Those who trust in God are no longer guilty

The worst sin

What is the worst sin we can commit?

And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.

John 16:8 NLT

What would you consider the worst sin you could commit? Adultery? Stealing? Murder? You might be surprised by the answer the Bible gives.

The worst sin — and the one with the most far-reaching consequences — is this: to refuse to believe in Jesus Christ.

Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit convicts guilty men and women of sin “because they do not believe in Me.” (John 16:9) On that final day, it will not so much be the sin question as it will be the Son in question. All sins can be dealt with and forgiven if we believe in Jesus.

We must not forget that knowledge brings responsibility. It is a grave thing to shake off the conviction of the Spirit.

Jesus said the Spirit came to convict us “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:11). The ruler or prince of this world, Satan, was judged at Calvary. When Jesus went to the cross and died in our place, Satan lost his death grip on humanity.

The spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment, but He wants most of all to give us assurance of forgiven sin. Why not let Him do what He really desires to do? Why not come to Jesus? Or if you have already done that, help someone else to follow your example.

Adapted from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale House), pp 222-24

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

When we learn to trust the Lord

When we learn to trust the Lord,

we will begin to have a sense of rest in the Lord

knowing that He has everything under control

even when life seems to be out of control.

Trusting God will get us to the point where we make a decision to trust in Him

and NOT in our own understanding.

God wants to give us a full and abundant life,

but He only asks for us to believe in Him.

“Trust in the LORD forever,

for the LORD, the LORD,

is the Rock eternal.”

– Isaiah 26:4 NIV

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17b

Scripture is God’s Word to us. Get to know it. It is the source of truth, assurance and comfort. Learn its lessons. Let God use it to speak to your heart. Look to it to cut through the enemy’s lies and spiritual deception, and to reveal the truth. Use it to persuade others about God’s love and forgiveness.

When God’s Spirit impresses us with a verse or a passage of Scripture to use in our battle against the enemy in a particular conflict, we are able to defeat our enemy. The Bible calls this taking the sword of the Spirit.

Jesus defeated Satan the three times he was tempted in the wilderness by using the sword of the Spirit. (see Matthew 4).

Ruth’s world changed when she chanced to find a Bible. She was fifteen when she was rummaging through her Muslim family’s library. She found it hidden behind the other books. She says, “I quickly read a few pages and the message immediately touched my heart, even though I understood practically nothing of it. Secretly I began to read the Bible regularly in my room. I knew that I had to do more with this. I wanted to get to know Jesus better.”

She adds, “I don’t remember how it happened, but my family realized that I was showing too much interest in Christianity. My whole family was against me, especially my mother.”

“You’re a Muslim,” she said. “Why are you throwing your life away? Why aren’t you like other girls? You’ll soon be going to university and then you’re going to marry a respected Muslim!”

Ruth’s voice falters and for a moment, she doesn’t say anything. “I suffered a lot,” she continues. “But still I kept reading the Bible in secret. The Lord Jesus keeps drawing me closer to Him.”

RESPONSE: Today I take the sword of the Spirit so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.

PRAYER: Lord may the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands today and in the hands of those reading it for the first time.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

How do you explain God to an atheist?

We are needing guidance on this subject. We have a friend who is an atheist. We’ve explained what we know from the Bible, and from our own personal experience with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because he has done much research and study on the subject of God, creation, the Bible, etc., he doesn’t feel God is real.

The oddity is that he is one of the most loving people we know. That seems to conflict with our thoughts, since we know that God is love, and all love comes from him.

Rather than go into all of the research we’ve done, we’re reaching out to you to give us insight and guidance. Any website addresses, Bible passages, or resources that you feel would be helpful would be greatly appreciated. Your prayers are needed as well as your personal support.

He is 87 years old, has been a professor in college, and is an avid reader.

Thanks so much.

I Know My Redeemer Lives

 

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God. I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!

Job 19:25-27 NLT

I know that my Redeemer lives; what joy the blest assurance gives! He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my everlasting Head!

He lives, all glory to His name; He lives, my Savior, still the same; what joy the blest assurance gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!

I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Samuel Medley (1738-1799)

One of those verses

Every once in a while, a verse jumps out of the Old Testament and takes on a new meaning. Job lost his fortune, family, and much of his health. In a stunning display of faith, he expresses his only remaining hope: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The words find an uncanny fulfillment in Jesus.

