Go to Heaven Tired

Monday, April 12, 2021 by Danny Forshee

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

(Colossians 3:23-24)

Have you heard the phrase "a good tired"? Many experience an exhaustion that is not healthy, constantly expending the majority of their efforts on things that lack eternal significance, rather than on the things God wants. But there is a different kind of exhaustion where you have such a profound peace in your heart, even though you are very tired. As a pastor and evangelist, I get it. There is always something to do: a call to make, a question to answer, a sermon to write, a request to read or watch something and give a response, a visit to be made, a prayer to be prayed, and on and on. It is the greatest, most rewarding work, but it can also leave you very weary.

But what a joy and privilege to spend your life in a worthy vocation where you please God and help others in their relationship with God. Some reading this today will quickly point out the dangers of burnout and going so hard for so long that you are no good for anyone. That is a point well taken. For about a year now, I have been practicing a sabbath day. I assure you, it is not Sunday for preachers! It is the most intense and work-filled day of the week. Most pastors I know are up early on Sunday, praying, studying, meeting, interacting, answering questions, and yes, preaching. Preaching one hour on Sunday is like working eight hours on a normal day. I have no greater joy in this life than the preparation and delivery of a message from the Word of God. Charles Spurgeon said, "Preaching is a farce unless the preacher has fire in him; but when that fire is there, it is God's way of bringing souls to himself."

A pastor made the following statement years ago, and it has really stuck with me: "I do not want to burn out, wear out, flame out; I want to max out for the glory of God!" That is how I feel. True, you have to take time off, honor the Sabbath (whichever day you choose; for me it is Saturday), and you have to do good for your soul. Do those things that bless and refresh you and put gas back in your tank. Then, by the power and grace of God, go in Jesus' name and give all you got. Leave it all on the court. When it is all said and done, go to heaven tired and hear Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:21)

Whatever your vocation, let the words of the Apostle Paul motivate you and spur you on to good works. Do what you do with all you have within you, or as Paul says, do it heartily. Give it your best by pouring your heart and soul into what you do for the glory of Jesus. He will bless you with a wonderful inheritance. I am praying for you that God would bless you with great dunamis (the Greek word for power), and as a result, God will receive much glory from your life of service and ministry for Christ.

How can we pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here.

The Healing Balm of Refreshment

Friday, April 11, 2021 by David Wilkerson

“The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me…and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18).

Onesiphorus was one of Paul’s spiritual sons and he loved Paul so deeply and unconditionally that he sought him out in his sufferings. Once, when Paul was jailed, Onesiphorus went through the city looking for him until he found him. His motivation was simply, “My brother is hurting. He has suffered the terrors of shipwreck, and now he’s being buffeted by Satan. I have to encourage him.”

The ministry of refreshing clearly includes seeking out those who are hurting. We hear a lot of talk about power in the church these days: power to heal the sick, power to win the lost, power to overcome sin. But I say there is great, healing power that flows out of a refreshed and renewed person. Depression, mental anguish or a troubled spirit can cause all kinds of physical sickness, but a spirit that’s refreshed and encouraged—one that’s made to feel accepted, loved and needed—is the healing balm needed most.

We find this ministry of refreshing in the Old Testament as well. When David was being hunted down by King Saul, he was exhausted and hurting, forced to run day and night. During that time, he felt rejected by God’s leaders and God’s people. Then, at a crucial moment, David’s friend Jonathan came to him: “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that’” (1 Samuel 23:16-17).

That was all David needed to hear and immediately his spirit was refreshed to go on. We see this example time after time in Scripture: God sends not an angel or a vision, but a fellow believer to refresh his beloved ones.

Are you hurting, anxious or depressed? Do you need refreshment? Please let us know by clicking here. We would love to encourage you.

If you are doing well, are you encouraging and refreshing others? Is there someone God is putting on your heart right now that you can reach out to?

If you would like to be more involved in encouraging others, please let us know by clicking here.

April Devotion

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 by BCY Regional Minister Larry Schram

I love condiments. The burst of flavours added to my food makes my taste buds dance, my tongue tingle—and if spicy enough, I will even break out in a wonderful sweat. As a flavour junkie, condiments always add some delightful zest to my mealtimes. In my experience, condiments lack only one thing: they cannot stand alone as a meal. They are intended to add spice or complexity to a dish but can never be a meal in themselves.

I was listening to a sermon recently, and it struck me that too often in my life, I have approached Jesus like a condiment. I have asked Him to add something to my life, like zest to a meal, forgetting that He is much more than that. In fact, His clear call to me is not to add flavour or zest to my life, but to yield my life to Him in all things and follow Him.

In Mark we read; Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (8: 34) It is kind of hard to miss the point of Jesus’ words. If I want to walk with Him, I start by denying myself. This is more than the habits of self denial, like so many of the common practices of Lent. Instead, denying myself is to give up ownership of myself, to disregard myself, or as Eugene Peterson framed it, accepting that I am not in the driver’s seat. To deny myself is to trust Jesus enough that I yield to Him in all things. When I do so, my identity and purpose are found in Him, and not in anything else this world can offer me. In other words, I do not add Him to my life as a meaningful addition—I let Him rebuild, refocus, and redefine my life in every way as I follow Him.

I was convicted by what I heard in that sermon, and it made me think. I cannot truly follow Jesus and syncretize my faith into a personal brand, like some people try to do. Likewise, I cannot treat Jesus like a convenient value added addition to my life—a spiritual condiment, if you will. Neither can I hold back some part of my life as my personal identity that is somehow private and beyond the claims of Christ. Instead, His invitation is clear, and all I need to do is trust Him enough to yield everything to Him and follow Him in all things. All it will take is everything I have, but what I gain is worth the cost of this denial: I gain a life under the Lordship of Christ.

Therefore, I choose to yield and follow Jesus.

Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.

How Are You Celebrating Easter This Year?

Sunday, April 4, 2021 by Kelsey Straeter

Without a doubt, your Easter is looking a little different this season than it has in years past. Like never before, we’re forced to strip down the manmade version of the holiday filled with fancy Sunday dresses, Easter egg hunts, and big family gatherings, to the bare essentials: the cross, an empty tomb, and our Risen Lord.

Yes, this Easter, more than ever, will be about intimate time with our Savior—a time to reflect on the life that conquered death, triumph over hell, the greatest prophecy ever fulfilled, and victory over the sin that should have nailed us to that very cross.

Though the words were spoken many years ago, this riveting message by Dr. S.M. Lockridge could not be pronounced at a more timely age:

“The Pharisees couldn’t stand him, but they found out they couldn’t stop him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in him. Herod couldn’t kill him. Death couldn’t handle him. And the grave couldn’t hold him. THAT’S MY KING!”

“I wonder if you know him?” asks Lockridge. “He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory.”

Listen to Lockridge’s powerful 3-minute message below or click here and join us in boldly declaring these Truths over our own homes this Easter season. 

Dear God, help me to know You more deeply and intimately this Easter. You are MY KING! In Jesus’ name, amen.

We hope you'll join us for our Easter Service on Sunday, April 4 by clicking here.

