Would You Like to Know More About Jesus? #001  Trusting Jesus

This message is for those who have not yet trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  This message is also for those who know someone who has not yet trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  This message is for those who are turned off by religion, but want to know God.  This message is for those who are tired of being pointed in the wrong direction.  This message is for those who are looking for a purpose in life, for meaning, for acceptance, for forgiveness.  This message is for those who are looking for freedom from fear, guilt, worry, resentment, discouragement, and loneliness.  In short, this message is for YOU.

Moving Closer to God

Hi, my name is Mike, and my goal is to help you move closer to God.  I’m not going to ask you to attend church anywhere, I’m not going to ask you to read the Bible from cover-to-cover, and I’m not at all interested in your money.  I’m only interested in helping you understand your Creator and the reason he created you.  I want to help you figure out why we are here and where we are going.  I want to help you understand the value of knowing Jesus.  I’m doing this because God wants me to love my neighbor.  You’re my neighbor and love is my primary motivation.

Here is some of what the Bible says about love:

“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some people in my life who said they loved me and it never measured up to the love the Bible describes; however, God’s love does measure up – God’s love is limitless.  God’s love is the ultimate example of love.  In fact, the Bible tells us that God is love.  God created love and he created us, so that he could love us, and so that we would love him in return.  So the Bible is a love story all about YOU.  As a result, you get to write the ending to the story.  Will you return God’s love or will you walk away?

You are a Spirit Being

Let’s start this journey with a look in the mirror.  The person you see when you look in the mirror is not who you are.  You are a spirit being, living inside that human body.  You know this to be true, because you know you are far more than that human body has been able to achieve.  You know that you have enormous untapped potential.  You’re just waiting for the opportunity to arrive.  What I want you to understand is Jesus Christ is that opportunity.  When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, your spirit being (your true self that lives inside your mortal body), becomes one with God.  You are no longer connected to this world – you are a child of God with an eternal existence.  You will go on forever.  Your time spent in this world is a tiny fraction of all eternity and is designed by God to help you grow in knowledge and wisdom.

So what does this mean?  It means you have an extraordinary opportunity to be mentored by your Creator so that you can reach your absolute full potential.  When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, you are granted access to the spirit of God.  The spirit living inside your mortal body becomes one with the Spirit of God.  You no longer travel through this world on your own; you are forever connected directly to your Creator who becomes your personal guide.

Wisdom, Knowledge, and Strength

Keep in mind, trusting Jesus does not make life easy – it gives life meaning and purpose.  God doesn’t want your life to be easy – and you shouldn’t either.  Nothing is gained from an easy life.  The wisdom, knowledge, strength, and perseverance you will need for all eternity is best developed through experience.  You will also need that wisdom, knowledge, strength, and perseverance to help those you love here in this world.  Every aspect of your life, as a follower of Jesus, is a development process for your eternal life. Every life experience is also a tool to help you guide others toward knowing God the way you do.

Pointing the Way

Finally, I want you to know that there are many people who claim to be followers of Jesus who are not fully committed.  Some that claim to be believers are really just fans and not actual followers.  I only mention this because the Bible has been used by dishonest charlatans and ignorant opportunist for thousands of years.  These people aren’t trying to help you – they are trying to help themselves.  I’m not asking you for anything and never will.  My only goal is to share Jesus with you and point you toward your own personal relationship with him.  I have dedicated my life to pointing others in the right direction.

I hope I’ve sparked your interest and you’ll be looking forward to my next message.
There is much more to this story…
Don’t keep this to yourself.  Share it with a friend.

 

Here’s some great music that celebrates God’s love.
Love has Come” – Mark Schultz

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day. 

Connecting with Jesus

Why the Bible is all about YOU

 

The Bible should have your name included in the title, because it’s a book about you.  Every book, psalm, proverb, and letter found in the Bible was written for you.  When you read from the Bible or listen to a trusted Bible teacher, it’s important for you to understand this is not an abstract collection of writings – every word of the Bible was written specifically for you.

