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

Got Wisdom?

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” (James1:5 HCSB)

Many of us think we have wisdom, but the state of our lives tells a different story.  We have made such unwise, bone-headed decisions that we’ve almost destroyed our lives and the lives of others, including our families.  Then, our shame makes us look for others to blame for our failure.  We don’t even want to think of taking responsibility for our destructive behavior.

Our problem is pride.  Pride keeps us from asking family, or friends for help because we fear being thought of as weak.  When we find ourselves at a crossroads in our lives we just do the “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” thing and go with it.  However, we soon find out we were wrong.  When we leave God out of our decision making process, we quickly end up paying costly consequences.  There is a reason why God told us:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).”

God is Omniscient, and likes it when we humble ourselves before Him and recognize that He is all-knowing, and all-wise, and we’re not.  When we do this and then ask Him to give us wisdom, He will not criticize, or judge us. Instead, He will give us the wisdom to make the right decisions according to His will and purpose.  There is nothing more important to God than His eternal purpose.  God will never give us wisdom so that we can go our own way and do our own thing.  He gives us the wisdom we need to carry out His eternal purpose.

So, do you lack wisdom? Take a close look at your life and see what it says about how wise you really are.  God has all the wisdom you need, and He is ready to give it to you.  Just humble yourself before Him, and ask Him for it.  He will give it to you – He promised He would, so He will.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

 

 

But First…God owes us nothin

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

We all want God to supply our every need, especially when it comes to our basic, everyday necessities.  I mean, we all know that God is love, right?  He is also our “Good, Good Father” who wants to take good care of us.  So, why shouldn’t we ask and He give us what we need and want?

Well, the answer is in today’s verse.  Did you see the answer?  Let’s look and see what it tells us.

1.  “But seek first…” – this implies that there is a condition to God’s blessings.  We need to be seeking to do something for Him, first.

2.  “the kingdom of God…” – we are to be seeking to grow God’s kingdom.  What this means is that God wants our first priority to be growing His kingdom by sharing the Gospel of Christ wherever we are and make disciples of those who put their faith and trust in Him (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

2.  “and His righteousness,” – our other priority is to strive each day to live according to the moral standard He has set for us to live by.  God is not going to reward us with everything we need when we are not doing what He has commanded us to do, first.

3.  “and all these things will be provided for you.” – as long as we are working to grow His kingdom and striving to live according to the moral standard He has set for us, then God will supply our every need.  This requires the full measure of our faith in the fact that God is faithful, and that He never lies.

God is not our personal “Genie in a Bottle” that is bound to giving us everything we need and/or want.  He will not let us take advantage of Him.  Remember this, God owes us nothing; we owe Him everything.  Just do what He says, then watch what He does.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

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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

What Will You Do?

“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 HCSB)

God loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of living a life apart from Him, and in His Sovereignty, He allows us to chose whether or not we will believe Him, or not.  With every choice we make we also choose the consequences that comes with that choice. So, what will you do?  It’s your choice…

 

“Holy Death”

A family, friends of ours, lives in a typical neighborhood in our city that is surrounded by temples to the “holy death” (one of them is pictured above).  On the outside walls of the temples they paint images of a skeleton and build shrines around it so that passers by can stop and worship and pray to it, as seen in the above photo.  People pray to the “holy death” for protection from death, and for the “holy death” to avenge the death of family and loved ones at the hands of others.  This practice was started by narco-traffickers, and sex-traffickers, who are warring against each other, and against police.

People also call upon the “holy death” to commit acts of evil against family members who have wronged them, or who have chosen not to remain under Roman Catholic rule.  Our friends are Evangelical Christians and their families have turned against them.  Some of their family members have called upon witches and witch-doctors to cast evil spells on them in order to force them back into Roman Catholicism.  Every night, one of their daughters sees shadows roaming around her bedroom.  She prays out loud asking God to remove the evil spirits, which He does, and she can finally sleep.  One afternoon, her mother was putting clothes on the line to dry.  Before she got finished, she went in the house for something and both she and her daughter saw some of the clothes being pulled off the line, but there was nobody there doing it.  They prayed together and the evil spirit left.  This is very common.

Some of you may be wondering how the Roman Catholic Church, in Mexico, feels about worshiping and praying to the holy death.  The fact is, even though they would never admit it, the Roman Catholic Church sanctions and encourages it, as you can see in the picture below.

santa-muerte-1

Through all of this, though, our friends have remained faithful to the Lord and have never wavered in their faith, even though they are surrounded by evil and are being persecuted by their own families and friends.

God tells us:

“In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12 HCSB).”

Friends, this is why God has us in Mexico.  He has sent us here to share the Good News of Christ with this very spiritually dark country.  Please pray for us and this precious family as we continue to do battle against evil, every day.  In Christ’s love, thank you.

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The Inconvenient Truth

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 HCSB)

Friends, here’s the only inconvenient truth that matters: our sinful nature has condemned and sentenced us to eternal death in hell, but God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to rescue and offer eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.  This is a free gift from God! God, through the Apostle Paul, said:

“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).”

Here’s what this passage says:

  1. “For you are saved…” – Saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9).  God is 100% love and 100% just. 
  2. “by grace through faith…” –  Faith is the vehicle by which we reach God’s unmerited favor (grace) towards us. 
  3. “and this is not from yourselves;” – Our sinful nature impedes us from being able to do anything to buy, or earn, our salvation from God’s wrath.
  4. “it is God’s gift…” – Salvation is God’s gift given to us, freely, out of a heart of love.
  5. “not from works,” – Salvation cannot be bought, or earned by our “good works” because there is nothing good about us. (Romans 3:23).
  6. “so that no one can boast.” – God took away the responsibility of our salvation from us and put it on Jesus’ shoulders.  This was meant to keep us powerless and humble, totally dependent on upon Him and His love for us.  Also, boastfulness and pride are sin, which God does not accept.

These facts are inconvenient to those whose desire is to enslave prospective believers by adding “works” to their faith for their salvation.  But here’s something for us to think about; if there was a way for us to save our own selves from God’s wrath, how cruel and unloving would God have to be for Him to punish His own Son, so severely, in order to forgive people who hate Him so intensely?

Here are the facts about salvation as simple as it can be said:

  1. Jesus reigned in heaven with God the Father
  2. Jesus left His kingdom to come to earth and become a servant
  3. Jesus served us by dying on a cross in order to suffer the full measure of God’s wrath, so we wouldn’t have to
  4. Jesus was buried, and after three days in the tomb,
  5. Jesus rose again from the dead in order to give us eternal life in heaven
  6. All we have to do is believe in what Jesus has done for us through His death and resurrection to receive eternal life.

Jesus Himself 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 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).”

What Jesus has done for us is sufficient. there’s nothing else to be done.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Insights from God's Word