God gives us grace to live the Christian life. This, is through the gift given to us by Jesus Christ. In this episode we talk about Philippians 1:1-2. This is the beginning of a series of teachings through the book of Philippians.
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God wants you. God always wants your attention, so that you may live a life that is obedient to Him. And in obedience with Him, is a life full of hope. Let us make our relationship with God the highest priority in our lives.
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Matthew 6:25-34, is a key passage in my life to help me battle stress and anxiety. In this episode we will talk about how focusing on Jesus helps us to be free from our worries. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.
Every follower of Jesus has a testimony of how he or she started a relationship with Christ. The Apostle Paul’s testimony in the book of Acts displays one of the most interesting life changing encounters with Jesus. My testimony may not be quite as impressive as Paul’s, but it was the testimony that was planned for me by God. I am excited to share my story with you!
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The most important verse in the whole Bible is John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
In the beginning there was Adam and Eve. They had a perfect relationship with God. But this was broken the day they ate from the forbidden tree. This was the day that they broke their complete trust in God and entertained their own curiosity and desire for control. As a result their perfect union with God was broken.
For many years man did not have a way to reconcile with God. God wanted to give man a chance so He decided to send His only son to earth to walk among the people. His name was Jesus. During His time on earth He performed miracles and healed people to show the world that He truly was the Son of God. Some people believed Him and some did not. The ones who did not believe Him grew angry with Him and wanted to kill Him. They did not understand that Jesus was God’s sovereign plan.
God sent Jesus down to earth to live a perfect life. A life without sin. He was perfect in every way…His spirit was pure and unstained. Never did sin have a chance at Him. There was a reason for this…
God is all good. God cannot have a relationship with anything bad. In other words, you cannot relate bad with good. They are complete opposites. God resides in Heaven and Heaven is perfect. God cannot allow anything tainted with sin in Heaven; If He did then it would not be Heaven.
So, the only way man can be reconciled with God is if our sins are washed away. This means that we need to be emptied of sin. Jesus made a way for us to be able to do this. As a perfect sacrifice, he was the only sacrifice God could take as a replacement for our sins. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He died for our sins. This means that God took all our sins and placed them on Jesus. This made a way for man to be pure again so that we could be reconciled with God and enter Heaven after death.
The important thing to understand though is that for something to be real in someone’s life, they have to first believe it. God said if you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you will be saved. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected from the grave, you will be saved. If you repent of your sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness, you will be saved. Believe in your heart that Jesus is who He is and you will be reconciled to God.
Life is hard, but life after death can be even harder without God. This is a place called Hell. It is somewhere everlasting just like Heaven, but it is quite the opposite of Heaven. Most importantly Hell does not have God, and God is our creator, the one who loves us; so Heaven is where we should want to be.
Friend, please accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. He is knocking on the door of your heart. He is wanting to take your hand. He is wanting to cleanse you of all your sins, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, hopelessness. He wants a better life for you, and a better life means a life with Him.
If you want to accept His invitation all you have to do is ask for forgiveness. You can say something similar to this: Jesus forgive me for my sins. I do not want to sin anymore. I want to give my life to you. I believe that you are my Lord and Savior. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that you rose from the grave.
It may seem like a simple prayer, but what really matters is what is in your heart. If you sincerely want to give your life to Jesus, He will take it. He will make your life beautiful because of the hope that He gives us who believe in Him. If you were sincere and your heart yearns for a relationship with God, take heart, be encouraged, because He promises this, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). This is the start of a new life for you…
Psalm 46:1 GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
He is our very present help in times of trouble. We’re in trouble right now. Luke can’t breathe. I watch him struggle and strain, with shallow, tight breaths. I watch him run out of breath mid-sentence, be unable to roughhouse with our boys, get quiet and withdrawn with suffering.
I pray for him, I lay my hands on him and ask Jesus to touch him, I tell him how proud I am of the oh-so brave man he is. I post scriptures around the house about God’s ability and willingness to heal; about GOD’s history of healing and desire to heal. I do all that I can but we are still in trouble.
