Category: Christian Growth

Busy But Not Blessed

Busy But Not Blessed

The Word of God never encourages idleness or laziness because it will not do us any good. Rather, it exhorts us to work hard and we will reap the blessings. See Proverbs 10:4-5; 12:11, 24; 14:23; 18:9; 19:15 and Romans 12:11.

But if working hard results in abundance, why are there so many hardworking people who are not living in comfort? No matter how many hours they spend working their butts off, they still seem to be living in “lack.” In other words, they are very busy but not blessed.

Unfortunately, many Christians are in the same boat. They have known the Lord for many years and are serving Him in their ministry. Yet, they are not living in abundance and victory.

Ready to Serve God

How long have you been born again? 5, 10, 15, or 20 years? I supposed that’s the same number of years that you have been serving the Lord. I am pretty sure you were very excited when you first came to know the Lord. You wanted to serve Him in any church ministry that He would put you in.

And you did not want to be stuck where you first began. But you wanted to take your service to God to another level. After all, isn’t that what Peter said about growing in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18)? Spiritual growth does involve growing in service to the Lord and His people.

Serving God with Gladness
Photo Credits: WhatDoesitMeantoServegod.com

Perhaps you started in the utility ministry – you know, arranging chairs and helping set up the worship hall. You were very eager to help in any way you could and never wanted to miss any church activity. In every Bible study, prayer and fasting, worship symposium, and worship service, you are always present. You read your Bible every day and meditate on it.

How do I know all this? It’s because I’ve been there too. Every new believer has this experience. I remember very well when I was first ushered in – the thought of being a child of God was overwhelming! Me? Yes; a sinner undeserving of God’s love and mercy. But God accepted me for who I am and wanted me to become the person He intended me to be.

That goes the same for you and everyone for whom God died to redeem from the power of sin and darkness.

A Balanced Christian Life

How far have you come in your service to God? Perhaps you are now a worship leader, which is a huge contrast to arranging chairs. You may be very occupied learning everything you can about worship leading. Or listening and mastering new praise and worship songs that you will include in your lineup.

I encourage you to keep growing in your ministry and equipping yourself to be a better worship leader. Praise be to God for the work He has done and still doing in your life.

But can you honestly say that you have maintained a balanced Christian life? Do you still attend small gatherings and cell groupings? How is your prayer life? Do you still have time to read and meditate on the Word of God the way you used to?

Or you don’t have time for other things anymore because you are busy learning new songs and practicing your lineup.

Isn’t it amazing that when we were new believers, we had all the time to pray, read the Bible, attend Bible studies, etc? Why is it that we almost do not have the time for the things we used to love and enjoy? We are so busy doing things we think are for the Lord but neglect the others that are of the same importance.

Contrasting Martha and Mary

The story of Martha and Mary is often used by preachers to point out the difference between a worshiper and a worker. In Luke 10:38-42, we read the contrast between the priorities of these two sisters.

When Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, Martha welcomed them into her home. While Martha was busy preparing dinner, her sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to Him. Martha must have had so many things to do that she got irritated when her sister Mary did not bother to help her.

When she could not take it any longer, Martha approached Jesus and complained about Mary not helping her. To which Jesus replied, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

In this case, Martha was busy but not blessed. This is because it is more blessed to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him.

Who is Mary?

A little background about Martha’s sister Mary; she is from Bethany and is seen three times in the Gospel record. On each occasion, she is in the same place: at the feet of Jesus.

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to His Word in Luke 10:39. In John 11:32, she fell at His feet and shared her woe. But the most striking story of Mary was when she anointed His feet with a very costly oil of spikenard and wiped it with her hair (John 12:3).

It is interesting to note that in each of these instances, there is some kind of fragrance. In Luke 10:39, it is food; in John 11:39, it is death, and in John 12:3, it is perfume. You see, the way we worship God and show appreciation to Him can take many forms. And take note that it can be expressed in many different circumstances.

Martha and Mary

Worshiper or Worker

What can we learn from Martha and Mary? These two sisters are often contrasted as though each believer must make a choice. Be a worker like Martha or be a worshiper like Mary.

Certainly, our personalities and gifts are different. But that does not mean the Christian life is an either/or situation. Just because you are a worship leader does not mean you do not need to study the Bible.

To be an effective worship leader, you need to know the right way to exhort and encourage the congregation. You do this by meditating on the book of Psalms as it is filled with so many “call to worship” exhortations. Many verses of the Bible also directly speak to the heart of the congregation to give to God their problems and worship Him.

On the other hand, if you are a pastor or a preacher, you should set aside time for personal worship. You don’t use up all your time reading the word and preparing your sermon and do not have time for personal worship.

So you see, we can be a worker and a worshiper at the same time. But when we have to choose between the two, Jesus said we have to choose the “good part.”

The key is to have the right priorities: Jesus Christ first, then others, then ourselves.

Conclusion

We can take a warning from the account of Martha and Mary. Perhaps in all our busyness, we have been ignoring the Lord. Martha’s problem was not that she had too much work to do. But she allowed her work to distract her and pull her apart. She was trying to serve two masters.

If serving Christ makes us difficult to live with, then something is terribly wrong with our service. It is vitally important that we spend time “at the feet of Jesus” every single day, letting Him share His Word with us.


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Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg A rare chance to know Jesus as His first disciples knew Him.

What would it be like to journey back to the first century and sit at the feet of Rabbi Jesus as one of His Jewish disciples?

How would your understanding of the gospel have been shaped by the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the Jewish culture in which you lived?

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus will change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus.

It will also help you to adapt the rich prayers and customs you learn about to your own life, in ways that both respect and enrich your Christian faith.

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus takes you on a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can transform your faith.

Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg paint powerful scenes from Jesus’ ministry, immersing you in the prayers, feasts, history, culture, and customs that shaped Jesus and those who followed him.

 

Trusting God During Sufferings

Trusting God During Sufferings

Being a Christian is easy when everything seems to be going the way we want them to be. But can we still trust God during difficult times? How do you tell the suffering to trust God when you can’t possibly relate to what they’re going through?

