Category: New Life

Why Did the Religious Leaders Hate Jesus?

Why Did the Religious Leaders Hate Jesus?

Jesus is said to be the most loving and most compassionate person to ever walk the earth. Yet, He was also the most hated person to ever walk the earth. Even the religious leaders of His day hated him more than they hated the actual criminals. Now, why is that?

No one sits and wonders why society despises the wicked, the robber, the rapist, the murderer, etc. That’s completely understandable and justifiable. But I find it troubling when a morally upright person is deemed to be the worst criminal by those who claim to believe in God. What was it about Jesus that earned Him the punishment of crucifixion?

Jesus, the most hated man in history

The Religious Leaders of Jesus’ Time

The indignation of the religious leaders towards Jesus during His time is undeniable. They hated Him so much to the point that they arrested Him, tried Him, and brought Him to Pilate for a death sentence. But what made them so angry at Jesus that they wanted Him dead?

Below are several things about Jesus that outraged them. We will look at each one of them and evaluate if their anger was justified.

The Claims Jesus Made

Jesus made several outrageous claims about Himself. One of which was His claim that He was the Messiah. By claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah, He was saying that His authority outweighed their authority. The religious leaders did not believe any of Jesus’ claims and were angry at the people who believed.

The leaders accused the people of believing Jesus out of ignorance. They were also jealous of the attention that Jesus was getting from the people. The claims Jesus made caused the religious leaders of His day to be indignant towards Him.

John 8:58-59

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

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Jesus Threatened Their Religious System

When Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy in connection to their practices, the religious leaders saw Him as a threat. On two different occasions, Jesus entered the temple precincts and drove out those who were buying and selling (John 2:13-17).

Jesus angered the religious leaders with His claim of authority over the temple. Before Jesus came into the picture, the religious leaders were the respected authority in overall activities in the Temple. They could do all they wanted without anyone questioning their actions. Jesus’ arrival threatened their religious system and angered them to the point that they wanted Him dead.

Jesus Disrespected Their Traditions

One of the things that triggered the religious leaders’ hatred towards Jesus was His lack of respect for their religious traditions. Either Jesus ignored these traditions or He deliberately broke them. This is because He knew that these were man-made and not from God.

One common practice that Jesus violated which caused the most outrage was regarding the Sabbath. God had commanded the Sabbath to be a day of rest from labor. Yet the religious leaders added all kinds of restrictions which made it difficult and impossible to observe.

Jesus was grieved and angry at the way they had perverted the Sabbath observance. He asked the religious leaders several specific questions.

Mark 3:4-5

Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

In the presence of the religious leaders, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. This healing that Jesus performed on the Sabbath was more than the leaders could endure. Thus, they were convinced that Jesus had to die.

Mark 2:27, NKJV

Jesus Socialized With “Sinners”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were filled with pride and arrogance. They were particularly proud of not mingling with the outcasts of society. It’s because they did not believe that the Messiah would be with such a crowd. A Pharisee went nuts at the sight of Jesus allowing a woman to wash His feet.

Luke 7:39

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

The religious leaders thought of themselves as righteous men who must never associate with sinners. Seeing Jesus socializing with these kinds of people infuriated the proud Pharisees and other religious leaders.

Jesus Performed Miracles

The miracles Jesus performed before them and many on-lookers also angered the religious Jews. After witnessing the healing of a demon-possessed man, some of the multitudes questioned if Jesus could be the Messiah. But the leaders accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of a demon.

Matthew 12:22-24

Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind, and mute; and He healed him so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

The miracle was undeniable! The man who was not only deaf and mute but also demon-possessed was healed. But rather than believing Jesus to be the Messiah, these religious leaders attributed His power to the devil.

Since their official explanation for what Jesus did was that His power came from the devil, then He must die.

Jesus Threatened Their Lifestyle

For political reasons, the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus. There were some ongoing tensions between the ruling Romans and the Jews. Thus, the thought of a Messiah who might lead an uprising against Rome was the last thing the people wanted.

John 11:49-51

And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now, this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.

Caiaphas was afraid the Romans would intervene if Jesus gained the support of the people. This, among other reasons, is why he insisted that Jesus must die.

Conclusion

The religious leaders’ motive for wanting Jesus dead was not anything godly or righteous. They hated Jesus and wanted to put Him to death because of the above-mentioned reasons.

In the end, it was their pride, arrogance, and hypocrisy that caused them to bring Jesus before Pilate to be crucified. They did not want to hear the truth from God.

Jesus was hated by the world and did not receive Him (John 1:11). And He warned us that because they hated Him first, they would also hate us.

John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Many religious people today are easily triggered when a “redeemed” believer dares to point out their wrong beliefs and practices. They tend to become defensive and hostile when told the truth about salvation by grace and not by works.

But no matter how people with a different worldview despises your faith in Christ as your Savior, be patient with them. Keep trying to reach out to them and share God’s gift of salvation. Most of all, keep loving them and praying that they too would come to faith in our Lord Jesus.


Reference:

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ by Don Stewart

What was the world like into which Jesus came? What were the different political and religious divisions of the Holy Land?

This first section will examine the historical background of the world that saw the coming of Christ as well as some of the important characters that were prominent in the four gospels.

