Category Archives: Obedience

Do Not Love…

How does what we love compare to the things God says we ought not to love?  If we know what He doesn’t want us to love, then we should know what He does want us to love.  Though there are a lot of things God says we ought not to do, or love, we must remember that He knows our futures and the consequences of what we chose to love, or do, or not.  So, when He tells us not to love, or do something, it’s for our own good, not because He wants to oppress us, or lead us in a boring life.  In today’s passage of Scriptures, God warns us about what we ought not to love.

“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world.”  (1 John 2:15-16 HCSB)

Here’s what God is trying to tell us in this passage.  If we lust after the emotional and physical pleasures of this world, and are living to impress others with our lifestyles, we do not love God, our heavenly Father.  There are many religious denominations out there that teach the complete opposite of what God is teaching us in today’s Scriptures.  God is telling us that those doctrines are not from Him, but from the evil hearts of men who are out to deceive and hurt people.  Greed, arrogance, selfishness, and self-sufficiency is evil in God eyes, and a person who is ruled by these qualities is a lover of self, not a lover of God.

Jesus reminds us that love is living our lives for His benefit, and for the the benefit of others, not for ourselves. And hat is what He expects from all these who belong to Him.  Here’s how He puts it:

“Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:25-27).”

What He is telling us is that the love that we have for our families, and even our own selves, looks like hate, compared to the love we have for Him.  We must love Him above everyone else in our lives, and love others as we love ourselves:

“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).”

Can you imagine what the world would be like if all Christians would love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates?  What would the world look like?

So, then,

  1. How will we obey today’s Scriptures?
  2. With whom will we share today;’s Scriptures?
  3. With whom will we share the story of our salvation, and the story of what Jesus has done for us?

 

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

No Fear

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

If we have recognized and accepted God as our Lord and Savior, there must be NO FEAR in us.  Yet, many of us who say that we have put all our faith and trust in God, live in constant fear.  This is a contradiction.  We either believe and trust in the fact that God is Omniscient (there are no limits to His knowledge and wisdom), Omnipotent (there are no limits to His power), and Omnipresent (there no place where His presence is not), or we don’t.  We are either all-in, or all-out.  We either fully believe and trust Him, or we don’t.

Fear is evidence of our lack of trust in our Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God.  God has never, does not now, nor will He ever, break His promises.  So, when God says that He will give us the strength to continue on during our hardest and most trying times, and will sustain us during the pressures of everyday living, HE WILL DO IT!  However, He will not do it for those who refuse to put the full measure of their faith and trust in Him.  Look at what He is telling us through the Prophet Isaiah:

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

Are you a Christian who struggles with fear?  Could it be that it’s because your relationship with God is fractured because you have been focused on your problems instead of on the Problem Solver?  When Jesus called Peter out of the boat onto the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee, Peter, putting all his faith and trust in Jesus, got out of the boat and started walking on water towards Jesus who was walking on the Sea of Galilee.  However, when he took his eyes off of Jesus to focus on the stormy water under his feet, Peter began to sink and drown (Matthew 14:22-33).  Something came between he and Jesus that caused him to sink and fear came over him, again.  His fear of the stormy water became greater than his faith in Christ, who had caused him to walk on water, and who moments later, calmed the stormy sea.

If this is you and you want to live in the perfect peace of God, remember what Jesus said and promised us:

“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).”

If we commit to striving to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands, God will provide everything we need.  We will live in complete and perfect peace.  Would you like for your peace to be restored?

  1. Ask God to forgive you for focusing on your problems, instead of Him.
  2. Ask God to give you the strength to continue focused on growing your faith in Him.
  3. Ask God to sustain you through the pressures of your life.

Will you do it?  “Do what He says, and watch what He does.”

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

The Most Hated Man in History

 

Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not come to the world to condemn the world of its sin, but to pay the penalty for our sin, so that we might not be condemned for our sin.  Jesus suffered the full measure of God’s wrath for our sin so that, through faith in that very act of love, we might be saved from God’s wrath and condemnation.  Jesus Himself said:

“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).”

He did for us what we could not do for ourselves so that we might be saved.  There has never been, nor will there ever be a greater act of love than what Jesus has done us.  Yet He is hated for it.  Jesus is the most hated man in the history of the world.  Not one of the most evil, hateful, murderous leaders in our world’s history is hated as much as Jesus is today.

