Wasting Our Tomorrows

February 26, 2020 by David Wilkerson

As Paul faced his court trial in Rome, he was held under horrible conditions (see Philippians 1:13-14). He was guarded around the clock by soldiers of the Praetorian guard, his feet chained to a soldier on either side. These men were crude, hardened, cursing frequently. They’d seen it all, and to them in their line of work, every jailed man was a guilty criminal, including Paul.


Think about it: Here was a man who had been very active, loving to travel the open road and high seas to meet and fellowship with God’s people. Paul drew his greatest joy from visiting the churches he had established throughout that region of the world. But now he was chained down, literally bound to the hardest, most profane men alive.


Paul had two options in his situation. He could spin out into a morbid, sour mood, asking the same self-centered question over and over: “Why me?” He could crawl into a pit of despair, reasoning himself into a hopeless depression, completely consumed with the thought, “Here I am bound up, with my ministry shut down, while others out there enjoy a harvest of souls. Why?”


Instead, Paul chose to ask, “How is my present situation going to bring glory to Christ? How can great good come out of my trial?” This servant of God made up his mind: “Now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).


Paul’s attitude demonstrates the only way we can be emancipated from our dark pit of unhappiness and worry. You see, it’s possible to waste all our tomorrows anxiously waiting to be delivered out of our suffering. If that becomes our focus, we’ll totally miss the miracle and joy of being set free in our trial.


Consider Paul’s statement: “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). Paul is saying, “Don’t pity me or think I’m discouraged over my future. And please don’t say my work is finished. Yes, I’m in chains and suffering, but the gospel is being preached through it all.”


There is always HOPE! God knows what you are going through. He is in control and allowing things for His perfect and loving reasons. He is faithful and loving and good. We can trust Him completely. He has a purpose for your life and He is working in your life to bring good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.


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Is the Gospel Shining From Your Life?

February 22, 2021 by David Wilkerson

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). These are Paul’s closing word to the Philippians. He wasn’t saying, “I am in prison and these chains are a blessing. I’m so happy for this pain.” I’m convinced Paul prayed daily for his release and at times cried out for strength to endure. Even Jesus, in his hour of trial and pain, cried to the Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” That is our first impulse in our afflictions, to cry out, “Why?” And the Lord is patient with that cry.


But God has also made provision so that our “what ifs” and “whys” can be answered by his Word. Paul writes, “Knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel… Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice” (Philippians 1:17-18). He’s telling us, in other words, “I am determined God’s Word will be validated by my reaction to this affliction. I have set my mind that I won’t disgrace the gospel or make it seem powerless.”


Here is the message that I hear through Paul: We don’t have to do something great for the Lord. We only have to trust him. Our role is to place our lives in God’s hands and believe he will care for us. If we simply do that, his gospel is being preached, no matter what our circumstances. And Christ will be revealed in us most especially in our difficult circumstances.


Sam, an elder in our church, once told me, “Pastor David, the way you respond to hard times is a testimony to me.” What Sam didn’t realize is that his life is a sermon to me. He lives with chronic pain that allows him to sleep no more than a few hours each night. Despite his constant, raging pain, his devotion to the Lord is a testimony to all of us. His life preaches Christ as powerfully as any of Paul’s sermons.


So, is Christ being preached in your present trial? Does your family see the gospel at work in you? Or do they see only panic, despair and questioning of God’s faithfulness? How are you responding to your affliction? 


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God's Presence is Worth More than Anything

February 19, 2021 by Jennifer Friesen

Pastor Jennifer shared such an encouraging message on Psalm 73 on Sunday.


Here is just a portion:


God’s very own presence is always with the righteous. It’s true that they may suffer, that they will not always have health and wealth and success, but they will always have God himself! Psalm 73:. 23-26 expresses this so beautifully: 


Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.