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful King,  Jesus - our loving, awesome Saviour who took our place and died for our sins, please contact us by clicking here. We would love to hear from you!

Take a Moment to Consider the Cross

Good Friday, April 2, 2021 by Andrew Palau

Consider what Christ did for you. 

He was crucified. It wasn’t a mistake. He went willingly. Jesus said, in John 10:18, “No one takes {my life} from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”

He gave His life for you. It was the greatest act of love and power wrapped up in this work of Easter. His resurrection from the dead was proof of His power.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25) Do you believe this?

He doesn’t want us guessing. We can come to Him and receive assurance of our salvation. Our friends can too! 

Who can you share the Good News with today?


Click here for an Easter Gospel pdf you can share.


God created you to know Him and the unchanging love He has for you.



We’ve thought and done things that fall short of God’s perfect plan for us. Our sin could separate us from God for all eternity, and God says the penalty for our sin is death, but our loving Father always had a plan in mind to rescue us from the death we deserve.



God sent Jesus into the world so that our sins could be forgiven. He lived a perfect life—healing people, loving them, and teaching them about God. He was put to death like a common criminal on a cross. When He died, He willingly took the sins of the world—yours and mine—and paid the penalty for our sins, dying in our place.



On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, displaying to the whole world that He has the power to give all of us everlasting life in Heaven with Him.



To receive God’s free gift of love, we must receive His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. You can ask God to forgive your sins and help you to start a new life in Him today. 

Pray this prayer now to ask Jesus into your life…

Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God who died to pay the penalty for my sins. I open the door of my heart and ask You to be my Savior and Lord. I ask Your forgiveness for all my sins. Please forgive my sins and help me to live for You.


Did  you pray this prayer and ask Jesus Christ to be your Saviour? Please, let us know!


No, but I'm interested in learning more

Trusting in His Will

Monday, March 29, 2021 by Charles Stanley

People—Christians included—love to feel as though they’re in control, able to influence outcomes by the actions they take. And to a degree, that’s true. But when things don’t go our way, many times we refuse to accept the outcome. Instead, we fight for our idea of how things should be, regardless of what (or whom) it will cost us. This certainly isn’t a peaceful approach to life.

True peace comes only when we trust God and recognize how little control we actually have—not only over difficult circumstances, but over good ones, too. The genuine peace we long for comes through submission. Think of Jesus praying just hours before He was arrested, knowing what would befall Him and how He would be betrayed. In His grief, the Lord prayed for something different to happen. But then He said to the Father, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Let this be our attitude as well, as we remember the only way to be truly free is to trust God’s perfect and loving will.

Think about it 
• Are there any areas of your life that you’re trying to control? Offer them to God, praying, “Father, not my will, but Yours be done” each time they come to mind.

How can we pray for you? Please let us know by clicking here.

Palm Sunday

Friday, March 26 by Billy Graham

This Sunday, Christians around the world are celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (which we usually call “Palm Sunday,” because the crowd welcomed Him by spreading palm branches in His path). Those who greeted Him were convinced He was the Messiah (or “anointed one”), sent by God to establish His Kingdom on earth.

Why did the crowds turn against Jesus so quickly? One week they welcomed Him, and the next week they demanded He be crucified.

Billy Graham addressed this important question numerous times in his My Answer column.

“No events in human history were more important than Jesus’ death and resurrection, and yet many people (even Christians) never take time to study them.

It must have been a dramatic sight as Jesus approached Jerusalem on a donkey (which was a sign of His humility). The Bible says that “the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices … ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Luke 19:37-38). Even those who weren’t part of that welcoming crowd listened eagerly to His teaching during the next few days.

But not everyone in Jerusalem welcomed Him; the very next verse says that “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?'” But soon many turned against Jesus and demanded His death: “‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!'” (Matthew 27:22).

These weren’t necessarily the same people who had welcomed Him—but the reversal is still striking. Were they disappointed because He refused to establish an earthly political kingdom? Probably. But Jesus didn’t come to set up a new political system. He came instead to change our hearts and save us from our sins by His death and resurrection. He declared during that last week, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight. … My kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). This deeply disappointed those who hoped He would throw out the hated Roman occupiers. They may also have disliked His demand that they repent.

Where would you have been on that first Palm Sunday? Among the disciples who welcomed Him—or among the skeptical crowds? It’s easy to condemn those who condemned Jesus—but would we have acted any differently? We too are sinners, and we too have rebelled against God.

But the central message of Easter is that God still loves us, and because of Christ we can be forgiven. He came for one reason: “Christ died for sins once for all … to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). May you welcome Him into your life during this holy season.” 

Follow the Steps to Peace online to learn about Jesus or recommit your life to Him.

And if you have already welcomed Jesus into your life, have you shared this Good News with others? Easter is the perfect time to share the Good News. An easy way is by inviting people to watch our Good Friday or Easter online services! 

If you just welcomed Jesus into your life, would like more info on anything in this post, or would just like to talk or pray, let us know by clicking here or calling 604-531-2344. We'd love to hear from you.

7 Psalms to Help You Cope with Life!

Monday, March 22, 2021 by Cindi McMenamin

If you’re like most people you are probably familiar with Psalm 23, which speaks of how the Lord is our Good Shepherd. You might even be well-acquainted with Psalm 139 which reminds us of how intimately God knows us, or Psalm 91, which tells of God’s protection over us.

Yet there are many other portions of the Psalms – the Bible’s Song Book – that are just as rich, just as comforting, and just as helpful to your walk with God. Like a favorite song of yours during a certain season of your life, or a touching memory that continues to comfort you when you’re sad, the Psalms in the Bible can encourage, heal, convict, instruct, and minister to you, regardless of your circumstances.

There are so many songs in the Bible that have impacted my life as I’ve studied them or stumbled upon them through the years. And if you highlight them, bookmark them, or even memorize them, I’m certain they will help you grow in your relationship with God, too. Here are seven psalms to bookmark to help you cope with life again:

1. Psalm 13 – A Song for Getting Back on Your Feet

Life takes a lot out of us at times. There are days you may not feel like getting out of bed. Do you realize the songwriters of the Bible felt many of the same emotions you have? In Psalm 13, David asked, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?...” (verses 1-2, ESV). He was clearly on his face in pity. Then, he got up on his knees to pray: “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death...lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken” (verses 3-4). Finally, in verses 5-6, he was up on his feet – in praise, singing, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

What happened to get David up on his feet when he was previously on his face on the floor? What took him from pity to praise? Prayer. Bookmark Psalm 13 as a reminder of how to get back up on your feet and start praising God again, especially when you feel like He’s forgotten you.

2. Psalm 42 – A Song to Straighten Out Your Thinking

The Sons of Korah gave us this gem that you might recognize from a contemporary worship song: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” (verses 1-2, NKJV). The song teaches us that a desperation for God is a healthy detour out of despair and depression.