Part 2 The Life And Ministry Of Jesus This section examines some of the key elements of the public ministry of Jesus. Although His public life was for a period of a few short years, He has influenced the course of this world like none other.

In this first section, we will find out why He came to this world, His relationship to the Law of Moses, His miraculous deeds, and His relationship to Bible prophecy.

Part 3 The Betrayal, Trial, And Death Of Jesus The Last Days Of Christ This final section will look at some of the events of the end of the life of Jesus. We consider His betrayal and death. When Jesus was a child the first recorded thing that He uttered was that He must be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).

On the cross, Jesus’ final words were, “It is finished.” Jesus announced to the world that He had completed His Father’s business.

God’s Principles of Giving

God’s Principles of Giving

Giving, particularly tithing, is just one of the few subjects that often cause division and conflict within the body of Christ. Although God has laid out clear principles of giving in His Word, many Christians still struggle a lot in this area. Some even go to the extreme of accusing the church leadership of just being interested in money.

Why is it that many Christians seem to have the wrong attitude when it comes to the issue of money? It’s pretty easy for many to get involved in the church ministry and sacrifice their time, gifts, and talents. But when asked to give financially for the works of the Lord, suddenly they become indifferent.

In the same way that money is the engine on which our society runs, the church also needs money to run the Father’s business. Outside of the giving of its members, the church has no source of income.

The Role of Money in Society

5 Biblical Principles of Giving

In both the Old and the New Testaments, we see several principles of giving that help us to see money from God’s perspective. May these five principles enable us to handle God’s blessings in a way that is aligned with His will.

Sometimes, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with God’s abundant favor that we forget to seek God’s guidance on how to use them. We must never forget that God has a purpose for everything and He is in control of all things. At the end of the day, our purpose is to live for God and His glory.

So, here we go …

#1 Principle: God Owns Everything

There is no argument that God is sovereign over everything in heaven and on earth; this is the principle of sovereignty. All things that exist belong to God and God alone (1 Chronicles 29:11).

It was not enough for King David, a noble and successful king, to acknowledge that the entire earth belonged to God. He added that all its fullness also belonged to Him, including the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).

Psalm 24:1, NIV

David emphasized the truth that God’s ownership of the earth extends to the people who live upon it. Through the rights of creation and continuing provision, God has a claim upon every person who has ever lived. This includes everything that they own, possess, and will acquire. Can you think of a more sweeping statement of God’s ownership?

So, if God owns everything, what do you have that rightfully belongs to you? Nothing! Nada! God’s sovereignty gives Him the exclusive right to exercise supreme authority over everything. And that extends even to our personal belongings. All that we are and all that we have are His.

You may ask, “How do I honor God’s sovereignty in my giving?”

#2 Principle: We are but Stewards

Although all things belong to our God, He has entrusted us to care for and use His possessions. This is the principle of stewardship. What is required of a steward? Faithfulness!

As stewards, we must be faithful in the way we use God’s talents and treasures inside and outside the church.

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul used the image of the steward. A steward is a servant who manages everything for his master, but who himself owns nothing. As caretakers of God’s money and property, we must do well to use them only for His purpose and glory. Thus, we give in support of the needs of the church and the ministry.

Jesus also gave a parable indicating that one day we will give an account to God on how we handled God’s money. Will God find us faithful and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23). Are you spending the money entrusted to you by God to honor Him and further His Kingdom?

#3 Principle: Sowing and Reaping

When a farmer sows his seed, he may think that he lost it as it fell from his hand into the ground. In the same way, we may feel we are losing money every time we give. But just as the farmer gives the seed in anticipation of a future harvest, we should give with the same expectation. And the better quality of seeds we sow, the greater will the harvest be.

This is the principle of increase that Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 9:6. We reap in measure as we sow. This principle needs little explanation because we see it operating in everyday life.

The farmer who sows much seed will have a better chance for a bigger harvest. The investor who puts a large sum of money into a company will certainly collect more dividends. As we invest more in the work of the Lord, the more “fruit” will abound to our account.

2 Corinthians 9:6, NLT

Keep in mind that when we give to God, we are never losers. God always rewards the giving heart both now and in eternity. But what do we reap when we sow into God’s Kingdom? We will reap a harvest of blessings, both material and spiritual.

Don’t stop the flow of God’s blessing by disobeying Him in the area of giving.

#4 Principle: God Supplies All Our Needs

In Philippians 4:19, Paul tells the church that God would supply all their needs. Why did Paul believe this? It’s because they met his needs. They call this the supply principle.

The apostle did not see the gifts of the Philippian believers as simply coming from them. He saw it as the supply of his need from heaven. Paul trusted the Lord to provide for his needs and God did through the believers at Philippi.

To paraphrase what Paul said, we might state it this way, “You met my need, God is going to meet yours. You met one need that I have, but my God will meet all your needs. You gave out of your poverty, but God will supply your needs out of His riches in glory.”

There is a direct correlation between God supplying our needs and the liberality with which we supply the needs of others.

2 Corinthians 9:10 also speaks of how God supplies the giver with his own needs and also the means to give to others. As long as God can count on us to supply the needs of others, He will continue to provide for us. God supplies not just our daily needs; He gives excess for us to share with others.

