification

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

We Rejoice in God’s Blessings

In listing the blessings in the fifth chapter of Romans, Paul tells us how wonderful it is to be a Christian. Our justification is not simply a guarantee of heaven, as thrilling as that is. More importantly, it is also the source of tremendous blessings that we enjoy here and now.

1. Access to God

This is the first blessing Christians get to enjoy (Romans 5:2a).

Remember, the Jews were kept from God’s presence by the curtain in the Temple. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the holy of holies. And even then he got to do it once a year on the Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:7).

The Gentiles, on the other hand, were kept out by a wall in the Temple with a warning on it. Anyone who went beyond would be killed. But when Jesus died, the veil (curtain) was torn in two (Matthew 27:50-51; Luke 23:45) and broke down the wall (Ephesians 2:14).

Jesus has become our Great High Priest who has passed through the heavens. So, now we can come boldly to God’s throne that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

We can come to the Father through Jesus Christ, ask Him anything and He will do it (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24). What a wonderful blessing it is that we can come to the Father anytime through our Lord whom God appointed as our mediator.

The Blessings of Justification

2. Glorious Hope

Having “peace with God through our Lord” (Romans 5:1) takes care of the past; God will no longer hold our sins against us. But the “place of undeserved privilege” where we now stand takes care of the present. We can now confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:2b).

How do we share in the glory of God?

When we got born again, we have received the Spirit that brought about our adoption as God’s children. And since we are God’s children, we are His heirs. Together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory (Romans 8:15-17).

See also John 17:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Ephesians 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:12.

3. Strength to Endure Trials

We can rejoice too, even when we run into problems and difficulties because we know that tribulations will develop perseverance in our lives (Romans 5:3).

Just because we have received justification that we can escape from the trials of life. As we go through trials and depend on God’s grace, the trials only purify us. God is working in us to develop character.

Sometimes we question why God allows His children to suffer. But as 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT) says, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”

James, the Lord’s brother, also encourages every child of God to persevere in James 1:12.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

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4. God’s Love through the Holy Spirit

Our hope in God will not lead to disappointment because we know that God loves us. God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given to us (Romans 5:5).

God proved His love by sending Christ to die for us (John 3:16). Even while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Now that we are His children, surely He will love us more. The inner experience of this love through the Spirit sustains us as we go through problems and trials.

Knowing that God loves us unconditionally is a blessing that we should never take for granted. Instead, we should strive to love God and live a life that brings glory, honor, and pleasure to Him.

5. Saved from God’s Wrath and Judgment

Man’s broken relationship with God was restored as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are no longer enemies with God. The death of Christ and His blood made right our standing with God (Romans 5:9-10). Paul argued from the lesser to the greater, the unsaved person is one of God’s enemies because he cannot obey God’s law (Romans 8:7).

But God did not declare war on humanity. Instead, He sent His Son as the Peacemaker that people might be reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:11-18). If God saved us when we were his enemies, surely He will keep on saving us now that we are His children. We can be sure that justification lasts.

Thus, we shall be saved from His wrath that will be poured out upon all the inhabitants of the earth. There is coming a time when God will not only restore the nation of Israel but will also judge the wicked, unrepentant world. Prophetic books such as Daniel and Revelation talk about this future judgment of God in detail.

But the bride of Christ, the church, is not appointed unto God’s wrath. We are appointed to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Here’s a beautiful song called, “Blessings” by Laura Story from the album of the same title released in 2011.

Closing Words

The blessings we have freely received and can enjoy as children of God are profoundly amazing.

First, we are no longer estranged from God but have been placed in good standing with Him based on His grace. We can come to Him at any time for the help we need. Praise Jesus; what a comfort that is.

Secondly, we can rejoice in the glorious hope of sharing in the glory of God not only in the future but even at present. Third, we can also glory in our tribulations knowing that God can (and will) sustain us. And this is how God builds in us a better character.

Fourth, we will have a deeper awareness of the love of God through the Holy Spirit. And finally, we can rest in God’s promise that we will not suffer His wrath.

Our heavenly Father loves us and cares so much about us that He did not want us to perish. He gave His only begotten Son to take our place of punishment on the cross to reconcile us to Himself.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource:

Romans: Grace, Truth, and Redemption by John F. MacArthur

Paul’s letter to the Romans is an inspired masterpiece of doctrine highlighting God’s grace, truth, and redemption.

