Posts Tagged ‘hope’

2corinthians5_17txt

II Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a
new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

When we know Christ personally he makes us new persons. Our sin debt has
been paid, and our old selves have been crucified in Christ. This takes place
on the inside of us in our spirits.

Since the old self has been “put off” and the new self has been “put on,” we
are totally new people and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be conformed to
his image. Because of this we are directed by God’s Spirit and are able to understand the things of God which are revealed to us in the Word.

The hope within us is that we can change. This is really important to
understand. Christians are different when we fight the battle of fear because we
have a special power inside us for the fight. God wants us to become more like
him, and with his enabling power we can. He doesn’t want us to be slaves to fear.
It is his will that we change. We can hang onto this hope!

There is one problem with the above scripture. It sounds as though we are a
new and fully capable creation instantly. Actually, we are new in our inner spirit,
but we still have to learn how to apply the teachings of the Bible to our lives. As
we begin to do that we will begin to see the new creation that God gave us
surface to the outside. It is a process.

The old things will pass away and new things will take their place. We will
begin to think differently having more healthy thoughts.

I trust this scripture thought today will help fill your heart with a new hope!

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Pastor Ron Lewis:  Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Ephesians 6:17a  “And take the helmet of salvation.”  Tcolossians3_4his week Pastor Ron continues his series, “Spiritual Warfare,” as we study the helmet of salvation.  Do you know what this helmet is and how it works for us as believers in our everyday walk?

Notes:

5.  The Helmet of Salvation V17a

a.  The Roman Soldier’s Helmet…

b.  The Spiritual Soldier’s Helmet…

1)  What does this helmet protect us against…?

2)  What is this helmet made of…?

The tenses of salvation…

a)

b)

c)

3)  How does it work on the spiritual battlefield…?

4)  How do we take it up…?

Please click on the link below to listen to this inspiring sermon.

The Helmet of Salvation

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How do you suffer?  Perhaps you suffer because you have some form of physical illness.  Or, you may suffer because you have anxiety, and panic attacks keep you from doing what you’d like to do.  There are many ways we suffer, but have you every thought about why we suffer.  Do you realize that Christians suffer and that we will keep on suffering until we reach heaven?  That is the truth of the matter.

There are many reasons  we suffer, but as believers we might wonder why God allows it.  Doesn’t He love us?  I believe that many people who come to Christ think they will get out of all the hardships of life.  They think everything will be peachy if they raise their hand in a service and say, “I invite Jesus into my heart.”  Sometimes that is what they are led to believe by the pastor.  Yes, get Jesus and live your best life now!  Things will be great!

I’ve sat in churches like that and I can remember the pastor leading us.  He would say something like this:

“There may be someone out there right now who is hurting.  They might be having trouble in their marriage.  There is someone who is physically ill today but they are here anyway.   Do you want to be well?  God will heal you.  There is someone who needs financial assistance.  They need money for a bill they can’t pay.  Receive Jesus right now and he will take care of all of your needs.  If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart do so now and feel His comfort.  With every head bowed and eyes closed raise your hand so that I can pray for you.  Yes, I see that one.  There is another, and yes, I see you too.”

On it goes till the pastor is satisfied that enough people have given their lives to Christ. This is sad because that is not how a person becomes a Christian and it gives them false hope.  They think they have just received Christ and their lives will be so much better from then on.   Sorry folks, but that is not the way it works.   They are not taught the truths of the Bible.  They go back out into the world and try to live right, but it doesn’t seem to work.  That is because they are not truly saved, and they don’t have the power of the Holy Sprit working in them.  They think they are  saved, but they are deceived.   These people need to hear the true gospel message, repent of their sins, and get saved.

If you are a true Christian you will still suffer.  How do I know this?  Because the Bible tells us so.  Take a look at Philippians 1:29-30 with me:

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.  (emphasis mine.)

Yes, you saw right.  We will suffer for His sake.  It says that this has been granted to us on behalf of Christ.  That would indicate that it is Christ’s will for us to suffer and that we should think of this as a privilege.    Have you ever thought of suffering for Christ as a privilege?  I hadn’t.

Now let’s look at I Peter 5:10

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  (emphasis mine.)

Again we see that the Bible says we are going to suffer, and the purpose of it is to perfect us.

Here is another interesting scripture on suffering:  2 Timothy 3:12

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (emphasis mine.)

The apostles all suffered persecution and were killed in many horrible ways.  We too will suffer persecution if we live for Christ.  In this country, at this time, it isn’t that bad.  People may shun us and not like us if we stand for Christ.  In fact, in some families if a person becomes a believer their family might turn against them.  Sometimes, as in my case, I lost many of my old friends as they did not understand me anymore and we didn’t have much in common anymore.  You might suffer persecution for Christ’s sake in the work place.  But, in some countries, even today, people are being persecuted for Christ to the extent that they are killed.  It is illegal in some countries to become a Christians and if one does they are thrown out of their family and can be killed for being a Christian.  They can also be killed for attempting to spread the gospel.  That is true persecution for Christ’s sake.

So, again, why do we suffer?  Well, for one thing to identify with Christ and what He has done for us, and for standing up for the gospel.  But, there are other reasons also.

Have you ever noticed Romans 8:28-29?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God forknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Emphasis mine.)