Asaph had previously said, in Psalm 73, that wicked men may think they’re getting away with something, and they may have all the power and money and fame in the world, but none of that will last. I have something better, because those who do what is right and choose to follow God receive a lasting blessing that transcends our difficult circumstances – God’s very own presence. God holds us, guides us, strengthens us and shares his glory with us. Our blessing, our earthly reward, is God’s presence, and that is enough.


Interestingly, the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son says the same thing to his angry son. After the older brother explodes, this is what the Father tells him in Luke 15:31-32, 


31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.


Think about that. He’s saying 2 very important things here. First of all, God says, you have my constant, faithful presence. That alone should be enough for us. If it isn’t, then we don’t really know what God’s presence is. We don’t realize what we’ve got, because maybe we haven’t fully experienced it. The older brother definitely hadn’t.


God’s presence means peace. It means joy. It means freedom. It means unconditional love and forgiveness. It means power. It means you are never, ever alone. God’s presence is the most fulfilling, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and life-giving thing we could ever experience. 


So when Asaph says, “Earth has nothing I desire besides you,” he really means it! We don’t become faithful followers of God for the material rewards, or we will be very disappointed. God’s plan is not to make us healthy and wealthy, but to teach us to sacrifice ourselves for others. And he is worthy of our worship and service regardless of what we may or may not get out of it. His presence alone is worth it! Just to be with him is worth whatever else we have to go through to follow him. 


But that’s not all. God is so incredibly gracious and kind. So the father tells his son not only, “you are always with me,” but also a second thing, “everything I have is yours.” Not only do we get to be with God at all times, but we are going to inherit everything God has. The father says to us, because you are my heir, everything I have is yours. This is stated explicitly in Romans 8:17: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”


What exactly are we going to inherit? What does God have that he shares with us? All of creation. Heaven and earth belong to him, and everything in them, and someday at the final judgment, when we are resurrected to live forever in God’s kingdom, we will own everything and the wicked will have nothing. Our fortunes will be reversed once and for all: the wicked will lose all that they acquired, and the righteous will gain everything.


So what does it matter if during this little blip of time that we call our life here on earth, the wicked have most of the power, wealth, fame and success? Let them have it!Unless they change their ways, it may be all they are ever going to get, whereas we have a great reward to look forward to in the next life, a reward that will last for billions upon billions upon billions of years. Forever. There is no reason to be jealous of them – in fact, they deserve our pity and our prayers.


So when we are tempted to say, like Asaph, that being good is not worth it, that evil people always prosper and God is not fair, this is what we need to keep in mind: We have God’s presence with us and even within us through the Holy Spirit, and we will inherit everything that God has. We can have confidence to persevere through hard times because we know that God will keep his promises and that it will all be worth it.


We should take note of how Asaph ends his psalm. He says, “As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”


Once Asaph found the comfort and faith that he needed, he went out and shared it with others. He told the people that he was leading about what God had done for him, and how he had resolved his doubts. He wrote down the whole story of his struggle in this Psalm to encourage us! Whatever we learn from God, we are responsible to pass on to others. Whether that is in a casual conversation, in a Bible study discussion, in a written or spoken testimony, or on your instagram page – we all need to be sharing what we have learned from God and encouraging others! 


Lord, please help the person reading this to experience Your presence in such a way that whatever doubts they are struggling with will dissolve, and that they will be empowered to tell others about that experience. 


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The Ninety-Nine are Not Forsaken

February 16, 2021 by Gary Wilkerson

Luke 15:3-7 talks about the shepherd who leaves his flock of 99 sheep in order to search for one lost sheep, and we usually focus on the lost sheep, but what about the others who were left behind?


I imagine that out of those 100 sheep, there were probably three or four who were always right at the shepherd’s knees wherever he went. These were the sheep who thought, “Man, we’re not leaving you.” They knew what time the shepherd woke up in the morning, and if he woke up at 6:00 a.m. then at 5:59 those were the sheep nudging his arm. These were the sheep who would notice the moment the shepherd became alarmed and start bleating.