Within its pages, the apostle shares his message of good news and eternal salvation with the church advises believers on theological truths, gives practical applications for living the Christian life, and shows how God’s righteousness comes by grace alone through faith in Christ.

The book of Romans underscores that Christianity is far more than just a doctrine—it is an essential road map for daily living.

The MacArthur Bible Studies provide intriguing examinations of the whole of Scripture. Each guide incorporates extensive commentary, detailed observations on overriding themes, and probing questions to help you study the Word of God with guidance from John MacArthur.

Do Not Fear, Trust God

Do Not Fear, Trust God

With everything that is going on these days, people, including Christians are gripped with fear. But what does that say about your faith in God? Why are we choosing fear over faith?

Bible Verses: Matthew 8:26a & 2 Timothy 1:7

Matthew 8:26a

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

Choose Faith Over Fear

Jesus’ words could be said to any number of Christians today. Everyone is fearful at some point in their life. Any circumstance we can’t control can cause fear, but does that mean we should be afraid?

In Matthew 8:23-27, we read the story of Jesus calming the storm. As Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, a fierce storm suddenly struck the lake and the waves started breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping so the disciples went to wake Him up crying for help. And Jesus said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

Jesus Calms the Storm

Jesus undoubtedly knew that the storm was coming and certainly could have prevented it. But He permitted it so that He might teach His disciples some lessons.

Jesus was asleep because He could rest confidently in the will of His Father, and this was what the disciples should have been able to do. Instead, they became fearful and accused Jesus of not caring. The disciples have been with Jesus for a considerable amount of time. They witnessed all the wonders and miracles that He performed.

Yet, they chose fear over faith when faced with a fierce storm knowing that Jesus was with them.

Do Not Be Afraid

Understandably, unbelievers would be fearful of a virus they can’t see. They don’t believe in an omnipotent God that can control the weather or diseases as Matthew 8:23- 27 and Exodus 9:9 says.

But why are there so many Christians that are afraid? If we are truly saved, why do we need to fear anything? 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

We all deal with fear. For some, it’s fear of public speaking; others are afraid of getting rejected, others are afraid of failing, others are afraid of losing their job.

But we need to understand that fear is not from God; it’s from the enemy. Fear is a powerful weapon of the enemy and he never misses an opportunity to use it whenever he gets the chance. And he is doing it right now. For more than a year now, the coronavirus pandemic has caused people all around the world fear and worry.

Yes, the virus is real; it’s highly infectious and deadly. In fact, it has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in America alone. So, I don’t blame people for being afraid and following all the guidelines given by the so-called “health experts.”

Do Not Fear, Trust God

Put Your Trust In God

In 2020, Christians did very little to stand up against the governors’ shutting down churches, requiring masks, and closing down the jobs of many people out of fear. In 2021 many Christians are getting vaccines out of fear. WHY?

Satan uses fear to control us. The mainstream media are manipulating us by controlling our perception of the world. Why aren’t we turning to God and His Word for guidance in these troubled times?

If we truly believe God is in control, and the Bible is true, where are the Christians willing to live like it is true despite what the media, government, doctors, CDC, and the UN say? This is true for everyone. If you want to see God work, you need to trust Him.

Final Thoughts

Even when we don’t always see immediate results, we can trust God because He is trustworthy. Jesus said there would be hard times (John 16:33). But also He promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ to save you, you can even now. He is waiting for you to choose Him over fear, why not now?


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Fear Not: Living Grace and Truth in a Frightened World by Eric H. F. Law

Learn how to face your fears and live into courageous and faithful action with Fear Not. Americans live in a culture of fear, whether we know it or care to admit it.

Who will attack us next? Who will steal our jobs? Whose relationship undermines the sanctity of mine?

In an era when manipulative messaging is unavoidable, politicians, media, marketers, and even faith leaders play on our fears and use them to win elections, gain attention, sell products, and influence the way you view those around you — all in the name of claiming power.

Fear Not subverts insidious fear-based messaging with the creation of courageous communities committed to truth-telling, grace, hope, and love.

Drawing on decades as a community-building and church growth leader for churches and nonprofit organizations, Eric H.F. Law shares practical resources and processes for bringing diverse people together to build authentic relationships and share their truth.

Each chapter includes suggested activities and questions for discussion and tips for creating small discussion groups.

Is Suffering God’s Judgment?

Is Suffering God’s Judgment?

