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Honoring the Blessings of Motherhood

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On Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day, expressing gratitude for the incredible gift of mothers and their profound impact on our lives. As believers, we understand motherhood is a sacred calling infused with love, sacrifice, and God’s grace. I have often referred to spiritual moms as those who are not necessarily biological moms but serve as mother figures to others for the cause of Christ.

Proverbs 31:26-28 beautifully captures the essence of a godly mother: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Now, it is essential to note that the picture presented here is an ideal; it is meant to offer a framework for understanding godly womanhood.

A mother’s role extends beyond physical care; she plays a crucial role in spiritually, emotionally, and mentally nurturing her children. Just as God nurtures and cares for His children, mothers reflect His love and compassion in their everyday actions. In Proverbs 22:6, we’re reminded of the importance of a mother’s guidance: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This observation is worth noting and emulating.

Mothers exemplify the sacrificial love that Jesus taught us. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Mothers often sacrifice their own needs and desires for the sake of their children, embodying the selfless love modeled by Christ. My Mom indeed expressed such love for my brother and me.

Furthermore, the Bible teaches us about mothers’ strength and resilience. Proverbs 31:25 states, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” In times of adversity, mothers draw strength from their faith and trust in God’s providence, inspiring us all with their unwavering courage. My Mom came to Christ when I was 15. I came to Christ when I was 5. However, she was an example of strength and dignity, while spiritual moms exemplified faith. I am thankful for both. I am grateful my Mom became a lady of faith as well.

As we honor mothers, let’s remember to express our gratitude and appreciation for their unconditional love. Ephesians 6:2-3 reminds us of the commandment with a promise: “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Paul is teaching here that honoring our moms is a sign that we genuinely know God and results in us being blessed by the Lord.

Ultimately, Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on the profound blessings of motherhood and to thank God for the precious gift of mothers, whether biological, spiritual, or both, in our lives. Let’s celebrate their love, emulate their virtues, and honor them as representatives of God’s grace and wisdom. How could we do any less? Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Higher Power

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In September 2023, the Barna Group noted that 36% of what they call spiritually open individuals who are non-Christians believe God is the creator of the universe. They are even more accepting of foundational Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, heaven, and the Bible than those who are not spiritually open. However, they perceive God as a higher power, but not necessarily one who loves or cares for us and is involved intimately with His creation. Nearly 42% of the spiritually closed non-Christians clearly express that they do not believe God exists.

The Pew Research Center a few years back noted that the vast majority of Americans (90%) believe in some kind of higher power, with 56% professing faith in God as described in the Bible and another 33% saying they believe in another type of higher power or spiritual force. Only one in ten say they don’t believe in God or a higher power. What is concerning is that the Pew Research Center found that 25% of U.S. Christians do not believe that God possesses all three of these attributes – God is loving, omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipotent (all-powerful). This means that one in four believers do not have a proper view of God.

It’s a matter of urgency that a significant number of believers, a quarter to be exact, lack a biblical understanding of God. This is not just a statistic but a call to action. We must strive for a deeper understanding of God, not only for our own spiritual growth but also to be effective witnesses of our Lord. The Barna Group’s findings present a picture of great opportunity, especially among spiritually open non-Christians. They are likely open to conversations about God, and we believers can be the ones to guide them.

God presents Himself to us through the Bible as loving, caring, and providing for His children. For instance, He is our Heavenly Father, which reflects believers’ intimate relationship with God and the assurance of His guidance and support. The Bible teaches that God loves us as a father loves his children. 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Just as a father cares for His children, God provides for our needs (Matthew 6:26). God, as our Father, guides us in the right path (Proverbs 3:5-6). Hebrews 12:6-7 highlights the loving discipline of God as a father.

Understanding God as loving, caring, and involved with His creation and Him as our Father is not just a theological concept. It matters because it deepens our relationship with Him, gives us security in His love, and shapes our identity as His beloved children. This understanding also provides the right witness to those who might be open to conversation about God and hopefully enter into a saving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. For these reasons alone, let’s dig into God’s Word and come to know Him for who He is, and make Him known in the way He has called us to for His glory, our blessing, and the blessing of others. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Revolutionary Purpose

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Embracing God’s presence and sharing His love with others not only transforms our hearts but also inspires positive change in the world around us, fostering real change, healing, and hope amid challenges and uncertainties. We read in Matthews 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This passage holds significant importance for believers as it contains what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission.

This command has a universal scope for all believers, calling us as Christ’s followers to share the gospel message with people of every nation, ethnicity, and culture. The focus on making disciples involves not only leading people to faith but also nurturing them in their spiritual growth and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus. As believers, we are to prioritize teaching and living out the teachings of Jesus, understanding that true discipleship involves both understanding God’s Word and obeying His commands. Here is an amazing reality, the Great Commission is a task empowered by the Holy Spirit, where believers rely on His guidance, strength, and presence as they engage in evangelism and discipleship. Matthew 28:19-20 is a foundational mandate for our faith, guiding our mission as believers to know God and make Him known.