These are the sheep who are the diligent seekers. They not only know the Lord’s voice like most of the other sheep, but they also love being in his presence.


So when that one sheep wanders off, the shepherd goes out to search for it, and he leaves (momentarily) the sheep who are diligently seeking him. Have you ever noticed that, those of you who diligently seek God? Sometimes you wonder, “Where did he go? I was following him; I was close to him. I was feeling his presence, and now I can’t.”


How many times did Jesus leave his disciples to spend time with God or talk to someone who was socially outcast? He always found his disciples again, or they found him, but usually it was under circumstances that made them wonder, “What is he doing now?”


God is about his business, and his business is glorifying himself through the saving of his people. He’s going out after the lost sheep. As often as not, it happens in ways that even we who closely follow him don’t understand. These are the moments when our faith is stretched and refined, to continue trusting that, even when we don’t understand his actions or he seems to leave us, our shepherd is merciful and just.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

February 12, 2021 by David Wilkerson

“Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way” (Matthew 15:32).


I believe Christ was making a statement to His disciples here. He was saying, “I’m going to do more for the people than heal them. I’ll make sure they have enough bread to eat. I’m concerned about everything that affects their lives. You have to see that I am more than just power. I am also compassion. If you see Me only as a healer, a miracle worker, you will fear Me. But if you also see Me as compassionate, you’re going to love and trust Me.”


I am writing this message for all who are on the brink of exhaustion, about to faint, overwhelmed by your present situation. You’ve been a faithful servant, feeding others, confident that God can do the impossible for His people. Yet you have some lingering doubts about His willingness to intervene in your struggle.


I wonder how many readers of this message have spoken words of faith and hope to others who are facing distressing, seemingly hopeless situations? You have urged them, “Hold on! The Lord is able. He is a miracle-working God, and His promises are true. So, don’t lose hope, because He’s going to answer your cry.”


“Do you really believe in miracles?” That’s the question the Holy Spirit asked of me. My answer was, “Yes, of course, Lord. I believe in every miracle I’ve read about in Scripture.” Yet this answer is not good enough. The Lord’s question to each one of us really is, “Do you believe I can work a miracle for you?” And not just one miracle, but a miracle for every crisis, every situation we face. We need more than Old Testament miracles, New Testament miracles, and by-gone miracles in history. We need up-to-date, personal miracles that are designed just for us and our situation.


Think of the one difficulty you’re facing right now, your greatest need, your most troubling problem. You’ve prayed about it for so long. Do you really believe the Lord can and will work it out, in ways you can’t conceive? That kind of faith commands the heart to quit fretting or asking questions. It tells you to rest in the Father’s care, trusting Him to do it all in His way and time.


God is always in control and He promises to work ALL things out for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28). God can't lie. Romans 8:28 is a promise for believers. Although sin and satan are powerful, God is more powerful; He is able to redeem and restore anything for our good and His glory. All things may not be good, but God can and will use all things for good. He WILL work all things out for your good! Trust Him.


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God Can Rescue You!

February 8, 2021 by David Wilkerson

The Apostle Peter tells us, “For if God…did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah…bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes…making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:4-9).


Despite the severity of these examples, God is sending a clear message of comfort to His people, as if to say: “I have just given you two of the greatest examples of my compassion. If, in the midst of a world-engulfing flood, I can deliver one righteous man and his family out of the havoc…then can I not deliver you also? Can I not provide a miraculous way of escape?


The lesson here for the righteous is this: God will do whatever it takes to deliver His people out of fiery trials and temptations. Think about it: It took the opening of the Red Sea to deliver Israel out of the clutches of its enemy. It took water out of a rock to save those same Israelites from their wilderness trial. It took miracle bread, angels’ food literally sent from heaven, to spare them from hunger. And it took an ark to save Noah from the flood, and “angel escorts” to deliver Lot from fiery destruction. The clear point is that God knows how to deliver His people, and He will go to any extreme to accomplish it, no matter what their circumstance.