We often hear people say that suffering is a result of God’s judgment. Who is not familiar with the Great Flood in Genesis 7? We read how God was grieved when He saw the extent of human wickedness on the earth. So, God decided to destroy every living thing that He has created (Genesis 6:5-7).

Can we then conclude that the sufferings people are going through are God’s punishment upon them? Doesn’t the Bible tell us that God is love (1 John 4:8)? That God’s love caused Him to sacrifice His only Son on the cross to save us (John 3:16)?

Yes; God is love but He is also just and righteous (Psalm 89:14).

God Heals a Man Born Blind

In John chapter 9, we read the story of a man who has been blind since birth. As they passed by where the man was, Jesus’ disciples asked Him “whose fault is it that he was born blind” (John 1:2).

Instead of seeing the man as an object of mercy, the disciples saw him as a subject for a theological discussion. The disciples had been trained as young men in the Mosaic law. They learned that “God does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7, NIV). That “God punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

The Healing of the Man Born Blind

Note: Some ancient rabbinic writings also speculated on the possibility of sinning in the womb or a preexistent state.

The disciples were sure that the man’s congenital blindness was caused by sin, either his own or his parents. But Jesus disagreed with them (John 9:3).

The Consequences of Sin

Adam’s disobedience brought sin and death into the world (Romans 5:12).

Adam and Eve sinned, and their offspring grew increasingly wicked and rebellious (Genesis 4:1-24). David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the death of her husband (2 Samuel 11). David’s children grew up to cause him continual distress through their violence and selfishness.

Only in rare cases, after God’s longsuffering and mercy have been exhausted did He punish His sinful people. We read in 1 Samuel 2:12-36 how God dealt with the family of Eli. Also, God sent Judah and Israel into captivity (Hosea 11:1-8; Jeremiah 25:1-11) because of their idolatry and disobedience.

In the final analysis, all physical problems and human sufferings are the results of our fall in Adam. The consequences of sin that come upon sinners and their descendants are usually natural consequences rather than God’s divine judgment.

So, to blame a specific disability on a specific sin committed by a specific person is beyond any man’s authority. Only God knows why babies are born handicapped. And only God can turn them into something that will bring good to people and glory to His name.

God brought about suffering in the life of the blind man to reveal God’s work in him (John 9:3). This also happened so that he might become a blessing to the disciples and a blessing to those who would read John’s gospel.

The Consequence of Sin

Does God Carry Grudges?

The concern of the disciples about the man born blind sounds more like the superstitious fear of many in the world.

They think that God holds a grudge against them because they have offended Him in some way. They feel guilty for not acknowledging or confessing their sins. This often distorts their perception of God’s attitude toward them. And they expect Him to bring judgment into their lives at any moment.

Repentance, confession, and acceptance of God’s forgiveness are important ingredients for spiritual peace and good mental health. Inner turmoil caused by a guilty conscience can cause all sorts of fears about divine punishment.

God carries no grudges. If there should be a situation in which God needs to correct our life through suffering, He will let us know. God disciplines us as a godly father disciplines a child. Never will our heavenly Father corrects us vindictively. Rather, He does it in a kindly fashion (Hebrews 12:5-11).

God’s Intent for Suffering

Trials and sufferings are part of life and Christians are not exempt. Some might have expected life to be easy and smooth sailing after becoming followers of Christ. But such is not the case; it’s going to be a battle all the way!

Dealing with the trials of life is never easy. But knowing the promises of God’s love in His Word enables us to experience inner peace and joy.

Suffering is painful and perplexing but we know that God has a purpose for allowing us to experience them. God uses suffering for our spiritual development.

Final Thoughts

When we see other Christians suffering, it is never our place to presume God’s intent for them. There might be instances when people suffer as a consequence of their actions. But oftentimes in the Bible God uses sufferings to enact tremendous good rather than to punish.

God has an infinite capacity to effect goodness amid our pain and difficulty. We see this principle in the life of Joseph, Job, and of course, the Lord Jesus Himself.

Let us love and comfort our fellowmen in their suffering and trust that God will work all things out for their good (Romans 8:28).


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt? by Randy Alcorn

Out of the deepest hurts of the human condition, Randy Alcorn brings into clear focus our most pressing questions about evil and suffering—including those that wrench our souls when we or someone we love is victimized by evil or assaulted by disease.

He faces these questions with seasoned sensitivity, skillful insight, and a heart of compassion. He dodges none of the difficulties, and never lapses into platitudes, hand-wringing, or oversimplification.

