Category: New Life

Man’s Opinion vs. Biblical Fact

Man’s Opinion vs. Biblical Fact

I find it disheartening that today, people value man’s opinion over biblical fact. When it comes to important matters such as family values, people choose to listen to what the world says. In other words, people give more importance to man’s opinion over God’s.

But no matter what the world says, their opinions do not change the fact about God and the Bible.

Bible Verse: Hebrews 13:8, NKJV

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Both Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8 declares that God is immutable; He is unchanging. God remains the same always and will never change. Everything else in the world will change but we can trust God to be always good, loving, faithful, merciful, kind, etc. 

God is Constant

We often hear people say that the only constant thing is change and it’s true. People may promise one thing today but turns around and say something different. Your life may be smooth-sailing and comfortable today but you’ll never know what tomorrow holds. A couple might be “over-the-moon” today but could end up in divorce in two years.

So, you see? Nothing is permanent; nothing remains the same. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What Happened to America?

It is a shame that American society and much of the world have rejected many biblical principles. Many things have changed because we now live in the “Era of Post-Modernism” or a “Post-Christian Society.” These labels accurately depict the period we live in.

Post-Modernism emphasizes relativity and the encouragement to affirm everyone’s beliefs. It does not matter anymore if someone else’s opinions or beliefs are contrary to the truth. They are accepted and regarded as facts nonetheless.

Since society agrees with Post-Modernism, genuine Christianity has been largely rejected for being too exclusive. It’s no wonder then that Christians are labeled as bigots and intolerant for standing up for their faith.

We’ve heard of a Christian baker who was sued for not agreeing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. But this man did not do as asked not because he was discriminating against the gay couple or intolerant of them. Rather, he refused to bake a wedding cake because doing so goes against his Christian values.

America’s Rejection of God

What happened to the United States of America? Isn’t this country’s constitution founded on Judeo-Christian values? Aren’t the founders of this great nation Christians and they wanted it to value God and His statutes?

America has rejected God in so many different ways. Gone were the days when students are free to acknowledge God in their valedictory or salutatory addresses. Today, it is considered bigotry to recite from the Bible or pray in public.

Allowing children to Pray in School
Photo Credit: Change.Org

But no matter how much people hate God and want to get rid of Him completely, the truth remains. The truth does not change; God is still God! Are we all doomed to only find out the truth after we die? God forbid!

This is a wake-up call for everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ. It’s time to stand up for your faith and keep spreading the truth about God. Regardless of what the world thinks of you and says about you, go out there and share the Gospel with the lost.

Jesus is the Answer

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) but thanks be to our Lord Jesus for redeeming us from sin. The only solution to humanity’s problem of sin is found in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Jesus left His throne above, and came down to suffer and die so that we will be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Indeed, Jesus is the answer to the problem of sin. No matter how good we think we are or how much good works we strive to do, it is never enough. This is because our salvation is not based on our good works but on the finished work of Christ. The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Do you know Jesus? Have you confessed your sin, received His forgiveness, and surrendered your life to Him?

Do not value the opinion of man over God’s because they cannot save you from your sin. Instead, you should start making biblical decisions because what you decide today will determine your tomorrow.

Final Thoughts

Christianity has become unpopular, but that does not change the fact that God still changes lives through the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

God has not abandoned His creation (Hebrews 13:5b) and He never will. He will continue to work through His people to accomplish His purpose. Even when things seem to be going in the wrong direction, rest assured that God is in control.

It does not matter what anyone’s beliefs are now. Time will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is God (Philippians 2:10-11).

Just because Jesus lived 200 years ago, does not change the fact that God has been revealed, The Bible is God’s Word, He still changes lives, and all will stand before a Holy, Righteous, and impartial Judge. 

Every person needs to choose whether Jesus will be their Judge or their Advocate.  Choose wisely for your own sake! Do exactly what God is asking. Repent from your sins, believe that Christ died to save you, and live your life to serve Him until He comes again.


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Mission Possible One-Year Devotional: 365 Days of Inspiration for Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose by Tim Tebow and A. J. Gregory

In his first devotional, the New York Times bestselling author and athlete challenges you to find your mission and pursue a bolder, brighter, more fulfilling life—by building your faith every single day.