Peter’s phrase “God knows how to deliver” means simply, “He has already made plans.” The wonderful truth is that God already has plans for our deliverance even before we cry out to Him. And He doesn’t sit on those plans; He only awaits our cry for help. We may be entangled in the struggle of a lifetime, wondering how God will deliver us, yet He is ready all at times to put His plan into action.


We see this illustrated in Jeremiah 29, when Israel was in captivity to Babylon. Here was perhaps the greatest trial God’s people had ever experienced, yet the Lord promised them: “After seventy years, I will visit you and perform my Word to you.”


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). The last phrase literally means “to give you what you long for.” God wants us to keep praying so we’ll be ready for His deliverance.


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7 Reasons Singing is ESSENTIAL to the Christian Life

February 5, 2021 by Tom Olson

Have you ever wondered why God desires for His people to sing? What role should singing play in the life of a Christian? What is it about worshiping through song that is so important to God?


You may not know it, but God has already answered these questions in the Bible.


The seven reasons below answer these questions and unpack more important truth about singing in the life of an individual Christian and the church.


1. When you sing, you obey.

Singing isn’t an option in Scripture. It’s a command:


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)


And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart… (Ephesians 5:18-19)


God’s people are more than just invited to sing; we are commanded to sing. When we sing, we’re doing what God asks of us!


2. When you sing, you dig deep roots in the Word.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs… (Colossians 3:16)


The Apostle Paul lays out this exhortation to let God’s Word dwell in us richly, and then, he tells us how to live out that command. The first, of course, is teaching. But the second, is singing!


Singing is one of the two chief ways in which God’s Word dwells in us richly.

And, as we observed in the last point, singing is a command. But this command comes with a promise: As we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together, we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly, which is what we should crave as believers!


Our singing is more than a warm-up for the sermon or a filler in the service. Colossians 3:16 is clearly laying out for us that: Singing stands alongside of preaching as one of the two great ways that God has ordained for his Word to dwell richly in each one of us!


C.J. Mahaney calls church singing “Take Home Theology” because the best songs we sing together serve as a 3-minute, easily memorizable, deeply biblical summary of important truths from Scripture. Take for example, “In Christ Alone.” There, in an easily memorizable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the cross of Jesus Christ with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week!


3. When you sing, you build up others.

First, you build up fellow believers when you sing:

Note specifically here in Ephesians 5:19 that it says: “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…”


We see the same thing in Colossians 3:13-16: the exhortation to sing comes on the heels of bearing with one another (v. 13a), forgiving one another (v. 13b), putting on love (v. 14), being at peace as one united body of Christ (v. 15), and teaching God’s Word to one another (v. 16).


When we do what the Bible says and sing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of faith all around! We are hearing hundreds join with us and sing, “In Christ alone, my hope is found!” We are hearing hundreds of testimonies of faith all around us!


Also know that as you sing, you’re helping unbelievers. In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a light unto the nations, and to do this He tells them: “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!”


Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Christ to hear those hundreds of testimonies, those hundreds of confessions of faith as we sing together! This is why Pastor Tim Keller says in his book Worship by the Book: “Good corporate worship will naturally be evangelistic” (219).


4. When you sing, you make war.

Chances are you didn’t connect singing and warfare together, but it’s a theme visible in Scripture. In Colossians 3, Paul is challenging the Colossians to literally put sin to death in their lives, to kill sin. So all the commands to love and peace and forgiveness and teaching and singing are attitudes and habits of the believer that will kill sin!


We see the same thing in Ephesians 5, the command to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).


And the more you think about this, it makes total sense: What posture must be more hated by the evil one than the posture of a believer who is singing? I can’t think of many stances you can take that identifies you with Christ and against Satan more than eyes, heart, mind, and voice lifted to heaven in song!


It’s very hard to lie, be greedy or to look at something inappropriate when, you’re “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19). Simply, a heart that’s doing that will not easily give in to temptation.


