Jesus' death was central to God's plan of salvation. Scripture tells us the Son of Man had to be lifted up and all who trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior would be saved.(John 3:14-16) The cross was essential for God to accomplish His desire for us—that we would be redeemed and have a personal relationship with Him for all eternity.
There are many people who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and yet continue to live in rebellion against Him. Why is it that some individuals who claim to follow the Son of God refuse to serve Him?1 comments
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.
Some verses—like today's—are easier to memorize than practice. Giving thanks is easy, but giving thanks in everything is a nearly impossible task. And gratitude at times even seems inappropriate, considering the depth of pain or turmoil we are experiencing. But we have a Comforter who helps us exercise thankfulness in every situation.
Paul wrote extensively about spiritual joy and knew it was attainable even in dire situations. That's because it originates with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Christians almost universally agree that God answers prayer. But many people, if they were honest, would amend the phrase to say, "He answers most prayers, but not mine." A believer can fervently call upon God without receiving what he considers a satisfactory answer.
The cultural emphasis on "self " has bred a prayer crisis. Too many believers focus on a problem or its perceived solution instead of making God the center of their attention. Second Chronicles 20 shows us a better way.
When we are called into a new life with Christ, we will encounter obstacles. One of the biggest barriers is the culture in which we live. We may not ever recognize the danger we are in until we fall. Let's look honestly at our world.
The Pharisees and Sadducees put a great deal of time and effort into analyzing the Mosaic Law and disputing the weight of its 613 rules. Was this one more important than that one? Did one apply when another didn't? Jesus cut right through the debate by summarizing the Law in two key principles: Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:34).
The Lord is never taken by surprise. He knows everything we're going through, and He is orchestrating our circumstances for both our benefit and His glory, according to His good will.2 comments
Someday you and I are going to stand in the presence of the holy Lord, and our life will be reviewed. At that time, our works will be judged, and we will be rewarded accordingly.
Over time believers should become increasingly like Christ. We're never more like Him than when we are selflessly reaching out to meet somebody else's needs. As servants, we need to incorporate the following into our lives:
Our Father has specific plans for each of His children. Toward that end, He has placed a three-fold call on the life of every believer:
God is calling us—His children—to take certain risks. He wants us to stop playing it safe and to step out in obedience. While doing so creates uncertainty in our lives, there are some things of which we can be confident.
Many Christians like playing it safe by gathering as many facts as possible, analyzing the options, and making choices in order to be reasonably certain of the outcome. We tend to label risk "undesirable" because it could end up causing loss and heartache; we fear unwanted results as much as we dread missing out on our dreams. But not only that—we are also afraid of looking foolish or incompetent, incurring financial difficulty, or facing physical danger. From a human viewpoint, eliminating uncertainty makes sense.