Jesus gave His life to redeem us, to buy us back from our slavery to sin. His death was the price of our freedom. But that’s not the bottom line, thank God. As the sun rises on Easter morning, we can say with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” He lives! Death could not hold Him. He lives, to finish salvation’s work in me.

Hymn writer Samuel Medley often repeated words and phrases in his songs. Here, what’s repeated is the most important concept: “He lives…He lives…He lives.”

Our “Resurrection Week” readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for April 2.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Stepping into a new life

By Jon Walker

“Come” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:29

“The disciple may think he is being dragged out of his secure life into a life of absolute insecurity, but in truth he is stepping into the absolute security and safety of Jesus’ fellowship.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When Peter stepped out of the storm-tossed boat and onto the water, where was the safest place to be? In the boat or in the arms of Jesus?

The answer, of course, is with Jesus, and for a brief time, Peter saw that. Right then he got a glimpse of what it is like to TRUST in Jesus and what it is like to operate within the realm of costly grace as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

And we get a glimpse of that, too. We see that following Jesus requires us to step into apparent insecurity in order to find true security. In the alleged insecurity of discipleship, we experience the gift of Christ and are enveloped in the grace of God.

It’s a paradox of faith: Our first step of faith places us in a position where faith becomes possible. By our obedience, we learn to be faithful. If we refuse to follow, we never learn how to believe. We stay stuck in the shallow end of faith, trusting in ourselves, living by sight and not by faith.

Discipleship is Jesus constantly pushing us into new situations where it is possible for us to trust him even more. He pushes us into impossible situations where we must stake everything solely on his Word. Ask Jesus to push you to the place where you will know with certainty that he is good for his Word, that he is the Word of God.

Jesus’ Burial

~ by Max Lucado

When Pilate learned that Jesus was dead, he asked the soldiers if they were certain. They were. Had they seen the Nazarene twitch, had they heard even one moan, they would have broken his legs to speed his end. But there was no need. The thrust of a spear removed all doubt. The Romans knew their job. And their job was finished. They pried loose the nails, lowered his body, and gave it to Joseph and Nicodemus.

Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus the Pharisee. They sat in seats of power and bore positions of influence. Men of means and men of clout. But they would’ve traded it all for one breath out of the body of Jesus. He had answered the prayer of their hearts, the prayer for the Messiah. As much as the soldiers wanted him dead, even more these men wanted him alive.

As they sponged the blood from his beard, don’t you know they listened for his breath? As they wrapped the cloth around his hands, don’t you know they hoped for a pulse? Don’t you know they searched for life?

But they didn’t find it.

So they do with him what they were expected to do with a dead man. They wrap his body in clean linen and place it in a tomb. Joseph’s tomb. Roman guards are stationed to guard the corpse. And a Roman seal is set on the rock of the tomb. For three days, no one gets close to the grave.

But then, Sunday arrives. And with Sunday comes light—a light within the tomb. A bright light? A soft light? Flashing? Hovering? We don’t know. But there was a light. For he is the light. And with the light came life. Just as the darkness was banished, now the decay is reversed. Heaven blows and Jesus breathes. His chest expands. Waxy lips open. Wooden fingers lift. Heart valves swish and hinged joints bend.

From When Christ ComesAnd, as we envision the moment, we stand in awe.

We stand in awe not just because of what we see, but because of what we know… We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us” (Rom. 6:5–9 MSG).

From From When Christ Comes: The Beginning of the Very Best
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado

Eternal Choices

Then (the thief) said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:42-44

Isn’t this the reminder of Calvary’s trio?  Ever wonder why there were two crosses next to Christ?  Why not six or ten?  Ever wonder why Jesus was in the center?  Could it be the two crosses on the hill symbolize one of God’s greatest gifts?  The gift of choice.

The two criminals were convicted by the same system.  Condemned to the same death.  Equally close to the same Jesus.  But one changed!

You’ve made some bad choices in life, haven’t you?  You look back and you say, “If only I could make up for those bad choices.  You can! 

When one thief on the cross prayed, Jesus loved him enough to save him.  When the other mocked, Jesus loved him enough to let him.  He allowed him the choice.

He does the same for you!

~ Max Lucado

God’s Daily Promise – #9

Galatians 3:29 

If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed
and heirs according to promise.
(World English Bible)

Promise #9: Since you are in Christ, I have made you an heir of all My promises.
 
