Category: Christian Living

His Story Gives Everyone Hope

His Story Gives Everyone Hope

Everybody has a story to tell and can make some people hopeful. But not every story gives everyone hope; only His story does. If there is one story that made great history, it’s none other than what God has done.

The Bible tells us that God sent His only begotten Son as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). Man was in a state of condemnation as a result of Adam’s rebellion. But God loved us so much that He did not want us to perish.

So, He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross on our behalf (John 3:16). And the Son humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

Indeed, His story is nothing like anybody else’s.

Bible Verse: Romans 15:4, NKJV

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

Here, the apostle Paul was referring to the divinely revealed Old Testament as that which was written for our instruction.

It’s true; Christians live under the New Covenant and are not under the authority of the Old Covenant. But God’s moral law has not changed and all Scripture is of spiritual benefit. See 1 Corinthians 10:6, 10, 11, and 2 Peter 20-21.

Paul’s description of the benefits of Scripture certainly includes the NT but speaks primarily about the OT sacred writings. Without the clear and certain promises of the Word of God, believers have no basis for hope.

A World of Hopelessness

Hopelessness is at an all-time high. Between depression, anxiety, drug abuse, pain, sex abuse, etc, there is no doubt that many souls are looking for hope. The problem is hope cannot be found in this world.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 says that hope can only be found in the unseen. Nothing that can be seen or touched or tasted is worth trusting in. Everything in this world will be burnt up and destroyed. They don’t have any eternal value.

So many people place their value and identity in things of this world. It’s because they do not realize that those things cannot give them what they are looking for. They are looking in all the wrong places.

Hope is Found in His Story

Romans 15:4 says that hope is found in His story. God’s story is written down in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. He wrote down the literal history of how He is giving hope to humanity. God did this knowing that only some will receive it.

Even though we cannot see God, that does not mean He isn’t there. He is good at working behind the scene. Yet we can see the evidence of God working as John 3:8 says.

Although John 3:8 is referring to evidence of salvation, God also works in our everyday lives. The problem is with us because too many people doubt God is there and thus cannot work. We should trust God even if we do not see the works of His hands. God gives evidence after we believe, trust and hope in Him.

Closing Words

In this world full of chaos, everybody longs to have even the smallest glitter of hope. Hope keeps us going in life despite all the trials and difficulties. Without hope, we would all give up and let the enemy win without putting up a fight.

We all want to live a life full of hope and encouragement. But how do we achieve this?

Believing the Bible as God’s Word is the first step to a Hope-filled life, rather than a miserable existence. Life is hard for everyone, but that does not mean everyone is hopeless.

Life is difficult but God gives joy to those that learn from the past. This is the history found in the Bible so that we all can enjoy HOPE no matter the circumstances.

Do you have that kind of hope? Are you striving to share that HOPE with hopeless people?


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Recommended Resource:

HOPE In Numbers – Holding Onto Promises Everywhere: How to be Reminded of God’s Word Everywhere You Go! by Gordon Wickert

HOPE In Numbers - Holding OnHOPE In Numbers - Holding Onto Promises Everywhere: How to be Reminded of God's Word Everywhere You Go! by Gordon Wickert erywhere: How to be Reminded of God's Word Everywhere You Go! by Gordon Wickert In a world where hope seems lost and Christians seem to lose grip on their faith, there are numbers that tell a different story.

With Hope in Numbers, we can transform every number we see into a well-timed Bible verse and promise from God. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s Word.

In fact, the world has done all the work for us by placing numbers on every street corner, license plate, price tag, sports jersey, and time of day. Anywhere there is a number, that is where hope can be found.

Hold tightly to these truths found in God’s Word and see your life blessed in every situation. This is a rebellion to get God’s Word back into our schools, workplaces, and in the hearts of those in our communities.

HOPE stands for Hold Onto Promises Everywhere and in this book I will show you how you can be reminded of God’s Word everywhere you go. You will never see numbers the same way again!

How Christians Act Matters

How Christians Act Matters

Everybody is familiar with the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” even non-Christians. But little do many people know that our Lord Jesus Himself said this to His followers.

Bible Verse: Luke 6:31 (NKJV)

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Do you know that versions of the Golden Rule existed before Christ? It was not invented by Jesus. The truth of the matter is, that it is found in rabbinic writings and even in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Interestingly, all of them cast the rule as a negative command, such as Rabbi Hillel’s version. “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to someone else.”

In contrast, Jesus made it a positive command, enriching its meaning. The Lord also put it in a way that summarizes the whole gist of the ethical principles contained in the Law and the Prophets.

Golden Rule for Christians

Applying Jesus’ Command

The command to, “… do to them likewise” especially applies to Christian fellowship. Having experienced love from people who reached out to us, we must also love and reach out to others.

Are you, as a Christian applying what Jesus taught? Do you act differently than the world or there is no visible evidence that you’re a follower of Christ?

We must understand that the way Christians conduct themselves especially in public and among unbelievers makes all the difference. Simply put, how Christians act matters! When people in darkness see the light of Christ in us, we don’t even have to preach to them. This is where the saying, “Action speaks louder than words” applies.

Knowing the Needs of Others

Now that I am a parent, I am slowly learning the needs of my children. Everyone has needs. Sometimes people say what their needs are, other times they don’t. Many times children don’t even know what their needs are. Thus, it is the responsibility of the parents to know and provide what their kids need.

The same is true with our fellowmen. Let us be sensitive to their needs because this is one way of showing that we care for them. It doesn’t matter how many Bible verses have we memorized if we treat others like trash. Oftentimes, people just want to know that we care about them. As another saying goes, “People don’t care what you know (about God and the Bible) until they know you care.”

Christians should care about people enough to learn and know the needs of others. Jesus knew we had a sin problem 2,000 years before we ever knew we had a sin problem. Are we perceptive enough to know the needs of others around us?

In addition to perceiving needs, we need to care about everyone, including our enemies. The context of verse 31 is loving our enemies. It is contrary to our human nature to love our enemies.

Matthew 5:44

The Christian Response

Everyone has been the recipient of sin or misdeeds. We have no control over what other people do to us, but we do have control over how we respond. This is especially true of parents of children. Children naturally disobey their parents.

But how does God want us to respond? Of course, there should be a correction for disobedience as Proverbs 3:12 says. But with the heart of love and the goal of reconciliation rather than just retribution or superiority.