Tim Tebow knows a thing or two about living a mission-possible life. The two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, former professional baseball player, college football analyst, and New York Times bestselling author now shares what it takes to move toward your mission. 

Tim reveals how you can find your mission and take a step each day to reach your purpose and your best future.

Through 365 Bible-based readings, you’ll discover how to:

  • Align your responsibilities.
  • Identify your priorities.
  • Elevate your convictions.
  • Make decisive, wise choices.
  • Fuel your drive and passion.
  • Set your sights on eternity.

The secret to a truly meaningful life doesn’t involve more comfort or ease. It requires a clear focus on who God made you to be and a proven guide to get you there. Tim is ready to help you live that mission-possible life.

Dealing with the Storms of Life

Dealing with the Storms of Life

The Christian life is not at all a bed of roses. We will all face the storms of life as we journey with the Lord. But how should we deal with them? How should we respond when storms come and how do we overcome them?

In today’s post, we will look at the account of Paul as he sailed to Rome. It was indeed a challenging journey because of the hindrances they had to overcome. But it gives the believer some powerful lessons about the storms of life and how we should respond.

Paul Sails for Rome

In Acts chapter 27, we read of Paul’s journey to Rome along with Luke and the other prisoners. Paul was not the only prisoner that Julius and his men are taking to Rome (Acts 27:1).

They left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia. And it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province. They passed along the province of Lycia and got on board an Egyptian ship bound for Italy.

Paul's Voyage to Rome Acts 27
Photo Credit: Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

But arriving in Rome was easier said than done because of the wind and storm (Acts 27:2-5).

After many days of sailing, the strong winds hindered their progress, thus, taking them several days to get to Cnidus. The pilot then steered south-southwest to Crete passing Salmone and finally struggling into Fair Havens. It had been the most difficult voyage and a portent of things to come (Acts 27:9-10).

Lessons about the Storms of Life

What’s interesting about this account is how Luke, an accurate historian, presented the important facts of their voyage. Perhaps, the major purpose Luke had in mind was the presentation of Paul as a courageous leader.

Having said that, there are four lessons we can learn from Paul’s Journey to Rome.

1. Storms Come as a Result of Disobedience

First of all, storms come when we disobey the will of God. Needless to say, Jonah is a good example of this truth. Jonah had to experience being in the belly of a giant fish before obeying God.

In the case of Paul, he was not at fault. Rather, it was the centurion in charge of the ship. When Paul perceived that their voyage would end in disaster, he warned them (Acts 27:10). However, the centurion did not heed Paul’s warning. Instead, he followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship (Acts 27:11).

Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. While at sea, the storm grew worse and they took a violent battering from the storm. This lasted for many days making the situation seemed hopeless. And it all happened because one man would not listen to God’s messenger.

What happened to Paul tells us that sometimes we suffer because of other people’s unbelief. You see, disobedience does not always have to come from our end. There are times when we go through the storms of life because somebody in the “boat” with us rebelled against God.

2. Storms Reveal Character

Second, storms have a way of revealing character.

On their journey to Rome through Cyprus and Crete, their ship was caught in a storm at sea. At first, the crew did everything they could to keep the ship afloat. They bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it and lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship (Acts 27:17).

In the following days as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, they began throwing the cargo overboard. They even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard (Acts 27:18-19). It is evident that everybody was terrified to death so they started throwing things overboard to lighten the ship’s load.

But the terrible storm continued to rage for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars. That was when the sailors and the crew thought that all hope was gone.

But Paul trusted God and obeyed His will. When God impressed in his heart that they were about to face trouble at sea, Paul warned the ship’s officers about it. But they did not listen to him.

Yet, he exemplified the true character of a leader by taking command of a difficult situation in a time of great crisis. What a difference when a person has faith in God. Instead of wishing for a change or selfishly trying to escape (Acts 27:29-30), Paul got ready for the demands that could come.

How do you respond to a situation like this? Do you easily get rattled? Do you keep your calm and be still? Will you trust God to instruct you on what you must do and then do exactly what He says?

Paul Shipwrecked at Malta
Photo Credit: IndependentdotComdotMt

3. Storms Cannot Hinder God’s Purpose

Third, even the worst storm cannot hide the face of God or hinder His purpose.