God is powerful; He can stop all the evil in the world in just a snap of a finger. I mean, He can do it by the power of His Word because He is omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), right? But the question most people ask is, “How can a good God allow suffering?” More importantly, “Why does God allow His children to go through trials and tribulations?”

These are the questions Christians need to learn to answer when dealing with people who do not believe in God. What possible reasons could we tell atheists why we believe in a God who allows suffering?

In this article, we will look at the 7 reasons to believe in God amid difficulties and suffering.

1. Suffering Reveals What is in Our Hearts

The reality is that our suffering often comes as a result of other people’s actions. We hear of families being oppressed by wealthy and influential people. Some even go to the extent of hiring paid assassins to eliminate their enemies. There is no question that these kinds of deeds are evil!

But suffering also has a way of revealing what is in our hearts. How do we respond when we are on the receiving end of these atrocities?

We Glory in Our Sufferings

We may never know how much love, mercy, envy, anger, and pride can lie dormant in us until awakened by circumstances. We must understand that the strengths and weaknesses of the heart are not found when everything is going our way. Rather, it is when flames of suffering and temptation test the mettle of our character.

Gold and silver are refined by fire and coal needs time and pressure to become a diamond. In the same way, the pressure we endure as well as the heat of time, and the circumstances we experience reveal and develop the human heart.

You may refer to the following passages to see what the Bible has to say about suffering:

  • Job 42:1-17
  • James 1:2-5
  • Romans 5:3-5
  • 1 Peter 1:6-8

2. Suffering Loosens Our Grip on this Life

Everybody grows old, so they say. No one stays young and vibrant forever. And when we realize we are not as young and relevant to society as we used to be, we start thinking of our future departure.

In time, people will seek our work and opinions less and less. Our bodies inevitably become increasingly worse for the wear and we gradually succumb to obsolescence. Joints stiffen and ache, eyes grow dim, digestion slows down, and sleep becomes difficult. Worse, we face problems that loom larger and larger while options narrow.

These are all signs that we are nearing the end of our earthly existence. Yet, death is not the end but the threshold of a new day and the curse of old age becomes a blessing. As we go through pain and suffering, this world we’re living in becomes less attractive and the next life more appealing.

Pain, suffering, trials, and difficulties pave the way for a graceful exit. See Ecclesiastes 12:1-14.

3. Suffering Comes with the Freedom to Choose

Every loving parent would do anything to protect their children from unnecessary pain. At the same time, wise parents know the danger of over-protection. If parents would lovingly allow their kids to go out of their way and make choices of their own, how much more with our heavenly Father?

The freedom to choose is at the heart of what it means to be human. This is because a world without choice would be worse than a world without pain and suffering. God has given each of us the freedom to choose between good and evil, life and death, blessing and curse, and Him over Satan (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

Most of the time, our suffering is a result of making the wrong choices. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and as a result, sin and curse entered the world (Romans 5:12-21).

4. Pain Can Warn Us of Danger

Nobody wants to experience pain. We hate pain, especially in those we love. Yet, without pain and discomfort, the sick wouldn’t go to the doctor. Hard-working people refuse to slow down and rest unless their body signals that things are bad. Without the consequence of facing suffering in jail, criminals wouldn’t fear the law.

Children would laugh at correction if they know they could get away with almost anything. We’ll never know the damage that fire can do if we don’t feel the pain caused by accidentally touching a burning matchstick.

King Solomon is an example of how even the wisest among us tend to drift from good and God. He drowned in pleasure that resulted in pain because of his shortsighted choices. But God used his pain to teach him a lesson and make him realize his mistakes.

See Ecclesiastes chapters 1 to 12, Psalms 78:34-35, and Romans 3:10-18.

5. God Suffers with Us

Whenever we suffer, let us always remember that no one has suffered more than our Father in heaven. If there’s anyone who paid more dearly for the allowance of sin into the world, it’s God.

It’s God who continuously grieved over the pain of a race that had gone bad. And no one has suffered more than the One who, when He stretched out His arms and died, showed us what true love means. In drawing us to Himself, it is this God who asks us to trust Him when we are suffering and when our loved ones cry out in our presence.

Every time you feel alone in your suffering, know that God suffered first. He knows exactly what you’re feeling because He’s been there and suffered more than you can imagine. Christ modeled what it means to suffer (1 Peter 2:21; 3:18; 4:1).

6. We Find One Another in Times of Crisis

I do not know of anyone who would choose pain and suffering. But when faced with such, our consolation is that we are never alone. Natural disasters and times of crisis have a way of bringing us together. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, accidents, illnesses, and even riots all have a way of bringing us to our senses.

Who can ever forget Hurricane Katrina in 2005? This was the largest and third-strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the US. It caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125B in damages, especially in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. But it resulted in more than 70 countries pledging monetary donations and other assistance.

When tragedies like this happen, suddenly we remember our own mortality and that people are more important than things. We remember that we do need one another and that, above all, we need God.

7. Suffering Is for Our Good

In many instances in the Bible, God turned suffering around for the good of the people involved.

Through Job’s suffering, we see a man who did not only come to a deeper understanding of God. Also, he became a source of encouragement for people in every generation to follow. Today, many preachers and day-to-day Christians use Job’s example to encourage others that God always has a purpose for allowing suffering.

All Things Work Together for Our Good

Through the rejection, betrayal, enslavement, and wrongful imprisonment of Joseph, we see someone who came to realize that his suffering was God’s hands at work. God is sovereign and as one pastor often says, “Nothing happens without God’s permission.”

When everything in us screams at the heavens for allowing suffering, we have reason to look at the eternal outcome and joy of Jesus. Our Lord in His own suffering on an executioner’s cross cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matthew 7:46)?

Conclusion

Why should we trust God during difficult times? It’s because God is God no matter what. The pain and suffering we are experiencing are not reasons to not believe in the God who created everything out of love. God eternally exists regardless of our circumstances and He loves us unconditionally.

We can trust God in suffering because we know that God’s comfort is always greater than our suffering.

The apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord to take away an identified source of suffering. But the Lord declined, saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Since death is not the end of everything, we are assured that the end of this life brings us to the threshold of eternity. And the most fortunate people in the universe are those who discover through suffering that this life is not all we have to live for.