The Bible is God’s message to YOU

The Bible is the one and only way for you to know God fully and completely.  The only source of honest truth we have is in the pages of the Bible.  Romans 15:4 tells us, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” 

The Bible is all about YOUR Creator. 

You were uniquely made by God your Creator. The Bible is essentially His instruction manual for the care and maintenance of your spiritual well-being.  You are a complex machine, and the best person to take care of any complex machine is the person who designed and built it.  We find this in Psalm 139:13-14, “For You created my innermost parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made.” 

How YOU respond to your Creator determines your future.

Obedience leads to blessing and rebellion leads to discipline.  God wants you to learn and grow in knowledge and wisdom.  The Bible is designed for that purpose.  Reading the Bible, or studying the Bible with a trusted teacher, demonstrates your faith in God’s instruction.  We are told this in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.” 

The teachings of Jesus were specifically written for YOU

The more you follow the teachings of Jesus the closer you are to knowing God intimately.  God sent Jesus to earth to give us the detailed instructions needed to live eternally with Him.  When you study the teachings of Jesus, you are sitting in God’s classroom.  God tells us this in Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.” 

The New Testament is designed to keep YOU spiritually healthy

Every word of instruction in the New Testament, when filtered through your own life, becomes specific information tailored made for you.  The Bible is intended to be a permanent fixture in your life, to be used along-side your everyday experience. You are constantly being guided by God throughout your life, and it is Scripture that keeps you pointed in the right direction.  In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told, “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness.” 

The Bible is YOUR personal invitation to eternal life in the kingdom of God

Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only way for you to get into heaven. Your study of the Bible demonstrates your faith in God.  John 5:24 gives us this simple formula from Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life.” 

The Bible is a personal message to YOU

When you read the Bible, God is speaking directly to you and no one else.  Your personal life experience mixed with the Word of God, creates a specific narrative that is only valuable to you.  The Bible is a miraculous book that is able to adapt its message to each individual reading and to the life circumstance of that individual at the specific time of reading.  What you read today may have a completely different effect on you in a future reading.  We find this powerful understanding of the Bible in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

YOUR inheritance is found in the Bible

When you focus your life on continuous study of the Bible, through reading or instruction from a trusted Bible teacher, you establish your credentials as a child of God, worthy of your inheritance.  When you serve God by serving others, you demonstrate the wisdom gained from your study of the Word of God.  When you do everything with God in mind, based on your study of the Bible, God is well pleased.  We are reminded of this in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

God wants you to stay close to him throughout your life.  There is no place closer to God than the pages of the Bible.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Finding Peace with Jesus

 

Finding Peace with Jesus

 

Jesus was sent into the world by God to bring peace.  When we place our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus as payment for our misconduct, we no longer need to fear death, we are granted eternal life in the kingdom of God.  The mission of Jesus is described this way in the book of Luke, “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  (Luke 1:78-79)   Jesus is the “Sunrise from on high” that was sent to point the way to the peace derived from knowing we are to live forever in his loving arms.

Our Lord and Savior

What could be more comforting than to know that God has sent his Son to be our Lord and Savior?  What a wonderful blessing it is to know Jesus.  When we study the teachings of Jesus found in the Bible, we develop a personal connection to him like no other.  That relationship is our direct link to God which fuels a deep sense of peace.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)  Without Jesus, finding peace in this world can be extremely difficult.  Only believers are granted this extraordinary resource.

Jesus will Return

Our sense of peace in Jesus is magnified even more when we consider the possibility of his eminent return.  No one knows when Jesus is coming back, but we know for certain that evil will be completely destroyed on that day.  We know for certain our peace will be magnified a hundred times and we will be reunited with all of our loved ones.   Until that day, Jesus has commanded us to love God and love our neighbor.  That is the recipe for peace.  When we follow the teachings of Jesus, we find peace in knowing that we will be ready for Jesus no matter when he makes his triumphant return.

Knowing Jesus

Knowing Jesus, we have nothing to fear.  Knowing Jesus gives us unimagined power over the trouble found in this world.  “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.”  (John 14:27)   As believers, we have been gifted with the peace of Jesus.  Those were his parting words.  When we rest in the knowledge and understanding of Jesus, there is no end to our reservoir of peace.  When we put our faith and trust in Jesus, we are blessed with peace that surpasses all comprehension.