This is the kind of trouble that you can’t reason away, buy your way out of, or call your doctor to fix, because, in this case, we seem to have come nearly to the end of what medical science can offer us. We could get angry, we could get bitter, we could fall into despair, we could blame GOD. Instead, we run to Him as our only hope in this trouble. We are drowning but just as the water covers our airways we realize that He is the living water around us and we breathe him in.
I have been here before with my own breathing struggles but watching my Luke endure such suffering is brutal on my heart, in such a different way. It is salty tears mingled with desperation for his healing and pride at his courage and worry for our future and anxiety about if and when and how. But then I raise my voice or my hands in supplication and down rains peace and joy and triumph even in suffering.
You see, with all my heart and life, I am convinced that I serve the Living and Victorious One, the one who overcame sin and death (including all sickness). So just as overwhelming uncertainty crashes down, in comes peace and assurance that “He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the whole world in His hands…He’s got Luke’s lungs in His hands.” A very present help. He has us engraved on His palms. He has not forgotten our crisis for a moment and He is going to work in this situation mightily and everyone watching will witness a miracle. I believe it.
I love that the verse says “VERY present help”. He’s not just saying, ‘I’m here to help” but he’s yelling, “I’M HERE TO HELP!!!!”. He’s also offering a covering or refuge for the duration of the onslaught and His strength throughout. While it is true that we are in deep trouble and Luke is suffering and I am hurting, what is just as true is that Jesus is a “very present help”, right here, right now. When I think about that truth, I am no longer bothered about “if and when and how” because i know WHO and WHERE; Jesus here, very ready to help.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!(ESV) -Philippians 4:4
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)” -Philippians 4:7
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)” –Romans 8:28
I can’t breathe well. It’s May and I have not been able to stop thinking about my breathing since December. It started with a chronic cough and now my lungs feel like cement. I head over to the emergency room because I’m just tired of not being able to take a breath without pain.
They admitted me because I was not responding to any inhalers. They did a bronchoscopy on me to look into my lungs. My pulmonologist showed me pictures of what she saw and says, “I can’t believe you were still breathing, your airways were almost completely closed.”
So what’s going on with me, I ask. My heart is healthy (3 years post heart attack). Now it’s my lungs that are failing me?! Come on! Can’t I get a break?! Labs come back which reveal 3 different kinds of bacteria and 1 kind of mold growing in my lungs; Prednisone (I have heard it called the “devil’s pill”), the culprit. This oral steroid suppresses my inflammatory response but it also suppresses my immune system which then invites opportunistic infections. It’s a catch-22; I need it to keep my lungs from acting up but it also puts me in harm’s way. Asthma is what I have; severe, uncontrolled asthma.
It’s now September and my breathing is not getting better, it is actually worse. I can’t play with my sons without having to stop to catch my breath feeling like someone just punched me in my stomach, stunning my solar plexus. I can’t speak to someone without having to take a deep breath before, then feeling out of breath after. I can’t even go down to tie my shoes without feeling like I just climbed up a mountain as I stand back up.
Honestly, I have had times of weakness feeling depressed and hopeless, but hey, I’m only human. These are human feelings, but when I do feel like this I praise God that He points me back to the cross and brings hope back into my life. God says, If you love me you will follow my commandments (John 14:15). Philippians 4:4 is a commandment; He tells his followers to rejoice, always. Now how does one do this even during times of hardship? Through Jesus. God is perfect, He does not make mistakes (Psalm 18:30). I say to myself, “I love Jesus, and I am called according to His purpose, therefore, He will make all things work out for me”. Sound familiar? Then I rely on the promise that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind and that His peace cannot be compared to anything else in the world because there is none like it. It’s even greater than the peace and love my precious wife gives me.
You see, I can sit in a dark room and focus on my problems, but that’s not going to fix them (Luke 12:25). So I choose to tap into my “Jesus high” and pray that He shows me His goodness in all this. I pray that He reveals to me the purpose that He has for me. I may not be the Apostle Paul sitting in jail waiting for my death sentence, but I can say the same thing he said, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).” I can go through the highs and lows of life as long as Jesus is with me. I may not be physically healed (yet!), but my heart is full.