The people who found the eternal God through their suffering have not wasted their pain. Instead, they are the ones who will discover their unending joy in the Lord.

Are you able to say, “I believe in God and trust in Him even during pain and suffering?”


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Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy KellerFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Prodigal Prophet Timothy Keller comes the definitive Christian book on why bad things happen and how we should respond to them.

The question of why God would allow pain and suffering in the world have vexed believers and nonbelievers for millennia.

Timothy Keller, whose books have sold millions of copies to both religious and secular readers, takes on this enduring issue and shows that there is meaning and reason behind our pain and suffering.

Keller makes a forceful and ground-breaking case that this essential part of the human experience can be overcome only by understanding our relationship with God.

As the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Timothy Keller is known for his unique insights into religion and culture. Keller’s series of books has guided countless readers in their spiritual journeys.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering uses biblical wisdom and personal stories of overcoming adversity to bring a much-needed, fresh viewpoint to this important issue.

God’s Unfathomable Love for You & Me

God’s Unfathomable Love for You & Me

The Bible assures us in many places of God’s unfathomable love for you and me. This is what caused Him to sacrifice His Son on the cross so we could have eternal life (John 3:16). But God’s love does not end at the cross.

As Christ ascended into heaven, He promised that He will be back. He also promised His disciples that He will go to prepare a place for them. And then He will come back for them (John 14:1-3). Church-age believers, that includes us, are recipients of that promise.

There are other promises of God for those that love Him; promises that we may not be able to understand.

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Some say that this verse refers to the wonders of heaven. But others say it refers to the wisdom God has prepared for the believers. Regardless, God’s truth is not discoverable by eye or ear, nor is it discovered by the mind.

What does it Mean that God is Love
Photo Credit: Compelling Truth

Freewill to Choose

Physical death is not the end.

Everyone will spend eternity somewhere. But because God is love, He gave us the freedom to choose. Didn’t God allow Adam to choose to eat the forbidden fruit or not? Sure He did! He gave Adam a specific command about what to eat and what not to eat. But God would never force Adam to do anything against his will.

In the end, Adam chose to sin by deliberately disobeying God. As a result, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men (Romans 5:12). Even after Christ redeemed man from the power of sin and death, many people are still choosing sin over God. Why?

It’s because God is love that He will honor whatever choice people make, even if it means letting them walk right into hell. This is because sin has a cost and that is death – separation from God (Romans 6:23). But if you choose God, you can also do it through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

God’s Truth is the Truth

Much of the suffering in this life is the result of sin. Humanity has placed a curse on this world. We would not want to live forever in a sin-cursed body. Just because people do not believe they are sinners, does not mean they aren’t.

People do not get to decide the truth. The truth is The Truth, regardless of what you and I believe.

God indeed uses suffering and pain to mature us as James 1:2-12 says. But God also uses suffering so that He might bless us for overcoming.

Romans 5:12, NKJV

An excellent example would be Job. He lost everything except his ungrateful wife. God allowed Job to be tempted by Satan because God’s plan always transcends Satan’s plan. God already knew He promised to bless those that overcome.

People were not created to suffer for the gods as Hollywood has said in their movies. That is totally and utterly wrong. Death and suffering are the results of our sin (Romans 5:12).

Closing Words

The only way to reverse this cycle of sin, suffering, and death is to love God. We may never be able to love God the same way He loves us. All we can do is love Him the best way we can. What does it mean to love God?

Once again, we don’t get to define what love looks like. John 14:15 says we will keep God’s word if we truly love Him. God does not allow us to cherry-pick from the Bible, what we want to follow or not.

God loves you & me; He loves everyone that He wants to save everyone (Titus 2:11). But we must choose God over sin. Have you made that choice?

We only have a certain amount of time until Judgment Day. Are we ready for that?


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Life According to the Truth by Michael Heilman

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to The Truth. Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to Michael’s life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life.

With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born-again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened regarding:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life
  • Loving God and others
  • Discerning God’s will for your life
  • Being confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Follow Jesus, Not Man

Follow Jesus, Not Man

Every Christian is mandated to follow Christ and His example. This is exactly why born-again Christians are called “followers of Christ.” If you are a Christian, you are not called such for nothing.

Just because you repented of your sins and surrendered your life to Christ that you will stop there. Absolutely not!

Coming to faith in Christ is not the end goal, rather, it is to become more and more like Christ.

Nobody said it would be easy but the apostle Paul showed us that it’s possible. He suffered immensely for the Gospel but finished the race well.

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 11:1, NKJV

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

Since all believers are imperfect, they need examples of less imperfect people who know how to deal with imperfection. Also, someone who can model the process of pursuing the goal of Christlikeness. Paul was the model.

I urge you to imitate me - Paul

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul repeated what he said in 1 Corinthians 4:16. But pointed out that it’s not his own example that he asked us to follow. Rather, it’s the example of Christ.

He made a bold yet justified exhortation. This is because as a spiritual leader, he set an example of Christlikeness to follow.

Be Imitators of God

Christians have no greater calling or purpose than that of imitating the Lord (Ephesians 5:1). This is the very purpose of sanctification – growing in likeness to the Lord while serving Him on earth (Matthew 5:48).

The Christian life is designed to reproduce godliness as modeled by the Savior and Savior Jesus Christ. Believers have been recreated in His image through the new birth (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:14-16).

As God’s dear children, believers are to become more and more like their heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48).

Can Christians attain perfection? Christ has set an unattainable standard that sums up what the law itself demanded (James 2:10).

Although this standard is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising His own perfection. He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the Gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf.

Do Not Follow Men

I think it is sad that so many people have been turning away from Christianity and God. Their excuse? They were hurt by so-called Christians. Christians and religious people can cause trauma, but it should be a comfort to know they are responsible before God. 

That is why there is a problem with blaming God for the poor behavior of Christians. Jesus never said to follow men. Both Jesus and Paul warned against following men because it only results in division and confusion among people. This occurs when we base our perception of Christianity on the actions of believers.

