Find Real Hope

May 3 2016 – by Andrew Mikhov

Whatever you’re going through, God knows — and cares. Find real hope!
The Bible says,

“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus said,

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” — a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10).

We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” The Bible says,

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

BUT!

Jesus died in our place so we could live with Him in eternity.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives!
We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty. Accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear Lord Jesus,
I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.
I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.
Guide my life and help me to do your will.
In your name, amen.”

numbers_of_hope

 

 

From Darkness Into Light

April 27 2016 – by Jan Howard

In mid-March, weather conditions were just the right combination to create a heavy fog over Florida’s Tampa Bay. The darkened atmosphere, and poor visibility led to closing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge two mornings in one week. There are an estimated 54,000 people who commute over the bridge each day. So, one can imagine the chaos that ensued as throngs of frustrated commuters looked for backup routes in snarled traffic.

But as annoying, and stressful as atmospheric fog might be, there is another kind of fog that has far more devastating consequences. This can be seen in people who walk in a sort of spiritual fog, always seeking, but never finding, because they either search for God in wrong places, or they don’t search at all, because they don’t believe in Him. And, their hearts and minds become darkened to the truth.

In the case of physical fog, when the sun appears the fog lifts, and the darkness dispels. Likewise, the appearance of the Son of God dispels our spiritual darkness & gives us light. Jesus speaking in John 8:12 says:

“I am the light of the world.” “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

If someone really wants to know who God is, all they need is a Bible. Romans 1: 18-32 tells us that what may be known about God is plain to us, because He has made it plain to us.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

In other words, worship, and praise God as our Creator!
Also, believe the words of Psalm 119: 105:

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

When we trust the words of Scripture, and believe in Jesus, who is also called the “Word of God,” we will never walk in spiritual darkness. Our hearts and minds are illuminated when we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior!

foggy bridge

Created by God to Serve

April 13 2016 – by Wayne Metcalf

People, you were created by God to serve. What He told the prophet Jeremiah is also true for you:

“Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NCV)

God redeemed you so you could do His holy work. In God’s kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill, and this gives your life great significance and special value. The Bible says,

“You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you.” (1 Peter 2:9, GW)

Anytime you use your God-given abilities to help others, you are fulfilling your calling.
In an underground church in Viet Nam I have heard them say when they welcome new believers – “Jesus now has a new pair of eyes with which to see, a new set of ears for listening, two new hands for which to help, and a new heart for loving others.” You’re not only the eyes, ears, hands, and heart of Jesus among your peers, you also have the crucial role of helping the people in your circle to become the eyes, ears, hands, and heart of Jesus. Your partnership is desperately needed in the Body of Christ, and no matter where you serve, it is a critical outpost for advancing God’s kingdom. Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important. There is no small or insignificant service to God; it all matters. Likewise, there are no insignificant ministries in the Body of Christ. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable. Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. There is no correlation between size and significance. Your ministry matters because it matters to God, and you are crucial to the Body of Christ because we’re all dependent on each other.
Jesus taught that we should maintain an attitude of service no different from His own, for the Messiah “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life.” Jesus came “to serve” and “to give” – and those two verbs should define your life on earth too. Jesus taught that spiritual maturity is never an end in itself, rather maturity is for ministry. In the same way, your position as a Christian should never become an end in itself – as if you have arrived – rather it is a heavenly calling to wash the feet of those around you, serving those in your congregation and your community at large. We grow up in Christ in order to give out. It is not enough to keep learning more and more about the Bible or the latest church growth technique, certainly these are good things, but we must act on what we know and practice what we claim to believe. Some of us know the streets of ancient Jerusalem better than we know the streets of our own hometown, and that’s an indicator that we’re out of balance when it comes to serving those around us. Study without service leads to spiritual stagnation. The old comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is still true: Galilee is a lake full of life because it takes in water but also gives it out; in contrast, nothing lives in the Dead Sea because, with no outflow, the lake has become stagnate.
Can you see the logic of God’s intent? If you want greater spiritual maturity and wisdom, you need to be pouring what you already know into the lives of others! Why would God pour more maturity and wisdom into a stagnate reservoir? Following this same thought, the last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study; they already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are opportunities to serve, where they can exercise their spiritual muscles. Let’s be an example that will teach the members of our church to shift from an attitude of “serve us” to “service.” We need to no longer say, “I want a church that meets my needs and blesses me.” Instead, we need to learn to say, “I want a place to serve and be a blessing.” You are a blessing as you serve the church, and even though they may not see all the things you do, God does; and he is pleased to have you as his eyes, ears, hands, and heart.

serve

 

Changing grounds

April 6 2016 - by Andrew Mikhov

An eagle does not fight a snake on the ground. It picks it up and changes grounds, then releases it back to the ground.
A snake has no stamina, no power, no balance in the air. It is useless, 
weak and vulnerable unlike on the ground where it is deadly, wise and 
powerful.
Take your fight to the spirit realm and when you are in the spiritual realm God takes charge.
Don't fight in the physical realm; change grounds like an eagle.
You will be assured of a clean uncontested victory.
This is my advise for you today as you get ready to usher into a challenging time of the year.
May God guide and protect us in Jesus' name.
changing grounds

Finding Life in Jesus

March 30 2016 – by Zach Alexander

Luke 18
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

I am struck by how this young man comes to Jesus with good intentions of drawing closer to God and receiving eternal life. He is a normal person like you and me. Yet as the passage reads on, we see that he has some pride in his accomplishments. Upon seeing this, Jesus calls him to give up his resources. The man seems to be blind to an idol in his life that has become more important than God. Jesus demands a radical response. What if Jesus told you to empty your bank account for the poor? I am not sure I could do it.

What does it mean to rely on Jesus even with our daily needs? Jesus is inviting him into a relationship: “Then come, follow me.” But first he must give up one thing. Jesus seems to have a way of placing his finger on the one thing that we hold onto too tight. If he is able to take that first step of faith, then he is promised a life in God’s will.

For those who do step out in faith, there are promises of treasures and life with God. Peter wonders if he gets to be with God, has he done enough? Jesus goes on to reassure him that God is faithful to honor his life of faith. Jesus promises to provide for those who trust Jesus, but that provision has to come from him. I believe when we try to care for ourselves on our own we will find life draining and empty. He is offering us what we need but we have to place him above everything else.

Is there something that has become too important in your life?
What is a source of anxiety or unnecessary obsession?
What would it look like to give that to Jesus?

Prayer: Jesus we admit that we are sinful and want to find life apart from you. Forgive us. Help us to trust you with everything we need. Take care of us. Give us the strength to give you every part of our lives. Amen.

Finding Life in Jesus

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