While at sea on a ship, Paul, Luke, and the other prisoners faced a terrible storm. After doing all they could, the situation remained hopeless and they finally gave up.

But a messenger from the Lord visited Paul and assured him that he would arrive safely in Rome. The ship and the cargo would be lost but all the passengers would be spared and cast on an island. God has purposed that Paul would stand trial before Caesar in Rome and no storm could hinder that.

God has a plan and purpose for every one of us and no matter what storms of life we may face along the way, God will overrule. As one pastor often says in his sermon, “There is nothing that is beyond God’s control. He may allow bad things to happen but in the end, His purpose will prevail.”

We can see this repeatedly illustrated in the lives of many of God’s people in both the Old and the New Testaments. If God did it before, He will do it today because He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).

4. Storms are Opportunities for Witnessing

Finally, storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ.

On his voyage to Rome, Paul was with other prisoners placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. But unlike Paul, they were most probably going to Rome to die and not to stand trial. What mercy that they met Paul who could tell them how to go to heaven when they died!

Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with them along with the ship’s captain and officer in charge of the prisoners.

As the weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel, Paul warned of trouble ahead. And when they were about to dock, the sailors selfishly tried to escape and save their own lives. But Paul assured them that the God he serves has granted safety to everyone sailing with him (Acts 27:24-25).

For the two weeks that they were at sea, no one ate because they were so worried and Paul urged them to eat. He took the bread and openly prayed and gave thanks to God (Acts 27:34-36). The sailors and officers joined him, and before long everybody felt better.

Paul saw an opportunity to share God’s goodness and he did not waste time. Offering thanksgiving to God openly is a good example for us to follow when we are eating in public places.

Whenever you face the storms of life, know that God does not only allow them to strengthen your faith in Him. Difficulties, trials, and even sufferings are doors of opportunity for you to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with those in need.

Romans 1:16, NIV

Conclusion

The situation on the ship looked hopeless! But Paul was there and his presence made all the difference. He was the most valuable man on that ship! He knew how to pray, he had faith in God, and he was in touch with the Almighty.

At times, one dedicated believer can change the whole atmosphere of a situation simply by trusting God and making that faith visible.

Let the account of Paul’s voyage to Rome be a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in carrying out His purpose. You may find yourself regularly battling the storms of life. But know that God is using these circumstances to teach you a lesson.

It could be that God wants to teach you the importance of obedience and submission to His will. He could be in the process of molding your character or allowing you to witness to others. God may also allow you to experience the rage of the storm to increase your faith and dependence on Him.

How do you respond to the storms of life knowing that through them, God is teaching you important lessons? Will you be like Paul who stood firm in his faith and trusted God to carry out His will?


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Trusting God in Dark Times: Transforming Devotions for a Lifetime by Montray Ashly

It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well, but can you trust God in dark times when a loved one passes away, your child goes astray, your marriage fails, you’re battling an addiction, you lose your job, or experience financial hardship?

God wants you to trust Him no matter what. He wants to share in your despair and know that He is right there with you every step of the way even when you can’t feel Him or see Him at work. He wants you to experience the light of His presence during your dark times and desires for you to draw close to Him so that the light of His love can cover you.

Oftentimes, you feel alone and that no one cares but God feels your pain and wants to show you His love in the most unmeasurable ways. He also desires to demonstrate His power to help you overcome the obstacles you face.

During your fiery trials, God will make uncalculated moves in your life that will catapult you into another spiritual dimension and change the trajectory of your journey. When He doesn’t take you out of the fire, He’ll accompany you in it.

It is then, you’ll realize that the dark times of trouble did not come to harm you but to ultimately bless you. What God will do in you and for you during tumultuous times will increase your faith, renew your strength and encourage your heart.

You’ll discover that God is a healer of brokenness, a deliverer in the wilderness, and a provider in barrenness. You can trust God in dark times.

Finding True Peace in God

Finding True Peace in God

Everybody wants peace to reign here on earth, especially during the Yuletide season. But what we need to understand is that we only find true peace in God.

