Because He is Risen…

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1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (KJV)

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Jesus is alive.

He was resurrected from the dead and lives in heaven, interceding on our behalf.

Because He is risen, we can have confidence that . . .

• Our sins are forgiven. Jesus came into this world to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). Through His death on the cross, the debt for our iniquities has been paid completely. We are a forgiven people.

• The Lord is actively involved in our lives. Jesus made many promises to His followers of all generations. He pledged that those who abide in Him and do His will would bear much fruit for God’s kingdom, enjoy spiritual blessings, and have guidance from the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is ever-present (Matt. 5:1-12; John 15:5).

Jesus spoke several times about the power of prayer for those who believe—we have assurance that our petitions will be heard and answered. When our requests are in accordance with the Lord’s will, we’ll receive what we have asked for (1 John 5:14-15).

Jesus gave His word that He would prepare a place for us in heaven and return one day to bring us to our everlasting home. Then we will live with Him forever. We can face each day secure in the knowledge of these truths.

We can face each day secure in the knowledge of these truths.

Because Jesus has accomplished all this for us, He deserves our steadfast allegiance. Our worldview is to be framed by His life and words.

We must stand firm and not compromise when the world tries to draw us away.

Honor our risen Savior by following Him wholeheartedly (1 Cor. 15:58).

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Let Him Speak…

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2 Samuel 7:8-22 (KJV)

8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.18Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?
20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant.
21 For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
22 Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Of all the heroes in Scripture, few are spoken of as respectfully as King David.

What made him so special?

David himself wondered the same thing  (2 Sam. 7:18)

The best answer is simply that he was a man who listened to God.

Righteousness is impossible unless we listen to the Father. When we do, we gain divine guidance, direction, discipline, and encouragement. This was certainly true of the shepherd-king (Ps. 63:1-8).

In the Psalms, we get a beautiful picture of David’s prayer life. Note four things he did when meditating on God:

1. He reviewed the past. 

Though David had made some serious mistakes, those hard times produced a necessary humility. Looking back helped him remember God’s faithfulness.

2. He reflected upon the Lord’s character.

When we focus on His attributes, we grow in our understanding of who He is. This results in a more personal, interactive relationship.

3. David recalled God’s promises. 

He knew the Lord had always directed his steps—and with great success.

4. He made requests of his heavenly Father. 

God never intended for us to go through life alone. He is always ready to act on our behalf.

Stop for a minute and think about how you typically interact with God. If prayer time is dominated by your own talking, some adjustments may be in order.

Just as the Lord spoke to David, God also has many things to say to you, if you’ll simply let Him speak.

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A Misguided Sense of Direction…

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1 Samuel 16:6-13 (KJV)

6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

What do you live for each day?

A pay raise?

Retirement?

Then perhaps you’ve discovered the reality that basing aspirations on getting ahead in this world typically ends in disappointment.

People with a misguided sense of direction often wonder why they feel unfulfilled.

Maybe you’ve already realized a goal of saving for the future or moving up the corporate ladder. You give to charity and volunteer at church, but somehow still feel a sense of insignificance or aimlessness. If so, there is a truth you need to hear: God gives each of us life for a very specific reason: to serve Him. Nobody finds inner peace without reconciling this fact.

Our society teaches us that pleasure, prosperity, position, and popularity will make us happy–but living in the service of self always leaves an emptiness no earthly reward can fill.

Besides, worldly philosophy won’t stand the test of time. Few of us are going to live even 100 years. So whatever we’ll become in this life, we’re in the process of becoming that right now. Consider David: he was anointed king long before actually assuming the role (1 Sam. 16:12). He spent many years serving the purpose of God in insignificant places while developing into a great man.

As his story shows, discovering God’s purpose for your life is the surest path to success.

Our heavenly Father’s purpose for our lives comes from His heart of love–which is perfect. None of us can foretell the great things He has in store for us, but we can trust His plan completely.

Surrender to Him today and say, “Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done.”

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Winning Our Unseen Battles…

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 Ephesians 6:10-12 (KJV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Satan does exist—our broken society testifies to his reality.

Those who ignore him do so at their own peril.

This is also true of Christians, because we are all at war against him. Spiritual warfare is personal; Satan crafts specific attacks for each individual. Though he cannot steal a believer’s spirit from God, he can and does harass us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Every ambush and frontal attack is meant to defeat our witness so we can’t live a victorious Christ-centered life.

Our foe is not omniscient, but he is crafty.

He observes our strong and weak points to determine the best areas for attack. As soon as his quarry becomes comfortable and least expects trouble, the Adversary springs a trap. Among his most deceptive tactics is hiding behind familiar faces in order to misguide our fury. For example, he may tempt a husband to make an unwise financial decision that angers the wife and leaves her feeling insecure. But the husband is not her enemy—he needs her love and forgiveness. The enemy is always Satan and his legion of demons.

The first rule of warfare is to know one’s enemy, and thanks to Scripture, we can.

The Bible also contains an important assurance: “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The combined forces of hell cannot equal the supernatural power of a single believer. We have Christ living within us—the same Christ who was triumphant on the cross and whose final victory over Satan is prophesied in Revelation.

