Category Archives: Encouragement

Love

“He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39 HCSB).””

If you are a Christian, please join me in this prayer, and then in obedience to this prayer.

Lord, today I’m going to need your help to love You with all my being, in such a way that I live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Your Word, and love others the same way I love myself.  You don’t command me to see if people are worth my love, You command me to love others the same way You have loved me, even though I’m totally unworthy of Your love.  Fill me with Your love so that I can share it with all people, all the time.  May it be so, Father.  In Jesus’ name.

Have a glorious day, everyone!

Our Resurrection

 “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”  (1 Corinthians 15:14-17 HCSB)

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can also be raised from the dead into eternal life, which is our only hope.  Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would have no hope, and our destiny would be an eternity in complete separation from God in a place called hell.  God had mercy on us and provided a way for us to pass from death to life, from eternal torment in hell, to an eternal life of joy and peace in heaven with Him.

All that is required us is faith in the fact that Jesus was punished for our sins so that our sins can be forgiven, and that Jesus rose again from the dead so that we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.  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 HCSB).””

The choice is ours. I pray you will make the correct choice.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Got Peace?

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

Many of us Christians do not live in God’s perfect peace.  Instead, we choose to be self-sufficient, completely setting God aside.  We have made up our minds to depend wholly on ourselves.  We’ve looked at our Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God and said to Him, “Step aside, God, I’ve got this. I don’t need you.”

Then, when things don’t go the way we thought they would, we’re too prideful to admit we made a mistake.  We are quick to blame others, including God, for our mistakes and the consequences we’re suffering.  Even though we may be part of a higher socio economic class, we still have no peace because we have put our faith in money, which we know we can lose in the blink of an eye.  Jesus said:

 “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money (Matthew 6:24 HCSB).”

God expects every one of His children to put the full measure of their faith and dependence in Him, just as new born babies do their parents.  He alone is our “Good, Good, Father.”  No one else can match His great love and care for us because we are His.

Here’s is how we can have that “prefect peace that God offers:

  1. Put the full measure of your faith and dependence in Him alone.  Do not try to be self-sufficient.  You are not Omniscient, Omnipotent, nor Omnipresent.
  2. Strengthen your faith and dependence in Him by staying in a constant posture of prayer, and by reading His Word, every day!
  3. Stay busy obeying what God reveals to you through prayer and the reading of His Word.  Worry more about that, than anything else.

Father in Heaven, I lift up the person who is reading this, to You.  I pray that they will humble themselves before You, go to Your throne of grace and pray, seek Your face, and turn away from their selfish pride.  I ask that You will increase their faith and help them put the full measure of their faith and dependence entirely in You.  Grant them peace.  May it be so, Father.  In Jesus’ name.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Stop and Rest; I’ve Got This

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

As human beings, we tend to try to face problems, and fight battles, that we know we have no chance against. We are fighting so many, and so many types of battles, each day that we feel as if we can’t keep going, that we don’t have a choice but to give up.  Unfortunately, this is a huge problem among Christians, as well, when it ought not be.

In today’s verse, God makes every single person a promise we cannot afford to miss. Let’s take a look:

  1. “The Lord will fight for you;” –  God Himself is ready and willing to fight those battles we have no chance against. The Bible tells us that there is nothing that God cannot do (Luke 1:37), and that there is no power greater than Him (Jeremiah 32:17).  Even when things are so hard and painful that we don’t even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit knows our petitions and takes them to God, interceding for us (Romans 8:26).  So it’s ridiculous for us to keep on fighting against things we have no chance against, right?
  2. “you must be quiet.” – God is telling us to STOP fighting, and rest; to rest and be quiet as He goes to battle for us.  He wants us to let go of all the stuff, all the baggage, all the stresses, all the pain others have caused us, all the guilt of our past, all the garbage that is killing us inside, and out.