#5 Principle: Our Attitude Towards Giving

This is the principle of sincerity. How do you react every time the offering basket is passed around? Do you often make an excuse to skip this part of the worship service by going to the washroom? Or do you pretend to not know what’s going on? 

I know that many Christians do not believe tithing is commanded in the New Testament. The sad part is that they mock those who do and call them fools for (allegedly) believing their pastor’s lies. I get it; we don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to biblical tithing.

For this reason, I want us to stick to giving in general, whether it be in tithes or in freewill offerings. What attitudes should not characterize our giving? 2 Corinthians 9:7 reads, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Here’s a song by Ron Kenoly to encourage us to be faithful in our giving unto the Lord.

No Grudges nor Reluctance

“Grudgingly” literally means “not in grief.” When we give, we should not be sad nor feel like it’s something painful to do. And after giving, we should not regret having done so and complain or murmur.

Not Out of Necessity or Under Compulsion

Do you give out of pressure or because you feel compelled or manipulated? Or is it because you have been made to feel guilty?

The Jews were required to give under the law. For fear of legal and moral punishment, some of them would grudgingly give what necessity obliged them. What about you?

We Give from the Heart

The Christian attitude and motive in giving or in any other activity for the Lord are vitally important. Our giving must come from the heart, and the motive in the heart must please God. Our giving is to be sincere, heartfelt, and in recognition of God’s abundant provisions in our life.

We must not be “sad givers” who give reluctantly or “mad givers” who give in response to pressure. Rather, we should be “glad givers” who cheerfully share what we have because we have experienced the grace of God.

The believers who are motivated by grace reap the blessings of personal enrichment in their lives and characters.

Proverbs 22:9, NASB

Concluding Words

As we pointed out, God is sovereign over everything and has entrusted us with His properties. God also promised an increase when we sow our seeds and will supply all our needs exceedingly so we can share with others. Finally, God is concerned about our character in giving.

You might ask, “If the two negative attitudes mentioned in 2 Corinthians 9:7 characterize me, is it better for me not to give?” For sure many would say, “Yes, you should not give if it’s not from your heart.” However, I’d say we should not stop supporting the work of God. 

Instead, we should keep obeying God in this area of giving and ask Him to change our attitude. It may hurt at first to give sacrificially into the ministry. But this should not deter us from continually doing what is morally right.

Whenever we purpose in our hearts the amount of seed that we sow into God’s fertile soil, may we consider these five biblical principles of giving.

God bless us all!


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 Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship by Stephen F. Olford

The Grace of Giving: A Biblical Study of Christian Stewardship by Stephen F. Olford

Financial giving is a topic that many people don’t openly discuss. It is also a topic that many Christians misunderstand and undervalue.

With a solid perspective, Dr. Olford has penned a comprehensive, honest, and deeply perceptive study of financial stewardship that will help many in understanding this important topic.

Becoming God’s Own Children

Becoming God’s Own Children

One of the greatest blessings of the Christian experience is adoption (Ephesians 1:5). First, we become God’s children by regeneration (John 3:3; John 1:12). And then we are adopted into God’s family when God gives us the Holy Spirit as a seal of His ownership over us.

When a sinner trusts in Christ as Lord and Savior, he starts as a spiritual baby who needs to grow (1 Peter 2:2-3). But as far as his position is concerned, he is an adult son who can draw on the Father’s wealth.

Our Relationship with God

In one of my posts, I said that “adoption focuses more on the personal relationships that salvation gives us with God.” We are not just little children but adult sons (and daughters) of our heavenly Father.

But what does it mean to have a father-child connection with God?

The Bible mentions several ways in which our relationship with God is truly a father-child connection. These are in contrast with that of a slave or servant.

The Same Nature as God’s

As children of God, we have the same nature as the Father, but the servant does not.

When we trust Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and this means we “share His divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

The law could never give a person the nature of God within. All it could do was reveal to the person his desperate need for God’s nature. So, when the believer goes back into law, he is denying the very nature within. Also, he is allowing the old nature (the flesh) to go to work.

New Creation in Christ

We have become new creatures through the ministry of reconciliation brought about by the works of Christ. Our old, sinful nature is gone and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

Since we have God’s nature within, we need to have an appetite for that which is pure and holy. Our behavior ought to be like that of the Father. We ought to live in that kind of spiritual environment that that is suited to our nature. We ought to associate with that which is true to our nature (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Not Orphans

The servant does not have a father; believers in Christ do.

No servant or slave could ever call his master, “Father.” When a sinner trusts Christ, he receives the Holy Spirit who tells him that he is a child of God (Romans 8:15-16). It is natural for a baby to cry, but not for him to talk to his father.

However, when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a believer, He cries out, “Abba Father.” In response, the believer cries, “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15).

The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that is the equivalent of our English word “papa.” This shows the closeness of the child to the father. No servant or slave has this kind of relationship with his master.

What a blessing to be able to call God, “Abba Father!” Christians no longer have to worry even though they do not have a physical father. God as our Father is more than enough. He promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. We are no longer orphans, hallelujah!

Obey Out of Love

While a servant obeys his master out of fear, God’s children obey out of love.