Through Him, we can conquer Satan and win our unseen battles.

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The Right To Choose….

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John 3:17-18 (KJV)

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

As a society, Americans are fond of their rights.

We’re very protective of our liberties, even when they might bring harm rather than good. That can be true of spiritual matters as well.

For example, exercising the “right” to reject God’s plan of salvation leaves a person in a condemned condition.

Many people say: “I don’t believe God is going to condemn me to hell.”

I agree, but not with the comment’s intended meaning–that a person is worthy of heaven on the basis of his own merit. You see, it is true that the Lord doesn’t condemn people to hell.

He allows them to opt for that eternal destination themselves. They have a right to choose.

God says that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ have been judged already (v. 18). In other words, by rejecting–or politely ignoring–their need for a Savior, unbelievers have chosen to remain unsaved and unforgiven.

Scripture teaches that there will one day be a judgment, but God has already determined that those who trust in Christ will stand with Him while the rest will be sent away (Matt. 25:34-46). An unrepentant man or woman is not condemned by God but, rather, has chosen to remain in the company of all those condemned by their own free will.

God desires that everyone come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

To that end, He has granted each person the right to decide whether or not to follow in obedience.

However, those who reject the Savior are forewarned that they have settled for condemnation.

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The Tolerate Sin Excuse, “Nobody’s Perfect!”

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (KJV)

1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Did you know that God didn’t save you just to keep you from hell and get you into heaven?

His top priority while you are here on earth is to shape you into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). But at this stage of our sanctification, He doesn’t do it all for us. We have a responsibility to cooperate with Him and actively participate in the process. Yet many Christians have a passive attitude about the life of faith.

They tolerate sin and smooth it over with the age-old excuse, “Nobody’s perfect!”

When you received Christ as your Savior, you took the first step in your walk with Him–a walk that will last the rest of your life. However, you also stepped into spiritual warfare with Satan. The Enemy may have lost your soul, but he’s going to do everything he can to hinder, sidetrack, and discourage you.

The last thing he wants is a saint who’s on fire for the Lord and useful in the kingdom.

But many believers have abdicated their responsibility to live holy lives. In fact, some of them look and act just like the unbelieving world. Sexual immorality is one area of compromise that the apostle Paul addressed specifically, but in truth, we should abstain from anything that interferes with godliness.

Have you allowed something in your life that shouldn’t be there? If so, you need to drop it now. You don’t want a thread of sin to become a rope, then a chain, and finally a cable that traps you in a stronghold.

Turn back to the Lord, and let your sanctification continue.

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Until The End of The Age…

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Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

If you’re a believer, you are part of the awesome body of Christ, which is called to bring His light to the world both individually and corporately.

Though many see the church as a social organization, that’s not what the Bible says it is.

Sometimes we forget that our purpose isn’t simply to have fellowship, sing, preach, and worship. Jesus entrusted us with good news of the true life He offers to everyone. This calling isn’t just for foreign “missionaries”—it’s for every believer. Your mission field includes your family, friends, coworkers, and perhaps even a people group God puts on your heart, often right in your community.

Before returning to heaven, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, in which He promised to be with believers to the end of the age.

That pledge still stands. He doesn’t send us out to do His work on our own. Vowing never to leave us, He gave the assurance that all tasks He assigns will be achieved through us by His Holy Spirit.

What an honor to be included in the Lord’s redemptive plan for the world!

He invites you to have a vital part in His kingdom work of transforming what is broken and giving new life. Everything you do in obedience is an opportunity for His Spirit to work powerfully through you!

He is still speaking His message of assurance to us: You’ll have Me as your companion, your captain, your victory. You’ll have Me as your resource, your energy, your anointing. Everything you need, you’ll find in Me.

How does recognizing the greatness of your calling change the way you see your daily life?

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Joy, Peace, and Guidance…

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Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 Almighty God is righteous and just. Romans 3:23 tells us that all people have sinned and are inadequate to be in His presence.

As a result of His wrath against sin, we were doomed to eternal separation from Him.

 But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.

In His love and mercy, God sent His Son to walk among us. Jesus experienced the hardship and temptation common to all people, yet He never sinned. The Savior chose to die a gruesome death in our place, paying the penalty for our wrongs.

 There is no deeper love, Scripture tells us, than a man who gives up his life for a friend (John 15:13).

Jesus went even farther—dying for us while we were still His enemies (Rom. 5:10). In fact, He would have sacrificed Himself even if you were the only person ever to exist.

Promising forgiveness and eternal life, Christ asks sinful man to believe and follow Him.

When we trust in Jesus, we are adopted as God’s children and receive His indwelling Spirit, who blesses abundantly with joy, peace, and guidance. Always welcome before the Throne of Grace, believers have access to converse with the Father at any time. He promises to hear and respond to our seeking, repentant hearts. And Jesus intercedes for us, praying on our behalf.

 We don’t deserve the Lord’s invitation to have an intimate relationship with Him.

Yet in His grace, He is loving and compassionate toward us. What a privilege to be able to approach the King’s throne, knowing He listens, understands, and cares.

Rest in God’s love, and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.

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