Be Christlike

In one way or another, we all are hypocrites and have hurt people in life.  That is not God’s fault. 

Since all born-again believers are being sanctified, we are continuously being renewed to become more and more like Jesus (Romans 12:2).  This is a very good reason to not blindly follow other believers.  

We never know where other believers are in that sanctification process. Thus, we should follow the lifestyle of Jesus because He is perfect. Only He lived out God’s holiness perfectly. 

Follow People Who Follow Christ

We should only follow other people as they follow Christ. This means we all need to know how Christ lived and take responsibility for our own spiritual walk. 

God will not accept the excuses that my pastor said so or my parents said so.  God will not also accept the excuse that “Christians hurt me.” 

Every person is responsible for themselves. It does not matter to God what your group or denomination says. Jesus died to save individuals, which also means we are responsible as individuals. 

Is each one of us prepared to give an account of ourselves as Romans 14:12 says?

Closing Words

Christ exemplified what it means to live a godly life. He modeled humility and submission to the Father. He also showed us what it means to love others unconditionally while living in holiness.

And if you think this is an impossible standard to meet, the apostle to the Gentiles showed us it’s not. It does not matter what you see other Christians doing. This does not change what Paul exhorted us to do – imitate him as he imitated Christ.

Let us follow Jesus not man. At the end of the day, we will each give an account of how we lived our life on this earth.

What’s keeping you from following Christ’s example?


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Sanctification: A User’s Guide to Becoming More Like Jesus by Thomas D. Hawkes and Sinclair Ferguson 

Sanctification: A User’s Guide to Becoming More Like Jesus by Thomas D. Hawkes and Sinclair FergusonHave you ever wondered how you can make real spiritual progress as a Christian? Have you wanted to know how you might better defeat nagging sins, and find new freedom?

Sanctification: A User’s Guide to Becoming More Like Jesus offers you a deep understanding of precisely how you can grow in likeness to Jesus Christ.

Based upon a careful study of the teachings of the Bible, and great leaders of the Reformation, Sanctification presents a clear and compelling approach to daily practices which will actually assist the Christian in spiritual growth through relying on the grace of God to transform them.

Starting with a framework for understanding what holiness is, Sanctification shows you how to: desire holiness, rely on God’s grace, apprehend God’s life-altering love, grow in faith and repentance, deny one’s self, and engage the church.

While many books on sanctification emphasize one or two aspects of the Christian’s growth in holiness, Sanctification presents a complete approach to a biblical lifestyle that helps one grow more like Christ.

Arise Conquerors through Christ

Arise Conquerors through Christ

Coming to faith in Christ is no guarantee of a smooth and easy life. Just because you trusted in the Lord that you will no longer go through trials and tribulations. We all have our own “goliaths” to face. There are even times when we feel like the whole world is against us.

But in facing all these hurdles in life, we are more than conquerors through Christ.

Bible Verse: Romans 8:37, NKJV

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

In the NASB, it says we “overwhelmingly conquer” because of Christ. This is a compound Greek word that means to over-conquer or to conquer completely. It means we can get past all these without any real threat to personal life or health.

The Love of God for Man
Photo Credit: Bible.Com

When you are going through tough times and you prayed but God seems silent, don’t ever think that He does not care. God is concerned about the trials of His people. When He was ministering on earth, Jesus groaned at the sight of what sin was doing to humankind.

The world may condemn us because it does not agree with our response to trials. But as believers in Christ, God no longer condemns us because of what our Lord has done for us. We may face persecution because of who we are in Christ but we can and will overcome it.

The Uncertainties of Life

Life is hard. Life is uncertain. And we do not know what tomorrow will bring. How should we respond?

Today, the US is starting to feel discomfort with supply chain disruptions. Many Americans are having trouble looking for the things they need. Grocery shelves are almost empty and we don’t know when these supplies will last. I feel sorry for parents who couldn’t find milk formula for their babies.

Add to that the worst inflation that America ever had to face. Who would have thought that we would ever be in this situation? This inflation crisis has gotten worse it’s affecting the rest of the world. And what about the rising crime rates?

I am writing this while being currently laid off from my job as a result of the supply chain disruptions. This just shows how everyone’s circumstances can change quickly. Thankfully, God’s love for us does not. God always takes care of born-again Christians.

Christians are Conquerors

I am sure some unbelievers will claim God’s promise in Romans 8:28, 33-34. But the context excludes all unbelievers. Rather, these verses refer to those people that are born again.

Unbelievers don’t love God; they are not called and justified. More importantly, Jesus only intercedes for the born again. This is because only the born-again Christians have accepted God’s gift of salvation.

If you have never accepted that free gift of salvation, Jesus wants you to receive it. Why not ask Him now?

All things work together for good

Living as Conquerors

For those of us that have accepted that gift, nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35). It does not matter how much trouble we will have to go through. God loves us unconditionally and nothing will ever change that. Not even the forces of darkness can pull us away from God’s love in Christ Jesus.

Jesus taught us in Matthew 10:28 that believers should not even fear death. Fear is the opposite of faith and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

The hard part is responding by living by faith. Are you living by faith and not by sight? Do you live like you’re more than a conqueror because of Christ? Or do you often worry and anxious about so many things? Always keep in mind that worry and anxiety is sin according to Philippians 4:6.

Final Words

When we live like we are more than conquerors, we will receive the peace of God as Philippians 4:7 says.

God has shown Himself faithful in my wife’s and my life many times. The moment I was told I would be laid off for more than 2 weeks, I did not worry. It’s because I had peace that God has everything under control as Romans 8:28 says.

I know many people do not have that peace. Do you? If not, why not ask for it? Since God has promised it, why not claim it?

We can conquer everything because we have Christ. So, arise conquerors!


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More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life by John D, Woodbridge

More Than Conquerors by John D. WoodbridgeOver the centuries, God has used the lives of Christians to show an astonishing world what conquest truly is. That’s what makes More Than Conquerors such a remarkable collection.

More Than Conquerors will tell you about public figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Woodrow Wilson; missionaries who struggled with the same human flaws as every other Christian – and triumphed.