On this troubling but inescapable topic, you’ll find frank acknowledgment of the inherent limitations that set humanity apart from the God who has none. There’s also generous, real encouragement that brings God nearer in our understanding when we need His comfort the most.

And amid our heavy doubts and swirling confusion on this topic, Randy Alcorn points us ultimately toward Jesus as “the only answer bigger than the questions.”

What Nature Says About God

What Nature Says About God

One of the best arguments for the existence of God is the existence of creation. When people say, “Give me concrete evidence that God exists.” Just politely respond, “You simply have to look at nature and you’ll know that God exists.”

Paul told the Athenians on the Aeropagus that God had arranged the world so that people “should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

Bible Verse: Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

The Creation Bears Evidence

“The heavens declare the glory of God” to every person every day and even to those who have never heard a preacher or read a Bible. Have you ever gazed into the heavens and felt the presence of God? Have you ever scanned the skies? Or watched the stars glitter like an ocean of diamonds sprinkled against the velvet blackness of God’s infinite canopy?

Long before the gospel was written in sacred Scriptures, it was written in the sky dotted by dazzling stars. It was highlighted by the blazing sun and the gentle glow of the moon. The power, presence, and personality of God are evident in all His creation.

What Nature Says About God

Although “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (Psalm 14:1), yet all creation says that anyone who can see the sky can know of God.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

God in the Highest Heavens

The “heavens” is plural because we know there are three. One is the heaven we see with our eyes. The second is the heaven where Satan has his throne. He was there talking to God about Job (Job 1:6-12). Also, Paul says that we wrestle “against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

The third heaven is where God has His throne. From there, He looks down on Satan, reminding him that time is limited and he will soon be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:10-15).

In the Bible, God uses His creation (nature) to teach and explain. He told Abraham to look toward heaven and count the stars if he was able. The stars represented the promised descendants (Genesis 22:17. The moon and the sun witness His faithfulness to the covenant He has made with Israel (Psalm 89:34-37).

He led the wise men from the East by a star (Matthew 2:2). God uses the stars to declare the glory He gives to soul-winners (Daniel 12:3). The Lord will also use the sun, moon, and stars to announce the Second Coming of Christ, and because of His promises, I follow the “Bright and Morning star” (Revelation 22:16).

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Living in a Glorious World

The world around us is like a mystery novel. God made it and scattered clues about Himself around it. Unlike the villains of murder mysteries, God is a good character who wants to be found.

The beauty of the heavens and the stars speaks eloquently every night of God’s infinitely varied and intelligent design (Psalm 19:1-4). The grandeur of the mountains tells of His power (Psalm 121:1); the endless sweep and motion of the oceans hint of the infinite, timeless character of God (Job 38:16; Psalm 33:7; 89:9).

The wide variety of plant and animal life God created suggests that He cares about living things (Job 39:1-30) and shows His power to meet their needs (Luke 12:6-7, 24).

The more people study the marvelous order and complexity of God’s creation, the more they glimpse about Him (Romans 1:20).

How Great Thou Art

One evening during a thunderstorm, as Stuart Hine walked through a forest observing God’s power and majesty all around him he was inspired to write the song “How Great Thou Art.”

When we look to the heavens let us sing, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee: How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

Seeking God Beyond Measure

When we read the “book of nature” we can grasp certain things about the power, majesty, and glory of God. But we are left guessing about His personality and His attitudes toward us.

“The book of nature” should leave us wanting a second “book” that speaks more directly about God.

Psalm 19, which begins extolling the general revelation of the heavens, ends up praising the perfection of the special revelation found in the Bible. The heavens may let us “touch the face of God,” but it takes God’s written Word to tell us what kind of Person wears that face and how we can have a love relationship with Him.

Final Words

The existence of creation implied the existence of a Creator. The nature of the creation implied that He was wise enough to plan it and powerful enough to execute His plan and maintain what He had made.

So complex a universe demands a Creator who can do anything, who knows everything, and who is present everywhere.


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Recommended Resource: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek

To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable. 

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue, however, that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself.

With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus.

The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith. 

How to Dwell in the House of the Lord

How to Dwell in the House of the Lord

No person can claim to be a Christian and say attending church is not necessary. Every follower of Christ goes to the house of the Lord at least once a week for fellowship. We go to church not only to meet with fellow believers but more importantly, with God.