He is coming soon!  Are you ready?

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Challenges from God

Challenges from God

 

A perfect life without any trouble leaves no room for growth.  We grow when we are challenged.  Consider what it takes to become an exceptional athlete; every day’s training is a series of challenges designed to push you toward your maximum performance.  In many ways, God is our personal trainer.  God uses difficult times, struggles, emotional turmoil, and various other challenges in our lives in order to help us grow to spiritual maturity.  God knows precisely what we need to reach our full potential.  God knows precisely how much of a challenge we can endure.  God knows precisely when to step in and provide the support needed for success in any situation.  “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)  Not every challenge we face in life is from God, but God is with us no matter where the challenge originated.

Warning

God sometimes challenges us with a warning.  This warning comes in the form of a close call, or near miss event.  When we come within inches of making an enormous mistake that could lead to injury or some other kind of catastrophic failure, we have to praise God for allowing us to dodge a bullet.  “Listen to advice and accept discipline, so that you may be wise the rest of your days.”  (Proverbs 19:20)  If we let one of these events go by without acknowledging that it was God’s hand that saved us from destruction, we are far more likely to repeat the dangerous mistake again.  The challenge from God is for us to heed the warning and gain wisdom from the experience.

Look Deep Inside

God sometimes challenges us to look deep inside ourselves to be certain we are moving in the right direction.  The world we live in has a way of pulling us away from God and down a dark road toward destruction.  When we find ourselves disconnected from God; even in what might be considered a trivial matter, we need to take a moment for self-reflection.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2)  God puts us in situations that challenge us in this way.  How we respond to these challenges will determine our future walk with the Lord.

Changing Course

God sometimes challenges us to consider altering our course.  Even if we’ve been walking with the Lord for a number of years, we may still be carrying with us baggage from before we were saved.  Even if we’ve been walking with the Lord for a number of years, we may still pick up bad habits from our involvement in this world. Anything that is a distraction from our relationship with Jesus needs to be put aside.  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  As a follower of Jesus Christ we should no longer be tempted by worldly distractions, but it happens.  When it does, God will get our attention in some way and challenge us to make the needed changes.

Walking with the Lord

God is always at work in our lives.  God is working on you right now at this moment.  Don’t let any challenge from God go by without your sincere response.  Look for the warnings, search your inner being for things that are a distraction from God, and make any needed changes to secure your relationship with Jesus.  If you’re living a perfect life, something’s wrong.  Don’t be fooled.  When you’re walking with the Lord, you will be challenged.  Praise God for his instruction.  Praise God for his guidance.  Praise God for his everlasting love.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Your New Life in Jesus

 

Your New Life in Jesus

 

The apostle Peter, who walked with Jesus, was sent out to spread the gospel far and wide.  As part of this effort, he wrote a letter of encouragement that was circulated to several of the early churches.  The miraculous nature of this letter renders it as relevant for today’s Christians as it was when it was written almost two thousand years ago. What follows is an edited version of the first chapter of the book of first Peter, as it is found in the Message Bible translation.  This modern English translation offers a clear perspective of our new life in Jesus.

1 Peter, Chapter 1, The Message Bible

I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

Victory in Jesus

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

Seek the Holiness of God

So roll up your sleeves, get your head in the game, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

Love One Another

Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; grass dries up, flowers wilt, God’s Word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

The Body of Christ

The Body of Christ

 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are no longer individuals floundering around in a sea of disconnected entities searching for selfish desires.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are children of God and a carefully designed part of the body of Christ.  Our selfish desire has been put aside and our lives now center on loving God and loving our neighbor.  We are not instructed to walk this path alone – we are taught to seek out our specific mission as an integral part of the body of Christ.  “For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”  (Romans 12:4-5)  In order to be a fully functioning body, believers need to interact with each other on a regular basis.  Fellowship with other believers is essential for a fully functioning body of Christ.