In verse 5, the psalmist starts asking himself why he is so disturbed: “Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me?” Then he gives himself a swift kick in the pants, per se, by telling himself what he needs to do: “Wait for God, for I will again praise Him For the help of His presence, my God.” He then recounts God’s goodness and continues to tell himself what to focus on: “The Lord will send His goodness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night…” (verse 8). He concludes his song in verse 11 by again asking himself why he is so restless, and then giving himself his own best advice: “Wait for God, for I will again praise Him for the help of His presence, my God.”

The inspired and ever potent Word of God offers wise counsel when it comes to getting out of the mode of stinkin’ thinkin’. Bookmark Psalm 42 as a reminder of how to get your thoughts back on the right track if they start taking you down a dark tunnel of despair.

3. Psalm 51 – A Fresh Look at How to Repent

It’s likely that you’ve read the well-known song of David’s confession to God after being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, one of David’s best soldiers. Yet it’s possible you haven’t read this Psalm in another Bible version

Sometimes we read certain verses in a familiar translation so many times that they fail to impact us as they once did. That’s when it’s time to turn to a passage and read it afresh in language that will allow the Word to pierce your heart again like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Here's verses 10-12 in the NIRV:

God, create a pure heart in me.
    Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you.
Don’t send me away from you.
    Don’t take your Holy Spirit away from me.
Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you.
    Give me a spirit that obeys you so that I will keep going.

Bookmark Psalm 51 and let it revive your heart and help you fall in love with God once again.

4. Psalm 62 – A Song to Simplify Your Heart

We live in a culture that wants God plus something else in order to be content. God plus wealth. God plus marriage. God plus a fulfilling career. God plus grandchildren. God plus a successful ministry. Yet David shows us in Psalm 62what it’s like to be satisfied with God only.

David sang “My soul waits in silence for God alone; From Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I will not be greatly shaken (verses 1-2, NASB). A few verses later he reiterates the source of his hope and trust: “My soul, wait in silence for God alone, For my hope is from Him. He aloneis my rock and my salvation, My refuge; I will not be shaken” (verses 5-6, emphasis added). Can you drop the expectation of anything else and wait for God only, rest in God only, find your joy in God only? Bookmark this Psalm, reflect on it often, and it will change the course of your heart.

5. Psalm 77 – A Song to Find God in the Silence

Does God ever seem silent? Asaph, the songwriter, might have felt that way too when he penned Psalm 77. But the beauty of his song is that he wrote it in retrospect. He knew God was there and He recounted for us how we can know, too.

In verses 7-9 Asaph asked questions that you and I might ask from time to time: “Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His favor ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?” (NASB). Asaph surely felt forgotten by his God. But then he admitted in verse 10 that it was his perception (not the truth) that the right hand of the Most High had changed. He then remembered God’s “wonders of old” and was able to declare “You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples” (verse 14). Asaph then recalled the waters, the clouds, the skies, the lightning, and the sound of thunder, as evidence of God’s presence and protection of His people. Then he says something so precious: “Your way was in the sea, And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints were not known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron” (verses 19-20). Asaph remembered that, even in silence, God was there when He led the Israelites through the sea on dry ground.

Sometimes God’s way seems unfathomable to us. (Who would choose a path through pounding waves? )Yet God is One who leads us through the waters, even though His footprints may not be seen, and guides us like a gentle shepherd. Bookmark Psalm 77 so that you remember that even when God seems silent, His presence can be sensed through His wonders all around you.

6. Psalm 101 – A Song to Keep You from Compromise

In Psalm 101, David sang of God’s lovingkindness and justice (verse 1) and contrasted it with the evil in this world. This song is his commitment to be careful to live a blameless life.

“I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart,” David sang in verse 2. “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me” A perverse heart shall leave me; I will know no evil (verses 3-4, NASB).

David commits himself to tolerate no sin in his presence and vows that his eyes will be “upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; One who walks in a blameless way is one who will serve me” (verse 6).

This passage of Scripture reinforced to me, in my early 20s, that I needed to, like David, take a stand in how I would choose to live. I couldn’t walk the middle of the road. I had to choose righteousness over worldliness, integrity over dishonesty, good over evil, God over self and sin. Bookmark this song as a personal commitment to integrity, a dedication to live purely, a commitment to your home and family, or as a vow to God to live fully for Him.

7. Psalm 145 – A Reminder of God’s Protection and Provision

From the time I was a teenager, I have prayed through this song, and through the years I’ve taught others to do the same, as a way of staying aligned with God’s will and His ways. It’s a song of comfort “The Lord supports all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down” (verse 14 NASB). It’s a song celebrating God’s provision: “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (verses 15-16). And it’s a song that will reinforce to You God’s ability to keep you safe and secure: “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, And kind in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, To all who call on Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry for help and save them. The Lord watches over all who love Him…” (verses 17-20).

Bookmark this Psalm and start praying through it at least once a week. I guarantee it will change your life and heart, and draw you closer to the Only One who satisfies.

Do you have a favourite Psalm that helps you through life's struggles? Let us know by clicking here

Rebekah - Fearful, but Blessed!

and 32 Verses To Fight Fear and Anxiety

Friday, March 19, 2021 by Kelli Worrall

Many of us are dealing with fearful things lately. 


Fear is a powerful motivator. It can drive us to do dastardly things. Some of us shut down, attack, or distract ourselves. Others face fear by trying to wrestle a problem in their own strength. In Genesis 26, Isaac and his family faced fear in the form of famine. You may notice that this entire chapter bears a resemblance to the Abraham narrative. Just as Abraham had done, Isaac moved his family south to survive. But the Lord stopped them: “Do not go down to Egypt,” God told Isaac. “Live in the land where I tell you to live” (v. 2). Then the Lord reaffirmed His covenant: “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky” (v. 4).

So it may surprise you that immediately following God’s covenant reminder, however, comes a record of Isaac’s deception (v. 7). He lied about Rebekah’s identity, saying she was his sister rather than his wife (again, just like his father!). Isaac was afraid the men of Gerar might kill him and take Rebekah for themselves. Isaac succeeded for some time it seems—until finally, King Abimelek himself saw Isaac and Rebekah in an intimate embrace (v. 8). Abimelek had not yet sent for Rebekah as Pharaoh had sent for Sarah. In that regard, Isaac and Rebekah were spared. God’s grace to them was already evident. Nevertheless, the king confronted Isaac, and Isaac reiterated his fear.

Abimelek’s reaction was to provide Isaac with additional protection. He did not send Isaac away, as Pharaoh did Abraham. Instead, he made a decree that anyone who harmed Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death (v. 11). Despite Isaac’s fear, the covenant of God was again being made manifest. 

>> How do you respond to fear? Today, release your fear to Him and rest in His promises and provision. Even though our emotions may waiver, you have a God who does not change “like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).


PRAY WITH US                                                                                         

Father, we are frail and finite beings, and fear is never far from us. May we take each fearful moment as an opportunity to lean on you and to listen for your voice.

32 Verses To Fight Fear and Anxiety

If you are like me and have a “Type A” personality, then you probably know what it’s like to deal with anxiety and fear over the circumstances revolving our lives.

The devil uses our flaws such as this one, to break us down even farther. The more we are filled with anxiety, the less we are filled with God’s word and spirit.