This is another reason why abortion is wrong. That baby did not wrong you. If we apply this principle of love toward everyone, how could we ever murder an innocent person? It is a shame that average Americans have murdered 60 million babies over the last 50 years because of excuses and they could.

This is another reason why I believe that all people are sinners.

Final Thoughts

It is true that loving everyone is very difficult and sometimes very uncomfortable but God blesses that humility toward others. The perfect example of that is Jesus. He laid His life down for everyone and yet He is called King of kings in the book of Revelation.

Do we love others as we should? Or do we need God to sanctify us some more?


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Recommended Resource: 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 in regards to:

  • 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.

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 2)

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 2)

In last week’s post, I shared some important things about temptations. These include the definition and sources of temptation, and the lessons we can learn from Adam and Eve’s experience. How can Christians resist Satan’s temptations and overcome the human urge to sin? 

Here’s the continuation and conclusion of the post.  

The Four R’s of Temptation

The trick to resisting temptation does not only come from resisting the urge to sin. It also involves replacing the temptation with something pleasant and Christlike.

I call this principle the four r’s of resisting temptation: recognize, remember Scripture, resist, and remain vigilant.

1. Recognize the Temptation

What is the trigger for the temptation? Are there set times for such sinful behavior? What environment creates the sudden urge to do evil?

If you are currently in that environment, what do you notice? Mentally note or reflect on recurring sounds, tastes, textures, or other appealing senses or circumstances.

1 John 2:16, NKJV

Forms of Appeal

Temptations come in different forms of appeal.

  • Visual: lust of the eyes
  • Auditory or Reflective: sounds, or the inappropriate use of Scriptures
  • Gimmicks: comforting lies, such as “you won’t get in trouble.”
  • Anticipation: pride of life
  • Other sensory cues: lust of the flesh

Adam and Eve

The couple failed to recognize that the desire to eat the fruit was a real temptation. The couple had not experienced sin beforehand. However, they knew they were banned from eating the tree of knowledge.

They gave in to temptation because they failed to recognize the sensory lures that would entice them to sin. Having seen this weakness, Satan used the glamor and tasty aspect of the fruit. This made it enticing to the couple at the expense of introducing sin to mankind.

Modern Example

Your parents forbid you from going to the sleepover your friend invited you to attend this Saturday. Your friend consistently sends you text messages throughout the week asking you to go to the event.

Should you decide to disobey your parents and attend the sleepover anyway, you would be grounded for two weeks. The event features underage drinking, which would possibly land you in prison with a felony conviction on your permanent record.

These text messages are a visual lure used by Satan to convince you that it is not a bad idea to sneak out and go. It’s because your mom “won’t know that you went.” Or “your mom is just a boring boomer who does not want you to have fun.”

2. Remember Scripture

Remember what God says in His Word. Never underestimate the power of not only knowing but remembering what God said. The best weapon against the tempter is the Word of God. Jesus exemplified this when the Devil tempted Him in the wilderness.

By the way, context matters too! Do not forget that even the enemy knows the Scriptures and he often uses them to deceive God’s people.

Please see part 3 below for more details.

3. Resist

There are three questions to consider during this step.

First, what does GOD want?

This is where understanding Scripture comes in very handy. Remember, God’s Word is 100% truth, and cannot be sugar-coated or changed. This means, that whatever is written goes, regardless of the circumstances. The truth will always see you free from every negative influence and consequence in your life.

Be forewarned though. Even Satan knows Scripture as well and can use that knowledge against you as a means for temptation. This often comes in the form of taking certain passages out of context or omitting words that seem inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Do not let your guard down. Always be vigilant and actively study and meditate on the Word and its underlying messages: both for meaning, and application.

James 4:7, NKJV

Secondly, what does Satan want?

I know many of us may believe that sin is closely related to our flesh and Satan’s influence on the human race. However, we often try to separate these two things, or we may place blame on one thing instead of the other. I believe that the sinful flesh and Satan work in tandem, although each is separate.

Consider the temptation of Adam and Eve. Your sinful nature (aka your flesh) will most likely align with Satan and his false promises. These idle promises are cleverly designed for you to fall back into the pit of habitual sin. Being naughty tastes so good, as long as we get what we want.

Refuting “The Devil Made Me Do It”

Let me assure you. Although the sinful flesh and Satan work in tandem, we must distinguish the fact that we choose to sin.

Yes, Satan will tempt us with things that will appeal to our flesh. But, the challenge is left up to us. What we (or our flesh) want for ourselves may seem good for a season, but will ultimately lead to destruction.

Think of this as taking ten bags of candy, and eating those every day. It tastes good, but you do not want to hear that these would give you cavities in the future.

As Howard John Wesley best explained in a recent sermon, Satan will offer you things in this life that are so sweet and glamorous. He then cuts off the price tag so that you will take the bait, even if it means doing ungodly things.

What Will You Choose?

Third question: What do you desire?

In other words, which way will you choose? What will you say yes to? Those who are under the Holy Spirit’s guidance can make that choice. We can either choose God’s will and way of escape, or our own sinful desires (what Satan wants).

Jesus always provides a way to escape temptation. But it is ultimately our responsibility whether or not we take the escape route. Even if it means going through a period of discomfort. Or getting rid of old friends that you used to spend time with when you used to break curfew.

Seniors, this is a harsh reality that you will have to face in college.

The Sleepover: A Practical Application

Now, back to our modern-day example.

We know from Scripture that parents are called to be an earthly model of the authority of God as their Heavenly Father. This is through their decisions, their character, and their method of discipline.

The Fifth Commandment instructs us to honor our father and mother, so that we may live a long, prosperous life.

Ephesians 6:2-3, NKJV

In the example above, Satan would want you to disobey this commandment. He wants you to deliberately disobey the order to not go to the sleepover, since it would potentially involve drinking underage. The price that Satan doesn’t want you to know about is that you would get grounded for two weeks.

You could also go to jail for drinking under the legal minimum age (21). As a result, you would ultimately sin against your parents, local authorities, and God.

4. Remain Vigilant

Be forewarned that this may not be the last temptation you will endure on this earth. Until you are dead, or when Jesus returns, you will endure temptation.

Again, Satan will not play fair. Always be on the lookout, because an empty void could be a recipe for either godliness or a recipe for disaster.

Closing Prayer

Father, Promise-Keeper, You promised that You will provide a way out of temptation so that I can endure it. Help me escape from the evil one, who will tempt and defile me. Lead me not into temptation, Father.