A singing heart is a heart at war with the work of the evil one and the power of sin.


5. When you sing, you are spiritually strengthened for trial.

Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and times are good, but singing bringing strength for trial comes out in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)


And this truth is confirmed in the lives of persecuted believers throughout history. Hear the words of one pastor recently imprisoned for his faith:


…When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us…they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments!When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank). (persecutionblog.com)


Our persecuted brothers are showing us the truth we see in Acts 16 with Paul and Silas. Singing strengthens you and helps you persevere in the face of trial. If it can strengthen them in the face of these trials, what can it do for you?


Even in suffering, sing!


6. When you sing, you walk a God-designed pathway to joy.

Here is a sample of what the Psalms say about singing:


Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.”


Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”


Psalms 51:14: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.”


Psalms 59:16: “I will sing of Your strength; I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”


Psalms 63:7: “For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.”


If you still don’t believe me, here’s a clincher from James 5:13: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”


As you study Scripture on this point, you’ll notice that sometimes singing gives birth to joy and sometimes joy gives birth to singing. But persistently in Scripture, joy, and singing are bound together. You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without encountering the other.


If you struggle for joy…sing! If you are joyful…sing! In God’s perfect design and understanding of the human condition, He has bound joy and singing together for His people.


The first six reasons get summed up with this:


7. When you sing, you glorify God.

True obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, finding joy in God: All these things bring glory to God, which is each person’s chief goal and purpose.


Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 bring this out simply but powerfully, telling us to sing “to God” and “to the Lord” because He is the object of our praise. 


Ephesians 5:19 says, “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” It is to Him and about Him that we sing!


Singing has such a unique way of bringing your heart, soul, mind, and strength together to focus entirely and completely on God. In an age of distraction, singing grabs the attention of all our senses and focuses us on God.


In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


Eternity awaits.


On that day, will you be one of the great multitude that no one can number, singing the song of the Lamb, singing His praises? I hope you’ll be there, singing the song of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


What are some of your favourite songs to sing to God? Let us know by clicking here.

Five Ways God Provides the Fuel of Encouragement

February 1, 2021 by Leslie Shmucker

We all need encouragement!!! I know I sure do.


What do cars, factories, power grids, bonfires, light bulbs, backhoes, human beings, and arguments all have in common? They all run on fuel. Without it, they die.


As fossil and other fuels power most everything we use in our daily lives, and food fuels our body, and harsh words fuel an argument, so encouragement fuels our soul. Without the fuel of encouragement from the Word of God and the people of God, our growth in the grace of God will wither rather than flourish as God intends.


As a teacher, I see this play out every day at school. When I encounter a student who shrinks in the face of a difficult task, I only have to offer words of encouragement to see their confidence grow. A hearty, “I know this is tough, but you can do it. Here, I’ll help you,” is the fuel they need to move forward in the task with bolstered confidence and assurance.


The Author of Encouragement


Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Indeed, encouragement is fuel for the soul.


God is the author of encouragement, and His word is its purveyor. How many times do we try to go it alone in life without accessing the comfort and guidance of God’s gracious, accessible, abundant, authoritative, trustworthy, dependable, soul-fueling Word? Every Christian needs daily time in the Word of God and to do life with fellow Christians in the local church. Without daily time in the Word and fellowship with other believers, we will run on our own sufficiency rather than on the fuel of encouragement God has so richly provided.


Five Ways God Provides the Fuel of Encouragement


1. The Comfort of His Presence

We cannot sustain the awareness of God’s nearness and companionship without the encouragement of scripture. God’s word is where we are fueled with the encouragement He has provided.


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).

“The Lord God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17).

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).


2. His Protection, Strength, and Assurance in Trial

“In the world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). If you are in the world, you will have trials in your life. Count on it. Sorry to be so grim, but the truth remains. God’s Word is where we are fueled with the encouragement of His protection, strength, and assurance in troubling times.


“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:7).

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will not either slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.” (Psalm 121:1-8).

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5).

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).


3. His Love

Jonathan Edwards said, “There is such love and such grace in the heart of God [that] if you understood the length and breadth and height and depth of it, you would never be discouraged.” God’s Word is where we are fueled with the encouragement of His love for His people.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

“But God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)


4. His Provision

If we are in Christ, we have no lack. If God calls us to something, He will provide us with everything we need to accomplish it. God’s Word is where we are fueled with the encouragement of His provision.


“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).


5. The Preemptive Assurance of What to Expect Before He Returns

In His benevolence, God has given us some preemptive assurance of what we can expect as followers of Christ— so when the times seem strange, we are not taken by surprise. God’s Word is where we are fueled with assurance while we wait for His return.


“But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.” (John 16:4).


“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12).


“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.“ (2 Timothy 3:1-5).


“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4).


“And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:10-14).


Rather than operating on our own sufficiency and running out of gas, we need to fill up daily- sometimes several times a day with the reading of the inerrant, infallible, inspired, and sufficient Word of God.


If you'd like help to get into a regular Bible reading routine, or if you need encouragement and would like us to pray for you, please let us know by clicking here.  We'd love to hear from you and help you in any way!

GOOD NEWS - A LIFE FULL OF PEACE

January 29, 2020 by David Wilkerson

It seems everywhere we look, there's bad news.

We've been dealing with a pandemic for almost a year!

And we don't know what's going to happen next.


We can get exhausted and run down.

Watching or reading the news can make us fearful.

Are you fearful? Are you looking for peace? 


There is GOOD NEWS!


Jesus died on the cross to purchase peace with God for us—and He’s in heaven now to maintain that peace, for us and in us. The peace we have with God through Christ distinguishes our faith from all other religions.


In every other religion besides Christianity, the sin question is never settled. Sin’s dominion simply hasn’t been broken. Therefore there can be no peace: “There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22). But we have a God who provides peace by pardoning sin. This is the very reason Jesus came to earth: to bring peace to troubled, fearful humankind.


How does Jesus maintain God’s peace for us? He does it in three ways:


First, Christ’s blood removed the guilt of our sin. In this sense, Paul says, “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus made peace for us through His blood. We receive this peace when we turn from our sins and trust the free gift of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, by calling out to God and asking Him to forgive us. (Romans 6:23, John 3:16, Romans 3:23-24)


Second, Christ maintains my peace and joy in believing: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans15:13).


Third, Jesus causes me to rejoice at the hope of entering glory: “We…rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).


Simply put, peace is the absence of fear. And a life without fear is a life full of peace.


When Jesus ascended to heaven, He didn’t just bask in the glory that God bestowed on him. No, He went to the Father to maintain the hard-won peace He achieved for us at Calvary.


Our Savior is alive in glory right now. And He’s both fully God and fully human, with hands, feet, eyes, hair. He also has the nail scars on His hands and feet, the wound in His side. He has never discarded His humanity; He is still a man in glory. And right now, our Man in eternity is working to make sure we’re never robbed of the peace He gave us when He left. He’s ministering as our high priest, actively involved in keeping His body on earth full of His peace. And when He comes again He wants us to “be found of him in peace” (2 Peter 3:14).


Have you experienced God's peace? Would you like to? Please click here to find out more.


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God's Promised Strength For You

January 25, 2020 by David Wilkerson

Often people contact our ministry and say, “I have no one to talk to, no one to share my burden with, no one who has time to hear my cry. I need someone I can pour my heart out to.”


King David was constantly surrounded by people. He was married and had many companions at his side. Yet we hear the same cry from him: “To whom shall I go?” It is in our nature to want another human being, with a face, eyes and ears, to listen to us and advise us.


When Job became overwhelmed by his trials, he cried out with grief, “Oh that one would hear me!” (Job 31:35). He uttered this cry while sitting before his so-called friends. Those friends had no sympathy for his troubles; in fact, they were messengers of despair.