We discover emphasized in Jeremiah 9:23-24 the importance of knowing God and growing in our relationship with Him. It begins by cautioning against boasting in one’s own wisdom, strength, or riches. Instead, it encourages humility, recognizing that true wisdom and understanding come from knowing and acknowledging God. It highlights that the essence of wisdom lies in knowing God and understanding His character, His ways, and His will. This knowledge goes beyond mere intellectual understanding; it involves a personal and intimate relationship with God. To know God is to know His love and love Him, and to love Him is to genuinely make Him known in word and deed.

Think of the transformational impact of knowing God found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. This verse highlights several key points regarding the transformational impact of knowing God. Believers in Christ are described as a “new creation,” which signifies a radical transformation that occurs at the spiritual level. It’s not just about behavioral change but a fundamental renewal of one’s identity and nature. This verse emphasizes that the old, referring to our sinful nature, past mistakes, and bondage to sin, has passed away, which indicates a break from our former way of life and a liberation from the power of sin.

The newness brought by knowing God is not superficial but profound. It involves a new way of being, feeling, and thinking—a life guided by the principles of God’s kingdom, characterized by love, righteousness, and holiness. The transformative power is attributed to being “in Christ.” This emphasizes the centrality of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Him, we experience forgiveness, redemption, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who catalyzes our transformation.

While the initial transformation is instantaneous upon salvation, the Christian life is also a journey of ongoing transformation, which involves growing in faith, renewing our minds through God’s Word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us continually. Here is the point. Believers’ revolutionary purpose begins with knowing God. 18th-century pastor, theologian, and church leader John Wesley explained, “When God transforms a heart, He transforms a life, and that life transforms the world.”

We discover this verse in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Like Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8 is a foundational verse that outlines the mission of every believer. The verse begins by highlighting the crucial role of the Holy Spirit in empowering believers for their mission. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance, strength, and presence in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Acts 1:8 is not just a mandate for a select group of missionaries or leaders but applies to every believer and underscores the responsibility and privilege of all Christians to participate in God’s mission of reaching all people with the love and message of Christ everywhere. The late great evangelist Billy Graham rightly proclaimed, “We are not called to keep the light to ourselves but to be torchbearers, illuminating the world with God’s truth and love.”

Further, it is essential for all believers to engage in Romans 10:13-15, as it emphasizes the universal call to proclaim the Gospel and make God known to all people, regardless of background or status. This passage underscores the urgency and importance of sharing the message of salvation, highlighting that salvation is available to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. As believers, we are called to actively participate in the mission of making God known, bringing the good news of His grace, love, and salvation to the ends of the earth, fulfilling the Great Commission, and reflecting Christ’s love for humanity. Here is the point. Believers’ revolutionary purpose begins with knowing God and is fulfilled by making Him known. The recently passed Tim Keller wonderfully noted, “The most revolutionary act a believer can do is to live out the Gospel in a world that desperately needs the hope it offers.”

Imagine a city skyline illuminated by countless lights, each representing a believer shining the light of Christ. As these lights come together, they create a radiant beacon of hope and transformation, piercing through the darkness and drawing people to the warmth and brightness of God’s love. Just as a single candle can dispel darkness in a room, each of us, united in purpose and fueled by our knowledge of God, has the potential to bring about a revolutionary transformation in the world around us. I pray that empowered by God’s Spirit to live out our revolutionary purpose of knowing God and making Him known, we will bring light and life as everyday missionaries in our homes, workplaces, schools, and places where we play (communities where we live). Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Revolutionary Life

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In a world often plagued by conformity and complacency, Christ beckons us to embrace a radical transformation—an awakening of the spirit that challenges societal norms and propels us toward a deeper connection with God. Through scripture, prayer, and fellowship, we are invited to embark on a journey of liberation, justice, and love, echoing the revolutionary essence of Christ’s teachings. I encourage us to open our hearts and minds to the transformative power of living boldly in the footsteps of our Savior.

Consider the story of a small group of fishermen casting their nets into the sea, their livelihood dependent on the unpredictable tides. One day, as they toil under the scorching sun, a stranger appears on the shore, inviting them: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Intrigued by this enigmatic figure, they abandon their nets and embark on a journey that will forever alter the course of their lives. Together, they witness miracles, confront adversity, and experience the transformative power of Christ’s love. In their travels, they encounter the outcasts, the downtrodden, and the brokenhearted, offering them healing and hope. Through their unwavering commitment to their newfound calling, these fishermen become the catalysts of a revolutionary movement rooted in selfless service, radical love, and boundless grace as they share the love and message of Christ with others.