Deliver me from the evil one. The Holy Spirit indwells within me, Father, and my will is aligned with Yours. Please help me stand firm on the day of temptation. And always remind me that I am not the same person I was before. Keep me from walking in the flesh and its accompanying desires. Instead, help me walk by Your Spirit.

I pray by the name of the One who is with me always.

Amen.


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:

Victory: A Seven-Step Strategy for Resisting Temptation and Overcoming Sin by Jim Schettler

Victory: A Seven-Step Strategy for Resisting Temptation and Overcoming Sin by Jim Schettler It’s a battle we all face.

It doesn’t matter what stage of life we’re in, the maturity of our Christian walk, or the length of time we’ve been saved—we struggle with sin daily.

Perhaps you’ve been wrestling with pride, anger, lust, or worry. You’ve tried again and again to overcome it but failed one attempt after another. Maybe you’ve even given up hope of ever winning this spiritual battle.

But God doesn’t intend for you to live in defeat. He has already provided the way to victory.

In these pages, discover seven practical steps you can take to overcome sin and live the victorious Christian life.

Each short chapter provides biblical truths and simple application questions, making this a helpful resource for personal study, discipleship, or biblical counseling.

Christ has already won your victory. Learn what it means to claim that reality in your daily life.

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 1)

How to Resist Satan’s Temptations (Part 1)

One of the many challenges Christians face today is resisting temptations. Some say it’s easier said than done. Thus, many are still struggling to overcome the temptations that come their way.

In this post, I would like to share some guidelines on how to resist Satan’s temptations from a young adult’s perspective.

Salute to the Graduates!

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the graduating Class of 2022. You have persevered and made the most of yet another challenging school year in the pandemic-stricken world we live in.

Let us then get ready to transition to the dreaded process of choosing a college that fits our future goals.

It is worth noting that parents and educators teach their young adult children to acquire consumer and business-related skills. Why? So it will serve them in the realm of job searching and money-making.

But parents should also want their children to volunteer in Christian youth ministries. This includes service projects in community organizations that help the poor, underserved, and disadvantaged.

Yet, as beautiful as these objectives are, far too many Christian parents fail. This is because they fail to equip their children with the essential spiritual and practical principles against Satan’s attacks.

Many children do not stand a chance against Satan if they are not aware of the weapon he uses to lure them – temptation.

No temptation will overcome you

Reflecting On My Junior High

Over the past three years, many juniors and seniors (now high school graduates) told me that the hardest point in their high school career was surviving 11th grade. Sometimes, I would find myself asking, “Why not 12th grade? This is where you start writing college-level papers that exceed five pages.”

Surely, there was the SAT, thinking about college, and working on my daily living skills as a blind student. This is on top of being off sick and scrambling through a four-paper research paper I had to make up.

However, I would argue that one of the main challenges every teen had to overcome in their third year of high school was the temptation to ignore temptation.

School Campus Evangelism

As I passionately carried out my duties as Vice President of one of few student-led clubs for people of faith, I had to grapple with the daunting task of preaching against sin and Satan. Not to mention that I do this in a climate where bad behavior was excused as a “mental health” issue. While in reality, most of the time was a sin issue or covid fatigue.

On large and diverse campuses, teenagers do not only possess different faiths. But they are also enticed to do daring online challenges with an immoral foundation. We have ditched the traditional methods of discipline and replaced them with empty threats and grade-school-style consequences.

Half of my class is stuck in detention while many seniors resort to foolish pranks. They do this out of desperation for immediate gratification and attention. Amidst all these, the last thing they want is someone telling them about sin and a dark realm that cannot be ignored.

Purpose and End-Goal

Since I graduated from middle school, I have continually remained committed to my calling. And that is to encourage fellow brothers and sisters to shine the light of Jesus Christ in their daily lives. Also, to educate others and give insight into the battle that is raging in the physical and spiritual realm.

Before entering a college campus, every young Christian must acquire a solid, biblical understanding of who Satan is. Young believers who understand the inevitability of temptation are less likely to abandon their faith.

In this presentation, I will establish some key biblical principles for young adults. My objective is to help them recognize, resist, and conquer sinful urges. These guidelines will equip them to actively engage in the fight against Satan with courage and confidence.

Youth Campus for Christ

What Is Temptation?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines temptation as one that is characterized by “the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.”

From a Biblical perspective, a temptation is simply any event, object, or pattern that is designed to lure one to sin (or disobey God). It is used by Satan to distract one from spiritual growth – “Taking the easy route.”

The most common example we see is Jesus and His three temptations.

Where Temptation Comes From

Temptation does not originate from God. God, being perfectly holy by nature, cannot tempt man to sin. Yet, many accuse Him of doing so when going through painful experiences that came as a consequence of their idiocy.

Also, temptation has a horizontal and vertical source.

Physical sources include people, places, events, and trends. Even environmental conditions can be an accomplice to certain temptations.

For example, a man who struggles with drunkenness may be tempted to get drunk on Friday nights. Why? This is a result of him attending nightclubs with his girlfriend, who encourages him to consume alcohol excessively.

On the spiritual side, the main source of temptation is Satan, also referred to as “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3).

Firefighters Building on Fire
Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Firefighting

Fighting A Fire: An Analogy

You may remember back in school when you had to regularly do practice fire drills throughout the year.

Whenever the fire alarm goes off, it should be taken very seriously. No one is allowed to take anything with them and must evacuate using the school’s emergency escape plan. The purpose of a fire drill is to practice the necessary procedures in the event your house is caught on fire.

This is the same way with temptation. The trick with spiritual warfare is that you need to run and resist. You need to get out of a burning building and extinguish the fire without getting burned or fanning the flames.

Although some fires can be put out with foam or a fire extinguisher, larger fires must be left to the fire department. They have the equipment needed to douse the flames while protecting themselves from debris.

You see, fighting Satan is like fighting a five-alarm fire. Fighting in your own human strength is like using foam to douse the flames. Let God assist you as you resist temptation. We cannot defeat Satan on our own. Satan is a very powerful and clever spirit. He studies our weaknesses and sets various traps. You will easily fall into these traps if you are not anchored on Christ.

And remember, never return to a burning building. In other words, don’t willfully put yourself in a situation where you know that you will reach the danger zone. Satan will have you turning 2°, taking baby steps, toying with sin. He does this until eventually, you are sidetracked and make a full 180-degree turn back to sin.

This is why many will backslide. You must resist, and don’t turn back! 

Learning from Adam and Eve

In Genesis 3:1-19, we see three C’s that characterize Satan.