There are famous writers – some of whom you may never have been told were believers; evangelists, and pastors who experienced the joy of seeing mass conversions and the anguish of witnessing a wholesale rejection of the gospel.

Lastly, there are some celebrities and sports stars who fought the temptations of fame to give glory to Christ; and scientists, businessmen, and scholars who dedicated their minds and talents to glorify God in often spiritually hostile territory.

More Than Conquerors is a treasury of stories of more than sixty Christians from this century and the last whom God has made “more than conquerors.”

By letting their lives touch yours you can be confident when you walk that same victorious path.

Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness

Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness

In times when everything seems to be going south, we become dismayed and we lose hope. When things aren’t going the way we want them to, we lament and feel hopeless. Sometimes we even question if God loves us and cares about us.

The Old Testament saints were not spared from disappointment and hopelessness. But they clung to the Lord and hold on to God’s promise that He will deliver them. They trusted God knowing that they could count on the Lord’s faithfulness.

Bible Verses: Lamentations 3:26 & Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

“It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure. For my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked at all the works that my hands had done and the labor in which I had toiled. And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.”

Jeremiah Laments

The majority portion of the book of Lamentations laments over the apostasy and destruction of Judah. The apostasy and destruction were because the Jews were looking for purpose, meaning, and hope without turning to God.

These tragic events would not have occurred if the people had listened to him and obeyed God’s will.

After describing in chapters 1 and 2 the plight of the city and the people, Jeremiah describes his own personal pain and distress in chapter 3. He compared his experience to tasting the bitter herbs at the Passover feast or drinking bitter gall (Lamentations 3:15-16).

The Siege of Jerusalem
Photo Credits: The Times of Israel

The prophet speaks for himself, but as he does, he also reflects the feelings and faith of the godly Jewish remnants.

In the end, Jeremiah turned from contemplating his misery to remembering God’s mercy. He still experienced pain and sorrow, but he also called to mind the faithfulness of the Lord.

As Jeremiah contemplated the character of God, he realized that the best thing he and his people could do was wait. They had to wait patiently and silently for the Lord to work and accomplish His will in His time.

The Futility of Everything

Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, is a good example who experienced pain and heartache because he fulfilled every desire. He found delight in all his labor. But afterward, when he considered all his works, he saw only vanity and grasping for the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2 describes what Solomon did during his life. He easily could be described as the wealthiest man in the world. Yet, nothing he did brought him purpose, joy, and hope. Ecclesiastes 2:11 summarizes what all his effort and money brought to him. All of it was pointless and hopeless.

Hope in the Lord

This world is always changing. Everything dies or breaks down eventually. When we die, we die alone and cannot take anything with us. Solomon was asking what is the point of this struggle.

It does not matter the money we have or the authority or possessions anybody has. Life is a rat race and we are all trying to get a piece of cheese. From the world’s perspective, we get the phrase, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

That describes a hopeless existence and causes vexation to our spirit. That is the reason why anxiety, depression, suicide, drug abuse, etc. rates are skyrocketing today. We are not able to find hope in ourselves, in our endeavors, or in science.

People are looking for a reason to live. Hopelessness does not need to be our final answer. Solomon ends the book of Ecclesiastes by saying hope, purpose, and joy are found in God. Love God and Love others. Trust God to fulfill His Word.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Find Your Purpose in God

Everyone will give an account before a Holy and Righteous God. Even though we are sinners and no man can stand before God, Jesus provided a way to become righteous. That is how much compassion God has for us.

God allowed us to love Him as His holiness desires. We find hope and purpose in loving God as He wants to be loved as described in His Word. God fulfills His Word and blesses us when we trust Him and patiently wait on Him.

Final Thoughts

There is no hope in this world without God.

If the Lord is our strength (Psalm 73:26), then we are strengthened by that which cannot be used up or destroyed. God is our eternal source of hope, strength, and blessing; He is our refuge (Psalm 46:1).

Our circumstances change, and so do our feelings about them. But God is always good, loving, merciful, and kind, and He never changes (Hebrews 13:8).

Many people are living a miserable existence because they don’t have any hope for tomorrow. For the Christians reading this, are you actively trying to give hope to the hopeless?

For those feeling hopeless, why not turn to God and ask Him to give you hope?


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:

One Foot in Heaven: Finding Hope in the Hopeless by Sheila Preston Fitzgerald

One Foot in Heaven: Finding Hope in the Hopeless by Sheila Preston FitzgeraldSupernatural Rescue. Severe Suffering.

Mind-blowing Resilience. Endless Inspiration.

A tragic near-death accident turns triumphant and even joy-filled as the God of Grace pours His lavish love onSheila Preston Fitzgerald, a Southern belle who brings her tenacious, can-do spirit to the fight for her life.

While several years of tremendous pain, multiple surgeries, daily physical therapy, and the ever-present risk of serious setbacks take a toll on all aspects of Sheila’s life, her grit to go on, her passion for life, and the above-and-beyond love of her “village” of friends encourage everyone she encounters.

Join Sheila as she recounts her heartfelt—at times horrific, at times hilarious—journey. From one night that changed everything to her spiritual healing with the Savior, Sheila passes along incredible hope as she walks with One Foot in Heaven.

Christians Should Sanctify One Another

Christians Should Sanctify One Another

Christians know very well that their sanctification or cleansing comes from God and His Word. But Christians also have the responsibility to sanctify one another. This is one of the purposes of the church. Believers are not only called to encourage and edify one another but also to sanctify.

Bible Verse: John 13:10, NKJV

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Obviously, Jesus was not talking literally. Everybody gets dirty. Our entire body gets dirty. Jesus is referencing our spiritual cleanness.

Romans 12:2a

The cleansing that Christ does in the life of a sinner who trusted in Him is complete and permanent. However, as the believer walks in this world, it is easy to become defiled. He does not need to bathe again but needs constant cleansing from everything that caused his defilement.

God is faithful; He promises to cleanse us when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9).

Sanctify One Another

While God promised to continually cleanse us, we have the responsibility to sanctify our spiritual brethren. The Lord’s instruction to His followers (this includes us) is clear. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

How, then, should Christians sanctify one another? By constantly reminding each other of the sacrifice God made to redeem us from sin. It’s our responsibility to rebuke our brethren when we see them going off the rails.

The reality is, that we tend to forget the cost of our salvation which often leads us to a compromised lifestyle. In this regard, we need other Christians to remind us. We may feel offended but that’s what having a spiritual family is about. After all, God expects us to look out for one another.

And should we have friends and family who are going the wrong path, it’s our job to get them back on track. We must do what it takes for them to go back to their first love.

Defiled by the World

At the moment of salvation, Jesus cleanses the sinner completely. That begs the question, why do the feet of believers still get dirty? John 17:18 answers this question. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

God has sent us to a dirty world. He has sent us to share the good news of the gospel to a lost, dying, and dirty world. As we go into a dirty world, our feet are going to get dirty since the primary mode of transportation was on foot.

This is where Christian fellowship and community are critical for spiritually washing the feet of others as John 13:14 says. It’s also why the author of Hebrews exhorted the church to “not forsake our assembling together” (Hebrews 10:25). It’s pretty easy for us to go back into the “world” after coming to the truth of God’s amazing grace.

This is why we need to be in constant fellowship with other Christians.

Do Not Give Up Meeting Together

Sanctified by God’s Truth

In John 17:17, Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

God gave His truth to us in three “editions.” His Word is truth (John 17:17), His Son is the truth (John 14:6), and His Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6). We need all three for a true sanctification experience; sanctification that touches every part of our inner person.

With the mind, we learn God’s truth through the Word. With the heart, we love God’s truth, His Son. And with the will, we yield to the Spirit and live God’s truth day by day. It takes all three for a balanced experience of sanctification.

Sanctification by Washing

Washing the feet of other believers is another way of saying “to sanctify each other.” God uses other believers and the Bible to bring about sanctification by showing humility and using the water of the Word. Christians sanctify one another by humility and submission as the Word of God commands.

What the Lord showed when He washed His disciples’ feet with water is the greatest example of humility. If the King of kings and Lord of lords stoop down to wash His disciples’ feet, why can’t we do the same to one another? We must always remember what the Lord said in Matthew 23:12 and Matthew 20:26.

If we want to grow and experience true sanctification, we need to wash one another’s feet. It is important to note that God wants all Christians to grow spiritually. That is sanctification.

Conclusion

Sanctification is an ongoing transformation or renewal of our actions, thought processes, and attitudes so that we live a Christ-like life. That is the will of God for our life.

Jesus wants us to be transformed so much to the point that we are willing to humbly sacrifice for other believers. We do this by using the Word to bring about sanctification in others.

Jesus did it for us. We can do it for others. How well are we washing the feet of other believers?


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: Sanctification: God’s Passion for His People by John MacArthur

Sanctification: God’s Passion for His People by John MacArthur

Among all the things that a pastor will do on any given day, he must not lose sight of his one ultimate goal: the sanctification of God’s people. This is the heart of God’s purpose for Christians.

John MacArthur calls pastors to remember what all the countless hours preparing sermons, visiting hospitals, counseling, conducting weddings, and more are all about, even when the finish line seems so far in the distance that they’re tempted to give up.

He encourages pastors with the power God gives them to place the sanctification of God’s people at the center of their ministry.

“Sanctification is a powerful tract for our times―a purposefully short book. You can read it in an hour or two, but its goal is the transformation of the rest of your life.”

― Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

Is Doctrine Keeping Us Apart?

Is Doctrine Keeping Us Apart?

Are you aware that more and more people are concluding that doctrine is keeping us apart? Doctrine is destroying unity and separating family members. Thus, making it difficult for the follower of Christ to set aside differences and stand together for a common purpose.

Doctrine is also what distinguishes and divides Christians into thousands of denominations and subgroups.

Bible Verse: Galatians 1:6

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel.”

This verse characterizes the Galatians’ response to the false teachers’ heretical doctrines. The Galatian believers were voluntarily deserting grace to pursue the legalism that the false teachers were propagating.

In effect, it caused division in the church.

Doctrinal Differences in the Church

Doctrine Divides, Love Unites

Although many are pointing out that doctrine divides, the fact also remains that love unites. This is because our Lord Jesus called us to love one another (John 13:34; 15:12).

The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God, and Leviticus 19:18 commanded loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. The Greatest Commandment summarizes the Law into two:  Love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and secondly, love our neighbor as ourselves.

Also, Christ Himself said that love would be the distinguishing mark of His people (1 John 2:7-11; 3:10-12; 4:7-10, 20, 21). Love is from God because God is love. Christians love because God is the essence of love.

We cannot love God without first loving our fellow believers. Anyone who claims to love God but cannot love other Christians for any reason, even doctrinal differences, is delusional.

Doctrine Unites, Love Divides

However, we cannot afford to forget that doctrine also unites. All over the world, what allows true believers in Christ to find a family is acceptance of the doctrine of Christ.

In searching for a spiritual family to join, belief in the person and works of Christ is of utmost importance. This is exactly why the first thing we want to know about a particular church is its statement of faith.

What do they believe about Christ, God’s grace, the Bible, salvation, etc? Do they believe in the Triune God? What about Christ’s promise to come again for His church?

When Christians accept the doctrine of the grace of God, it enables them to recognize one another as brothers and sisters. It won’t matter anymore if they are of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. They just see each other as lowly sinners saved by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is for the same reason that love divides. Once we know the truth about Christ and His sacrifice, we need to stop pretending we are in unity with those of different doctrines. We cannot sacrifice the truth for a false sense of unity, just so we could stand together in social consensus.

The Doctrine of Human Merit

When the apostle Paul wrote Galatians 1:6-8, love was working together with truth.

Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and adoption into the family of God comes only by grace, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Any doctrine that says human merit would add to what Christ has already accomplished is unacceptable.

The Gospel of Christ makes it clear that one cannot mix faith and works when trusting God for forgiveness and salvation.

Does this mean we can do whatever we want and live the way we want to live after getting saved? That we can keep on sinning after receiving God’s forgiveness?

