Tag Archives: Hope

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 One Another

“Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:11-12 HCSB)

Church, how else is the world going to know Jesus if the world doesn’t see and hear Jesus in us?  Are we ashamed to speak and act like Jesus?  Then why aren’t we doing it?  I know what some of us are saying, right now, “Of course I’m not ashamed of Jesus, how dare you question my love for Him!”  And some of us are even adding an excuse to it, saying, “I just don’t want to offend anyone!”  We seem to have forgotten that Jesus, our Lord and King, has given us a command:

 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 HCSB).”

How can we, the church, love others outside the church, when we can’t even love one another, in the church?  How can we even call ourselves Christians when we are indifferent to the suffering of our Christians brothers and sisters?  One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is a church budget.  We spend thousands of dollars caring for buildings and programs, and just a few dollars, in comparison, for the overall care of our own brothers and sisters in need.  Where we, the church, spend the most money is where our hearts are.

I would rather be hated by the world for my love for God and others, than be loved by the world for my indifference.  Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me and others, so I will love Him and give myself for Him and others in return.  I will love Him, and others, even if it costs me my life, because I would rather be loved by God and hated by the world, than to be loved by the world and hated by God.

So, church, how can we love one another as the Lord has commanded us to do?  It’s simple, just find someone in your congregation that is need of love and care, and love and care for them.  Supply their needs without expecting anything in return.

Church, if there is no benevolence fund for your congregation in your budget, isn’t it time to change that?  Isn’t it time to be an example to the world of what it looks like to love one another?  If we want our world to change, change has to begin with us.

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…

 

No Rejection!

“Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37 HCSB)

There are those who misunderstand and misuse today’s verse.  Contrary to the beliefs of some, God does not force His will on us.  In His Sovereignty, God has chosen to give us free will to choose to believe in Him and trust Him, or not.  He does not create some people with the purpose of going to hell, and others to be saved from hell.  That would make Him and unjust God, which he is not.  God would never create anyone for the sole purpose of sending them to hell without giving them a chance to be saved from hell.  That’s why he speaks to all of us and draws us to Himself.  He wants us to be with Him and leads us to the One who can get us to Him, Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus is really teaching us in today’s verse:

  1. “Everyone the Father gives to Me will come to Me…” – this is the drawing of the Father, the hearing and learning from the Father about Jesus.  God’s opening of our eyes to the reality of our spiritual condition, which causes us to seek and call upon Jesus for Salvation.
  2. “and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.” – the one who seek Jesus with all their heart will find Jesus, will be saved by Jesus, and will never be rejected by Jesus – their salvation can never be lost.

God, through the Apostle Paul said:

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 HCSB).”

Have you been rejecting God’s call upon you to come to Him?  Are you hearing Him calling you now?  Would you like to call upon Him and know that you are saved and have your place in heaven with Him for all eternity?  Here’s how God says you can do it:

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; John 11:25).
2. Tell Him that, at this moment, you willfully, willingly, 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, every day, 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 Covone

No Fear!

“Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35 HCSB)

If we are Christians, is there any reason for us to live in fear?  Is there anything that can separate us from the love of Christ?  Is there anyone who can separate us from the love of Christ?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

Here’s the reason why (read the entire passage):

“As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:36-39).”

As Christians, this passage should strengthen us, empower us, encourage us, and eradicate all fear from within us!  So then,

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

In Christi’s love,

Phil

 

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