It’s true; the world also offers some kind of peace. Isn’t that the theme of the Miss World and the Miss Universe beauty pageant? That’s why one of the common questions asked is how a contestant would help to achieve this should they win the crown.

Bible Verse: Luke 2:14, NKJV

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

The Jewish word shalom (“peace”) means much more than a truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness. Peace has to do more with character than circumstances.

Life was difficult at that time just as it is today. Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower, and the military state was in control.

Roman law, Greek philosophy, and even Jewish religion could not meet the needs of men’s hearts. Then God sent His Son.

Isaiah 9:6, NKJV

Jesus, God’s Greatest Gift

We all love gifts, don’t we? Gift-giving on Christmas day isn’t just for kids anymore but for adults too. This is why all over the world, exchanging gifts is a tradition that doesn’t seem to be going away.

Did you know that even people who claim to not believe in Christ enjoy Christmas as much as Christians do?

But as followers of Christ, we must never forget what Christmas is all about. More than 2 thousand years ago in Bethlehem, God’s greatest gift came down to save mankind from sin (John 3:16). Jesus, the eternal God, came to dwell among us and became the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption of man.

So you see, gift-giving started with God. But He did not give us the most precious gift because we deserve it. We don’t, but He gave anyway.

We may never be able to out-give God. But knowing what God sacrificed for you, what are you willing to give to Him as a sign of your gratitude? If God asks for your time and talent, are you willing to say yes?

Celebrating Christ

Is it just me or is the Christmas season the busiest time of the year? Is it just me or is it also a very stressful time of year as well? Why do we make it so stressful?

Instead of meditating on the greatest gift that we received from God, we are so occupied with all the preparations. We spend so much time shopping for Christmas presents and delicious food to serve.

I see nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas with family and friends. But if our excitement for the festivities overshadows our gratitude to God then we need to reevaluate our priorities.

Aren’t we supposed to be celebrating the Creator of the universe giving humanity peace?

What are you celebrating every Christmas season?


Peace from the Prince of Peace

Throughout history, humanity is always fighting with each other for their own fleshly sinful desires (James 4:1). And they continue to reject the Lord’s principles. Yet despite that, God still loves us anyway (Romans 5:8).

That is why the Lord sent peace down from above. Yeshua is the only one that could bring peace to this world and our hearts since He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Only Yeshua can bring reconciliation and peace between the Lord and humanity (John 14:6).

Conclusion

Are you seeking peace on earth and goodwill to men? Peace comes only from Christ. The peace that is from above is not only peace to be reconciled to God. It is also enough peace to overcome the stressful times of our life (John 16:33).

If you want peace, ask God and He will give it to you (Philippians 4:6-7).

Do you believe that the Lord can give you peace with God? Then you have to act like He can give you peace in all stressful circumstances just as He promised.


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 Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John F. MacArthur

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history—Jesus Christ. In One Perfect Life, Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation.

Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith.

No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.

Features include:

  • Verse-by-verse explanations from one of the most important pastor-teachers of our time
  • Every verse connected to Christ from Genesis to Revelation
  • A harmony of the Gospels that demonstrates the inerrancy of Scripture
  • New King James translation
Do You have to Go to Church to Go to Heaven?

Do You have to Go to Church to Go to Heaven?

In this post, let us answer the question, “Do you have to go to church to go to heaven?” In other words, do you have to go to church to be saved? Is church attendance a requirement for salvation?

This question is just one of the issues Protestants or born-again Christians and Roman Catholics disagree on. Catholics say that one needs to go to church to be saved while born-again Christians say you don’t. Interestingly, both groups use the Bible to justify their beliefs.

So, who is right?

Salvation by Faith Alone?

A couple of weeks ago, I landed on a website that claims the church is vital for salvation. Matthew, the author, went on to explain with several Bible verses why going to church is a requirement for entering heaven.

Here is part of what he wrote:

“Protestant Christianity believes in the principle of salvation by faith alone. Many Protestants interpret this to mean: ‘I don’t need the church to get me to heaven. All I need to do is believe in Christ. End of.’

Catholics and Orthodox Christians think differently here. In fact, there are probably a lot of Protestant groups that also disagree with this attitude toward the church.

