What Are You Seeking?

The fact is that, as human beings, we all need food, water and a way to protect our bodies from the elements to survive.  These are the basic things we need to continue living on this earth.  In Genesis 1-2, God makes this fact perfectly clear.  In Genesis 3, however, God tells us that, because of our sin, getting our basic needs was going to be very difficult, and costly (Genesis 3:8-19), and ever since then, it has been.  We have to work long and hard to get what we need, and often times, at a great cost.

But, have you noticed that when we do get what we need there is this sense that we have gotten is not enough?  That, no matter how hard we work, and how much we get and/or achieve, it’s just not enough?  There even comes a time in which we begin seeking that missing piece of our lives that we feel will make our lives complete, and when we can’t find it at work, we look for it in relationships, alcohol, sex, drugs and many other places and things which leave us just as incomplete as we’ve always been.  Is this where you are?  Are you seeking that missing piece in your life?

Jesus has what you are seeking.  Look at what He says,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you (Matthew 6:33).”

God is willing to provide for all our spiritual, physical and emotional needs, but with certain conditions.  Let’s look closely at what Jesus is teaching us in this very important verse.

First come the conditions for providing our needs:

  1. “But seek first…” – Jesus teaches us what must be our top priority search.  Nothing else can take it’s place. Then, He teaches us what we are to seeking above all else.
  2. “the kingdom of God…” – First, we must seek the kingdom of God.  This means that,  as Christians, our top priority must be to seek to spread the good news of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for the entire world, to the entire world.  As Christians, this is our main job, it is in our job description (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
  3. “and His righteousness,” – Second, we must seek to conform personal conformity to His standard of righteousness, or holy living.  In other words, we must conform to His moral standards and not seek to live according to the world’s moral standards.  We must summit to His Lordship over our lives and strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.

Now come the promise of His provision.

  1. “And all these things…” – Jesus wants us to know that He will provide everything we need to survive in this world, and to accomplish what He has commanded us to do.  Notice that He says, “all”.  He will not keep anything from us.
  2. “will be provided fr you.” – He, Jesus, is the source of our provision.  He already knows all that we need and He is ready and willing to provide it all for us.

Look at what Jesus says,

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you (Matthew 6:31-33).”

So, what are you seeking?  What drives you, or motivates you each day?  How’s life?

In Christ’s love.

Phil

Change

” if My people who are called by My name will 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)

I’ve heard so many Christians grumble, gripe, snort, and complain about our country and  how we want it to change for the good.  We’re frustrated and angry, and blame everything and everyone, including our government, for the woes we face every day in our country.  Some us even live in fear of the direction in which our country is going.

The sad reality is that we Christians play a major role in the spiritual and moral decay in the United States of America.  Yes, I said it because if we take a good, honest look at ourselves, we can see that we have become weak, cowardly Christians who choose to put blinders on and hide within the four walls of our man-made temples, and/or homes.  We refuse to go out and introduce the world to the only One who can change the world, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Do we Christians really want our country to change?  We must do what our God says we must do:

  1. Humble ourselves before God – we must recognize and acknowledge that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent, and we are not.  God reminds us of why we should never trust ourselves: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV Bold and italics mine).” 
  2. Pray – many of us have a minimal, or non-existent prayer life.  Prayer is one of the ways in which God and man can communicate with one another.  Expectant, fervent prayer demonstrates faith in our Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God.
  3. Seek God’s face, His wise counsel – if we acknowledge and believe what God says about us (“our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”), then it stands to reason that we must seek God and His perfect, wise counsel in all things.
  4. Repent – as a nation, we must repent of our ongoing sin.  We must ask God to forgive us for our idolatry as we try to replace our Creator with ourselves, and worship ourselves and all things created (Romans 1:18-32).  We must, as a nation, surrender to His Lordship.  We must become a nation that loves God above all else (Matthew 22:37), and love others (Christians and non-Christians alike) as we do our own selves (Matthew 22:39).