I’m a planner and I like to “try” and keep things organized. However, I forget to hand that anxiety and fear over to God. I remind myself often that at the end of the day, no matter how great or terrible I am at planning, HIS WILL, WILL BE DONE. He is in control of my life, and I have to learn to turn some things over to him and trust my own belief that he will fight for me.

Here are 32 Bible Verses to help Fight Fear and Anxiety and to Remind You that God is Always in Control

32 Verses To Help You Fight Fear and Anxiety

Luke 12:22-26

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” 

Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” 

Psalm 55:22

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:13-14

“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 118:6-7

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” 

Proverbs 29:25

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

Mark 4:39-40

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Psalm 34:7

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

1 Peter 3:14

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”

Psalm 34:4

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 56:3

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

John 14:27

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Psalm 94:19

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

Isaiah 43:1

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Proverbs 12:25

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” 

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Peter 5:6-7

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.”

Isaiah 35:4-14. 

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…”

Deuteronomy 3:22

“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”

Revelation 1:17

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’”

Mark 5:36

“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’

Romans 8:38-39

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Psalm 91:1-16

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…”

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The Blessings of Being in Christ

Monday, March 15, 2021 by David Wilkerson

Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Paul is telling us, in essence, “All who follow Jesus are blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, where Christ is.” What an incredible promise to God’s people.

Yet, this promise becomes mere words if we don’t know what these spiritual blessings are. How can we enjoy the blessings that God promises us if we don’t comprehend them?

Paul wrote this epistle “to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1). These were believers who were sure of their salvation. The Ephesians had been well trained in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life. They knew who they were in Christ, and were assured of their heavenly position in him. Indeed, they were well grounded in the truth that they were made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6).

These “faithful ones” fully understood that “God … raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (1:20). They knew they’d been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (1:4). They grasped that they were adopted “by Jesus Christ to himself” (1:5). God had brought them into his family, because when they heard the word of truth, they believed and trusted it.

The Ephesian believers were truly a blessed people. They rejoiced in their redemption through Christ’s blood, knowing the great spiritual blessing of being forgiven of their sins. Indeed, they were so knowledgeable about the riches of God’s grace, most were capable of teaching others. If they met people who were hungry for God, they could show them the glory of the Cross. They could teach of God’s mercy and love, of his holiness, of walking blameless before him. They could speak of the Resurrection, of God’s goodness, of heaven and hell, of the consequences of living in sin.

I trust that most who are reading this message are like those Ephesians: faithful, well-taught believers. You know the redemptive power of the gospel of Christ. You know the doctrine of the new birth. You’re well schooled in the knowledge of grace, accepting the victory that comes by faith alone and not by works.

If this describes you, I have something more to say. That is, many Christians have never entered into the joy that God has promised them. Let me explain.

I believe a majority of Christians, including ministers, never get beyond forgiveness of sins and a hope of future glory in heaven.

Many forgiven, cleansed, redeemed people live in misery. They never have a sense of being fulfilled in Christ. Instead, they continually go from peaks to valleys, from spiritual highs to depressing lows. They’re always nagged by a sense of, “Something is missing. I’m just not getting it.”

As I look back over my life, I’m amazed by all the devoted Christians I’ve known who were never sure of their salvation. This was especially true of many godly men and women who’d served the Lord for up to fifty years. They knew all the doctrines, truths and teachings of the faith, and they ministered faithfully. But they never entered into the supernatural joy that was available to them in Christ.

The truth is, it’s possible to know about all these things — Jesus’ sacrifice for us, the cleansing power of his blood, justification by faith — and yet never enter into the fullness of God’s blessings. How could this be, you ask? It’s because many Christians never get past the crucified Savior to the resurrected Lord who lives in glory.

In John 14, Jesus tells us it’s time for us to know our heavenly position in him. He explained to the disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:19–20). We’re now living in “that day” Jesus speaks of. In short, we’re to understand our heavenly position in Christ.

Of course, most of us do know our position in Christ — that we’re seated with him in heavenly places — but only as a theological fact. We don’t know it as experience. What do I mean by this expression, “our position in Christ”? Very simply, position is “where one is placed, where one is.” God has placed us where we are, which is in Christ.

In turn, Christ is in the Father, seated at his right hand. Therefore, if we’re in Christ, then we’re actually seated with Jesus in the throne room, where he is. That means we’re sitting in the presence of the Almighty. This is what Paul refers to when he says we’re made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

You may say, “But I never feel like I’m in a heavenly place. I always sense I’m in a wilderness, suffering affliction and harassment. If that’s being in a heavenly place in Christ, then I’m just not getting it.” I assure you, your seasons of trials are common to all believers. No, the phrase “in Christ, in heavenly places” (1:3) isn’t something you can attain. It’s what God says of you. If you’re in Christ, then in the Father’s eyes you’re seated near him, at his right hand.

The fact is, the moment you place your trust in Jesus, you’re taken into Christ by faith. God acknowledges you in his Son, seating you with him in the heavenlies. This isn’t merely some theological point, but a truth, a factual position. So now, as you surrender your will to the Lord’s, you’re able to claim all the spiritual blessings that come with your position.

Of course, being “in Christ” doesn’t mean you leave this earth. You can’t manufacture some emotion or feeling that takes you up into a literal heaven. No, heaven has come down to you. Christ the Son and God the Father came into your heart and made their abode there: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

Yes, Jesus is in paradise, the Man in glory. And yes, his Spirit moves over all the earth. But the Lord also abides in you and me specifically. He has made us his temple on the earth, his dwelling place. Consider Jesus’ powerful statements about this:

“He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (14:21). “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us … And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” (17:21–23, italics mine).

Take another look at the verse in italics. Jesus says, in essence, “The glory that you gave me, Father, I have given to them.” Christ is making an incredible statement here. He’s saying we’ve been given the same glory that the Father gave to him. What an amazing thought. Yet, what is this glory that was given to Christ, which he in turn has given to us? And how do our lives reveal that glory.

The glory we’ve been given is open-door access to the Father.

The glory Christ has given us isn’t some aura or emotion. No, very simply, the glory we have received is unimpeded access to the heavenly Father.

Jesus made it easy for us to access the Father, opening the door for us by the Cross: “For through him [Christ] we both [we and those far off] have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). The word “access” means the right to enter. It signifies free passage, as well as ease of approach: “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (3:12).

Do you see what Paul is saying here? By faith, we’ve come into a place of unimpeded access to God. We’re not like Esther in the Old Testament. She had to nervously await a sign from the king before she could approach the throne. Only after he held out his scepter was Esther approved to come forward.

By contrast, you and I are already in the throne room. And we have the right and privilege of speaking to the king at any time. Indeed, we’re invited to make any request of him: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

When Christ ministered on earth, he enjoyed full access to the Father. He said, “I can do nothing on my own. I do only what the Father tells me and shows me” (see John 5:19, 30; 8:28).