Cunning

Satan will appear to us as an angel of light. In other words, he disguises himself as a saint. See also 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Crafty

Temptation is never original or “obvious” as humanity perceives. It would be easy for us to detect a lie if we were convinced that the sky is green.

The key for Satan to successfully entice us to sin is deception. He makes sin look and sound so good and beautiful to the point that we become blind. Thus, we fail to see the ugly consequences and reality of sin.

A common example we saw this school year is the temptation to seek approval by doing what we know as morally wrong. And then we post it on TikTok for everyone else to see. Temptation entices us to please men, ultimately searing our conscience with the spirit of cowardice and moral laziness.

Cruel

Masqueraded in cunningness and craftiness is the attitude of cruelty. Satan will never play nice, especially when we accept Christ and go through the lifelong process of transformation. If he can’t bring us back to our former sin-stricken lifestyle, he will bring back memories of our dark past.

That, in itself, is another form of temptation. But we do not recognize it until we find ourselves falling back to the old sinful habit.

Temptations Come From Satan, the Devil

Some Short Things to Note

God specifically told our first parents not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could eat from every other tree. However, there was this one specific tree they were banned from eating and touching.

What did Satan do? He questioned God and the first parents by convincing them that they can’t eat from any tree. Satan twisted God’s instructions written in Genesis 2:16-17.

The serpent (devil) lied to them. He convinced them that they would receive a special revelation and know good from evil. Furthermore, he said that they would become like God. Needless to say, this is what Satan originally wanted in his rebellion (Isaiah 14:14).

The first parents disobeyed God, followed Satan, and ate of that tree. As a result, they both perished, and the world was cursed with the punishment of their sin.

 

To be continued in the next post …

 


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: Defeating the Enemy by Phil Hopper

Defeating the Enemy by Phil HopperGet the Upper Hand on the Enemy of Your Soul

Everything God wants to give you, Satan seeks to steal. Why live in captivity when Jesus came to give you an abundant life?

As a former SWAT cop, Pastor Phil Hopper offers a unique perspective on how to overcome the enemy of your soul. By knowing your enemy’s strategy, you will be equipped to live victoriously and not fall into Satan’s captivity.

This book provides a fresh, unique, and highly relatable look at the adversary’s tactics so you can always be one step ahead of the devil.

Learn how to live a life of freedom as we uncover the tactics, deceptions, and strategies of the enemy

Developing a Sympathetic Heart

Developing a Sympathetic Heart

In a world marred by sin and evil, everybody needs someone who truly understands what they’re going through. But we can only be that someone if we have a sympathetic heart.

What does it mean to have a sympathetic or understanding heart and how do we develop such?

Bible Verse: Hebrews 4:15

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus, our High Priest, does not only know what we go through. More importantly, He feels it too. It means that He can “sympathize with our weaknesses.” The ancient Greek word translated sympathize means “to suffer along with.”

Jesus' Crown of Thorns and Nails

One who hears of a tragedy that happened in another city would feel a measure of grief. But it’s nothing like the pain we would feel if it were the city we grew up in. Jesus added humanity to His deity and lived among us. When you have been there, it makes all the difference.

In times when you think and feel that nobody understands your pain, always remember that Jesus does. He is kind, loving, and compassionate. If there’s someone who would know and understand exactly how we feel, it’s the Lord.

Do Not Be Insensitive

All people are indeed sinners and there is plenty of proof of that fact, but does that mean we should be insensitive. Just the fact that God is holy and people are sinners would be enough excuse to be insensitive to the plight of humanity.

God did not have to give us the opportunity for a relationship with Him. We chose to break His law. That was not His responsibility to resolve and yet, He became human and died and rose again to have a relationship with us. Jesus gave us the perfect model of how to build a relationship with other people.

Everyone needs relationships. Without relationships, people become bitter. Everyone needs someone to relate to them. Are you willing to relate to them?

Jesus did all the hardest work to save people. However, that does not mean Christians don’t need to put effort into understanding, relating, and caring about where people are coming from. Being insensitive towards others shows a lack of love.

It is easier to receive instruction or a challenge from someone that tries to relate to you. How well do we try to relate to others?

Always Act Without Prejudice

Many Christians say that the gospel is for everyone, yet many of those same people have no desire to relate to other people. Why?

In the book of Hebrews, just like Jesus is our High Priest, all Christians are also priests that can intercede for others. Yet we tend to be narrow-minded and insensitive toward those that are different from us. How is that Christ-like? The Lord was tempted just like every person and overcame every prejudice.

Why are Christians not able to overcome every prejudice as well? We need to remember that a very prejudiced Jew named Saul hated gentiles. But he got saved and God changed him so much that he became the Apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8).

Galatians 2:8, NKJV

“For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.”

God gave His Son to suffer and die on the cross so that everyone who believes will receive eternal life (John 3:16). Whether male or female, Jew or Gentile, small or great, low or high, and whatever race you belong to, Jesus died for you.

As recipients of God’s amazing grace, let us sympathize with the lost and give them the gospel. Let us avoid prejudice at all costs and help them come into a saving relationship with the Lord.

Final Words

Being a born-again believer does not make us any better than others. Every Christian was a sinner saved by grace. If God is not patient and compassionate, we would still be wallowing in our sin and rebellion.

Do we believe that we can come up with an excuse to be indifferent, insensitive, or hateful toward anyone? How sympathetic are we?


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 Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor by Gary Smith

Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor by Gary SmithFor almost ten years, Gary Smith, S.J., lived and worked among the poor of Portland, Oregon.

With this memoir, he invites us to walk with him and meet some of the abandoned, overlooked, and forgotten members of our society with whom he has shared his life.

Just as Smith found a deeper, truer understanding of himself and the heart of God through his work, these people and their stories stand to transform us.

“Although its subject matter is bleak, the book is not. Smith has found love amid the despair. His book is touching, at times hopeful, and the kind of book that is hard to put down, that fascinates, horrifies, and rivets one’s attention.”

7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife

7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife

Is there life after death? Among all the different world religions, only Islam, Judaism, and Christianity believe that death is not the end.

In this post, we will look at 7 reasons why we believe in the afterlife.

1. An Eternal God

The Bible describes God as eternal (Psalm 90:2; 102:12); the source of immortality. We also read in the Scriptures that God created us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).

Sin and death entered humanity as a result of Adam’s rebellion (Romans 5:12, 17). But God did not just allow the human race to wallow in sin and live forever in rebellion. Rather, He began to unfold a plan to redeem them from the curse of death and hell.