We, too, have been invited on such a journey. Christ offers us salvation and invites us to live in the fullness of life He has made possible for each of us. Christ calls us to a revolutionary life, a transformational life-journey with Him. The late evangelist Billy Graham declared, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is like a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

We discover this verse in Ephesians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains, “God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.” In essence, “Every spiritual blessing” signifies the fullness and richness of God’s grace poured out upon believers, empowering us, by the Spirit, to live victoriously in Christ. In other words, the Lord has provided the believer with every spiritual blessing to live a revolutionary life in Him.

Think of the spiritual blessings such as the redemption we have through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; Ephesians 1:13-14). We are enabled by the Spirit to bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We have access to peace through confident prayer (Philippians 4:6). We have victory over sin and in spiritual warfare (Philippians 4:13; James 4:7). We have been given gifts to use for God’s glory (Romans 12:6-8). Here it is. Just as we have received salvation through faith in Christ, we appropriate God’s spiritual blessings to live the victorious Christian life as we continue to walk in faith (Romans 1:17).

We entered into a saving relationship with God through faith. In fact, right standing with God is by faith from start to finish. Therefore, the life of faith is all-encompassing, meaning that just as we initially received the gift of salvation by faith, we also live each and every day by faith in Christ. The Lord has provided believers with every spiritual blessing to live a revolutionary life in Him, and we appropriate them by faith.

Let me highlight a few obstacles to revolutionary living to overcome. We need to overcome doubt and fear (2 Timothy 1:7). We need to overcome temptation and sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). We need to persevere through trials and challenges (James 1:2-4). Notice that all these obstacles are overcome by believing (having faith) that God has already provided the victory. We trust in Him and walk accordingly. The Lord has provided the believer with every spiritual blessing to live a revolutionary life in Him, and we appropriate them by faith and overcome obstacles to them by faith.

How do we build faith to live a revolutionary life? Here are some practical steps. First, engage in daily devotional practices such as prayer, studying and applying the Bible, and scripture meditation (James 5:16b; Psalm 119:105; Joshua 1:8). Also, participate in community and fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25). Further, enter into an accountability and mentoring relationship (Proverbs 27:17). Lastly, step out in faith to impact the world (James 2:17). The Lord has provided the believer with every spiritual blessing to live a revolutionary life in Him, and we appropriate them and overcome obstacles by faith as we grow in faith.

G.K. Chesterton insightfully wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” Christ not only calls us to a revolutionary life, a transformational life-journey with Him, but has provided for it. In fact, God has provided for us “every spiritual blessing.”

Imagine standing at the base of a towering mountain, its summit hidden in the clouds, beckoning you to climb higher and explore its mysteries. As you begin your ascent, each step represents a decision to follow Christ in a revolutionary life of radical love, faith, and transformative impact. The journey is arduous, filled with steep inclines, rocky terrain, and unforeseen challenges. Yet, with each obstacle overcome, you discover newfound strength and resilience, knowing that Christ walks beside you, guiding you every step, and has provided all you need to succeed. The climb offers a breathtaking view. It is difficult at times but well worth it.

Embrace the call to climb higher, explore the depths of God’s grace, and live a revolutionary life that impacts eternity—a life lived in intimate fellowship with the One who conquered every mountain, Jesus Christ. Jesus still calls us to follow Him. He has called and provided us all we need to live a revolutionary life in Him. All that remains is for us to decide to do so. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Revolutionary Power

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What Christ has done in the life of a believer is nothing short of revolutionary. When I speak of revolution, I refer to a revolution in a person’s life. I am speaking of a personal revolution brought about by placing genuine faith in Christ, where a profound and transformative change occurs, altering one’s life and eternal destiny. When people place saving faith in Christ, they are gifted with His indwelling Spirit. His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, does the transformative work of making them holy. Through the Spirit, the Christian is made in an ever-increasing measure Christlike.

Paul writes of this remarkable work of the Spirit in Romans 8. The chapter begins with the adverb “Therefore.” Whenever we come across the word “therefore” in the Bible, we need to ask, “What is it there for?” In Romans 8:1, “therefore” indicates that Paul is summing up his teaching on salvation through Christ’s finished work on the cross (He died for our sins and was resurrected for our salvation).

In Romans 8, Paul contrasts the law’s weakness and the Spirit’s power. What is power? Power is the ability to act or produce an effect, the possession of authority over others. Where is the believer’s power found? A believer’s power is not their own, but the Holy Spirit’s power at work in and through them. In fact, in Romans 8, Paul introduces us to the Holy Spirit, specifically as the agent of Christ’s power in our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can experience true freedom and victory in Christ. God’s Word teaches us that the path to justification (salvation) is faith in Jesus Christ. We also learn that the life leading to Christlikeness through sanctification is by faith in Christ. We are to live “by faith from first to last” (Rom 1:17).

In chapter 8, Paul leads us into the teaching about power-filled or Spirit-filled Christian living. Some have called this the Victorious Christian Life. We discover in Romans 8:1-11 an incredible truth. The believer is freed by the Spirit from the power of sin (Rom 8:1-11). If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we will never have to face the prospect of eternal condemnation (Romans 8:1-2). There is no condemnation for the believer because they have been justified (saved). Christians have been declared righteous.

Simply put, the Christian is free from guilt and from the enslaving power of sin. We can live the Christian life, but only through the power of Jesus Christ. Francis Schaeffer rightly notes, “If I am going to walk in this present life according to my high calling as a Christian, I need a strength higher than my own strength.” Paul shares two blessings believers have in Christ. There is no condemnation; the believer has been justified (saved). The believer is free. It is because we have been liberated (set free) that no condemnation can overtake us.

Paul writes about the Spirit’s empowerment of believers in Romans 8:3-4. The law is not bad. It’s just ineffective to save or sanctify us. Why? The law was “weakened by the flesh,” which is our fallen nature. So, what did God do for us? God sent His own Son. His Son’s coming involved Him becoming incarnate; He took upon His divinity humanity while remaining sinless. God sent His Son “to be a sin offering.” God “condemned sin in the flesh.” Lastly, God sent His Son and condemned sin in Him so that “the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us.”

Positionally, we are free, living life in the Spirit, but practically, we are to die daily – submit to the Spirit’s leading. The Spirit convicts a believer of sin so that they will confess and allow God to forgive and deliver them from sin. However, this conviction always promises hope. There is a big difference between condemnation and conviction. We must understand that Paul is writing about life in the real world of real people like you and me. The Spirit sets us free from the power of sin so that we can do what God’s law rightly requires. This is summed up by Jesus. “And He said to Him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

In Christ, we have been saved so that one day, we will spend eternity with Him in heaven. But God also saved us to bear Him fruit so that the righteous demands of the law might be fulfilled in us. These things are possible, but not through our power, but through Christ and His indwelling Spirit. Making us holy is the work of the Holy Spirit, who indwells us. Paul, in Romans 7 – We cannot keep the law because of our indwelling sinful nature. Paul in Romans 8:4 – We can become like Christ because of the indwelling Spirit.

What a fantastic reality is the Spirit’s indwelling of the believer. This is glorious! However, now the call is to walk according to the Spirit. Paul writes in Romans 8:5-8 about two mindsets. First, the mindset on natural desires leads to death. Second, the mindset set on the Spirit brings life and peace. You see, we are always mindful of something. The minding is produced either by self or by the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as a neutral stance where our relationship with God is concerned. The determining factor as to which mindset you have is who controls you. The crucial question is: “Are you controlled by self or the Spirit?” Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds to think, will, and do the things of the Spirit. The Spirit gives us the power to live a Christlike life. Remember, the Spirit does the work to make us holy (like Christ). We partner with the Spirit, our senior partner, and grow in Christ and His peace and power. Stott rightly notes, “We would more eagerly pursue holiness if we were convinced that it is the way of life and peace.”

Finally, Paul writes in Romans 8:9-11 about the rich reality that all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Christians’ bodies are actually the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The question for we believers is: “Whether or not we will submit to the Spirit’s leading in our lives?” Think of it this way. Sometimes, a yard, garden, or fruit tree needs special care due to pests. Insects, animals, and the sort may be eating at and causing destruction. You need some kind of pest control, such as insecticide or a fence, you know what I mean. When the pest situation is taken care of, you may say the pest situation is under control. However, this does not mean the pests have been trained to not harm your yard or garden. No way. What has occurred is that an outside helper has removed the pest problem. Similarly, when the Spirit controls the life of a believer, He grants us godly qualities that do not come by our own effort but through the Helper—the Holy Spirit coming into our lives, removing the power of the pest (the world, the flesh, and the devil), and He fills us with His power, which produces Christlikeness—Christlike fruit.

The good news for the believer is that our resurrected body will be the perfect vehicle of our glorification (the final act of God in our salvation, completely saved). Our current bodies house the very Spirit of God, who leads us in holiness. What a wonderful truth we discover in Romans 8:1-11. The believer is freed by the Spirit from the power of sin. Consider the Holy Spirit’s transformative work in a believer’s life, which releases revolutionary power to live as one saved by Christ—to be Christlike. This is good news indeed. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

On Praying

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Years ago, I grappled with how to pray for my neighbors and others within my community. Some I knew personally, but many were strangers to me. I didn’t want to offer a generic prayer but one deeply rooted in biblical truth. I yearned for my prayers to bear the fruit of people entering into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, for the resources of heaven to be poured into their lives, and for a greater witness for the Lord. I then discovered the power of praying for blessings on others. Prayer, I realized, is a potent tool for invoking God’s blessings upon others.

For believers, praying prayers of blessing on someone involves invoking God’s favor, guidance, and protection upon that individual. It’s an expression of love and care, asking for spiritual, emotional, physical, and material well-being for the person being prayed for, in alignment with biblical teaching. It’s often seen as a way to demonstrate God’s love and grace in action.