Jesus taught

  1. To love our Creator God above all other relationships in our lives:  “He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).”
  2. To love one another as we love our own selves:  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).”
  3. To love one another as He has loved us: “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12).”
  4. To love our enemies:  “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, (Luke 6:27).”
  5. To do what is good to those who hate us: “do what is good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27).”
  6. To speak well of, and invoke blessings, upon those who curse us:  “bless those who curse you, (Like 6:28).”
  7. To pray for those who mistreat us: “pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:28).”
  8. To forgive one another as He has forgiven us: “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Ephesians 4:32).”

This is why Jesus is hated so much.  This is what He lived and taught, and this is why He was persecuted and murdered; and this is why those who are His true followers, those who strive to live according to His moral standard are so hated, despised, and murdered as well.

There are many people who think that when Jesus speaks out against all sexual immorality, drunkenness, lying, cheating, greed, abuse of power, injustice, abortion, murder, and many other things, He is condemning those who practice those things.  He is not, He is simply warning them of the fact that our sinful nature does not allow us to turn away from those things on our own, and that because of that, we are headed to an eternal separation from a God who created us, and loves us, and wants to care for us.

He warns us that there is only one way to avoid God’s wrath upon us, and that is to put our full faith and trust in what He did on the cross to save us from God’s wrath.  Here’s how Jesus explains it to us:

“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 that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved 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).”

Do not let the world confuse you and talk you into believing the lies told about Jesus.  There is only one to know Jesus in a personal way, and that’s by:

  1. Asking Him to forgive your sins:  If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).”
  2. Surrender to His Lordship over your life: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10).”
  3. Commit to striving to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to his commands: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21).” 

This is why Jesus is so hated, still.  Do you hate Him?  Will you accept His free gift of salvation this Christmas?  After all, that is why He came. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

***If you have questions, let me know.***

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Who Is Protecting You?

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Why do so many Christians live in fear?  Do we really believe that God is Omniscient (all knowing), Omnipotent (there is nothing God can’t do), and Omnipresent (present in all places, at all times)? God was not created, therefore, He alone is the most powerful Being that exists.  He is Lord over all created things, including good and evil.  If we truly believe this is true, then why do we live in such fear?

If we are Christians, our salvation is guarded by God Himself and no one can snatch our salvation away from us:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one (John 10:27-30).”

So, no matter what we may suffer while we are still on this earth, we are protected by the fact that we have secured our place in heaven, for all eternity, where there will be no more suffering, of any kind, and no more evil to cause us harm.  Jesus reminds us that we have but one Person to fear:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).”

God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that our war is not against each other, but against the forces of evil, the evil that has penetrated the human heart:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).”

This next verse should make us drop all fear, jump for joy, and fill us with eternal hope:

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:19).”
So, if we believe that God is on our side and that Satan and his demons know God and tremble at the mere mention of His holy name, why, then, should we live in fear?  The best way to show God that we believe that He is our one and only Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God, is to live in immediate, radical, and costly obedience to His commands.
So, then,
  • How will we obey today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will we share today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will we share our salvation stories and the story of what Jesus has done for us?

In Christ’s Love,

Phil

“Test Me”

“Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. “Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.”” (Malachi 3:10)

 

God demands the full tithe from those who belong to Him, otherwise it would be robbery  (Malachi 3:7-8).  How dare we rob God of what rightfully belongs to Him! Giving Him anything less than the full tithe is partial service, which He does not accept.  Giving to God what belongs to Him is, and should be for us, one of the greatest acts of worship we can offer Him.  It is an act of profound gratitude towards Him for all that He has done and provided for us.

The food brought to the temple was brought to a special storeroom in the temple, and was meant only for those who were in charge of the duties in the temple, not for all the people.  These were men who were consecrated to do nothing else but work for God, in the temple.

God was challenging the people to “test Him”, to be obedient to His command (give their full tithe) and see if He didn’t reward their obedience by removing the drought they were in and showering them with widespread, heavenly superabundance, immeasurable abundance.

So, then, are you a thief, or will you have faith in God and accept His challenge?

  • How will you obey today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will you share today’s Scriptures?
  • With whom will you share your salvation story and the story of what Jesus did for you?

In Christ’s love,

Phil