Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

26
Jun
19

Looking Forward To Salvation

Have you ever looked forward to something like a vacation or an event? Maybe it was the birth of your first grandchild or when you graduated from college. Perhaps it was the day you were closing on your first house. The prophets of ancient Israel were looking forward to an event according to the apostle Peter. This is what he wrote in 1 Peter 1:10-11 about the salvation we have received from God. He said…
This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. – 1 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT)
For thousands of years, the prophets of Israel anticipated the coming Messiah. Jesus was the fulfillment of those prophecies. The salvation that Jesus brought to the world was prophesied about by Moses, David, Isaiah, Malachi and many others. Then, when Jesus was born, everything came to fruition and everything changed. He was crucified and then raised back to life and nothing has been the same since. Salvation is for everyone!
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25
Jun
19

Seeing Is Believing, Right?

Seeing is believing, right? That’s what we tell ourselves in modern society. If I can’t test it or see it, then I can’t trust it. That’s what makes faith so hard for so many people. They don’t know if they can trust what they’ve never seen. They don’t know if they can believe in something they can’t test and verify in a lab. They struggle with faith.
1 Peter 1:8-9 says –
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Salvation requires faith and trust in Jesus Christ, whom we have not seen. Faith is believing in the seemingly unbelievable. The New Testament says that our faith seems like foolishness to people. The cross is foolishness. A God who loved the world sent His only Son to die on a Roman cross as the perfect human sacrifice to take away our sins. What does God require of us? That we simply accept this free gift of grace by believing in Jesus, repenting of sin, and acknowledging our faith by confessing Jesus as Savior and being baptized. When God forgives our sins, He chooses to forget them. Every single one of them. Seems almost unbelievable, right? But it’s true! This is what fills us with joy. Knowing that we are loved and forgiven because of what Jesus did fills us with joy. As you go about your day today, remember that God has forgiven you and it’s not because of any great thing you’ve done. It’s because of what Jesus has done. Hold onto that faith today and believe the unseen.
24
Jun
19

The Joy of Trials

I was reading in my morning devotional today that the secret to happiness is more while the secret to joy is less.
We think that if we get more and more and more, we’ll be happy, but that is hardly ever the case.
The truth is that if we focus less on ourselves, we’ll find that there is joy that comes from knowing Christ and His saving love and grace.
1 Peter tells us that there is an inheritance awaiting us in Heaven that will never change, spoil or perish.
1 Peter 1:6 (NLT) says…

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.

We are going to have to endure trials in this life. We’ll have hard days, difficult weeks, stressful months and even painful years. We may even face persecution for our faith. These things will make us unhappy, but they don’t have to steal our joy.
The key is to remember the joy that comes from knowing Jesus.
Happiness is wanting more of the stuff of this world for yourself. The problem is that stuff never satisfies and it leaves us only wanting more stuff. Joy is wanting more of Jesus. Soon you’ll discover that He truly fills our lives and satisfies our desires with the good things of Heaven.

21
Jun
19

We’re In A Battle

Followers of Jesus are in a spiritual war with the forces of darkness and evil. We fight an unseen, yet very dangerous, enemy. This enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy. What hope do we have of fighting this enemy? Peter says that God is our protector through faith.
1 Peter 1:5 (NLT) says:

And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

God is protecting us by His mighty power through faith in Jesus. As powerful as our enemy may be, he is not as powerful as God. God is the Victor and faith is our victory. Trust the Lord to protect you from the enemy.
One more thing – remember who your true enemy is. Your enemy is not your spouse. Your enemies are not your kids. Your enemies are not your co-workers or your fellow church members. You have one enemy and it is the devil. He has no power over you because of the One who protects you by faith. So trust in the Lord Jesus to protect you from the enemy. The enemy has been trying to defeat God for eons, but he has been and always will be defeated.

20
Jun
19

Living With Hope And Expectation

Several months ago, I discontinued writing my little devotionals. I believe that the time has come to start writing again. So I am reading and writing through 1 Peter. I hope you enjoy and receive a little encouragement along the way…Shawn

 

How are you living your life? Do you live with a feeling of drudgery and dread? As if everyday is just the same ol’, same ol’? Or do you live with anticipation and expectation of something great? Peter, in his first letter to the church said this in chapter 1, verses 3 and 4:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. – 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)

We who are followers of Jesus Christ have been saved by God’s mercy through the Resurrection of Jesus. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so too will He raise us from the dead. We have the promised inheritance of Heaven. This changes everything! We can live with hope and expectation rather than fear and dread. As you go about your day today, remember the promises of our faithful, merciful God. He has promised you Heaven and so much more. Live today with the expectation that one day you will see Jesus face to face. Hang in there today, because no matter what may come against you, it cannot change God’s promises nor His ability or willingness to keep them.

09
Oct
18

Signing Off

Since 2010, I have been writing this blog just about every day. That totals up to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 posts. Many of you have been here with me since the very beginning. I thank you for reading these thoughts each day. The time has come, though, to bring this blog to an end. Through some self-reflection, soul searching and conversations, I have come to realize that while these daily thoughts can be helpful, they can also hinder. As a pastor, I want to help people follow Jesus. My personal mission statement is to help everyone within my sphere of influence grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. My favorite quote of all time is by George Eliot. He said, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” As I move forward, I think that I can fulfill each of these in different and possibly better ways. So for now, I want to leave you with this verse:

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)

08
Oct
18

Getting Even Plus

When someone hurts us, our first instinct is to get even with them. We want revenge! Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount. He said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. – Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV)

Here’s the problem with revenge. Rarely is it eye for eye. It’s two eyes for an eye. We don’t want to just get even. We want to get even plus. Jesus turns this thinking upside down and says that we need to go the extra mile by returning evil with kindness instead of revenge. Jesus expects His followers to be different from the world. That means that instead of revenge, we respond with love.



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