The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the believers to quicken and increase their love for God. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is to produce love (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:5).

Throughout John’s description of the Last Supper, we can’t help but notice the repetition of the word love. If we treasure God’s Word and obey it, then the Father and the Son will share their love with us and make their home in us.

Obedience is Proof of Our Love for God

As the believer yields to the Father, loves the Word, prays, and obeys, his relationship and experience with God will go deeper. If we love God and obey Him, He will manifest His love to us in a deeper way each day.

The Judaizers told the Galatians that they would become better Christians by submitting to the law. But the law can never produce obedience. Only love can do that (John 14:15). When we love, we obey!

God’s Children are Rich

The child of God is rich, while the servant is poor.

As children, God has made us His heirs and we have become co-heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:16-17). And since we are adopted – placed as adult sons in the family – we may begin drawing our inheritance right now.

Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God, thus, He holds the right to all of it. And since we are God’s children, we are co-owners of all that God owns. We are rich because our heavenly Father is rich.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that every Christian is living a very comfortable life. God wants us to enjoy abundant life. He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). Nevertheless, a life of plenty does not always mean owning a mansion or having a fat bank account or being able to travel around the world.

We need to keep in mind that riches are not limited to the kind that the world has to offer. God’s riches are more than just money or wealth.

God has made available to us the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7; 2:7) and the riches of His glory (Philippians 4:19). As children of God, we also get to enjoy the riches of His goodness (Romans 2:4) and the riches of His wisdom. Above all these, all the riches of God are found in Christ, our Lord, and Savior (Colossians 1:19; 2:3).

What it Means to be Blessed

A Bright Future

God’s children have a bright future, while the servant does not.

While many kind masters do provide for their slaves in old age, they were not required to. But the father always provides for his son (2 Corinthians 12:14).

As children of God, we will never experience lack because the Lord is our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is adequate for our every need.

We do not have to worry about tomorrow because our heavenly Father is in charge. He promised to take care of our daily needs; we just need to trust Him (Matthew 6:34). Worrying about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today. If anything, it robs us of our effectiveness today – which means we will be even less effective tomorrow.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by fear and despair because of all the things that are happening today. The chaos that we see around us may very well find a way to steal our hope and cause us to doubt God’s promise of a bright future. But we need to hold on to the hope that we profess because He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Conclusion

God Almighty is not just our Creator; He is also our Father. This father-child relationship that we have with God allows us to come to Him anytime, anywhere without any hesitation.

Each of us can experience the profound truth that the apostle John expressed. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1a)!

God is your Father, you are His child. Your heavenly Father loves you, cares so much about you, wants to bless you, and is preparing a bright future for you. Never let the enemy convince you into believing otherwise.


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:

Adopted by God: Discover the Life-Transforming Joy of a Neglected Truth by Barton Priebe

Adopted by God: Discover the Life-Transforming Joy of a Neglected Truth by Barton Priebe

Every Christian has been adopted into God’s family. Yet, the great truth of what adoption means has been neglected throughout history and overshadowed by other truths.

In Adopted by God you’ll discover—perhaps for the first time—the life-transforming joy that comes from being adopted as God’s cherished son or daughter.

Through clear biblical teaching and stories from the Priebe family’s journey in adopting their son from China, this book will:

  • Explain what it means to be adopted by God
  • Increase your assurance of God’s acceptance and love
  • Provide you with the strength to face the most difficult trials in life
  • Equip you to gain victory over sins in your life
  • Enable you to relate to others in ways that heal the wounds of racism, sexism, and loneliness

Discover adoption. Encounter joy. Experience transformation.

Our God is a Mighty Fortress

Our God is a Mighty Fortress

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

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

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

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

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

Be still and know that I am God

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

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

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

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

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

When Trouble Strikes the Godly

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

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

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

Be Fearless in God’s Refuge

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

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

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

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

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

God Never Fails

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

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

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

God is faithful and He never fails!

Conclusion

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

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

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


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

Recommended Resource:

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

God's Prayer Book by Ben Patterson

There is no better place in all of Scripture than the Psalms to learn to be with God and see with the eyes of faith the face of the One who longs to form us fully in his image.

The psalms often stretch and perplex as they teach, but they open a divine window on prayer. How could it be otherwise?

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

Features meditations for more than 75 psalms, arranged in numerical order, Scripture, and topical indexes.

Each devotional includes the complete text of the Psalm(s) from the New Living Translation, a “devotional window” (brief meditative thoughts and/or background on the Psalm), a prayer route (one or more key phrases or verses from the Psalm, followed by suggested ways to use the Psalm in prayer).

Is Love Your Greatest Motivation?

Is Love Your Greatest Motivation?

Many people say that they will do almost anything and everything for the people they love. Are you one of them? Is love your greatest motivation for your actions? What about those who kill themselves or others for love?

Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:14a

For the love of Christ compels us.”

What Love Can Do

There is no doubt that John Denver is one of the greatest singers of all time. He started his singing career in the 1970s with folk music. Four years later, he became one of America’s best-selling performers.

If you are a John Denver fan, you must be familiar with his songs which are mostly about love. There’s “Perhaps Love,” “Falling Out of Love,” “Is it Love,” “Love is Everywhere,” and “Love Again” just to name a few.