God is calling out to us, saying: “Stop and Rest; I’ve Got This. Just trust Me.” So, how do we let go of all this stuff?  First, we must put the full measure of our faith and trust in the fact that God is the One and Only, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God.  Second, we must ask Him to forgive us for trying to live our lives apart from Him. Third, we must surrender our lives to Him as our Lord and Savior.  Fourth, we must surrender every aspect of our lives to Him, including all the problems and battles we are fighting, not withholding anything from Him.

Friends, God is our only hope.  He alone holds all the answers to all our problems, no matter how big we may think they are.  There is nothing, nor anyone bigger, or greater than Him.  Place the full measure of your faith and trust in Him, today!

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Stop!

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalms 46:10 NKJV)

There are times in which we are to arrogant and self-absorbed for our own good.  We all have battles we’ve been fighting against for years, alone, to no avail.  Our egos are bigger than the world, and we refuse to turn to anyone for the help we so obviously need.  Even though our loved ones and friends see the futility of our battles and beg us to get the help we need, we reject them and continue to fight a battle we cannot win.  If we are not going to listen to our loved ones and friends, maybe we will listen to God. After all, He is the Omnipotent One.

For those of us who are hardheaded, listen to what our God tells us in today’s verse:

  1. “Be still,” – Literally, God says, “Stop fighting!”  God is also Omniscient, He knows we are in a battle in which we cannot prevail, and orders us to STOP!  Sometimes we are cheering for ourselves so loud that we can’t hear God’s gentle and quiet voice telling to stop and turn to Him, that He now has to yell at us to get our attention.
  2. “and know that I am God;” – in a sense, God wants to show off for us.  He wants to take over and fight this battle we’ve been fighting for so long, and defeat it.  He wants to remind us, as Christians, that He is still God, and that He is still Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.  There is nothing He doesn’t know about us, there is nothing He can’t do for us, and that there is no place we can go in which He is not already there.  God wants us to put the full measure of our faith and trust in Him, then watch what He does.
  3. “I will be exalted among the nations,” – When we allow God to intervene in our lives, all those around us will get to see God’s power over all circumstances. That gives them the opportunity to put their faith and trust in Him also.
  4. “I will be exalted in the earth!” – when God intervenes and does something that we couldn’t do for ourselves, then everyone around us will know that it had to be God, and He alone will get the honor, glory and praise.  We must also proclaim to the world what He does; He wants the entire world to know about Himself and wants to use us to let the entire world know about His greatness.

God will never ask us to “be still”, or to “stop fighting” so that we can be defeated, but so that He can show up and blow our minds, and the minds of those around us, with what He does for us.

It is more courageous to admit that we are not able to do something, and let God intervene, than to continue doing what is easy; fighting a battle that we know we cannot win.  So we must not be afraid to be still, stop fighting, for fear of what others may think of us.

Are you fighting a battle that you know you cannot win?  Are you tired and weary of the fight?  Then,

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

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Troubled?

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.”                   (John 14:1 HCSB)

As the time grew near for Jesus to be crucified, His disciples grew more and more concerned that they would be left alone.  All of a sudden, after following Jesus faithfully for three years, they are facing His departure.  They didn’t know what would become of them since their master and friend would no longer be with them to teach them and show them what to do.  Jesus knew this, and beginning in today’s verse of Scripture, He delivers to them one of the greatest messages, ever.  It is a message of hope and joy, not only for them, but for all of us today.

How many of us are feeling that Jesus is far away from us?  If we are Christians and feel that way, it’s because we walked away from Him, not Him from us.  Sadly, many of us Christians live as if Jesus is a liar, even though we know He is not.  Let’s let today’s verse remind us of where, and in whom, we must put our faith.

