Our Source of Hope

Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we can have hope for the future.

Titus 2:11-14

11 God’s free gift of being saved is being given to everyone. 12 We are taught to have nothing to do with that which is against God. We are to have nothing to do with the desires of this world. We are to be wise and to be right with God. We are to live God-like lives in this world. 13 We are to be looking for the great hope and the coming of our great God and the One Who saves, Christ Jesus. 14 He gave Himself for us. He did this by buying us with His blood and making us free from all sin. He gave Himself so His people could be clean and want to do good.

 

Some people believe ethical behavior and moral character will get them to heaven. Others think a self-improvement plan is the way to get there. And sadly, there are those who assume they’ll be barred because of their past mistakes.

 

The truth is that character and deeds do not determine our eternal state. Rather, the barrier between us and holy God is our sinful nature. Adam and Eve’s sin caused all mankind to begin life spiritually dead and under a sentence of judgment (This is what happened: Sin came into the world by one man, Adam. Sin brought death with it. Death spread to all men because all have sinned. Rom. 5:12). No amount of good works or moral behavior can change our unholy nature—nor do bad choices make our nature worse.

 

Without direct help from the Lord, the entrance to heaven would be closed to everyone, and we’d all face an eternity of separation from God. But the Father had a plan so we could live with Him forever: He sent His Son Jesus to take our sins upon Himself and receive the punishment we deserved. What we were helpless to do, Christ accomplished for us. Through faith in Him, we receive a brand-new nature and get to live in God’s presence forever.

 

We don’t have to worry about earning our place in heaven. Because of Jesus, we can be confident of our future there, which gives our life on earth hope and meaning.

Joy in Worship

Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.
Nehemiah 12:43 
In the history of the Church, a variety of forms and styles of worship have been employed—never more so than in today’s twenty-first-century worship services. Historically, some churches have sung only the Psalms; some have sung acapella, without instruments; some have had choirs, while some have not; some have used only a piano or organ for accompaniment. Today, many churches have worship teams that include singers and bands, and some have full orchestras.
The New Testament doesn’t prescribe how “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” are to be sung, but it does say there should be “singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Nehemiah 12 is an example of the extent to which songs of praise and thanksgiving can be offered: multiple choirs and instrumentalists marching around the walls of Jerusalem before settling into the temple.

Are you an enthusiastic worshiper of God? Whatever your church’s style, let your voice resound with praise to our God. Our praise should be the outward manifestation of our inner joy and gratitude to God.

What or whom we worship determines our behavior.
John Murray

– David Jeremiah

Don’t Tell Me… Show Me

 

“So I [Paul] ask you to follow my example and do as I do. That is the very reason I am sending Timothy—to help you do this. For he is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord. He will remind you of what I teach about Christ Jesus in all the churches wherever I go.” 1 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NLT)


Dwight Moody told about a friend of his who had been in Eastern lands and saw a shepherd who was trying to get his flock to cross a stream. He went into the water and called his flock, but no, they wouldn’t follow him. So he picked up two lambs and, with one tucked under each arm, he plunged into the stream and crossed it without even looking back.

“When he lifted the lambs the old sheep looked up into his face and began to bleat for them. But when he plunged into the water, the sheep plunged in after him, and the whole flock followed. When they got to the other side he put down the lambs, and they were quickly joined by their mothers.

I recall reading how a visiting speaker to a high school spoke to the student body about the perils of smoking. Afterwards some of the students saw this same man smoking. Undoubtedly, he did more harm by his example than anything he might have said—no matter how true or relevant was what he had to say.

If you and I want to influence others for Jesus, what we have to say at the appropriate time is important, but what we say by the way we live will always carry a lot more weight. According to communication specialists the words we say only carry seven percent of the message we are seeking to communicate. Who we are and what we do speaks the loudest by far.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to so live that my life will model and be a living example of your ways so that people seeing Jesus in me will want you for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

-from Daily Encounter

Joseph – Impacting Others

by Claude Mariottini

Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar was both rewarding and disappointing. His experience was rewarding because he was able to make an impact on the life of Potiphar, to such an extent, that Potiphar put Joseph in charge of all he had. In addition, Potiphar could see that Joseph was a man dedicated to […]

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Sermon notes from Ephesians

https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/01/16/sunday-sermon-notes-january-16-2022/

Christology (Part One): The Union of Christ’s Divine and Human Nature

by Bellator Christi

Brian Chilton and Curtis Evelo begin a new series on Christology. On the first episode, they discuss the union of Christ’s divinity/humanity.