Job turned only to the Lord: “Surely even now my witness is in heaven, and my evidence is on high…My eyes pour out tears to God” (Job 16:19-20).


David urged God’s people to do likewise: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).


Eventually, suffering comes to us all, and right now multitudes of saints are chained down by afflictions. Their circumstances have turned their joy into feelings of helplessness and uselessness. Many are asking in their pain, “Why is this happening to me? Is God mad at me? What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?”


I believe in my heart that this word is an invitation to you from the Holy Spirit to find a private place where you can frequently pour out your soul to the Lord. David “poured out his complaint,” and so can you. You can speak to Jesus about everything—your problems, your present trial, your finances, your health—and tell Him how overwhelmed you are, even how discouraged you are. He will hear you with love and sympathy, and He will not despise your cry.


God answered David. He answered Job. And for centuries He has answered the heart cry of everyone who has trusted His promises. He has promised to hear you and guide you. He has pledged by oath to be your strength, so you can go to Him and come out renewed.


We would love to pray for you or with you. Please let us know how we can pray for you by clicking here.

We Can Have Confidence

January 22, 2021 by Stephen Nichols

Sennacherib ruled Assyria from the capital city of Nineveh, which was the largest city in the world at the time. He was formidable, ruthless, a military ruler bent on collecting nations. Nebuchadnezzar II, the ruler of the Babylonian Empire, surpassed him. He made Babylon even larger and greater than Nineveh. Nothing like it had ever been seen. Cyrus surpassed them both, creating the world’s largest empire through merciless force. When Cyrus’ vast army marched, the ground shook for miles.


Of these great kings and ancient empires, Isaiah 40:15 declares:


Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, 

and are accounted as dust on the scales; 

behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.

As the city of Rome had fallen, and the Vandals, the Huns, the Goths, and the Visigoths were dismantling the Roman Empire, Augustine began his great work The City of God. On the opening page, he declares how great the City of God is, how great the city’s Founder and King is. He extolls this glorious and eternal city, noting that it towers “above all earthly dignities that totter on this shifting scene.” Yes, even Rome tottered.


Isaiah and Augustine have much in common. Both faced seismic political change and social upheaval. Doomsday predictions swirled around them both. People were packing their bags and lacing up their running shoes. Some were hiding in caves. Nevertheless, both Isaiah and Augustine faced these cataclysmic changes with confidence and courage because they had their eyes fixed upon God. Read Isaiah chapter 40. That great chapter is all about who God is. The same can be said for Augustine’s classic book.


Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar II, and Cyrus had all been great. Rome and her emperors had been great. The barbarian armies were a great threat. All, however, were a drop in the bucket. Not one of these great rulers and not one of these empires could compare to God and His kingdom. Only ruins remain where these nations once stood.


Throughout biblical history and throughout church history, God’s people have faced difficult circumstances—giants of enemies. Some have faced literal armies. Today, we get discouraged by all that we see around us. It is easy to despair as evil seems to prosper, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. But, we can learn from those who have gone before us to have a proper perspective. We must look beyond the temporal and finite and look to our eternal God, to His eternal Word, and toward His eternal kingdom. Isaiah, Augustine, and many others teach us not to cower in the face of our circumstances, but to stand tall in confidence in God.


We also learn that confidence in God is not an excuse to disengage or to retreat from our present circumstances. Augustine cared, evidenced in working alongside his longtime friend Bonafacius, Roman general and former governor of Africa, in the resistance to the barbarians as they laid siege to the gates of Hippo Regius. Augustine, however, knew these efforts to be penultimate (second last). The ultimate reality and purpose is the City of God.