By grace, we can have eternal life as a gift from God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:21; 6:23). And eternal life for those who received Christ as Lord and Savior is not limited here on earth. God intended for His children to live forever with Him in heaven.

If there is no afterlife, God would not have promised His children eternity.

Psalm 90:2, NKJV

2. Old Testament Predictions

Many scholars argue that immortality is a New Testament concept. But the prophet Daniel spoke of a day when “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).

In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph described how he almost lost faith in God seeing how evil people prospered while the godly suffered. Only after going into the sanctuary of God that he understood their final destiny. He then said, “Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors” (Psalm 73:18-19, NLT).

Asaph concluded that there is a glorious, eternal future awaiting those who belong to God. “Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (Psalm 73:23-24, NLT).

3. Near-Death Experiences

A near-death experience (NDE) is an occurrence in which patients who have come close to death have memories of spiritual experience. Many of them claim to have encounters with bright lights, long tunnels, or angelic guides. Some claim they went to heaven while others to hell.

Near-death or out-of-the-body experiences are rare and it’s often hard to assess their significance. However, a new study claims they can offer an unbiased evaluation of people’s descriptions of their experiences.

We now know that there are enough of these kinds of experiences to create a sizable library on the subject. As people approach death, they sense that they are approaching the beginning of another journey.

Near-Death Experience: Evidence for Life After Death

4. Jesus’ Statements

Although some would accuse Jesus of being a false teacher, atheists and non-Christians usually refer to Jesus with respect. Yet, the Lord never spoke ambiguously about the reality of a continuing personal existence after death.

Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Also, in Luke 23:42-43, Jesus promised Paradise to the repentant thief. If there’s no life after death, the thief’s request and Jesus’ promise wouldn’t make sense.

According to Jesus, the most significant issue of life is facing the reality of life after death. He said in Mark 9:47 (NIV), “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.”

5. The Injustices of Life

If happiness on earth is all there is to life, what hope do the poor and oppressed have to continue living? If we knew there was nothing beyond the grave, it would be difficult to believe that life is good.

While some people are destined for success and happiness, some are born into terrible relationships and circumstances. If there is nothing to offset the unequal distribution of suffering, cursing the day of your birth becomes valid (Job 3:1-3).

Revelation 21:4, NKJV

But knowing that there is life after death gives hope to everyone, especially the less fortunate. We may suffer the injustices of life here on earth but we have a promising future ahead of us.

The Bible promises faithful believers rewards in the afterlife (Matthew 5:12; James 1:12; Revelation 22:12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19, etc.). That is more than enough to keep us going in this life that we know is just temporary.

6. Longings of the Heart

Some people might think that happiness is found in what this world has to offer. But the human heart hungers for more. King Solomon said that God has not only made everything beautiful in its time. But He has also set eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV).

It might be difficult to know exactly what Solomon meant. But apparently, he was referring to an inescapable longing for something that this world can’t satisfy. This is an emptiness of the soul that no one, including King Solomon, could escape. For a while, he tried to fill this inner void with alcohol, work, and pleasure. He tried to satisfy his longings with music, philosophy, and sexual relationships. But it didn’t work.

It was only when Solomon returned to his confidence in a final judgment in the afterlife that he found satisfaction (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

7. Christ’s Resurrection

The greatest evidence for the existence of life after death is the resurrection of Jesus. Isaiah 53:1-12 and Daniel 9:26 predicted that a Messiah would come to defeat sin and death for His people. Jesus’s followers testified exactly that.

The predicted Messiah voluntarily gave His life and was buried in a borrowed tomb (John 19:41-42). Three days later, He rose from the grave and appeared to hundreds of people for 40 days before ascending to heaven. See Acts 1:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

Jesus Rose from the Dead

Christ’s resurrection gives believers hope that they too will rise when Christ comes at the sounding of the last trumpet.

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, NIV).

Conclusion

Nothing offers more courage than the confidence that there is a better life waiting ahead. Knowing that there is life after death is a source of optimism and spiritual betterment. Belief in the unlimited opportunities of eternity has enabled many followers of Christ to endure the trials they are going through.

It’s this reality that enabled Jesus to say in Matthew 16:26-27, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”


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:

Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife (An NDE Collection) by Jim Woodford and Dr. Thom Gardner

Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife by Jim Woodford and Dr. Thom GardnerWhen Jim Woodford died, he spent 11 hours in Heaven. When he came back, he was changed forever.

A successful airline pilot and businessman, Jim had it all—a loving family, substantial wealth, and all of the good things that come with it. But none of this was enough to satisfy the emptiness he felt in his heart. He always hungered for something more. And then he died.

Jim was never a religious man. When it came to matters of God and faith, he was ambivalent. But as he lay in the hospital bed, clinically dead for more than 11 hours, his consciousness was transported to the wonders of Heaven and the horrors of hell. When he returned to this world, he brought back the missing peace his soul had been longing for.

Join Jim Woodford on this unforgettable journey into the afterlife!

  • Awaken to the vivid sights, sounds, and sensations that you can enjoy in Heaven forever.
  • Be inspired by detailed descriptions of the “contrails of prayer” in Heaven’s skies, the “sticky love” of God, what it feels like to hug an angel, and more!
  • Encounter the chilling realities of hell and the sharp claws of destruction that threatened to pull Jim into eternal darkness.
  • Take comfort in the “six simple words” that led Jim into the presence of Christ.

Whether you need hope for tomorrow or strength for today, this story is your invitation to a radical transformation!

Children are God’s Blessings

Children are God’s Blessings

The Bible tells us that children are God’s blessings. So, when a couple builds a home, they’re building it for their children; for their family. At the same time, having kids carries a lot of responsibility for the parents.

King Solomon knew this and that’s why he considered the wisdom of trusting God in building a house (Psalm 127:1). He understood that a home is built with more than just bricks and wood.

Bible Verses: Psalm 127:3-5b

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed.”

We all acknowledge that the family is the basic unit and most important element of society. A family consists not just of the husband and the wife but of children as well. Thus, we secure our home to secure our family. I’d say no parent would not do anything and everything to keep their children safe.

Staring into the Face of Evil

It’s beyond unimaginable that someone would want to hurt innocent and defenseless children. Yet, recently, there was a terrible mass shooting in an elementary school that killed 21 people, including 18 children. How and why did this happen? This is just pure evil!

People can theorize why the shooter chose a location with so many innocent people to kill. One of the many possible reasons is America has a culture of hate toward children. We can say that this is a result of public schools teaching that all people are just evolved animals. There is no reason to value any life if that was true.