If we do these things, God promises to do three things,

  1. To hear our prayers for forgiveness and repentance from His throne in heaven-  if we cry out to Him with a humble, sincere, and contrite heart, He will hear our prayers (Psalms 51:17).
  2. To forgive our sins – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”
  3. To heal our land – if we do what He has asked us to do, God will change the social and spiritual climate of our country and make us into the real, greatest country in the world as He intended us to be from the very beginning.

But none of this is going to happen as long as Christians continue to be isolationists and stay hidden from the world within the four walls of our temples.  If we want peace in our country, we must introduce it to the prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

“No Jesus, no peace; know Jesus, know peace.”

So, Christians, we must get up, get out, and go to work!!!!

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).”

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends[a] of the earth (Acts 1:8).”

See you out there!

In Christ’s love,

Phil

What’s In Your Heart?

God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that, when we put all our faith in Christ, and we turn away from our sinful path to follow Christ, the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts and minds, and He, then, begins to transform us into the very image of Jesus Christ:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).”

He also describes for us what that “new creation” looks like,

 

“For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans8:29).”

Today’s verse teaches us another characteristic of a person who is a real Christian.  It says:

“No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).”

There are a few things he wants us to know in this one verse:

  1. “No foul language is to come from your mouth,” – The world “foul” literally means: morally bankrupt; immoral, therefore, worthless.  He is referring to language used with the intent to demean, bemoan, offend, and/or destroy another person’s character, and self-worth. This is what is natural for a person who is not a Christian and Christians are to be different.
  2. “but only what is good for building up someone in need,” – A Christians our speech must always be for the purpose of building up, edifying, encouraging, the weaker Christians to live a holy and acceptable life to God (Romans 12:1).  It is also a way to testify about, and demonstrate, our personal relationship with Christ to the non-Christian community.
  3. “so that it gives grace to those who hear.” –  Our speech should give grace, unmerited favor, to all people who hear us speak, Christians and non-Christians alike.  Our grace should not depend on how people treat us or speak to us, first.  We must give grace in speech, and in deed, no matter how others treat us.

What comes out of our mouths is irrefutable evidence of what rules our hearts.  Jesus said,

“A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart (Luke 6:45).”

So, who, or what’s in you heart?

In Christ’s love,

Phil

 

The Path

God, through the prophet Isaiah, warned us about turning from good and calling what is good, evil, and what is evil, good.  He said,

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).”

The word “woe” means, shredded, or undone. That is a clear picture of what is happening in world, today.  We are being shredded and undone by the choice we have made to reject what is good in God’s sight, in order to follow and do what is evil in God’s sight.  By doing this, we have chosen a path that is leading us to hell, and the saddest thing is that we are happy and rejoice over this decision.  But, God knew we would do this, so He already had a plan to get us off this path to self-destruction.  Look at what He said,

“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 3:1).”

God was going to send John the baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Messiah by preaching the message of repentance of sins, which was the same message that Jesus Messiah was going to preach to them.  Here is what John the Baptist preached:

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight! (Matthew 3:1-3).””

Sin is what stood between God and His people, the Israelites, and all Gentiles (those who are not Jewish), and still does, today.  Sin is turning away from God to live our lives for the sole purpose of fulfilling our selfish desires and satiate our fleshly pleasures that lead to self-destruction.  It is a rejection of God as our Sovereign Lord.  Repentance is choosing to get off the path to self-destruction, and putting our faith in Jesus Messiah, and following Him on the path to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).  Here is what John the Baptist said to the people:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel (John 1:29-31).”

John the Baptist announces Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb who would be sacrificed for the forgiveness of, not just His own people, the Jews, but the sins of the entire world – Jews and Gentiles alike.

Later, after Jesus had been tempted the devil, and resisted his temptations, Jesus began His preaching career, and this is what he said in His very first message: 

“From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heavenhas come near! (Matthew 4:17).”

Jesus was calling all people of the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, to repent, to turn from walking on the path of rebellion against God, put their faith in Him, and follow Him on the path to eternal life.  Jesus said:

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”  “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:1-6).”