Moreover, Jesus didn’t have to slip away to prayer to obtain the Father’s mind. Of course, he prayed often and intensely, but that was about fellowship with the Father. It was a different matter in his everyday activities, whether he was teaching, healing or casting out demons. Jesus knew at all times that he was in the Father, and the Father was in him. He didn’t have to “go up” to the Father to know what to do. The Father was already dwelling in him, making himself known. And Jesus always heard a word behind him, saying, “This is the way … here is what to do…”

Today, we’ve been given the very same degree of access to the Father that Christ had. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, that’s mind-boggling. I have the same access to the Father that Jesus, the Creator and Lord of the universe, did?”

Make no mistake: like Jesus, we’re to pray often and fervently. We’re to be seekers of God, waiting on the Lord. But in our daily walk — our comings and goings, our relationships, our family life, our ministry — we don’t have to slip away to beseech God for a word of strength or direction. We have his very own Spirit living in us. And the Holy Spirit reveals to us the mind and will of the Father. His voice is always behind us, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

The truth about our union with Christ was a hidden mystery to the church until Paul came on the scene.

The Holy Spirit used Paul to open this mystery, which is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Of course, the church had learned about saving grace. They knew salvation was by faith and not by works. After all, they’d been serving Jesus before Paul came along. They knew about repentance and had experienced the Father’s mercy.

But then Paul showed up, declaring, “Repentance and good works are not enough. It’s not enough that you came to Christ and believed, or that you now have great spiritual knowledge. You need something more than simply believing in Christ. Now you must walk in the blessings and fullness in him.” “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6).

What was Paul talking about? What did he mean by “walking in Christ?” Hadn’t these believers been doing that for years? Simply put, Paul was speaking of the blessings of being in Christ. And he was telling the church in no uncertain terms that they didn’t know the full revelation of those blessings. He described a different attitude, which says:

“I don’t want a mere head knowledge of my salvation. I want to experience it. I want to know what it means to walk in the fullness of Christ’s salvation. I don’t want just to know about heaven. I want every heavenly blessing that God has made available to me today. He has promised ‘every spiritual blessing,’ and he died to bring me near him, where I can enjoy those blessings. I want my life to reflect that fact. I want every spiritual truth of heaven to be a part of my daily walk now. These blessings can no longer be just theological concepts. They have to become a reality.”

Beloved, this is not a complicated issue. Simply ask yourself: have you received Jesus not just as your Savior, but as the enthroned Lord in heaven? And have you accepted that the enthroned Lord lives in you? If so, what effects do you see in your life? What has been the effect of waking up each morning knowing Christ not only saved you from sin, but lives in you? What is the effect of knowing he gave his life to break down walls of separation so he could be near you, to love and fellowship with you?

We’ve been given heaven here in our souls. Yes, that taste of heaven is meant to be a foretaste of the glory that awaits us. But it’s also given as a portion of our inheritance to use right now. Our Savior Jesus Christ came to give us much more than redemption. He came so that we might have fullness of life every day.

That doesn’t mean we no longer experience pain or sorrow. Every Christian will continue to face temptations and hardships. But in the midst of our trials, we’re able to abound with thanksgiving, because of his everlasting kindness toward us. Paul tells us this is exactly why God has made us to sit together in Christ: “That … he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

Here is the effect we’re to see in our daily lives: God has shown his loving, warmhearted kindness to us. Therefore, we can wake up shouting, “Hallelujah! God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit want to be near me.”

Another blessing becomes ours when we’re made to sit in heavenly places.

What is this blessing? It’s the privilege of acceptance: “He hath made us accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). The Greek word for “accepted” here means highly favored. That’s different from the English usage, which can be interpreted to mean “received as adequate.” This signifies something that can be endured, suggesting an attitude of, “I can live with it.” That’s not the case with Paul’s Greek usage. His use of “accepted” translates as, “God has highly favored us. We’re very special to him, because we’re in our place in Christ.”

You see, because God accepted Christ’s sacrifice, he now sees only one, corporate man: Christ, and those who are bound to him by faith. In short, our flesh has died in God’s eyes. How? Jesus did away with our old nature at the Cross. So now, when God looks at us, he sees only Christ. In turn, we need to learn to see ourselves as God does. That means not focusing solely on our sins and weaknesses, but on the victory that Christ won for us at the Cross.

The parable of the Prodigal Son provides a powerful illustration of the acceptance that comes when we’re given a heavenly position in Christ. You know the story: a young man took his inheritance from his father and squandered it on a sinful life. Then, once the son became completely bankrupt — morally, emotionally and physically — he thought of his father. He was convinced he’d lost all favor with him. And he feared that his father was full of wrath and hatred toward him.

At one time, this young man had been an honored member of the household, at one with his father. He’d tasted the blessings, order and favor of being in his father’s house. Indeed, the prodigal son represents backsliders, those who’ve failed God miserably.

The prodigal almost died of starvation before he thought about going back home. Yet, finally, when he grew tired of his sinful life, he decided to return to his father. This represents the road to repentance.

When he first left home, his father probably assured him of access to return. Any loving parent would have done so: “My door is always open to you. And I want you to remember that as you leave now. Know that my heart goes with you. When you get to the end of yourself, please come back. You’ll always be welcomed home.” Here was unimpeded access, a father who was always available. So the prodigal told himself, “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). He was exercising his blessing of access.

Now this broken young man was full of grief over his sin. Scripture says he cried out, “I’m unworthy, I’ve sinned against heaven.” This represents those who come to repentance through godly sorrow.

Are you getting the picture? The prodigal had turned from his sin, he’d left the world behind, and he’d accessed the open door his father had promised him. He was walking in repentance and appropriating access. But he wasn’t yet in acceptance.

What a tragic place to be. Here was a believer who was walking right, truly sorry for his past sins. He was tired of carrying all his guilt, shame and condemnation. Yet he didn’t know if he was accepted by his father. He thought, “My father has to be angry. He probably hates me for squandering all that he gave me. He’s going to be full of wrath and judgment when I face him.”

The prodigal must have grown weary as he thought about all the ways he’d tried to change on his own. He was dog-tired from thinking about how to improve, how to keep himself from falling. He’d already made a long list of empty promises to himself, only to fall again and again.

Sadly, I believe this is the state of multitudes of believers today. In fact, Jesus gave us this parable in part to open our eyes to our position in him. And he emphasizes, “If you’ve seen the Father, you’ve seen me. I and the Father are one.”

As the prodigal drew nearer to home, I’m sure he encountered messengers who told him, “Your father grieves for you. He calls you ‘his lost sheep.’ He’s gone out looking for you, time after time.” But the young man probably answered, “I know my father is a loving man. But I’ve sinned so horribly. If you only knew what I’ve done.”

He had no peace, because he didn’t know his position. How sad to lack the joy of heaven, the peace that passes all understanding, because you don’t know whether you’re accepted. Like the prodigal, multitudes of believers who’ve failed are convinced, “I’m not worthy. God can’t accept me.”

So, what happened to the prodigal son? “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). What a beautiful scene. The sinful son was forgiven, embraced and loved by his father, with no wrath or condemnation whatsoever. When he received his father’s kiss, he knew he was accepted.