Murdering Defenseless Babies

Liberals and democrats love to talk about protecting democracy. But they never want to address the issue of unrestricted abortion. Did you know that 60 million babies have been murdered for convenience in America alone over the last 50 years?

In 2019 alone, a total of 629,898 abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Women in their 20s accounted for more than half of abortions (56.9%). Those aged 20–24 and 25–29 years accounted for the highest percentages of abortions (27.6% and 29.3%, respectively). They had the highest abortion rates (19.0 and 18.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years, respectively).

How did we get here?

Sustaining Society

The average number of children per family is less than 2, which can’t even sustain the population of any nation. My wife once received a snide condescending comment from a Christian for having 3 children. If that comment reflects the beliefs of average Christians regarding the number of children in a family, that is a shame.

We can protect society by maintaining a family sufficient to sustain society. But how can we do this if most Americans refuse to have more kids? We do not have a one-child policy like other countries do. Yet, we act as if it’s a crime to have more than 1 or 2 children.

Train up a child in the way he should go

The most successful husband and wives are those that have a quiver full of well-trained children as Psalm 127:5 and Proverbs 22:6a says.

By far well-trained children are the most useful instrument of change as Psalm 127:4 says. Wouldn’t we want a quiver full of them?

Final Thoughts

Children indeed mirror the flaws of their parents, but that is not a bad thing. Any humble parent would use that opportunity to grow in maturity rather than being a hypocrite.

Having children is a blessing because they are God’s blessings and a reward. Jesus welcomed the children to come to Him (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14).

Do we love children enough to have a quiver full?


Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanGet a copy of my book, “Life According to the Truth.”

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • 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.

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.

The Spiritual Gifts in the Bible

The Spiritual Gifts in the Bible

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 focuses on spiritual gifts in the church. What are these spiritual gifts and do they still exist today?

Spiritual gifts are divine enablements for ministry that the Holy Spirit gives in some measure to all believers. They literally mean spiritual qualities or characteristics that are under the control of the Spirit. And these gifts are used for the building of the church for the glory of Christ (Romans 12:4-8).

Do Not Be Led Astray

Notice how the apostle Paul warned the church about being carried away by some idols (1 Corinthians 12:2-3). Incredibly, some church members were mimicking certain dramatic and bizarre practices in their old religion called ecstasy.

This practice is said to be the highest expression of religious experience. It involved supposed supernatural interaction with a deity, induced through frenzied hypnotic chants and ceremonies. The practice of ecstasy frequently included drunkenness and sexual orgies, to which the devotees willfully yielded themselves to sin.

Romans 12:6a

The Spirit Will Not Curse Jesus

To call somebody accursed is the most severe kind of condemnation. Some members of the Corinthian church were fleshly and given over to ecstasies that were controlled by demons.

In that condition, they claimed to be prophesying or teaching in the Spirit while demonically blaspheming the name of the Lord. They were condemning the very same Jesus whom they were supposed to be worshiping. These Corinthian believers had been judging the use of gifts based on experience and not content.

We know that Satan will always assault the person of Christ. Thus, the one cursing Christ could be a pagan claiming to be a Christian. All along, he was holding to a philosophy that all matter was evil, including the human Jesus.

Truth be told – Jesus is Lord. Anyone who affirms the lordship of Jesus has the truth from the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit will never call Jesus accursed! What a person says and believes about Jesus Christ is the test of whether he speaks from the Holy Spirit.

This is why 1 John 4:1 says we are to test every spirit whether they are of God. He who has the Holy Spirit always leads people to Christ’s lordship.

The Different Spiritual Gifts

Contrary to what some people think, these diversities of giftedness are not natural talents, skills, or abilities. These are sovereignly and supernaturally bestowed by the Holy Spirit on all believers. The Spirit gives these gifts to enable believers to spiritually edify each other effectively and thus honor the Lord.

There are two general types of gifts: speaking and serving. Included in the gift of speaking or verbal are prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, teaching, and exhortation. The gift of serving or non-verbal includes leadership, help, giving, mercy, faith, and discernment. All these gifts are permanent and will operate throughout the church age.

Some believers may be gifted categorically similar to others but are personally unique as the Spirit suits each gift to the individual.

Wisdom

In the New Testament, “wisdom” is most often used for the ability to understand God’s Word and His will. This also enables the believer to skillfully apply that understanding to life.

I sometimes read discussions between Christians who have minor theological disagreements. And I find it rather amusing that both of them accuse each other of not having the Holy Spirit. This kind of argument is unhealthy as it often creates division among the follower of Christ.

Difference between Knowledge and Wisdom

Word of Knowledge

In the first century, the gift of knowledge has been revelatory. But today, it refers to the ability to understand and speak God’s truth, with insight into the mysteries of His Word. It is important to emphasize that these cannot be known apart from God’s revelation (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 1:26; 2:2; 4:3).

How is knowledge different from wisdom? Knowledge majors on grasping the meaning of the truth; wisdom emphasizes the practical conviction and conduct that applies to it.

It’s not enough to have the gift of wisdom. You may understand God’s Word but if you do not know how to apply it, then it does not matter much.

Faith

This gift is distinct from saving faith or persevering faith, which all believers possess. The gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9a) is exercised in persistent prayer and endurance in intercession. It is coupled with a strong trust in God amid difficult circumstances.

Why do you think some believers start losing hope that God hears their prayers? It’s because they stopped believing that God hears them. Having the gift of faith spells all the difference. No matter how bad things may look, our faith enables us to persevere in prayer.

Healing

The gift of healing is one of the subjects of disagreement among Christians. Some claim this is a temporary sign gift that was limited to the apostles. While others say it continues to manifest today and will cease when Christ returns.

The fact remains that God hears and answers the prayers of the righteous (James 5:13-16).

Miracles

Again, some theologians claim this is a temporary sign gift to authenticate Christ and the apostolic preachers of the gospel. For instance, Acts 2:22 affirms that Jesus did miracles to “attest” that God was working through Him so that people would believe Him.

Whether the gift of miracles has ceased is a matter of dispute. One thing we need to know and be assured of is that God can still do miracles today if He wills to. God is not limited by what we think and believe. The Lord our God is all-powerful; there is nothing He can’t do for nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:27).

Prophecy

The meaning of the word is simply that of “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly.” This connotes that it was added sometime in the Middle Ages.

Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation. Rather, it is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word. Even the biblical prophets were preachers, proclaimers of God’s truth by revelation and reiteration.

The best definition of this gift is given in 1 Corinthians 14:3 while its importance is in 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39. Its supremacy over other gifts, especially tongues is the theme of 1 Corinthians chapter 14.

2 Peter 1:20-21, NKJV

Distinguishing of Spirits

Satan is the great deceiver (John 8:44) and his demons counterfeited God’s message and work. Christians with the gift of discernment have the God-given ability to recognize lying spirits and to identify deceptive and erroneous doctrines.

In Acts 16:16-18, Paul illustrated the use of this gift, as Peter exercised it in Acts 5:3. When the believers in Corinth were not exercising it, grave distortion of the truth occurred (1 Corinthians 12:3; 14:29).

Although its operation has changed since apostolic times, because of the completion of Scripture, it is still essential to have people with this gift. They are the guardians, the watchmen who protect the church from demonic lies and false doctrines,

As it requires diligent study of the Word to exercise the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, preaching, and teaching, so it does with discernment.

Tongues and Interpretation

The gift of tongues was identified in Acts 2:5-12 as languages that validated the gospel as divine. These languages were given by the Spirit as a sign of judgment to unbelieving Israel.

However, there’s another kind of speaking in tongues discussed by Paul in chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians. Although he said it would be more beneficial to prophesy than to speak in tongues, Paul did not deny this gift is of the Spirit.

Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but God (1 Corinthians 14:2). Paul recognized that, normally, when someone spoke in tongues, no one else could understand him. The reason is simple: with the gift of tongues, the intention is to speak to God and not man. Therefore, it is fine if no one understands him because God understands him.

When no one understands the “tongue’s” speaker, it does not mean it isn’t a language, or that they are merely speaking “gibberish.” It means they speak in the spirit and that they speak mysteries.

But Paul emphasized that it would be better if the speaker could interpret what he said so that the church may be edified (1 Corinthians 14:5, 13). The goal must be a mutual benefit at church meetings. If there must be tongues, they must be interpreted, so there can be edification.

The Same God at Work

God gives every believer unique ministry arenas in which to fulfill their giftedness. He also provides varieties of power to energize and accomplish them.

No matter what the gift, ministry, or effect, all spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit. They make Him known, understood, and evident in the church, and the world, by spiritually profiting all who receive their ministry.

Final Words

While stressing the diversity of gifts, Paul also stressed the singular source – the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11). He distributes them not according to our will but as the Spirit of God wills it.

Why would He choose to give a particular gift at a particular moment? The larger reasons may not be apparent, but the goal of the Holy Spirit’s work is always to glorify Jesus and to build His nature and character in us.

The Holy Spirit distributes and we receive.


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 Holy Spirit – Spiritual Gifts: Amazing Power for Everyday People by Susan Rohrer

The Holy Spirit - Spiritual Gifts: Amazing Power for Everyday People by Susan Rohrer Do You Want to Experience God’s Power in Your Everyday Life?

We sit in our pews and hear about the awesome power of God the Father. Also, we marvel at the miracles of Jesus. Then off we go, never expecting those supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit to flow through us in the here and now.

That’s exactly what this author did, until one day she was confronted with a stunning possibility: that miracles of biblical proportions can and do still happen, even in the lives of the humblest among us. Even you.

The challenge? It meant getting to know the Holy Spirit, that enigmatic Third Person of the Trinity she’d heard so little about in traditional teaching. It meant braving controversy about spiritual gifts, searching the Scriptures, and venturing into new waters in faith.

This scripturally referenced how-to book with workbook-style applications is ideal for individual or group Bible Study, geared at building a highly accessible, scriptural foundation for the Person and supernatural spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Appointed to Die Once

Appointed to Die Once

One reality that nobody could escape is death. The Bible says we are all appointed to die once and after that the judgment. There comes a time when Christians and non-Christians alike will give an account to God on how they lived.

Bible Verse: Hebrews 9:27

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

I used to hear people ask, “What is something you know but at the same time you do not know.”

Tricky question, isn’t it? Think about it; you know for certain it will happen but you don’t know exactly when.

Psalm 90:10, NIV

Death and Judgment

To die once is a general rule for all mankind. There have been very rare exceptions. For instance, Lazarus died twice (John 11:43-44). Those, like Lazarus, who was raised from the dead by a miraculous act, died a second time.

Another exception will be those who don’t die even once, but who will be caught up at the Rapture  (1Thessalonians 4:17). Then there’s Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) who did not die but were taken up alive.

The word judgment is a general term encompassing the judgment of all people; believers and unbelievers. Those who are in Christ will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers, on the other hand, will face God at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).

The Uncertainty of Life

How many people know when they will die? Some die in an accident. Others die from a long-drawn-out illness. Still, others have their life taken from them.

Nobody knows how long we will live on this earth, hence the reason why life is uncertain. We do not know what a day will bring.

In James 4:14, the Lord’s brother exposes the presumptuous folly of the practical atheists he condemned. These people thought they knew what the future holds for them. But it’s God alone who knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after.

When James said, “life is like a vapor,” he is referring to either a puff of smoke or one’s breath that appears for a moment in cold air. It stresses the transitory nature of life. See James 1:10; Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2; Psalm 39:5, 11; 62:9; 89:47; 90:5-6, 10.

James 4:14, NKJV

Preparing for Eternity

Are you prepared for eternity? How many people are prepared to meet God?

Since there is nothing more sure than death and taxes, how are you preparing for eternity? Or are you just wasting your time?

Every person has a finite amount of time. So, use it wisely. Don’t use your time to glorify yourself. Rather, use it to glorify God. God wants His creation to glorify Him. Sadly, most people in this world want to do their own thing.

Hence, the consequence of disobeying God is found in Hebrew 9:27.

No two people indeed disobey God the same way, but that does not mean anyone is good compared to God. Jesus said in Matthew 19:17 that none is inherently good except God. We are all sinners before God, hence the reason why we all face judgment after we die.

Have you taken care of that sin debt before God by repenting and asking for forgiveness through the finished payment of Jesus Christ? If not, why not now?

Closing Words

For those of us that are saved, are you spreading this glorious news that Jesus came to save sinners? Are we using our finite amount of time to glorify ourselves or God?

Jesus is coming. Can you honestly say that you are prepared to meet Him? Romans 12:1-2 says we are to sacrifice our will to do God’s will; are doing just that?