Connected to Other Believers

Christians need other Christians.  We are nothing if we are not connected together.  Don’t let this world trick you into believing isolation is good for some people – isolation is not good for any follower of Jesus Christ.  Your contribution is needed and you are in need of the contribution of others.  “But now there are many parts, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  (1 Corinthians 12:20-21)  We each have our specific talents and resources that provide the bodily functions that others are unable to supply.  When we stay connected to other believers, our lives are expanded in ways we would be unable to achieve on our own.  When we stay connected to other believers, we have the opportunity to help others with our unique gifts.

Sharing God’s Love

The body of Christ is a tool used by God to share his love throughout the world.  When any member of the body disconnects, the flow of love is disrupted until that connection is reestablished.  The more that believers are connected together, the more opportunity we have to spread God’s love in all directions.   “The whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  (Ephesians 4:16)  When we are disconnected, not only are we unable to share love with others, but we also limit the amount of love that is able to flow in our direction as well.  Maintaining a fully functional body of Christ is essential to the well-being of all believers.

Serving God

Of course, there is more to maintaining your connection to the body of Christ than simply attending church on Sunday.  In fact, some who attend church are still not connected.  Our body of Christ connection is totally dependent on our willingness to serve God by serving others.  When we reach out to fellow believers with love, we are energizing our body of Christ connection.  This kind of connection often starts at home where we have a greater opportunity for intimate interaction.  Our close friends and acquaintances at work or school are likely next on our list for special consideration.  Just as we all are uniquely gifted, we all have individualized body of Christ connections.  Precisely when and where we connect is unimportant.  Our central focus has to be on becoming one with Christ by participating fully and completely in the body of Christ.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Relying on God

Relying on God

 

We all have a tendency to want to do things on our own.  It feels good to be in control and guide any circumstance in the direction we think is best.  But taking charge of any situation without first consulting with God is an enormous mistake.  Without God’s guidance, we will likely make a number of wrong turns before reaching our ultimate destination – if we get there at all.  We can save ourselves time, emotional pain, and frustration if we reach out to God in prayer in everything we do.  “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”  (Romans 12:12)  When we place our faith in God’s counsel, acknowledging how he has pointed the way for us through difficult times, and devote ourselves to seeking his advice in all matters, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Seek the Wisdom of God

It’s important when making any decision that we seek a path that will bring glory to God and benefit others.  When we are devoted to prayer, every aspect of our lives is first presented to God for advice.  “That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”  (Colossians 1:9)  Even simple things that we are confident we can handle should be prayed over to make certain we are not missing anything God wants us to focus on.  Doing things the way we’ve always done it may not be God’s will.  When we seek God’s wisdom and understanding before acting, we can be certain we are traveling down the right road.

Come to God in Prayer

Of course, when we come to God in prayer we have to bring a pure heart.  We should start by making sure nothing is in the way of hearing His advice.  We should be ready to give ourselves over to His direction, no matter what that may entail.  We should ask God directly for anything we might need.  We should consider the Word of God as the foundation of our understanding.  We should bring every ounce of faith and trust in God to our prayers.  Then we should be ready to wait as long as it takes for the answer.  And once we receive God’s clear direction, we should be ready and completely willing to follow His guidance as prescribed.

Give it All to God

Being devoted to prayer brings peace and confidence in all that we do; however, we should not limit our prayers to our own personal needs.  God wants us to be constantly connected to him in prayer every step of the way, but he is even more receptive when we pray for others.  We not only rely on God for guidance, we also rely on God to support those who have a special place in our hearts.  God wants to hear our prayers for family, friends, and all those that we perceive are in need of His care.  “Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it was also with you.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:1)  It is the collective prayers of the family of God that help the lost feel His presence.  We can’t forget our ongoing mission to share the Gospel with the world.  Our prayers should reflect our desire for all to come to faith, and for every aspect of our lives to be guided by our loving Father in heaven.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

More Like Jesus

 

More Like Jesus

 

God uses difficult times to move us closer to him, to build character, to demonstrate our need for a Savior, and to teach us something we are missing.  If our lives were always perfectly blissful, we would have no way to grow in knowledge and wisdom; we would be stuck in the same place day after day.  Difficult times are a tool used by God to help us become more like Jesus.