This is great news! Jesus came to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day after His death, so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is believe and recognize that we are sinners, ask for God’s forgiveness, and then believe and accept what Jesus did on the cross for us in such a way that we now choose to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him; this is not something we do out of obligation, but because we understand what He has done for us, and love Him for it.

What, or whose path are you on? Where is it leading you?

In Christ’s love,

Phil

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Gift To Us

A gift is something given to someone without demanding payment for it.  If we buy a gift for someone and when we give it to them we asked them to reimburse us for it (money, time, effort, etc.), the gift would no longer be a gift, it would be a purchase.  It’s the same way with our salvation.  God’s salvation is a gift from Him to us, and there’s nothing we can do to earn it, buy it, our pay it back.  God, through the Apostle Paul, says,

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—  not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9. HCSB).”

In this passage of Scripture, God answers and clarifies many questions about salvation.  Let’s break it down and take a look at what God is teaching us.

  1. “For you are saved by grace…” – God says that, in the context of salvation, the word, “grace”, means, and unmerited favor from God to us.  It is unmerited favor because there is nothing about us that makes us worthy of being saved from God’s wrath because of our sin nature.  Grace, however, is not at mere word.  In this context, grace is a Person, God’s One and Only Son, Jesus.  God demonstrated His unmerited favor towards us by sending Jesus to suffer and die as full payment for our sins, for the forgiveness of our sin-debt (Romans 5:8).  Jesus is God’s unmerited love and favor towards us – He is grace incarnate (John 3:16-18).
  2. “through faith,” – God says that faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross is how He saves us.  But, this is not just a mere certainty of the existence of something, but a faith that, by our love for Him, we are compelled to put our lives in Jesus’ hands, a faith that compels us to turn away from sin and rebellion against God and strive to live every day in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17)
  3. “and this is not from yourselves;” – God says that there is nothing that we can do to salve ourselves.  In fact, God says that everything we do to merit our salvation, He considers as “filthy rags”, it is something that He will not accept because everything that needed to be done for the purpose of our salvation, has already been done by Jesus, on the cross. This is what God says about our efforts: But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV).” God does not accept anything unclean.
  4. “it is God’s gift” – God says that our salvation is free for us because Jesus has already paid for it on the cross.  God paid for our salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.  
  5. “not from works,” – God says that there is nothing else that can be done for our salvation.  Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for God and He proved that by raising Him from the dead on the third day after His death and burial.  God, through Titus said: But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love
    for mankind appeared, He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done… (Titus 3:5 HCSB).”
  6. “so that no one can boast.” – God took the responsibility of our salvation off of us, and put it upon Himself, so that He alone would get all the honor and glory.  This distinguishes the relationship between the created, us, and our Creator; between the Savior, and the saved.  

Then, once we decide to put all our faith and trust in Jesus, God assures us of our salvation.  Here’s what God says says about our assurance through the Apostle John:

“I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).”

And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus Himself said:

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one (John 10:27-30 HCSB).”

Are you sure of your salvation?  Do you want to be assured of your salvation?  Her’s how God says you can be:

1. Recognize that you’re a sinner and thank Him for sending Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross in order to pay the ultimate price for your sin (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8) and raising Him from the dead in order to give you eternal life (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 1:13-14).
2. Tell Him that, at this moment, you willfully and intentionally choose to stop living your life in rebellion against Him and choose to start living your life as His disciple; that you commit to seeking Him, every day; following Him, every day; and that you will strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him and only Him, no matter the cost – even if it costs you your life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 10:9-10). Then, do it.
This is the only way you can become God’s child (John 1:12) and experience the fullness of His love, goodness, joy, peace and perfect care. Do this right now!

If you did this, God is so happy with you and wants to start working in your life and through your life. Please send me a message letting me know that you did it so that I can pray for you as you begin a new life in Christ.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Descansemos en el Señor

Como Cristianos, debemos descansar en quieta expectativa en que Dios nos salvará de las personas malvadas en nuestras vidas, que nos quieren hacer daño.

