Faith and Hope

www.bible.com/1713/1pe.1.3.csb

Not sure what you all make of this, but it seems pretty simple to me. Start first with the indisputable fact that the grave was empty that held the body of Jesus. Start there and digest that for a moment. The grave was empty because Jesus rose from the dead. It’s not just for Easter anymore. The grave is still empty. Jesus Christ, the prophet from Nazareth, died and returned to life long past the point an effective ER team could save Him. Jesus was dead. His body flatlined. He was dead for three days. And then He wasn’t. Upon this bedrock, the church is built.

As this verse says, the resurrection of Jesus came from the hand of the only One who could do this. Man could not do this. Medicine could not do this. God did this. And because God did it, and validated the message of Jesus by raising Him from the dead, the promises He gave us are guaranteed by the power expressed in the resurrection. Our new birth through burial in water gives us a hope for eternal life. We rise as He did.

This is the hope for every believer, and I pray is your hope this morning as well. God bless you today.

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For Your Edification

I just wanted to link you to another site that I have found helpful. It is called Psycho-Heresy Awareness ministries. I have found it provides necessary balance to all of the other Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy tools that I have been taught over the years, especially in my role as a Chaplain. The site can be found here:

http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/

On the site you will find ample materials to keep you reading for days. I find it very helpful and I hope you do too!

Learning Hard Lessons

www.bible.com/1713/2th.3.5.csb

This sounds like a great verse to share this daybreak, but when you read a big more about the trials that the Thessalonians were facing, and knowing this is that Paul wasn’t exactly welcome there (Acts 17:1-9), the love of God and the endurance of Christ take on new meaning.

For them to know the love of God is also a to know the consistent and painful rejection of your own children, and the heartbreak that love precedes. To know the endurance of Christ is to know the extent to which Christ demonstrated His own love for us by dying on a cross to suffer for the fullest extent of our sins.

These Thessalonians would suffer persecution at the hands of the neighbors, but Paul had already commended them that their love and faithfulness has been an example throughout the Christian world. They were living out the gospel message in the eyes of all. This is what happens when you have the ”doesn’t-quit” love of God and ”won’t quit ’til it’s done” endurance of Jesus. People notice.

Do you stand out among your peers today? I hope so. I pray that people notice you, not for who you are, but for the love and endurance you have for the gospel and for broken people. May you have a blessed day!

Plain Talk

www.bible.com/1713/3jn.1.11.csb

When I took Greek in college, 1 John was our primer for learning and translating be language. The other letters of John are similar, in that they are not complicated in their language, but in their thought. That is our word for the day.

Don’t do evil. Do good. The godly do good and not evil. Remember that the next time you are wondering if you can give in to temptation. If you are God’s, then you don’t have time for evil. Yet, we are human, and part of us is always tempted by the world and its desires.

If you’ve given in, don’t despair. God is also gracious. If would be His again, repent, confess your sins, ask for His forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive. But don’t go back like a dog to vomit. Repentance means you don’t want to go back. Mean it when you say it.

Hope this helps.

Learn Something

www.bible.com/1713/eph.4.1.csb

You ever met someone in worse circumstances than you are, and then they teach you about how good life really is? In my line of work, I meet many who are rejoicing in the Lord despite their illnesses and setback, and often it makes me ashamed. I have so many blessings, so many good things to be thankful for. I have no reason to be down.

So it is with this morning’s text. Paul writes, as a prisoner under guard, to tell the Ephesians to live their lives worthy of their calling. They remain free while he is in chains. Did they think they have bad days? Sure. But the note of encouragement comes from someone who is in a worse position than they are.

When your day seems down, consider those whom you’ve met with far worse problems, and yet encouraged you. Rejoice in the Lord for what you have and who you. Live your life worthy of the calling laid upon it. You’ve been given the highest calling by the highest authority to the greatest work. You are important. Don’t let discouragement tell you differently.

So,

www.bible.com/1713/pro.10.19.csb

Sin and words. Hmmm. Seems antithetical to what we are doing here today. Maybe I ought to keep this short. I believe the caution here is about talking so much you trip yourself up in your words, or that too free an tongue will spill out the contents of a wicked heart. Man’s heart is desperately wicked (Jer 17) and we ought to keep a tight rein on it. Someone who is given to words can slip and let evil words, biting words, too many words cause pain in others.

And there are occasions when talking is the wrong thing to do, like in the midst of profound loss and grief. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. I think preachers, perhaps more than anyone else, know what it means to put our foot in our mouths. We make gaffes with the best of them, because we don’t know what to say. But let wisdom speak here. If you don’t know what to say, don’t speak at all. Sometimes your presence is all that’s needed.

I encourage you to be prudent in your speech today. As one wise Man once said, let your yes be yes and your no be no. Mean what you say, but don’t be mean in what you say.

Free From Sin

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.8.32.csb

Again, in the case of this verse, context matters. Jesus and the Jewish leaders are talking about slavery to sin in this passage. Jesus announces that those who follow Him will be set free. The Jews announced that they are not slaves. Jesus affirms that this freedom is from slavery to sin. Jesus doesn’t offer freedom from slavery per se, but freedom from sin. Sin is a powerful taskmaster, forcing us to cover up things and live a lie, pretending to be something we aren’t. Jesus offers freedom from guilt, sinful oppression, and living in shadow.

Important to remember that Jesus doesn’t offer freedom from consequences, or freedom to commit more sin. He offers freedom from sin itself. And we are all privileged to enjoy it.

I want to encourage you today to live in the freedom Jesus offers. Make today your liberation from bondage. Jesus loves you and hates to see you living under a burden He died to take from your shoulders. Will you let Him? Will you repent and confess those sins to Him so that He can take them? Pray today for that relief.