I think it’s interesting that John Denver knew that “love is the greatest motivation to bring peace to this world.”  I don’t know if he was born again or not because he kept repeating that showing love can bring peace to this world. But as good as that may sound, retribution does not bring peace. 

God's Love for the World

God Demonstrated True Love

Is everyone capable of love? We’re all created in the image of God and love is one of God’s eternal characters. So yes, we all know how to love. The more important question is, can we love with the kind of love that God has for us? Probably not! We may not even know what love is according to God’s definition.

Our problem is God has already defined what love is, which is impossible to imitate without His help. We cannot love the same way God does without Him enabling us. And it takes humility on our part to be able to do it. Unless we humble ourselves before God and admit our inability to love like Him, we are not able to love like Him. 

That was part of the reason why Jesus came to earth to die and rise again. We were all bound to be separated from God for all eternity because of sin. But God loves us so much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus did not only give us the commandment to love, He showed us how to do it (John 13:34).

Experiencing the Love of God

Since Christians have experienced that love, God tells us to go live like that love is real and true.  As 2 Corinthians 5:15 implies, we can only live like it is real and true by living for God. This includes glorifying God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Glorify God In All You Do

Another way of showing our love for God is by obeying His Word and commandments (John 14:15). Just to get things straight, we don’t obey God so that He will love us. Rather, we obey God because we love Him. As one Bible teacher said, “When we love, we obey.” Love should be our greatest motivation to obey God and His commandments.

Do you ever find it difficult to obey God? You should not because God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3

How well do we know God’s instructions for our life?  How often do we worship and learn what His Word says? Have we all experienced God’s love and received His free gift of salvation?  If not, why not ask Him for it now? 

Loving Others As God Loves Us

If we are going to live out His Word, because it is the Truth, shouldn’t we be loving others as Matthew 22:37-39 and Luke 10:27 says? 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus has silenced the Sadducees, they came to Him to test Him. They asked Jesus which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses. In reply, Jesus told them of the first and greatest commandment “to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.”

But He did not stop there. Jesus went on to say that the second commandment is “to love your neighbor as yourself.” First of all, I do not know of anyone who does not love himself/herself. People take really good care of themselves because they love themselves. We exercise and practice a healthy lifestyle because we love ourselves.

If it’s love that motivates us to do all these things for ourselves, love should also motivate us to want others to be saved. If you love your neighbor as yourself, you wouldn’t want them to depart from this earth without Christ, right?

Loving Others Can be Uncomfortable

Loving others can take many different forms but it can be very difficult or uncomfortable. I know many Christians that do not know how or even want to give the Gospel to other people. If they don’t get saved, they will spend eternity in hell, do you want that blood on your hands (Ezekiel 3:18)? 

The Second Greatest Commandment

I get it; people can be hostile because they don’t want to acknowledge their sinfulness. Your closest friends might hate you; they may even cut ties with you once you start telling them their need for Jesus. But it is more loving to tell someone the good news even when they do not like it than to let them be lost knowing that God could save them.

Jesus died to save all sinners. That includes the people you know. Are you willing to kill your selfish desires to bring others to Jesus?  Do you love them enough to share what Christ has done on the cross to save them from sin?

Final Thoughts

God sacrificed His Son so that we do not have to suffer eternal torment in hell. Christ left His throne in heaven. He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). God did not have to do any of these but He did. Jesus almost couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from His Father, causing Him to cry in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But Jesus endured the cross because He knew that His sacrifice would mean reconciliation between God and man (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Love is God’s greatest motivation for sending His only son to suffer and die for us. Our Lord gave His life to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin so that we might live with Him for all eternity.

It’s all about love. Love should be the greatest motivation for Christians to obey God and to get others to trust in Jesus as their Savior.

Love requires sacrifice. How much are you willing to sacrifice for God and others?


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Recommended Resource:

The Essential Commandment: A Disciple’s Guide to Loving God and Others by Greg Ogden

The Essential Commandment: A Disciple's Guide to Loving God and Others by Greg Ogden

Is it really possible to live out the Great Commandment? Jesus thinks it is. And with Jesus, Ogden has found, it is possible–and essential.

In this practical, in-depth handbook, Ogden draws from his years of pastoral experience training and discipling others to help us truly be changed by Christ into people who love God and love others with all that we are.

Following the format of his bestselling Discipleship Essentials, each chapter includes:

  • a core truth
  • a memory verse
  • an inductive Bible study
  • reading on one aspect of the Great Commandment

Thoughtful questions will also help you examine your heart and life and move you to open yourself to God’s transforming work. Above all, Ogden helps you see that the Great Commandment is actually a great invitation to join God in bringing His kingdom to earth.

And as you learn to do so, you’ll find that the greatest commandment leads to the greatest life possible.

How Do I Know I’m Going to Heaven?

How Do I Know I’m Going to Heaven?

The Bible says that after we die, we will spend eternity in one of two places: heaven or hell. But can anyone be certain where they’re going? Do you know if you’re going to heaven or hell?

We all want to know exactly where we are going after we die, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to know where they will be spending eternity? But can we really know? The answer is yes!