This is where many Christians think the story ends: “The prodigal has been accepted by his father once again. Isn’t that what matters most?” We picture our own relationship with the Father in the same way. We’ve known his loving kiss, his mercy and forgiveness. But that’s as far as we take the relationship. We stop in our knowledge of God’s love for us.

The fact remains, we’re still not back inside our Father’s house yet. We haven’t taken our seat at his feast. According to Jesus’ parable, there’s more, much more. Our Father will never be satisfied until we enjoy all the blessings that come with being accepted by him. He wants us seated in his house, near him at all times, enjoying the festivities and joy of his household.

Indeed, it’s the father who says, “Let us eat and be merry” (15:23). The Greek word for “be merry” here means, “to put in a joyful, rejoicing state of mind.” Consider the joyful scene that takes place: “The father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it … And they began to be merry … [with] music and dancing” (15: 22–25).

Notice what has just happened in this scene. The prodigal wasn’t asked to dust himself off and get cleaned up before coming to the feast. No, his father prepared him to come inside. And he didn’t just clean up the old clothes. He gave him a whole new set of clothes, signifying a new life. The son might have objected, “But father, I’m not worthy.” Yet that father would have replied, “I’m not looking at your past. I’m rejoicing that you are accepting my love. We are reconciled, and we are one. That is my joy.”

Do you claim to be accepted in Christ? Maybe you’ve experienced what the prodigal did: being kissed by the Father, embraced by his love, accepted into his house. If so, you probably believe, “I am seated with Christ in heavenly places.” If so, then where is your joy? Where do you see the Father’s feast in your life, the singing, the dancing, the merriment of heart?

Perhaps the most telling scene in this parable is the final one, when the older brother comes home from work. As the feast takes place inside the house, he stands outside, looking in through the window. To his surprise, he sees his father dancing in delight over his prodigal brother.

Keep in mind, this older brother is also accepted. But the parable makes it clear he’s sad and miserable. Why? In all his years with his father, he has never entered into the enjoyment of his father’s house. He’s never enjoyed the blessings his father has made available to him. In fact, at the end, his father reminds him of the blessings that have been his all along: “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine” (Luke 15:31).

I ask you: have you experienced the full blessings of your acceptance? Jesus makes it crystal clear we are the joy and delight of our heavenly Father. He rejoices over us. But if we never enter his house and rest in our acceptance, we rob him of that joy.

I urge you: leave your sins and worldly pursuits behind. Lay aside every fleshly weight that so easily besets you. And go inside and take your position in Christ. He has called you to enter into the joy of your acceptance. Then, when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll find yourself shouting, “Hallelujah, I’m accepted by God. My heart abounds with thanksgiving and joy.”

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8 Important Things to Understand and Remember about God's Forgiveness

March 12, 2021 by Meg Bucher

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” -Psalm 139:23-24, ESV

God is the Author of the human spirit. God’s forgiveness has a weighty gravity to it because He knows the “number of hairs on our heads;” He “formed us in the womb.” There’s no escaping our humanity, our frailty, and our sin. We were created to lean on God through His Son, Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death on the cross granted us God’s forgiveness, bringing us into fellowship with our Father. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit pricks every believer with conviction to confess and repent sin. Our Father, because of the perfect sacrifice Christ made in our honor, is faithful to forgive us. The Apostle Peter wrote, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, ESV). God’s forgiveness gives us life, to the full (John 10:10).

What Does the Bible Say about God's Forgiveness?

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19, ESV

Jesus Christ brought God’s plan for forgiveness to completion on the cross. No Old Testament Sacrifice or set of religious rules could be followed in accordance worthy enough of the holiness of God. The entirety of Scripture points to the Messiah Christ, and His saving act on account of humanity. Acts 2:38 says, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (ESV) The new life we receive in Christ stems from the forgiveness of our sins. He made a way for us to stand in the presence of God, even though we remain susceptible to sin every day of our lives.

“If you don’t cherish your justification, your forgiveness, and your eternal life because they get you to God,” writes John Piper for desiringGod.org, “you need to deal with him more deeply.”

God didn’t have to forgive us. He chose to. From the beginning, God knew what tomorrow would bring. Jesus came to save us from the curse of sin we cannot release ourselves from. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7, ESV). God’s forgiveness is a product of His grace. He has been gracious to forgive us, and He expects us to pay it forward. When we truly grasp the sacrifice Jesus made, and the love God has to forgive us, our genuine faith is illustrated in the way we forgive ourselves and each other. 

Here Are 8 Things to Remember about God's Forgiveness:

1. Forgiveness Has Always Been God’s Plan

“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” Psalm 86:5, ESV

Forgiveness has always been God’s plan. God pronounced the whole of His creation, “very good.” Jesus came to save all. He leaves the 99 sheep to go after one. The gospel will circulate the earth until every ear has had a chance to hear. “From the moment Adam and Eve left Eden, God has not been content to leave his people in exile, corrupt and condemned,” writes Scott Hubbard, Editor for desiringGod.org. The plan was always Jesus, the only Son of God, to come to earth and sacrifice His spotless life for the forgiveness of our sins. 

God knows we are prone to wander and incapable of living without sin. Yet still, He says, “I, I am he who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set for your case, that you may be proved right” (Isaiah 43:25-26, ESV).

“From a spiritual perspective, we were all born with a sin problem, eternally separated from God,” writes Brent Rinehart, “We’d be lost forever without Him intervening and offering us forgiveness.”

2. God’s Forgiveness Is a Gift

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV

God’s forgiveness is a gift. “All of us are worse than we think,” writes Professor Joe Rigney for desiringGod.org, “Our hearts really are slimy. When you look in there, it’s true that there is a depth upon depth of self-love and sin.” God knows the depths of our hearts: our intentions, grudges, and our hidden and suppressed sin. “When we live by faith in future grace, rooted in God’s forgiveness,” John Piper writes, “we are freed from the lingering, paralyzing effects even of the shame we deserve to feel. That’s what forgiveness means.” He is not only faithful to forgive us of the sin we see and confess, but also intentional to move our hearts to see other areas of our lives where sin is sabotaging our freedom in Christ. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive” (Colossians 3:13, ESV).

3. It’s Our Choice to Accept God’s Gift of Forgiveness

“for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28, ESV

God does not force us to acknowledge or confess our sins, nor to believe in Jesus Christ and the life He came to give us. The covenant of the Old Testament required various sacrifices. The new covenant we live under now is covered by the blood of the “spotless lamb,” Jesus Christ. The long-awaited Messiah, expected to be a military leader coming to conquer the enemies of God’s chosen people, instead died a brutal death on the cross to save the entire world. “The God we meet in Scripture does not hoard his forgiveness like a miser with his money,” writes Scott Hubbard, Editor for desiringGod.org, “With God, there is forgiveness (Psalm 130:4)- and not out of reluctance or necessity, but out of the overflow of his broad heart.” We don’t have to make sacrifices like the people of the Old Testament times did. But we do need to believe, accept, and confess our sinfulness, on the daily.