Confidence in God is not a reason to have overconfidence in our stratagems or in politics. That, too, is a lesson history teaches us. Instead, confidence in God means boldness to deploy that which God has instituted and to rely upon the means He has given us. God has called us to pray, so we pray for the nations, for our rulers, and for justice and equity. God has given us His Word, so we study and teach it, we trust and obey it, and we defend it. God has given us the family, so we cherish it and nurture it, even as beachheads in enemy territory. God has given us the church, so we commit ourselves to our local churches as they shine like lights in the darkness. God has given us convictional and confessional schools, colleges, seminaries, and ministries, so we pray for them and the advance of the gospel. God has also given us gifts and talents, and so we develop them and serve God and our fellow man in our various vocations and in our communities. God even calls us to be citizens, so we take up our task knowing, like Augustine, what is penultimate and what is ultimate. We know this is God’s world, so we do not abandon it. While we are here, we serve and we testify to God, in whose image we are made. We testify to Christ, who can remake us, who heals the sick, gives sight to the blind, raises the dead, and is making all things new. We serve wholeheartedly on earth, while we long for heaven. We, too, totter on this shifting earth, so we wait and we work until God brings us home.


We can have confidence today because we know that God is surpassingly great and glorious, mighty, eternal, infinite, resplendent in transcendent majesty. We know that God’s Word will not return void. We know that God’s church will not be thwarted. We know that God’s kingdom—and it alone—will have no end. How can we not have confidence?


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Death is NOT the End

January 18, 2020 by David Platt

“Thus, all the days that Adam lived were 930 years. And he died.”

-Genesis 5:5


This verse is not the way it was supposed to be. God created Adam and Eve to experience life forever with him. And here we see the words, Genesis 5:5, Adam lived this many years and then he died. And that’s the refrain that goes throughout the rest of this chapter. End of verse 8 “And he died.” End of verse 11, “And he died.” End of verse 12, “And he died.” End of verse 17, “And he died.” It’s just name after name, after name of people who died. Why? Because of sin and its effects in the world.


For believers, death is NOT the end. If we are in Christ, we WILL spend eternity with Christ.


I think about the pandemic that we have watched unfold over the last year and the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have died. I don’t know the exact number. I guess only God really knows the exact number of people who have died as a result of this pandemic. This is not the way it was supposed to be.


I think about a funeral I did recently for a precious two-year-old little boy. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. And I think about my life, people I love who’ve died. I’m guessing you’ve experienced the same in your life. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.


The beauty of the gospel is that through Jesus, because of God’s love for us, the end of the story is not "and he died and he died and he died". Period, period, period. No, he died and he lives. John 11:25. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus said, “He who believes in Me shall never die. Even though he dies, he will live.”


Jesus, we praise you for eternal life. God, we praise you that death is not the end for all who trust in you. God, we praise you that we don’t have to fear death, that we can say with Paul and Philippians chapter one, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” That You, God, have taken, the worst thing that can happen to us, death, and You’ve actually turned it into the best thing that could happen to us. Eternal life in Your presence. All glory be to Your name, Jesus, for taking the curse of sin, death upon yourself, for dying on the cross for our sins. You died for us. And then You rose from the dead. Death was not the end of Your story, and now death is not the end of our story.


God, I praise you for the privilege of preaching funerals with hope in Jesus. So, God, I pray if there’s anybody listening right now who doesn’t know for sure what will happen to them when they die, that they would put their trust in Jesus today. They would trust in You to forgive them of their sins, to reconcile them to relationship with You, that they would not play religious games. God, that they would trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. And God, we pray that You’d help us to proclaim this to people around us today. God, help us to view the world around us, the friendships around us, the family members around us, the coworkers around us through the lens of eternity. God, help us to proclaim the good news of Your love so that they might have a life in You when they die and life in you right now.


Oh God, we pray for the spread of the gospel to those who’ve never heard it. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel throughout the world, for the spread of the gospel to all nations and tribes and tongues, for the spread of your good news of life forever through Jesus. God, we pray that for every unreached nation and people group on the planet. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel that brings eternal life. Even as we praise you for the eternal life we have in You, that even though we don’t know if we’ll make it to tomorrow, we know we have eternal life with You forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


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