The Word of God makes it clear that we can indeed know where we will go after this life is over.

The Choice is Ours to Make

Going to heaven or hell is a choice each of us has to make.

Man is destined to hell because of sin. But God so loved the world that He sacrificed His only Son to redeem us. Jesus suffered and died so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Notice that one still needs to trust in Jesus to be saved from eternal condemnation in hell. Jesus’ sacrificial death has opened the way to heaven for everyone. However, this does not mean everyone automatically goes to heaven when they die. We can either accept God’s promise of eternal life or reject it.

Choose Life Not Death

Eventually, the choice we make in this life will determine where we will spend eternity.

If you haven’t accepted God’s gift, would you do so today and be assured of spending eternity in heaven with God? 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

We Can Know Our Final Destination

If we place our faith in the Lord, we can know that we will go to heaven when we die. In 1 John 5:12, we read God’s promise.

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

We can know that we have eternal life if we put out faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. By the way, we need to know that eternal life is something that belongs to believers only. While it’s true that unbelievers will exist for eternity, they will not have eternal life.

Those who willfully reject God will be eternally separated from God; they will be in a state of eternal death. This is in direct contrast to the future of those who have trusted the God of the Bible.

The Scripture also says that “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). The moment we confessed Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God gave us the right to become His children (John 1:12).

And if we are God’s children, we can know for sure that we are going to heaven when we die.

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Believers Already Have Eternal Life

Christians know they have eternal life because God has promised it in His Word. But eternal life is not something believers will possess only in the future. We discover that we have eternal life now.

Jesus said this in John 5:24 (NIV).

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

We have already gone from death to life.

Contrary to what some teach and believe, we can get to enjoy eternal life the moment we trusted in Jesus. We don’t have to wait for “eternal life” because it’s not something that starts when we die. The focus of eternal life is not on our future, but on our current standing in Christ.

Eternal life is ours right now!

Eternal Life is Knowing God

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He prayed to God the Father on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

What is Eternal Life

Here, Jesus defines eternal life for us. Eternal life is knowing God; it’s a relationship with God the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ. The great news is that it never ends; it is indeed eternal!

Do you know the only true God? Do you have a relationship with the Father through His Son? Enjoy eternal life now and be assured of going to heaven by accepting God’s gift of salvation.

Know the Person You Trust

The apostle Paul said he knew whom he had trusted or believed in (2 Timothy 1:12).

“For this reason, I also suffer these things. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

We too can know in whom we have believed. Christians are assured of going to heaven because they can trust in the promises of Christ. Our God who promised is faithful, even when at times we’re not.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

As evident in the New Testament, we can have eternal life by trusting Christ as Savior. The moment we professed our faith in Him, we can be sure that we are going to heaven.

Final Words

Death is real, so are heaven and hell. And the Bible is very clear of who gets to enter heaven; it is limited to those who have trusted in Jesus as their Savior.

Jesus said there is only one way to reach the one God who is in heaven; it is through Him and Him alone (John 14:6).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Nobody gets to heaven by their good works. Contrary to what many people think, a person does not go to heaven because they’re good. First of all, no one is good enough (Romans 3:10; Psalm 14:1-3).

Also, no one is kept out of heaven because they’re bad. Whoever gets to heaven goes there because of God’s grace, not their own good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Our salvation from sin, our eventual entrance into heaven, is a “gift” from God. Have you accepted God’s gift?


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Recommended Resource:

Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home by Randy Alcorn

Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home by Randy Alcorn We all have questions about what Heaven will be like, and after twenty-five years of extensive research, Dr. Randy Alcorn has the answers.

In the most comprehensive and definitive book on Heaven to date, Randy invites you to picture Heaven the way Scripture describes it―a bright, vibrant, and physical New Earth, free from sin, suffering, and death, and brimming with Christ’s presence, wondrous natural beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended it.

This is a book about real people with real bodies enjoying close relationships with God and each other, eating, drinking, working, playing, traveling, worshiping, and discovering a New Earth. Earth as God created it. Earth as he intended it to be.

The next time you hear someone say, “We can’t begin to image what Heaven will be like,” you’ll be able to tell them, “I can.”

Are All People God’s Children?

Are All People God’s Children?

I often hear people say, “We are all children of God and so we must treat each other like family.” In a general sense, this is true. All men and women are God’s offspring in that He is the Creator (Acts 17:2-29).

However, this relationship is not sufficient to offset the penalty of sin. It’s because we are all sinners separated from God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, for a sinful person to become a child of God, a miraculous transformation must take place.

The Doctrine of Adoption

In regeneration, God gives us new spiritual life within and in justification; God gives us a right legal standing before Him. But in adoption, God makes us members of His family.

Thus, we can define adoption as an act of God whereby He makes us members of His family. The doctrine of adoption focuses more on the personal relationships that salvation gives us with God and with His people.

That leaves us with the question, “If we only become children of God through adoption, whose children are we before that?”

The Doctrine of Adoption

In John 1:12, we read that only those who receive Christ and believe in His name are given the right to become God’s children. By contrast, those who do not believe in Christ are sons of disobedience and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:2-3; 5:6).

When the Jews who rejected Christ claimed that God was their Father, Jesus said, “…you are of your father, the devil…” (John 8:41-44).