4. God’s Forgiveness Cannot Be Lost

“And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Luke 7:48, ESV

Once Jesus forgave the women at the well, she was forever forgiven. We come to God daily to confess the curse of sin we live under. We all fall short (Romans 3:23), continually. But we needn’t re-confess sins God has already pardoned. “When you come before God today in the moments after committing some sin, you do not need to stumble through the forests of guilt and self-reproach,” writes Scott Hubbard, Editor for desiringGod.org, “Confess your sin, turn to Jesus, and run in the fields of his forgiveness.” We confess, repent, and continue on working for the Kingdom of God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7, ESV) In Christ, we live a redeemed life. Jesus once and forever paid the price of our sins.

5. Why Must We Confess Our Sins?

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9, ESV

When we sin, our connection with God starts to cut out like a bad wifi signal. When we confess our sin, God, true to His promise to forgive and restore us, repairs the signal. He, alone, can rightly diagnose the source of the bad connection, and prescribe the proper repair. “Self-examination is only safe when God’s hands are on the reins.”( Professor Joe Rigney, ) He restores the connection and eliminates the spinning wheel signaling us to wait while things buffer. “Our attempts to exude our sin might be understandable if we had a harsh Lord, but such is not our Lord Jesus Christ,” writes Scott Hubbard. There is no need to be afraid of God when we come to Him with a healthy fear of who He is. Jeremiah 31:34 reminds, “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (ESV).

6. The Importance of Repentance in Light of God’s Forgiveness

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,”Acts 3:19, ESV

The NIV Study Bible explains, repentance is a change of mind and will arise from sorrow over sin, leading to the transformation of one's life. God draws us to Him, and our confession of sin is transparent to God. He knows our hearts. Every intention, and justification, remains attached to our confession. Acts 10:43 says, “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (ESV). God doesn’t just want us to religiously obey the act of confessing our sins, He wants us to change. Day by day, we are being sanctified … made more like Christ. “Faith in God’s forgiveness does not merely mean a persuasion that I am off the hook,” writes John Piper, “It means savoring the truth that a forgiving God is the most precious reality in the universe.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV

For those of us in Christ, we have a hope and a peace that cannot be snatched away. In Him, we find the freedom to shed our sins daily, and remember the peace and hope that spur us on to do the work of God’s Kingdom, here on earth. “He hung there on the cross, pouring out the kindness of his forgiven heart from the wounds we created,” writes Scott Hubbard, Editor for desiringGod.org. When we truly understand and embrace the gravity of God’s grace and the selflessness of Christ’s sacrifice, we are changed. “We need to know sin is in our hearts, and we need to feel the ugliness of it,” writes Professor Joe Rigney, "But then we must also remember that Jesus covers all of it.”

8. God’s Forgiveness Is Reciprocal

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32, ESV

Scrolling through the feeds of our social media accounts, we see bitterness, wrath, anger, and slander. In Christ, we choose to put them away. We choose not to participate, outside of obedience in defense of righteousness, especially on account of the oppressed. But brother to brother, sister to sister in Christ, we are to put them down, willingly. “God stands ready and willing to forgive,” writes Brent Rinehart, “but asks that we extend the same forgiveness to others first.” We are forgiven for the parts of our hearts no other human knows anything about. The disturbing defaults our thoughts run to and our innate selfishness that attempts to take over, constantly. “Forgiving others shows we have faith; we are united to Christ; we are indwelt by the gracious, humbling Holy Spirit,” writes John Piper.

A Prayer to Remember God’s Forgiveness

Heavenly Father,

All glory and honor to Your name, our lives are meant to bring. Make known our purpose, and reveal our sins, Father. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. You willingly put on skin for us and suffered immeasurably to save us. Help us to come to You freely with our sins, and obediently repent from them. Move our hearts, cleanse us from our hidden sins, and transform us into the people we were purposed to be. May we leave behind us, a wake of forgiveness. 

In Jesus’ powerful name we pray, amen.

God’s forgiveness is the story of our salvation. From the beginning of time, in the first pages of Scripture, God called us “very good,” and had a plan in place to save us. Not on account of what we could ever do or accomplish, but of who He is and what He would do. We are His. This curse of sin won’t last forever. Jesus has already defeated death, the curtain has been torn, and we have been forgiven. For all who declare Jesus as Savior and confess their sin, eternity awaits. The countdown has begun. Jesus will return. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

If  you have not experienced the peace that comes from receiving God's forgiveness, please contact us by clicking here. We'd love to hear from you!

How to Pray When You are Hurting: 10 Healing Scriptures for the Weary and Brokenhearted

Monday, March 8, 2021 by Bri Lamm

You’ve heard the old saying, “Life isn’t always fair.”

Perhaps you’ve found a lump, or an unexpected diagnosis has rocked your world. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, or are struggling with loneliness or depression. Maybe you feel like you're losing hope. Wherever you’re at in your journey, the seemingly juvenile thought of “life isn’t fair” has surely crossed your mind.

And while that may be the case, as believers we have something that the rest of the world has yet to discover: The power of prayer.

More importantly, the HEALING power of prayer.

We have the power of prayer at our fingertips. But isn’t it funny that we find ourselves searching for how to pray when we’re hurting?

Think about a time in your life when your relationship with God was strengthened by an easy circumstance. Sure, your praise may have increased, or changed at the top of your mountain, but it’s in the valleys — our darkest, most difficult seasons — when our faith becomes the focus. That’s because we learn how to pray THROUGH the storm, not before or after it.

Knowing how to pray in your darkest seasons is not a one-size fits all thing. It’s totally different in every circumstance, which is why we essentially re-learn how to pray in every season.

God WILL, in fact, give you more than you could ever possibly handle on your own. Because we were never made to do this life without desperately needing Him.

Don’t get me wrong, an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God, the Lord does not bring us through mountains and valleys for our suffering. He longs to be near to us. And that happens when we learn how to pray desperate, totally humbling, RAW, and authentic prayers.

His testing of our faith is with a treasured goal in mind. Not one that is our own, but ALWAYS a blessing beyond our wildest dreams. And in learning how to pray for healing and fresh hope, we grow not just closer TO God, but we grow IN Him.

Even more notable is that He doesn’t just deliver you through thick and thin, the Lord literally walks WITH you, right by your side through every season.

Still, we know our hearts will break. We know our hard times will come and we will need to heal in order to grow stronger.

It’s in those desperate times when healing scriptures hold more power than we could ever comprehend. The word of the Lord IS our strength, and God provides exactly the healing we need through healing scriptures.

Whether it’s your mother’s death weighing heavily on your soul, a miscarriage…or seven, cancer that has robbed you of all energy and physical strength, or simply just a dark season where there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel; you are not alone. You are never alone.

There’s no knowing how to pray when you are hurting, but these 10 healing scriptures might just do the trick.