  1. “Your heart must not be troubled.” – Jesus is telling us not to let our hearts be troubled because there is Someone whom we can count on, Someone who will never betray us, Someone who will never leave us, nor forsake us, Someone who already knows and feels what we’re going through. There is Someone who loves us unconditionally, no matter how bad we may think we are, or have been, Someone who will cary us through our hardest, loneliest, and most painful times.
  2. “Believe in God;” – the God of the Old Testament delivered the Israelites from their Egyptian captors. Then, as they spent forty years traveling through the dessert to the land He had promised them, He protected them from all those who tried to destroy them, and through miracles, He supplied their every need.
  3. “believe also in Me.” – Jesus reveals to them that He is that very same God, only in the flesh (John 1:14).  Therefore, they should put all their faith and trust in Him, as they did in the God that they had always heard about.  God did not forsake their ancestors, Jesus would not forsake them, nor will He forsake us today.

 

Now, here’s what Jesus wants us to believe and never forget, because this is our hope and our unspeakable joy:

“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 (John 14:2-4 HCSB).”

Jesus did not leave us as orphans, He promised the He would return for us so that where He is, right now, we will also.  In the mean time, we are not to throw our hands up and give up.  On the contrary, we are to, by faith in Him and His Word, persevere in faith until He returns for us.

 But the one who endures to the end will be delivered (Matthew 24:13 HCSB).”

Difficult circumstances are not evidence of God’s absence, but an opportunity to demonstrate our faith in His promises.  Is your heart troubled?  Do you want peace and joy?  Let me know in a comment below.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Temptation

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Wow!!!  What a powerful, and encouraging passage of Scripture, especially for us Christians.  Contrary to popular belief, even among Christians, there is no such thing as a superhuman temptation that can overpower us, and force us to summit to sin.  That is great news, is it not?  God, through the Apostle Paul, teaches us a great lesson about temptation.

First, let’s define temptation. Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines temptation as “an enticement or invitation to sin, with the implied promise of greater good to be derived from following the way of disobedience.”  Notice that temptation is nothing more that an enticement or invitation to which we have the power to decline.  What makes it so hard to resist is the promise of something “good” for our disobedience to God.  Always remember that Satan is the great tempter (Matthew 4:3: 1 Thessalonians 3:5), and the father of all lies (John 8:44).  So, if Satan is enticing us to do something that is wrong in God’s eyes, and promising us something good for doing what is wrong, IT’S A LIE!!!

There are five very important things we are able to take away from today’s passage of Scripture:

  1. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.” – Paul reminds the Corinthian church, and us, that there is no such thing as a superhuman temptation that can not be resisted by humans.  There is no need for us to trow our hands up and give in to temptation.
  2. “God is faithful.” – when we are tempted, God is always there for us.  He “never leaves us or forsakes us”, especially in times of trouble.
  3. “He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,” – God will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we are capable of resisting.  God knows the full measure of our strength.  Therefore, He will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we are able to resist.
  4. with the temptation He will provide a way to escape…” – God not only controls how hard we are tempted, He also provides a way to escape temptations.  When we’re in a dark theater we can be comforted in the fact that if something happens, there are always lit exit signs that will help us escape danger.
  5. “so that you are able to bear it.” – so that we are able to resist it.

So, what are our God given defenses against temptation?

  1. God’s Word –  God demands immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.   The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you (Psalms 119:11).”  Jesus fought Satan’s temptations by quoting Scriptures (Matthew 4:4-10).  We must make time to study God’s Word: “Oh, how I love thy law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies (Psalms 119:97-98).”
  2. Prayer – The night Jesus was betrayed, Jesus prayed and commanded Peter to pray so that he would not fall into temptation (Mark 14:38).”  In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray that we would not be led into temptation (Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4).”
  3. Common sense – We must not put ourselves in situations that will exploit our weaknesses.  If gambling is a weakness, do not go to casinos or places where where betting games are offered.  If alcoholic beverages are our weakness, we must stay out of places that serve alcoholic beverages…we get the point, don’t we?

So now that we are well equipped to fight and overcome Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6),

  • How will we obey what we’ve learned in today’s lesson?
  • With whom will we share what we learned in today’s lesson?
  • With whom will we share the story of our salvation, and the story of what Jesus did for us?

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone