Have you ever felt like asking the question; am I going to make it, with all the challenges I face in this life? The Bible gives us insight that can help us gain hope, faith and confidence in …
Have you ever felt like asking the question; am I going to make it, with all the challenges I face in this life? The Bible gives us insight that can help us gain hope, faith and confidence in our future. Let me show just one such example.
2 Corinthians 4:7–9 (NIV) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Sadly many people, even church going people, have not read these words for themselves. They never saw the Bible tell them that we are simply not capable of navigating all this world can throw at us without help from God. Our lives are a bit fragile like a clay jar, but with Christ as the treasure inside our jar, we can make it. We are surrounded by difficulties, confusing circumstances and even bouts of loneliness. It comes sometimes from every direction and God knows all about it. But it also describes that we who have given our whole lives to God in the person of Jesus Christ have an internal treasure deep inside us that is not made from our own strength, but God’s strength. God does not want us destroyed but rather He has a desire to shine through us.
Tragically, dissatisfaction is seen as a valid reason to see life though fatalistic eyes. Discouragement is seen as the end of joy, success and achievement. Depression is often the result of this discouragement and defeat is the result so many end up with in their life. The answer is not simply; “take two of these and call me in the morning” or “just suck it up and move on”. The answer is found in the compassion and mercy of God who has written for you and I, words that we must introduce to our heart and mind that emanate from our loving God.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 (NIV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
This unseen reality is Christ and His eternity. Nothing we face on this earth can compare to what God has promised His people. If your goal is heaven, you will make it, if you follow Jesus Christ. What good news to hear.
Written by Pastor Paris Pasch of The Journey Church in Hastings
Who Is To Blame?
In my ministry life of 40 years, I’ve heard many people credit God for the good in the world, but also blame Him for the bad. They speak as if God made their life messy, after all He is fully in charge right? They blame God for deaths, war, poverty, sickness and the like. Why not? Isn’t He pulling all the strings?
It saddens my heart to have wonderful people blame God for something He had nothing to do with. In fact if we could look at God with skin on we would get a very different picture. By the way, we can look at God with skin on, because that is who Jesus was. When we read the historical account of God coming to earth in the person of Christ we see Him feeding the poor, healing the sick, cleansing a leper, raising the dead, forgiving people’s sins, having compassion, giving mercy and so much more. We don’t see the bad God that many people accuse God of being.
Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) The Son (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…
I encourage you to open a Bible, read the four gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and meet the person of God found in Jesus. He didn’t distribute retribution or make bad and good people sick. He didn’t use disease as an educational tool or cause people to die for their sins. He didn’t send people to a grave before their time or destroy families. Instead He laid down His own life for those who even chose to reject Him.
That same Bible reveals who is behind so much of the evil that happens in our world today. In very contrasting fashion it clarifies who is truly to blame.
John 10:10–11 (NIV) The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Lastly the other figure that is truly to blame is humanity. We each have made bad life choices, terrible habit choices, tragic moral choices and even fatal choices about God Himself. Ever since Adam and Eve, God has given humanity the greatest gift of love ever, freewill choice. We can choose to follow His good plan or continue on our poor self-made plan. God is not a puppet master that dictates what we choose.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV) This day I (God) call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Isn’t it interesting that so much confusion can be cleared up simply by looking in your Bible. As we conclude, please understand that applying blame is somewhat useless, but applying God’s truth is powerful. Read your Bible and apply what you read.
Written by Pastor Paris Pasch of The Journey Church in Hastings
The Peril of Pride
Today I want to address something most of us deal with quite regularly, PRIDE. We can’t address pride without recognizing some of its great friends like arrogance, haughtiness and even self-loathing as they all have one person at the center, us. The Bible understands the power of this character flaw and calls it sin so that we can repent, turn away from it and be forgiven. So my effort to share good news, is not to prove we are prideful, but rather to describe how we can be set free from a very destructive force.
Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
So God says that pride is always followed by destruction. Pride is when we turn to our own thoughts and considerations, when the Creator of the universe has already told us that His ways are better than our ways. Pride is when we listen to our own conclusions on anything, before we listen to what God has written down for us to understand. Pride is when we look at our neighbor, another of God’s creation, and give thanks that we are not like that neighbor.
I will tell you that I have lived with this malady in my life for most of my life. At one time I thought I was smarter than my parents even though they had many years of life experience on me. At one time I was on a quest to prove I was faster, tougher, and more skillful than my peers. At one time I considered that my faith was just a little bit better than my fellow Christian church attender. At one time I competed for recognition, accomplishment and the brass ring of financial success that others could see. All this was “pride” on steroids.
Today pride is rampant in our culture where we have those who attempt to live outside God’s design for home, marriage and love. Our culture says we know more than God and so we build families without a dad or a mom. Our culture sees babies as obstacles to remove and sees life as cheap and under our power. Our culture even sees our bodies as our possession and so we have the right to do with them what we choose. This too is all pride.
So what is the opposite of pride? It is genuine love, found in humility. Self-confidence can be replaced with god-confidence in that we know what God has said and we trust His outcome over our selfish ambition.
Luke 14:11 (NIV) For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Dozens of times in the Bible God tries to open our eyes to the power of pride and always for the purpose of having us turn away from it and instead turn toward God.