Difficult Lessons

We all face difficult times in our lives.  When we face difficult times, it’s hard to see beyond the pain and confusion that clouds our vision.  Often we tend to ask God why he has allowed us to fall into a pit of despair.  That’s an understandable response to adversity; however, that’s not what God wants from us.  In difficult times, God wants us to focus on the lessons being taught.  God doesn’t want us to run away from our problems; he wants us to embrace them so that we can uncover the valuable truth learned from first-hand experience.

Trust God

When we face difficult times, our first course of action should be to turn to God.  We need to turn our back on adversity and keep our eyes on the Lord.  God is with us.  When we follow His direction rather than the dark alleys of adversity, we will always find our way back into the light of truth.  “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)  Above all else, we need to trust God.  Difficult times are a reminder that we are nothing without God.  Difficult times are an opportunity to see God working in our lives.

Share God’s Love

God uses adversity to shape our lives.  The ultimate goal is for us to become more like Jesus.  When we look back on difficult times that we were able to overcome through God’s intervention, it becomes clear that God’s purpose was to make us stronger.  Our struggle becomes a strength that we can share with others.  Our victory over adversity develops our Jesus like spirit – our never ending well of faith in God’s presence in our lives.  It is God’s love that carries us through difficult times and when we keep our hearts open to him throughout the experience, we strengthen our ability to share that love with others.

Seek the Kingdom of God

This period of our lives is all about developing the wisdom and knowledge needed for our eternal existence with Jesus.  We will experience many difficult times in this life in order to prepare our spirits for what is to come.  We can be absolutely certain all of our current adversity is a small price to pay for the kingdom of God that is on the way.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  (Romans 8:18)  Of course, God doesn’t want us to be miserable in this life; he wants us to find joy in the challenge of overcoming this world on our way to the ultimate victory.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Difficult times give us the opportunity to see God working in our lives in a powerful way.  Rather than thinking of adversity as a dark road of despair, consider it to be a beneficial challenge that will serve as a chance to move closer to God.  “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  (James 1:2-4)   Only Jesus is “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  We become more like Jesus when we endure the challenges of this life resting comfortably in the knowledge that God is in complete control.  Keep your heart filled with love, keep your eyes on Jesus, stand firm in your faith, and you will eventually find your way beyond any challenge.  This is your ultimate path to victory.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Your Spiritual Connection to Jesus

 

 

Your Spiritual Connection to Jesus

 

I’ve been walking with Lord for four decades now and I have to admit I still have a lot of work to do.  My ultimate goal is to live my life for Jesus, walking in His footsteps, following His teaching, and helping others to do the same.  Unfortunately, there are many distractions in my life that can leave me disconnected from Jesus in some way.  Moments of anger, selfishness, greed, lust, and impatience occasionally push their way into my life in an attempt to move me off in the wrong direction.  These negative impulses are hard to avoid.  The world we live in is far from perfect and we all have to do battle with the forces of evil that have infiltrated many aspects of our lives.  Our only hope is our connection to Jesus.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)  Jesus is the source of everything good in our lives.

We Have an Enemy

As followers of Jesus, we have to be aware of the manipulation of the devil.  We have the power to outsmart and overcome the devil if we maintain our connection to Jesus; however, the devil never stops trying to make us stumble.  The Bible tells us that the devil is working with an army of evil spirits that can influence individuals and turn them into disrupters of our faith.  “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”  (1 Timothy 4:1)  This battle between good and evil will continue until the return of Jesus.  For this reason, we have to stay on our toes and be ready to counter-punch Satan’s army every time an attack is sent our way.  No one is immune from these attempts to disconnect us from Jesus.  Every aspect of our lives is a potential target, and we have to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit before making any decisions that are not clearly following the teachings of Jesus.