Bible Verse: Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

“One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”

Learning from David

King David had been on the run, not just once but several times. It was during those times that he wrote most of the hymns and poems we read in the book of Psalm.

But what made David feel safe and secure despite the circumstances he was facing? The secret of David’s public confidence was his private obedience to God. He took time to fellowship with the Lord and get directions from Him.

David knew that the most important part of his life was the part that only God could see, and this was one priority he would not negotiate.

Longing to be with God

Being in God’s house on Sunday is refreshing. Entering the place where other believers have come to worship and sing praises renews our spiritual walk. It also refocuses our thoughts on God.

But we do not have to be in a {church} building to dwell in worship with the Lord. Psalm 84:2 addresses dwelling with God anytime, anywhere. In this verse, the psalmist says that his “soul longs for the courts of the Lord.”

Longing to be with God

David longed to build a temple for the Lord to dwell in, but for some reason, God allowed Solomon to build it. God promised to dwell with the people of Israel if they would keep His laws.

After Solomon prepared the temple with a special place of the ark of the covenant, the ark was placed inside. And the Shekinah glory of God filled the temple and the priests could not continue with the service (1 Kings 6–8).

“I have surely built You an exalted house; and a place for You to dwell in forever” (1 Kings 8:13).

How to Seek God’s Presence

To experience God’s presence, we need to seek Him and His will all the time.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 13).

We can talk to God anytime – in church, in prayer, and in the Word. If we seek Him, we will find Him. God also promised to give us the strength necessary to get through troubled times (Psalm 84:5). When our life hits a dry spot, God will “make it a spring” (Psalm 84:6).

There is a special blessing and protection for anyone who earnestly seeks God. It may not be a promise to prevent all trouble, but to give security and blessing even in the midst of it.

Beholding God’s Beauty

There is beauty in the nature and presence of God; David knows this very well. He says we can perceive God’s beauty by faithfully seeking Him. King David could not think of a greater occupation than to fill his mind and heart with the goodness and greatness of God.

As Charles Spurgeon said, “The character of God is attractive, and fitted to inspire us with love for Him, and to make us, as it were, run after Him.”

Don Stewart also says this of the beauty of God:

“The beauty of the Lord can be defined as God possessing everything in His character that is desirable. Everything good and righteous has its ultimate fulfillment in God.”

A Doorkeeper in God’s House

In Psalm 84:10, the psalmist made no apologies. He wrote, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

In effect, he told Satan that he was not interested in serving him. The doorkeeper was a lowly servant, but even this position in God’s house would be a place of honor.

The writer of Psalms 84 calls God a “sun and shield” (Psalm 84:11). The sun warms and causes fields to grow, and the shield protects. God is the great Provider and Protector. He promises to bless those who trust in Him, withholding “no good thing” (Psalm 84:11-12).

We are God’s Dwelling Place

With the birth of Jesus, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory” (John 1:14). Jesus promised to prepare a dwelling place for us with the Lord.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

For us to go there, we must have Jesus dwelling in our hearts. We read in 1 John 14:15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Don’t just dwell with God on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night pilgrimage. Seek His presence every day through prayer and Bible study. Find the time to celebrate the joy of being a Christian. Let the Savior know how thankful you are for what He has done for you.

Closing Words

Does Jesus dwell in your heart? When was the last time you longed to dwell with the Lord? Are you willing to be a doorkeeper?

May we have a heart like David’s; a heart that always seeks after God above anyone or anything else. When we delight ourselves in God, He promises to give us the desire of our hearts (Psalm 37:7).

This desire will be the Lord Himself.


Recommended Resource:

Adoring Christ: Beholding God’s Beauty and Becoming Like Him by Kori de Leon

Adoring Christ and becoming like Him is the most fundamental and crucial aspect of human life. We long for love, beauty, power, security, and fame because these things describe God, who is majestic and beautiful. And He has designed humanity in His image to participate in His glorious likeness.

In Adoring Christ: Beholding God’s Beauty and Becoming Like Him, author Kori de Leon discusses how adoring Christ sets our hearts free from self-focus and pursuing glory in the wrong way so we can see the grandeur of God and participate in His glory the right way.

Covering a wide range of topics like loveliness, dignity, and spiritual vitality this book specifically geared for women concludes each of its twelve chapters with a section designed to help readers actively engage with the truths presented in the book.

Glory is God’s design for mankind. Together with the Bible, this book will encourage you to get lost in the wonder of God and His character as you enter into an adoration that will lead you to glorious transformation.