From Slave to Son

When Christians are adopted into God’s family, a dramatic transformation of status takes place from slave to son. As God’s sons, we can call God, “Abba Father,” and become heirs of God through Christ (Galatians 4:6-7, Romans 8:15-17).

But if we are God’s children, are we then related to one another as family members? Certainly! This adoption into God’s family makes us partakers even with the Old Testament-believing Jews. Paul says that we are all Abraham’s children as well and children of the promise (Romans 9:7-8).

Paul explains that this status of adoption into God’s family was not fully realized in the Old Covenant. He says, “Before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law… the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:23-26).

While the people of Israel knew God as their Father, the full benefits and privileges of membership in God’s family did not come until Christ.

Evidence of Adoption

If we are, indeed, God’s children, what evidence do we see in our lives? The clear evidence is the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness in our hearts that we are God’s children.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6)!

We also see in John’s first epistle how he places much emphasis on our status as God’s children. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God. Beloved, now we are children of God … (1 John 3:1-2).

Notice that John frequently refers to his readers as “children of God.”

Although the New Testament says we are “now children of God,” there is another sense in which our adoption is still future. We will not receive the full benefits and privileges of adoption until Christ returns to give us glorified bodies (Romans 8:23).

How Do We Become Children of God

Adoption vs. Regeneration

There’s a common notion that we become God’s children by regeneration. This is because the imagery of being “born again” in regeneration makes us think of children being born into a human family.

However, the New Testament never connects adoption with regeneration. Rather, the idea of adoption is opposite to the idea of being born into a family. Adoption is connected with saving faith. This is to say that God has adopted us into His family in response to our trusting in Christ.

John 1:12 and Galatians 3:23-26 make it clear that adoption follows conversion as God’s response to our faith. Furthermore, Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:6 does not refer to the giving of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Rather, it is an act of the Holy Spirit in which He begins to bear witness with our spirit that we are members of God’s family.

This work of the Holy Spirit assures us of our adoption. In this sense, Paul says, God causes His Holy Spirit within our hearts to cry, “Abba Father,” after we have become sons.

Adoption vs. Justification

Just like regeneration, justification is distinct from adoption. God could have given us a right legal standing before Him without making us His children. This is why it is important to recognize how great our privileges are in adoption.

As mentioned in the first part of this post, adoption has to do with our relationship with God as our Father. When we were adopted into God’s family, God has given us many of the greatest blessings that we will know for all eternity. When we realize how great these blessings are, knowing that God is not obligated to give any of them to us, we will also exclaim:

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1)!

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The Benefits of Adoption

I mentioned several times that there are blessings that come with becoming members of God’s family.

1. God Becomes Our Father

The first and greatest benefit or privilege of our adoption is being able to speak to God and have a relationship with Him as a Father. As we pray, “Our Father in heaven …” (Matthew 6:9), we realize that we are His sons, not slaves. Thus, we relate to God as a child relates to his or her father.

This relationship to God as our Father is the foundation of many other blessings of the Christian life. It’s true; God is our Creator, Lord, Master, Judge, Teacher, Provider, Protector, and Sustainer of our existence. But the most intimate role that conveys the highest privilege of our fellowship with God for eternity is Him being our heavenly Father.

2. God Loves Us and Cares for Us

Another benefit of adoption is that God’s love for us and cares deeply for us. As His children, God our Father has compassion on us (Psalm 103:13, NIV). Moreover, our heavenly Father gives us many good gifts (Matthew 7:11) and a great inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4).

The privilege of being led by the Holy Spirit is also a benefit of adoption (Romans 8:14). This is a moral benefit whereby the Holy Spirit puts in us desires to obey God and live according to His will. As God’s children, we must submit in obedience to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit.

3. God Disciplines Us

Still, another benefit of adoption that we may not always recognize is God disciplining us (Hebrews 12:5-6; Proverbs 3:11-12). The author of Hebrews explains that God is disciplining us because we are His legitimate children (Hebrews 12:7-8).

As our heavenly Father disciplines us, we grow in righteousness and share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10, NIV).

God Disciplines Those Whom He Love

4. Fellowship with Other Believers

Finally, we also have privileges of adoption that affect the way that we relate to each other and affect our own personal conduct.

Because we are God’s children, our relationship with each other is far deeper and more intimate than the relationship among angels. Many passages throughout the New Testament refer to Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ.

See Romans 1:13; 8:12; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 6:8; James 1:2; Matthew 12:50; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 7:15; Philemon 1:2; and James 2:15.

This indicates the strong consciousness they had of the nature of the church as the family of God. As members of God’s family, we are to work together for the good of the family and the honor of God our Father.

Conclusion

All people on the earth are God’s creation but not all of them are God’s children. Scriptures are clear! Only those who place their faith in Christ become members of God’s family.

Have you received Jesus as your Lord and believed in His name? Did you receive the “Spirit of adoption” by whom you cry out, “Abba Father?”

If you are not yet a member of God’s family, why don’t you confess your sins right now? Acknowledge you’re a sinner, believe in the Lord Jesus, and receive God’s forgiveness for your sins. In response to your faith, God will give you the right to become His child and adopt you into His family.