Praying for blessings over others is not just a duty but a privilege that offers numerous benefits. It provides spiritual encouragement and support for the person being prayed for, reminding them of God’s love and desire to care for them. For the person praying, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate love and compassion, reflecting the Christian value of caring for one another and bearing each other’s burdens. Prayers of blessing align the desires and aspirations of individuals with God’s will, fostering trust in His wisdom and sovereignty to bring about the best outcomes. In essence, praying blessings over others is a way to actively participate in God’s work of blessing and transforming lives.

The most profound prayer of blessing a believer can offer for another is that they find salvation in Christ. This prayer encapsulates the very essence of Christianity, as it seeks the eternal well-being of the individual’s soul. It underscores our foundational belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and the transformative nature of His love. As John 3:16 states, “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.” This verse highlights the centrality of salvation through Christ, making it the ultimate blessing we can wish upon another.

There are various ways we can pray blessings over others. There are prayers for strength and encouragement, such as that of Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” There are prayers for healing and restoration: “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14). We discover in God’s Word examples of how we can pray for guidance and direction, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Corrie ten Boom wrote, “God’s guidance is like a small lamp in a dark forest. It doesn’t show everything at once but gives enough light for the next step.” How could we and others not be blessed by having such guidance from the Lord as we place our trust in Him?

As we journey through life, let us remember the privilege and responsibility we have to pray blessings upon others. May these prayers be a source of comfort, strength, and inspiration, drawing us closer to God and one another. Let me write these words from Numbers 6:24-26 as my prayer of blessing to each of you, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Resurrection Revolution

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Most people, even those who haven’t placed their faith in Christ, would admit that He has impacted our world. Jesus Christ has brought about a revolution and an entire change in the lives of people and societies. When I speak of revolution, I am mostly speaking of a personal revolution brought about by placing genuine faith in Christ, where a profound and transformative change occurs, altering one’s life and eternal destiny.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ holds paramount significance, representing the cornerstone of our faith as Christians. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:19-20, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” This statement underscores the centrality of the resurrection in Christian faith.

The Apostle Paul argues that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christians are to be pitied above all people. Why? Without the resurrection, Christianity loses its foundation, hope, and promise of eternal life. Believers would have devoted their lives to a faith that ultimately offers no ultimate victory over death or hope beyond this life. Therefore, if the resurrection had never happened, Christians would have lived their lives in vain, with no real hope or purpose beyond earthly existence.

The good news is that the resurrection is a reality; Christ is alive. Through Christ’s resurrection, believers are assured of their own future resurrection and eternal life. The resurrection validates Jesus’ claims of divinity and victory over sin and death. Billy Graham, the renowned evangelist, proclaimed, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world. It is so foundational to Christianity that without it, there would be no such thing as Christianity.”

The resurrection shapes our understanding of salvation and offers hope for all who place their faith in Christ for salvation, emphasizing the transformative power of Christ’s sacrifice – dying for our sins and resurrected for our salvation. Simply put, the resurrection of Jesus Christ sparked a revolution of transformation in the lives of believers.

In Matthew 28:1-10, an account of the resurrection unfolds with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to Jesus’ tomb after the Sabbath. As they approach, an earthquake occurs, and an angel of the Lord descends from heaven, rolling back the stone from the tomb’s entrance. The guards are struck with fear. The angel announces to the women that Jesus has risen, instructing them to go and tell the disciples. Overwhelmed with fear and joy, they run to obey the angel’s command, encountering Jesus along the way. He reassures them, instructing them to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. The women leave the tomb with a mixture of fear and great joy, eager to share the astonishing news of Jesus’ resurrection. Here is the gospel truth, encountering the risen Christ through placing our faith in Him is where transformation begins, and our response to His profound work of love for us is to share His love and message with others.

There are a few ways the transformative power of the resurrection works in a believer’s life that I desire to share with you. First, the transformative power of the resurrection leads a believer from despair to hope (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Death is defeated! The believer can anticipate the return of Christ when their corruptible bodies will be replaced with incorruptible bodies, putting on immortality, and death will face its final defeat. Tim Keller, who is now with the Lord, wrote: “The resurrection gives us hope that what we face today is not the final word.” Keller is fully experiencing the truth of these words today.

Then, I would share that the transformative power of the resurrection leads a believer from sin to redemption (Romans 6:4). Believers have new life in Christ! The believer experiences union with, and incorporation into, Christ by the action of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they now have the power to live in newness of life. The “glory of the Father” is shown by His power in raising Christ from the dead and by transforming the lives of Christians. John Stott wrote, “The resurrection gives us confidence that God can bring victory out of apparent defeat.”

This is not an exhaustive list, but finally, let me share that the transformative power of the resurrection leads a believer from brokenness to wholeness (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians are made new! Through belief in Christ and His resurrection, individuals can experience a profound change, leaving behind their old ways and embracing a new life characterized by wholeness and spiritual renewal. Christ’s resurrection is not only a historical fact but a present reality. Through faith in Him, we experience a spiritual resurrection, a new birth, and a transformed life. In Him, we find forgiveness, redemption, and the promise of eternal life.

Allow the transformative power of God’s work to breathe new life into every aspect of your being. The resurrection power of Christ offers us hope, redemption, and the promise of new life. In the midst of our brokenness and sin, Christ offers us a way out—a way to experience true transformation. By receiving Him as our Lord and Savior, we open ourselves up to His resurrection power, which can break the chains of sin and set us free.

Imagine the joy of experiencing the same power that raised Jesus from the dead working in your life today. It’s not a distant dream but a present reality available to each and every one of us. All it requires is a humble heart willing to surrender to Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior.

If you have never made this decision or if you have drifted away from your faith, I invite you to reconsider today. Let the resurrection power of Christ breathe new life into your soul. Let Him wash away your sins and give you a fresh start. Let Him guide you on the path of righteousness and lead you into abundant life.

Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is not just a one-time event but a lifelong journey of discipleship and growth. It is a decision that will change the course of your life for eternity. May each of us open our hearts to the Resurrection Revolution, the transforming power of Christ’s resurrection, and experience the fullness of life He offers. I pray that our resurrected Lord will revolutionize our lives and world with hope, redemption, and love. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Revolutionary Sacrifice

By Pastor's Blog

The events of Holy Week, including Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His Last Supper, crucifixion, and resurrection, hold great significance for all humanity. For believers, these events shape the foundation of their faith. The sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection of Jesus are the central events that offer redemption, hope, and eternal life to believers, impacting their personal lives and influencing the course of history through the enduring message of God’s love and the forgiveness and salvation found in Christ.

As we embark on this Holy Week journey, let us fix our eyes on the revolutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the jubilant shouts of Palm Sunday to the triumphant resurrection on Easter Sunday, let us delve into the profound significance of Christ’s finished work on the cross. I pray that as we take a bird’s eye view of the events of Passion Week, we will grasp the transformative power of Christ’s revolutionary sacrifice and share the message of redemption with others.

Let’s begin with a look at Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, as described in the Gospels. Jesus rode into the city on a donkey. At the same time, crowds greeted Him with palm branches, shouting “Hosanna” (Matthew 21:9). This event marks the beginning of Holy Week, leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It symbolizes Jesus’ role as the Messiah and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Zech 9:9). This moment foreshadowed the revolutionary nature of Christ’s mission.

Picture the scene. Jesus comes as a humble king riding on a donkey, welcomed with adoration by the crowds. Little did they know, He was on a mission far greater than earthly conquest. Prominent 19th-century English preacher and theologian Charles Spurgeon explained, “Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a declaration of His kingship, but not in the earthly sense. He came to establish His kingdom in the hearts of men.”

Many events occurred during Passion Week leading up to the cross. However, Let’s take a moment to focus on Jesus’ Last Supper. The Last Supper was the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before His crucifixion. During the meal, Jesus predicted His betrayal by Judas and instituted the sacrament of communion (Luke 22:19-20). The significance of the bread and wine as symbols of Christ’s body and blood foreshadows His sacrifice on the cross and is a reminder for believers today. When Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion at the Last Supper, He set a practice for believers to engage in that reminds us of the profound cost of our salvation as well as His profound love for each of us.

After sharing the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, where Judas later betrayed Him and He was arrested. I can still remember the emotions I felt when I visited this site. Gethsemane is a garden outside Jerusalem. Jesus prayed here on the night before His crucifixion. He experienced profound anguish, praying to God the Father and asking if it were possible for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him, yet ultimately surrendering to God’s will (Luke 22:42).

Jesus, in Gethsemane, was confronted with the call to carry the full weight of all of our sin, and He willingly chose to endure the cross, demonstrating perfect obedience to God the Father and profound love for each of us. After being arrested in Gethsemane, Jesus endured a series of events leading up to His crucifixion. He was taken before Jewish religious authorities, subjected to multiple trials, accused of blasphemy and sedition, and eventually handed over to Roman authorities. Jesus faced interrogation by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who ultimately sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. Along the way, Jesus endured being mocked, beatings, and the carrying of His cross before being nailed to it and left to die.

I want to draw our attention to Jesus’ last words on the cross, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30). The phrase “It is finished” uttered by Jesus on the cross, carries profound significance. These final words of Christ on the cross declared the completion and fulfillment of His mission on Earth; specifically, Jesus accomplished the atonement for all our sins through His sacrificial death on the cross.

This declaration is a testament to the completeness and sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins for all who believe in Him.

R.C. Sproul rightly explained, “The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love for humanity. It is where justice and mercy intersect, and where sin is atoned for once and for all.” When Jesus declared, “It is finished,” He proclaimed the ultimate triumph of God’s love and grace over sin and death, providing hope and redemption for all who genuinely believe in Him. In light of all Christ has done, how can we do anything less than receive Him as Savior and Lord, experience His transformative power provided by Him through His revolutionary sacrifice, and share the message of redemption with others.

Imagine you’re stranded in the middle of a vast ocean, surrounded by turbulent waves and unable to find your way back to shore. You’re exhausted, hopeless, and desperate for rescue. Suddenly, a sturdy lifeboat appears, manned by a compassionate captain who offers you a lifeline to safety. Accepting Christ as Savior is like grabbing hold of the lifeline and allowing Him to pull you into the safety of the boat. As you come aboard, you experience His transformative power firsthand – your fears are replaced with peace, your despair with hope, and your emptiness with fulfillment. You become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), transformed by His love and grace. But there is more. Just as you’ve been rescued and brought to safety, you are now responsible for sharing the good news with others still lost at sea. You become a beacon of hope, guiding others to the lifeboat of salvation and inviting them to experience the transformative power of Christ for themselves.

As we journey through Holy Week, may we be deeply moved by the revolutionary sacrifice of Christ. Let us cling to the cross, knowing that through His finished work, we have been redeemed, forgiven, and made new. May His love compel us to share this message of hope with a world around us where we live, work, go to school, and play. Christ dying on the cross is a sobering reality, but wait, Sunday is on the way, and believers have much to celebrate. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Looking to the Future

By Pastor's Blog

I came across this principle, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” It really got me thinking. To expect is the prospect of good to come. As believers, we can certainly look to the future with hope. Our future does not solely rest on us. After all, God is not looking for big people but people who desire a big God. In other words, as followers of Christ, when we surrender to the Lord and walk in step with His Spirit, He will do big things in and through us. God’s workings are not limited by our personal limitations but by our willingness, participation, and desire for the workings of a loving, all-powerful, and limitless God in our lives.

Training speaks of the skill, knowledge, and experience acquired by one who trains. Training takes effort on our part. We can expect to become physically strong, but if we don’t work out, it won’t happen. We can desire to be awake and alert, but if we don’t get enough sleep, it won’t happen. We can expect to live with peace, power, and wisdom, but if we don’t study and apply God’s word to our lives and rely on and follow Christ, it won’t happen.

Yes, Our Lord is the one who has promised abundant flourishing lives for those who come to faith in Him (John 10:10). Further, it’s true that God never lies (Hebrews 6:18). However, this does not negate our part in cooperating with Him. In other words, there are promises of God conditioned on our faithfulness and trust in Him.

Our expectations rest on who God is and our partnership with Him. Therefore, we need to keep a soft heart. We read in Mark that the disciples did not understand the miracle of the loaves because their heart was hardened (Mark 6:52). We don’t want to miss what God has for us or have the ability to see what He is doing by having hardened hearts. We need to maintain a submissive heart towards God. This entails desiring God’s will to be our will and living accordingly.

We also need to believe, trust, have faith. Hebrews 3:12-13 speaks of the devastating effect of a heart of unbelief. Such a heart deceives us so that the truth seems like a lie, and lies seem like truth. If we live in unbelief, we cannot expect to see the promises of God in our lives. This does not mean that we are perfect, but that we are being perfected. We grow in belief. There is an ancient proverb that states. “Don’t fear growing slowly; fear standing still.” Be honest with God. Sometimes, we need to pray, “I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). He will answer that prayer.

We need to act in faith. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I have heard it said, “Faith believes that you already have what you’re hoping for; it’s pulling God’s promises from the spirit realm into the physical realm.” Therefore, we walk in the promises of God as we follow Him. After all, “faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26). Genuine faith is evidenced by obedience to God.

We need to grow in Christ through practicing the spiritual disciplines. We are called to step out in faith as we grow in knowing God and make Him known by sharing His love and message with others. We must focus on what we can do while trusting in what God has done, is doing, and is yet to do in and through us. We don’t expect to rise merely to a certain level because we expect it, but also because we train, growing in our knowledge of God through His Word, developing our gifts and abilities so graciously provided for us by our Lord, and gaining experience of being faithful and of God’s faithfulness as we obediently walk with Him. Then, just wait and see the heights our Lord will take us. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

Growing in the Grace of Testimony

By Pastor's Blog

How does God’s grace manifest itself in the believer’s life? God’s grace is infused in us as we enter into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ and walk in step with His Spirit. Growing in God’s grace involves various aspects, and the role of our testimony can be a significant part of spiritual growth. Remember, spiritual growth is a lifelong journey, and the role of sharing our testimony is one facet that aligns your heart, obedience, and resources with God’s purpose and grace. I love this statement about God’s grace. “In the vast landscape of our brokenness, God’s grace is the radiant sunrise, transforming our darkest moments into a canvas of redemption and hope.” It’s no exaggeration to say that God’s transformative power is seen not just in our lives but also in the lives of others when we share our testimonies; it’s that powerful.