Every one of the promises that God made to Abraham now belongs to you and I because we belong to Jesus Christ and are now heirs according to the promise. Just think of that for a moment. You are an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Every promise that God made to Abraham is part of your own spiritual inheritance!

When God said to Abraham that He would be the father of many nations, and a blessing to many (Genesis 12), you were part of that promise.  The New Living Translation says Galatians 3:29 this way… And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. NLT

May our God and Father give each one of us a revelation today about what it means to be an heir in His amazing kingdom. An heir of God and a co-heir with our elder brother, Jesus Christ. There is no higher call, there is no greater destiny, than to be part of the eternal family of the living God. Be encouraged by the words found in Galatians 4:7 – So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.(WEB)

Photo by Jeff Epp

Click here to read Barry Adams’ new daily devotional at Fatherheart.tv

God’s Daily Promise – #7

John 3:16 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

(World English Bible)

Promise #7: I have given you eternal life because you have believed in Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 is one of the most quoted, most loved Bible verses in the New Testament. This Scripture has been used by evangelists over the years to invite many people to come to Christ. The foundation of this much loved verse is and always will be, the love of the Father. For God (the Father) so loved the world…

It was the great love of our heavenly Father that caused Him to give up His most treasured possession, the life of His Son, so that we too could share in Jesus’ eternal life. What a glorious promise! We were loved so much by God, that He gave up all that He loved in order to gain our love!

May we never take the wonder of John 3:16 for granted, but may we continue to revel in the amazing love our God and Father has for us every day in our lives. Thank you Father for loving us so much, that you sent your only begotten Son to the world in order to purchase our redemption! ~ Barry Adams

You Need a Savior

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Luke 18:27 NIV

The rich young ruler thought heaven was just a payment away.

It only made sense.

You work hard, pay your dues, and “zap”—your account is credited as paid in full.

Jesus said,

“No way.”

What you want costs way more than you can pay.

You don’t need a system,

you need a Savior.

You don’t need a resume,

you need a Redeemer.

For “what is impossible with me

is possible with God.”

~ Max Lucado

Tebow, John 3:16 Drive Internet Evangelism

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Features

Tebow, John 3:16 Drive Internet Evangelism

January 12, 2012 – When Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards on Sunday, it launched a viral buzz over one of his favorite verses, John 3:16, which has led to thousands of people landing on the BGEA’s Internet Evangelism website, PeacewithGod.net.

Tebow, John 3:16 Drive Internet Evangelism

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. — John 3:16 (NIV)

Tebow, John 3:16 Drive Internet Evangelism

By Trevor Freeze

Search John 3:16 in Google and in the blink of an eye — 0.11 seconds to be exact — more than 104 million search results pop up.

Ironically, it took all of 11 seconds for Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos to score a huge upset in overtime Sunday night against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

Tebow — a devout Christian who wore the Bible verse John 3:16 painted on his eye blacks during the 2009 NCAA National Championship game — finished with 316 yards.

And if that wasn’t enough…

Tebow’s per-throw average: 31.6 yards.

Sunday’s overtime TV rating: 31.6.

Pittsburgh’s time of possession: 31 minutes, 6 seconds.

But there have been other numbers, eternally speaking, surrounding John 3:16 that have also been registered this week on PeacewithGod.net. The initial website launched by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Internet Evangelism ministry known as Search for Jesus has had a very busy week.

Taking advantage of John 3:16’s popularity in Google searches on Monday, the BGEA advertised a PeacewithGod.net landing page around searches for John 3:16 — the central message of the video-driven Gospel website.

Over 9,000 users specifically inquiring about John 3:16 this week have landed on PeacewithGod.net via Google, with more than 150 clicking they had made a decision to accept Jesus Christ into their life.

“That’s what makes this online ministry so unique,” said John Cass, BGEA’s director of Internet Evangelism. “We can respond to exactly what people are searching for at that moment—and it’s often a very simple next-step to the Gospel.

“Current events give us the opportunity to share the Gospel.”

Churches and individuals can partner with the BGEA’s Internet Evangelism ministry by clicking on the How You Can Help tab on the website SearchforJesus.net.

Always one to deflect credit, Tebow did not mention the similarities of the 316 passing yards and one of his favorite verses in Sunday’s post-game press conference, but he was quick to give God the glory.
photo
“First and foremost, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Tebow said. “He’s done so much in my life.”

In the course of his preaching ministry, Billy Graham delivered countless sermons from John 3:16, which reads: “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 (NIV).”