As a result of your adoption, you will be able to enjoy the many blessings and privileges of being a child and son of God.


Reference: Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

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Recommended Resource:

Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children by Robert A. Peterson

Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children (November 19, 2001)

In an age of family breakdown, loneliness, and insecurity, we need more than ever to grasp the meaning of being sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Surprisingly, theologians have devoted little attention to the biblical teaching on adoption.

This book views the many facets of God’s saving grace through the lens of the Bible’s family imagery. Combining careful exegesis with gripping personal stories of father-child relationships, Robert A. Peterson brings home the warmth and wonder of biblical adoption.

The World’s Hatred on God

The World’s Hatred on God

The world hates God, thus, they are a threat to Christians!

This is very clear not only from the Scriptures but based on everything that’s going on around us. But this should not come as a surprise to all followers of Jesus Christ.

Bible Verse: John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Jesus Teaches His Disciples
Photo Credit: Live in God’s Light

Hate and Rejection from the World

Before His departure, Jesus warned His disciples that the world would hate and reject them. No matter how wonderful Jesus’ message was, His followers should expect to be rejected because of who they are.

The disciples knew exactly what it meant to be hated by the world. After Jesus departed, they were all persecuted and died as martyrs, except for John. God’s enemies tried to kill John by boiling him in oil but he miraculously survived.

The early Christians knew and had experienced the hatred of the world. We can read their stories in detail in the book “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.” But martyrdom is not a thing of the past. Christians all around the world continue to endure great persecution because of their faith in Christ.

In this World, Out of this World

The world is hostile towards God. And so, it follows that it is hostile towards those who believe in God. Jesus tried to comfort His disciples by telling them that the world’s hatred was first directed toward Him.

Then Jesus goes on to explain further why the world would hate those who believe in Him. He said, “Because you are not of the world…” Yes, we are still in this world but we are not of this world.

God chose us out of this world and we are in many ways different from the world. Therefore, the world hates us.

At War with the World

Considering every Christian is a part of a spiritual war, we should not trust any unbeliever to give godly or biblical instructions. They don’t have your best interest in mind.

God gave us every remedy for ailments in nature. They are called essential oils. Why trust doctors that believe people are getting better and better when in reality we are decaying. Doctors most of the time are peddling snake oils in the form of petroleum-based pharmaceuticals that only lead to more issues?

Christians are at Wat with the World

Why not use what God has given us in nature? Because they hate God, they will persecute Christians. The socialists hate God because they want an all-powerful government.

All religions hate God because they want people to keep trying to earn salvation. Atheists hate God because there is suffering in the world. As we are getting closer and closer to the return of Jesus, persecution of Christians will only increase including in America.

How should Christians respond? God wants us to love our enemies so they may see God’s love for humanity. We are sheep amongst wolves (Matthew 10:16).

Don’t try for retribution. God will take care of that. God does want us to be wise to their wicked methods.

Satan is the God of this World

They hate God because they are children of Satan. Satan hates people in general because they were made in God’s image. That is why Satan wants all people to be dead.

The pharmaceutical industry has been using aborted babies in vaccines for years. When people take those vaccines, Doesn’t that make them a cannibal or at least an accomplice to murder? The new Covid vaccines will stop reproductive organs from functioning properly. Not to mention the thousands of people dying from these shots.

Satan is behind the murder of people, however, it happens. Because they hate God, division will occur. Why is the world so divided? Too many people are believing the lies that Dr. Fascinating, Bill Gates, President Biden, the pharmaceutical industry, etc. actually care and want your best interest.

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Final Words

God created you. God loves you. We sinned but Jesus died to save you from your sin. If you have never received this free gift of salvation, why not now before it is too late? To every Christian, when persecution comes to you, take heart God is with you. He will enable you to speak for Him.

We do not need to fear what this world can do to our bodies. We must remember that when we die, we will be with God as 2 Corinthians 5:8 says. We have nothing to fear when God is with us. How much faith do we have?

Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). God sent us into this world, He will enable us.

God bless!


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Get a copy of my book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

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
  • How to love 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.

Blessings for Being a Christian

Blessings for Being a Christian

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

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

Bible Verse: Romans 5:1-11

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

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

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

The Blessings of Justification

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

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

We Rejoice in God’s Blessings

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

1. Access to God

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

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

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

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

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

The Blessings of Justification

2. Glorious Hope

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

How do we share in the glory of God?

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

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

3. Strength to Endure Trials

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Jewelry and Wall Decors - Lord's Guidance

4. God’s Love through the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

5. Saved from God’s Wrath and Judgment

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Words

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

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

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

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

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


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

Recommended Resource:

Romans: Grace, Truth, and Redemption by John F. MacArthurRomans: Grace, Truth, and Redemption (MacArthur Bible Studies) - November 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

Do Not Fear, Trust God

Do Not Fear, Trust God

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

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

Matthew 8:26a

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

Choose Faith Over Fear

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

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

Jesus Calms the Storm

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

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

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

Do Not Be Afraid

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

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

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

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

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

Do Not Fear, Trust God

Put Your Trust In God

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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


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

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

Fear Not: Living Grace and Truth in a Frightened World

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

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

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

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

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

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