Revelation 12:11 establishes the importance of our testimony. “They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” This verse is found in a section of Revelation that describes God’s protection of His church. How does the church find victory over the enemy? Satan is overcome because Christ has died and been resurrected for our salvation, and because of the testimony of Christ’s church (believers) to their faith in Him, others are drawn to the Lord and receive Him. Historically, Christians have been willing to maintain their testimony even to physical death – martyrdom (Hebrews 12:2-4). To grow in the grace of testimony, we must first recognize its power.

God calls us to share our testimony. Consider Psalm 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” This verse encourages those who have experienced God’s redemption to openly acknowledge and proclaim gratitude for being saved from adversity or challenges. When believers share their testimonies, it’s a powerful way for them to reflect on personal experiences, foster gratitude, and reinforce faith. It also provides a sense of closure or healing from past challenges. Also, those hearing their testimonies are offered inspiration, encouragement, and a sense of hope. It creates a community bond as people realize they are not alone in their struggles. To grow in the grace of testimony, we must recognize its power and actually share our testimony with others. It’s true that our testimony’s power lies not in its secrecy but in its shared revelation.

We are challenged by these words found in 1 Peter. “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This verse encourages Christians to be ready to share their faith when questioned, emphasizing the importance of doing so with kindness and respect. It reflects the idea of being ambassadors for one’s faith and promoting understanding through thoughtful communication. We discover these words in Colossians. “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6). This passage highlights the importance of Christians conducting themselves wisely and graciously, especially when interacting with those outside the faith. It emphasizes the idea of being good representatives of Christianity, engaging in conversations with love and wisdom to positively impact others.

Notice that in our verses from 1 Peter and here in Colossians, we are to be people who reflect God’s love and show respect to those we share with. Also, our story needs to point to the Savior. It’s important to keep in mind that our testimonies need to glorify God, not ourselves, be established in truth, covered in Christ’s love, and shared in the hope that other believers are encouraged and those yet to receive Christ will do so. To grow in the grace of testimony, we must recognize its power, share it with others, and do so by glorifying Christ and respecting others. It’s been said, “Our testimonies are not about showcasing our achievements but magnifying God’s grace at work in our lives. It’s not the story of our strength, but His transformative power.” In fact, our testimonies are not ours by His; they are to be used as our Lord desires.

In John 4, we have Christ’s example of sharing with others. I would encourage you to read the account, but let me summarize it for us. Jesus has a profound conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. He begins by asking her for a drink, breaking societal norms. As the conversation unfolds, Jesus reveals his knowledge of her life, discussing her past and highlighting the spiritual water he can provide. The Samaritan woman recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, and the encounter serves as a demonstration of Jesus’ transformative power and the inclusivity of His message beyond cultural boundaries. The Samaritan woman gives her testimony to the people of her town, who, by the way, had probably treated her poorly. As a result, not only does the Samaritan woman come to Christ. But so too many in the town.

There are several lessons we can learn from Jesus’ example. First, Jesus looked for ways to share the gospel. Second, Jesus engaged others to share the gospel without discrimination. Thirdly, Jesus engaged in spiritual conversations in sharing the gospel. Jesus, the divine catalyst of spiritual transformations, engaged in profound conversations, unveiling the depth of God’s love. Fourth, Jesus dealt lovingly and respectfully in sharing the gospel. Jesus, the purest example of love and respect, spoke the gospel gently and compassionately. Lastly, Jesus possessed an enduring commitment to others in sharing the gospel. Jesus, with an unwavering commitment to humanity, shared the gospel as a beacon of enduring love. His relentless pursuit of hearts exemplifies a commitment that transcends time, urging us to emulate His dedication in sharing the transformative message of salvation with a world in need.

Over my formative years as a believer, I have had several people model the grace of testimony, one I met in college – Keith Drury. I took a class on Evangelism and Discipleship in college from Keith. He was a new professor and taught very practically. He invited us to go with him as he had spiritual conversations with people in the community. I learned so much from Him, such as to keep it real. I remember when we walked up to a home, and he turned to me and said, “You are ready…take the lead.” That moment profoundly impacted my life of growing in the grace of testimony. I have used this you watch, I do, we do, you do, I watch method to help others experience the joy of sharing their testimony.

Let me encourage you with this verse Paul writes to his young protégé Timothy in sharing his faith. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Let me use this verse to pray over us as we share our faith with those around us. Lord, may we embrace the spirit of power, love, and sound judgment that Paul writes has been bestowed upon us as believers in 2 Timothy 1:7. Grant us the courage to authentically share our faith story, uplifting fellow believers with love and guiding those distant from You, yet close to Your heart, towards the light of Your grace and salvation. Amen! Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!