Paul answers this question in Romans 6:1-14 where he discusses the doctrine of sanctification. Sanctification is the act of God that produces actual righteousness in the believer.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Under the Doctrine of Christ

We can’t have Christ without embracing and submitting to the doctrine of Christ. We need doctrine to answer questions like: Who is God? What is He like? Does He care about what we believe about Him? And once we know Him, how are we to live?

Paul wrote this in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. And they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Is our generation facing the danger Paul wrote about? Indeed! Many so-called preachers are encouraging people to accept Christ. Yet, they fail to bring them under the lordship of the doctrine of Christ. Thus, resulting in a growing lack of discernment making them vulnerable to the doctrines of demons.

Conclusion

On the one hand, we cannot afford to let doctrine come between us. As Paul said, “If we don’t have love, we are like a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Yet, on the other hand, we need to be grounded on the foundations of doctrine based not on tradition but Scripture.


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:

Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem and Jeff Purswell

Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem and Jeff PurswellHow do we know the Bible is God’s Word? What is sin and where did it come from? How is Jesus fully God and fully man? What are spiritual gifts? When and how will Christ return?

If you’ve asked questions like these, then “systematic theology” is no abstract term. It’s an approach to finding answers every Christian needs to know.

Bible Doctrine takes a highly commended upper-level textbook on systematic theology and makes it accessible to the average reader.

Abridged from Wayne Grudem’s award-winning Systematic Theology, Bible Doctrine covers the same essentials of the faith, giving you a firm grasp on seven key topics:

The Doctrine of the Word of God, the Doctrine of God, the Doctrine of Man, the Doctrine of Christ, the Doctrine of the Application of Redemption, the Doctrine of the Church, and the Doctrine of the Future.

Like Systematic Theology, this book is marked by its clarity, its strong scriptural emphasis, its thoroughness in scope and detail, and its treatment of such timely topics as spiritual warfare and the gifts of the Spirit.

But you don’t need to have had several years of Bible school to reap the full benefits of Bible Doctrine. It’s easy to understand–and it’s packed with solid, biblical answers to your most important questions.

Do not worry; trust God.

Lessons from the Rebuilding of Jerusalem

Lessons from the Rebuilding of Jerusalem

We know the kinds of hardships and opposition that Nehemiah faced in rebuilding Jerusalem. It wasn’t easy but in the end, they succeeded. What lessons can we learn from Nehemiah’s experience that we can apply in our spiritual journey with God?

Who Was Nehemiah?

Nehemiah was a layman, a cup-bearer to the great Artaxerxes Longimanus, who ruled Persia from 464 to 423 BC. He is identified as the son of Hacaliah to distinguish him from other Jews of the same name (Nehemiah 1:1, 3:16; Ezra 2:2). The name Nehemiah means “The Lord has comforted.”

As a true leader, Nehemiah cared and he cared about the right things. He cared about the traditions of the past, the needs of the present, and the hopes for the future. Nehemiah cared about his heritage, his ancestral city, and the glory of his God.

Furthermore, Nehemiah cared enough to notice an opportunity where others would have likely only seen impossibility. And he cared enough to make himself available to task for a mighty task.

Nehemiah Weeps

Lessons from Nehemiah

There are several things we can learn from Nehemiah. These lessons, if we take to heart and apply them, will help us overcome any obstacle and opposition that come our way.

1. Responding to Bad News

Three words can summarize the bad news from Judah: remnant, ruin, and reproach. Instead of a land inhabited by a great nation, only a remnant of people lived there, and they were in great affliction. The Jewish remnants were struggling to survive (Nehemiah 1:3).

When Nehemiah heard of the plight of the Jewish remnants and the destruction of Jerusalem, he wept and mourned. Sometimes weeping is a sign of weakness; but with Nehemiah, it was a sign of strength.

What’s the first thing you do when you hear any bad news about your country, family, or loved ones? What makes people laugh or weep is often an indication of character. People who laugh at others’ mistakes or misfortunes are lacking either in culture or character.

Nehemiah also fasted (Nehemiah 1:4). Fasting was required for the Jews only once a year, on the annual Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). But Nehemiah spent several days fasting, weeping, and praying. He knew that somebody had to do something to rescue Jerusalem, and he was willing to do whatever it took.

Are you willing to make yourself available for the task God is preparing for you?

2. Wait on the Lord in Prayer

Four months passed since Nehemiah received the bad news about Jerusalem. As every believer should, Nehemiah patiently waited on God for directions.

Nehemiah had direct access to the king as his cupbearer. Thus, he could have asked for the king’s favor upon hearing the bad news. But instead of telling the king what he planned to do, he aroused his sympathy and interest (Nehemiah 2:4-6). This was a good strategy, and God used Nehemiah’s reply to get the king’s sympathetic attention.

Nehemiah had not only prayed for this opportunity; he had also planned it and had his answer ready. During those 4 months of waiting, he thought the matter through. And so he knew exactly how he would approach the project.

When we wait on the Lord in prayer, we are not wasting our time; we are investing it. God is preparing both us and our circumstances so that His purposes will be accomplished.

Let us learn to wait on God in prayer.

The Challenge of Waiting on God

3. You Can’t Do it All Alone

Nehemiah faced a great challenge and had great faith in God. But he would have accomplished very little if not for the great dedication on the part of those who helped him. Many people were willing to help Nehemiah rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. And in humility, he gave all the credit to them (Nehemiah 4:6).

When God gives each of us a task, we don’t try to do all the work. We need other people to help us accomplish things. And just because we reach out to others does not mean we are incapable of doing things. Besides, God does not expect us to do the works He asked us to do all on our own.

Nehemiah named 38 individual workers and identified 42 different groups and others he left unnamed who were given specific tasks. Just as Paul compares the individual Christians to members of the human body (1 Corinthians chapters 12 & 14).

God uses all kinds of people, even people from the outside. Everyone has a place to work and a job to do. Each member is important, and each has a special function to perform.

4. Aim Towards One Goal

The people finished the difficult task of rebuilding the Jerusalem walls because they obeyed the same leader.

Not only that, they kept their eye on the same goal and worked together for God’s glory. Neither the enemy in the city nor the difficulties inside the city distracted them. They were all equally focused on their God-given task.

