Category Archives: Faith

Being A Disciple of Christ

“Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.””  (Mark 8:34-35)

Christians, today, want and demand an easy religion which demands nothing of them, except to come to church every time the doors are open, tithe, and go home. We live as if Jesus did not call us to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.  We want a Christian life that does not involve risk or uncomfortableness.  This mentality is contrary to what Jesus called all Christians to do in today’s verse of Scripture.

Jesus tells us that a true believer and follower of His will deny himself of the plans, dreams, and aspirations he has for his own life, in order to live and die for His sake, and the sake of the Gospel.  This is the mark of one who is truly saved.  How dare us believe that we are to be spared from any suffering, or death, when our Lord Jesus was not!  Do we really feel entitled to a Christian life devoid of any suffering, or death, for the sake of Christ, and for the sake of the Gospel?

“If Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  (C.T. Studd)

Are you a disciple of Christ? Then your life is the only thing worth giving to Him, for His sake, and for the sake of the Gospel.

God’s Gift to Us

“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)

 

Here’s what God is telling us in this verse of Scripture:

  1. “For you are saved…” – This means that we are saved from God’s judgement and wrath because of our rebellion against Him.  God created us to glorify Him with our lives by living in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him, but we have chosen to rebel against Him, bringing upon ourselves God’s wrath (Romans 6:23).
  2. “by grace…” – Grace, in this case, is God’s unmerited favor upon us.  This means that God, despite our rebellion against Him, loved us (His creation) so much, that He chose to sacrifice His One and Only Son, Jesus, as payment for our sin so that our rebellion against Him might be forgiven.  Jesus willingly obeyed God and offered Himself up as a sacrifice to God for our atonement.  God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and raised Him from the dead in order to complete His redemptive work, and give us eternal life, saving us from His wrath (Romans 5:8).
  3. “through faith… – To be saved from God’s wrath, all we have to do is believe with all our hearts in what God has done for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and live the rest of or lives confessing it to the world, beginning where we are (John 3:16; Romans 10:10).
  4. “and this not of yourselves;…” – This means that we cannot save ourselves; that there is nothing we can do for God that He would accept as payment for our salvation because we are ruled by our sin nature (Rome 3:23). We are stained by our sin, but Jesus never sinned, therefore, His sacrifice was acceptable to God.
  5. “it is God’s gift…” – A gift is a some one gives without expecting payment for it, otherwise, it is no longer a gift.  God’s plan for our salvation is paid for, in full, by Him, through what Jesus did on the cross for us.  Nothing is required of us, except faith, and faith is not a “work”, just a heartfelt belief.
  6. “not from works…” – What Jesus did for us is completely sufficient for the salvation of our souls.  There is nothing else that needs to be done by God, by Jesus, or by us, contrary to what other religions say.  God said it, that settles it (Titus 3:5-7).
  7. “so that no one can boast.” – Because we are pulled by sin, God knows that we are filled with pride.  Therefore, God took the responsibility of our salvation off of us, and put it squarely on Jesus’ shoulders, so that we could not ever take credit for something that only Jesus could do.

Here’s what Jesus said:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God (John 3:16-18 HCSB).”

“The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son[a] will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).”

So, knowing what you now know, are you willing to risk God’s wrath upon you, and spending eternity in complete separation from our loving God in eternal torment?  Would you consider putting the full measure of your faith in Christ, today?  If you choose to do so and need help, let me know below, or by private message.

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

Life and Death

“The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36 HCSB)

There are those who read this verse and immediately think that God is cruel, and without love, or compassion for people as He claims to have.  Most people who believe this way do not understand God because they have very little, or no knowledge of God.  What’s most troubling is that there are many who call themselves Christians who have this same mindset and have no idea of the danger they are in.  So, let’s break down and understand this verse.

  1.  “The one who believes in the Son…” – the word “believe”, here, means much more than a simple intellectual conviction that Jesus exists, and that He died on a cross, and rose from the dead.  God, in James 2:19, tells us that even the demons believe in Jesus, and even shudder in fear of Him.  This does not mean that demons are going to heaven.  The belief that this verse speaks of is a complete, unconditional surrender of our lives to the lordship of Christ in such a way that we strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands; not out of obligation, or as a “stay out of hell card”, but because we understand what He has done for us.
  2. “has eternal life,” – eternal life in heaven with Him is our reward for surrendering our lives to Jesus, and submitting ourselves to His Lordship, in such a way that we strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.
  3. “but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life;” – the person who outright refuses to surrender his/her life to the lordship of Christ, and refuses to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands. this person will not see eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
  4. “instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” – God’s wrath remains on us because we choose to live our lives in rebellion against Him, which is what’s in our nature to do.  We don’t want to surrender our lives to anyone, or anything, unless it satisfies our lusts, and desires for the things of this world – “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).”

Here is what we need to understand about God, folks.  God does not hate anyone.  On the contrary.  God loves us all enough to give us the choice to surrender to Him and live according to His will and purpose, or to live according to our will and desires.  But, He also loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of not living according to His will and purpose.

God sends no-one to hell.  We send ourselves to hell by the choice we make.  With every choice we make, we also choose the consequences we will suffer.

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