For the Catholic and Orthodox mindsets, we believe that the Church is VITAL for salvation. And so, in conclusion, do we have to go to church to go to heaven?

ABSOLUTELY!

The only exceptions to this strict rule would be people who cannot get to Church, because of illness or other important matters.

The Church offers the world the holy sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, plus others. We cannot get to heaven without the Church.

The Church is so important, that Catholics are bound – on pain of mortal sin – to attend Mass every Sunday and every holy day of obligation (of which there is about 5 yearly).

God loves us so much that he commands this of us with the highest kind of force: we must go to Church weekly if we want to be saved and go to heaven.”


Refuting a Catholic on Salvation

First of all, I have yet to hear a Protestant or born-again Christian interpret salvation by faith alone the way Matthew did in his article.

My comment on his article:

“I appreciate your boldness in tackling this very controversial topic.

Indeed, many people are asking this question: Does one need to go to church to go to heaven? 

The only place where we could find the answer to these questions is the Bible itself. If we believe that the Bible is the sole authority then there shouldn’t be any problem and we will arrive at the same answer.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that one needs to go to church to go to heaven.

If there’s any verse, please quote it to me.

Salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus, not by works so that no one could boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). What Christ has accomplished was all that’s needed to redeem sinful man.

I am not saying that the church is irrelevant. We go to church for fellowship, listen to the Word of God, and edify and encourage other believers.

Also, we are exhorted not “to forsake our gathering together, so much more as we see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

We go to church, get baptized, obey God’s command, and live according to God’s will. But we do all these not to gain passes to heaven or to be saved. God has already done the work for us to be saved.

Unfortunately, the author chose not to accept and publish my comment and noted the following reasons for rejecting it.

 “God bless you, but I’m not happy to accept this comment on my site. I don’t wish to get into debates on my site between Protestants and Catholics in the comments,  take care.”



Avoiding Debates

I do not mean to rant about him rejecting my comment. But when you publish a post like this on your website, you are already opening it up to debates. And you are not getting away with this that easily!

Just like when I published an article on the Difference between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Using Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments, I pointed out bluntly why Sabbatarians are wrong in their belief.

I received a comment from a Sabbatarian telling me how I am gravely mistaken for saying we do not have to keep the Sabbath. She also said that she doubts if I would even accept and publish her comment as it could be damaging to my site. But I approved her comment and explained further why I do not agree with her. 

Going back to Matthew’s rejection of my comment, I wrote another comment saying that if he is confident in what he and his church are teaching, there’s no need to shy away from opposing views.

Again, he refused to publish it. I guess, he just wanted comments that agree with his views. After all, his target audience is Roman Catholics based on his website’s name and URL

I understand that as the owner of his website, he has full control over what people can read either in the posts or comments. I just wish he’d be more open to differing views and then explain why he is correct and the other party is wrong. It would have been an opportunity for him to defend his views and shed light on some of the supposed misconceptions about Catholic beliefs.

How Do We Get Saved?

If going to church does not save, how then does one get saved? How do you know you are going to heaven? As I said in my comment on Matthew’s article, the only place where to find the answer is the Word of God.

So, let us look at what the Scriptures say about salvation, receiving eternal life, or going to heaven.

Be Born Again to Enter Heaven

I think we all know the story of Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night. Without Nicodemus asking directly how to get to heaven, Jesus plainly said he had to be born again (John 3:1-7).

Think about this for a moment; Nicodemus was a Pharisee and as such he strictly observed traditional rabbinic laws. Yet he had no assurance of salvation. In essence, he was asking Jesus what else he had to do or stop doing to earn a ticket to heaven.

Quote about Heaven

Jesus’ statement was imperative; there is nothing Nicodemus or you and I could do to gain entry to heaven. What we need to do is get born again and become a follower of Christ. But what did Jesus mean exactly when He said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”?

May I refer you to these articles on this site:

Born Again: A New Religion
Nicodemus Transformed by Jesus

Salvation is by Grace through Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 is just one of the passages that make explicit the truth of salvation by grace through faith alone in the Lord Jesus. Salvation is a gift from God; we do not deserve it nor can we earn it. I am pretty sure you have already heard many times that grace means “undeserved favor.”

The verse says salvation is not by works which simply means there is nothing you can do to earn it. Let me say it again; salvation is a gift from God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

And since it is a gift, all we have to do is receive it just like we do any gift that other people give to us.

For more on this, you can check out Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, and Titus 3:5.

Jesus is the Way to the Father in Heaven

Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 is also explicit. Thomas said they didn’t know where the Lord was going and asked how would they know. In response, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

God’s dwelling place is in heaven and Jesus said He was going back to the Father. If we can get to heaven by going to church, why did Jesus have to lead the way? Why did He have to leave His throne above, suffer and die at the hands of His creation just to redeem us from sin?

My Conversation with a Muslim

I am reminded of my conversation with a former colleague who was a Muslim while I was based in the Middle East. Muslims believe that your final destiny after your life here on earth depends on your works. In other words, they believe in work-based salvation.

To qualify for heaven where Allah is, your good deeds would have to outweigh your bad deeds. This means you’ll never know while you are alive if you are going to heaven when you die or not. All they can do is keep earning good points by following strictly the five pillars of Islam.

I said to my colleague that there are only two places where man will go after life on earth – heaven or hell. If she wanted assurance into heaven she would have to confess Christ as her Lord and accept His gift of salvation. This is because Jesus is the way to heaven; not one of the ways but the only way.

She got mad and started yelling, “So, you are sending me to hell?” To which I replied, “Going to hell is a choice and a personal decision. It’s not God’s will that anyone should perish in hell that is why He sent His Son to suffer and die for us. Would you accept His gift of salvation?”

She got pissed all the more so I had to shut up.


The Role of the Church

If going to church does not save, what then is its role in the Christian life?

First of all, the church can refer to the building where we gather for worship or the people of God. That’s right; you, me, and we are the “church.” But for this particular post, I will be referencing the building as the church.

As I said to Matthew, going to church is necessary because this is where we serve God and our fellow believers in Jesus. The church is where we are trained for service and ministry (Ephesians 4:12). We go to church to praise and worship the Lord and hear God’s Word. The church is where we learn the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and also where we observe the Lord’s Supper.

When we got born again, we were adopted into God’s family and became part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). As members of God’s family, we are to encourage and edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15).

So I say the church, our spiritual family, plays a vital role in our spiritual growth. Perhaps, it’s also in the church where you first heard the Good News of salvation. Praise the Lord for the church!

Conclusion

Just as baptism does not save, going to church does not contribute to one’s salvation.

It is only through the finished works of Christ that salvation became available to anyone. The Bible makes it clear that we are not saved by doing good works.

Rather, we gain entry to heaven because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Jesus, who is God, came to live as a perfect human being, submitted to the will of God and redeemed us from sin.

This is why when Jesus breathed His last, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In essence, Jesus signaled the end of the Jewish sacrificial system and paid for all our sins.

But this does not mean we are to neglect to go to church. Just because we are already enjoying God’s gift of eternal life, we don’t need the church.

The church is our spiritual family and we are to care for it even more than our physical family.

Have you received God’s gift of eternal life by acknowledging you’re a sinner in need of salvation? Why don’t you do it right now? Confess your sins to God, receive His forgiveness, and surrender your life to Him as your Lord and Savior.


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 Doctrine of Salvation: By Grace Through Faith, the Gift of God by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon

GUARANTEED to be OUT OF THIS WORLD—Salvation is truly “the gift that keeps on giving”—not only in this life but for all eternity.

It is called “the gift of God,” but what did it really cost? How can we possibly receive so rich a reward? And is there any danger that such an invaluable treasure can be lost or stolen?

This delightful little volume features 50 daily readings on the Doctrine of Salvation—a wealth of Scripture knowledge describing God’s invaluable gift to the world.

Mined from the media vault of Search the Scriptures Daily radio broadcast and condensed into a convenient devotional format, this treasure chest of biblical insights by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon is artfully arranged as a string of precious pearls, interspersed with devotional prayers, hymns, and heartfelt reflection.

In these pages, readers will find genuine hope of their blessed assurance and discover (or rediscover) the joy of their salvation in this life—sealed by God’s Solid Rock guarantee. “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.” —2 Samuel 22:47

Who Has Your Devotion?

Who Has Your Devotion?

If I ask you the question, “Who has your devotion?” what would your answer be? As a Christian, the answer to this question should be easy. You don’t even have to think deeply and hard.

Unless you have some other things or people in mind that you are devoted to.

I am reminded of the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John. In this song, the woman who was left brokenhearted by the man couldn’t get over him. Her mind is telling her to forget him, but her heart is telling her to hold on and remain true and loyal to him.

But first, what is devotion, and what does it mean to be devoted to somebody or something?

Meaning of Devotion
Photo Credit: Merriam-Webster

Devotion and Devoted

Vocabulary Dot Com defines devotion as a commitment or dedication to some purpose or feelings of ardent love. As far as religion is concerned, devotion is a religious zeal that drives one to willingly serve God. To this extent, devotion can become cultic and idolatrous.

Thus, to be devoted means to be extremely loyal and loving to someone or something. It means being focused on that particular thing or person almost exclusively.

Devotion Equals Love

Our devotion as Christians should be first and foremost to God. Our Lord Jesus commanded us “to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Mark 12:30).

Mark adds strength but this quote is from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. The use of these various terms, heart, soul, mind, and strength is not meant to delineate distinct human faculties. Rather, it is to underscore the completeness of the kind of love that is called for.

But what is love and what does it look like today? Is it just a feeling that can be lost? Is it just an affirmation that can be later rejected? No, love is a commitment despite all circumstances.

In other words, love is a form of worship and devotion to the One exalted above everything else. And that is God! Only God deserves that position as Exodus 20:3 says.

The Proper Object of Devotion

Did you know we could be devoted to almost anything? We can make idols out of anything. That makes us sinners before a Holy God. All of us have at some point made choices contrary to God’s Will.

The phrase, “before Me” (Exodus 20:3) is the most appropriate expression in the light of the next few verses. All false gods stand in opposition to the One true God and the worship of them is incomparable with the worship of Yahweh.

Yet the better question is whether we all individually have repented and devoted our lives to living biblically. By the way, a biblical life is a holy life as 1 Peter 1:14-15 says.

Living a Holy Life

A holy life is a life devoted to living according to the truth. A sincere unbeliever knows nothing in this world and gives ultimate purpose, meaning, or hope as Ecclesiastes 1:2 says.

Holiness essentially defines the Christian’s new nature and conduct in contrast with his/her pre-salvation lifestyle. The reason for practicing a holy manner of living is that Christians are associated with the holy God. Thus, they must treat Him and His Word with respect and reverence.

1 Peter 1:14-15, NKJV

Just a quick note; to be holy in the Lord does not mean what the world says. It’s not about going to church every Sunday and practicing all the rituals or keeping traditions that aren’t even biblical.

Living a holy life means not doing what the world does. That’s why Paul said in Romans 12:2 that followers of Christ should no longer conform to the patterns of this world. Take note that Christians are no longer citizens of this world but of heaven.

Conclusion

Who has your devotion? Your spouse or partner in life? Is it your kids and family? Perhaps your career or business?

There is nothing wrong with being extremely loving and loyal to those mentioned. But our devotion must be first and foremost to God. This is why the first and greatest commandment is loving God with all that we are. And the second is loving our fellowmen.

This just goes to show that we cannot truly love ourselves and others without loving God first.

God wants our devotion, and He deserves it because of who He is: our Saviour, God, and King!


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Devoted to God by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Christians are transformed by the renewing of their minds. They understand that in large measure how they think about the gospel will determine how they will live for God’s glory.

They learn to allow the word of God to do its own work, informing and influencing the way they think in order to shape the way they live.

In a series of Scripture-enriched chapters, Sinclair B. Ferguson’s Devoted to God works out this principle in detail. It provides what he describes as ‘blueprints for sanctification’ an orderly exposition of central New Testament passages on holiness.

Devoted to God thus builds a strong and reliable structural framework for practical Christian living. It stresses the foundational importance of fundamental issues such as union with Christ, the rhythms of spiritual growth, the reality of spiritual conflict, and the role of God’s law.

Here is a fresh approach to an always relevant subject, and a working manual to which the Christian can turn again and again for biblical instruction and spiritual direction.

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

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.

God’s New Commandment: Love One Another

God’s New Commandment: Love One Another

Many times unbelievers ask Christians to prove God exists, considering we cannot observe or perform a test on Him. So, how do we answer them?

For theologians and Bible scholars, this should be easy because they have studied the evidence for the existence of God. They know what questions atheists usually ask and know exactly how to address them.

But what about believers who did not go to Bible school but love the Lord and are passionate about God’s work? If you love the Lord, you will also enjoy communicating with Him. How do Christians communicate with God? We do this through prayer and reading God’s Word.

When people ask you to prove God’s existence, know that Jesus already answered this question in John 13:34-35.

Evidence for God's Existence

Bible Verse: John 13:34-35, NKJV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

After announcing His departure and insisting that His disciples could not come with Him, Jesus laid out His expectation on them. Jesus said He expected them to follow His directives after He leaves them. He said that love is to serve as the distinguishing characteristic of discipleship.

A New Commandment

The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God. and Leviticus 19:18 commanded loving one’s neighbor as oneself. See also Matthew 22:34-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.

However, Jesus’ command regarding love presented a distinctly new standard for two reasons:

  • It was sacrificial love modeled after His love (“as I have loved you,” John 15:13).
  • It is produced through the New Covenant by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:29-34; Ezekiel 36:24-26; Galatians 5:22).

What Jesus said in John 15:13 is the supreme evidence and expression of His love – His sacrificial death upon the cross. Christians are called to exemplify the same kind of sacrificial giving toward one another. Even if such sacrifice involves the laying down of one’s own life in imitation of Christ’s example (1 John 3:16).

The Evidence of God in Christians

The evidence of God is found in His children. It is human nature to hate, judge, lie, steal, and control. It’s also human nature to try to one-up somebody else to feel better about themselves. But Jesus taught the complete opposite of that.

We prove the existence of God by how well we love other believers. Since nobody deserves God’s unconditional love, it is miraculous to see believers unconditionally loving all other believers. The shameful reality is some Christians only love if we follow their list of rules. That is just hypocritical and judgmental.

Jesus never put conditions on when to love the brethren. He said we are to love one another at all times (Romans 12:9-10).

Devoted to One Another

Love is the supreme NT virtue, which centers completely on the needs and welfare of the one loved and does whatever is necessary to meet those needs. Christians should show their love purely and sincerely without self-centeredness or guile.

Romans 12:9-10

As Christians, we are to be devoted to one another in love. This means we must love other believers with a family sort of love, not based on personal attraction or desirability. This quality is the primary way the world can recognize us as followers of Christ.

We are to honor one another and show genuine appreciation, and admiration for fellow believers by putting them first (Philippians 2:3).

Concluding Words

I know how it feels to be judged falsely, and how it feels to be loved unconditionally.

I praise God for the fact that all believers will give account to God for how we loved others as Romans 14:12 says. Sure; we are not responsible for how others treat us. We are only responsible for how we respond to them.

I am reminded of how Jesus responded to the mockery and hatred of the Sanhedrin. He could have destroyed them all but He chose to suffer so that you and I could be born again.

Jesus did not have to die but He offered Himself so that we may have eternal life. That should humble us all to love the brethren despite their actions. This is God’s new but not new commandment. We should love one another as Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us.

How well are we loving our brethren?


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311 Ways to Be a “One-Another” Christian: Loving Others with the Love of Jesus by Stuart Scott and Andrew Jin

“Nobody reaches out to me when I go to church.” “This church really isn’t much of a family.”

Have you heard these kinds of comments? How sad if they are true, especially as God’s Word has so much to say about how believers should interact with one another!

An array of interpersonal problems between spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers can easily develop, but if you are a Christian, you can put the Bible’s message into practice and see how radically it transforms your relationships with others.

By carefully examining the “one another” commands in Scripture, the authors provide a Word-based understanding of what God intends for Christian relationships – showing not only what they look like, but also how to develop them.

Enjoy reading and sharing this book; it’s very well-suited for individuals, couples, and small groups.

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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Recommended Resource:

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

From 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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Recommended Resource:

Life According to the Truth by Michael Heilman

Do 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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Recommended Resource: 

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

Have 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.