Too many Christians look at salvation as fire insurance rather than a lifestyle change. When we glorify ourselves over glorifying God, we are acting just like unbelievers.

Do you believe that is what God wants for us? Absolutely not! Jesus died to make us new as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. Are we living like that is true?


Recommended Resource: 

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.

Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying, and Eternal Life by Gary Black Jr.In his acclaimed books, renowned writer, speaker, and philosophy professor Dallas Willard explored the nature of Christian life in God’s Kingdom.

Yet one topic remained undisclosed: Willard’s understanding of heaven and eternal life. In the months before his death, Willard engaged in moving and insightful conversations about the meaning of life and the life to come with close friend and theologian Gary Black Jr.

These inspiring dialogues were steeped in biblical theology as well as practical wisdom grounded in the here-and-now.

In, Preparing for Heaven, Black reveals not only Willard’s profound and liberating vision of life after death, but he also deftly unpacks the implications these realities hold for our lives today.

Black shows how Willard understood our mortal lives as preparation for what comes next—that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition through which we continue the transformational work begun on Earth.

Informative, challenging, and poignant, Willard and Black’s conversations and insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work to be done both now and in the glorious life to come.

As a result, we will find that our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we have dared to imagine.

What is Biblical Marriage?

What is Biblical Marriage?

Marriage as God instituted it is falling apart. The state has abandoned biblical marriage and redefined it to mean almost anything. Divorce and adultery are rampant.

Men objectify women by using women for sex. Women objectify themselves. Human trafficking and pornography are ruining relationships and the heart attitude of pride is just in the way.

So few people believe they have personal problems that are affecting their marriages.

Now, more than ever, we need to go back to the biblical definition of marriage.

What Constitutes a Biblical Marriage?

Bible Passage: Ephesians 5:25-33 (NKJV)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

The Husband Must Love His Wife

Although the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), it is his responsibility to love his wife. He must love her with the same unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for His church.

Christ gave everything He had, including His own life, for the sake of His bride, the church. This is the standard of sacrifice for a husband’s love for His wife (Colossians 3:19).

Also, the husband must love his wife as his own body. This is one of the most poignant and compelling descriptions of the oneness that should characterize Christian marriage.

The believing husband is to care for his wife with the same devotion that he naturally manifests as he cares for himself. And even more so, since his self-sacrificing love causes him to put her first.

In the end, a husband who loves his wife in these ways brings great blessing to himself from her and the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25, NKJV

A Perfect Marriage?

Since all people are sinners, nobody can have a perfect marriage. That does not mean we should not try. God instituted marriage at the beginning of time because man should not be alone (Genesis 2:18).

In the process of making women from men, God made an institution as a picture of the relationship He wants to have with His children.

God is willing to take the responsibility to save, sanctify and glorify anyone, but only if God’s children desire intimacy with Jesus Christ.

This picture of marriage is only a blurry illustration of the relationship God wants to have with humanity. It is about communion with God through Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can bring us to God as Jesus said in John 14:6.

He was also implying that communion and intimacy with God were only possible through Him as well.

Oneness in Marriage

In Ephesians 5:31, Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24 to reinforce God’s divine plan for marriage that He instituted at creation. By doing so, the apostle emphasized its permanence and unity.

The union of marriage is intimate and unbreakable. The word “joined” is used to express having been glued or cemented together. It emphasizes the permanence of the union (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:5-9).

Thus, in marriage, the husband’s life is so intimately joined to the wife’s that they are one.

Notice that Ephesians 5:32 uses the word “mystery” to describe the union between the married couple. When used in the NT, mystery identifies some reality hidden in the past and revealed in the NT Scripture.

Marriage is a sacred reflection of the magnificent and beautiful mystery of the union between the Messiah and His church. This was completely unknown until the New Testament (Matthew 13:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7).

Here’s a beautiful Christian wedding song.

Intimacy in Marriage

Sex is the highest form of intimacy by two becoming one (Ephesians 5:31), which results in reproduction/fruit. The same is true during intimacy with Jesus.

Please remember that intimacy in marriage and communion with God is wonderful for everyone involved.

Communion with Jesus results in the fruits of the Spirit that are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Jesus reproduces His character by the work of the Holy Spirit unto sanctification and holiness as Ephesians 5:26-27 says.

Once again, the problem is that too many people and Christians enjoy their sin and don’t want to live like Christ in their life. For many Christians, the Christ-like lifestyle is too difficult. What they don’t realize is that God enables us to live the sanctified, holy life (Philippians 4:13).

Only God can enable holy living. Unlike the many women that make excuses to not be intimate with their husbands, are we willing to sacrifice our will and be intimate and commune with Jesus, so that we may become more and more Christ-like in every area of our lives????

What a Biblical Marriage is Not

There are a bunch of common occurrences that should never occur in a God-ordained marriage.

Popular counselors say that men need to shut up so they can stay married. Women control their husbands by withholding sex and dictating when the dad can see his children. That is narcissistic!

In some families, the husband is a narcissistic dictator and the wife and daughters are doormats. Men are opting out of marriage because there is too much risk and cost associated with it. Quite often, men are illiterate and have no idea how to spiritually lead a home.

Because many women are not interested in sex, they will use any number of excuses to say no. All of these different cases are extremely unbiblical as the above verses say.

Ephesians 5:22, NKJV

Growing to be Christ-Like

As we become more and more Christ-like, we are growing in oneness with Jesus. Are we growing in Christlikeness or growing stagnant? Are the Fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives?

If Jesus was willing to die and rise again, to save, sanctify and glorify us, why are we not willing to sacrifice our will for His? If your husband is willing to unconditionally love your sinful heart, why are you not willing to sacrifice your pride and excuses?


Recommended Resource: Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott LaPierre

Celebrate the Marriage God Made for You

Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship by Scott LaPierre Your most important earthly connection is with your spouse, and when you honor the person you married, you’re also honoring God. He created marriage to be one of life’s greatest gifts, and the instruction manual you need for a joyful, lasting union is found in His Word.

In Your Marriage God’s Way, author and pastor, Scott LaPierre, takes a close look at the principles for building a biblical marriage—one in which your relationship with Christ brings guidance and blessing into your relationship with your spouse. You’ll gain the tools to…

  • understand the unique roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives
  • recognize and resolve the conflicts you face with a heart of hope and compassion
  • follow God’s worthy command to love and cherish your spouse unconditionally

Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey or you’ve been on the road together for years, Your Marriage God’s Way will provide the helpful and encouraging insights you need to experience marriage as God intends it.