Source: (S5 E13) Christology (Part One): The Union of Christ’s Divine and Human Nature


A Pattern for Prayer

Jesus teaches what to focus on in our prayers and encourages us to approach God with a humble heart.

Matthew 6:5-10 “When you pray, do not be as those who pretend to be someone they are not. They love to stand and pray in the places of worship or in the streets so people can see them. For sure, I tell you, they have all the reward they are going to get. When you pray, go into a room by yourself. After you have shut the door, pray to your Father Who is in secret. Then your Father Who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, do not say the same thing over and over again making long prayers like the people who do not know God. They think they are heard because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray like this: Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

 

Are your conversations with God primarily a checklist of needs? Petitions are certainly appropriate, but prayer is also a time to focus on the Lord in love and worship. When praying to our Father in heaven, we should ponder three things that today’s passage indicates are important to Him: His name, His kingdom, and His will (Matt. 6:9-10 above).

Hallowed be Your name. While the goal is to honor and exalt God, our prayers can easily become self-centered. This can be an issue in public prayer if we try to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others. But it can also happen privately when we focus only on what we want God to

do.

Your kingdom come. Praying for God’s coming kingdom means setting our hope on Christ’s future reign while submitting to His rule over our life now.

Your will be done. No matter how much we want the Lord to answer our prayers the way we desire, every petition must be readily submitted to God’s will. It is a way of acknowledging that His way is always best.

The next time you pray, make a point of pondering the Lord’s greatness, exalting Him, and humbly submitting your will to His.

Obstacles To Commitment

by ThePreachersWord

In the 1990s there was a popular TV show Seinfeld, which is still in reruns today. The self-proclaimed show about “nothing,” often revealed some life lessons in a rather humorous and sometimes silly fashion.

One of the characters, George Constanza, consistently encountered problems. Many were self-imposed issues in the area of commitment. Especially in his relationships.

In one episode, George fell in love with a woman in prison. This was perfect because she was the ultimate unavailable partner. The relationship was limited. The demands on George were few. And his commitment was almost non-existent. However, as soon as she was released from prison the relationship fell apart. Read more of this post

Relying on Christ

Instead of focusing on our self-esteem, let’s rely on Jesus in our inadequacy.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Christian brothers, when I came to you, I did not preach the secrets of God with big sounding words or make it sound as if I were so wise. I made up my mind that while I was with you I would speak of nothing except Jesus Christ and of His death on the cross. When I was with you, I was weak. I was afraid and I shook. What I had to say when I preached was not in big sounding words of man’s wisdom. But it was given in the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way, you do not have faith in Christ because of the wisdom of men. You have faith in Christ because of the power of God.

Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. It’s not unusual to hear that an individual who values himself will accomplish much. Yet Scripture warns us not to think too highly of ourselves (For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rom. 12:3). We should have far greater confidence in Christ than in ourselves.

Despite his impressive credentials (although I myself could boast as having confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he is confident in the flesh, I have more reason: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; Phil. 3:4-5), Paul knew he was inadequate to complete the ministry God gave him. In fact, today’s passage says that when preaching the gospel to the Corinthians, he came in fear and trembling (I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, 1 Cor. 2:3). His message wasn’t delivered with self-confidence but in complete reliance upon the Spirit. And that’s exactly how we should live as well.

When we rely on God’s power instead of our own abilities, He produces supernatural boldness in us. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with confidence because the indwelling Spirit of the living God enables us to follow Him. He directs and strengthens us in every situation as we humble ourselves in dependence upon Him.

Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate? Instead of shrinking back, consider them as opportunities to put your confidence in the Lord. You can trust the One who is your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.

The Vengeance of Yahweh

 

by Claude Mariottini

The New Testament has many things to say about the vengeance of God. Paul, writing to the Romans, wrote, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). The author of the book of Hebrew also mentions […]

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