Do you face persecution as a faith person? Do you face trials that want to hurt your faith? We all face some kind of opposition in life, and even Jesus said, “don’t be surprised with people persecute you because of me, in fact, rejoice in your suffering.” We are called to a new perspective in suffering trials. Peter tells us to not be surprised with trials come, because we are enduring suffering with Jesus, as we walk by faith. Trials that come will make us stronger in faith when we endure to the end. We don’t want to be lawn chair Christians, kicking back and taking life easy. It seems like like would be better to not suffer for faith, but in the end that kind of easy life faith makes us weak and useless for God.
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The culture says to “go with the flow”, “let it ride”, “don’t ruffle feathers”. When it comes to living like the culture, the enemy wrote the book on how to “fit in” without making waves. Wouldn’t the enemy of our soul just love to see us not be different from the world? He’s a jerk. God, however, calls us to live differently from the culture. We have a calling to live HOLY and wholly different from society.
We are being transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus, so therefore, we are called to not emulate the behavior of the world. It’s important to get the order of things right, however. We don’t act with ethical and moral values to earn God’s favor, we already have God limitless favor, therefore we act in accordance to God’s Holy Standard. “But I’m not like other people,” you may say. Well, the standard isn’t “other people”, the standard is God’s holiness.
Apostle Paul tells us we aren’t good enough, in fact, he says, “all have sinned and fall short of the perfection of God.” Bummer. What does this do to your soul? When we live in a world of trying to be good enough, and we just can’t measure up, we have to submit to “someone” else being good enough for us. Jesus Christ is our salvation. God has called us to know him through faith in the perfect righteousness of Jesus, alone. That’s it. That’s all it takes to be good… having faith in the one who is perfect.
Jephthah was given the power of the Holy Spirit by God, to win a battle against the Ammonites. After receiving the power of God, he turns and makes a deal with God, that whatever comes out the door when he returns from battle, he will give to God as a burnt offering. This is the worst kind of deal to make with God. Who should come out of his front door, but his daughter. God isn’t looking for you to make deals, God is looking for your faithful obedience. God wants you to remain faithful to Him, He doesn’t want to bargain for our stuff.
Samson was a wild man, who was given the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish various tasks for the Lord over the people of Israel, but he certainly wasn’t a man to emulate your life after. He struggled with issues many of us struggle with today; ego, lust, power, and difficulty with intimate relationships, among other things. We look at the life of Samson so that we can understand where our strength resides. I wonder if you are self aware enough to know what could bring you down? What are the issues in your life that draw you away from God, rather than draw you towards God? Can you determine the strength of God in your life, or do you succumb to weaknesses all the time? Find out with us, where your strength can reside, with God.
She saw the mission of God, working around the world. Little did she know that God would be building her up personally, as much as building up His Kingdom around her and through her. Join us as we hear how the work of God is seen in the world.
The story of the man healed from paralysis is fascinating. We sometimes mistake it for a simple story of healing, which isn’t ever simple. But this miracle takes a turn and God brings forgiveness along with healing. This is called Shalom in the Bible, God’s salvation (Shalom) is more than peace, it is a wholeness of forgiveness, healing and making things right in the world. Jesus uses this moment in this young man’s life to point others to God. The friends who brought the young man to Jesus were rewarded for their faith. Those who opposed Jesus were dumb founded by his authority from God the Father. All in all this is a wonderful teaching on working with God, instead of for God. Do you understand the difference? Click the link below, and follow along.