1. James 5:15-16

If you’re going through a trial, there’s no better place to start than the book of James. I mean the book itself starts by telling us to be joyful when we encounter trials of any kind, which is totally counterintuitive to the way our minds actually work. The deeper we get into the book of James, the more we learn about trials, healing, and how to pray when you are hurting.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:15-16)

2. Isaiah 53:4-5

Another book to turn to during times of trial and persecution is Isaiah. Isaiah 53 is a prophecy, heavily focused on the injustices and hurting that Jesus Christ would face during His time on earth. Despite the oppression and anguish that he would face at the hands of his own broken people, Jesus “bore the sin of many,” and by his wounds, we are HEALED.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

3. Psalm 147:3

It’s easier to know how to pray during times of trial and hurting, when you know the promises God has laid before you. More often than not, prayer is not about requesting from the Lord, but rather, finding comfort in the position He has you in. The best way to do that is by meditating on and memorizing His Word.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

4. 2 Chronicles 7:14

If you want to know how to pray for healing, I would start first by repenting. We are sinners by nature, and there is always something (whether it be big or small) that we allow into our lives to take control. Repent of your sins, and place God at the forefront of that brokenness.

“If my people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

5. Jeremiah 30:17

The book of Jeremiah is full of hope. You may know Jeremiah 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you”—declares the Lord—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, but to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah is full of God’s promises, and when we know how to pray those promises, THAT is where healing begins!

“But I will bring you health and heal you of your wounds—this is the Lord’s declaration.” (Jeremiah 30:17)

6. Psalm 103:1-5

There is so much healing that can be found in praise. So often we go to God with desperate requests, and we fail to see the GOODNESS in what He is still doing — even in our suffering. The Lord is SO so good to us! He is Jehovah Rapha, The Lord who heals.

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

7. Deuteronomy 32:39

God promises that He will heal. We see those promises over and over and over again. But there is comfort in every single one of those promises. Deuteronomy emphasizes the POWER of the Lord, something that trumps everyone and everything in Heaven and on Earth.

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

8. Revelation 21:4

Knowing how to pray when you are hurting, is really just knowing God’s promises for healing. The Bible closes with the book of Revelation — a prophecy of the Lord and testimony of Jesus Christ. It tells of what is to come — in the days following His death, and beyond. Revelation is a warning but also a promise of the many ways God will always go before you.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

9. Proverbs 4:20-22

Hold tight to the words of the Lord and you will surely know how to pray for the healing, comfort and health that you need. He tells us this in Proverbs, and again, His promises prevail.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

10. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

In everything, there is a season. God confirms that in Ecclesiastes. So in life, it’s not about whether or not you’ll enter a certain season, it’s knowing how to pray WHEN you enter that season.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

My prayer is that this list has provided you with resources and tools in knowing how to pray during the hard times that inevitably come to all people. Turn to the Lord when your heart and spirit is broken, and He will lift you up.

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God Gives Peace

March 5, 2021 by Craig Denison

This Sunday, March 7, we will be learning more about the amazing peace God gives us, no matter what we go through. Click here to watch on March 7 and later.

Peace is a commodity that can only be found with time spent seeking the face of God. The world can’t offer us peace because it has nothing in which to place its hope, trust, and security. Kingdoms come and go. Leaders move in and out of power. What societies value changes like the passing of the tides. Our only constant is God. He has been, is, and forever will be the Creator, Sustainer, and Lord of all. All authority has been given to Him. He governs the change of seasons. He thwarts the plans of our enemy. And He longs to offer total and sustained peace to all who place their hope and trust in Him.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Our God has peace in store for us in every situation if we will choose to keep our mind stayed on Him and trust Him. The world says that peace can only come when you’ve worked your fingers to the bone and have finally attained all you want. You can only have peace when you have enough money, friends, the right job, or the right spouse. You can only have peace if friends, family, and bosses like you. God’s way is to draw you into Himself and offer you peace in the midst of your circumstances. He doesn’t want you to wait until everything gets worked out before you can have rest—He’s offering you rest right now.

Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul . . . . You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:1-3, 5). God longs to prepare a table for you in the midst of whatever trouble surrounds you. He is calling you to keep your mind stayed on Him no matter what lies before you. And He is asking you to seek His face and find your rest in Him rather than toiling and striving for circumstantial peace.

Romans 8:6 says, “To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” It’s by the Spirit alone that you will find life and peace. Stop looking for your fulfillment in the things of the world. Stop asking the world to offer you what it never had to begin with. Look toward your heavenly Father for the peace that surpasses all understanding. May you be filled with rest and peace today as you spend time in prayer seeking the face of God.

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints.” Psalm 85:8


1. Think about the truth that God is your sole source of peace and rest. Allow God’s word to mold and shape your perspective.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

“To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

2. Where have you been running to for peace? Have you had much peace and rest in your life lately? Acknowledging your past pursuits will help you make present changes.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

3. Seek the peace that comes from placing your hope and trust in God alone. Ask the Spirit to fill you with peace in the midst of your circumstances. Let your requests be known to God, and receive the peace that comes from casting your burdens on the loving and capable shoulders of your heavenly Father.

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7


You will be robbed of peace as soon as you turn your trust away from God and begin to live in your own strength. The only source of consistent peace is keeping your mind stayed on God. You can trust in the reality of God’s desire and ability to help you. You can wait on Him if He tells you to wait. You can move when He tells you to move. Offer your understanding, actions, and emotions to Him, and allow Him to be Lord over them all today.

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints.”

Extended Reading: Psalm 23 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.

Are you experiencing God's peace? Is there any way we can help you or pray for you? Let us know by clicking here.

God's Divine Love is - Full of Grace

March 1, 2021 by Billy Graham

On Sunday Pastor Brian shared about God's amazing grace.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” —Ephesians 2:4-5

We can really mess things up sometimes. Squandering money and relationships. Lying even when we know better. Wasting time on things that don’t matter. Ignoring God’s plans and plowing forward with our own.

But God loves us anyway.

Those two words, “but God,” are seen in Ephesians 2:4 and in several other places in the Bible.

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” —Genesis 50:20

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” —Psalm 73:26

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

Beginning to see a pattern? We serve a God who intervenes on our behalf, even when the odds are against us. Every time “but God” is written in the Bible, a blessing follows.

It can be easy to beat yourself up about who you are and the situations you face. “I want to be used by God, but I’m not qualified.” “I want to be blessed by God, but I don’t deserve it.” “I want to trust God, but everything in my life is so bad.” “I want God to forgive me, but I don’t think He can.”

Thankfully, nothing from God is based solely on our works. The Apostle Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 15:10: “… yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

God wants us to understand that no matter our sin, no matter our weakness or insecurity, no matter our faults and shortcomings, He’s got us covered when we present these things to Him. He stoops down to rescue and help us. That’s God’s grace, and it really is sufficient. It’s not merited. Oftentimes, it’s not understood.

But rest assured, as children of God, it’s not going anywhere.

By His grace we have been saved from any “mess up” we could possibly imagine.

Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues. John Stott

God loves you and cares about you and has stooped down to make a way to rescue you. He's always there, just a prayer away.

Have you experienced God's saving grace? If you'd like learn more, please click here.

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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.

We pray this message has encouraged you. If you need anything or would like us to pray for or with you, please let us know by calling 604-531-2344 or by clicking here.

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.

How can we pray for you today? Please let us know by clicking here.

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!


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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