When things are going wrong people are quick to quote Romans 8:28, but I seldom hear them add verse 29.  Yes, all things do work out for good for Christians, but the reason is found in verse 29, and that is so that we might be conformed to the likeness of Christ.  In other words, some of our problems and suffering are allowed to change us.  We come to Christ with many rough edges that need to be smoothed off and our loving heavenly Father has to shave them off.  Little by little we change as we go through the hardships that come our way.

Can you identify with this?  I can.  I suffered tremendously from panic attacks and agoraphobia for 20 years.  I found Christ during that time and believe me I had many rough edges that needed smoothing.  I continued to suffer, but I also turned to Christ for the answers.  I studied my Bible daily.  I learned many precious promises and I learned how to claim them in my own life.  I learned how to apply my faith to my problems.  I grew in Christ.  Eventually, I no longer had panic attacks. I got my life back and it was so much better than before.  God was good to me!  The biggest thing I learned was not to depend on myself or others, but totally depend on Jesus Christ for everything.  He has sustained me to this day!  He will do the same for you if you turn to Him.

I will close with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot in her book,  A Path Through Suffering.  (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1990), 197-198

We suffer that we may learn who God is; that we may learn to trust and obey; it is required of soldiers; it is the condition of discipleship; to prune us, shape us to Christ’s image; to qualify us for the kingdom, to strengthen our faith; refine and test us, grow us; produce endurance; character, hope, joy, generosity; so that Christ’s power can be manifested in us; we suffer for the sake of God’s people; that we may share in His sufferings, His glory, and identify with Him in the crucifixion.

Here is a wonderful video by Joni Eareckson Tada that you will enjoy.  It really brings suffering home.

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Ephesians 1_18a

Ephesians 1:18a “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling,…”

The Apostle Paul prays in this section of scripture for believers.  If you are a believer then you can insert your name.  “I pray that the eyes of your heart, (insert name) may be enlightened…”  He is praying to God that the eyes of our understanding will be open.

Paul has a reason that he wants our understanding to be open, and as we read on we will find out why.  He says, “so that you (insert name) will know  what is the hope of His calling.”  Now let’s look at these three words.

KNOW:  This word as used in the Greek means something we know instinctively. In other words, we know that we know.

HOPE: As Pastor Ron Lewis has said, “This is a confident expectation of a future unseen reality.” This is the blessed hope we have that someday Christ will come back for His church, and that we will live with Him in heaven forever.  Isn’t that wonderful?

HIS CALLING:  God’s call on our lives took place before the creation of the world according to Ephesians 1:4. (NIV)  “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…”  This is almost too wonderful for me to think upon.  But, God actually chose you and me to be his adopted children before he even created the world.  This boggles my mind.  I can only say, “Why me Lord?”

Paul wants you and me to know all of this because it gives us the assurance of our salvation.  We know that we know that we are saved and are on our way to heaven. Satan will come after us and tell us all sorts of lies.  He is the father of lies.   But, knowing where we stand now and what awaits us in our future gives us the courage to resist the devil.  When we know the truth then we can be overcomers of whatever comes our way.

I’m glad Paul prayed for us.  Aren’t you?  We should pray this prayer for other believers also.

I’ve taken these thoughts from a sermon my pastor preached last Sunday.  If you’d like to hear this very encouraging message you can click on the link below.

The Hope of His Calling

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Are you a worrier?  I was for a long time.  It wasn’t until I became a Christian and got into the Word that I discovered that it was not God’s will that I should worry.  When He tells us something we need to sit up and take notice.  And, Jesus plainly tells us that He will take care of us and that we do not need to be anxious about anything.  It took me some time to break the worry habit, but I did with His help and so can you.  In this article John MacArthur continues to teach us about God’s view of worry.


English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John H. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes, is one of the most intriguing creations of literary fiction. He is, quite simply, extraordinary. His famous cohort, Dr. John Watson, is ordinary, at least by comparison. Watson has often been erroneously portrayed as a bumbling fool, but that flies in the face of Doyle’s attempt to make the average reader relate to Watson.

Click on the link below to read the rest of this article by John MacArthur.

Observing God’s Care.

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Here is another wonderful post on anxiety by John MacArthur.  He is doing a series of them and I want to share them with you.  There is a very good short video clip in this one that you MUST listen too.  I think it is the key to victory.  When you get a hold of that teaching, it really makes all the difference.

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It should be clear by now that unchecked anxiety isn’t good for you. It’s a sin expressly forbidden by the Lord, so there is the spiritual cost to consider. But it’s also harmful to your health, your productivity, and your relationships. It wreaks havoc throughout your life, and as we saw yesterday, it strangles your mind.

Click on the link below to continue reading this article:

John MacArthur on Anxiety and God’s Sovereignty.

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Thanks for What we Have in Christ

This Sunday Joel Spencer was our speaker for our special Thanksgiving message.  He brought us to Colossians 1:1-23 to highlight some things that we have to be thankful for as Christians.

Have you ever thought about how many times in a week you say, “thank you?”  We say it all the time, and it is polite to say “thank you.”  We thank the cashier in the check out line when they hand us our change or bags.  We thank strangers when they hold open a door for us.  We thank our spouses when they do something nice.  Thanksgiving is a part of our lives.  But, how many times do we thank God?  And, if we do what do we thank Him for?

In this message we will see several things that we can thank God for if we are Christians.  I hope you will be encouraged to think about all that God has done for us and be forever grateful.

Click below to listen to this uplifting message.

Thanks for What we Have in Christ – Joel Spencer

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