Like Paul, they said, “I focus on this one thing” (Philippians 3:13, NLT).

Yet they did not stop there. Nehemiah and the people made sure that it was difficult for anyone outside the walls to access the city.

You see, it’s not enough that we simply aim towards achieving the same goal and fulfilling the work of God. We must also make sure to protect whatever we do from the enemy.

Are you willing to work along with your leader and others to accomplish what God asked of you to do?

Conclusion

God put Nehemiah in Suza just as He had put Esther there a generation before. And just as He put Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon. When God wants to accomplish a work, He always prepares His workers and puts them in the right place at the right time.

God is still looking for people like Nehemiah. Are you available and willing? Do you care enough to ask for the facts, weep over the needs, pray for God’s help, and then volunteer to get the job done?

Can you say to God, “Here I am, send me” (Isaiah 6:8)? When was the last time you prayed that prayer? What would it take for you to pray it today?


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: 

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os GuinnessThe Call continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life’s purpose.

Best-selling author Os Guinness goes beyond our surface understanding of God’s call and addresses the fact that God has a specific calling for our individual lives.

Why am I here? What is God’s call in my life? How do I fit God’s call with my own individuality? How should God’s calling affect my career, my plans for the future, and my concepts of success?

Guinness now helps the reader discover answers to these questions, and more, through a corresponding workbook – perfect for individual or group study.

According to Guinness, “No idea short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose and fulfillment.”

With tens of thousands of readers to date, The Call is for all who desire a purposeful, intentional life of faith.

Obey God Rather Than Authorities

Obey God Rather Than Authorities

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose if you should obey God rather than the authorities? On the one hand, the Word of God exhorts us to submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1). But on the other hand, we are told to obey God rather than the governing authorities that God has put in place.

So, where do we draw the line? In what instances can we commit civil disobedience?

Bible Verse: Acts 5:29

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

The apostles obeyed God and trusted Him to take care of the consequences. They could not serve two masters and they had already declared whose side they were on. Had they been diplomats instead of ambassadors, they could have pleased everybody and escaped a beating. But they stood firmly for the Lord, and He honored their courage and faith.

We Ought to Obey God Rather Than Men

Peter and John set a good example of boldness amidst intimidation and persecution. They did not stop preaching about the resurrection even after they were presented before the council of religious leaders, elders, and teachers. But they acted with respect and courtesy, even when they defied the law.

Doing What’s Right

Many times Christians imply that resisting authorities is always a sin and obedience at all costs. That is just not true. That is like saying Corrie Ten Boom should have let those Jews be killed by the Nazis or Rahab should not have hidden the two spies.

God does allow dictators to rule nations at different times in history. But that does not mean Christians must obey them. All of us need to follow Peter’s example and make our decisions based on “Is it right?” and not “Is it popular?” or “Is it safe?”

We must be sure, however, that we have the clear teaching of the Word on our side before we disobey the government. Peter knew what the Lord commanded the believers to do (Acts 1:8) and he was going to obey Him at any cost.

The situation of the apostles is not that different from what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to go through. We read in Daniel 3:1-30 how these three young Jewish men refused to bow down and worship the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar. As a result, the king’s men cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

But because they did what is right before the Lord, the God of Israel rescued them from the furnace that was heated seven times more.

Civil Disobedience

The governing authorities during Peter’s time were doing the same thing that is happening today. Those authorities were trying to silence Peter and the apostles from speaking. Isn’t this what the authorities in Canada, Australia, China, and America are doing today?

They were trying to remove Peter’s God-given right to proclaim the gospel and whatever Peter wanted to say. The government in many countries is arresting those who are speaking against their mandates. This is a violation of their God-given right to free will and free speech! Are we willing to stand up with courage to resist this tyranny?

Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks

Two years ago, it was just a mask, then closing the churches and small businesses (a.k.a the livelihood of many people). Then it was about a vaccine, a booster shot, and a mandate.

When are all the Christians going to say, “We have had just enough of this tyranny being imposed upon us?” Where are the Peters of today who will stand up and say, “God has given us the right to refuse these vaccines?” Why are we not refusing these vaccine passports imposed by the ruling class and the government?

My Body, My Choice

We often hear people say, “My body, my choice,” when talking about abortion. But these same people who believe in “bodily autonomy” do not believe we have a choice as to what we inject into our bodies. If you are going to stand by this principle, at least try your best to be consistent!

Thank God for the first amendment that allows Americans to make their own choices. Our freedom is a gift from God and we should not allow anyone, even the government, to take it away from us.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says that we have the right to take care of our temple (our body) as we see fit. That is our choice. Since when did God give the government the right to dictate our choices to us? He didn’t. So, Christians, stand up for liberty.

Final Words

Yes, Christians should obey governmental authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). But when government decrees are clearly contrary to God’s Word, we must obey God rather than men. See also Exodus 1:15-17 and Daniel 6:4-10.

In other words, we can respect authority and at the same time disobey the authorities. Remember the example of Daniel who tried to avoid getting his guard into trouble (Daniel 1:5-16). Also, the apostles used their arrests as opportunities to witness to the lost (Acts 5:26-42).


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: Radical Submission to God: The Awesome Life-Changing Secret to Peace, Power, & Permanent Victory by Philip A. Matthews

Radical Submission to God: The Awesome Life-Changing Secret to Peace, Power, & Permanent Victory by Philip A. Matthews True and pure Christianity is God downloading heaven to earth!

That is not happening very often or in very many places. This explains why the world, especially Western society, is getting sick of and cynical about Christianity.

In today’s world, when people “have a problem with religion,” it is simply because they are not seeing heaven downloaded to earth!

This book will change your life! It is a must-read for the deeply wounded, the depressed, the forsaken, the disillusioned, the abused, the marginalized, and, in fact, anyone who has existential suffering of any kind.

But the message is also great for anyone who wants to go through the crazy changes of life and stay on top with peace, power, and perpetual victory!

In other words, the “abundant life” that Jesus promised His disciples, but which so many Christians today fail to experience. This book contains the secret-radical submission to God!