Three Ways to Connect

Fortunately, there are many ways for us to connect with Jesus.  First and foremost, is the Bible.  We all came to know Jesus through the pages of the Bible.  It doesn’t matter if you read the Bible on your own, or you were taught the truth found in the Bible by a trusted teacher; in both cases it is the Bible that connects you to Jesus.  We keep that connection alive by continuing to read the Bible or by continuing to seek out guidance from providers of Biblical truth.  Secondly, we connect with Jesus by following His instruction.  When we serve God by serving others, as Jesus taught, we are instantly energized by the power of love that is the driving force behind all of His instruction.  And finally, we are connected to Jesus when we share in fellowship with other believers.  Like batteries connected together to increase their power, believers connected together generate great benefits for each other.  It doesn’t matter if we connect one-on-one, in small groups, or in an entire congregation at Sunday worship.  When believers are together physically and spiritually, there is always a direct connection to Jesus.

Doing God’s Work

The more connections we make with Jesus, the more opportunity we have to help others connect as well.  God created us to connect with Jesus and follow His teaching.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)  The more we connect with Jesus the less opportunity the devil and his evil spirits will have to invade our lives.  When we are busy doing God’s work, there will be no time for negativity; all those useless emotions will be overwhelmed by the love that fills our hearts through our connection to Jesus.  Following the teachings of Jesus is how we walk with Jesus and there can be no greater connection than having him by our side every step of the way.

Stay Connected

We have to be diligent in our lives to avoid the devil’s distractions.  The stress of work, school, raising a family, or trying to keep our head above water financially, can easily disrupt our connection to Jesus.  We have to keep this in mind as we go about our day and be aware of any potential distractions.  When any negative emotion starts to erupt, seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit to guide you back toward Jesus.  Whenever you have a chance, seek guidance from the Bible.  Serve God by serving others at every opportunity.  Set aside time for fellowship with other believers.  These are the simple to follow steps needed to maintain our spiritual connection to Jesus.  When you keep your life focused on accomplishing this goal, you will be blessed.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

God’s Compassion, Love, and Mercy

 

 

God’s Compassion, Love, and Mercy

 

There is absolutely nothing we can do in our lives to deserve the salvation God has provided.  We are completely unworthy of the free gift of eternal life and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is all that is required to receive these awesome gifts which are granted by God because of his never-ending love.  Our salvation is a gift of God’s love – not a reward for anything we have done.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  God’s gift of salvation is a demonstration of his compassion, love, and mercy and our response to this gift should be to return that compassion, love, and mercy to all those we come into contact with in our lives.

Bring Glory to God

When we reflect God’s compassion, love, and mercy back to the world, we bring Glory to God.  It’s important that we understand that our salvation was not intended to be for our personal benefit – salvation is intended to be a resource we share with others.  Keep in mind, everything we have in this world is a gift from God and every gift from God should be shared with others.  When we keep God’s gifts for ourselves, we are essentially stealing.  “The one who steals must no longer steal; but rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need.”  (Ephesians 4:28)  Each day there are those around us who have needs we can fulfill.  When we share our finances, talents, and time with others, we bring Glory to God as we demonstrate his compassion, love, and mercy.

Serve God by Serving Others

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to follow his example and serve God by serving others.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave us everything so that we might receive the extraordinary gift of salvation.  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”  (2 Corinthians 8:9)  Our salvation is an enormous blessing!  God poured his love out on us so that we might share that love with all those who come into our lives.  That’s how we honor God.  When we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are on a path to be blessed by God so that we will be able to bless others.

Working Together

Salvation through Jesus Christ is not a reward; it is a commission to join God in sharing his compassion, love, and mercy around the world.  We each have our own sphere of influence that God has placed in our lives.  We each have the precise gifts from God needed to share his love with those around us.  This doesn’t mean that we can solve all the problems of all those in need in our lives.  It means that we have a dedicated role to play and that we are to contribute all the gifts that God has provided to that effort.  We all need to do our small part in order for God’s ultimate plan to be fulfilled.  When we all work together in accordance with God’s will, all things will be made right in his perfect timing.  Working together with compassion, love, and mercy is what the Christian life is all about.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Jesus in You