Dios, por medio del Profeta Moisés, nos dice:

“Jehová peleará por vosotros, y vosotros estaréis tranquilos (Éxodo‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭RVR1960‬‬).”

Todos tenemos gente en nuestras vidas que quieren hacernos daño, no solamente daño físico, sino daño espiritual, emocional, y financiero. A veces parece ser que nos rodean y atacan todos a la misma vez, dejándonos con el sentir de no tener ayuda, ni esperanza. Muchos estamos sufriendo profundamente por estos ataques. Pero, no tiene que ser así.

He descubierto que la mayoría de mi sufrimiento a sido porque he tratado de pelear batallas que no puedo ganar, batallas que no son mías para pelear. No permití que Di s me protegiera al pelear mis batallas por mi. Me he dado cuenta que mi orgullo, autosuficiencia, y falta de fe en la Omnisciencia, Omnipotencia, y Omnipresencia de Dios, me ha causado estorbar a Dios cuando El me a querido esconder y proteger de los malvados que me quieren hacer daño.

Dios, por medio del Profeta Isaías nos dice:

“Ninguna arma forjada contra ti prosperará, y condenarás toda lengua que se levante contra ti en juicio. Ésta es la herencia de los siervos de Jehová, y su salvación de mí vendrá, dijo Jehová (Isaías‬ ‭54:17‬ ‭RVR1960‬‬),”

Como Cristianos, Dios espera que tengamos y demostremos la clase de fe que el Rey David tenía. El Rey David dijo:

“Si anduviere yo en medio de la angustia, tú me vivificarás; Contra la ira de mis enemigos extenderás tu mano, Y me salvará tu diestra (Salmos‬ ‭138:7‬ ‭RVR1960‬‬).”

¿Como es que Dios nos dice que podemos tener esa quieta paz mientras enfrentamos la maldad que nos rodea?

“Tú guardarás en completa paz a aquel cuyo pensamiento en ti persevera; porque en ti ha confiado.” (Isaías‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭RVR1960‬‬)

Al pensar en las Escrituras d hoy,
– ¿Como obedeceremos las Escrituras de hoy?
– ¿Con quien compartiremos lo que hemos aprendido en las Escrituras de hoy?
– ¿Con quien compartiremos la historia de nuestra salvación, y la historia de lo que Jesucristo ha hecho por nosotros?

Escriban sus respuestas, y luego, hagan lo dicen.

En el amor de Cristo,

Philip “Felipe”

Rest in the Lord

As Christinas, we must rest in the quiet expectation that God is going to deliver us from the evil people, in our lives, who want to do us harm.

“The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.” (Exodus 14:14)

We all have people in our lives who we know want to do us some kind of harm, not just physical harm, but spiritual, emotional, and financial harm, as well.  At times they seem to surround and attack us all at once, leaving us feeling hopeless and helpless.  Many of us may be suffering, deeply, from these kind of attacks, right now.  But, we don’t have to.

I have found that most of my suffering has come because I’ve tried to fight battles I know I cannot win, battles that were never meant for me to fight. I didn’t allow God to protect me as He fights these battles for me.  I have come to realize that pride, self-reliance, and lack of faith in God’s Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence cause me to get in His way when He wants to shield and protect me from the evil ones trying to harm me.

God, through the Prophet Isaiah, says:

“No weapon formed against you will succeed,
and you will refute any accusation
raised against you in court.
This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants,
and their righteousness is from Me.”
This is the Lord’s declaration (Isaiah 54:17).””

As Christians, God expects us to have, and demonstrate, the kind of faith King David did. Kind David said:

“If I walk into the thick of danger,
You will preserve my life
from the anger of my enemies.
You will extend Your hand;
Your right hand will save me (Psalms 138:7).”

How does God say we can be at quiet peace as we face the evil that surrounds us?

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

So, as we think about today’s Scriptures,

  • how will we obey today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will we share today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will we share the story of your salvation, and the story of what Jesus has done for us?

Write the answers down, and then, go do it!

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Insights from God's Word